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How's your Google Pixel 5 outer shell holding up?

The Google Pixel 5's metal chassis is covered in plastic. Have you noticed any chipping or other finish problems?

Published onJune 29, 2021

Google Pixel 5 Camera 1
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

One of the more curious design decisions Google made with the Pixel 5 was to give it a metal shell and then cover the metal with resin. Google took what could have been a premium experience and negated the whole thing by slathering it all in plastic.

Most of the reasons behind this decision were related to engineering. Google wanted to retain flagship features such as wireless charging but it also wanted to keep its bill of materials down. A glass-backed device would likely have cost more. The resin covers the holes in the metal chassis needed to support wireless charging, mmWave 5G, and other radios. It acts as a filler and a coating at the same time.

A happy side effect of the resin-coated aluminum is that the Google Pixel 5 outer shell is rather robust. In fact, it’s so durable in nature that it has convinced me to use the phone sans-case. I’ve happily used the Pixel 5 without any protection for the better part of six months now.

Google Pixel 5 grey back
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

How has this worked out for me? Well enough, for the most part. I’ve dropped the phone many times onto various surfaces including asphalt, wood, tile, and dirt. None of these drops had any outward impact on the phone’s outer shell — that is, until I dropped it onto gravel. Upon close inspection, I noticed several small gouges in the plastic on the side edge upon which the phone landed. They are the first signs of any damage and are so faint that even my macro lens can’t pick them up.

Related: Best cases for the Google Pixel 5

I wouldn’t go so far as to call the Google Pixel 5 a rugged phone, but surely its plastic-and-metal integument gives it a better chance of surviving a drop or fall than any glass-backed phone would have. That’s good news for most people, particularly those who prefer to use their phones without a case.

How has the plastic skin of your Google Pixel 5 fared in drops?

4462 votes

Now that mine is chipped — albeit, slightly — that led me to wonder what success others have had with the Google Pixel 5 and its resin skin over time.

Is yours still in good condition? Is it chipped like mine? Or are you using a case? Be sure to let us know in the poll above.

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