I just listened to the latest episode (2x29) where @jonobacon mentions he’s onto his third Pixel 1st generation, I can beat that. I’m onto my fourth. Here is my story of woe and a request for information of phones with a better warranty, for anyone who can be bothered to read the whole thing!
I bought the high-capacity Pixel XL 1st Gen in November 2016. It was the most expensive phone I had ever bought. Because Google were essentially permanently out of stock of this model in the UK, in the end I bought it online through Carphone Warehouse, which has physical branches around the country.
My first model died suddenly in May 2017. It had plenty of charge remaining, I was using it, and it suddenly went black and never came back on. I took it into Carphone Warehouse and they sent the phone off for repair. Frustratingly they said it could take up to 4 weeks, and I was getting married and going on honeymoon 2 weeks later. In fact they sent me a refurbished replacement within about 10 days, so all was fine except the worry and disruption.
Then this second unit died while plugged into a charger in November 2017. Hilariously this was 2 weeks before a wedding at which I was an usher, so I began to see a pattern. Again Carphone Warehouse sent the unit for repair, saying it could take up to 4 weeks. This time it arrived back the day before the wedding.
This third unit was way less than satisfactory. I keep my phones in a protective case, but this used replacement was extremely badly scuffed and scratched. It had not been factory reset and the system was in a foreign language. After I had factory reset the phone, it tried to install a beta version of Android - it turned out that it had been enrolled on the Android Beta program, which is tied to the phone hardware and persists across resets. So I had to unenroll and reset again.
But far worse was missing calls while the phone was on vibrate (not great when you’re an usher). It turned out that the vibration motor was faulty, and it could not vibrate at all.
I went to Carphone Warehouse to get them to sort it. They said that although they technically are supposed to handle warranty requests, they were out of replacements so there wasn’t anything they could do. They suggested I get in touch with Google Support directly and explain the situation.
So I contacted Google support and explained, and to their credit they said I could send the phone back for an immediate replacement. I posted back the third unit and received my fourth in less than a week. This was more convincingly refurbished, factory reset and covered in protective film.
And the fourth has been working fine for months, until the last few weeks it has started to randomly reboot at inopportune moments, and I’ve not even got any weddings coming up. I’m starting to plan for my fifth unit if it doesn’t sort itself out.
But I’m also thinking ahead. I’m not (that) mad that the phone has been faulty, that is maybe just bad luck on my part. What is frustrating is the disruption caused by sending my phone off for weeks each time, switching to a shitty backup, then switching back to the new unit. I look enviously at iPhone users who can apparently just wander into an Apple store with their faulty phone and walk right out with a working one. The Pixel cost as much as an iPhone but it clearly doesn’t have the same level of support.
My ideal would be a Thinkpad phone. When I bought my Thinkpad laptop, I paid for extended next-day on site repair warranty, including accidental damage. I’m self employed and I’m more than happy to pay for the reduced disruption. Obviously a phone is harder to repair on site, but a service like Apple’s where they would swap it would be ideal.
Does anyone have any recommendations, other than buy an iPhone?