We’re inclined to love Google’s Pixel smartphones, and they are some genuinely great devices. Google brings a lot to the table, especially in the camera and software departments. However, Google’s Pixel 3 has suffered from some annoying quirks and problems since its launch. 6 months later, Google still hasn’t fixed them all.
Nomad case for Pixel 3
With Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, Google is trying to compete right alongside the biggest names in the smartphone industry. At $800 and $900 respectively, general buyers typically expect these phones to be mostly free of big issues and on par with the likes of Samsung or Apple’s devices. Since launch, though, numerous problems have plagued the Pixel 3 family, and the bad press surrounding those may be making a dent in Google’s sales.
6 months later, users are still reporting some notable software problems with the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Just looking at the most recent reports, here’s a list of Pixel 3 problems that are still happening.
Slow Camera App
By far the biggest complaint users have had with the Pixel 3 is in regards to its camera. Quality of the pictures taken with the Pixel 3 is still, arguably, the best available today. Details are sharp, HDR is killer, and the extra lens available for the selfie camera is genuinely useful.
However, it’s the speed and general unreliability of the camera app that is a cause for complaint. Users regularly note speed issues with launching the app as well as the actual process of taking the shot. As a Pixel 3 XL user personally, I’ve noted numerous times that it can take a few seconds for the app to load up, and sometimes just as long for the shot to be taken. One report on Reddit even mentions a whopping 12 seconds to fully load up the app.
Google has tried to fix this in recent updates, but it clearly hasn’t been resolved completely. Notably, though, the company did fix the annoying bug back at launch that occasionally caused photos to simply disappear.
The camera app has been the biggest source of Pixel 3 problems
Poor Memory Management
Another problem with the Pixel 3 since its launch has been memory management. Put simply, these phones don’t handle their 4GB of RAM very well, and it often results in apps closing, restarting, or being slow due to the lack of memory. Granted, things have improved with patches from Google, but overall, it’s clear these phones don’t have enough to work with.
On another personal note, I can look at the difference in my use when switching back to the Pixel 3 XL after a few weeks using the Galaxy S10e. I regularly check and read articles on Feedly on my mobile device, and on the S10e I never had issues with this. The Pixel 3 XL, on the other hand, often kicks Feedly out of memory while I’m reading an article. So, after opening an article from Feedly, I’ll go back to my RSS to continue down the stream, only to find the app has restarted and my progress in the stream has been lost.
This poor memory management affects most Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL users, and is a well-documented problem with the phone. Even users who didn’t note problems at first are starting to see issues, and updates just aren’t fixing it for everyone. Apparently, April’s security update even made things worse for some users.
A common issue with all three generations of Pixel phones has been Bluetooth. Generally speaking, Bluetooth performance is not as reliable on Google’s phones as it is on other devices, such as Samsung devices. Reddit and Google’s customer forums are full of reports of poor Bluetooth performance. A common thread through many of these reports is also decreased volume from Bluetooth compared to other devices.
Bluetooth issues are common in the car
Speakerphone Doesn’t Work at the Start of a Call
A weird bug that’s popped up in recent months relates to the speakerphone. Many Pixel 3 owners mention that using the speakerphone feature on their device doesn’t work at the start of a call. So, if the speakerphone is turned on immediately, the user on the other end of the call won’t be able to hear you for a few seconds. It’s a bizarre issue, and hopefully, one Google can actually patch in a future software update.
Fast Wireless Charging Doesn’t Always Work Properly
Fast wireless charging on the Pixel 3 has been a mess since launch. The company quietly implemented its own wireless charging method which meant most Qi chargers, fast or not, were capped at 5W. Despite that, even Google’s own Pixel Stand has still caused headaches for some users. Android Police’s Artem Russakovskii, for example, recently highlighted his Pixel 3 “charging slowly” on the Stand, and other reports on Reddit reflect that.
Ambient Display Screen Flashing
6 months after launch, April’s security update was also supposed to finally fix the screen flashing problem that often plagued Pixel 3 owners. That screen flash would cause the phone to momentarily light up the display at full brightness, an understandably annoying bug, especially in dark rooms. Despite the supposed fix, however, it seems many users are still experiencing the problem.
Regardless of what issues your phone has, often the only way to get it fixed is to get a replacement device entirely, and that’s where another big problem with the Pixel 3 lies. Google’s customer service for these devices is rough. Reddit is full of horror stories of complete incompetence when trying to get an issue taken care of. Sometimes there are also hilarious mistakes like sending 10 phones to a guy who just wanted a refund.
Every smartphone is going to have issues. That’s just a fact, but Google’s Pixel line seems to get some basic things wrong and then not properly fix them for ages. We still love these devices and many on the 9to5Google team personally purchased Pixel 3 devices. However, it’s hard to ignore that, clearly, quality assurance on the Pixel line just isn’t what it should be. It’s also clear that things have actually gotten worse in some ways since the launch of the original Pixel.
Should that stop you from buying the phone? It’s a tough call. I’ll still recommend the Pixel 3 as one of the best Android phones available for the foreseeable future, as I see the issues as an unfortunate asterisk on an otherwise great device.
More on Google Pixel 3:
- Google hardware announcement confirmed for I/O 2019 as Pixel sales drop in Q1 2019
- Opinion: Google deserves to overtake LG because the Pixel is making changes that actually matter
- Report: Google Pixel is the fastest-growing US smartphone brand w/ 43% year-over-year growth