Whenever there are reports about hardware or design problems in new products, the common response companies give is to downplay the severity or spread of the issue, claiming it affects only a very small number of cases. Google, however, may have taken the rhetoric to a new level when it finally responded to questions about gaps appearing between the Pixel 5’s screen and its body. Beyond just reassuring owners that their phones are still as dust and as waterproof as unaffected units, Google’s official statement is that it’s a normal part of the phone’s design.
An admittedly small number of Pixel 5 owners have reported noticing a small gap between the phone’s display and frame. The size and location of the gap varied so it was not really possible to pin it down to a single cause. This has naturally caused concerns that the gap might widen or that it could risk liquid and dust ingress, both of which are being refuted by Google.
To be fair, owners might not really have anything to worry about, at least based on a recent teardown of the phone. The amount of adhesive used pretty much seals the phone from water and dust and large clips keep the screen securely in place. If the phone was difficult to open up intentionally, it will be even more difficult to do so accidentally.
Google’s official reply, however, remains a bit mind-boggling. To call it a normal part of the phone’s design when it clearly isn’t almost feels like a cover-up. Google says it will work with owners on an individual basis to address their concerns.
There are no functional consequences to this gap and the issue isn’t widespread enough to warrant any sort of panic but Google should have probably left it at that rather than try to justify the matter. Most phones don’t exhibit such a gap and considering it part of the Pixel 5’s design speaks volumes. Given it isn’t the first time a Pixel phone has had reported hardware and design problems, it definitely doesn’t look well for Google’s reputation as a phone maker.