Google Pixel Fold 2 Early Render Suggests OnePlus Open Inspired Redesign

Google Pixel Fold 2 Early Render Suggests OnePlus Open Inspired Redesign

Google entered the foldable market with the Pixel Fold last year. The book-style foldable phone launched during in Google I/O 2023 event in May runs on the company’s in-house Tensor G2 chipset. Now, speculations about the Pixel Fold 2 are popping up on the Web. Most recently, an early hands-on render of the second-generation Pixel Fold has leaked online showing the design elements. The render indicates a narrower form factor and a redesigned camera module for the device. It appears to have a OnePlus Open-inspired design. The Pixel Fold 2 is expected to run on the Tensor G4 chipset.

A report by Android Authority carries a single hands-on shot of a purported Pixel Fold 2. The render shows a narrow cover display for the device. The display seems to be smaller than the 5.8-inch cover display of the Pixel Fold. The inner screen’s aspect ratio is said to be closer to a square and the overall form factor of the next-generation Pixel Fold could be similar to the OnePlus Open.

Google Pixel Fold 2 leaked render
Photo Credit: Android Authority


The render indicates a redesigned camera bump on the Pixel Fold 2. The camera island arranged on the top left side of the rear seems to house four camera sensors, an LED flash and a microphone. The camera unit is likely to include a main wide-angle lens, a secondary ultra wide-angle lens, a tertiary periscopic telephoto lens, and an unknown quaternary lens. This would be a notable upgrade over Pixel Fold’s visor-like triple rear camera setup.

Further, the Pixel Fold 2 will reportedly have aluminum frame and noticeable crease. It is said to feature a hole punch cutout on the top right corner of the inner screen for housing the selfi shooter. The first-generation Pixel Fold hide its inner screen camera in the top bezel.

Various hardware specifications of the Pixel Fold 2 were leaked recently. The upcoming smartphone could skip the Tensor G3 chipset and jump straight to the Tensor G4. It could carry 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage. It is expected to go official in October.

The Google Pixel Fold was launched in May last year at the Google I/O 2023 event with a price tag of $1,799 (roughly Rs. 1,47,500) for the base variant with 256GB storage.

Google I/O 2023 saw the search giant repeatedly tell us that it cares about AI, alongside the launch of its first foldable phone and Pixel-branded tablet. This year, the company is going to supercharge its apps, services, and Android operating system with AI technology. We discuss this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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The Google Pixel Fold 2 just got a lot more exciting | Digital Trends

The Google Pixel Fold 2 just got a lot more exciting | Digital Trends

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

It’s widely expected that Google is working on a Pixel Fold 2, and according to one new report, Google’s second folding phone could get a much-needed performance upgrade. We’re talking a vastly upgraded processor and significantly more RAM — and those are both really big deals.

According to a recent report from Android Authority, citing an unnamed source, “Google has been testing the Pixel Fold 2 internally for the last couple of months.” That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. The more interesting tidbit is that the Pixel Fold 2 will reportedly have a Tensor G4 chipset instead of the Tensor G3 one found inside the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. Google hasn’t announced its Tensor G4 chip yet, though it will likely debut in the Pixel 9 series later this fall.

For context, the first Google Pixel Fold shipped with the Tensor G2 chip. Assuming Android Authority’s report is accurate, we’re looking at a two-generation processor upgrade for Google’s next folding phone. On top of that, the report also claims that existing Pixel Fold 2 prototypes have 16GB of RAM with UFS 4.0 storage. That would be a pretty significant upgrade over the Pixel Fold’s 12GB of RAM and UFS 3.1 storage — likely allowing smoother multitasking and faster app loading times.

Google Pixel Fold in Obsidian open slightly sitting on park bench.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Although details on the Tensor G4 chip are relatively scarce right now, the prospect of going from a Tensor G2 to a Tensor G4 is hard not to get excited about.

The Pixel Fold was a strong first foldable from Google, but its performance and battery life trail behind more capable Qualcomm chips in the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and OnePlus Open. Google’s Tensor G3 has already proven to be a significantly more reliable chip than its G2 predecessor, so an even better version in the Pixel Fold 2 is a nice proposition.

Assuming the Tensor G4 report is true, that also changes our expectations for when the Pixel Fold 2 will be released. The first Pixel Fold was announced in May 2023 and released in late June. We aren’t expecting the Tensor G4 chip to be announced until October, alongside the Pixel 9 and Pixel 9 Pro. If the Tensor G4 news is true, the Pixel Fold 2 may not appear until late 2024 or sometime in 2025.

Of course, this is all dependent on the accuracy of Android Authority’s report. It’s entirely possible the Pixel Fold 2 will be unveiled this May with a Tensor G3 chip. However, I certainly hope that’s not the case. The Pixel Fold created a strong foundation for Google’s foldable ambitions, and such a drastic performance boost is exactly what the Pixel Fold 2 needs.

Editors’ Recommendations

Google Pixel Fold 2 Could Get Tensor G4 Chipset, 16GB RAM

Google Pixel Fold 2 Could Get Tensor G4 Chipset, 16GB RAM

Google Pixel Fold was launched in May last year as the first foldable smartphone from the tech giant. The book-style foldable is powered by Google’s in-house Tensor G2 SoC. The Pixel Fold 2 is now said to be in the works as a follow-up to the original Pixel Fold. A Tensor G4 chipset codenamed “zumapro” will reportedly power the upcoming flagship foldable. The Pixel 9 and Pixel 9 Pro models which are slated to release in October are also expected to run on the same chipset.

As per a report by Android Authority, Google is currently testing the Tensor G4 chip in the Pixel Fold 2 codenamed “zumapro.”, instead of the Tensor G3. Earlier prototypes of the foldable reportedly featured the Tensor G3 chipset, codenamed “zuma”. The Tensor G4 is expected to power the Pixel 9 and Pixel 9 Pro as well.

If the new leak about the processor holds any weight, the Pixel Fold 2 would launch alongside the Pixel 9 series in October, rather than in May like the Pixel Fold.

The current prototypes of the Pixel Fold 2 reportedly carry 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage. This is a notable improvement over last year’s Pixel Fold that packs 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. The bump in onboard memory could make room for several on-device AI features as part of Pixie.

Google Pixel Fold was launched in May last year at the Google I/O 2023 event with a price tag of $1,799 (roughly Rs. 1,47,500) for the base variant with 256GB storage.

On the specification front, the Google Pixel Fold features a 7.6-inch inner display (1,840 x 2,208 pixels) with 120Hz refresh rate and a 5.8-inch full-HD+ (1,080×2,092 pixels) OLED outer display. It is powered by Google’s Tensor G2 SoC, coupled with a Titan M2 security chip and 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM.

The Pixel Fold carries a triple rear camera unit, comprising a 48-megapixel primary wide-angle lens, a 10.8-megapixel ultrawide camera, and a 10.8-megapixel dual PD telephoto lens. For selfies, there is a 9.5-megapixel sensor and an 8-megapixel inner selfie camera. Google has provided a 4,821mAh battery on the foldable with support for 30W charging and wireless charging.

Google I/O 2023 saw the search giant repeatedly tell us that it cares about AI, alongside the launch of its first foldable phone and Pixel-branded tablet. This year, the company is going to supercharge its apps, services, and Android operating system with AI technology. We discuss this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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Google Pixel Fold is $350 off with delivery by December 25th | Digital Trends

Google Pixel Fold is $350 off with delivery by December 25th | Digital Trends

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Whether you’re planning to give a smartphone as a holiday gift to a loved one or yourself, you better hurry with your purchase because time is running out for you to take advantage of the discounts of this year’s phone deals. Here’s an offer you wouldn’t want to miss — the 256GB version of the Google Pixel Fold with a $350 discount from Best Buy, which brings the foldable smartphone’s price down to $1,449 from $1,799. It’s still not what you’d call affordable, but at this price, you’re going to get amazing value from this Android-powered device.

Why you should buy the Google Pixel Fold

The Google Pixel Fold is the company’s first foldable smartphone, released a few months before its flagship Google Pixel 8 and Google Pixel 8 Pro. It’s quickly taken a spot in our roundup of the best folding phones as the best compact folding phone because of its 5.8-inch OLED cover screen that’s short and wide, which some people may prefer over the narrower cover displays of other options in the market. The Google Pixel Fold opens into a 7.6-inch OLED inner screen, which is bright and colorful enough to be used comfortably outdoors.

Inside the Google Pixel Fold is Google’s Tensor G2 chip and 12GB of RAM, for fast and smooth performance while you’re using apps, watching videos, and playing mobile games. For those who love taking pictures, the smartphone doesn’t disappoint with its 48MP main camera, 10.8MP ultrawide camera, and 10.8MP telephoto camera with a 5x optical zoom. Meanwhile, taking selfies also won’t be an issue with the 9.5MP selfie camera of the cover screen and the 8MP selfie camera of the inner screen.

There’s always high demand for Google Pixel deals, and it’s only getting higher as the holiday season progresses. That’s why we’re not sure how much time you’ve got left to pocket the savings from Best Buy’s offer for the Google Pixel Fold. From $1,799, the price of the foldable smartphone’s 256GB model is down to $1,449, following a $350 discount from Best Buy. If you think the Google Pixel Fold is the perfect gift, you shouldn’t be standing still — add it to your cart and check out immediately to be able to get it for cheaper than usual.

Editors’ Recommendations

2023 was the best year for Google Pixel devices yet | Digital Trends

2023 was the best year for Google Pixel devices yet | Digital Trends

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Almost all of Google’s Pixel device releases in 2023 have been winners, making this the best year for Pixel yet.

Don’t believe me? It’s true! Here’s what Google has done with its mobile hardware and software over the past months that allows me to make such a bold claim.

This isn’t about the Pixel 7 series

The Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7a held in a person's hand.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

The best year for Pixels? Surely I’m joking, right? I get this claim may result in some angry emails, as although the Google Pixel 7 and Google Pixel 7 Pro were released in 2022, most will have spent 2023 with them. I know these two had problems, and people didn’t always have the best experience with these two devices. But the trouble is, mine, for the most part, were fine. Better than fine.

When I reviewed the Pixel 7 at the end of 2022, I didn’t have any reliability problems, and apart from a few battery life issues later in its life, the Pixel 7 Pro has been the same when I’ve used it at various times throughout the year. The cameras are excellent, the software clean and simple, and the design is still cool today. It’s hard to take against phones too much when your personal experience has been largely very positive. However, I’ll concede that if these two had been the 2023 models, I wouldn’t have written this article.

It’s a good thing, then, that the true 2023 Pixel phones are the Google Pixel 8 and Google Pixel 8 Pro, which don’t seem to have suffered anywhere near as much as the Pixel 7 in terms of reliability and ownership woes. The Tensor G2 chip seems to be less problematic, the battery life is more linear and reliable, and the cameras are equally as brilliant. The AI features spread throughout are technically astounding, and although it’s never good when prices go up, you are very obviously getting superior devices this time around — in all respects.

The Pixel 8 turned things around

Someone holding the Google Pixel 8 Pro in front of a colorful background.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

While the 2023 Pixel devices have impressed, it’s hard to forget (and for some, forgive) the issues around the Pixel 7. It has been several months since the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro were released, and so far, neither has attracted the same kind of negative attention that made the Pixel 7 series such a risk. All the mobile team at Digital Trends (plus a few outside the team) have used one or both of the new Pixel 8 models, and no one has been compelled to write anything particularly damning about the experience yet.

Although the Pixel overlords took care of me in 2022 and supplied me with Pixel 7 phones that had no issues, others weren’t so lucky. Stories, internally and externally, spread about serious unreliability, and it was a challenge not to add a caveat to a Pixel 7 recommendation every time. The phone you bought would probably be fine, but there was also a chance it would be anything but that, and that’s not a good thought to have in your mind when splashing out on an expensive product.

However, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro don’t seem to have suffered in the same way. No phone is perfect, and there will always be some bad ones hanging around, but for the most part, Google seems to have sorted out its reliability problems for 2023 and the Pixel 8 series. A company of its size and resources shouldn’t be making bad phones at all, so saying congratulations isn’t the right response. But Google’s efforts are a big part of why this year has ended up being so much better for the range than the last.

The Pixel Fold and Pixel Watch 2

Google Pixel Fold in Obsidian in Reverse Selfie Camera mode.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

The Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are the obvious choices when talking about why 2023 has been the best year for Pixel devices yet, and while they’re very good indeed, they’re not all that unique. Instead, they are the backbone of Pixel greatness in 2023, and the real stars of the show are the Google Pixel Fold and the Google Pixel Watch 2.

Google’s first folding smartphone is a massive deal. It hit the scene and became only the second big-screen foldable you could officially buy in the U.S., and with it came fantastic software and an enviable camera. It gave Google some much-needed mobile tech credibility, showing it’s still capable of making cutting-edge mobile devices and not just wheeling out a trio of Pixel slabs each year.

A person wearing the Google Pixel Watch 2.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

But the real surprise was the Pixel Watch 2. The first Google Pixel Watch wrapped its disappointing performance and short battery life into a bland, minimalist, single-size case and then charged top money for the pleasure of owning it. It didn’t change the design or add a case size for its successor, which is a serious oversight, but it did maximize performance and increase battery life, making it a usable everyday smartwatch for anyone who was happy with the size and design. In the same way the Pixel 8 exorcised the Pixel 7’s demons, the Pixel Watch 2 helped forgive the Pixel Watch’s shortcomings.

The Pixel 7a and Google’s software

The Google Pixel 7a face down on a table.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I liked the Pixel Fold and Pixel Watch 2, but the regular Pixel phone that sticks in my mind most is the Google Pixel 7a. It came out at the beginning of 2023, and I was so surprised to find how little I missed using more expensive devices when I used the 7a daily. It’s an incredibly capable, very easy-to-own smartphone that doesn’t cost a fortune to buy, and unless you want all the AI features in the Pixel 8, it’s the cheap Pixel to buy this year.

AI is one of 2023’s big trends, and Google included a host of AI features (some still coming soon) on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, with the Magic Editor really standing out. Aside from removing unwanted distractions in your photos more effectively than Magic Eraser, it could transform the look and composition with a few taps of the screen, too. It’s astonishingly powerful and a lot of fun to experiment with.

Android 14 logo on the Google Pixel 8 Pro.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

For the Pixel 8 series, Google also extended its software updated commitment, so if you buy one this year, it will receive updates until 2030. This beats Samsung and OnePlus’s four and five-year commitments and takes on the Fairphone for potential longevity.

Unfortunately, the commitment doesn’t retroactively apply to devices launched before the Pixel 8, so the Pixel Fold and the Pixel 7a will only get three years of updates. This aside, Google has pushed its software forward in a meaningful way in 2023, providing not only new and interesting features — but also encouraging us to keep our phones for longer.

Google’s one misstep in 2023

Google Pixel Tablet in white, attached to the dock.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Five excellent Pixel devices were launched in 2023. Google did the right thing and provided longer software support for two of them, and it gave us fun AI features that anyone could use and enjoy. No serious, deal-breaking issues have been reported so far, and I’ve enjoyed all of the Pixels I’ve used in 2023 a great deal. It has been an awesome year for Pixel.

Except for one Pixel product.

There’s always a “but” in these situations, and the one new-for-2023 Pixel that still hasn’t quite gelled is the Google Pixel Tablet. I’ve been using it since release, and although it did surprisingly well when I tried to replace my Apple iPad Pro, it was actually surpassed by the superb (and much better value) Amazon Fire Max 11 tablet at doing so. The lack of an official keyboard accessory and an affordable case really hurts it.

I use the Pixel Tablet mostly as a smart screen in my kitchen, where Google Assistant is required a lot. Unfortunately, Assistant has become so unreliable — even more so with Android 14 installed — that I hardly bother with it anymore, as it usually fails to recognize instructions or it activates features on other Google Home devices for no reason. Siri is much more useful and reliable. The Pixel Tablet isn’t terrible, but it does feel a bit out of place and is the least desirable of the Pixel products I’ve used this year.

What Google needs to do in 2024

The Google Pixel 8 Pro and Google Pixel 7 Pro being held next to each other.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The fact that 2023 Pixel devices have been so good makes Google’s job in 2024 difficult. It needs to build on this and not just carry on as usual. While not an easy task, there are some obvious changes it can make to make 2024 even better for Pixel devices. These include making the Pixel Watch 3 in different case sizes, lowering the price of the Pixel Fold 2, and introducing a compact folding phone to the range.

When the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro came along, they breathed new life into the Pixel phone range, but Google was in danger of throwing it all away when the Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, and Pixel Watch all disappointed in some way. It has managed to avoid disaster this year with a host of brilliant new devices, but it can’t let the pendulum swing back in the opposite direction for 2024.

Editors’ Recommendations

Foldable Smartphones Shipments Beat Expectations in Q3 2023: DSCC Report

Foldable Smartphones Shipments Beat Expectations in Q3 2023: DSCC Report

Foldable smartphones were more popular in the third quarter of 2023 than was anticipated earlier, according to a new report. The shipments of foldable smartphones and their panels surged in the quarter due to two major reasons, as per the numbers revealed in the study – firstly, the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 5 in July this year and secondly, the sheer rise in the number of foldable smartphones launched from different brands, especially in China.

According to the Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) report, the shipments of foldable smartphones in Q3 2023 rose 215 percent Quarter-on-Quarter and 16 percent Year-on-Year to 7 million units. This is 1 percent above the outlook and surpasses the earlier record of 6.1 million units in Q3 2022 by 16 percent. South Korean OEM Samsung led market share in the quarter with 76 percent, with leading demands in European markets, as per the report.

Huawei claimed the second spot in the market share at 9 percent. The company launched the Huawei Mate X3 in March this year with a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC and a 4,800Ah battery with 66W wired and 50W wireless charging support. The book-style foldable carries a 7.85-inch (2,224×2,496 pixels) OLED inner display and a 6.4-inch OLED (1,080×2,504 pixels) cover panel.

Honor grabbed onto the third spot with an 8 percent market share with its Magic V2 model. This is another book-style foldable smartphone launched in China. It is backed by a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC and a 5,000mAh battery with 66W Honor SuperCharge support. This phone features a 7.92-inch interior display with a resolution of 2,344 x 2,156 pixels, and a 6.43-inch outer screen with a resolution of 2,376 x 1,060 pixels.

The DSCC report added that in Q4 2023, foldable smartphone shipments are expected to fall 35 percent QoQ and rise 47 percent YoY to 3.6 million. Samsung’s brand share is also expected to take a tumble to land at 42 percent, according to the report.

DSCC CEO Ross Young noted that the entry of new players in the foldable smartphones market with Google Pixel Fold, OnePlus Open, Tecno Phantom V Flip and Tecno Phantom V Fold has helped this rise in shipments. 

Samsung launched the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 alongside the Galaxy Tab S9 series and Galaxy Watch 6 series at its first Galaxy Unpacked event in South Korea. We discuss the company’s new devices and more on the latest episode of Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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Google’s AI-Driven December Pixel Feature Drop Arrives: What’s New

Google’s AI-Driven December Pixel Feature Drop Arrives: What’s New

Google’s last Pixel Feature Drop for 2023, has finally arrived. It brings a ton of new features that will arrive on new and recent Pixel smartphones. Some of these updates also have features that trickle down to other Pixel ecosystem devices. While the highlight of this update includes some new generative AI features that use Google’s recently announced Gemini Nano AI model, these are currently tied down to the Pixel 8 Pro only. Still, there’s plenty to look forward to for those who own older Pixel devices as well.

Google today introduced its new Gemini AI model which has been made available in three different sizes – Ultra, Pro and Nano. According to Google, Gemini Nano is the most efficient model and is the one being used in the Pixel 8 Pro in particular to handle some AI generated tasks locally on the smartphone, without the need to be connected to the internet or the cloud. This includes a new Summarise feature in the Recorder app, which will deliver summaries of recorded conversations, interviews and more without connecting to the internet. Another Gemini Nano AI-driven feature is Smart Reply which has been made available in the GBoard keyboard app. The feature is currently available as a developer preview and works with certain apps only (will be coming to more apps next year). Pixel 8 Pro owners can demo the feature in WhatsApp currently letting them automatically generate replies based on the current chat conversation.

Moving away from the Gemini Nano model, the Pixel 8 Pro gains another feature that according to Google utilises its Tensor G3 processor. Video Boost will now be available for Pixel 8 Pro owners. After enabling the feature in the camera app, all users have to do is shoot a video like they normally would, while Google saves a separate copy of the same video in a different format. Once both videos are uploaded to the cloud, Google’s computational photography models will adjust parameters like colour, lighting, stabilisation, and graininess, helping make videos appear better. Video Boost also works with Night Sight video (once again on Pixel 8 Pro) resulting in videos that have richer colour and more detail once processed in the cloud. The end product is then downloaded back to the phone and replaces the original recorded video on it.

The new Smart Reply feature works with WhatsApp
Photo Credit: Google


Both Pixel 8 Pro and the Pixel 8 owners will also get access to a new Night Sight timelapse feature (found in the same camera mode) letting them shoot timelapse videos with better dynamic range and overall clarity.

The Pixel Fold, apart from the new tools mentioned above, also gets access to a Dual Screen Preview. It lets your subjects view themselves when shooting a photo by looking at themselves in the second preview on the Fold’s cover display.

Moving to older devices (Pixel 7 Pro up to the Pixel 6a), a new Portrait Light tool is available in the Photos app that lets users get rid of harsh shadows and improve the overall lighting of any photos that are stored on the same app, regardless of whether it was shot on a Pixel or not. The Photo Unblur tool also gets some added functionality and now works with dogs and cats as well. Once again, this works regardless of where the source image comes from. Users can also use their Pixel phones as webcam by simply plugging in the USB cable into a computer and selecting ‘Webcam’ in USB preferences. There’s also a Clean feature which can help remove smudges, stains and more from scanned documents.

pixel feature drop december 2023 repair mode ndtv PixelFeatureDrop  Google

Repair Mode finally comes to Pixel devices
Photo Credit: Google


Photo and camera-centric features aside, Google’s push for passkeys gets stronger with Password Manager now being able to identify apps, services or accounts that support the same, letting you add them when available.

Call Screen, a feature that’s not available in India yet, now makes its way to the Pixel Watch. Owners of the Pixel Watch can now also automatically unlock other Pixel devices when nearby, reducing the need to manually enter a password to unlock them, in case your hands are busy. Users of the first gen Pixel Watch can now also sync their Do Not Disturb and Bedtime Modes from one device to the other. Pixel Tablet also gets AI-enhanced Clear Calling and now supports spatial audio with head tracking when connected to Pixel Buds Pro.

Last but not the least comes the much-awaited Repair Mode. The feature basically keeps your personal data protected when handing over your Pixel device to a service centre for repairs. It mainly reduces the need for users to format or erase their devices when getting them serviced.

You can head here to check whether your Pixel device supports a particular feature from the December Feature Drop. The update is rolling out gradually and will reach supported Pixel devices over the next weeks.

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Something amazing happened to folding phones in 2023 | Digital Trends

Something amazing happened to folding phones in 2023 | Digital Trends

Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

Samsung has been in charge of leading the foldable segment for too long. For years, Samsung dominated the foldable landscape with little to no competition. But that changed in 2023.

While the company put in the work to improve the Galaxy Z Flip 5 with a bigger cover display, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 seemed to remain an afterthought. Fortunately, other smartphone manufacturers started rolling out more foldable phones globally this year, and now, Samsung’s aren’t the go-to choice anymore. There’s finally healthy competition and choice for folding phones, and I’m so here for it.

Finally, some real competition

OnePlus Open and Google Pixel Fold camera modules.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Samsung started facing the heat from Google in June with the rollout of the Google Pixel Fold. It introduced a new form factor with a wide cover display and a horizontal aspect ratio on the inside. In my opinion, it isn’t an ideal form factor, especially with the weight and not having a vertical display on the inside. But it brought actual competition for the foldable phone market in the U.S. — a critically important task.

Honor showcased the slimmest and lightest foldable with the Honor Magic V2 in September, and it was a turning point for me. It lies in the middle of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold in terms of form factor. It solved the major design issues that were a norm for book-style foldables.

The Honor Magic V2 is closer to a slab phone in more than one way. It is thin enough to feel like a regular slab phone and weighs less than my then-primary phone, the iPhone 14 Pro Max. In fact, Honor made a whole new slim 5,000mAh battery for its foldable. Plus, It has a crease less than the other two Folds and packs a 20:9 cover screen, which is close to what you’d find on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra or the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

While the Honor Magic V2’s global availability hasn’t been announced, it is slated to launch sometime in Q1 2024. It showcased what a book-style foldable can be and became a benchmark for design – at least for me. And it remains one even after the launch of the OnePlus Open (more on that below).

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 next to the Motorola Razr Plus, both showing their cover screens.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Additionally, we saw the return of Motorola Razr with the Motorola Razr (2023) and Motorola Razr Plus. The latter was arguably better than the Galaxy Z Flip 5, with a bigger cover screen and better battery life. Globally, Oppo had already rolled out the Find N2 Flip, which introduced a new vertical cover screen on the outside.

Samsung made a good comeback with the Galaxy Z Flip 5 in Q3, which brought a solid hinge and new cover screen but with the same dual camera setup and gutter-like crease in the middle. The Oppo Find N3 Flip solved both concerns with a triple rear camera setup that included a dedicated telephoto lens on a flip phone for the first time. Plus, the crease situation was much better than Samsung’s phones.

One phone beat Samsung at its own game

OnePlus Open from the back, in hand and less than half folded.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

If the Honor Magic V2 had been released outside of China, it’d be my go-to recommendation for a book-style foldable. But OnePlus did what Honor couldn’t with its first big foldable, the OnePlus Open. It not only challenged Samsung but beat it in almost every way — despite undercutting it on the price.

Similar to the Honor Magic V2, the OnePlus Open features a 20:9 aspect ratio, which I consider ideal for this type of foldable. As a result of the slab-like cover screen, apps don’t misbehave, which is an issue on the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold – whether with black borders or the app not being comfortable and displaying zoomed-in text on an irregular aspect ratio. But the OnePlus Open did two other things that no other folding phone has done yet.

First, It offered a camera setup that’s better and more versatile than any big foldable phone. At launch, it had some issues with tuning for the new Sony sensor, but it has only gotten better with updates. Plus, the 6x zoom feels straight out of a more traditional flagship phone.

Two games running simultaneously on OnePlus Open held in hands.
Botworld (top) and Whiteout Survival running on OnePlus Open simultaneously. Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

Second, the crease is almost negligible. You can still feel it, but it’s notably less than the Samsung, Google, Honor, or Tecno foldables. You can’t see it 99% of the time, and for that 1% you can, you have to view it at a specific angle. It’s a non-issue.

The OnePlus Open also took multitasking to the next level with its Open Canvas feature. For the first time, you can now have three apps simultaneously on your screen, with each interaction just a tap away. When you use it, you realize how much you can accomplish on the big inner display. I can plan for my next story or my next trip with Chrome, YouTube, and Google Keep all open simultaneously.

The OnePlus Open is easily my favorite phone of the year that’s available globally.

2023 did something else for foldables

Tecno Phantom V Fold and Tecno Phantom V Flip.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

It’s no secret that folding phones come at an expensive price tag, and oftentimes, it’s the price that keeps consumers from jumping on the foldable bandwagon. But Tecno democratized the market by launching a book-style foldable and a flip phone at unbelievable prices.

The Tecno Phantom V Fold was launched at 79,999 Indian Rupees (INR), which translates to $960, less than most regular flagship phones. YouTuber Michael Fisher famously called it the “a fold at the price of a flip” – something Tecno used at its launch event.

The Tecno Phantom V Fold's open screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Phantom V Fold isn’t a bad foldable by any means. It offers a more useable cover screen and a lesser crease on the inner screen than the Galaxy Z Fold 5. There were obviously instances where Tecno had to cut corners. For example, the hinge is either at 90 degrees or 180 degrees flat, and the cameras aren’t something to boast about, but they’re workable.

As if that wasn’t enough, Tecno also launched a flip phone at 49,999 INR ($600), which brings it to a mid-range phone category, similar to the Motorola Razr launch price in the US. It is selling for 54,999 INR ($660) and still remains the cheapest flip phone on the market, slightly cheaper than the $700 Motorola Razr.

You might not get the fastest performance or the best cameras on these two flip phones, but they are democratizing foldables, which have long remained a novel pursuit. In 2023, folding phones aren’t something you have to splurge on, and that’s a big win for the form factor.

Folding phones are here to stay

Honor Magic V2 and OnePlus Open in hand.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

In short, 2023 was an outstanding year for folding phones.

Samsung faced more competition than ever, which exposed its lazy approach with the Fold 5. Google entered the segment. Honor showed you can make foldables as slim and light as a slab phone. OnePlus led the form factor with great cameras, a near-creaseless display, and next-level multitasking. Oppo introduced a dedicated telephoto camera on a flip phone for the first time. Motorola and Tecno brought foldables to the masses.

That’s more activity in the global foldable market than we’ve seen in the last four years combined — since the launch of the first Galaxy Fold in 2019. I’m still amazed by having a 7.6-inch tablet-like display right inside my pocket that enables me to do so much more than a regular, non-folding phone.

I hope 2024 continues to be amazing for foldables and that Samsung pushes itself to make the Galaxy Z Fold 6 more than an iterative upgrade. This is the best year we’ve had yet for folding phones, and I can’t wait to see where the niche is another year from now.

Editors’ Recommendations

I used to love the Google Pixel Fold. Now, I’m not so sure | Digital Trends

I used to love the Google Pixel Fold. Now, I’m not so sure | Digital Trends

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

A few years ago, the dominant player in the foldable market was Samsung, at least in the U.S. However, 2023 seemed to be the year of folding phones, as Google entered the fray in July 2023 with its very first foldable, the Google Pixel Fold.

One of the problems I have with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold series is the narrow cover screen, which makes it awkward to type and use when closed. But the Google Pixel Fold was appealing to me because the cover display was essentially the same size as a standard phone’s, so it felt easier to use. I also like that it opens up like a book. I gave the Pixel Fold an overall positive review as a  result of all those things.

But then OnePlus also launched its first foldable, the OnePlus Open, a few months later in October. Though the name is silly, it’s a surprisingly great foldable for a first-generation product, and it’s made me reconsider the Pixel Fold and its flaws.

Google’s software isn’t quite there

Google Pixel Fold in Obsidian inner display showing Facebook.
Facebook’s default appearance when opened on the inner display Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

With a foldable, one of the things that you expect it to handle well is multitasking. After all, you open it up to take advantage of a larger screen, which is the perfect stage for handling multiple apps at once.

However, while Google has focused on optimizing a lot of its own apps for the larger inner display of the Pixel Fold, it’s still pretty subpar when it comes to third-party apps. Since the Pixel Fold opens up to a horizontal orientation layout, non-optimized apps — such as Facebook and Instagram — still have black bars on the sides while the app is centered in the middle.

If you want to make use of the full screen, you have to rotate the Pixel Fold 90 degrees so that it is technically in a vertical orientation, which will allow those apps to take up all the space. This is not an issue with other foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and OnePlus Open because those inner displays are already vertically oriented.

Three apps running side by side using multitasking features on a OnePlus Open held in hand.
Open Canvas is a boon on the OnePlus Open. Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

Another limitation with the Pixel Fold is multitasking. You’re limited to just two apps running in split-screen at once, and there isn’t a way to save paired app presets. However, OnePlus has the ability to have two apps running in split-screen, as well as a third one in a floating window. But OnePlus takes it even further with Open Canvas, which allows you to run multiple apps in full-screen or compact mode, with the full-screen option utilizing virtual screens to the left, right, or above the actual display. You can also save an app group as a shortcut for easy access in the future.

The Pixel Fold is Google’s first foldable, and the OnePlus Open is also the first one for OnePlus. However, only one of these was able to really utilize the power of a foldable for productivity.

The Pixel Fold is too heavy

Google Pixel Fold in Obsidian in hand at Disneyland castle.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Since folding phones are essentially two slab phones put together, it’s a given that they’re going to be thicker and heavier than a “regular” phone.

Though one of my favorite things about the Pixel Fold is the size, I can’t say the same thing about its weight — this phone is heavy at 283 grams. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is only 253 grams, while the OnePlus Open is a mere 239 grams, making it the most lightweight foldable right now.

For some people, the weight may not be too noticeable. When I reviewed it, I mentioned that it was still pretty manageable for typical one-handed smartphone use with the cover display. However, I have noticed the weight is a little hard to deal with when using it as a camera with one hand, especially as I use it for taking product photos (i.e., taking a photo of a phone in my other hand). The OnePlus Open’s lightweight body makes it a lot easier to use overall, especially when taking one-handed photos.

Again, I like the Pixel Fold’s size, but I hope that Google can improve the device’s overall weight in a future iteration. I shouldn’t have to experience hand cramps when trying to snap a good in-hand product photo.

It’s all about the hinge and inner display

OnePlus Open and Google Pixel Fold hinges.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

An important aspect of a folding phone is the hinge. And for the most part, Google’s custom-designed hinge is pretty good.

The Pixel Fold’s hinge feels great to open, with not too much friction when pulling the halves apart. It’s also not going to open up accidentally, either. But one thing has bothered me about it is that it won’t open fully flat without some force. And even then, due to the highly reflective inner screen, the crease is always pretty noticeable.

This is another area where OnePlus does it better with the Open, though it’s also not perfect. The OnePlus Open’s Flexion Hinge was designed with fewer components than the competition to make it more lightweight, and it easily opens flat because it kind of “snaps” into a fully open position after reaching a certain angle. This is a double-edged sword, however, as the OnePlus Open is a bit harder to keep in clamshell mode at an obtuse angle (over 135 degrees). But thanks to the antireflective layer on the OnePlus phone, you also don’t really see the crease.

OnePlus Open and Google Pixel Fold inner displays.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

The Pixel Fold’s screen looks great, but it falls short by being overly reflective and only getting to 1,450 nits peak brightness. It’s a bad combination with the glare, so it is kind of hard to use outdoors. The OnePlus Open one-ups the Pixel Fold by being antireflective, so it’s easier to see and reaches 2,800 nits peak brightness.

Though I was impressed with the Pixel Fold’s inner display when it first came out, it’s not nearly as special when compared to the OnePlus Open’s. I still prefer the stiffness of the Pixel Fold’s hinge, as I can use it in clamshell mode at any angle, but the rest of the hardware hasn’t aged as gracefully.

Not all first-generation foldables are equal

OnePlus Open and Google Pixel Fold standing to show designs.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

When the Google Pixel Fold first came out, I was surprised and impressed with how good it was — or so I thought. At the time, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 wasn’t out, and the Pixel Fold was the only foldable that didn’t have a gap when closed.

But now we have the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and the OnePlus Open. The Pixel Fold is a good first attempt by Google for a foldable, but it just doesn’t feel like it lives up to the competition. Even the cameras are better on the OnePlus Open, though Pixels generally take very good photos thanks to their software processing.

The Google Pixel Fold is a decent start for Google’s foldable series, but hopefully, it can learn from competitors and make the next generation even better.

Editors’ Recommendations

Google Pixel Fold just got a huge price cut for Black Friday | Digital Trends

Google Pixel Fold just got a huge price cut for Black Friday | Digital Trends

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Google Pixel Fold, which was just released in June, is surprisingly already part of this year’s Black Friday phone deals. Best Buy has slashed the price of the unlocked, 256GB version of the foldable smartphone to $1,399, for savings of $400 on its original price of $1,799. That’s a tremendous bargain for a flagship device — and a lot of shoppers are probably thinking the same way. If you want to take advantage of this offer, you should be proceeding with your purchase right now as stocks may already be running low.

Why you should buy the Google Pixel Fold

Amid the growing popularity of foldable smartphones, we tagged the Google Pixel Fold in our roundup of the best folding phones because it’s a powerful device that offers a clean stock Android 13 experience. It features solid build quality, a 7.6-inch inner OLED display, and a 5.8-inch OLED cover display that’s wider than the cover screens of some of its peers, with both displays having a 120Hz refresh rate. For cameras, it has an impressive lineup that includes a 48MP main camera, a 10.8MP ultrawide camera, and a 10.8MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom at the back, a 9.5MP selfie camera on the cover display, and an 8MP selfie camera on the inner display.

In terms of performance, the Google Pixel Fold is smooth and powerful with Google’s Tensor G2 chip and 12GB of RAM, so you won’t run into any slowdowns when you’re multitasking between several apps. The foldable smartphone promises all-day battery life, but if you activate Extreme Battery Saver mode, it can last up to 72 hours before requiring a recharge.

Don’t Miss:

Best Buy is offering one of the most attractive Google Pixel Black Friday deals still available — the unlocked Google Pixel Fold with 256GB of storage at $400 off, bringing its price down to $1,399 from $1,799. There’s a chance that the bargain doesn’t make it to the shopping holiday itself though, as it’s one of those Black Friday deals that you’re sure will draw a lot of attention. You’re going to have to finalize your purchase of the Google Pixel Fold as soon as possible if you don’t want to miss out on the savings.

Editors’ Recommendations