Smartphones were already expensive, fragile devices before foldables even entered the scene. As impressive as this new hardware looks, we’re understandably nervous about how well each of these devices is built, and want to be sure it all will hold up to long-term use. Google introduced its first foldable, the Pixel Fold, a few weeks back. Unfortunately, reviews found it leaving a bit to be desired, and now a new teardown of the phone reveals just how far Google seems to have cut corners.
The Google Pixel Fold is not the most resilient phone around — there’s no question about it. Zack Nelson, the man behind JerryRigEverything on YouTube, showed us just how durable it was (spoiler: not very) last week. Now, he’s back with a full teardown of Google’s foldable, in order to show us just what was sacrificed to compete with Samsung.
The frame of the device’s hinge is aluminum, not stainless steel, as many reviewers have said. According to Nelson, that explains why the Google Pixel Fold folded under pressure so easily in his durability testing. Aluminum seems to have been used to get the Google Pixel Fold to be as thin as possible.
Milling aluminum is a cheaper process than milling stainless steel, and when the public’s major concerns about bendable phones have to do with cracking and snapping them, it pays to go the extra mile and put strong materials into the device.
It doesn’t end there: — the waterproofing method used by Google employs a hard, plastic material, unlike Samsung’s more elastic compound in the Galaxy Z Fold and Flip. The hard plastic is more susceptible to cracking and letting fluids get into the phone over time.
Remember, this is an $1,800 device that Google is parading around as its competitor to Galaxy Z Fold phones, which are about to enter their fifth generation. From what we can see here, it’s not clear if Google is up for the fight.
Competition in this market is only going to be a good thing, but Google may need to learn from its lackluster opening, and continue developing the technology for its next foldable phone.