A few weeks ago, Google proudly presented its third generation of the Google Pixel. Theoretically, the google pixel 3 case and Pixel 3 XL are some of the best Android devices you can buy. Unfortunately, just like last year, there is a lot wrong with these very expensive toys.
On Tuesday, September 9, the international press was officially shown the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL for the first time. With an emphasis on official, because everything about the Pixel 3 XL was known months in advance. Many Eastern European traders were able to Google Pixel 3XL in one way or another to sell, so we pretty much knew everything about this smartphone in August. Less information was leaked about the Google Pixel 3, but given the minimal differences between the two Pixels, the regular variant was also unable to really surprise.
Pixel smartphones and teething problems inseparable
It is surprising that Google once again manages to give a load of teething problems to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. The original Pixel smartphones as well as the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL also had a multitude of issues. The Pixel 2 XL in particular had to suffer last year because of its very poor screen quality. Although the blue glow of the 2 XL is nowhere to be seen, there are more than enough problems that can make you hesitate about buying a new Pixel smartphone.
Buying a new Pixel is first of all made unnecessarily difficult for you. The devices are officially not even available in our country. A few providers managed to get them to the Netherlands via gray import, which ensures that as a consumer you can still get a Google smartphone relatively easily. However, do not expect these devices to drop in price quickly, as there is little competition with regard to their sale in the Netherlands.
Below we have listed the biggest problems known so far for you. Due to the majority of complaints, we have divided the problems into a few categories to maintain an overview. These categories are design, hardware, software, camera and wireless charging.
1. Fragile design
For the third Pixel generation, Google, like many other manufacturers, has made the switch to glass. Both the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL have a glass back. Not only do most of the cones like glass more beautiful, but it also ensures that smartphones can charge wirelessly, about which more later. A major disadvantage of this switch is the robustness of the material. Obviously, a protective layer of Gorilla Glass is present on the front to delay small scratches and cracks as long as possible, but the back of the new Pixels seem to be virtually resistant to anything.
Google has largely made the back matte, better known as frosted glass in marketing terms. Due to this design choice, the glass is not only less smooth, but you also create a cool effect and you see fingerprints and the like less quickly. Google has placed the layer of frosted glass above the glass, in contrast to, for example, the OnePlus 6. This device also has frosted glass in the Midnight Black variant, only the layer is below the back.
The problem with frosted glass is that the material is not very resistant to sharp objects. In the case of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, a lot more sensitive. In the video above from YouTuber JerryRigEverything, we see that the Pixel 3 XL already has a big scratch on the back at the slightest thing. Even with simple coins, you can already create damage with the new Pixels. However, according to YouTuber Erica Griffin, these scratches wouldn’t be completely permanent. Use a toothbrush and some soap to brush away the scratches. According to her, the scratches almost all disappear, but this should absolutely not be the case with a premium device.
2. Hardware is inadequate
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are both equipped with 4GB RAM. Thanks to the RAM, smartphones are able to keep applications running in the background. Handy if you want to respond to a WhatsApp message while reading your Twitter feed or gaming. You can go straight back to where you left off. At first glance, there is not much wrong with 4GB RAM was it not for the fact that the first Pixel generation from 2016 already had 4GB RAM. Not too much progress in this area.
Another important aspect in addition to the amount of RAM memory is the management of the working memory. With the new Pixels, however, something seems to go seriously wrong, as there are a multitude of complaints to be found on the internet and from professional YouTubers who cannot even store 3 to 4 apps in the Pixel 3 RAM. As a result, applications have to be reloaded, which in addition to some time can also cause you to start a game or mission again. In some cases, it is even so bad that the camera application already takes up so much space that a music service like Spotify spontaneously stops working.
The funny thing about the whole situation is that older Pixels don’t have much trouble managing their RAM and can keep multiple applications running. Android Kernel developer Nathan Chancellor reports that the reason for this behavior may be the root of the new way Google’s smartphones interact with background apps. This technology is called lmkd and may be too aggressive in closing applications in the background to save energy. Google itself has not yet responded to these issues. It is therefore difficult to say to what extent these problems can be solved.
Hardware issues Pixel 3 XL audio
The aesthetically less elegant Pixel 3 XL is already tough enough with its mediocre looks, but unfortunately for some users of this smartphone there is even more bad news. The smartphone is equipped with stereo speakers for a larger sound, but it is problematic that the speakers are not the same in terms of output. This ensures that the sound on one speaker is a lot louder than the other, which does not benefit the listening experience.
You know I thought I heard something similar at very low volume yesterday, but then I couldn't reproduce it on other videos. Does it happen to you with any sound or only some?
— Artem Russakovskii (@ArtemR) October 19, 2018
As if that wasn’t enough, it turns out there are even more audio problems. Thus, the audio is disturbed by unwanted sounds. Think of a static, buzzing and / or distorted sound. There are many users on both Twitter and Reddit who are complaining about this problem. The low to medium frequencies in particular are a problem for the Pixel 3 XL. The Pixel 2 XL had a similar problem. Again, Google is not yet releasing anything about a possible fix, but it does seem to be a hardware problem. Requesting a replacement device may be the only option to solve this problem.
3. Google limits navigation options
While this isn’t officially on the books as a “problem,” we think the software limitations Google has imposed on navigation are worth noting. The new Pixel smartphones run Android 9.0 Pie out of the box, the first Android version that is fully committed to using gestures and navigation gestures. If you are in possession of a device that first ran on Oreo, it is still possible to stick to the familiar navigation buttons after the update to Android Pie.
However, if you buy a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, you do not have that choice. Google forces you to use this new way of navigating, as it were. Of course, there is a good chance that you can still use the old familiar navigation buttons via third-party apps from the Play Store, but this should not be necessary. Android was always known for the many possibilities the system had to offer to customize it, but it increasingly looks like Google is following the path of Apple and wants to come up with one universal standard. Fortunately, this limitation is only for Pixel 3 users to date.
4. Stubborn camera
Perhaps the most notable problem with the Pixel phones is the stubborn camera. As you may already know, the Pixel 3 (XL) is capable of taking razor-sharp pictures. It is of course very useful to know that your captured photos are actually stored by Google. On various support forums of Google and various subreddits, however, there are massive complaints that photos are not saved. This mainly happens when you go back to the home screen or open another app after taking the photo.
Unfortunately, it is not yet known what the exact cause of this problem is. In addition to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, many Pixel 2 (XL) users are also complaining about this problem. According to The Verge, there are also problems with users of the Galaxy S9, Moto Z2, Moto E4 and Nexus 5X who use the Google camera application. So the problem seems to be bigger than just the new Pixels, but so far it’s still guesswork. A possible solution is to wait for HDR processing to be applied or turn off HDR completely.
5. Fast wireless charging exclusive to Google Stand
Wireless charging is very convenient. You no longer have to fiddle with plugging a cable into your smartphone and you can simply place it on your charging dock to charge. A disadvantage of wireless charging is that your smartphone (for the time being) must have a glass back in order to work. Moreover, the technology is rather slow compared to wired charging at the moment.
Fortunately, the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL support 10W charging, which is quite a bit faster than the standard 5W. At least, we thought so. In practice, it turns out that that 10W speed can only be realized when you charge the devices using the expensive Pixel Stand. This device costs $ 79 and is currently not available in any Dutch webshop. If you connect the Pixel 3 (XL) to another wireless charger, it will charge at a maximum speed of 5W. Google has set a limit on third-party wireless chargers for security, Android Police said. Sure.
Above is an overview of the main complaints circulating about the new Pixel smartphones. Google is unable to put a decent mobile phone on the market that has little or no teething problems. Of course, the latter is something of all times and manufacturers, but Google makes it very colorful. On the other hand, don’t forget the exorbitant amounts that Google charges for its devices. You get the cheapest Google Pixel 3 for no less than 999 euros.