mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Thoughts on the Pixel 3

A colleague recently asked me for my thoughts on the Pixel 3 as he was considering picking one up given the recent $200 off promotion.

Here’s what I think:

It can’t be that bad, can it? Here’s what the last four months have been like with a Pixel 3:

  • When I call people in speakerphone mode, more often than not, they cannot hear me. I got my Pixel 3 replaced after talking to Google customer service about this and sending them system logs. They never told me what the root cause was and even worse, the replacement still has the same problem!
  • Three times I’ve been talking to someone on the phone and suddenly the entire network stack will kick the bucket. The call disconnects, it says No Service, and WiFi shuts off. I tried toggling Airplane Mode on and off to soft restart this stack but no dice. It required a hard reboot.
  • When turning on hotspot functionality the icon will blink as everything gets set up and eventually it turns solid once the hotspot is on. Every once and a while the icon stops blinking and the hotspot just stays turned off. I’ve gotten around this by going to the Settings app and turning on the hotspot from there but sometimes that’s not enough and I have to hard reboot.
  • People will call me and my phone will be sitting on my desk with good cell service, but the call goes directly to my voicemail. This one is absolutely egregious.
  • Recently, I will be talking on the phone using the Google USB-C Headset and the person on the other end will say they can’t hear me very well. Bringing the mic closer to my mouth doesn’t help fix the audio issues.
  • Once, my Google USB-C Headset was not recognized by my phone as a headset. I plugged it in and nothing: sound still came out of the speakers. I rebooted the phone and that didn’t resolve it but a few hours later everything started working again.

I had none of these problems in the 2.5 years I owned a Pixel 1 so I’m fairly confident there’s no cell carrier issues here.

My experience with the Pixel 3 so far easily makes it the worst smartphone I’ve ever owned and I don’t plan on ever buying another Google phone. The Google Support folks are kind and try to be helpful, but from where I stand Google is only focused on swapping bad phones out for new phones and hoping that resolves issues instead of actually digging into the problems and fixing them. I love the ecosystem (i.e. Google Photos is amazing and Google Assistant blows Siri out of the war) but I strongly, strongly recommend against buying a Pixel 3.

Why not just return the phone and get something else? I’ve asked Google several times if I can just return this phone given all the problems I’ve had but I am always told I am outside the “remorse period” (their words and a paltry 30 days) for returns. Google - I am overflowing with remorse right now because of your phone.