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A list of issues with Google Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL reported by users

The newly launched Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL comes with brilliant cameras and software, but just like the Pixel 2 series, the new smartphones also have their own issues.

  • Updated: March 20, 2019 9:35 AM IST
Google Pixel 3 XL (5)

Google announced the third-generation Pixel smartphones earlier this month, and they bring some upgrades over the previous generation. The Pixel 3 now comes with an 18:9 display, whereas the Pixel 2 featured a screen with 16:9 aspect ratio. The Pixel 3 XL, on the other hand, comes with a notched display, and unlike other Android smartphones, this one is a deeper one.

Google has packed brilliant cameras and excellent software on the Pixel 3 phones, but just like the previous two generations, the latest one is also reportedly marred with some issues. Here’s a look at the list of issues with Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL as reported by users.

Google Pixel 3 Camera OIS Hardware Issue

The newest issue affecting Pixel 3 and maybe, Pixel 3 XL users is the faulty OIS hardware. An OIS is the most important component that allows for stable shots in any condition. A video posted to Reddit shows the OIS hardware could be faulty and causing flickering images and thus blurred images when the shutter button is pressed. Google has not confirmed if it is aware of such issue and plans a fix or replacement.

Google Pixel 3 Camera Bug

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are affected by a plethora of bugs and software glitches. The latest in that saga is a camera bug that seems to be affecting only the Pixel 3 and not the Pixel 3 XL. The issue here is that every time you try to use the camera from within a third-party camera app, the main camera would crash or become non-responsive.

The only viable solution in such a scenario is to restart the device. While it makes the device usable, does not resolve the primarily problem and some users say it is better to restrict third-party apps from using camera altogether as precaution. It is not clear whether the issue is caused by just a software bug forcing Google Camera app to not work from a third-party app or is it related to a hardware problem. Google says it has identified a fix and will roll out the same in the coming weeks.

Call quality and connectivity issues

A number of Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL users have taken to Google Product forums to report issues related to call quality and call connectivity on their devices. Digging in the reports about the problems, the issues range from baseline issues about the sound during calls including choppy, tinny, and even inconsistent audio to call connection times and issues with the microphone. As reported previously, the issue is rather widespread with users even taking to Reddit to report the issues.

The issues don’t seem to be limited to any particular device type, country, model, and seem to affect both Wi-Fi as well as cellular calls. Device replacement and even software reset does not seem to fix the problem. Google has not issued any comment at the time of writing.

Vibrations for notifications during video recording

Some Pixel 3 users are observing that their device will “still vibrate for the incoming notifications” while video recording. The vibration from the notification will cause the video to distort and lose focus while recording. Ideally, most Pixel devices should block out the vibration and the sound of the notifications when the user is recording the video. However, on some devices, especially the Google Pixel 3, the software is not blocking the vibration and the sound.

This issue is not limited to the latest Google Pixel devices as some users with older Pixel devices are also noticing the problem. However, there is an easy fix to the problem that we have outlined in the article embedded below.

SMS texts vanishing from inbox

Some users reported unusual disappearing of text messages in Pixel 3 devices after Google’s recent security patch update. Both the Pixel 3 and 3 XL users may have been affected by this issue, although it is not confirmed if the issue is with Pixel 3 firmware or just in the Messages app.

Screen flickering issue

This issue was listed on a Reddit thread known as r/GooglePixel where users talk about how the display brightness is inconsistent. Users reported that the issue caused the display to brightly light up in some parts while the other portions are dimly lit. Users are assuming that this is connected to the ambient display sensor which may be malfunctioning. There have been other devices that faced similar issues which were later fixed with software updates, and is these are verified, then Google will probably come up with a quick update to fix this issue.

Fast charging issue with third-party wireless chargers

While the two new Pixel smartphones support fast wireless charging at 10W, it seems restricted to the Pixel Stand only. Users are reporting that when third-party chargers, wireless charging is being capped at 5W. While one reason for this could be safety, it seems more likely that Google is doing this to discourage the use of other products while effectively pressuring users to buy its own Pixel Stand if they want truly fast wireless charging.

Update – November 6: The latest software update for the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL reportedly offers a fix to this issue.

Watch: Google Pixel 3 XL Hands-On

Buzzing sound in the speaker at certain frequencies

October 23: Some Google Pixel 3 users are complaining about distorted or buzzing sound from the bottom speaker. Some of the complaints also claim that this problem persists even at low volume. According to the initial round of complaints, it looks like the issue is only limited to Google Pixel 3 XL devices. To dig deeper into the complaints, users state that this problem is limited to “certain notifications sounds, songs, and videos”. The complaints added that the buzzing sound was triggered by “low-to-mid-range frequencies” that range from 20 to 50Hz.

Talking about possible workarounds the issue, one user reported that the issue about buzzing sound “went away” on its own while other users believe that the issue lies in the hardware and have requested for a replacement.

That said, at least Google has acknowledged the issue and promised that it’ll be fixed soon via an upcoming software update. The information was provided to a Twitter user by a Google support agent.

Poor audio in video recording

A lot of Pixel 3 users have complained about audio quality issues when recording videos on the smartphone. The issue also came to limelight when a pair of popular YouTubers compared the recording audio quality with the iPhone XS Max. The Pixel 2 XL also had a similar issue where the audio appeared to be distorted and high pitched. While Google issued a software update to fix this issue, this time around, the issue seems to be a little different.

Soon after users started complaining, Google issued a statement saying that it has specifically tuned the audio to reduce the background noise, while optimizing the spoken words. In short, Google is saying that it is by design, and not a problem as such.

Google commented on the issue saying “we made several advances in the audio recording capabilities of Pixel 3, including enabling stereo recording in landscape mode. When recording outdoors, our tuning is specifically designed to reduce background noise like wind and road noise and overly loud sounds and optimize for audible speech. To achieve this, we selectively de-emphasize some frequencies, which minimizes disruptive noises and optimizes the resulting audio. We do extensive user testing of our products to ensure they are tuned for real-world usage, and we’re always looking at additional tuning opportunities based on user feedback.”

Memory Management

We have all types of flagship smartphones out there from the likes of Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi and OnePlus, and most of them come with minimum 6GB of RAM, and a maximum of 8GB. Xiaomi is also expected to launch a smartphone with 10GB of RAM. Now, while OEMs have been offering more amount of RAM for better memory management, Google thinks that 4GB of RAM is good enough to offer smooth Android experience.

A lot of users have reported about the memory management issues that kill background apps. Among the prominent used cases, music and podcast apps just close without offering any warning. This could be because the Android OS needs more RAM to be free. Maybe, a flagship smartphone with 4GB of RAM in 2018 wasn’t a good idea after all.

Update – November 6: Google, in a statement to 9to5google and Android Police, said that a fix will arrive “in the coming weeks” to “keep background apps from being prematurely closed”. This particular RAM issue essentially causes app crashes when users combine actions from multiple apps.

Camera fails to save pictures

Google has highly focussed on the Pixel cameras, right from the very first smartphone. And while OEMs are going for dual, triple and even quad cameras at the back, Google is just using one camera, which does a better job than others. But then, what’s the point of having a great camera smartphone when it is marred with some issues.

Now, this is not a completely new issue, as even Nexus smartphones faced a similar problem. Both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL sometimes fail to save the photos. A lot of users have complained about the same on Reddit which also means that it is not an isolated issue. Complains have already been noted on Google Product Forums, but Google is yet to respond. Some users did note that the problem could be caused by the Doze battery saving feature, and disabling it worked to fix the problem for some users.

Wi-Fi fails to connect

This is one problem that causes occasionally where the Pixel device fails to automatically latch on to the Wi-Fi network even when it is in coverage. We have been facing the same issue on our Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 2 XL where even after turning on Wi-Fi, it doesn’t connect with the network for a while. The issue seems to be particularly with 802.1x EAP (enterprise secured) networks. Some users on Reddit and other forums have also been reporting about speed drop issues.

Pixel 3 XL growing another notch

Google Pixel 3 XL’s wider and deeper notch has been controversial from day 1 and now users are reporting that the smartphone is growing another notch to the side of the device. A number of users have taken to Twitter and Reddit to report a weird bug that is leading to second notch on the side of the display. Google has confirmed that it will release an update to fix the bug that is causing this effect.

Overheating during charging, leading to shutdowns

It’s normal for all smartphones to get a little hot while being charged. However, in case of Google’s newest Pixel 3 flagship, this problem is much worse. According to multiple complaints posted by disgruntled users on social media channels like Reddit and Twitter, some Google Pixel 3 units get excessively hot while being charged. In some cases, the issue is so bad that it causes the smartphone to shut down. As per reports, the issue seems to crop up when the smartphone is used for a resource-intensive task (e.g. extended video call) while it’s being charged.

Microphone and call-quality issues

According to Reddit and Google forums, whenever a Pixel 3 user calls, the audio quality on the receiver’s side create issues, including a ‘tinny’ sound, choppy audio, and echoes.  The issue also occurs when calls are made to landline or a cell phone. “When calling people, sound quality on my end is fine but the quality on the receivers end is terrible. Sufficiently bad that I can’t actually talk to people at times. Symptoms include choppy audio, words being cut off, extreme echo and tinniness, periods of complete silence, words being ‘stacked’ and more. This issue is now present on 100 percent of calls, including calls to landlines, mobile services and VoIP services,” a user reported on Google forum.

  • Published Date: November 20, 2018 4:55 PM IST
  • Updated Date: March 20, 2019 9:35 AM IST