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This is how our Google Pixels are holding up [Roundtable]

Most of your Android Central staff uses a Google Pixel or Pixel XL on a daily basis. We need to be able to see what Google has going on with Android so it's something we use for our jobs, and we all agree it's a great phone in either size. In either case, it's a phone we carry around and do all the things you can do with an Android phone and we've been doing it for six months.

We already know Russell Holly's Pixel XL is trashed on the outside but still going strong despite the scratches and scars. How it got there is something that Google needs to think about: we want our phones to work well and not look like they just came back from a war zone. Or maybe Russell just needs to try something different.

Anyhoo, since we wanted to know how your Pixel was faring, we need to tell you how ours are doing. Let's go around the table and see!

This is why we can't have nice things.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Alex Dobie

My Pixel XL has aged about as badly as any smartphone I've ever wielded. Granted, it's seen a fair amount of use in the four months that it was my daily driver. (I got it in mid-October, and switched to an LG G6 in mid-February.)

It's worn poorly.

But still, it seems like this phone has picked up an unusual amount of wear and tear compared to other Samsung, LG and even other HTC-built phones I've used in years past. The oleophobic coating on the screen is just about gone. The back glass is scratched to hell. Even the display glass has managed to pick up a few gnarly scratches. And the anodized paint job seems to attract scuffs more than most competitors. That's not usual for me after just four months.

Maybe it's just unlucky, but I've spoken to many other journalists who've used Pixels since the beginning — sometimes in a case with minimal use — and theirs have worn equally poorly.

Jen Karner

It went right into a case.

My Pixel XL is still in pretty decent shape after months of use. It's got a few small scratches, but they're mostly near the fingerprint scanner, and the camera. Even those are small and not really visible unless I'm looking for them.

This is probably because as soon as I got it, I threw on a sturdy Incipio case (opens in new tab) to keep it safe. Especially because I have a tendency to kill phones by dropping them. The scratches that are on the back of the phone all tend to be where the case cut-out is, and I'm comfortable with trading a bulkier case for as few scratches as possible.

Daniel Bader

I have both a white Pixel review unit and personal Pixel XL unit and both look immaculate. I was worried, after reading about my coworkers' brushes with scratches and coatings, that the same would befall my XL, but so far, so good.

What can I say? It's a well-made phone, Brent.

Marc Lagace

It has a few scuffs.

I've been using the Pixel as my daily driver since day one, and I still regret not slapping a case on it right out of the box. I'm a huge klutz when it comes to phones, so my phone has a few scuffs around the corners from accidentally falling off a table or out of my pocket

I've been rolled with a slim clear case on my Pixel ever since, which lets me show off the unique look of the phone while drawing attention away from the scuffed corners. This phone has held up wonderfully to the daily wear and tear I can put phones through — including the glass panel on the back which appears to have only picked up a few microabrasions in the top-right corner.

Jerry Hildenbrand

Looks good to these eyes.

My Pixel and Pixel XL both look pretty good. I'm not saying there are zero scratches on the glass but there aren't any to be seen at a glance and even holding them at funky angles under the light doesn't show anything. Maybe it's my eyes.

I think I know why. I always have my phone in my pocket by itself or on the desk/table face down. Being in a pocket without keys or garden tools or anything else that goes in pockets keeps it from getting scratched. My reasoning for always putting it face down when it's not in my pocket? You can still use a screen with a few scratches, but if you gouge that camera lens you're going to have a bad time.

Florence Ion

These are all the cases I own for the Pixel XL.

I swap them out depending on how I'm feeling at the beginning of each day. And if I'm traveling with the Pixel XL, I wrap it up in an Otterbox Defender case. This is to ensure the device stays pristine and still retains some resale value. You never know when you're going to need to offload a smartphone.

So cases, being careful and lucky magic keeps our Pixel's mostly in good shape. Take a minute and use the comments to tell us about yours, and anything special you might do to keep your Pixel looking good!

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

91 Comments
  • Better show how bad Amoled burned-in (status bar, toolbars, keyboard layouts)
  • Can't show you cause it's never happened...
  • It does happen. Just had mine replaced because of it.
  • Whoa, how long have you had your Pixel?
  • Never said it didn't. Reread what I said. But I will say between night clock mode on every night with White Noise app, for well over a year, I never had burn issues with any watch with AMOLED. I don't even have issues with AOD on Samsung Gear S3. So... I can't relate.
  • I mean with any phone with AMOLED
  • I went to t mobile store last week and saw a galaxy s7 edge with horrible burn in.
  • My old Galaxy Nexus (which I still have) never even had burn in. As long as some bug doesn't hold your screen on, you don't abuse your phone, or as long as your panel isn't defective, you shouldn't have burn in.
  • I beg to differ. I recently had my Note 4 screen replaced by a local repair center. His source sent him a "new" screen, which he installed. When I went to pick it up, I verified that the screen was up to my liking by dialling *#0*# in the phone dialler, which pulls up a litany of tests, three of which are for checking the condition of the red, green and blue pixels. It wasn't as noticeable in red or green, but in blue?! HOLY $H¡T!!! The status bar was considerably darker than the rest of the screen, there was a back arrow near the top left next to what can only be a browser address bar with "http://" clearly visible, a bookmark icon to the right, followed by the "three-dot" menu icon. And his supplier nailed me C$200 for this "new" screen. Needless to say, it was sent away for this so-called "supplier" to straighten out this problem before he is faced with another. Ladies and gents, AMOLED screen burn-in is absolutely without a doubt, a thing!
  • Not a problem on my phone at all.
  • My Galaxy S3 bought in 2012 and used as an active phone to this day (my sister had it, now a friend) still doesn't have burn in. None of my Samsung phones have developed burn in. I know it happens, I've seen it, but it seems extremely rare.
  • My old 2012 note 2 that I gave my young brother after I gave it a hard life myself for a couple of years does have a bit of burn in on the notification screen ,
    but the icons are still easy to see , and the rest of the screen is still fine .
    Both my note 4 and 6p are still beautiful screens.
    I bought G5 after the 6p , by comparison the IPS on the LG is very b grade , I can't wait to get another AMOLED screened device..
  • Xiaomi Radmi Pro...after 2 months in hands of kids, who mostly watch youtube on it, had "nicely" visibly burn ins.
  • Mine has bad along with the maps voice mic sign in corner and whole rite side where miles ect comes up in landscape view as always use it as a sat nav
  • I've seen very slight shadows on my Pixel for both the status and navigation bars if I look hard for it but it's only apparent on certain backgrounds and it's so minor that it's hardly worth all the drama!...and keyboard burn in?... nothing for keyboard, that's ridiculous, who constantly has the keyboard up 24/7?
  • Well mine has been in a case from day one and doesn't have a scratch so far. My last phone was a galaxy S6 and it has scratches all over the gold at the top and bottom. This phone is holding up much better than the S6.
  • My pixel XL looks brand new. Slapped a case on it since day 1 and no issues. The only complaint at all is my Bluetooth setting turns off at random. A bit of a pain when I'm driving and it shuts off mid call. Other than that, it's been a really good fit.
  • 6 months later, still looks new. Using X-level faux leather case.
  • Get a case and shut up! If you don't like cases deal with it! That's what insurance is for!
  • or, you know, don't use a case and don't damage the device. also don't waste money on insurance... that's what i've done since... ahh... let me see here... about 2 decades now and [edit: at least] a dozen phones? damn now i feel old. but at least my phones are pristine when i resell them and i never once had to bury them inside a case like my great grandmother's couch, hidden away under cheap feeling plastic wrap and never allowing her to fully enjoy what she owned.
  • I agree. Insurance is a joke lol
  • Wrt insurance - if you've got homeowners or renters insurance,
  • If you have homeowners or renters insurance, find out if they'll cover the phone. It's usually really cheap and there's often no deductible. Way less expensive then the carriers charge
  • Insurance isn't going to replace your phone because it's scratched all to Hell. OTOH, a case isn't going to protect your phone from every possible drop.
  • True
  • Do things my way or I'll use exclamation points at you!
  • Lol
  • That makes no sense. The argument is about how well the phone holds up. You sayung, "put a case on it...", has nothing to do with the argument.
  • I have had my Pixel XL in an Otterbox Defender since I first bought it back in early November, and my phone is in pristine shape. I listen to music and podcasts all the time as I make my way around Manhattan everyday, so I need reliable, dependable, protection.
  • I usually love carrying my phones around naked but this phone is different, for some reason it just feels so slippery to me. It probably doesn't help that one of the few days I took my Note 4 out of its case is of course the day I dropped it and destroyed the screen (RIP Note 4). I have a super thing case on it right now more for grip than anything else.
  • the only think I love naked is my wife... cover that phone up....
  • I like her naked too...
  • Don't we all??? (JK... don't murder me)
  • awaiting payment bro. your check bounced. no more loving for you
  • Huh
  • Lolz!
  • I agree. Never used a case before but i didn't like how this felt in my hand so I added a thin case with a grippier surface. I love it. I also added a screen protector. After reading this article I'm glad I took these steps. My last three phones were Motorola Droid and I never need the protection on those. I miss a lot of the Motorola features.
  • My Pixel looks just fine... I have a DBrand skin on the glass panel on back... Very slight wear on the bottom edge near the speaker and charging port (probably from fumbling around at night trying to plug it in, lol)
  • Same here. I have an Iblason transformer case for most daily use and an Iblason ArmorBox case for dirty days. I'm a contractor and landscaper who listens to podcasts literally all day long. The phone sits in a belt clip hopefully under my shirt. I also have a TGSP and the DBrand skin on the back glass. Trying to keep it as pristine as possible. So far, so good.
  • My Pixel has been in a case with a glass screen protector since day 1. I started with an OtterBox Commuter, but changed to a Spigen with a kickstand. I also use a horizontal belt holster, so the phone has its own place.
    I've cased and screen protected all my Androids and iPhones.
  • I use a case because it's so easy to drop something that is rather expensive and necessary in our day and age. I don't like using a case but I do like selling my "old" phones and it helps to keep them in pristine condition if possible. I wish one of these companies would step up and make one from the new BLACK STAINLESS STEEL that you find on appliances. It would NOT add much weight at all because the device is so small, and it does not get fingerprints, and it would not block signals any more than Aluminum does already. That would get my money for sure!
  • What do these tech journalists do with their phones?!
    I have had my Pixel since introduced. No case. Carry in my pocket. It looks nothing like the hot Mrs those photos show.
  • Pretty sad the only way to have the phone look decent after 6 months is to use a case. So you either get a phone made with premium materials and cover it up or you get a phone made with lesser quality material, like plastic, and use it without a case. I'd prefer a phone made of soft touch plastic and use it without a case.
  • I'd probably lean that way most of the time as well.
  • While I already expressed my experience - which is that my Pixel after 7 months still looks really good - without a case and carrying in my pocket - I agree with you about the use of poly material. Still, my favorite phone of all time is the Nexus 5 and the soft touch plastic. I think that phone looked really good, wore really well and was easily and securely held in the hand. The Pixel and other phones with metal/glass backs look good when you buy them, but feel slippery in the hand.
    The only phone I have ever used a case for is the Nexus 6. The combo of the slippery back and the size always made me feel like I was going to drop it!
  • I will be glad when the industry as a whole moves away from the glass = premium mindset. The materials a phone is made of only make up one aspect of a phone feelings premium. I doubt we will move away from it any time soon but the sooner the better for me.
  • Honestly, I just got the Pixel somewhat recently and I can't imagine not using it in a case. Not only for protection but the design of the phone is meh. it looks the most interesting in blue but otherwise not very interesting looking. Mine will continue to live in a case unless I'm taking the sim out.
  • At first I was only using a SlickWrap skin and a screen protector. That lasted about 2 months until I dropped it on pavement and cracked the screen. Now I just say f it and don't use a case, skin, or screen protector since it's already ruined. I do have insurance but the crack on the screen is barely noticable so I don't really feel justified in paying the deductible.
  • Mine has got few dings here and there because I have dropped the phone. It looks to be holding up like any other phone but that software is still buttery smooth which I can't say even for my new G6.
  • Mine is in absolute perfect condition since I put it in a clear case (a necessity to show off the awesome blue color) and a tempered glass screen protector as soon as it came out of the box! But I take care of all my devices. Already have accessories for the LG G6 which should show up soon. And picked up a third case for my Pixel XL as well.
  • You have the best colored Pixel!
  • Had mine 6 months and if I sold it today, I would label it mint condition. Still runs like a champ too.
  • I've recently acquired my Pixel XL, after spending years using other Android and Apple phones, and my experience during the past few months have been nothing short of spectacular. Having said that, and because of my current state of ecstasy over my Google Pixel phone, I have been following with interest the news about the next generation of Pixel phones which are in the works and I am wondering if Google will be forward thinking in offering its current users some way to upgrade to the next generation without having to pay the exorbitant amounts that carriers gouge from their clients. I know that some carriers, if not all, do offer trade-ins but this is usually a pitiful amount especially for owners who take better care of their devices than Google employees. Just a thought from a consumer, while I congratulate you on a fine product with which I'm STILL happy.
  • Hear! Hear! Agree 1,000% I've had my Pixel since October and it's in PERFECT condition. Designers provided a special pocket inside all my bags to accommodate smartphones, and I have a loop on the phone for carrying safely. My devices are important to me- so I treat them accordingly. My prior smartphones were all Droids (ever since the first Motorola clam-shell), this is my first non-Droid. Although I always liked iPhone's design, I never went iPhone because I wanted my own freedom over how my phone worked. And I never liked the cartoon-ish appearance of all their apps. Some complain of the 'boring' look of the Pixel - frankly I love it! It's a clean look, understated and fits my hand perfectly. My only regret all this time was the thick upper & lower bezel. I would LOVE if Google rewarded us by offering a discounted path to upgrade.
  • There are lots of users in Google Forum with cracked rear glass without even dropping the phone
  • I've got a shattered rear glass panel on my Pixel XL which was in a case with screen protector. Taped it up as i was getting glass on my fingers. Was initially quoted fifty pounds to repair before I went on holiday but was now told it will cost three times as much, since I came back and was ready to send!
  • You guys worry too much. This phone is made by htc, so stop worrying too much about cases and it's build quality. Worrie about amoled burning, Bluetooth issues, speaker problems....Infact, this is the most problematic flagship in reality that is keep getting undeserved raving reviews. This phone showed a lot about reviewers objectivity.
  • lol, all phones have problems. You and your ilks irrational hatred of the Pixel brings me endless amusement. You always act like your hatred for the phone is the true unbiased opinion, hilarious.
  • There's no worry here, it's just a conversation.
  • Well, at least it was priced right. Oh wait...
  • Next time, on Intervention: "Flo, your friends and I asked you here because we care about you. You have a Pixel case addiction, and we want you to get help."
  • WTH do some of you do with your phones to get them to look that bad?
  • Knife fights with guerrilla drug lords.
  • That explains it. I forgot. Tech writers are uber mensch :) !
  • I knew it
  • I put the thin transparent case from Google as soon as I got it. It looks brand new.
  • I've got my Note 4, never in a case, that looks newer and has less cosmetic damage than my S7 I kept in a case. My friends Pixel looks horrible as well, and so do most iPhones I see. So much for "Premium" materials. It's more like seal the battery in a fragile body so consumers need to replace phones.
  • Mine looks as pristine as did when it came out of the box, because, yanno, i look after my things ....
  • I had the Pixel XL for 3 months and it had a few small scratches where the screen protector didn't cover the bottom bezel. But I rocked that phone with a very thin clear case and it survived all drops. Now I have the smaller sized Pixel and it looks great! I have a full front glass screen protector and a clear speck case on it. Even my husband's Pixel XL is in perfect condition, despite him breaking screen protectors one after another and being very hard on phones.
  • My pixel is in perfect condition. I've been using a Spigen case since day one. It's super slim and compliments the phone nicely. I also baby my phones so that helps a lot. I love my pixel it's a great phone.
  • So how is my Google Pixel holding up? I've had a case on mine since day one. Not a scratch. Also I'm not using a screen protector because I feel they are a scam. My Pixel is easily the smoothest must dependable phone I've ever used. The camera is superb and the video quality is top notch. The battery life is excellent. Call quality is excellent. I can happily say that I'm quite impressed with the Google Pixel and I'm very satisfied.
  • "I'm not using a screen protector because I feel they are a scam." You feel they are a scam until you scratch your screen. You obviously are a careful user so you are probably fine but most people will eventually have something rub up against their screen which will scratch it. I have been selling phone for 20 years and it is very very rare to see a screen without scratches that had no been covered with a screen protector.
  • I've had my Pixel for 4 months and have been reasonably careful. I'm disappointed at the scratches on the screen. I didn't have a screen protector for my Galaxy S5 either, but it didn't accumulate wear this quickly. I waited a bit to get a case because I wasn't sure which one to get. I initially settled on the transparent Google case, but before it arrived my Pixel took a tumble onto a smooth tile floor: the drop was less than 12", but still caused a nick on the corner -- the underlying silver metal is highly visible. I'm disappointed that the coating is so delicate. The transparent case was OK, but then I got a Google Live Case, Artist series. Quick review: like the transparent case it's slim, no shock protection. The printed design I selected looks great on the front, but fades to light pink (from blood red) on the sides. My girlfriend joked that it looks like a Hello Kitty phone when in my shirt pocket (meh, not a big deal). On top of that, the shortcut button that launches apps failed within a month. When I asked for an exchange, Google support originally denied it, saying that I was only allowed two weeks to "change my mind". I had to send two additional e-mails (angrier each time) before they finally gave me a refund for the defective product. Overall I'm happy with the phone, I just wish it wasn't so delicate. And I love the Project Fi service: I'm in a Washington DC suburb and cell reception is at least as good as Verizon, but I'm paying $70 less per month.
  • Of course its delicate its a $750 piece of electronics. And the tempered screens now are stronger than your s5. That is just fact. If you don't want to worry about scratches buy a cheap tempered glass. Even the newest gorilla glass will scratch. And I don't know what you pay for Verizon, but considering at this point Verizon charges $60 for gb of data unlimited talk and text you aren't saving $70 a month on fi.
  • My pretty Pixel went into a pretty case three months ago when I finally got mine shipped and it has remained pretty in its pretty case. The end.
  • I dropped my Pixel XL a month ago and there's a small crack in the top right corner. That's about the only blemish.
  • My S7 edge still looks new after more than a year.
  • No case = no sympathy. Suck it up and quit complaining because YOU did something irresponsible.
  • This right here. Show me a phone that doesn't get scratched up without a case.
  • My Pixel XL is still pristine after 6 months. It's in a Parallax case from Caseology.
  • Spigen ultra hybrid clear case shows off the blue and increases confidence in holding it. I often take pictures one handed using the volume button and I just felt it's too much of a risk. Plus it's keeping the back glass scratch free...
  • alex just needs to learn how to take care of a phone. but I guess I wouldn't care either if I got every phone in the world for free
    I have never used a case and mine ALL look like they've been in a case since they came out of the box.
    I don't get why people just don't care about a $700 to $1000 device.
  • and btw AC once again, I had to swtich to my browser with Ad Block enabled because as I was typing, you guys had some auto play video Ad going and as I was TRYING to type the page would jump back up just high enough to see the video, and it pulled me back up top like 5 times so I could see the video Ad. Ad block. No page jumping..... really sad guys. This site using Tizen Code? or maybe you just need to hire a 13 year old to show you guys how to make a site that has ads and can still function smoothly and correctly . like say, ALL other web sites. smh...
  • "I'm using software that alters how your site displays things, and something was broken. It's YOUR fault."
  • So me trying to use a browser that doesn't block ads, you know, because ads PAY for the site make this site "Break" and that is MY fault??? seriously? OK. I will ALWAYS use ad block so this site never gets a dime of ad money,
  • congrats russell, you win the dumbest comment of the day award!
  • My Pixel XL is covered with a Rhinoshield Bumper, Skinit Vinyl decal on the rear and a tempered glass screen protector, all from practically the day I got the phone. There are a few minute nicks on the chamfered front edge of the phone but they're practically invisible.
  • My pixel looks brand new, I have a blue one. Been in a tech21 slim case since I got it. Pretty pleased with the phone compared to my old Droid turbo. My dad got a pixel too, unfortunately his has a issue with the speaker when talking to people on the phone (they cannot hear him unless he was on speaker phone or Bluetooth) Verizon replaced it, no hassle.
  • Pretty sure Google are replacing phones with this issue, get in touch with Google if you haven't already.
  • My Nexus 6 is still holding up real well :}
  • I really would like to see an Active style Pixel, a case is necessary not to just protect it but because it is slippery. I would have to switch to ATT to get the S8 Active but that is the only other phone I could see switching for. Take the Pixel Xl make it more rugged and not slippery, make a quick flashlight button and Camera/Video hard Key and I am so in!! Otherwise moving to Att is always on the mind from Tmobile