The Google Pixel 4a is the latest smartphone to go through the gauntlet of durability checks from Zack Nelson of JerryRigEverything and it turned out to be impressively solid. The new affordable Pixel survived Zack's test without any substantial structural damage. The plastic-made Pixel 4a was resilient enough for him to conclude that it "might be the most durable budget phone" he has tested in 2020.
Google Pixel 4a durability test
As always, Zack began with a display scratch test. The Pixel 4a sports a Gorilla Glass 3 display and as you'd expect, it "scratches at a level six with deeper grooves at a level seven". That's the standard for glass, whether it's Gorilla Glass 3, 5, or Victus. The newer variants only essentially improve the shatter resistance capabilities. Nonetheless, keys, coins, or even razor blades won't damage your Pixel 4a's display.
However, you still might want to avoid keeping your phone together with any of those items. The phone is made of plastic and a razor blade can easily carve out huge chunks from the black polycarbonate body. On the flip side, a plastic body means your phone will never have a shattered back panel to replace. The speaker grill is also made of plastic and "secure."
Things get interesting towards the bottom and top edges of the phone, though. Google has seemingly embedded a thin layer of copper underneath the plastic coating around those parts. This metallic layer serves as part of the antenna for the phone.
The rear-mounted capacitive fingerprint scanner also impressed Zack with its "superfast" speeds. The scanner could recognize his fingerprints equally fast even with substantial damage on the surface.
The Google Pixel 4a has an OLED display that, as usual, turns slightly white if exposed to direct flame for about 20 seconds. But the screen did mostly recovered after some time.
The budget Pixel survives the bend test
The bend test is the last and the most important part of this durability test from Zack and the Google Pixel 4a survived. It initially curved a bit but "the phone locks out and does not snap in half," or crack. The device was equally resilient from both sides.
The Google Pixel competes with the likes of OnePlus Nord and Apple iPhone SE in the budget segment and it's more durable than both of these devices. The Nord had its frame snap and screen break after bending, while the iPhone SE has a glass back and, well, glass breaks.
Google also has a 5G variant of the Pixel 4a. That device sports a slightly bigger, 6.2-inch display, two rear cameras, and additional antennas for 5G compatibility. Hopefully, these won't be a factor in durability and it is as durable and resilient as the 4G LTE-only variant.