The Google Pixel Fold launched today and is starting to arrive for those who got in an early pre-order. That also means the media review embargo has lifted, so the first wave of reviews are live for everyone to browse and use as a way to further justify their reasons for paying $1,800 on a first-gen foldable from Google or to confirm they made the right choice in skipping.
I’ve read through several of the reviews at this point and can without a doubt confirm that they are all over the place, although there are some trends starting to show. I think in general, most who have used the Pixel Fold happen to like it. Almost everyone isn’t sure anyone should buy the Pixel Fold, but using it sounds like it provides a pretty fun experience.
Where’s our review?
This is never fun to write, but I’m not sure we’ll ever review the Pixel Fold. That’s not to say I don’t want to! The thing is, Google left us off the review list for it and so we do not have the device. I also did not pre-order one for a couple of reasons.
The first is that I’m not exactly a lover of foldable phones for personal use, so buying one would have meant spending a couple of weeks with it and then it sitting in a drawer for several years, only showing itself for a photo-op here and there. The thing also costs $1,800 and at this stage in my technology reviewing life, I’m pretty much over buying phones for review purposes knowing that they won’t get much use going forward. You should see the drawers and closets I have full of this stuff. It’s a massive waste and dealing with returns and all that jazz isn’t my thing. And finally, because we didn’t pre-order, the Pixel Fold is backordered into September, so by the time we could get one at retail, it would be old news.
Things could change and we may end up with one before long, but for now you’ll have to get your Pixel Fold review fix elsewhere. I apologize for that if you were hoping to hear our weirdly strong opinion on Google’s first foldable. Unfortunately, we can’t control everything.
That out of the way, there are lots of other reviews out there to help you decide if you should buy one.
All the Pixel Fold reviews
To put together this little recap, I read through/watched Pixel Fold reviews from The Verge, Engadget, 9to5Google, Gizmodo, MKBHD, and Arstechnica. There are dozens of others, but if I were headed out to buy a tech product and needed to read a review of it, these are the group I’d probably turn to first.
You should take the time to read each of those for the dirty details, but I’ve done my best to summarize the things I took away.
The Verge had good things to say about the cameras as being better than other foldables and that the outer display “feels a lot more natural to use” than something like Samsung’s skinny outer display on the Galaxy Fold line. On the negative side, they found battery life to be hit or miss and recommended folks carry a battery pack along for the daily ride or keep a charger handy. They also noted (as did several reviewers) how heavy the device is, that they are worried about durability after noticing a scratch on the inner screen and chip in bezel, and that overall the device feels a generation from being worth it.
Engadget echoed the camera statement, saying that the Pixel Fold cameras are definitely better than the Galaxy Fold 4’s and that the outer display is a win because of its size and shape. They found battery life to be “solid,” though, and didn’t give the warnings of others. They commented on how heavy the Fold is too, so there’s another making that point.
For Gizmodo, they too liked the cameras compared to other foldables, thought battery life was good, and generally liked the device, but wouldn’t buy it. They noted several times that Google used extra thick bezels on the inner display and called out its display crease that is certainly behind Samsung’s ever-shrinking foldable crease.
The 9to5Google team is a fan of the wider outer screen, loved the cameras, and is quite happy (and surprised) with battery life. They are still deep in testing, but their early takeaway is that the device is “shockingly” good. That said, they also complained about how damn heavy the device is and that the inner display might be too wide to use comfortably.
MKBHD had plenty to say in his video, but mostly echoed others’ statements in performance and that he generally liked it. He did have complaints about this definitely being first-generation. Battery life was not great, the inner display crease and bezels were too noticeable, and the device sometimes doesn’t open fully flat unless you really force it. He also pointed out that Google isn’t letting you keep separate home screen setups on the cover and inner displays, which is a wild thought.
Finally, you already know about the situation with Arstechnica, where their Pixel Fold review unit straight up died during testing. They think that a small chunk of something landed on an exposed portion if the inner display where the screen protector ends and then destroyed the screen once closed on. This is, well, not good for Google’s first foldable, especially since The Verge also noted durability issues. With the phones now landing in the hands of the everyday (rich) person, I’m not looking forward to what could happen next.
So to recap the recaps, after reading several reviews, I’d say that the Pixel Fold has excellent cameras for a foldable, really great performance from Google’s Tensor G2 chip, the best outer display design of any, with hit or miss battery life in a device that is probably too heavy and might have durability issues. OK, then.