When the Nexus 7 (2013) was introduced earlier this year, it did not take long before reports of problems like touchscreen inaccuracies and GPS issues surfaced eventually leading to some fixes from Google. Another group of early adopters may be going through the same thing as Nexus 5 owners are discovering some problems with audio quality. The problems seem to be connected to the built-in microphone with the biggest impact being on call quality during phone calls.
The source of the problem, and whether it is a hardware or software issue, has not yet been identified. There is one theory that the problem lies in sound-canceling algorithms. The sound-canceling function is suspected because the problem seems to impact a wide range of apps like SoundHound or Google Now, along with the phone and recording apps. Some users have reported that apps that allow users to make recordings without the built-in noise reduction feature being activated are able to produce good clear audio.
Others think the problem lies with the hardware. One theory is that some glue used during the manufacturing process is somehow obstructing the built-in mic. This causes the noise reduction algorithm to have trouble distinguishing between background noise and what should be picked up because the volume of everything is reduced. The possibility of hardware problems would also explain why some users are having problems and others are not. Keep in mind though that Google claims to have fixed the Nexus 7 touchscreen issues with a software fix even though it too was a problem that only affected some device owners and not all owners.
There are a couple workarounds that have met with some limited success. One way to get around the problem, at least for doing things like making phone calls, is to use a headset. Whether wired or Bluetooth, these devices typically implement their own noise-canceling solutions and thus bypass the built-in algorithm. Users have also reported the speakerphone seems to be a good solution, especially for phone calls.
According to sources, some Google reps have acknowledged the problem exists as part of their efforts to provide customer support. An official position from Google is not yet known.
Have you had any problems with your Nexus 5′s sound recording quality or trouble talking with others on the phone? If so, share your tales with us in the comments.