Almost all of us consider our smartphones to be our faithful companions. And yet, sadistic humans entertain themselves by putting these usually expensive devices to all sorts of “stress tests” just to see how long they last before they yield. Naturally, the newly launched Google Pixel was scratched, burned, bent, and dropped. For science! Seriously speaking, though, these tests try to demonstrate just how tough, or not, smartphones are. And like almost everything about it, the Pixel yielded a mixed bag of results.
First up is the usual trinity of tests that JerryRigEverything does on every new high profile smartphone model. Save for one somewhat contentious test with the Galaxy Note 7, which is all but moot now, these tests have more or less become a reference on YouTube for gauging how scratch-proof, burn-proof, and bend-proof smartphones can be.
Despite having only a Gorilla Glass 4 front, the Pixel actually braved the scratches, at least up to a level 6 Mohs scale pick. Happily, that’s the norm for almost all smartphones. The aluminum back, however, tells a different story. While keys happily leave only “material transfer” that can be wiped away easily, anything sharper leaves deeper and more permanent marks. The odd glass panel is not so impressive as well, easily scratched, tough with lighter marks.
The biggest surprises, however, were the top front speaker and the fingerprint scanner on the back. That speaker is apparently covered by cloth instead of the conventional metal or plastic grille. Not only will it scratch or tear, it also gets dirty, both of which will affect sound quality. The fingerprint scanner is also quickly scratch with a cutter but, fortunately, it still functions perfectly no matter how bad the scratches get.
No torture test will be complete without a drop test, and here the Pixel gives the most worrying test results. YouTuber TechRax tried to perform a 5-foot drop text, on the side and on the face, but even before that, an accident led to a most unfavorable outcome. Trying to tip the phone on one of its corner, the Pixel accidentally landed flat on its back, and that caused a not so small crack to appear on the glass that covers the upper portion of the device. And while the side drop test yielded only a small nick in the corner, a full front drop caused the screen to be damaged beyond repair.
So while it is admittedly the most interesting Android smartphone of the year, it might not exactly be the sturdiest. Ironically, while many of us were harping on about its lack of water proofing, the Pixel ended up surviving being submerged in water better than these other physical tests.