Original Poster
James Denier

Pixel 3/Pixel 3 XL call quality issues (not working as actual telephone)


I'm having major issues with my Pixel 3 XL, rendering the phone useless for it's primary function (calling people).

When calling people, sound quality on my end is fine but the quality on the receivers end is terrible. Sufficiently bad that I can't actually talk to people at times. Symptoms include choppy audio, words being cut off, extreme echo and tinniness, periods of complete silence, words being 'stacked' and more. This issue is now present on 100% of calls, including calls to landlines, mobile services and VoIP services. 

I have tested to confirm the symptoms by calling another phone right next to me, an Oppo R9 on the same phone network (Optus, Australian network). The Pixel can hear the Oppo fine but the Oppo hears the sound from the Pixel cutting in and out, breaking up and becoming metallic, having echo effects and delay on some words leading to them 'stacking' (for example saying 'sound test', the word 'sound' is delayed and both 'sound' and 'test' come out at once).

This issue is present in handset mode, speaker mode and using the Pixel buds.

Issue previously present on 80-85% of calls. After using the cloudfare 1dot1dot1dot proxy, issue subsided for less than a week and has subsequently returned to affect 100% of calls. 

Issue presents in various manners - sometimes at onset of call, sometimes after 10 minutes of call, most often after 4 minutes of call. Time of calling has no change of issue. Rebooting phone does not solve problem. Confident this is not a reception issue - the Pixel/Oppo test case were within 2m of each other on the same mobile network. Changing SIM from Pixel to spare phone (a different Oppo) and making the same call immediately fixes the issue, with identical reception and ambient noise conditions.

Issue present straight out of the box, since day 1 (November 1st launch in Australia). 

Issue reported by other users here - https://www.reddit.com/r/GooglePixel/comments/9w30ee/call_quality_issues_pixel_3_xl/ (please note I am original poster of this thread)

Previously spoken with Google technical support, list of trouble shooting included below.

  1. Check for latest updates, then power cycle.
  2. Take off any cases and make sure nothing is in the way of the microphone.
  3. Turn off Bluetooth.
  4. Ensure the volume on the handset is up.
  5. Reboot into Safe Mode.
  6. Factory reset.
To address these: 
1. Phone running 5th November update, power cycling has no effect on issue.
2. Issue present straight out of box, with or without case, in multiple call configurations (headset, handset, speaker).
3. Bluetooth setting has no impact (and it should not have impact, anyway).
4. Handset volume has no impact, and is irrelevant anyway as issue is for call receiver.
5. Safe Mode makes no difference.
6. Factory reset has no effect on issue, and issue present straight out of the box.

I have received feedback from a few call receivers that the audio is crystal clear and high quality when there is considerable ambient noise for me. For example three days ago I was on a call and experienced very strong winds (sufficiently strong to make walking a big effort) for 2-3 minutes, generating a lot of wind noise on the microphone. After going inside and apologizing to my caller, they remarked that the quality had gone bad again after being crystal clear (the best they had heard from this phone) for 2-3 minutes, i.e when I was in the wind. I have noticed a similar results for calls whilst driving - if the window is down and there is road and wind noise present, the call quality for the receiver goes UP considerably.

My suspicion is an overly aggressive noise cancellation algorithm that is treating speech as noise to be cancelled. For a modern phone, this is simply unacceptable as it does not work as a phone. I'm forced to carry my old phone with me and change devices if I have a need to place or receive a call.

Please note as per the reddit thread, this issue has NOT been resolved by hardware replacement/RMA as it is either a very widespread hardware issue or strictly a software issue. 

I request that this issue be escalated for addressing by developers. 

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All Replies (809)
John Bowdre
John Bowdre
Hi James,

Thanks for going into so much detail about the issue as well as what you have tried. That's very helpful. 

That said, I'm not encountering these sort of issues with my Pixel 3 XL, nor is my wife having problems with her Pixel 3. I've also used my Pixel 3 XL to talk to my father (in another city, on another carrier) on his Pixel 3 with no issues on either end. I mention that just to indicate that this isn't a universal issue so that we can focus on trying to eliminate a couple of remaining variables.

First, check under Settings > Network & internet > Mobile network > Advanced to see if Enhanced 4G LTE Mode (sometimes labeled as Advanced Calling on certain carriers) is enabled. LTE networks don't directly support voice so this option enables something called Voice over LTE (VoLTE) which encapsulates the call similar to using VoIP from a computer. Sometimes that encoding isn't perfect and so you might wind up with artifacts like what you're describing. With the option disabled, the phone actually briefly disconnects from the LTE and falls back to the legacy 2G/3G network for the call, bypassing the whole messy encapsulation. Of course, disabling the feature isn't a proper fix but it might help to narrow down the source of the issue.

Second, look for Settings > Network & internet > Mobile network > Wi-Fi calling. If that's enabled, your calls might be going over your Wi-Fi network instead of the mobile network (with the potential for similar encapsulation issues as with VoLTE) - and if the call transitions from the mobile network to the Wi-Fi network that might explain why the calls might be clearer while outside (in the wind) than inside (on the Wi-Fi). 

These may not have anything to do with your issue but I figured that they're worth checking just in case - and, again, it's helpful to eliminate variables. 

Lastly, you mentioned that this isn't resolved by an RMA, but I didn't see whether or not you had tried that. That might be something to try as well - I know others have said that a hardware replacement didn't help with their issues but that doesn't necessarily mean it would be the same for you. A lot of different problems may manifest with similar symptoms.

Please also be sure to report this to Google via Settings > System > About phone > Send feedback about this device as well as the Menu > Help & feedback > Send feedback option in the Phone app. This serves two purposes: First, it puts an entry for the issues you're encountering into their system so that they can track how many users are encountering these types of problems. More reports from more users means more resources get dedicated to resolving the issue. Second, submitting feedback in this way also includes diagnostic information that might help to shed additional light on the problem.

Let me know how it goes,

Google user
Google user
I just purchased this phone on the weekend and making my first calls this morning encountered the same problem. It was bad enough that I had to reschedule the calls for later in the week so I can trouble shoot. Its definitely a wide spread problem as my search for solutions came upon lots of complaints. Disappointing to say the least.
Google user
Google user
+1. Same issue.
Currently testing calls within safe mode to reduce an app causing the problem.
Having this issue with a Pixel 3. Got an RMA for the first phone and the replacement phone is still having the issue. Wondering if this is a software issue since it's hard to believe that two phones in a row would have the issue.
Marcel Roovers
Marcel Roovers
I am encountering the same problem and have reported it through the feedback option in the phone. This makes the phone unusable for its primary purpose....
803 MORE
Salim - Product Expert
Salim - Product Expert
@PurePower you miss the point. Info in this thread is not going anywhere and it is already being used to analyse the problem, it's just that it's better to continue the discussion and post any new information over in the new thread because this one is going to become read-only.

I'm not asking you to re-post everything over there, all I'm saying is that this thread is going to become read-only. So it is better to post any new replies in the new thread because this is where the conversation is going to continue.

So in order not to have to re-post over there once this thread becomes read-only, reply in the new thread from now to make sure your replies are in the new discussion from now.

@Jared I added a link to this thread on the new thread.
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