Pixel season wouldn't be complete without a bunch of complaints from early adopters of possible hardware and software faults. Last year, the main controversy surrounded the terrible LG OLED panels used for the Pixel 2 XL. This year, there are a few early contenders, including what we may be calling 'buzzgate.'
We've already discovered that the Pixel 3 XL speakers are not equal in their output, but there's potentially more worrying news. Some users have taken to Twitter and Reddit to lament their speakers for producing what they variously describe as static, buzzing, or distorted sound, even at low volumes. The issues seem to be confined to just the larger Pixel 3 XL.
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
According to Nick Shaw and others on Twitter, certain notifications sounds, songs, and videos are able to trigger this buzzing sound, and even Artem has noticed something similar. Several Redditors (here, here, here, here, and here — yeah, it's a lot) have encountered similar problems, with u/qtpa2tnh testing further and suggesting that low-to-mid-range frequencies are especially problematic (between 20-500Hz).
While one user reported that the issue went away by itself, others have deemed it a hardware failure and RMA'd their device. If you're feeling a slight sense of déjà vu, that'll be because the Pixel 2 XL suffered from a similar issue last year. Those affected simply had to get a replacement phone, so that might well be the only solution for the Pixel 3 XL too.
We've reached out to Google for comment and will update this post when we hear back. If you have a Pixel 3 XL and would like to test your unit, here are a couple of videos that have been known to show off the issue well:
Give them a go (try different volume levels) and let us know if you notice the buzzing/distortion.
Google confirms a fix is coming
Thanks to Thomas Demeter's tweet below, we now know that Google is planning on rolling out a fix for the speaker distortion issue in the near future. We reached out to Google for confirmation and they said the support agent was indeed correct.
You guys hear this yet? pic.twitter.com/8Ja7GtK1yS
— Thomas Demeter (@Cyadd) November 14, 2018
We've reached out to Google to confirm, but like all the other bugs that may have been fixed with this recent update, the company remains frustratingly silent. Without official confirmation, there's always some doubt, but our own Artem is confident the issue has been fixed on his own phone with the update. Or, at least, as he's no longer able to hear it.