Here we go again. Another year. Another Pixel. And another problem. Is this the end of the line for Google’s beleaguered smartphone family?
Granted, I’ve been wondering that for years. This is a product line that has never sold well, has, in fact, sold fewer units every year than the previous year. So it’s no surprise that Google switched strategies this year to focus on low-end and mid-range handsets: It needed a hit. But its 2020 lineup is more muddled than ever, with years-old camera sensors, weird feature matrixes, and, in the case of the lackluster Pixel 5, too-high pricing. So I’ve pretty much given up on Pixel, at least for now. What else could go wrong?
This: Multiple Pixel buyers are complaining that their new $700 handsets are literally coming apart at the seams, with the display separating from the body. You can find these reports on Google Support, XDA, and elsewhere; that latter (YouTube-based) report also notes an issue with the Pixel 5’s weird cardboard-like coating, which, no surprise, is rubbing right off. Reviewers—many of whom originally gave the Pixel 5 positive reviews—are now reporting seeing the gap as well.
What’s most troubling is that these problems are happening so soon after launch: Most Pixel 5 owners just got their new phones, and many Pixel 5s are arriving with the screen and body separated in the box. Some users have even gotten replacements from Google already and—wait for it—those replacements have the same problem too.
Of course they do.
And given how few Pixel 5s must be out in the world, it’s safe to assume that this problem will only get worse over time, and that it is most likely an endemic design issue that will need to be fixed.