Opinion: Pixel 7 & Pixel 6 camera glass shattering is more proof that Google's hardware is still far from perfect

When the Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro made their debut last October, the internet was awash with positive reviews of how good the duo’s hardware had become.

Compared to their predecessors, there was belief that Google had finally nailed it, and that the hardware on offer had matched what many have long considered the best-in-class software.

No doubt the Pixel 7 and Pixel 6 were a fresh breath of air into Google’s smartphone lineup. Sure, the Pixel series has always been great with software, but hardware has mostly been subpar.

Google-Pixel-1

The debuting model had a unique finish that was overshadowed by farcically thick bezels that added no value to the overall aesthetics or functionality of the phone.

Its successor was marred with display quality issues that forced the company into extending the phone’s warranty by two years. Quite a rare gesture, but a welcome move.

While the vanilla Pixel 3 was a fairly nice piece of hardware, the hideous notch on the XL quickly became the talk of the town. The phone was also subject to speakerphone and bootloop issues that were linked to hardware defects.

The 3D technology its successor housed in place of the notch wasn’t always up to task and neither did the paint on the aluminum frame nor the oleophobic coating on sections of the screen.

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Pixel 4 paint chipping

Things got even murkier for the Pixel 4 XL, forcing Google to extend the phone’s warranty in select markets by a year owing to power-related problems. Yet again, this was believed to be hardware related.

Even though the Pixel 5 didn’t feature any premium specs and features, it happens to be one of the best Pixel phones in recent times owing to the striking balance between specs and pricing.

But the Pixel 6 came about to change things. It was Google’s first high-end smartphone since the Pixel 4 series, offering a flagship chipset and premium build materials to go with Google’s industry-best software.

Even then, hardware quirks were still evident on the Pixel 6, among them constant display flickering, a dodgy in-display fingerprint scanner, and even the camera glass cracking or shattering from inside without any physical contact.

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Click/tap to enlarge

While totally unacceptable for a device that costs a small fortune, a broken camera glass wasn’t unheard of in the smartphone industry before the Pixel 6.

Back in 2020, similar reports emerged from some Galaxy S20 Ultra owners. Some months later, Samsung acknowledged it as a hardware defect that resulted in “pressure buildup underneath the glass”, thus shattering it.

But unlike Samsung, Google never acknowledged the Pixel 6 camera glass shuttering issue, only for it to pop up once again on the latest Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. And this time, it’s more severe.

Pixel-7-camera-glass-breaking
Source

For a phone that was meant to be the refined version of the Pixel 6 with polished hardware, having such a major issue carry over speaks volumes about Google’s quality control.

Perhaps reports about the Pixel 6 camera glass breaking weren’t loud enough to reach Google. However, there has been more coverage about the Pixel 7.

Granted, Google may finally come out and say something about what could be happening with the camera glass. Even so, there’s little doubt this is hardware related, which makes me wonder what plans Google has for the Pixel 8.

One thing for sure is that recent developments about the Pixel 7 camera glass shattering have definitely been more widespread and do confirm that Google’s hardware is still far from perfect.

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On the brighter side, The Information reported that Google is restructuring its internal teams to focus more on hardware. On paper, this sounds like a good thing, but we’ll have to wait and see what the Pixel 8 brings.

Google has been making its own smartphone hardware for close to a decade now, so there’s hardly any excuses for such a huge entity with deep pockets.

Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Have you encountered a Pixel 6 or Pixel 7 with a broken camera glass?

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Featured image: Twitter (Jinkce)

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Hillary Keverenge

Review Editor. Besides phones, I also enjoy the farm, music, football, and, of course, food.