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Early Pixel 5 owners report gaps between the screen and body (Update)

It could let dust or water inside in the wrong circumstances.

Published onOctober 19, 2020

Google Pixel 5 display 1
  • Some Pixel 5 owners report gaps between their phone’s screen and body.
  • There are concerns it might affect dust and water resistance.
  • It’s not clear how widespread the issue is.

Update: November 4, 2020 (2:12 AM ET): Google has now confirmed that the apparent screen gaps noticed by some users are actually part of the Pixel 5’s design. Head here for more details.

Original article: October 19, 2020 (2:11 PM ET): It wouldn’t be a new phone launch without early hardware problems, and Google’s latest flagship is no exception. Early Pixel 5 buyers on Google’s forums and XDA are reporting gaps between the screen and body that could prove concerning, even if the display is otherwise normal.

The crevices are typically small and only affect one corner or side, but they’re noticeable. While the Pixel 5 appears to be fully functional, there’s a concern the screen gaps will compromise the promised IP68 dust and water resistance. It’s at least an aesthetic issue on a phone where design is supposed to be a selling point.

Related: Google Pixel 4a 5G review

It’s not certain how widespread the issue is or what the cause might be, although initial appearances suggest it could be a quality problem with the initial production run. Owners who’ve exchanged devices say they’ve received similarly affected units, so there’s no guarantee a replacement will be gap-free.

We’ve asked Google for comment. It’s too soon to say if the Pixel 4a 5G will have similar gaps, as it isn’t shipping yet.

This isn’t the first time Pixel phones have experienced hardware quality issues. While the Pixel 5 display gap is relatively unique, earlier phones like the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 have had their share of flaws that required repairs or replacements, such as screen tinting.

This doesn’t guarantee that you’ll see the problem yourself. We didn’t see a gap in our review. However, it might be worth holding off for a while if you’re not in a rush to own Google’s latest and otherwise greatest. If this is a production issue, it might be resolved before long.