Pixel 2 XL: New Google phone has serious ‘burn-in’ problem that ruins screen, reviews claim

It could be a huge reason not to buy the handset

Aatif Sulleyman
Monday 23 October 2017 11:29 BST
People compare Google phones during a launch event in San Francisco, California, U.S. October 4, 2017
People compare Google phones during a launch event in San Francisco, California, U.S. October 4, 2017 (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

Google’s new phone is suffering from a potentially fatal problem.

The Pixel 2 XL, which has already faced widespread criticism for featuring what some people consider to be a muted, “lifeless” display, has a new screen issue.

Android Central has discovered that the handset could be suffering from burn-in.

Google, which is “investigating” the report, hasn’t yet confirmed if the issue is indeed burn-in or something less serious. If it is burn-in, however, that’s a huge reason not to buy the phone.

Burn-in is a problem that tends to affect OLED displays. When a part of the screen displays the same static images for an extended period of time – such as navigation icons – they can settle and start showing up permanently, even when they’re not supposed to be visible.

However, this usually takes months to happen. The Pixel 2 XL hasn’t even been released yet.

The screen issue was first spotted on a review unit that Android Central says has been in use “for about a week”. The Independent has been able to replicate the problem on another Pixel 2 XL review handset, which has also been in use for approximately one week.

When you look at a grey image in fullscreen, you can see a faint silhouette of the navigation bar at the bottom of the display, complete with outlines of the Back, Home, and Recent Apps soft keys.

“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,” Google said in response to the report.

“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.”

If the issue isn’t burn-in, it’s likely to be something similar but less serious, called image retention. In this case, the “ghost” images will fade away after a while.

This fresh controversy comes just days after users started complaining that the Pixel 2 XL’s screen isn’t as vibrant as it should be. Others, however, see this as a positive, as they believe it displays colours that are much more true to life and realistic.

The Pixel 2 XL will be available from £799 when it comes out on 15 November.

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