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Pixel Fold review roundup: Google’s turning heads and hinges

Published Jun 26th, 2023 3:47PM EDT
Google Pixel Fold on a mirror in front of a BGR logo
Image: Jonathan S. Geller

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Recently, Google’s reputation for mobile hardware has grown as its Pixel phones have become viable alternatives to the devices of Samsung and OnePlus. The company took another big leap this year by introducing its first foldable phone. The review embargo for Google’s Pixel Fold lifted this week, and while not all of the reviews are glowing, the Pixel Fold managed to impress some critics who see it as a competitive first-generation entry in a nascent field.

Keep an eye out for BGR’s review, which will be going live later this week. In the meantime, let’s see what the rest of the internet thinks about the Pixel Fold.

In his review for The New York Times, Roderick Scott highlighted the phone’s design, which he prefers to the “long and narrow” Galaxy Z Fold 4. Other than the compromises Google made to fit everything on this phone and its painful price tag, he really liked it:

If you do have the money and want a bigger smartphone display, the Pixel Fold’s design is compelling. I especially appreciate that its exterior screen is useful for the quick work of responding to messages and dashing off emails, while its unfolded interior display is perfect for streaming movies and playing games. I love the hardware, and I plan to spend a few months with it to see how it fares with daily use. But most people don’t need a giant screen on them at all times, and the price of being an enthusiast who wants the latest technology is still simply too high.

Allison Johnson at The Verge had similar opinions, celebrating the Pixel Fold’s successes while admitting that the device is “one generation away from greatness.”

To Google’s credit, the Pixel Fold is a much more approachable device than the Z Fold 4. Rather than overwhelm you with possibilities, the Pixel places guardrails around what you can and can’t do, like limiting multitasking on the inner screen to two apps. It’s a friendlier device to someone who’s fresh to foldables. But I have a hard time believing that anyone seriously considering the Pixel Fold (or any phone nearing $2,000) is afraid of a little complexity.

In Engadget’s review, Sam Rutherford also praised the design of the Pixel Fold:

Google has done some nifty things with the Pixel Fold’s hinge and chassis so there’s essentially no gap between the phone’s halves while still being extremely thin. It measures less than 6mm thick and around 12.1mm when closed, so despite being a touch heavier than the Z Fold 4, it feels more balanced. Unless your jeans are painted on, you shouldn’t have much trouble fitting the Pixel Fold in a pocket.

Finally, for TechRadar, Lance Ulanoff raved about the cameras and the quality of photos:

Its cameras not only take excellent photos across a wide range of styles, they’re complemented by some of the most powerful on-board image-processing magic in the business. I haven’t had this much fun using a smartphone’s cameras in quite a while. It’s not just the camera app, or the editing I can do post-shot; the entire suite of camera hardware is strong. And while the Pixel Fold doesn’t beat the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 in every aspect, I don’t think anyone will feel cheated by any single lens.

It doesn’t look like Google’s Pixel Fold will significantly grow the market for foldable phones, especially at $1,799, but it might at least give Samsung some much-needed competition. The differences between the Pixel Fold and the Galaxy Z Fold might sound trivial, but based on the early reviews, it’s clear that they do make a real difference in practice.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.