It’s no secret at this point that a Google Pixel Fold is in the pipeline, and all signs point to the hardware being fairly similar to the Oppo Find N2. Is this the right choice? I personally have mixed feelings.
What we know about the Pixel Fold’s design
The Google Pixel Fold has done a lot of work behind the scenes, but at this point we have a pretty clear picture of what could arrive as early as May 2023.
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As of today, we know the Pixel Fold will have a design that looks like a cross between the original Oppo Find N and the existing Pixel 7 series. But the great What is worth noting is its size.
It looks like the Google Pixel Fold will measure 139.7 x 158.7 x 5.7mm when unfolded. For comparison, the Oppo Find N2 measures 132.2 x 140.5 x 7.4 mm when unfolded and the Galaxy Z Fold 4 measures 155.1 x 130.1 x 6.3 mm when unfolded. Only based on this will be Google’s first foldable device greatwhich is significantly wider than the Fold 4 and only slightly higher than the Oppo Find N2.
Pixel Fold is a larger Find N2
If you look at them all side by side it’s pretty clear what we’re getting – the Pixel Fold is basically just a larger Oppo Find N2. To illustrate, we’ve put together a quick 3D mockup showing each phone’s dimensions side-by-side.
The Pixel Fold is by far the widest of the range, being almost 20mm (about 0.78in) wider than the Oppo Find N2, which is already 10mm (~0.4in) wider than the Galaxy Z Fold 4. The Pixel Fold Thankfully, however, it’s not quite as wide as the Surface Duo 2, which measures 184.5mm when open.
This is definitely notable as it offers a completely different experience compared to Samsung’s fourth generation foldable device. For one, it will have a lot more real estate on the display. While the Fold 4 isn’t exactly small with its 7.6-inch display, the near-square shape isn’t always ideal. It’s not two phones side by side, it’s 80% of two phones. The wider aspect ratio opted for by Oppo and soon by Google allows apps to breathe fully even in split-screen mode.
But maybe not everything is perfect.
The potential issues this Pixel Fold theme might face
One consensus that’s formed on many foldable smartphones so far has been that while Samsung’s aspect ratio isn’t terrible, it might not be the “right” layout for a foldable phone. The almost square interior results in a super tall and narrow outer display that’s hard to get used to, while apps on the inner display don’t always show a tablet-centric UI as the operating system is considered “portrait”. Orientation. It’s a valid criticism that Samsung has been working on over time.
The move from the Galaxy Z Fold 3 to the Galaxy Z Fold 4 wasn’t huge by any means, but Samsung adjusted its aspect ratios to deliver a marginally wider outer display and a shorter but wider inner display. This has led to many more apps, but still not all, being treated as tablet apps.
The Oppo Find N2, meanwhile, has one great wide inner display that always triggers tablet interfaces, with an outer display that’s small and about the same width as an average smartphone. But in active use I have a hard time considering Oppo’s form factor experience better than what you get on the Galaxy Z Fold series. There are pros and cons everywhere, and I’m a little concerned that the Pixel Fold will have some of the same issues.
For example, the YouTube app on Oppo’s device is a dramatically better experience. Every page on the Find N2 is tablet-optimized and shows a lot more content, while on the Fold 4 you get a bloated phone interface that can really only show one video at a time in searches or recommendations.
YouTube on Oppo Find N2 (L) and Galaxy Z Fold 4 (R)
But on the other hand, there is the Reddit app. The official Reddit app has numerous quirks and issues, but one thing that completely ruined the experience on the Find N2 for me was that videos are forced into full screen and the wide aspect ratio interrupts all controls. Trying to view the comments on a post with a video is impossible, but it works fine on the Fold 4.
Then you have the current big trend of vertical videos. Foldables are fine for content consumption, but that vertical video gets wasted on foldables’ wider tablet-like displays. More space on the Find N2 is wasted by TikTok-style videos (Instagram Reels in my case), where you can appreciate the extra screen height on the Fold 4 in this case.
However, much of these two examples boil down to simple optimization. TikTok itself, for example, has made great strides in improving its design on foldable devices.
Instagram Reels on Oppo Find N2 (L) and Galaxy Z Fold 4 (R)
The wider aspect ratio has other disadvantages. There’s a lot less room for content when typing on the Find N2. Gmail provides a great example here, as there isn’t much room to display the content you’re typing after accounting for the keyboard and from/to/subject fields.
Gmail on Oppo Find N2 (L) and Galaxy Z Fold 4 (R)
Of course, the Google Pixel Fold could overcome many of the Find N2’s problems just by its sheer size. The Pixel will be a much larger phone than the one Oppo has been working on and that alone could fix a lot of my complaints in apps.
There’s also this clear advantage when it comes to multitasking. Apps simply have more room to breathe in the width of the Find N2’s screen. It’s a small difference, but one that could actually be better on the bigger screen of the Pixel Fold.
Chrome and YouTube on Oppo Find N2 (L) and Galaxy Z Fold 4 (R)
At the same time, a larger version of the Oppo Find N2 has the potential to be cumbersome on a physical level. An open foldable in this form factor is almost always a two-handed experience. But I’ve found over time that Samsung’s form factor is a bit more forgiving in this regard. It’s a device I can hold and do some basic navigation with one hand — maybe navigating a recipe while cooking, or switching between a video and an article. The Find N2 is a bit more difficult to use in the same way because I can do it with one hand hardly reach the center of the display. It’s definitely a small point, but one that could be spoiled quite a bit by using the same form factor in a larger size on the Pixel Fold.
Nobody has perfected it yet
It’s really all a matter of preference. The Find N2 is better at some apps, while the Fold 4 is better at others. Each aspect ratio has its pros and cons. But after using these two phones and their predecessors, I keep walking away with the same conclusion. At this point, I feel Samsung’s form factor is better suited to handle the transition from traditional phones to foldable phones.
That could change over time, and the Google Pixel Fold could play a big part in that. Google’s Pixel devices aren’t the best-selling smartphones out there, but they’re helping developers drive optimization of apps and experiences for the general public. This could come at the expense of early Pixel Fold users who are a little less than happy with the app experience on their phones.
What do you think? Would you rather have a Pixel Fold that copies the design of the Oppo Find N, or one that’s closer to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4?
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