The day after, I praised Google for it in the end When releasing a Pixel phone with no major issues, a major problem emerged.
My review unit has only been impressive since I turned it on two weeks ago. But hundreds of early adopters have complained on the Google, Reddit, and XDA forums product forums and contacted me directly about a possible hardware failure on my Facebook page (subscribe here).
Over 250 Pixel 5 owners (according to responses on the product forums) have raised concerns about a gap between the display and the body of the phone. The images shared on Google support forums and elsewhere look like the display panel is peeling off the phone’s aluminum frame.
This obviously raises concerns about what this means for the phone’s IP68 rating and what that means for the phone’s warranty in the event that it suffers water damage. Although it is not clear whether the Pixel 5 has another element protection in the device.
Check out a non-seedy Pixel 5 in action in my review below
I was informed by a Google representative that the company is investigating the problem, which may take a few days. Meanwhile, Pixel 5 owners I’ve spoken of have either canceled their orders or returned their devices and turned to the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE instead.
The Korean company’s surprising high-spec but cheap device, which hit the market just before the Pixel 5, appears to be the unofficial beneficiary of Google’s misery. A former Pixel 5 owner named Maurice that I spoke to this week said he received it and has returned two Pixel 5 units that were experiencing the screen gap issue. The second device he opened in the store – next to the clerk – to see if it had the same problem. Since it did, he immediately returned it and opted for the Samsung phone instead.
A handful of comments on the product forums and Reddit also mention the option of switching to a Samsung phone. Others have already canceled their orders or are considering canceling. However, the vast majority are waiting for a correction or an explanation from Google. However, the patience of the Pixel line of phones that have earned – fair or unfair – a reputation for device-defining errors is waning. A Redditor said, “It’s not a pixel with no hardware problems.”
The S20 FE is an obvious alternative in terms of price and specs. This is exactly what Samsung intended when it launched the phone days before the Google event. I imagine executives at Samsung HQ licking their lips at the prospect of this Pixel 5 problem spiraling out of control. Especially with the upcoming Black Friday, which I suspect the two devices will battle for supremacy in discounts.
The S20 FE is not without its problems, however. Some FE owners complained last week that the phone wasn’t properly registering touches on the screen, which Samsung has promised to fix with an update.
However, Google’s phone cannot be fixed with a software update. Indeed, the screen gap might not be a problem – as some Pixel 5 owners seem to have learned from Google support. The vulnerability may not affect performance or invalidate the IP rating. Or it’s an issue that needs fixing, which could be a big deal. We won’t know until Google makes an official statement.
Two repair specialists I’ve spoken to think this is a serious problem for Google. Ricky Panesar, CEO of iCorrect.co.uk, who saw the above image and others on the Google Product Forum, said the display “definitely isn’t seated properly in the bezel” and that “it can’t be normal”. Another repair specialist, who refused to be named, said that he “can’t see her [Google] If you plug this in without altering the display bezel or case, both of these are great tasks. That shouldn’t have started ”.
As I said, this could be a serious problem or not at all. But hundreds of Pixel 5 owners are clearly not happy, and it looks like Samsung is the early beneficiary of that calamity. We’ll know more when Google releases the results of its investigation.
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