Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL owners have been plagued with hardware issues since the phones launched earlier this month. The list of Google Pixel 2 problems has been growing with more and more complaints from users about Google’s newest flagship devices.
Some issues are small and fixable while other Google Pixel 2 problems seem to be much more serious and may require warranty repairs or exchanges for affected users.
The Pixel 2 XL camera is above the competition, its battery life is stunning and it has easily the best real world Android performance We’ve ever experienced.
Plenty of stuff for Google to investigate. But wait, there’s more thing:
It’s well-known that OLED displays can suffer from screen burn-in if objects regularly remain on screen for long periods — that’s why Samsung uses tricks like shifting the home button on newer phones.
It’s not supposed to crop up mere days after you’ve brought a device home, however, and that’s what has Google and owners concerned about the Pixel 2 XL.
Google is “actively investigating” several reports that the Pixel 2 XL display is leaving screen ‘burn in’. This happens when a particular element of the image on the display remains fixed for long periods of time – the back, home and multitasking buttons here – and a shadow of them remains after they have disappeared (such as when watching a full screen video).
Whatever it is, it’s worrisome, so we reached out to Google for comment, and here’s the response from a spokesperson in full, but obviously pay attention to the second part more than the rosy specs listed in the first half:
The Pixel 2 XL screen has been designed with an advanced POLED technology, including QHD+ resolution, wide color gamut, and high contrast ratio for natural and beautiful colors and renderings. 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.
Solution: recall affected devices
It isn’t only the Pixel 2 XL which is causing owners problems, however, as owners of both it and the Pixel 2 are taking to Google’s official forums to report hearing “clicking” and a “high-pitched whine” from their top and bottom speakers. One affected user made a recording you can hear here.
There are conflicting accounts about what to do about this. Some users say Google support has instructed them to return their devices, others that it can be patched in software. Apparently turning off NFC helps, but I haven’t been able to check as again my Pixel 2 XL review sample is unaffected.
So the temporary solution:-
Turning off NFC seems to fix the clicking, but the high-pitched whine seems to be unrelated. Google Support told one person that a fix for both is being released “this upcoming week,” but it’s always best to take answers from support staff with a grain of salt.
Google really can’t make a high-end phone quite like smartphone industry veterans can. And that’s so sad, to quote the sitting president. Google had introduced the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones quite recently, and Jerry (from JerryRigEverything YouTube channel) has managed to get ahold of one Pixel 2 unit it seems, as he just posted the Pixel 2 durability test on YouTube.
Now, as it usually goes, he submitted the device to a number of tests, ranging from exposure to fire and a scratch test, all the way to the bend test in order to see whether the phone will snap when he applies pressure to it. Having said that, you can check out the full test in the embedded video down below.
The Pixel 2 has much worse problems, in my opinion, when it comes to overall quality. A new test shows that the phone will scratch quite easily… and it bends! Reviewers said the Pixel 2 phones have a plasticky feel because Google covered the aluminum body with paint. The problem with this approach is that you’ll be a lot more likely to scratch it than a metal device.
Jerry put the Pixel 2 through its famous stress tests. It turns out that the rear shell will look very ugly if you scratch it. What’s worse is that the fingerprint sensor, which is also covered with paint, will stop working if you end up damaging the paint coating. This one seems like an unlikely accident, but it can happen.
I’m surprised you can break the Pixel 2 that easily. Jerry says Google placed an antenna band in an unfortunate position, and applying enough stress along that line will lead to unavoidable damage.
Solution: The moral of the story is that you have to use a case with the Pixel 2 if you have any hope of preserving its integrity. This exact spot is historically very fragile and has been the weak point for many smartphones in the past, so it’s almost inexcusable that Google decided to put its antenna line there. You better not slip the Pixel 2 into your skinny jeans!
Google first promoted then defended the Pixel 2 XL display by claiming it is mapped to the sRGB color spectrum to maximise its color accuracy. It’s a strange boast because a) sRGB is a much narrower spectrum than the P3 wide color gamut the display supports and which most rivals use, and b) colors are not accurate.
As the graph shows below, sRGB shies away from the extremes of the color spectrum. The knock-on effect is some colors which appear outside the spectrum are lost. Notably icons look washed out and textures flat, not just compared to reigning champ the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 but even the smaller Pixel 2 which is supposed to have the same sRGB mapping.
A nasty side effect of this is image editing on the Pixel 2 XL is misleading. What looks good on the phone will actually look oversaturated on most other displays and you can ruin then share important photographs before you realise what has happened.
The good news? This can be fixed in software and Google has indicated a willingness to offer a different color profile (an existing ‘Vibrant Colors’ option makes no tangible difference) and it must.
Solution: software fix
Where Google’s software and AI wizardry won’t help, however, is the blue tint which affects the viewing angles of the Pixel 2 XL. You can see this by opening anything with a white background and tilting the phone progressively away from you.
Unfortunately this is a hardware issue that plagues LG’s pOLED panels (the Pixel two uses AMOLED) and also affects the LG V30. It isn’t the end of the world since we primarily view our phones from straight ahead but anyone you’re showing photos to at an angle will have a suboptimal experience and this price point ($849 – 64GB, $949 – 128GB), it simply shouldn’t be there.
Solution: live with it / buy a different phone
So what’s the takeaway from all these issues?
- None will kill off either the Pixel 2 or the Pixel 2 XL, these are not exploding phones.
- Some owners will be happy enough with the Pixel 2 XL’s display, it’s not completely terrible it’s just not what you expect on an $849 smartphone and Google needs to do everything it can to improve it – whether that is through software or a mass recall.
- Google has shown with just two generations that it has the focus and intelligence to make brilliant iPhone and Galaxy rivalling smartphones in theory. But in practice the company needs to get a grip on what it takes to mass produce them.
Whatever the case, this definitely isn’t what Google wanted to deal with. These sort of things can, and most likely will, get resolved in the end, and it is good to know that Google is looking into them.
- Google’s Pixel 2 XL Has A Serious Problem, Damaging Entire Pixel Project
- Some Google Pixel 2 making clicking and high-pitched sounds
- October system images and OTA files for the Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL
- Google Pixel 2 order is delayed a month, a free Live Case as compensation
- Google Pixel 2 & 2 XL How To: Enable The ‘Now Playing’ Feature, Always-On Display & Take A Screenshot