Pixel Fold users have been pleasantly surprised to discover that their phone offers spatial audio over its external speakers, not just through headphones.
Spatial audio refers to a kind of 3D audio effect. It gives the impression that different sounds that make up the audio are coming from different places. It distinguishes itself from surround sound by maintaining the spread-out origin points of the sound, even while the speakers move (like your headphones do when you walk). However, AirPod owners have noticed this feature uses a lot of battery life.
It has become a buzzword since Apple added it to the AirPods and Apple Music. You can read our review of that experience here. Since then, Google has added spatial audio to the Pixel 6 and 7 series, and streaming services like Netflix and Crave have started supporting it.
Usually, spatial audio is only available through headphones, even on the Pixel devices. That’s what made it so surprising when trusted Android tech source, Mishaal Rahman, posted on X (Twitter) about the Pixel Fold discovery.
The Pixel Fold supports spatial audio over wired headphones just like the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series do, but unlike those devices, it also supports spatial audio over the phone speaker!
Image credits: SageSushi on Telegram pic.twitter.com/mPf6M7ky2T
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) August 9, 2023
“Google adjusted the audio configuration of the Pixel Fold to enable support for spatial audio over phone speakers while taking into account different hinge angles,” Rahman said. “I assume the speakers/speaker placement also accounts for why this is only enabled on the Fold [and not other Pixel devices].”
If you want to enjoy spatial audio on a Pixel Fold, you need to venture into your sound settings and turn it on (Google support explains how here). If you do, it’s worth keeping an eye on your battery life. We don’t know yet, since the Pixel Fold is relatively new, and this feature wasn’t widely known about until now, but it could eat up the foldables battery life.