Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Which phone should you buy?


A comparison photo between the Google Pixel Fold and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Google | June Wan/ZDNET

Up until now, Samsung, and the global dynamic that is Huawei, Honor, Oppo, and Xiaomi, have been the only manufacturers making phone-to-tablet foldables. But unlike the latter group, Samsung is the only manufacturer selling its folding handsets in the U.S. 

Review: Google Pixel Fold: A weekend later, I’m nearly sold

But soon, U.S. customers will be able to get their hands on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold’s biggest competitor yet: Google’s Pixel Fold. From ZDNET’s week of testing, three things are certain with the latest foldable: It has every right to be called a Google Pixel, the form factor gives Samsung a run for its money, and foldable phones are still very very expensive. 

If you’re prepared to splurge on a new foldable, both the Google Pixel Fold and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 start at $1,799 and offer unique feature sets that make them both equally compelling. To help you decide on one, I’ve broken down the key reasons to buy one phone over the other.

Specifications

Google Pixel Fold Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Price From $1,799 From $1,799
Processor Google Tensor G2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
Displays External: 5.8-inch FHD+ OLED, Internal: 7.6-inch OLED at 120Hz External: 6.2-inch FHD+ AMOLED, Internal: 7.6-inch AMOLED at 120Hz
RAM/Storage 12GB with 256GB or 512GB 12GB with 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
Cameras 48MP wide, 10.8MP ultrawide, 10.8MP telephoto, 9.5MP front, 8MP inner 50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto, 10MP front, 4MP inner
Battery 4,821mAh with 30W charging 4,400mAh with 25W charging
Connectivity USB-C, 5G (mmWave + sub6) USB-C, 5G (mmWave + sub6)
Colors Porcelain and Obsidian Graygreen, Phantom Black, Beige, and Burgundy

You should buy the Google Pixel Fold if…

The outer display of the Google Pixel Fold

June Wan/ZDNET

1. You’re not a fan of Samsung’s TV remote form factor

With each iteration of Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold, I’ve continued to criticize the narrowness of the device when collapsed, with it feeling more like a remote control than a pocketable smartphone. Some users will find comfort in that design, I know, but the underlying problem with it is that not all apps are optimized for the taller aspect ratio. As a result, text can often look squished, landscape images are resized significantly, and typing can be a finger workout.

Also: Is this the best Pixel Fold case right now? Here’s Google’s very own

The solution to this, which I previously pointed out when testing Oppo’s Find N2, is a wider aspect ratio on the front display. And the Google Pixel Fold has just that, with a 5.8-inch panel that should sit comfortably in most hands. Naturally, when unfolded, this also makes for a wider interior display, which is what you’d want if media consumption is one of your primary use cases with a tablet-to-phone foldable (and you’re not a fan of the extreme letterboxing that comes with the Z Fold 4

2. The Google-exclusive features appeal to you

Buying a Google Pixel gives you several exclusive benefits, including computational photography features like Magic Eraser and Photo Unblur (thanks to the Tensor chips powering the units), a solid privacy and security suite including Google’s free VPN service, and now, tools that are tailored to the Pixel Fold form factor.

Particularly, users will be able to leverage Google’s live translation database to produce real-time transcriptions of dialogue with the Pixel Fold. Thanks to the dual-screen nature of the device, as you’re conversing with a person who speaks another language, you can hold up the Pixel and it will display what each person is saying in your language of choice. This is especially helpful if you’re traveling to a foreign country, or you’re a social worker collaborating with clients who speak another language.

3. Endurance is a priority

From ZDNET’s testing, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4’s battery life was passable; there’s certainly room for improvement. The Pixel Fold’s 4,821mAh capacity should yield greater endurance numbers than Samsung’s 4,400mAh, and it most certainly did during our initial review period. 

Also: Google’s latest Pixel feature drop is here. Check out what’s new

There’s also a minor bump in charging speed with the Pixel, with Google claiming a 30W rating versus Samsung’s 25W. We’ll have to put the Pixel through its rounds before finalizing a verdict on its battery life, but on paper and after a week’s worth of testing, it’s the clear winner.

You should buy the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 if…

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 Hero

June Wan/ZDNET

1. You want a more refined foldable

The most important part of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the number in its name. This is the fourth generation of Samsung’s large-screen foldable, which means the company has had more years to experiment, acquire customer feedback, and refine its shape-shifting handsets than Google, at least from the surface level. (I’m sure Google has been testing its own foldable to a high extent, too.)

Review: Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a high-priced ticket to productivity heaven 

Needless to say, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the safer pick of the two, with a hardware experience that Samsung seems fully committed to, a healthy amount of software and security updates, and better aftersales support (for now) including third-party accessories and access to repair parts.

2. You can appreciate the for-business features

In some ways, the bloatware-free nature of pure Android works against Google here. For how much you’re paying for these devices, the feature set on the Z Fold 4 should bring more value, especially if you’re a business user. Features like DeX mode are present, allowing you to convert OneUI into a desktop-like overlay. You also have S Pen support for precision inputs. And if extra storage is a selling point, there’s a 1TB option for the Z Fold 4. The Pixel Fold caps out at 512GB.

3. A deal exists

It’s been more than half a year since the Galaxy Z Fold 4 launched, which means a quick scan through major retailers should land you a sweet discount on the foldable. You can expect to pay less if you’re open to a renewed or second-hand device. The price difference, in and of itself, may be enough to sway you toward Samsung’s Z Fold.

Alternatives to consider

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 in hand to take photo

BEST FOLDABLE ALTERNATIVE

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

If you’re feeling adventurous, check out Samsung’s other foldable, the Galaxy Z Flip 4. It’s not as expensive, but its clamshell form factor lends itself to some unique use cases.

The back of a Google Pixel 7 Pro hazel phone

BEST GOOGLE ALTERNATIVE

Google Pixel 7 Pro

If the aforementioned Google-exclusive features appeal to you, but you’re not as sold on the idea of a foldable, then the Pixel 7 Pro is your best alternative.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with the S Pen beside it.

BEST SAMSUNG ALTERNATIVE

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The Galaxy S23 Ultra won’t fold, but it’s just as powerful as the above devices and even comes with an integrated S Pen.





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