Samsung’s latest big-screen foldable phone has been revealed and, in 2023, it’s got new competition. The Google Pixel Fold is now on the market to challenge the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5. Here’s how they compare.
Are you thinking it’s finally time to get a large-screen foldable? Well, as well as preparing your wallet for the exorbitant price, you’ve got to decide between quite a few devices that are now available. We’re focusing on Google and Samsung’s larger offerings but the likes of the Honor Magic Vs and smaller-screen foldables like the Galaxy Z Flip 5, Motorola Razr 40 Ultra and Oppo Find N2 Flip are skulking around.
But, if you’re set on choosing between the larger foldable phones from these two big brands, you’re in the right place. Samsung has just revealed the new Galaxy Z Fold 5, which we’ve had some hands-on time with, and we’ve fully reviewed the Google Pixel Fold. We won’t be mentioning price as a key battleground here, as both devices start at £1749. Interested in the rest of the big comparison points? Let’s dive in.
A tall foldable vs a wide foldable
When deciding between these two foldables, a pivotal factor will be considering the shape of the device you’re after, as it impacts how it’ll feel to use it day-to-day, from the design itself to the style of displays.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 offers a taller design overall, giving you a 6.2-inch 23.1:9 display on the outside and a 7.6-inch roughly 7:6 screen on the inside. By comparison, Google’s Pixel Fold gives you a 5.8-inch 17.4:9 panel on the outside and a 7.6-inch 6:5 display on the inside.
So what do these specs all mean? In our review of the Google Pixel Fold, our mobile editor Lewis Painter highlighted its shorter design and noted, “I found myself using the external display much more often than with other foldables.” The Pixel Fold’s outer display gives you a much more traditional phone experience than the wider Galaxy Z Fold 5.
However, the candybar-like shape of the Samsung foldable when folded does offer you a more compact-feeling experience, just like its almost identically designed predecessor. The taller inner Samsung display also affords an experience that better accommodates a multitasking experience, compared with the Pixel Fold’s wider screen presenting videos in less black-bar-laden fashion.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 offers more power
You’ll have to wait for our full review to get the complete lowdown on the Galaxy Z Fold 5 phone’s performance but things look promising, especially up against the Google Pixel Fold.
In our Google Pixel Fold review, we tested it up against the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra, a foldable sporting a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip. The results saw the Motorola phone comfortably top the Google Tensor G2-powered foldable.
Well, we’re expecting even more out of the Galaxy Z Fold 5, with it sporting the even more performant Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy SoC onboard. As such, Samsung should have the edge over Google on performance.
Google’s Pixel Fold offers 5x optical zoom
Spec for spec, the camera comparison between the Pixel Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 5 is rather close. Google’s phone dons a 48MP main camera, 10.8MP telephoto and 10.8MP ultrawide. The Samsung offers a 50MP main camera, 10MP telephoto and 12MP ultrawide.
If the latter seems familiar, it’s because the new Galaxy Z Fold 5 features the same camera specs as its predecessor. We were impressed by both the camera capabilities of the Google Pixel Fold and the Galaxy Z Fold 4 so you won’t be getting a bad experience either way, even if neither matches the heights of regular flagship phones.
However, the Pixel Fold does top the Samsung on one key spec that may sway come. The telephoto lens on the Galaxy Z Fold 5 offers 3x optical zoom while the Pixel Fold brings 5x optical zoom – meaning Google’s phone may sway you if you’re a fan of extra crisp close-ups and detailed middle distance zoom shots.
The Pixel Fold is thinner, but the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is more refined
If you’re shelling out the high cost of entry for a foldable, it is likely because you’ve been grabbed by the design. Well, Samsung, now at its fifth generation of folding phone, has a stronger grasp of the formula than Google – only on its first generation.
This is mainly reflected in the honed nature of Samsung’s latest foldable. The crease is visible but far from a significant distraction while there is no gap between the two halves of the phone when folded. Samsung is close to perfecting the foldable phone hardware formula.
On the other side of things, Google’s Pixel Fold doesn’t fully fold flat without some awkward encouragement and there is no way you’re missing that crease. However, Google has innovated in one direction that has Samsung beat. The Pixel Fold is just 5.8mm thin when unfolded compared with a thicker 6.1mm Galaxy Z Fold 5.