Google’s Pixel 2 XL has been nothing short of a controversy as of late. Users tend to report issues such as display burn-in and off-access viewing concerns every day, and yet we’ve heard little to nothing from Mountain View. Fortunately, the company is now speaking out in a new post written by Mario Queiroz, vice president of product management in Google’s hardware division.
In the post, Queiroz points out concerns surrounding display burn-in issues affecting users even after just a week of use. He says that during Google’s testing, they found “its decay characteristics are similar to OLED panels used in comparable products.”
Regarding differential aging, we put all of our products through extensive quality assurance before launch and in the manufacturing of every unit. Thorough testing of the Pixel 2 XL display shows that its decay characteristics are similar to OLED panels used in comparable products. Our current investigation of burn-in, which started as soon as we received the first user report on October 22, confirms that the differential aging is in line with that of other premium smartphones and should not affect the normal, day-to-day user experience of the Pixel 2 XL.
Basically what Google is saying is there’s nothing wrong with its pOLED panels used for the Pixel 2 XL and that they age just as well as other panels on the market. However, despite this claim, the company will be releasing Android 8.1 Oreo in the near future which makes the software navigation buttons (the cause behind display burn-in on the device) fade out after a period of non-use, so it looks like the company is at least admitting some users are noticing the issue.
Additionally, the company will be reducing the maximum brightness of the Pixel 2 XL’s screen by “a virtually imperceptible 50 cd/m2 (nits)” to further lighten the load on the display and hopefully avoid further burn-in problems.
As for one of the other issues pegged to the Pixel 2 XL, color saturation, Queiroz also says Google will introduce a “saturated” display mode for those who want a more colorful screen. But according to the Googler, the way the display is now is how Google originally intended it to be.
…we designed the Pixel 2 XL to take advantage of multiple facets of the innovative new pOLED technology, including QHD+ resolution with 538 pixels per inch and a wide color gamut. One of our design intents was to achieve a more natural and accurate rendition of colors. We know that some people prefer more saturated colors, so both Pixel 2 phones already include an option to boost colors by 10% for a more vivid look. And based on the recent feedback, we’re adding a new mode for more saturated colors, which will be made available via a software update to both Pixel 2 phones in the next few weeks.
It remains to be seen how saturated colors will get in this software update, but hopefully, it’ll put the Pixel 2 XL’s screen more on par with what Samsung’s doing with its OLED panels.
While Google didn’t comment on the off-access viewing issues that seem to tint the entire display blue on the Pixel 2 XL when tilting the device, the company did say they’ll be extending all users’ one-year warranties by another twelve months.
We’re very confident that the Pixel 2 delivers an exceptional smartphone experience, and to give users peace of mind, every Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will now come with a 2-year warranty worldwide.
Mind you, this was a pretty odd way to address this controversy. Whether something like a press release or video address would’ve been a better way of spreading the news is unknown, but simply posting this in Google Forums may’ve been the company’s way of keeping things a bit more on the low. This doesn’t really matter, however, since many news organizations are covering the post to its fullest (hence this article you’re reading right now) and spreading the word across social media. I suppose a more public announcement would’ve been made if the issues were a bit more significant (cough exploding phones cough), but this was nevertheless an interesting way to address things.
It’s also interesting to hear most of the problems users are facing is in the software. Normally, Pixel devices are known for having some of the best software on the planet, but in an ironic twist, the Pixel 2 XL’s biggest weakness is in poorly managed software. Needing to release so many OS updates is quite interesting and seemingly suggests the 2 XL wasn’t ready to launch just yet. Considering everything can be managed by software, however, things should be resolved in a short period of time, hopefully by the end of the year. But as it stands now, maybe hold off on getting a Pixel 2 XL until everything’s taken care of.
No timetable was given for when this new software would roll out to the Pixel 2 XL, but it’s currenlty in beta stages so stay tuned as it’ll likely drop in the near future.