Google Stubbornly Defends The Pixel 2 XL’s Screen But Promises Updates To Fix Burn-In Issues


Last week, Google said it was actively investigating several reports of display burn-in on Pixel 2 XL devices. Now, just several days later, Google has promised to provide software updates as a remedy.

First of all, Google is defending the quality of the Pixel 2 XL's screen, saying it's investigation has given it confidence the displays are, in fact, as great as it hoped they would be. Even so, the search company has promised to take steps to address the concerns.

Writing on the Google Pixel support forums, product management VP Mario Queiroz assured Pixel 2 XL users that software updates are underway to fix the reported issues. Notably, it seems Queiroz avoided using the term "burn-in" as much as possible, mentioning it only once.

"[T]here's been some feedback about the Pixel 2 XL displays not appearing as vibrant as other phones, and in the past few days, there have been a small number of reports of differential aging (also referred to as 'burn-in') on the Pixel 2 XL's pOLED screen," he wrote.

Burn-in problems started cropping up shortly after the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were released, although the smaller model doesn't seem to be affected. Last week, owners began sharing pictures over Twitter that showed "ghosting" on their Pixel 2 XL, leading many to believe the phone has burn-in problems. It's still uncertain whether it's actually burn-in or just image retention, but the mere fact that it's happening this early in the device's life has alarmed a great number of users.

Why OLED Screens Experience Burn-In

For the uninitiated, "ghosting" is a phenomenon most commonly found on OLED screens in which an image remains faintly present even when it's not supposed to be displayed. Why? In an OLED panel, pixels produce their own light — that's why unlike LCDs, they don't need a backlight. This causes the pixels to become "exhausted" overtime, causing the light to degrade or "burn."

On the Pixel 2 XL, it's the navigation bar — the one with the return, home, and menu icons — that's ghosting, because it stays on nearly 100 percent of the time when the phone is used.

Using the OLED displays at maximum brightness and leaving it on standby for too long speeds up the degradation process, but burn-in generally occurs after quite some time has passed, not weeks or days after use like with the Pixel 2 XL.

Still, Google says the Pixel 2 XL is not worse than any other phones that suffer from burn-in problems. True enough, burn-in does affect all kinds of displays overtime, but Google believes the Pixel 2 XL's screen doesn't particularly degrade faster than others. It also says burn-in shouldn't affect users' experience, because "it's not visible under normal use of your Pixel 2 XL." Nevertheless, the company is still going to issue updates to fix those concerns.

Google Is Fixing Burn-In Problems On The Pixel 2 XL

Google says it's currently developing a software update that'll prevent burn-in issues from occurring by making the navigation bar fade out after being inactive for some time. Google will also improve some apps by changing their navigation bar to a light theme, and it plans on reducing the maximum brightness "by a virtually imperceptible 50 cd/m2 (nits)."

But there are concerns beyond burn-in issues. Some people speculate that the Pixel 2 XL's LG-made display just isn't as good as Samsung-made ones. For example, there are also issues of "grit" and graininess at times, and pretty much all units have a blue tint problem, which is more visible when the device is tilted at certain angles.

This is quite a shame, especially since critics are all favorable of the Pixel 2 XL. Hopefully, Google can wipe this blemish away with its planned software updates.

Thoughts? Feel free to sound off in the comments section!

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