Google’s Pixel Fold fails JerryRigEverything’s durability test spectacularly

Google unveiled the Pixel Fold at its annual I/O developer conference earlier this year. While it reeked of first-generation hardware with its $1,800 price tag focused on early adopters and zealous marketing claims, we hoped the device would prove its worth. Thankfully, YouTube has given us fame from creators like JerryRigEverything’s Zack Nelson, who speeds electronics through a lifetime of abuse in minutes. Google has made some interesting design choices with the Pixel Fold, and we’re not surprised to see some of the durability test results.

Foldable phones have been around for a few years, and while they have obvious fragility issues, brands like Samsung have gotten better by iteration, with eight different foldable phone models passing the grueling JerryRigEverything durability test without self-destructing. Google’s scrutiny seems to start well with an all-aluminum chassis, volume rocker, and SIM card tray. Curiously, Google includes his full postal address in the SIM tray. It’s also worth noting (pun intended) that the 5G antenna with a microphone hole beside it in the top edge of the phone could be mistaken for the SIM tray, which is located in the bottom edge of the device.


The SIM tray has Google’s full postal address

The Pixel Fold fingerprint reader deserves a special mention here for working even after taking a beating. It’s placed handy along the side of the phone, but Nelson notes that you might accidentally end up hitting the power and volume down buttons while opening the internal fold-down screen. The phone also has an IPX rating, indicative of water resistance, but not dust resistance.

Pixel-Fold-JRE-durability-dusty screen

This is where our anxiety peaked

One would be concerned about dust ingress making the smooth hinge undesirably crisp, but the Pixel Fold seems to do an amazing job keeping dirt out during Nelson’s tests. We recently came across worrying reports of small debris trapped on the OLED layer between the plastic bezel and the display killing the internal display when the hinge closes. However, dust and debris inflicted no damage on Nelson’s unit.


The phone shuts down when the internal display is subjected to heat

The display didn’t stand up to the heat, though, literally. The lid display survived 16 seconds under an open flame, but the OLED suffered permanent damage. The internal display only lasts eight seconds before the phone shuts down due to overheating. We noticed the Pixel Fold felt unusually warm during our outdoor tests as well. However, the internal OLED was also permanently damaged by the flame. Google claims the Pixel Fold uses ultra-thin glass (UTG) for the foldable screen, but Moh’s hardness choices reveal that at least the outermost layer is plastic, which even your fingernails could permanently damage. However, the back panel and screen of the phone are protected by Gorilla Glass.

Pixel-Fold-JRE-Resistance-Screen Scratches

The foldable display has a plastic top

The hinge looks sturdy, but Google has made another bold claim by stating that it opens flat, up to 180°. In reality, the Pixel Fold only opens to about 179°, which our own Will Sattelberg noticed during I/O 2023. When we leaned over with a little force, we were shocked to find that, unlike of Samsung phones, the hinge does not have a lock to prevent it from being bent backwards. This eventually created fractures along the antenna lines of the frame, stretching the bendable screen and breaking the phone. Since a non-zero number of Pixel Fold users will try to unzip it all the way, there’s a disturbingly healthy possibility that people could break their phones by folding them.

Pixel Fold does not accept inadvertent use of the hinge

In summary, we suggest you watch the full durability test video below. Anyone buying a Pixel Fold should make sure the foldable doesn’t share pockets with keys, coins, and other debris. They could scratch the camera bar, hinge, and internal display, or worse yet, completely destroy the latter. Also remember to keep the Pixel Fold away from heat, and make sure you don’t test Google’s marketing claims for that flat 180° hinge.

Unsurprisingly, the Pixel Fold fails the JerryRigEverything durability test, having learned little from the Samsungs that preceded it. Make sure you pick the best cases and screen protectors for your Pixel Fold if you’ve already made your purchase.

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