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Stress tests show the Pixel 2 scratches easily and is overly fragile

By Cal Jeffrey ยท 9 replies
Oct 20, 2017
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  1. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have only been out for one day and already, there are questions concerning durability.

    One of the first things that people notice about Google’s new flagship device is that it feels like it is made out of plastic. Of course, it's not; the phones are composed of aluminum and Gorilla Glass. However, Google decided to coat the aluminum in a so-called “premium hybrid coating” (aka paint) for ergonomic reasons and to give it a unique look.

    So while it might feel fragile, it is still made out of the same materials as every other phone. However, physical composition is not solely what dictates a device’s durability. Design plays an even more significant part in how well a phone can hold up to stress. One misplaced antenna line, for example, can create a weak point that spells disaster under the right conditions.

    YouTube channel JerryRigEverything recently got its hands on a Pixel 2 and decided to put it to the test. The YouTuber, whose real name is Zack Nelson, is known for pushing smartphones to their limit and has stress tested over 70 models to date.

    Scratch tests were first on the list. The screen did well, needing a level six mineral pick to scar the surface. This result was expected since Google uses the same Gorilla Glass on its display as the iPhone 8 and Galaxy S8, both of which suffered the same level six damage.

    The rear of the phone did not fair as well. The coating was easily marred using a razor blade or a level three pick. To be fair, despite what Google’s "tech specs" say, the coating did not appear to be just "paint" and seemed to be a type of plastic or “premium hybrid coating” as Google referred to it in its keynote.

    However, regardless of what the material is made of, it still scratches easily. This weakness might not be a serious problem until you consider that the fingerprint scanner is coated in the same material. The rear-facing sensor scratched just as readily as the rest of the back casing. What’s worse is that unlike other fingerprint scanners, the Pixel 2’s stopped functioning after being scratched.

    More troubling than its lack of scratch resistance is how easily the Pixel 2 flexed and the damage that the bending caused. Nelson was able to warp the phone by hand meaning that if it were sat on (if it were in your back pocket, for example), it would likely sustain significant damage.

    The casing ruptured and peeled away from the screen on the very first flex and the chassis cracked right at an antenna line, just below the SIM slot. Nelson says this is the worst place to put a plastic antenna line because it is “historically the weakest point on every cell phone.” This also happens to be where the squeeze sensor for the Pixel 2 is located which might be a contributing factor to the weak spot.

    While scratches will not ruin the phone, they look worse and happen easier on the coating than they would on aluminum. Bending will not render the phone unusable either but it will lose all water and dust resistance. Flexing will crack the chassis and possibly the screen as well. The Pixel 2 is even more at risk for back-pocket breakage than the iPhone 6S and Nexus 6P were.

    JerryRigEverything could not put the phone on the "Shelf of Shame" since it did not suffer catastrophic damage but Nelson said the phone is not for him. He prefers something “feature-rich” and sturdy.

    If you have already picked up a Pixel 2, it is highly recommended that you protect it with a case or a skin if you want the phone to last a few years.

    Permalink to story.

  2. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,690   +980

    Never understood these torture test videos.
    1. It's EXPENSIVE electronics
    2. PROTECT your investment
    Panda218 likes this.
  3. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,989   +1,171

    Not really. Maybe expensive for a consumer after markup.

    Take another 20% of that and its about accurate.

    Or don't buy a cheap phone? :)
  4. Panda218

    Panda218 TS Evangelist Posts: 553   +270

    Put a case on it and don't be a retard. Pretty common sense phone etiquette if you ask me.
  5. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,283

    1. Yes it is but our constant demand and insatiable desire for bigger*, better, faster gadgets makes it a very lucrative market and we're milked accordingly.
    2. Couldn't agree more (Unless you have wads of cash to use as mattress filling) but consumer tech is hardly an investment. You've got to stop believing all that fairy tale marketing waffle, that's what helps make your 'investment' so expensive.
    As for those kinds of videos? They're just for entertainment... and for the YouTuber to test the long term viability of Ad Sense. Personally I wouldn't waste data watching them but hey, each to their own.
    * Depending on what it is.
  6. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,364   +1,479

    But it's worth it for those PREEMIUM MATERIELs!

    - every reviewer of the phone.

    Can we go back to the plastic phones that didnt shatter at the sight of a floor, had removable, expandable batteries, and were reparable please?
  7. SirChocula

    SirChocula TS Maniac Posts: 174   +182

    Nonsense, that would require the manufacturer to actually create phones out of high quality materials with the customer's needs in mind.
  8. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,661   +1,125

    His videos aren't anything serious, he probably earns a couple of phones by destroying just one. It is still informative because some Xiaomi phones were so weak they would bend in pockets and it's good to know stuff like that. As much as we want to protect our devices we will drop them by accident at some point, my phone recently fell out of my pocket onto stairs for example and I'm not clumsy, it just happens.
  9. petert

    petert TS Maniac Posts: 285   +114

    Daaaaamn, imagine all those positive initial reviews, no one ever bothered to look at real life scenarios. Nobody cares about your synthetic benchmark software, you dipshit, and how pixel 2 camera beats a handful of carefully selected competitors. If it breaks in your pocket, you should keep it real and stop kiss google's behind in the hope that their PR will keep sending you free products for review ...
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
  10. petert

    petert TS Maniac Posts: 285   +114

    That's odd, I had nexus 5 and nexus 6p, never had to buy a case for them, also dropped them a couple of times with some minor scratches on the side as a result (including once on concrete). Some fellows here had iphone inside a case, dropped it and cracked the screen ... phone etiquette? I think not, the case adds considerably to the phone thickness and sometimes is not enough for protection ...

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