Google Pixel hardware problems continue, microphone of concern this time

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Believe it or not, people are just now getting the Google Pixel they ordered months ago. And they’re getting to experience some of the pernicious problems that have popped up over the months like weird camera glitches, glassy halos and weakened speakers.

One issue that was posted on October 20 — days after the Pixel initially shipped — to Google’s Pixel phone forums complained about the microphones just not working at all except when recording video. That means no calls and no “OK Google” calls from sleep. The issue persisted past a factory reset.

The thread has since garnered 805 replies and the original commenter has played a frustrating game of ping pong with Google’s customer service to find that the issue has gone unresolved for four months and several RMA devices.

On February 21, Google’s Brian Rakowski threw in the towel with an official call: it’s a hardware issue untethered to software fixes. Specifically, the main issue is a hairline crack in the solder connection on the audio codec — that allows for the issue to come in and out with temperature changes and some jostling, but it doesn’t make it right.

While it’s believed that less than 1 percent of devices have either this issue or a single faulty mic, all these people still need some caring. In regards to those problems, Google is officially offering warranty exchanges through its first-party fronts and its retail partners.

It’s amazing seeing how the support policy sausage gets made with Google and the Pixel: an initial ticket, poor intermediary customer service and then higher-ups having to pick up the pieces. This is a theme we’ve seen across multiple issues and if it takes four months to find a proper action to take on it, it’s not a good theme.

If you think you’re affected by these issues, here’s Rakowski’s words on how to take action:

  • If you purchased the phone from Google, contact support and describe your problem as a mic failure and explain the symptoms. Our support reps should be trained on this issue and should help you process a return. Google will put a hold your credit card for the replacement and ship you the phone immediately. Once we receive the defective phone and verify the problem, the hold will be removed.
  • If you purchased the phone from another retailer, your best bet is to go back to that retailer as they can replace the phone more quickly. Our partner reps should also be trained on this issue. If you don’t want to return to the retailer you purchased from, Google can also process the return, but because the phone was not purchased from us, we must receive the phone (and verify that it’s actually a legit return of a Pixel phone) before shipping the replacement. That normally takes a couple of weeks, which is obviously really tough if you don’t have a backup phone you can use in the interim.
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About The Author
Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.