Google’s 5G-capable Pixel 5 is already suffering from an embarrassing flaw

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Well, that didn’t take long. It was only a few days ago that Google and its authorized US retail partners started shipping the Pixel 5 after taking pre-orders for the 5G-enabled handset since September 30, and reports of a possible hardware defect are already spreading like wildfire on both the search giant’s official support webpages and the third-party XDA Forum.

Unlike some of the earliest issues experienced by owners of previous Pixel generations in past years, this mysterious flaw doesn’t appear to impact the hot new phone’s functionality in any way… at least for the time being.

The main concern is the problem could get worse down the line, potentially invalidating the Pixel 5’s water resistance… and more. But perhaps most of all, it’s simply not a good look for a device priced at $699 to show such obvious vulnerabilities straight off the bat.

Did Google make one too many engineering compromises?

It’s no big secret that Big G controversially decided to cut a few corners after four Pixel editions that failed to connect with a large audience, settling among others for an upper mid-range Snapdragon 765 processor under the hood of the Pixel 5 5G instead of going with a state-of-the-art Snapdragon 865 SoC.

Incredibly enough, Google managed to reduce the $799 starting price of the 4G LTE-only 5.7-inch Pixel 4 by 100 bucks for a 6-inch Pixel 5 with 5G speeds while increasing the battery capacity from 2,800 to 4,080mAh. We can’t help but wonder now if perhaps the company cut one too many corners in order to keep the price point so low by replacing the Pixel 4’s glass back with aluminum.

That’s not necessarily a downgrade, but in lack of an official explanation, we’re left scratching our heads and trying to come up with possible reasons why so many early Pixel 5 adopters are noticing gaps between the screen and aluminum frame. We’re not talking huge rifts here, but the very fact you can see the problem without much difficulty in photographs taken by affected users suggests this is not something you should ignore.

Unfortunately, most people claim their Pixel 5 5G units looked like this right out of the box, and one particularly unlucky user says he quickly returned his original device only to discover the replacement presented the exact same defect. That’s unlucky because clearly not all Pixel 5s in circulation come with such a gap, although the number is definitely growing at a troubling pace.

What could happen in the long run if the issue goes unresolved?

Put simply, it might be better not to find out. After all, the possibilities are virtually endless, and frankly, we don’t even want to think about some of the worst case scenarios that may have already crossed the minds of early Pixel 5 owners faced with a tough choice. 

Should you give up on the phone altogether and ask for a refund? Maybe not yet. But it’s certainly not wise to overlook the problem and hope it will magically go away. That’s obviously not going to happen, so the best you can hope for is that it won’t get worse.

Clearly, Google needs to come forward with an explanation and a clarification on whether or not all affected users should seek a replacement. If the best course of action is not to do that, the company also has to reassure everyone that the problem does not impact the phone’s IP68 water and dust resistance whatsoever.

Speaking of dust, a number of people want to know if they should fear the collection of foreign elements in the noticeable gap between the screen and frame, and whether dust or debris could eventually damage the 6-inch OLED display. In other words, there are many questions Google needs to answer before we can put this matter to rest and before we can conclude it’s safe (and smart) to buy the 5G-capable Pixel 5 again.

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