Google's Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL flagship smartphones were launched at an event held earlier this month. With high-end internals, a classic design, and stock Android, the Pixel series is considered to be the true Android flagship each year. Last year, however, the Pixel 2 range stumbled upon some hardware and software issues and this year is no different. With less than a month since the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL's launch, several issues related to their audio, memory management, and other software aspects have come to light.
Just last week, the Pixel 3 XL was reported to have an imbalance in audio coming out from its front-firing stereo speakers, an issue that was probably “by choice” or due to the difference in size of top and bottom bezels of the smartphone. Several smartphone reviewers on YouTube had also pointed out that audio quality in video recordings on both Pixel 3 handsets is poor and sounds tinny.
In a comment to Android Police on the issue, Google said, “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 optimise for audible speech. To achieve this, we selectively de-emphasize some frequencies, which minimises disruptive noises and optimises 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.”
Next, the 4GB RAM on both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL might just not be enough for an Android flagship in 2018. Memory management issues on the two phones have already started popping up as noted by a user on this Reddit thread. According to the post, the Pixel keeps reloading and closing apps when just 2-3 of them are cycled through. Another Reddit user claims that this issue makes it tough to play Pokemon Go that requires to stay active in the background for effective gameplay. Lastly, yet another Reddit thread has this comment - “For premium pricing I think there is an obligation to keep up with the latest standards, and 4GB just isn't enough anymore. I'm glad the screen is up to date now, but having this issue again this year really makes me want to send it back.”
Not just Reddit, international smartphone reviewers have also been reporting memory management issues with the Pixel 3 range and have taken to Twitter to express their grievances with the phones. The several tweets and replies essentially give us an image that the Pixel phones are “aggressively” killing apps which is a bad thing for a flagship handset in 2018. The bug is so bad that popular YouTube reviewer MKBHD claimed that just opening the Camera app, while music is playing in the background, will pause and close the Music app forcing you to launch it and play your song again.
Lastly, there is yet another major software issue with the Pixel 3. Android Police founder Artem Russakovskii took to Twitter last week to state that photos do not save on his Pixel 3, similar to something he noted on the Pixel 2 XL last year. In replies to the tweet, several other reviewers have claimed that multiple photos taken on the Pixel 3 XL have also not been saved in the gallery. One Twitter user also notes that he has been experiencing this issue since the days of the Nexus 5X. A Reddit thread was also created last week with hundreds of comments referring to the same issue experienced with the Google Camera app.
Google has not issued a fix or a statement for the memory management and camera issues, but we are hopeful something might arrive soon. However, some of these issues affect an insignificant percentage of the total buyers and isn't as widespread as it looks.