Now, after saying it was investigating the issues, Google has issued a response and plans to release software patches that will hopefully quell fears from current owners and would-be buyers.
To quickly recap: After the phones were launched, people started complaining about the Pixel 2 XL’s muted colors, color temperature when viewed from the sides, and screen burn-in.
Google has maintained that it tuned the phone’s P-OLED screen to have more realistic colors instead of the more vibrant and saturated colors seen on other phones. While there is a setting to bump up the colors by 10 percent, the company’s going to issue a software update that’ll let users crank the saturation up further.
From the company’s Pixel User Community forum:
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.
As for the shifting color temperature and screen burn-ins, Google says it’s tested the P-OLED screens, and they meet its display standards, and are designed to perform similarly to OLED displays on competing phones.
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.
While Google doesn’t quite address the reported issues, it says a future software update will prevent screen burn-in and and “maximize the life of the OLED display.” The company doesn’t get anymore specific, but it could use a similar technique to Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Note 8 devices which have an ever-so-slightly moving virtual home button to mitigate screen burn-in.
And for completeness, Google is extending the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL’s warranty to two years. We still don’t know if the software update will fix any of the reported issues (the color shifting from yellow to blue is a hardware problem and would be difficult to fix through a software update), but we’ll nonetheless be keeping an eye on the updates as they roll out.
Do the sketchy screens ruin the Pixel 2 XL? It really depends on how much it matters to you. While we haven’t seen any of the screen burn-in problems on our Pixel 2 XL, the color-shifting is real.
Google hasn’t said anything about plans for a potential recall just yet. But like we’ve said before, if you’re paying top-dollar for a premium device, these kinds of defects are inexcusable. We’d recommend waiting until these problems are fixed on a hardware level before buying either of the new Pixel phones.