It’s no secret at this point that there’s a Google Pixel Fold in the pipeline, and all signs point to the hardware being quite similar to the Oppo Find N2. Is this the right choice? Personally, I have mixed feelings.
What we know about the Pixel Fold design
The Google Pixel Fold has undergone 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.
As it stands, we know the Pixel Fold will have a design that looks like a mix of the original Oppo Find N and the existing Pixel 7 series. But the big thing to consider is its size.
It looks like the Google Pixel Fold will measure in at 139.7 x 158.7 x 5.7mm when unfolded. For comparison, the Oppo Find N2 measures 132.2 x 140.5 x 7.4mm when unfolded, and the Galaxy Z Fold 4 at 155.1 x 130.1 x 6.3mm when unfolded. it is unfolded. Just on that basis, Google’s first foldable is going to be bigbeing considerably wider than the Fold 4 while being a bit taller than the Oppo Find N2.
Pixel Fold is a bigger Find N2
When you look at them all side by side, it’s pretty clear what we’re getting – the Pixel Fold is basically just a bigger Oppo Find N2. To illustrate, we’ve created a quick 3D model showing the dimensions of each phone side by side.
The Pixel Fold is the widest of the bunch by far, being almost 20mm (~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, won’t be as wide as the Surface Duo 2, which measures 184.5mm when opened.
This is certainly noteworthy, as it presents an entirely different experience compared to Samsung’s fourth-generation foldable. For one thing, it’s going to have a lot more room on the screen. While the Fold 4 isn’t exactly small with its 7.6-inch screen, the nearly square shape isn’t always ideal. It’s not two phones side by side, but rather 80% of two phones. The wider aspect ratio that Oppo, and soon to be Google, have opted for allows apps to breathe fully even in split-screen mode.
But all may not be perfect.
The potential issues this Pixel Fold design could face
A consensus that has been formed by many people around foldable smartphones to date is that Samsung’s aspect ratio, while not terrible, may not be the “right” layout for a foldable phone. The nearly square interior leads to a super tall and narrow exterior screen that can be hard to get used to, while apps on the interior screen don’t always display a tablet-focused interface as the operating system is considered to be in a “portrait” orientation. It’s a valid criticism, and one that Samsung has worked on over time.
The transition from Galaxy Z Fold 3 to Galaxy Z Fold 4 was in no way major, but it saw Samsung tweak its aspect ratios to deliver a slightly wider outer display and a shorter but wider inner display. This has led to many, but not all, other apps being treated as tablet apps.
The Oppo Find N2, on the other hand, has a Great large inner screen that still triggers tablet interfaces, with an outer screen that’s small and about the same width as your average smartphone. But in active use, I struggle to consider the experience on Oppo’s form factor better than what you get on the Galaxy Z Fold series. There are pros and cons everywhere, and I’m a bit worried the Pixel Fold will run into some of the same issues.
For example, the YouTube app offers a significantly better experience on Oppo’s device. Every page on the Find N2 is optimized for tablets and displays a lot more content, while on the Fold 4 you get a magnified 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 a lot of quirks and issues, but one thing that totally broke the experience on the Find N2 for me was that the videos are forced to full screen and the wide aspect ratio breaks all controls. Trying to see comments on a post with a video is impossible, but it works just fine on the Fold 4.
Then you have the current big trend of vertical videos. Foldables are well suited for content consumption, but those vertical videos are going to be wasted on the larger, tablet-like foldable screens. On the Find N2, more space is wasted on TikTok-style videos (Instagram Reels in my case), where you can appreciate the extra screen height on the Fold 4 in this case.
Much of these two examples, however, comes down to simple optimization. TikTok itself, for example, has made great strides in improve its design on foldables.
Instagram Reels on Oppo Find N2 (L) and Galaxy Z Fold 4 (R)
There are other downsides to the wider aspect ratio. On the Find N2, there’s a lot less room for content as you type. Gmail provides a great example here, with little space available to display the content you type 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 might be able to overcome many of the Find N2’s problems simply by its size. The Pixel is going to be a much bigger phone than what Oppo is working on, and that alone could fix a lot of my issues in apps.
There is also this obvious advantage in multitasking. Apps just have more room to breathe within the Find N2’s screen width. It’s a minor difference, but could actually be better on the larger screen of the Pixel Fold.
Chrome and YouTube on Oppo Find N2 (L) and Galaxy Z Fold 4 (R)
But at the same time, a larger version of the Oppo Find N2 has the potential to be physically bulky. 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 that I can hold and do basic navigation with one hand – maybe flip through a recipe while cooking or jump from a video to an article. The Find N2 is a bit more difficult to use in the same way because with one hand I can barely reach the center of the screen. It’s a minor point, sure, but one that could be made significantly worse by using the same form factor in a larger size on the Pixel Fold.
No one has perfected it yet
It’s all a matter of preference, really. The Find N2 is better in some apps, while the Fold 4 is better in others. Each aspect ratio has its pros and cons. But after using these two phones and their predecessors, I come away with the same conclusion. Right now, I think Samsung’s form factor is better suited to handle the transition from traditional phones to foldables.
That could change over time, and the Google Pixel Fold could play a huge role in that. Google’s Pixel devices aren’t the best-selling smartphones, but they help developers get ahead in optimizing apps and experiences for consumers; this could come at the expense of early Pixel Fold users being slightly less than happy with the app experience on their phones.
What do you think? Do you prefer a Pixel Fold that copies the design of the Oppo Find N, or one that’s closer to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4?
Learn more about Pixel Fold:
FTC: We use revenue-generating automatic affiliate links. After.