Wireless charging has been around for a while, but it’s never mixed that well with metal phone casings. That's for obvious reasons related to how well metal conducts electricity.
The Pixel 5, however, seems to offer both wireless charging and a unibody design made from aluminum. But how? A new teardown has just revealed those secrets.
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The teardown comes from PBKReviews, and it seems the mystery isn’t really much of a mystery at all. It turns out that the Pixel 5 doesn’t actually have an uninterrupted metal shell, despite the fact it looks like it does.
The teardown reveals that there’s a cutout in the middle of the Pixel 5’s aluminium chassis, while the bio-resin plastic on the outside of the phone just makes it look like a fully-uninterrupted surface. That way the inductive charging coils can do their thing, without a metal shell affecting performance.
This sort of thing isn’t unheard of, so this is hardly unique to the Pixel 5, but it does show how phone-makers can take a "best of both" approach to aluminum shells and wireless charging.
The teardown also reveals a number of other secrets about the Pixel 5’s design. Like how the mmWave 5G antennae have been moved up to the top edge by the volume buttons, and a graphite film to help dissipate heat from the camera and battery.
There are also clips inside that should do a better job of keeping the screen attached. That means that if the glue holding the screen to the phone fails — as has been happening with the Pixel 4’s back glass — the clips should keep it in place.
iFixit’s X-ray shots also noted that the Pixel 5 uses a logic board like the one on the Pixel 4, which limits the amount of room inside the phone. So no matter how much Google shifts things around, there are going to be issues related to adding a larger battery and other important pieces.