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Google deems apparent Pixel 5 5G defect a 'normal part of the design', and users are not happy


Whether you’re a so-called Android purist hopelessly enamored of Google-made smartphones or the kind of hardcore Apple or Samsung fan who wouldn’t be caught dead owning a Pixel device, you’re probably well aware of the search giant’s struggle for global relevance as a handset vendor.

While the company’s inability to challenge the sales numbers of the two aforementioned market leaders or even the likes of Motorola and LG, as well as Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo, and Oppo, can be largely attributed to a weak retail presence and low ad spend outside of the US, another couple of big factors may have also played a crucial role in the Pixel family’s underperformance these last few years.
If there’s one thing you can say about the high-end members of this family released between 2016 and 2019, it’s that they all started off excessively priced, ultimately scoring massive discounts and becoming potentially attractive for the masses… when it was too late to turn their fortunes around. The second unfortunate thing these devices had in common was some sort of a highly publicized flaw or glitch that cropped up shortly after their commercial releases, which alas, seems to be the case with this year’s Pixel 5 5G as well.

Major manufacturing defect or a “normal part of the design”?

Unlike its forerunners, the Snapdragon 765-powered Pixel 5 actually feels pretty reasonably priced, at $700 in a single 128GB storage configuration packing a generous 8 gigs of RAM and supporting all of America’s 5G wireless networks, including Verizon’s blazing fast but terribly spotty mmWave-based Ultra Wideband signal.

The 5G-enabled Pixel 5 doesn’t appear to be suffering from any of the catastrophic memory management, energy consumption, or audio issues of previous 4G LTE-only models either, but according to a worrying number of reports from early adopters a few weeks back, the all-metal construction is… hardly perfect.

Although it doesn’t seem to impact the functionality of the 6-inch phone in any way (at least for the time being), a curious gap between the screen and aluminum frame has been noticed, photographed, and plastered all over the Google Support webpages by dozens of disgruntled users.

 

In response to complaints from people understandably concerned by the prospect of this display separation getting worse with time and possibly affecting the handset’s waterproofing, a “Community Specialist” issued a short statement on Tuesday that’s already ruffled some feathers.

Basically, the company is claiming there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Pixel 5 units pictured above and below (and dozens of others in the same situation), deeming the “variation in the clearance between the body and the display” as a “normal part” of the phone’s design and stressing the (non-) issue has “no effect on the water and dust resistance or functionality” of your device.

What can you do if you’re not satisfied with that explanation?

While it’s obviously impossible to know right now if Google‘s long-term promise will hold up and the gap will remain a purely cosmetic imperfection, those who want to be safe rather than sorry down the line should strongly consider requesting a refund.

If you’re thinking of asking for a replacement device instead, you might want to know a number of people who’ve tried that exact same “fix” have been disappointed to discover their second Pixel 5 unit had a similar problem. 

That definitely makes sense given that Big G is not seeing the apparent flaw as, well, a flaw, although oddly enough, this “normal part” of the handset’s design is nowhere near as widespread as that official statement would suggest. 

Otherwise put, there seem to be plenty of Pixel 5 5G units out in the wild not exhibiting any sort of gap, separation, or “variation in the clearance between the body and the display”, so you can probably understand why so many users disliked and criticized Google’s explanation.

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