Pixel 3 Fabric Case Review: Both Beautiful and Nerve-racking

I ordered a Google Pixel 3 durning their excellent Black Friday sale. Along with that purchase, I decided to buy the Pixel Case as well. I had some reservations, but was incredibly interested by the concept of a fabric case.

In the thread about the Pixel 3 Event I talked about how cool I thought the fabric aesthetic was. Even more than that—it was very distinctive. Any company can build black and chrome rectangles. This really was a way to visually differentiate Google’s products.

Aesthetics and first impression

When the case arrived, my first thought it that it was beautiful. For a decade there have been smartphone cases, but I had not seen anything quite like this. The soft texture in combination with the bright green power button is really something.

Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, the case feels amazing. It is soft and easy to grip—although in a different way than rubber or leather cases. From my observation it provides more grip when holding it, but less on tables or other hard surfaces.

The case is thin, but adds just enough depth to the Pixel 3, where it becomes about the perfect size.

Durability

My second thought was—it’s so thin. This phone will never survive a drop.

Even more concerning to me was the narrow lip over the screen. The entire phone is glass, so the back might survive, but what about the screen?

While there are plenty of drop text videos for other cases. I couldn’t find one with the Pixel’s fabric case—hopefully, that’s not because the phone didn’t survive any of the tests.

I’m sticking with the fabric case

In the end I have decided to keep the case. So far I absolutely love it.

The phone is insured, and the case is too beautiful to give up. Insurance will cover a couple of drops. When I’m out of free repairs, I’ll move to a bulletproof Otterbox case.

The frosted glass on the back of the Pixel 3 is easily scratched. I read a few reviews that mentioned plastic parts inside the case were scratching the back of the phone. The interior of the fabric case is made of a soft velvet-like material. It almost feels like it could polish the back of your phone while it is in the case.

Finally, there’s the Pixel Stand, which wirelessly charges the phone. Part of the reason to have a glass back and fabric case is to allow the phone to charge wirelessly. I am afraid that getting a bulkier case may interfere with wireless charging, should I decide to buy the stand.

My recommendation

If you’ve decided to spend the money on a Pixel, spend the extra $100 on insurance and then get this case. It is a pleasure.


Long-term notes

For most products I will keep running notes of my experience with them. Sometimes things break, wear out or I have an interesting experience with them. As those happen, I try to keep these posts updated.

November 22, 2018 - Phone and case arrived

November 29, 2018 - Screen protector arrives

Despite mixed reviews I decided to go with the Caseology Tempered Glass Screen Protector. It doesn’t seem like anyone is happy with their protectors. Probably because people only review it when their phone breaks.

Caseology ships packages with two screen protectors. One of mine was warped and obviously unusable. The other had a small blemish in the corner. It isn’t ideal, but it isn’t a show-stopper either.

The Pixel 3’s screen curves pretty sharply towards the edges. Because of that no manufacturer makes screen covers that go all the way to the edge. The Caseology screen protector is no different.

It did come with a guide and I had no problems with the application process. More notes on the screen protector are here.

December 10, 2018 - First drop with case

I went to grab the phone off my night stand and had a bit of a scare when I knocked it off. I have concrete floors and the phone fell flat. Screen down.

Luckily there was no damage. I am not sure if this was because of the screen durability, screen protector or the fabric case.

January 9, 2019 - Purchased the Pixel Stand

I was mulling over the idea of buying an additional charger to keep in my backpack. However, an additional USB-C charger from Google costs $35. I decided to just pay $70 for the Pixel Stand and throw the one that came with the phone in my backpack.

Wireless charging mostly seems to work with the case. However, It seems like the phone frequently goes from the charging rapidly status to charging slowly. I am unsure if this is the stand, case or a software issue with the phone. I did open another thread here.

Any insight would be appreciated!

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I like the look the fabric cases. I’m concerned about how well these hold up over time.

It seems like the fabric would soak up a lot of gross stuff. I can imagine sugary drinks and food from the table. Maybe sweat from working out.

Your last update was in December. How does this case look now?

Here’s the case. It seems holding up fine and I still get a ton of compliments on it. Maybe it’s a little darker?

Although it wasn’t a consideration when I bought it, I think the color is pretty good at hiding stains.

I noticed that the Google logo was starting to come off the case and just pulled the whole thing off. It’s just a sticker so there’s no damage to the case.