I switched from Apple to Android many years ago. My first Android phone was the HTC Droid Incredible and it made me fall in love with the Android experience because I could do so much more with Android. But now, after all the problems I have had with the Google Pixel 3 and evaluating what I need in the ecosystem, I’ve pretty much decided to go back to Apple iPhone and the Google Pixel 3 is the straw which broke the camel’s back.
Last year I started thinking about getting away from Samsung and the Google Pixel 3 was coming out. All the reviews I read said great things about the camera. I really wanted a phone with a basic Android experience and a decent camera.
Shortly after the Pixel 3 was released, Verizon ran a BOGO special. I could get the Pixel 3XL 128GB and get the Pixel 3XL 64GB for free. Of course that’s over a period of 24 months through bill credits. I didn’t really need a second phone, but I figured why not and I am sure I could find a use for it.
I got my 128GB Pixel 3XL set up and was not impressed, but not disappointed. It worked which is pretty much what I wanted it to do. I was using it for about a month and found the camera did deliver on all its promises as far as quality. My cousin was asking me about my phone and how I liked it. Since she takes a lot of photos on her iPhone she thought about getting the Pixel 3 as well. I told her I just so happened to have this extra one. After some number porting she was now using the 64GB Pixel 3XL and all was good.
Then around February this year she called me from a Verizon store and the rep there was asking me to confirm some information on my account. She had to swap her Pixel 3XL due to some problems she was experiencing. The exchange was set up and I followed up with her later. She told me that her phone would tell her that it was overheating and shut down. It would constantly freeze and the screen would stop responding. The Bluetooth would stop working. I thought that was odd, but these things do happen and the replacement is on its way.
Then in July I started experiencing the same problems with my phone. It would notify me that it was overheating and shut down. I was curious how hot it actually was so I removed it from the Otterbox Defender case and read the temperature using a Fluke Visual IR Thermometer and it was only reading 80.5ºF. I also had instances where the volume would either turn all the way up or all the way down. Bluetooth and WiFi would randomly turn itself off. The phone would randomly reboot. The screen would stop responding to touch until I put it to sleep and woke it back up.
I tried the usual troubleshooting and even performed a factory reset and even running a minimal set of applications the problems persisted so I contacted Verizon and they set up a warranty exchange.
In two days I got the replacement phone and was setting it up. I had just logged into my Google accounts and it was starting to download emails and such when it already started exhibiting the same issues as the previous phone. The screen stopped responding and the volume was randomly changing. This time there was no applications on the phone I installed which could have been causing this. None the less I finished setting up the phone thinking it might be some quirks because it was still going through the setup process.
Over the next couple of days all the same problems became noticeable on this device. I called Verizon back and this time I was transferred to a tech. The tech was able to see the stats on my phone and saw that I only had about 48% resources available. He also said it was because I had apps like Speed Test, Twitter, and Spotify running on my phone. At the time I only had about 10 apps on the phone. I found it odd that he was blaming the phones poor performance on very common apps that almost everyone uses. The tech had me reboot into safe mode because he wasn’t able to remote into the phone. When the phone came back into safe mode, the available resources only improved to 54% according to the tech. To me that tells me that there’s something wrong with the phone. The tech kept me on the line for 80 minutes trying different things and all the while different issues would appear. In the end he took me to the Chrome app settings and had me clear the cache and blamed it on a bug in chrome.
I decided to contact Google over the problems I was having with my phone and got a case opened. There was a lot of back and forth. During this time a new problem appeared where notifications and pulldown menus were being drawn beyond the limits of the screen. I sent Google screen shots of these problems as well. Initially Google wanted me to submit a bug report but I told them I wasn’t going to be their beta tester. I am paying over $1000 for a phone that should be working without these problems. Then they wanted me to perform another factory reset. I told them this phone has been resetted and it already had these problems during the initial setup. They also tried blaming the problems I am experiencing on the apps I am using. The same apps that every other phone in existence has no problem running? Ultimately they issued a RMA and a tracking number and I shipped my phone back to Google on September 17, 2019 and it was delivered on September 20, 2019.
After 10 days had gone by and I didn’t receive any update, I chatted with Google support on September 28, 2019 to find if there was any update to my RMA. The representative I chatted with asked for the RMA, then the IMEI, and then the tracking number. I thought to myself that should all be included with the RMA. Then after I provided that information they came back and said they would have to research and get back to me and I would receive an email later. That afternoon I did receive an email from Google with a standard reply “we’re looking into this issue an we will update you as soon as we have determined the next steps or have more details.”
On October 1, 2019 I received an update to this same case, which was originally just to find out the status of my RMA, and their response was “As per your concern, I’ve consulted with the specialist and I’d like to inform you that your case is being escalated to the dedicated team to assist you further.” I don’t understand why it is so difficult to get an answer from Google on the status of my RMA.
At this point, I am not sure I will be getting my phone back and really I don’t want it back at this point. I have been using an iPhone 6 a friend is loaning me and even though it is older it works so much better than the Google Pixel 3.
There are some other observations regarding the Google Pixel, but this has more to do with the community which I find strange. Looking that the communities, such as the Google Pixel subreddit, a lot of people who post questions are usually met with callous replies such as “they’ve never heard of this problem” or “it must be only your phone” but a quick Google search shows that there are plenty of other people out there who are experience the same issues. Then the post is downvoted so it is always at zero.
Here is something else I noticed which I found odd. On the Verizon Wireless page, the reviews for the Google Pixel 3 have more people voting not helpful on negative reviews for the Pixel than any other Smartphone on the site. The Google Pixel 3 has 82 reviews with 2.7 out 5 stars. The oldest reviews are from 12 months ago and are pretty mixed with 2.8 out of 5 stars for the first 10 reviews of the oldest. But what I notice is the amount of votes on helpful and not helpful 267 average yes and 263 average no. The more positive reviews receive the more yes votes and the more negative reviews receive the more no votes. If I compare that to the Apple iPhone X with 188 reviews and 4 out of 5, the lowest ratings don’t have such a disproportionate score of helpful and not helpful votes. The same is true for the highest rated reviews. The average is 94 votes helpful and 27 votes not helpful.
What does that mean? Probably nothing other than just a lot of fanboyism maybe. I think the fans don’t want anything negative out there and will crusade against anything critical of their precious Pixel phones.
As for me, I’ll keep waiting for Google to give me back my phone. I am not sure how to pursue this if they keep stalling on providing me updates. I really don’t want the phone back and I would prefer they pay off the remaining balance with Verizon and I will get an iPhone 11. At least if something goes wrong with an iPhone, I can take it to an Apple store and work with someone in person.