Pixel 3 XL: Dealing with Poor Audio Quality in Video Recordings

Google’s Pixels are known for an amazing camera and advanced software quality, but they’re also known for launching with random issues. Do you remember all those Pixel 2 audio quality problems when recording video? They are pretty much back with this year’s Pixel 3 XL phones. Speaking of that, the first problem reviewers have noticed is the extremely poor audio quality in video recordings.

Google isn’t doing anything as innovative as Huawei Mate 20’s Video Bokeh or AI Cinema effects and it’s OK. But we at least want something decent, right? And this isn’t what we are getting on the new Pixel 3 XL. The recording quality drops off significantly when you move a few feet away from the device, and up close, still sounds quite distant.

The Pixel 3 can record pretty decent audio, but Google’s tuning seems to noticeably lower the quality. Google made several advances in the audio recording capabilities of Pixel 3 XL. This includes enabling stereo recording in landscape mode and de-emphasizing some frequencies. These are supposed to minimize disruptive noises and optimize the resulting audio, but not all things go as initially planned.

Two potential fixes

Hopefully, like last time, this is something that Google is able to fix with an update. What to do until then though? Let me come up with a suggestion. It might not be the fix that you were expecting, but this is pretty much the only thing that seems to work.

A Pixel 3 XL user discovered that the audio output when video recording with a Playground AR sticker in the foreground is significantly better. One video notes that Google forgot to apply this audio filter to the Playground mode on its camera, leaving the standard performance of the phone’s microphones in place.

It sounds a lot like what you would expect from a smartphone’s audio recording. It remains therefore to be seen when and if any changes will eventually be made to non-AR audio recording. Keep an eye on us and let us know if you discover any other tip that might work.

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