Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: What to expect

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
(Image credit: Front Page Tech/Tom's Guide)

A Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 face-off figures to be an interesting clash of foldable phones. Now that the Google Pixel Fold has been unveiled at Google I/O, ready to arrive at the end of June, this once-theoretical showdown is now going to become a reality.

We couldn't be happier that another foldable is going to enter the mix. Right now, our best foldable phones list is essentially a roll call of Samsung devices — the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is Samsung's other foldable offering beside the Z Fold. It's nice that we're finally going to get some new blood that can maybe push the foldable market forward.

There's certainly no denying that the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a top phone, stepped-up competition or not. Samsung has not only improved upon the foldable design with each new version of the phone, it's also equipped the current model with a powerful processor and an optional S Pen that boosts productivity. Even the cameras — a weak spot on previous editions — are better on the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

That sets a high bar for the Pixel Fold to clear. But if anyone's capable of taking on Samsung, it's Google, which has made great strides with its more conventional Pixel flagships. Especially since the Pixel Fold is taking some of the best elements of the Pixel 7 — namely, those top performing cameras and Google's Tensor G2 chipset — and bring them a foldable design that delivers a unique counterpart to the Galaxy Z Fold.

Here's how we see a Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 comparison shaking out, based on what we've seen from Samsung's phone and what we've heard about this forthcoming Google release.

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Specs

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Google Pixel FoldSamsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
External display5.8-inch OLED (FHD+; 120Hz)6.2 inches AMOLED (2316 x 904; 120Hz)
Internal display7.6-inch OLED (2208 x 1840; 120Hz)7.6 inches AMOLED (2176 x 1812, 120Hz)
CPUTensor G2Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1
Storage256GB, 512GB256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Rear cameras48MP main, 10.8MP ultrawide, 10.8MP telephoto with 5x zoom50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom
Front camerasOuter: 9.5MP, Inner: 8MPCover: 10MP, Under-display: 4MP
Battery size4,727 mAh4,400 mAh
Size open6 x 5.1 x 0.24 inches 6.1 x 5.1 x 0.21 inches
Size closed6 x 2.6 x 0.5 inches6.1 x 2.6 x 0.55-0.62 inches
Weight10 ounces9.28 ounces
ColorsPorcelain, ObsidianGraygreen, Phantom Black, Beige, Burgundy ( only)

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 went on sale last August, and is tied as the most expensive smartphone you can buy with a starting price of $1,799. That gets you a 128GB version, but you can also opt for 512GB ($1,919) or 1TB ($2,159) if you are as rich as a potentate. The best Galaxy Z Fold 4 deals can lower the price somewhat.

Which device is the Fold 4 tied with, I hear you ask? Following the launch at Google I/O, we know with absolute certainty that it's the Pixel Fold. The Google foldable starts at $1,799 for the 256GB model, while a 512GB option will set you back $1,919 — both perfectly equal with the Z Fold 4. There's no 1TB option available.

Pre-orders for the Pixel Fold are open now, with the first deliveries set to commence on June 27. Pre-ordering soon will also net you a free Pixel Watch at no additional cost.

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Design and display

From the exterior, the Pixel Fold looks a lot like the foldable phone it's hoping to challenge. Google is taking the same basic approach as Samsung did with the Galaxy Z Fold 4 — create a foldable phone that opens up to reveal a much larger display on the inside.

Now that we're past the initial announcement, we have a much clearer picture of what to expect when the Pixel Fold arrives on June 27. The two phones may look similar, but dimensions show that the Pixel Fold is shorter and wider than the Z Fold 4. The interior screen is also nearly an inch smaller as a result.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 crease

Galaxy Z Fold 4 (Image credit: Future)

The Pixel Fold offers a 7.6-inch inner display, matching the Galaxy Z Fold 4 — even if the shape is a little bit different. Like the Samsung phone, the Pixel Fold's display offer a 120Hz refresh rate for that silky-smooth scrolling.

The main difference between the two phones comes from the outer display. Samsung equips the Galaxy Z Fold with a 6.2-inch cover screen so that you can use the phone without having to open it up. Google's done the same, but this one is shorter and wider with 5.8-inches of space. 

In our initial Google Pixel Fold hands-on this is rather nice, since it means the screen isn't quite so claustrophobic as Samsung's can be.

google pixel fold marketing images leak

Pixel Fold render (Image credit: Evan Bl;ass)

The other key Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4 design difference is on the inside of the phone. Rather than go with the under-display camera on the main display that the Galaxy Z Fold 4 uses, Google has stuck its interior camera in the bezel around the display.

The bezel is rather chunky, which is rather unfortunate, but at least Google seems to be using that excess frame for something useful. It also means Google can avoid putting a notch or hole-punch into the display — something earlier Samsung Galaxy Z Fold models featured.

Both phones opt for the hole-punch design for the outer selfie camera, which sits at the top of their respective cover displays.

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Cameras

While we're on the subject of cameras, the Galaxy Z Fold's optics took a big step forward with the 2022 model. The Galaxy Z Fold now uses the same camera system introduced with the Galaxy S22 and continued with the Galaxy S23 — a 50MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide angle lens and 10MP telephoto lens on the outside of the phone.

As for front cameras, Samsung gives you two options. There's a 10MP selfie camera on the front exterior of the Galaxy Z Fold 4, with that 4MP under-display sensor waiting when you open the foldable.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Galaxy Z Fold 4 (Image credit: Future)

If it took a few Galaxy Fold generations to get Samsung's foldable on par with the cameras of its other flagship devices, it seems Google is putting a lot of effort into the Pixel phone's cameras right out of the gaye./

After all, even Google's budget phones have made a name for themselves on the mobile photography front. If nothing else, you'd expect the Pixel Fold to benefit from the company's expertise with computational photography and photo processing.

As for the Pixel Fold's camera hardware, there's a triple-lens rear camera with a 48MP main lens, 10.8MP ultrawide lens and a 10.8MP telephoto lens with 5x optical zoom. It also offers Google's SuperResZoom for up to 20x digital magnification.

Those three lenses are housed in a horizontal camera bar on the back of the Pixel Fold. But this one only spans half of the backside so as not to obscure the cover display when the phone is fully opened.

Image of a leaked render of the Google Pixel Fold back cameras

Pixel Fold render (Image credit: Front Page Tech)

For selfie cameras we have a 9.5MP hole-punch camera on the cover display, with an 8MP camera hidden inside the bezel around the inner display.

Both cameras are useful for selfies and video calling, while the interior camera can take advantage of the Pixel Fold's tabletop mode. As the name suggests this lets you place the phone on a flat surface, laptop style, and use it hands-free. Tent mode also lets you take photos of the sky above you.

If you're not a fan of low-resolution selfies, the new "rear selfie" mode is available when the Pixel Fold is unfolded. This takes advantage of the 48MP rear camera, and uses the cover display as a viewfinder.

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Performance

Expect a repeat of last year's Pixel 7 vs. Galaxy S22 face-off here, in which Google's phone uses the company's own silicon while Samsung turns to a top-of-the-line chipset from Qualcomm.

In the case of the Galaxy Z Fold 4, that's the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 — the best performing silicon available at the time of the foldable's release. Since then, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has come along with even better performance. We'd think Samsung is going to put that chip, or the overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, into the Galaxy Z Fold 5 later this year.

As for the Pixel Fold, it's gone down the same route as all recent Google devices and use silicon designed by the company. The Pixel 7 family uses the Tensor G2, alongside the Titan M2 security chip, and the Pixel Fold will be using that same hardware configuration

Tensor's focus is more on machine learning-driven experiences than blazing performance — we'll talk about that in a bit — so we'd anticipate the Pixel Fold posting less impressive benchmarks than the Galaxy Z Fold 4. 

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Processor (Phone)Geekbench 5 (Single core/multicore)Wild Life Unlimited (FPS)
Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 (Galaxy Z Fold 4)1,328/3,83152.8
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (Reference device)1,500/5,24984
Tensor G2 (Pixel 7 Pro)1,060/3,04640.3

On Geekbench 5, which measures overall performance, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 posted single and multicore scores of 1,328 and 3,831 — some of the best numbers we saw from an Android phone in 2022. 

In contrast, the Pixel 7 Pro had 1,060 and 3,046 scores on those same tests. The gap was less wide in graphics testing, where the Pixel 7 Pro's 40.3 frames per second result in 3DMark's Wild Life Unlimited Test was just behind the Z Fold 4's 52.6 fps result. We haven't benchmark tested the Pixel Fold yet, but we wouldn't anticipate a G2-powered Pixel Fold doing much to upend those numbers.

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Battery life and charging

Battery life has been one area where foldable phones have struggled, and for good reason. With a larger display to keep powered up — and often a secondary display on the phone's exterior — that's a big drain on power.

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a good example of this. Despite a 4,400 mAh battery, Samsung's foldable lasted 8 hours and 19 minutes in our battery test, in which phones surf the web until they run out of power. That's more than 1.5 hours behind the average for a smartphone, though we should point out it's longer battery life than previous Galaxy Z Fold models.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 mid fold on a bench

Galaxy Z Fold 4 (Image credit: Future)

We haven't been able to test the Pixel Fold thoroughly yet, but we do know it has a 4,727 mAh battery which Google claims has a "Beyond 24 hour battery life" or 72 hours of battery life with Extreme Battery Saver mode switched on. 

According to Google's internal testing the average lifespan was 33 hours. But that's in optimal conditions, and we're not likely to experience quite that much longevity in the real world. 

Charging speed is rated up to 30W using a compatible USB-PD 3.0 charger, though Google hasn't offered any king of timing on how fast the phone will recharge. Similarly Qi wireless charging is available, but speeds are currently unknown. Until we know more, and get our hands on the Pixel Fold, there's no way of saying whether it's better or worse than the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Software and special features

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 debuted with Android 12 on board, but has since migrated to Android 13 with Samsung's One UI 5.1 interface. The Pixel Fold will arrive with Android 13, and is confirmed to be getting Android 14 later this year. That upgrade will also add more features to the phone, including a live translation feature that utilizes both screens on the phone.

The real story with software will be what kind of special features each phone offers to take advantage of the foldable design. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 lets you multitask with three apps open at once, for example, and a Flex mode turns half of the screen into a control panel for select apps.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Galaxy Z Fold 4 (Image credit: Future)

The Pixel Fold also offers a number of optimizations, and Google has adapted 50 of its own apps for the foldable display. Third party developers are also working on improving their experience for the device, including the likes of TikTok, Spotify and Disney Plus.

The Pixel Fold will also come with a taskbar, like the Z Fold family, which will offer faster switching between apps. Similarly Google promises to have refined multitasking features so users have better split-screen options when using the foldable display.

The Pixel Fold in its unfolded state

Pixel Fold concept design (Image credit: Evan Blass / Twitter)

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 enjoys another advantage over other phones in that it offers support for the S Pen stylus. The pen's an optional accessory — only the Galaxy S22 Ultra currently offers the stylus as a built-in feature — but it's a good addition for sketch and note-taking on the Fold's ample display. 

There was speculation that the Pixel Fold could offer stylus support, even if Google didn't offer one of its own, but this doesn't appear to be the case.

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Outlook

While this gives you some idea about how the Pixel Fold might differentiate itself from the Galaxy Z Fold 4, there are still a few things we don't know. So while Google has made the Pixel Fold an official part of its lineup, we will still need to do some thorough testing to work out how they truly compare.

But things are looking relatively good so far, and that's good news for everyone — even Samsung. As good as the Galaxy Z Fold 4 has proven to be, a little competition never hurt anyone. And right now, that's the one thing foldable phones are sorely lacking.

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Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.