In a much-anticipated move, Google has finally jumped into the foldable phone arena, officially revealing the Google Pixel Fold at this year’s I/O developer conference. The tech titan has joined the likes of Samsung and others who have made entries into this fast-growing market segment in recent years.
For this article, we delve into a head-to-head comparison pitting Google’s Pixel Fold against the current market leader, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold. Our aim is to evaluate the specs and features of the Pixel Fold and determine how they stack up against the best-selling flagship in the space. So if you’re looking to learn more about the latest and greatest in foldable tech, you’re in the right place.
Differences Between the Two
When comparing the Pixel Fold to the Galaxy Z Fold, the most apparent distinction lies in the maturity of the devices. Samsung, as a pioneer in the foldable market, introduced the original Z Fold in September 2019, followed by the Z Flip line in spring 2020. Consequently, Samsung’s foldable lineup enjoys a four-generation head start in terms of brand recognition, practical real-world usage, design engineering, and R&D.
Another key difference is found in their respective cover screens. When folded close, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a cover screen measuring 6.2 inches versus the Pixel Fold’s 5.8 inches. However, numbers don’t tell the full story, because the Z Fold is tall and narrow, resulting in a somewhat awkward user experience compared to the Pixel Fold. The final notable difference between the Pixel Fold and Z Fold is the Pixel’s lack of stylus support. Considering its sky-high price tag and target audience, this is a bit disappointing. In contrast, the Z Fold line has supported the S Pen since the Z Fold 3.
Technology on Pixel Fold Line
On the Pixel Fold, the primary display is an 1840 x 2208 OLED with a 6:5 aspect ratio and up to a silky smooth 120Hz refresh rate. Brightness peaks at 1450 nits or 1000 nits when HDR is enabled. As for the cover display, it offers a 1080 x 2092 OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh and HDR. It’s a tad brighter at up to 1200 nits with HDR and 1550 peak nits.
The Pixel Fold operates on Google’s Tensor G2 chip, which features an octa-core CPU configuration, 12GB RAM, and options for 256GB or 512GB storage. CPU specs include (2) Arm Cortex-X1 cores clocking in at 2.85GHz, (2) Arm Cortex-A78 cores up to 2.35GHz, and (4) Arm Cortex-A55 cores maxing out at 1.80GHz. For GPU duties expect to see the Arm Mali-G710. Overall the G2 is not as powerful as the Z Fold’s Snapdragon 8+, but still plenty enough to support heavy-duty multitasking or playing intense mobile games without missing a beat. To boot, Google has integrated a new TPU to further accelerate its AI capabilities.
Here you’ll find the familiar protruding camera bar that has become the Pixel’s trademark along with two other cams. In total, that’s five (yes, five) separate cameras on the Pixel Fold including a 48MP wide, 10.8MP telephoto, and a 10.8MP ultrawide. Two selfie cams dot the displays, where the 8MP is on the inner screen and the 9.5MP is on the cover.
The Pixel Fold has a battery capacity of 4821 mAh. On paper, Google claims a lifespan of over 24 hours under normal usage and more than 72 in power-saving mode, however, real-world tests often yield different results from laboratory conditions. USB-C delivers wired charging and for wireless it’ll work with any Qi-certified pad.
Technology On Z Fold Line
The cover screen on the Z Fold 4 is a 6.2-inch dynamic AMOLED display boasting 904 x 2316 pixels and a 120Hz refresh rate. The main screen is an 1812 x 2176, 7.6-inch HDR10+ certified dynamic AMOLED display also with a 120Hz refresh rate.
Behind the screen, sits a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip that houses an octa-core 4-nanometer processor also designed by Arm. The CPU comes paired with 12GB RAM and an 800MHz Adreno 730 series GPU with options for 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of storage. Taking a closer look at the CPU you’ll discover (1) Kryo Prime core rated up to 3.2GHz, (3) Kryo Gold cores rated at 2.75GHz, and (4) Kryo Silver cores at 2.0GHz. During our benchmark tests, the phone performed like a workhorse, delivering a buttery and consistent 60fps for even the most demanding mobile games.
Samsung phones have earned a reputation for capturing stunning, professional-quality photos and videos – the Z Fold is no exception. Like the Pixel Fold, this phone too has five cameras, flaunting a 50MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, and a 10MP telephoto for the rear stack in addition to a 10MP cover screen cam and 4MP interior cam. For content creators, the Z Fold is hard to beat, especially considering it’s one of just a handful of phones on the market that can shoot in 8K.
The battery is a 4400 mAh dual cell capable of recharging via wired or wireless although neither method is particularly fast, maxing out at 25W and 15W respectively.
The Durability of Both Lines
Not too long ago, smartphones were incredibly delicate, with screens prone to cracking at just the slightest impact or pressure. While this is largely an issue of the past, foldable devices introduce new concerns over durability, particularly when it comes to creases in the display. Famously, Samsung was forced to pause the rollout of the original Z Fold in 2019 due to early complaints about major screen creasing after only a few days of use. Now, a few generations later, creasing is still an issue although it’s getting much better.
This is the unfortunate reality for all foldable tech and is not exclusive to Samsung. In other words, don’t hold your breath in hopes that the Google Pixel Fold will be an exception to the rule. It’s something foldable engineers across all companies are hard at work trying to iron out.
Typical Screen Sizes for Both
When unfolded both the Pixel Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 4 have an identical 7.6-inch primary display. Google’s Pixel Fold measures 5.5 tall x 6.2 wide x 0.2 inches thick when unfolded and 5.5 x 3.1 x 0.5 inches when closed. Samsung’s Z Fold 4 comes in at 6.1 tall x 5.1 wide x 0.25 thick unfolded versus 6.1 x 2.6 x 0.6 folded.
Truthfully it could come down to a coin toss, but in our assessment, the Z Fold emerges as the superior choice due to Samsung’s extensive experience and leadership in the foldable market, having already released multiple generations across the Z Fold and Z Flip lines.
3 Pros To Pixel Fold Line
Better Cover Display
Perhaps the number one thing we love about the Pixel Fold line over the Z Fold line is the bigger cover screen. When closed, it still feels like a full-fledged smartphone making it much more useful than the narrow cover screen on the Z Fold in our opinion.
Advanced AI Capabilities
Google is a leader in developing cutting-edge AI products, so it makes sense that their phones are arguably the most AI-forward devices on the market. The Pixel Fold takes that up a notch thanks to the AI acceleration afforded by its improved chip architecture. Now all of the products we’ve come to love like Magic Eraser, Photo Unblur, Real Tone, and Call Assist are faster and more capable than ever before.
Outstanding Hinge Mechanism
Engineers designed a dual-axis, quad-cam hinge mechanism crafted from multi-alloy steel. It ensures synchronized, frictionless folding and unfolding across its entire 180-degree range while providing secure support no matter the posture. What’s more, it’s rated for 200,000 opens and closes guaranteeing that the Pixel Fold will be a reliable companion for years to come.
3 Pros To Z Fold Line
First Mover Advantage
Being first comes with its advantages. This is why Samsung currently has a hold on the foldable smartphone market, responsible for 62% of total sales. As the company prepares to launch its fifth-generation Z Fold and Z Flip, it has already experienced and overcome the significant challenges that Google and others will likely face in the initial stages of entry into the market.
The Z Fold sets the standard with its industry-leading AMOLED display, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with foldable smartphone panels. The cutting-edge, high-resolution display, delivers stunning visuals, vibrant colors, and exceptional clarity, whether you’re watching movies, playing games, or browsing the web.
Unlike the Pixel Fold, which lacks support for a stylus, the Z Fold empowers users with the ability to write, draw, and navigate with precision using the S Pen. This seamless integration sets the Z Fold apart by offering owners a unique and versatile user experience that changes the way you interact with the device.
We’re just in the opening innings of the foldable tech revolution. At present, Samsung is winning the race but it will be interesting to see if the company can maintain its lead now that Google has introduced a seriously capable alternative. Not only that, a foldable iPhone from Apple is sure to launch at some point in the near future shaking things up even further.
With that said, it’s an exciting time to be a tech enthusiast as things are heating up fast. Exactly what comes next, nobody knows but be sure to stay tuned for the latest updates and developments in the space.