Google Slowly Starts Fixing Pixel 3 Problems

Posted on November 6, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 20 Comments

With its users reporting a wide range of reliability issues, Google has slowly started fixing problems with its Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL handsets.

And it really is an incredible list.

The biggest problems facing Pixel 3 users—well, excluding that ginormous, buck-toothed notch on the Pixel 3 XL, for which there is no fix—include a memory management issue that causes the RAM-constrained handsets to apps to die prematurely, especially music and audio apps, unbalanced stereo speakers with tinny/echoing audio playback, a camera app that sometimes silently doesn’t save photos, a Pixel Stand bug that prevents the wireless charger from using fast charging, a “double-notch” effect in which a second, software-based notch appears on-screen, and a clicking noise heard during phone calls. Among many others.

Google has acknowledged some bugs and has promised fixes in the coming weeks. For example, the photo-taking issue will be addressed, it says. As will be the memory management issues, which I consider among the most serious.

Actual fixes have been few and far between, at least so far. But this week, Google released its normal monthly software update for the Pixel family of handsets. And among the changes, it seems, is a fix for the slow-charging issue. Now, when the phone reports that it is using fast charging, it really is.

What’s most alarming to me, however, is that Google has publicly stated that some bugs—the stereo speaker imbalance, for example—aren’t bugs at all, but are “by design.” And some major issues, like the tinny/echoing audio playback, and the phone clicking sounds—have never been addressed by the search giant.

I’m sure they’ll get it right eventually. And I look forward to evaluating the Pixel 4 family next year, which I’m sure will come with its own unique set of problems. Just like the preceding three generations of Pixels.

 

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Comments (20)

20 responses to “Google Slowly Starts Fixing Pixel 3 Problems”

  1. wolters

    Despite that list and the ginormous notch, I can't stop using this phone. The camera is a marvel, the OS runs buttery smooth and thankfully, I've not been affected by the list of issues. I am not exaggerating the camera...it truly performs better than my Pixel 2 XL and stomps all over the Note 9. I truly wanted to give Samsung a try with the Note 9, Galaxy Watch, Gear 360, Dual Charging Pad, Tab S4. But this camera...this camera! And the smoothness of the OS. I'll patiently await the fixes.


    Side note about the notch. I know in developers settings we can turn it off and it may not be a fix for some, but does anyone know if that turns off that part of the screen (by turning pixels off) or is it just black and could have a burn in effect?

    • markbyrn

      In reply to wolters: I agree and I think the problems are exaggerated. Yes, I can duplicate a memory management issue if I go out of my way to do it but like yourself, the OS is very smooth running and the camera takes great pics.


    • TraderGary

      Kate and I have both had our identical Pixel 3 XL 128's since launch on Oct 18th and have honestly not seen the problems Paul has seen on either on of our phones. That's not to say the problems don't exist for some, we just haven't experienced them with either one of our Pixel 3 XL 128's.
      The technology in the camera has to be experienced. No other cell phone manufacturer is even close to Google Pixel image quality.
      We have been on Google Fi for the past year and Google Fi has been great. When we changed to Google Fi we cut our cell phone bill by over 50%!
      The first thing we did was eliminate the notch with the option in developer settings. It works perfectly and we are quite happy with the notch being gone.
      As to your question, Wolters, the screen is an AMOLED screen where light is created by the pixels themselves and not a back-light. When an area of the screen is black, AMOLED pixels are turned OFF completely. That is how they get an absolute black. It's a total absence of light. So there is no possibility of burn-in on the part of the screen that is completely turned OFF.
      Kate and I have been very pleased with our two Pixel 3 XL's and we would buy them again in a heartbeat!


  2. Awhispersecho

    Why are you looking forward to next year's model? Why even give them a chance again? The amount of issues you have personally had with 4 Pixel phones in the last year is astounding not to mention the thousands of others having the same issues. If this was any Windows product line at all, you and everyone else in the world would have written it off for good by now. At this point they haven't even earned the right to continue to be covered. Make them release a good reliable product 1st.

    • DaddyBrownJr

      In reply to Awhispersecho:

      "If this was any Windows product line at all, you and everyone else in the world would have written it off for good by now".


      No, that is not correct. The Surface line of products has been a support nightmare since the beginning, and yet people talk about them as if they are the gold standard of Windows machines. I'm going through the Type Cover issue right now (been going on for a couple of months). I'll never buy another piece of Microsoft hardware again in my life, but they will still be recommended by the tech press.


  3. Craig Jackson

    Experiencing no issues at all with my pixel 3, fast smooth and reliable. Camera excellent. Call quality excellent (better than my iPhone 8 by miles).


    And tbh 4gb is a large amount of memory really, which should be more than enough for any phone. Let alone most laptops etc. There is a memory management issue, but really 4gb should be plenty for any use case in a phone

  4. BeckoningEagle

    I haven't had any of the issues mentioned here and other blogs. I am very happy with the phone, although a bit more RAM should have been included for the price.


    The camera is great, especially in low light, which was my biggest gripe of using the phone as a camera. Now I can leave my SLR at home most of the time.

  5. bart

    The audio issue is like watching a movie or listening to music on an iPad. Same problem, audio from one side only

  6. chrisrut

    The anatomy of tragedy is "Oh, what might have been..."

  7. Mike Widrick

    It's a shame with the extra expense that they're not as reliable as most of the Nexus were.

  8. rh24

    If I am not mistaken, you've had to acquire your own Pixel phones yourself and they haven't been sending you review units. I think that may be a little telling. If/when they finally build a Pixel phone worthy of that high price tag, I think they will be proud of the product and will send you a review unit!

  9. HellcatM

    I still haven't had the issues yet, I guess I got a special Pixel 3 XL handset? Its been a great phone, snappy, no issues. Google must have made it just for me.


    Oh and you can get an app called Nacho Notch to make the notch black, and still show the time and such, if that makes you happy.

  10. bhatech

    Usual daily dose of Paul hating Pixel 3 ?


    Not saying there aren't issues and yes a big company like Google shouldn't be given a pass, but still the best Android experience for me personally. Unfortunately no other phone gives me latest Android updates when it's realeased along with monthly security updates. I'm getting OP6T tomorrow and will use as one of the backups but Pixel 3 XL still provides a great experience.

    • wolters

      In reply to bhatech:

      The phone is far, far from the turkey that some make it out to be. Paul has been fair in his assessment but some have been out there trashing the phone. I have Pixel 3 XL and the Note 9 and both are awesome phones but can't let go of the Pixel.

  11. dscribe

    Since I have the small Pixel, the notch isn't a problem for me. I will say that having upgraded from the first generation Pixel, I am really enjoying this phone so far. The pure Android experience I wanted is great. I briefly considered going with another phone because of all the problems making the news. Now I'm glad I didn't make the change. I've not had some of the issues others have reported. One issue, the charging report, has been fixed for me with the the monthly update, and the rest are just not that big a deal for me, personally. Each individual's mileage will vary.

    • drprw

      In reply to dscribe:

      I upgraded to the smaller Pixel 3 from first generation too. I haven't had any issues at all with it (except getting a screen cover that doesn't bubble- user error for sure). I am very happy I did not listen to the negative reviews because the phone's camera is great and it's a quick, zippy little machine. I haven't had any RAM issues either. I know I am only one person...

  12. andrek

    3rd pixel must just be lucky have yet to experience any of the problems I keep reading about. One week into pixel 3xl and no problems really enjoying this phone.

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