Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: choose your foldable wisely


The Google Pixel Fold is here, and it has one major competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. The question is, which one is the big-screen folding smartphone to buy?


  • Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4: specs
  • Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4: design and display
  • Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4: durability and hinge
  • Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4: performance, battery life, and charging
  • Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4: cameras
  • Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4: software and features
  • Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4: price and availability
  • Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4Show 3 more items

After all, they are similarly priced and do basically the same thing, so if you’re looking at one, you really should be looking at the other. But it’s not an easy decision to make, so we’re going to take a really close look at both to help you choose the right one.

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Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4: specs

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Google Pixel Fold
Unfolded: 130.1 x 155.1 x 6.3mm
Folded: 67.1 x 155.1 x 15.8mm
Unfolded: 139.7 x 158.7 x 5.8mm
Folded: 139.7 x 79.5 x 12.1mm
263 grams (9.27 ounces)
283 grams (10 ounces)
Screen size
Main: 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz
Cover screen: 6.2-inch Super AMOLED 2X, 120Hz
Main: 7.6-inch OLED, 120Hz
Cover screen: 5.8-inch OLED, 120Hz
Screen resolution
Main: 2176 x 1812 pixels
Cover screen: 2316 x 904 pixels
Main: 2208 x 1840 pixels
Cover screen: 2092 x 1080 pixels
Operating system
Android 13 with OneUI 5.1
Android 13
256GB, 512GB, 1TB
256GB, 512GB
MicroSD card slot
Tap-to-pay services
Google Pay, Samsung Pay
Google Pay
Qualcomm 8+ Gen 1
Google Tensor G2
Rear Camera
50-megapixel main camera, 12MP ultrawide, and 10MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom
48-megapixel main camera, 10.8MP ultrawide, and 10.8MP telephoto with 5x optical zoom
Front Camera
Inner screen: 4MP under-display
Cover screen: 10MP
Inner screen: 8MP
Cover screen: 9.5MP
Bluetooth version
Fingerprint sensor
Yes, side-mounted
Yes, side-mounted
Water resistance
Fast charging (25W, charger not included)
Fast wireless charging (10W)
Reverse wireless charging (4.5W)
Fast charging (30W, charger not included)
Wireless charging
App marketplace
Google Play Store
Google Play Store
Network support
All carriers
All carriers
Graygreen, Phantom Black, Beige, Burgandy
Obsidian, Porcelain
Buy from
Samsung, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart

Samsung, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart

Galaxy Z Fold 4 review
Not reviewed yet

Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4: design and display


The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the Pixel Fold’s best-known competitor, but the Pixel Fold’s shape and design are actually closer to the Oppo Find N2 folding phone. However, as this phone isn’t available outside China, you’re more likely to be considering the Z Fold 4, which is sold globally.


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Folded up, the Pixel Fold has a 5.8-inch cover screen, while the Z Fold 4 has a 6.2-inch outer screen. While it’s obviously smaller than the Z Fold 4, the dimensions give you a better idea of what the phone will feel like in your hand.

The Z Fold 4 is 155mm tall x 67mm wide, while the Pixel Fold is 140mm x 75mm, making it shorter and wider, and therefore will probably feel more like a non-folding phone. For reference, a OnePlus 11, which doesn’t fold, is 163mm tall and 74mm wide. It’s the thickness where you’ll notice the most difference, though. The Z Fold 4 has a small gap between sections when folded up, so it’s 15.8mm at the hinge and 14.2mm where the two parts meet. The Pixel Fold doesn’t have the same gap, so it’s a uniform 12.1mm thick when folded up.

Open the phones up, and you look at a 7.6-inch, 120Hz screen on both phones, but again the dimensions of the phones are different. The unfolded Galaxy Z Fold 4 is 155mm wide, 130mm tall, and 6.3mm thick. The Pixel Fold is 158mm wide, 139mm tall, and 5.8mm thick. The bezels around the screen on the open Pixel Fold are more substantial than the Z Fold 4’s, but the central crease is likely to be slightly less noticeable due to the hinge design.

Google has given the Pixel Fold’s rear panel a similar look to the non-folding Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, with a visor-like camera module running across the top of the phone’s rear panel and a very classy curved metal chassis. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a triple-camera vertical module on the back, which is more subtle, and a more slab-sided chassis.

Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends

The Pixel Fold is definitely more eye-catching, and the dimensions do suggest it will be more manageable and usable closed up than the Z Fold 4. However, the more you use the Samsung phone’s tall outer screen, the more normal it feels. The inner screen is the same size and has basically the same spec, so you won’t notice any usability difference. That said, there is a surprising difference in weight between the two. The Z Fold 4 is 263 grams, but the Pixel Fold is 283 grams. It may not sound like much, but you will notice that extra 20 grams, and seeing as the Z Fold 4 is already heavy enough, an even heavier phone isn’t all that appealing.

Samsung’s choice of colors is also more enticing. The Samsung exclusive Burgundy is very tempting, along with the more easily obtained Graygreen option, which joins the more standard black and Beige colors. For the Pixel Fold, you have the choice of Obsidian (black) or Porcelain (white) … and that’s it.

All this makes it difficult to pick a winner here. The weight of the Pixel Fold hurts it, as does the lack of color choice, and until we have a really good look at it in person, the size of the bezels and the crease on the inner screen remain a question mark. Samsung has had four generations of folding phones to get the design right, and it does show, but there’s a lot to be said about the everyday usability of the Pixel Fold’s overall dimensions.

Winner: Draw

Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4: durability and hinge


Moving parts and folding screens instantly raise concerns over durability, so what have Samsung and Google done to make sure their folding phones last for years? The Pixel Fold is made of multi-alloy steel with a polished finish, and the hinge is described as a “dual-axis, quad-cam mechanism,” which can hold itself open at different points. Gorilla Glass Victus covers the outer screen and the case back, with an ultra-thin glass layer over the inner screen, finished with a plastic layer. The entire phone has an IPX8 water resistance rating. This is extremely similar to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, apart from Samsung using its own Armor Aluminum material for the chassis.

Samsung redesigned its hinge for the Z Fold 4, shifting to a design that’s thinner and lighter — yet still just as durable. It’s silent, smooth, and a pleasure to use. It’s the main area Google needs to match, or even exceed, Samsung’s efforts if it wants the Fold to be taken seriously. We’ll only know how it has been done when we actually try the phone out. For now, Samsung is the leader when it comes to hinges, as noted when we compared the Z Flip 4 to the Motorola Razr (2022) and the Oppo Find N2 Flip.

Galaxy Z Fold 4 Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Due to being familiar with Samsung’s foldable phones and its considerable experience in developing complex hinge mechanisms, it’s going to win this category for now. However, this may change when the Pixel Fold is released and after we’ve reviewed it.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4: performance, battery life, and charging

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Samsung uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor for the Galaxy Z Fold 4, paired with 12GB of RAM and a choice of internal storage capacities of up to 1TB. The battery has a fairly modest 4,400mAh capacity and is recharged using the company’s 25W Super Fast Charging system. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is fast, efficient, and reliable, and the battery will last more than a day with moderate use.

Google has chosen its Tensor G2 processor, which is also used in the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, with 12GB of RAM and a choice of either 256GB or 512GB internal storage space. The battery has a larger capacity of 4,821mAh and is recharged using a 30W USB-PD 3.0 charger. Neither phone comes with a charging block, but both do have Qi wireless charging. Google claims 24 hours of use from its battery.

The Tensor G2 is a solid performer but can get hot under strain, and so far, hasn’t been noted for its efficiency. This is unlike the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which remains cool, calm, and collected even when pushed hard. Samsung’s decision to offer 1TB storage in addition to 256GB and 512GB makes it more appealing to power users and those who expect to keep the phone for years. Unless the Pixel Fold turns out to be a battery superstar and lasts at least two days between charges, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 has this category in the bag.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4: cameras


If there’s one thing Google does really well, it’s camera tech, and we’re hoping the Pixel Fold will continue the tradition. There are three cameras on the back of the Pixel Fold: a 48MP main camera with optical image stabilization (OIS), a 10.8MP wide-angle, and a 10.8MP telephoto camera with a 5x optical zoom. There are also three cameras on the Z Fold 4, including a main 12MP camera with OIS, a 50MP wide-angle camera, and a 10MP telephoto for a 3x optical zoom.

On the Z Fold 4’s cover screen is a 10MP selfie camera, and on (or should I say, under) the inner screen is a 4MP under-display camera. The Pixel Fold doesn’t hide the inner camera under the screen, but this may not be a bad thing, and it has 8MP, while the cover screen camera has 9.5MP. Both are fixed-focus cameras.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

While the Z Fold 4 takes good photos, it can’t keep pace with the brand’s camera flagship, the Galaxy S23 Ultra, and this may leave an opening for Google to take the lead. While the camera specs aren’t as good as the Pixel 7 Pro, a lot of Google’s camera success comes from its software.

If it can extract great performance from its three cameras, the Pixel Fold has the opportunity to become the foldable phone of choice for camera fans. We aren’t going to know until we review the phone, but there’s considerable promise given Google’s camera history. That said, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is available right now, and we know it takes decent photos, so it gets the win.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4: software and features

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 has Android 13 with Samsung’s One UI 5.1 installed and is all set to receive new OS updates until 2026. The Google Pixel Fold will also launch with Android 13 and Google’s vision of the software interface, with OS updates also expected until 2026. This is because Google provides three years of major updates, while Samsung promises four years. Both get five years of security updates, so the Pixel Fold should have one more year’s worth of support compared to the Z Fold 4.

Both phones operate normally with the screen closed and provide multi-tasking and split-screen features when the screen is open. Google says a “taskbar” will be available to make swapping between apps and using the split screen system faster and easier, and a similar system is available on the Z Fold 4. Both phones can be used partially unfolded in a “tabletop” orientation, and some apps dynamically adjust to the format, with video showing on the top half and controls on the lower half, for example.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Both phones have the ability to use the cover screen as a viewfinder with the phone open, allowing you to use the rear camera for selfies, plus there’s the Magic Eraser photo tool on the Pixel Fold and Samsung’s interpretation of the same thing on the Z Fold 4. These are both powerful phones, so there really shouldn’t be any difference in performance, and the software experience on both should be of the highest standard. Some may prefer Google’s cleaner interface design, while others may like Samsung’s additional features.

The Pixel Fold will get a software feature called Dual Screen Interpreter, where live conversations are translated and displayed on the inner and outer screens to help speed up and make conversations in different languages more natural. It will not arrive at launch, though, and is expected sometime in the fall with Android 14. Samsung has made the Galaxy Z Fold 4 compatible with the S Pen stylus, and although doesn’t fit inside the device like the S23 Ultra, it may prove helpful to some.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4: price and availability

You can preorder the Google Pixel Fold from May 10, and it’s expected to ship sometime in June, but no exact date has been confirmed at the time of writing. It starts at $1,799 or 1,749 British pounds in the U.K. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is available now and starts at $1,799, or 1,649 pounds in the U.K.

During the preorder period, Google is running a special offer where if you buy a Pixel Fold, you get a Pixel Watch smartwatch for free, which is worth $350. It definitely sweetens the deal, but the Pixel Watch isn’t as good as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. Samsung also runs a comprehensive trade-in program, and the Z Fold 4 can regularly be found for less than the retail price.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the winner and the logical choice right now. You’re reading this after the Pixel Fold’s announcement but before we’ve had a chance to put the phone through its paces in a review. Because it’s similarly priced and doesn’t have a specific standout feature, the Pixel Fold was always unlikely to win at this early stage, but that doesn’t mean things can’t change. We’re very excited to see what Google does with its first foldable phone attempt.

This leads us to another important factor. Samsung has years of experience making folding phones, while Google does not. The Pixel Fold is a first-generation device, and given how experiences can vary with the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, it’s not a certainty the Fold will be an instant winner. It’s definitely something to consider before buying such an expensive smartphone, and we’d say you’re in a safer pair of hands with Samsung and the Galaxy Z Fold 4 at this stage.

Joe Maring/Digital Trends

We’ll revisit this once we’ve fully reviewed the Pixel Fold, but for now, if you absolutely can’t wait to buy a big-screen folding smartphone, then the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is our recommendation.

However, there’s also a chance that Samsung will launch the Galaxy Z Fold 5 in the coming months, so if you aren’t in a hurry, it may be wise to wait to see what’s next from Samsung too.

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