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Pixel 3 XL's speakers are imbalanced and distorted (Update: Distortion fix coming soon)
Update, November 15, 2018 (01:27 PM EST): The Google Pixel 3 speaker volume problem detailed below has probably been pretty annoying for many Pixel users over the past month. However, the imbalance of sound likely hasn’t been nearly as annoying as the distortion that occurs when you play something at a low volume.
Fortunately, the distorted speaker issue is getting a fix from Google soon.
This information comes from a tweeted conversation with a Google support rep. Check out the tweet below:
You guys hear this yet? pic.twitter.com/8Ja7GtK1yS— Thomas Demeter (@Cyadd) November 14, 2018
“In the coming weeks” isn’t exactly the most precise of deadlines, but at least you can rest assured that a fix is imminent. The speaker imbalance, however, appears to be a feature, not a bug, and no fix is scheduled for that.
Original Article, October 19, 2018 (12:37 PM EST): With issues like low audio quality in videos and photos not saving all the time, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are not off to a fantastic start. Unfortunately, the headaches will continue with reports of one of the speakers being louder than the other.
There is already a thread on Reddit about the issue, while the folks at Android Police confirmed the reports with one of its Pixel 3 XL units. Based on the reports, the bottom speaker is louder than the top speaker. This results in a sound imbalance which was also evident in the Nexus 6P and, to a lesser degree, the Pixel 2 XL.
Google responded to the reports in the aforementioned Reddit thread and said this was an intentional decision. In the response, Google said it used “new amplifier technology with advanced speaker protection algorithms to push these speakers harder and really get every last bit of performance out of them.”
What’s strange about the explanation is Android Police‘s Pixel 3 unit didn’t exhibit nearly as much sound imbalance with its speakers as the Pixel 3 XL did. This could be because the Pixel 3 XL’s bottom speaker is possibly much larger than the top speaker, though a teardown that focuses on the speakers might be very helpful in this situation.
Regardless of the reasoning, Google should have been able to deliver balanced output on the speakers. If your Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL exhibits this issue, it might be worth sending it in for a replacement.
Let us know in the comments if you own a Pixel 3 and notice any sort of sound imbalance.