Can the Pixel Fold’s camera beat the Galaxy Z Fold 4? I found out

A Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 on top of a Google Pixel Fold, showing the cameras on both phones.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Google has finally entered the foldable market with the Google Pixel Fold. It provides a great stock Android experience, direct from Google, that’s powered by the impressive Tensor G2 chip with 12GB of RAM and your choice of 256GB or 512GB storage. One of the best things about any Google Pixel device is the camera. It’s hard to take a bad photo with a Google Pixel, and that includes the Pixel Fold.

The one major competitor for Google’s Pixel Fold right now, at least in the U.S., is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. Samsung’s foldable packs in Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip with 12GB RAM and up to 1TB storage. And that’s all joined by some mighty impressive camera hardware.

If you’re spending at least $1,800 on a foldable, which one should you go for — especially if camera quality is a big concern? We put these two foldables to the test to find out which one makes for a better camera.

Looking for an in-depth battle of specs, features, and more between these phones? See our full Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 comparison!

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: camera specs

Google Pixel Fold in Obsidian camera.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Before we dive into the photos, let’s take a look at what each foldable offers for their respective camera systems.

On the Google Pixel Fold, we have a 48MP main camera with f/1.7 aperture, a 25mm wide lens, dual pixel phase detection autofocus (PDAF), laser autofocus, and optical image stabilization (OIS). There’s also a 10.8MP ultrawide camera with f/2.2 aperture and a 121-degree field of view (FOV). The telephoto lens is also 10.8MP with an f/3.1 aperture, dual pixel PDAF, OIS, and 5x optical zoom. The cover display selfie camera is 9.5MP with f/2.2 aperture and dual pixel PDAF. On the inner display, we have an 8MP selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture. Both selfie cameras are 24mm wide.

The Galaxy Z Fold 4's camera module.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 has marginally better specs with a 50MP main camera with f/1.8 aperture, 23mm wide lens, and dual-pixel PDAF with OIS. It also has a 12MP ultrawide camera with f/2.2 aperture and a 123-degree field of view. The telephoto lens is 10MP with f/2.4 aperture, PDAF, OIS, and 3x optical zoom. The cover display selfie camera is a 10MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture and a 24mm wide lens, and the inner display selfie camera is 4MP with f/1.8 aperture and a 26mm wide lens.

Both foldables have similar camera specs, with marginal differences. But again, it’s really what’s on the inside that counts for the photo results. All images in this comparison are as-is and not edited or modified in any way.

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: main camera

The main camera on any smartphone is the one you’re going to spend the most time with, so let’s take a look at that one first.

Here’s a photo of Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure Park on a beautiful, sunny (and hot!) day, not a cloud in the sky. In this example, I believe that Samsung’s reputation for creating brighter and more vivid colors works in its favor. The overall scene is more saturated with the Samsung image, making the white beams on the Incredicoaster whiter, the sky bluer, and the reds redder.

There’s also more contrast in Samsung’s version, and even the “Pixar Pier” text is crisper and more in focus. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 version looks like it has more life to it, whereas the Pixel Fold’s image feels a little dull.

Let’s park-hop over to Disneyland with these photos of Sleeping Beauty Castle. It’s a real toss-up here on which image is better. The Samsung one has more vivid colors, which some may find more appealing, but it does blow out some of the finer details — like the drapery/curtains and texture on the rocks, both of which are more detailed on the Google Pixel Fold image. For this one, I personally prefer the Google version because it’s a more true-to-life representation of what you see with your eyes.

One of my favorite spots in Disneyland for some calm is near Snow White’s wishing well and waterfall area by the castle. Here, you can very clearly see where the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s tendency to oversaturate the colors works to its disadvantage. The green foliage is practically neon green and yellow, and the rocks at the waterfall are pretty much completely washed out, including the Snow White statue at the top. The Google Pixel Fold version is pretty much what you get in reality, and the textures and details are all there, especially with the rocks. Google easily takes the cake on this one.

The reimagined ToonTown is full of bright colors, and this works out well for the Galaxy Z Fold 4. This is the new fountain in ToonTown, featuring Mickey Mouse holding up Minnie Mouse on top of a pink flower with many clam shells at the bottom. Samsung’s reputation for bright and vivid colors works well for this since the entire land leans heavily on the cartoon aesthetic. You do lose out on some of the finer details and textures again, though, like the falling water, which are more clear in the Google Pixel Fold image. It’s a matter of preference for this one, whether you want actual details and texture or have the colors really pop.

Sushi is one of my favorite foods. Here, we’re looking at some delicious sushi I ordered from a local restaurant during the evening with my husband. As you can see, there is a very stark difference in the overall tone of the images, with the Pixel Fold leaning more towards a cool mood while the Z Fold 4 is warmer.

In reality, the inside of the restaurant was definitely closer to the Pixel Fold’s image, so I’m not sure what was going on with the Z Fold 4. If you take a closer look at the images, the Pixel Fold was able to capture more detail in the fish, as it seemed to focus better than Samsung. But Samsung’s bright colors do make the avocado on the Alaskan roll look more appetizing.

Finally, here’s a photo of a drink I got at a coffee shop featuring pandan milk with a shot of matcha (delicious!). The Samsung version once again overdoes it with the bright and saturated colors, making the drink appear way too blue, and the wooden table more orange than it actually is. The Google Pixel Fold photo better represents the drink I had, as well as the wooden table.

Samsung’s brighter colors sometimes work out in the Z Fold 4’s favor, but ultimately, it’s the Google Pixel Fold that wins this round.

Winner: Google Pixel Fold

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: ultrawide camera

I don’t use the ultrawide camera on smartphones too often, but sometimes you need to in order to capture the most of a scene. And what better place to do so than Disneyland?

These are some ultrawide shots of the Eureka water wheel near the Grizzly River Run at Disney California Adventure Park. Since the Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a slightly wider FOV, it was able to capture more of the scene than the Google Pixel Fold. However, Samsung’s love for vivid colors made the building appear more yellow, the water greener than it really is, and the surrounding trees have that neon hue going on. For some people, this may be appealing, but I’m leaning towards the Pixel Fold’s more natural scene for this one, despite not being able to see as much.

Ah, nothing more terrifying than entering Monstro’s huge, gaping mouth, right? The Google Pixel Fold image is closer to what you see in reality, and the details of the plants and rocks are not lost. You simply get to capture more of the scene versus the main camera. But here, I actually prefer the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 version. Why? The bright and vivid colors really make Monstro pop out at you, giving the image more life. I mean, Monstro is a cartoon whale, so it works out here. Though I’m not a fan of how the tree on the left looks a bit distorted as you look up in the corner.

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Pixel Fold regularly trade punches in the ultrawide department, so this one is a draw.

Winner: Draw

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: telephoto camera

Sometimes you just need to zoom in to get close up and personal with a subject or scene. Thankfully, both the Pixel Fold and Z Fold 4 have decent telephoto cameras.

Let’s take a closer look at the Disney 100 Years of Wonder decor on Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. Both the Pixel Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 4 capture the main banner well, though it looks like the Z Fold 4 is able to show off the iridescent effect of the paint on the Fairy Godmothers (at least on the left) slightly better. Still, the Pixel Fold is better at retaining details for more objects in the scene, like the bricks, tapestry, and even the text in “Wonder.”

Here’s a zoomed-in photo of the waterfall by Grizzly River Run in Disney California Adventure. Both images look good, but when you examine them closer, the Pixel Fold retains more detail with the flowing water than the Z Fold 4. The colors appear more vibrant in the Z Fold 4 version, which includes the white in the water, causing it to blow out the details. Again, I prefer the Pixel Fold image more.

Winner: Google Pixel Fold

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: portrait mode

Portrait mode is one of my favorite ways to shoot photos of my favorite people, and it’s a favorite for many others too. You get decent portraits for people, pets, and inanimate objects without needing a full-on DSLR, and pretty much every phone nowadays has this capability. Note that the Google Pixel Fold tends to take portraits more close up, even at the default 1x setting, whereas the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 appears more zoomed out.

These are portrait images of my husband that I took while we were at Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure. Both images look decent enough, and the edge detection works well. But the Pixel Fold seems to have only focused on the upper half of him, as anything below the “Disneyland” logo on the shirt seems to be blurry and out of focus.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 seems to have kept everything about my husband in focus, though the blurred background only seems to start from the top of the fence. The Samsung version also makes the colors more vibrant, and there are softer details. The Google version has more natural feeling colors and more details in the subject, and I personally prefer the close-up look for a portrait.

Another portrait of my daughter and husband. This time I got the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 in closer to the subject to make it appear closer to what the Pixel Fold captures. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 seems to do a better job of detecting the subject, as the tree behind my husband is blurred out along with the rest of the background while keeping my daughter and husband in focus.

With the Pixel Fold, it seems to struggle a bit with the edge detection, as there are a few jagged edges around their right elbows, and my daughter’s shoes are blurry. The tree is also still in focus, which wasn’t what I was going for. But again, Samsung’s image makes the blue shirt more vivid than it really is, washing out the texture, and there’s definitely a skin-smoothing effect going on (I did not change any default settings). The colors of the greenery and sky in the background also appear more washed out than I’d like. Both images have their own sets of strengths and weaknesses for this one.

Okay, one more daddy-daughter portrait. Again, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 version is much better with edge detection, as I see no rough or jagged edges around the subject. Meanwhile, the Pixel Fold still struggles a bit around my daughter’s hair, shoes, and even around my husband’s left arm and both ears. Colors feel more natural in the Pixel Fold version, though, and there’s definitely more texture and detail, especially in the faces. I also prefer Samsung’s bokeh effect here too.

Google’s lifelike colors remain a strong point, but with much better edge detection, it’s the Galaxy Z Fold 4 that wins this round.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: lowlight photos

With summer here, Daylight Saving in full effect, and me getting older while having a very active toddler, it’s a struggle for me to get out of the house at nighttime. Seriously, I just want to stay inside and play Diablo 4 once the toddler is asleep! But I managed to get some nighttime shots for the sake of this camera comparison.

This is the playground that my daughter plays at nearly every day. It’s pretty clear that the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 image is the better version of the two, as the Google Pixel Fold has very soft details throughout, surprisingly. In the Z Fold 4 image, you can see the details of the tree leaves, the wood chips, the five plastic wall planks in the middle, and even the trees way in the back on the right side. The only good thing about the Pixel Fold version is that the colors are more true to life with the warmer tone, as the playground colors are a tad washed out in the Samsung one. But still, I prefer the Z Fold 4 image for this due to the sharper details.

In this photo of a tree, the Pixel Fold still suffers from softer details than the Z Fold 4. You can easily see the detail of individual leaves in the tree, as well as the plants underneath the tree, in the Samsung version, whereas the Google one makes it all muddled together. However, the Samsung image makes it look like a hybrid of day and night since the washed-out colors make the sky look like it was during the early evening, even though it was taken at almost 9:00 p.m. The Pixel Fold makes the colors appear more natural with a darker, more contrasty sky, and the way the top of the tree still appears a bit dark makes it easy to tell that this was taken at night. Still, the Samsung image is more impressive with the amount of detail it was able to capture.

Finally, let’s take a look at the rose garden at night. The Pixel Fold manages to be better at capturing details in this image, though it looks like the Z Fold 4 was able to have a sharper focus on some parts, like the tree branches near the light on the left side, as well as the rocks on the pillars the arches rest on. But the Samsung image has a lot of washed-out colors here, whereas the Google version has more lush and bright colors.

Color struggles aside, the better overall detail give the Galaxy Z Fold 4 another win.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: selfie cameras

While foldables basically mean that every camera on the device can be considered a “selfie camera,” we’re only going to look at the ones that are actually intended for selfies, which I would say are the cameras on the cover display. The selfie camera on the inner displays are lower megapixel counts than those and are really meant for video calls.

Here’s a selfie of me with my drink from Thank You Coffee, as mentioned earlier in the main camera section. My skin tone and hair color are pretty accurate in the Google Pixel Fold version, as I look a bit too washed out and my hair is way too light in the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 image. Also, Samsung devices like to make my lips appear way more pink or orange than they actually are, which I’m not a fan of. And as expected, my drink looks much brighter in the Samsung image, too, whereas the Pixel Fold version is more true to life.

Lastly, let’s take a look at this selfie portrait I took while at Disney California Adventure. I have to laugh at the Google Pixel Fold one because it really did blur out the Minnie Mouse ear headband I was wearing, for some reason. And again, there are some rough edges around my hair, showing that the edge detection is far from perfect.

The Samsung image kept my ear headband in focus, at least, and seemed to do better overall with edge detection, though some of my hair ended up blurred out between my face and my hand. However, the Pixel Fold still does better by portraying my skin tone accurately, which is something I struggle with on Samsung devices, including the Galaxy Z Fold 4. As such, the Pixel Fold takes a win here.

Winner: Google Pixel Fold

The Google Pixel Fold beats the Galaxy Z Fold 4, but just barely

Google Pixel Fold in Obsidian and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 unfolded size comparison.
Google Pixel Fold (right) in Obsidian next to Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, both open showing exteriors Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Honestly, this camera comparison was very close, but the Google Pixel Fold edges out the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 just a bit. Samsung has a reputation for overly saturating colors to the point where it looks like you slapped a vibrant filter on a photo most of the time, which I’m not a fan of. I personally prefer more natural colors when taking photos, and if I want to make them more “artsy,” I’ll do it in a photo editor. I’ve always preferred how Pixel phones handle photos, even over my primary iPhone 14 Pro, and it’s no different here with the Pixel Fold.

Previous experience with Pixel devices has shown me that Google’s Tensor chip and its powerful AI and computational processes make it pretty hard to get a “bad” photo from a Pixel. But I’m not going to say it’s perfect, because there are still some shortcomings with the Pixel Fold when it comes to portrait shots, for example, as the edge detection can be quite off sometimes. And Night Sight images with the Pixel Fold so far have shown very soft details overall compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, which took me by surprise.

Google Pixel Fold in Obsidian held in hand showing home screen at Pixar Pier.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

And while sometimes the super vibrant results from the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 work for certain situations, it’s overall a bit off-putting, and I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to not look washed out in a Samsung photo. But Samsung does seem better at getting that edge detection right for portraits, at least.

Since both of these phones start at $1,800, you’ll want to put some serious thought into which one you’d want to buy. On the camera side of things, though, the Google Pixel Fold just barely bests the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. But remember that we’re due for a Galaxy Z Fold 5 soon as well, so maybe it will have better camera specs. But for now, I’d go with a Pixel Fold.

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