Google Pixel Fold leak tips a serious Galaxy Z Fold 4 rival

a Google Pixel Fold concept render
(Image credit: Waqar Khan)

Things have been quiet recently on the Google Pixel Fold front, likely with Google focusing on the Pixel 7 and Pixel Watch. But a new leak has shed some light on the display and the fingerprint sensor that we could see on Google’s first foldable.

Leaker and developer Kuba Wojciechowski (opens in new tab) and 91 Mobiles (opens in new tab) have the apparent lowdown on the display specs of the so-called Pixel Fold. While Android code (opens in new tab) found by 9to5Google (opens in new tab) shows that Google's been working on two devices with fingerprint scanners mounted to the side, one of which could be the Pixel Fold.

So this may have given us a good idea of what to expect from a foldable that embraces Google's vison in terms of software and hardware. And it may viable alternative to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Pixel Fold display

Pixel Fold Concept

(Image credit: Waqar Khan | Remix via Nick Bush)

According to these new rumors, the Pixel Fold is expected to measure 123 x 148mm when opened, which corresponds to a 7.57-inch display. The report also mentions the resolution of the inner display to be 2208 x 1840. That's extremely close to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 specs as that has foldable phone has a 7.6-inch inner display. 

The Pixel Fold that is apparently referred to as “Felix” internally, could also get a 120Hz refresh rate display like the Galaxy Z Fold 4, although the Wojciechowski was not completely certain about this. Google’s foldable could be brighter than the Fold 4 — the display on the inside is reported to get 1200 nits of peak brightness with an average brightness of 800 nits. The main panel of the Fold 4 registered a max of 905 nits.

9to5Google mentions that the outer display of the Pixel Fold could have a 2100 x 1080 resolution. We don’t know the measurements of the screen, but going by the leaked resolution, it hints at a slightly wider but shorter outer screen compared to Samsung’s 6.2-inch display on the Fold 4. Like the Pixel 7’s, the Pixel Fold will also reportedly get display panels by Samsung.

Pixel Fold fingerprint sensor 

Pixel Fold concept design shows a look similar to the Pixel 6

(Image credit: Waqar Khan/Let's Go Digital)

As mentioned earlier,  9to5Google found code that hints at how Google could be working on two devices that use side-mounted fingerprint scanners. 

With the Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 6a using under-display sensors, and previous Pixels using rear-mounted sensors, these unnamed devices would appear to be completely new, and thus the tipped Google foldable and partially-announced Pixel Tablet.

One of the devices uses a Y-aligned sensor, meaning a sensor attached to the left or right of the device. This is believed to refer to the Pixel Fold because this section of the code also mentions two different display resolutions matching a previous leak for the Pixel Fold's inner and outer displays. 

A side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the power button is a common unlocking mechanism for foldable phones, including the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4, as it allows you to unlock the foldable in the same way whether the phone's open or closed. Therefore it makes complete sense that this would be what Google uses on the Pixel Fold.

Meanwhile, the other device features an X-aligned scanner (top or bottom side), which by process of elimination, along with a given resolution of 2560 x 1600, sounds like Google's Pixel Tablet, slated for release next year. Fingerprint scanners on a top-side power button are found on tablets like the iPad Air. However unlike an iPad, the Pixel Tablet's primarily oriented landscape, with the power and volume buttons on the long side of the tablet.

Google Pixel Fold: What it needs to beat Galaxy Z Fold 4

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4 currently dominate the foldables market. The Fold 4 brings top performance with the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, a good Android 12L software experience and is one of the best camera phones as well. Google is known for its AI and machine learning prowess, along with excellent cameras and we will have to see if it brings its A-game with its Pixel Fold. 

The Fold 4 got a slightly wider main display compared to its predecessor this time which felt great to use — the rumored, even wider display on the Pixel Fold is definitely welcome news. We hope Google gives us OLED panels that compare with Samsung’s immersive foldable displays. 

In terms of performance, the Pixel Fold is rumored to be powered by the Tensor G2 chip that also backs the Pixel 7 series. While it is a capable chip, it’s not quite as fast as the latest Snapdragon silicon. 

Android 12L has proven to be one of the best parts about the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and was a big step up from the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Samsung worked closely with Google to customize the Google suite of apps for a foldable, so hopefully we can expect some of the same customizations on its own phone. 

The Pixel Fold is also rumored to get three cameras with similar specifications as the Fold 4. We assume the company will bring some of its software driven features like Magic Eraser and Photo Unblur on the Pixel Fold.

One area where Google can blaze ahead of Samsung would be the price. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 starts at a hefty $1,799 — if the Pixel Fold comes in lower than that, it might be one of the best value foldables around.

We are pretty optimistic about Google’s foldable and if it puts its best foot forward with cutting-edge specs it can very well be one of the best foldable phones.

Sanjana Prakash
News Editor

Sanjana loves all things tech. From the latest phones, to quirky gadgets and the best deals, she's in sync with it all. Based in Atlanta, she is the news editor at Tom's Guide. Previously, she produced India's top technology show for NDTV and has been a tech news reporter on TV. Outside work, you can find her on a tennis court or sipping her favorite latte in instagrammable coffee shops in the city. Her work has appeared on NDTV Gadgets 360 and CNBC.

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