In-depth Google Pixel 3a durability test highlights the strength of plastic (video)

If you've been holding off on buying Google's budget-friendly new Pixel 3a or 3a XL for fear of making a major build quality compromise, the ultimate durability test is here to prove you have absolutely nothing to be worried about.

Yes, the Pixel 3a is made almost entirely of "cheap" plastic (compared to the "premium" all-glass construction of the regular Pixel 3 and 3 XL), but as it turns out, the differences are largely cosmetic. And based on our recent poll, it doesn't look like that many people are bothered by the "inferior" aesthetic of the lower-cost stock Android phones either.

Kicking off his destructive, semi-scientific inspection of the Pixel 3a's exterior, Zack Nelson from popular DIY YouTube channel JerryRigEverything declares the Asahi Dragontrail glass used to protect the handset's display essentially as robust as Corning's better-known Gorilla Glass technology. That means contact with keys and coins shouldn't be a problem, but as always, a screen protector could save you quite a bit of hassle in trickier circumstances.

Meanwhile, the plastic, glossy-finished sides of the Google Pixel 3a are described as "super-hard", looking like they might be able to easily resist some long-term damage. As for the single front and single rear-facing cameras, you'll be happy to find out they're both protected with glass to withstand daily scratches. The same cannot be said about the relatively fragile rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, which is highly susceptible to scratches but also capable of functioning without a glitch when badly damaged.

Skipping over the pointless flame test, we come to the most important examination of the phone's structural durability. While the Pixel 3a becomes quite flexible when its frame goes under physical pressure, the handset does not bend, returning back to normal after said pressure is removed. In other words, it seems highly unlikely that the phone will incur permanent damage out in the real world if you don't drop it or try pretty hard to harm it. Nicely done, Google!

Related phones

Pixel 3a
  • Display 5.6" 1080 x 2220 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3000 mAh



1. Sparkxster

Posts: 1238; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

Would like to see dragontrail glass on more phones.

3. Cat97

Posts: 1920; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

If it was good, you would see it.

2. TBomb

Posts: 1549; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

I'm cool with having a plastic phone. This just gives me some more comfort in getting one.

4. Venom

Posts: 3668; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Just goes to show you how amazing the Pixel 3A is.

5. p51d007

Posts: 705; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

I'll take PLASTIC phones over these metal/glass back covered "stylish" phones. For ONE thing, they have to be LESS expensive to produce, and SECOND, considering the price of most phones, who doesn't stick some sort of case or even just a bumper case over them, which renders all that "style" covered up in the first place.

6. MrMalignance

Posts: 300; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

How is this an article? You basically wrote what the video says. The only original part is where you air quoted negative catch words to stress most of the biases your site created

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