It looks like certain Google Pixel and Pixel XL owners might have been facing some serious hardware issues, especially with their microphones. The first reported issue goes back to late October, where it was first posted on a Reddit forum. Subsequently, a Community Manager from Google asked the user to move the discussion to the Pixel forum on the Google Support site, where more Pixel users joined in.
The thread went from a few to a few hundred very quickly, with users complaining about microphone failures in different circumstances. The problem too is not of a consistent nature, apart from the fact that it’s all related to faulty voice inputs.
For some users, the problem seems to be arising for all voice-related acitivities, starting from phone calls to video recording to Google Assistant. For some users, voice calls worked but the voice input was blocked for everything else. And a few users did report that the microphone worked only when the camera app was fired up.
However, Google has taken note of this issue and Google employees were seen actively participating in the discussions and guiding the users towards solutions.
Google employee Brian Rakowski, has confirmed in the thread that some units of both the Pixel and Pixel XL might have a hardware issue in one or more of the three microphones on the devices. Each Pixel phone has a primary microphone, and two secondary microphones for ambient sounds (which also double up for noise cancellation).
The primary reason for this problem could be a very minute crack in the soldering connection between the microphone and the phone’s main board. Other problems have also been discussed, which include problems with grip, and also ambient temperature. In situations where users (and also the Google experts) have agreed that the problem is arising from the microphone’s diaphragm getting stuck, the said users have taken blow-dryers to ‘un-stick’ the diaphragm. The Google experts, though, make it clear that it is not ‘officially recommended.’
DIY solutions aside, Google has acknowledged that there are hardware issues and replacement options are available for users whose microphones won’t work. As most of these phones are bound to be under warranty – as they were just launched late last year – unless someone’s dropped it and broken it, or stripped it down for some reason, a replacement should not be an issue. On the thread though, the Google experts claimed that this problem has been faced by “less than one percent” of Pixel and Pixel XL users.