Google’s Pixel lineup might offer some of the best phones out there when it comes to software, but they’ve always struggled with one hardware issue or another over the years. From the Pixel 2 XL display to the Pixel 3’s long list of problems, the reliability of Pixel devices isn’t among their best selling points. Now it looks like the back panel of some Pixel 4 XL units are peeling off.
Via reddit and Google’s own support forums, a number of customers are reporting that the back panels on their Pixel 4 XL units are coming unglued, typically starting in one corner and worsening from there. It seems like the majority separate from the left side corners, but that may just be a coincidence.
While Google seems to be shipping out replacement devices to those affected, that doesn’t necessarily solve things, since the refurbished phones sent out can also experience this problem. According to a Reddit comment last month from a user purporting to be the General Manager of a uBreakiFix store, the peeling is often caused by a faulty connector that causes the phone’s battery to expand. They go on to say that it’s a known issue behind-the-scenes. 😟 Expanding batteries aren’t new to Google smartphones, either: a not-insignificant number of Nexus 6P owners experienced this kind of failure. While it’s a problem that can afflict any smartphone, a pattern of such failures isn’t a good sign, and tends to lend itself to the narrative that Google’s phones just aren’t as well-engineered as they could be.
We’ve reached out to Google for more information, and will update this post with any updates.