Tests reveal the Pixel 3 and 4 have abnormally slow USB transfer speeds

Google Pixel 4 XL long-term review
Google Pixel 4 XL long-term review (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • A recent test from Android Authority reveals that the Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 smartphones have significantly slower USB transfer speeds compared to the competition.
  • The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 were even slower at transferring files than the previous Pixel 2 and the original Pixel smartphone.
  • Android Authority speculates the reason for the slower speeds must be either software or firmware related.

Google's Pixel lineup produces one of the best Android phones each year. However, in some areas, the phones come up short against the competition. One of the biggest complaints we saw about the Pixel 4 smartphones was the poor battery life. Now, after a series of tests, Android Authority has discovered another way the Pixel 3 and 4 smartphones just don't measure up.

According to the results from the experiment, the Pixel 3 and 4 were twice as slow as the competitors when comparing USB transfer speeds. In fact, the Pixel 3 and 4 were even slower than the previous Pixel 2 and the original Pixel smartphone.

The test itself involved transferring a 10.8GB video file between a Windows PC using a USB-C 3.1 port capable of 10Gbps speeds. Android Authority tested out a handful of phones running the tests three times and recorded the fastest time of each run. Along with testing the write speed, the outlet also ran the test in reverse to test the read speed.

Pixel USB transfer speeds test

Source: Android Authority (Image credit: Source: Android Authority)

The results showed that a phone using USB 3.0 and UFS 2.1 storage can transfer the 10.8GB file in around 60 seconds, as confirmed with the Samsung Galaxy S10e and the Honor View 20. However, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 were significantly slower using similar USB and UFS hardware. The peak read times topped at 107 seconds for the Pixel 3, while the Pixel 4 was slightly better at 84 seconds.

When compared to phones that use even faster UFS 3.1 storage, the difference becomes even more striking. For example, the Mate 30 Pro and OnePlus 7T Pro were both able to transfer the same file in under 40 seconds, making them twice as fast as the Pixel 3 and Pixel 4.

Even the Pixel 2 was offered speeds twice as fast as the Pixel 3 coming in at 55 seconds for both the read and write times. While the original Pixel phone was faster as well, turning in times slightly speedier than the 2018 and 2019 flagships from Google.

Why do the Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 smartphones exhibit USB transfer speeds so much slower than other phones using similar hardware? Android Authority speculates it must be a software or firmware issue, and hopefully, one that Google can fix.

Overall, slower USB transfer speeds won't have a significant impact on the average user. Not many people transfer 10GB worth of data to or from their phone that often. Even when they do, waiting an extra minute won't be the end of the world. Regardless, Google charges premium prices for its Pixel phones, and when you pay a premium, you deserve to get your money's worth.

Jason England