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Pixel 2 XL screen burn-in issue being investigated by Google

by Justin Herrick | October 23, 2017October 23, 2017 7:00 am PST

Google knows the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL aren’t off to a very bright start, so an investigation is underway to examine a number of issues.

While the smaller model is coasting by with minor complaints about the design, it’s the Pixel 2 XL that’s getting slammed for having an awful display. The OLED panel on the larger model has been nothing but problematic since devices started shipping last week.

Reviews started rolling in and called out the display for being muddy in color and grainy in clarity, especially in low-light environments. Android’s new sRGB mode is causing the lifelessness is all colors. It’s apparently truer to the way colors are intended to be seen, but the overwhelming majority of consumers are familiar with warmer portrayals that pop. Google has heard the concerns and is considering offering adjustments in settings, but nothing has been offered yet.

The graininess in the OLED panel, however, can’t be explained. Google probably can’t fix that with software. The same goes for the blue tint affecting a large number of units. And those two issues are now joined by a third.

Owners of the Pixel 2 XL are saying their phones are experiencing severe screen burn-in just days in. Both review units for the media and retail units for the public are confirmed to be experiencing the issue.

The image above, which comes from Alex Dobie of Android Central, shows the on-screen navigation buttons shown on the Pixel 2 XL’s display when they shouldn’t actually be there.

Experiencing screen burn-in on an OLED panel is far from a shock; however, the affected devices have been used for about seven days. It’s more common for screen burn-in to occur months or a year later. Google was told by multiple outlets about the issue, and an investigation has been launched.

Here’s part of what a spokesperson told The Verge:

“We put all of our products through extensive quality testing before launch and in the manufacturing of every unit. We are actively investigating this report.”

What Google will do in response to all of these problems is unclear. The company could consider halting production and collect affected units in order to provide phones that meet expectations.

Prior to confirming it’s looking into the screen burn-in issue, Google boasted about the “advanced POLED technology” in the Pixel 2 XL’s display. Everything can look good on paper but it’s certainly not appearing that way for consumers. Many of them have decided to return their Pixel 2 XL or, if they haven’t received theirs yet, cancel pre-orders.

If Google wants to price a phone at $849, the Pixel 2 XL should be flawless.


Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...

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