Tests indicate Pixel 4 has significantly slower data transfer rates over USB

Google’s latest flagship, the Pixel 4, may have some issues with file transfers over the USB-C port.

According to an in-depth test performed by Android Authority, the Pixel 4 exhibits significantly slower data transfer speeds over USB-C than other Android phones and even past Pixel phones. The publication ran a series of tests involving moving a 10.8GB MP4 file from a computer to a phone’s onboard storage, as well as reading that file from the storage. At USB 3.1 speeds, files should transfer at up to 10Gbps.

It’s worth noting that, with the exception of the original Pixel and the Pixel 3a, all Pixel phones have USB 3.1 connectors. The Pixel only has a USB 3.0 connector, while the Pixel 3a has a slower USB 2.0 connector.

In the test, the only device that performed worse than the Pixel 4 was the Pixel 3, and even then not by a huge margin. Both the original Pixel as well as the Pixel 2 schooled the Pixel 4 in read and write speed. Surprisingly, the Pixel 2 also had the second-fastest write speed and was bested only by the Honor View 20, which isn’t available in Canada.

Android Authority says it set every device in the test to ‘transfer files over USB’ and performed the test with all apps closed on both the phones and the PC (excluding Windows Explorer, which had to be open to perform the transfer). The publication ran each test three times, used the recommended cables and even tried multiple models of the same phone. Despite all that, the Pixel 4 was consistently slower.

It’s likely a software issue

Ultimately, the test indicates the problem is related to software. From a hardware perspective, the Pixel 4’s USB 3.1 connector and UFS 2.1 storage tier should produce high speeds. After all, the older Pixel 2 which also boasts USB 3.1 and UFS 2.1 was quite speedy. Further, the Galaxy S10e and Honor View 20 Android Authority tested with the slower USB 3.0 and UFS 2.1 also bested the Pixel 4.

As such, Android Authority suggests the culprit is Google’s implementation of Media Transfer Protocol (MTP), which is used to transfer files between Android and a connected computer. The publication says that the devices it tested suggest the USB 3.1 and UFS 2.1 protocols aren’t causing the issue and that the Snapdragon chipset isn’t the issue either (the OnePlus 7T Pro featured in the test confirms that). It does note that the issue could be caused by a hardware design choice, but that it seems unlikely Google would have selected a slower USB interface than what was available in past phones.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to improve USB transfer speeds on the Pixel 4 either. While for most users a slower transfer speed won’t be the end of the world, if you regularly move large files between your phone and computer, it could prove frustrating.

You can learn more about Android Authority’s testing and the results here.

Source: Android Authority

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