There have been increasing cases of battery bulge issues in Google Pixel 3/3 XL and Pixel 4/4 XL models of late. The issue doesn’t lie with the battery life of 2800 mAh to 3700 mAh cell. It is more related to swelling and bloating of batteries. A 1-2mm gap due to the swollen battery was initially brought to notice around 6 months ago. Similar nature of complaints has increased since then. More and more users have started complaining of battery bulges on Google Support Forum and Reddit.
Photographs similar to below have been shared on the forums. The bulge at the seam near the power/volume buttons is very much visible making the rear of the phone panel pop out.
Initially, when the problem had been reported by a Pixel 4 XL user, Google had replaced the Pixel Stand. However, it didn’t resolve the issue. The user discovered that the issue was the phone as he was able to charge it on another Pixel Stand. It was assumed by the owner as well as the company that the stand was malfunctioning.
Many users accidentally found the swell only after they took off the case. Some discovered while troubleshooting issues with wireless charging. Few found that the phone kept on falling off from the cradle of the wireless charger due to an alteration of the shape of the phone.
The “Pixel 3 swollen battery” thread on Google Support Forum got started in May and even Platinum Product Expert got affected. It has not ended till date with an increasing number of people reporting issues, sharing photos of varying degrees of ballooning of rear panel.
The bloating of battery is a critical issue when it comes to safety. It poses a potential threat to explode, catch fire, and cause physical harm to the owner. It also jeopardizes the IP68 rating, Google phones have received against water and dust immersion. Though people have shown their love for Google Pixel 3/3 XL and Pixel 4/4 XL models they own, but the issue has left them petrified.
Fortunately, those who have contacted Google Support and asked for replacement have been offered refurbished devices. The offer is even applicable for out of warranty devices. However, the success ratio of a replacement with the carrier is pretty low. Many who could not find support have opted for local repairs.
Google has not specified the reason behind the overheating and ballooning of the battery of Pixel 3 – one of the best Android phones. Instead, it has told its customers that the replacement being offered is applicable only once. In other words, down the line, if the same issue crops up, don’t expect another replacement from Google.