Don’t buy the Google Pixel Fold (yet)

Don't buy the Google Pixel Fold (yet) 1

Just like you, I’m excited about the Google Pixel Fold, but I’m going to urge caution. Take a minute — no — take weeks before deciding to put down $1,800 of your money and begin the long, anticipation-filled wait by the door until it arrives.

By far, the most sensible, mature, and financially conscious course of action is to not buy the Pixel Fold just yet. Why? I’ve got three big reasons why you should hold off on buying the Pixel Fold.

Reason No. 1: The Pixel Fold is untested

The Google Pixel Fold in someone's pocket.
Google

This is Google’s first attempt at a folding smartphone. Google has made (or collaborated) on many different phones over the years, but it has not tackled the tricky world of foldables until now, and getting them right the first time is a serious challenge. If Google’s hardware history was faultless, I wouldn’t be using this fact to urge caution, but as the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro have shown us, Google is still trying to get non-folding phones right.

Folding phones are quite new. Remember that Samsung had a very tough time with the original Galaxy Fold. Huawei released different Mate X models to help iron out the kinks in its first run of foldables, and only a handful of phone makers have taken the plunge since then.

Oppo’s keeping its Find N2 big-screen foldable in China because getting the combination of software and hardware correctly optimized for international use is too complex, while the Honor Magic Vs suffers from software and hardware issues that lessen its appeal. The Tecno Phantom V Fold is great for the price, but it’s hardly the most refined product and feels every bit like a first-generation device.

Making a brilliant folding phone the first time out is very difficult, as proven by all these companies, and not even getting the hinge right is a simple task. The Pixel 7 has proven to be a bit of a risk, with some getting great phones and others not being so lucky. The Google Tensor G2 chip hasn’t shown itself to be very efficient or to run very cool, and popping it in an entirely new chassis is potentially asking for trouble. Add all these things together, and it’s wise to wait for the reviews and let others take the risk before you hand over a lot of money to Google.

Reason No. 2: The delivery date is confusing

A promo image showing the Google Pixel Fold, open and closed.
Google

We don’t know exactly when the Pixel Fold will be delivered. You can preorder it now, but there’s no exact shipping date, only that it will come sometime in June. That could be June 1, or it could be June 29. I’m not a fan of handing over money without knowing exactly when something will arrive, and when there’s no fixed date to hold a company accountable, it’s all too easy for approximate dates to slip. June could easily become July.

I’m not saying it will, but it does make me question why there’s no final shipping date. The Pixel Fold has been rumored for ages, and it has likely been in development for a while. Announcing it and opening preorders, but not saying when it’ll hit my doormat is a little disconcerting. Is production difficult? Is the software not finished? Is there a problem that’s still being overcome? Probably not, but if it’s all going swimmingly, why isn’t there a shipping date?

It is worth noting that Verizon-specific units of the Pixel Fold in the U.S. will be available for purchase on June 27. But Verizon preorders also don’t begin until June 20, and that’s just for one carrier in the U.S. For unlocked models, other carrier versions, and Pixel Folds in other parts of the world, there’s still no firm launch date — just that it will be “available next month.”

There’s no harm in waiting to preorder until Google tells us when the Pixel Fold will actually arrive. This isn’t a limited-edition product; there will be plenty to go around. Having patience while Google fiddles about with finalizing delivery dates may pay off, too, as there’s another product on the horizon that could be a big problem for Google — and that leads us to reason No. 3.

Reason No. 3: The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is coming

The Galaxy Z Fold 4's open screen and crease.
Andy Boxall/Pro Well Tech

There are rumors galore that Samsung will announce the Galaxy Z Fold 5 (presumably alongside the Galaxy Z Flip 5) earlier than usual this year — potentially in July. That could mean a late July or early August release. If you preorder a Pixel Fold now and won’t see it until sometime in June, you’ll potentially only be a few weeks out from seeing what Samsung has to offer in 2023.

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the big-screen foldable phone to buy right now, and not waiting to see what follows it before spending almost $2,000 on a new phone seems shortsighted. Samsung has been perfecting the folding format in recent past years, and a fifth-generation product is almost certainly going to have some advantages over a first-generation product. The Pixel Fold matches the Z Fold 4’s basic durability, for example, and as Samsung worked on toughness with the Z Fold 3, it’s not a big stretch to think it’ll have had time to deliver something new for the Z Fold 5. Also, the “Tensor G2 is significantly less capable than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 — the chip that’ll almost certainly be used in the Galaxy Z Fold 5 (and likely with Qualcomm’s Samsung-specific tweaks, too).

It’s only a rumor that the Z Fold 5 will appear in July, but if it is coming, we should hear some more news — official or otherwise — over the next six weeks. If not, then Samsung may be sticking to its more usual late August announcement date, and you can choose to wait or just preorder the Pixel Fold with nothing lost. Either way, you’re in control, as Google has left you to guess exactly when the Fold will be released.

Don’t rush — it’s not worth it

Google Pixel Fold closed.
Google

I’ve had nothing but good experiences with the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, so I’m personally fairly confident the Pixel Fold won’t suffer from any horrendous problems. But others haven’t been so lucky, and if you ask them if you should preorder the Pixel Fold without (at the minimum) seeing what the reviews say, I expect they would tell you tonot be so impetuous.

It’s not like the Pixel Fold will be delivered tomorrow, either. We don’t really know when it will be delivered at all. We don’t know when the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will be announced either, but we do know it’s coming at some point in the not-too-distant future. Google’s not instilling much confidence by having a mysterious ship date, and the Pixel 7’s spotty reliability erodes confidence even more. These are all reasons to hold firm and not give in to temptation just yet.

Most of the time, there’s not much point to playing “wait and see” with technology, as there’s always something new around the corner, so if you want something, just get it. But when a product costs as much as the Pixel Fold, and it’s something you presumably intend to keep for at least two or three years, sitting tight for June and July won’t make that much difference in the grand scheme of things. I’m not saying don’t buy the Pixel Fold everjust don’t buy it yet. It may end up paying off.

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