Google Pixel 3 XL durability test suggests you may want to put a case on it

If you’re in the market for a hot new high-end smartphone, you’re probably considering Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL... alongside about a dozen other possibilities. Granted, these two aren't exactly affordable, and their battery life is far from impressive, but Android purists will be happy to know the software experience is smoother than ever before.

The single rear-facing camera is also surprisingly powerful, even compared to some dual and triple shooter solutions out there, while device durability appears to be a bit of a mixed bag. That’s at least according to popular YouTuber Zack Nelson from JerryRigEverything.

Nelson almost couldn’t get the Pixel 3 XL to flex at all in his signature bend test, which is obviously a great thing from an endurance standpoint. It also means the handset’s water protection will probably stand the test of time, no matter how often you forget this bad boy in your back pocket and end up sitting on it.

Unfortunately, scratch resistance seems to be the new phone’s major vulnerability. Not only is the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner about as scratchable as you expect, exhibiting issues registering fingerprints once damaged, but the entire backplate of the Pixel 3 XL is one big scratch magnet. Well, not the whole thing. Just the non-glossy lower part.

This shows its weakness in contact with both coins and keys, although if it makes you feel any better (and it shouldn’t), plastic objects don’t leave any marks on the back of the newest “pure Google” jumbo-sized phone.

Interestingly, another test performed by YouTuber Erica Griffin, aka the Technology Nerd Who Likes to Film Stuff, demonstrates a relatively easy fix to this problem. All you need is water, a toothbrush, some soap, and a bit of commitment. For the most part, those ugly scuff marks will disappear like magic, proving the glass surface isn’t technically as easily scratchable as it seems.

But the average user may not want to go through that kind of trouble to clean such an expensive device, so you can either forget about it or slap a case on it.

Scratch test aside, it might be worth pointing out that the Pixel 3 XL is deemed sturdier overall than its predecessor by Zack Nelson, with a number of minor but noticeable durability improvements in tow. Some of the buttons, the sides, and even the screen are better able to handle drops and... fire.

Related phones

Pixel 3 XL
  • Display 6.3 inches
    2960 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP (Single camera)
    8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
    4GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 3430 mAh
  • OS Android 10


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