Google says it is “actively investigating” reports of a Pixel 2 XL screen burn-in issue. Users started noticing the problem over the weekend, just days after the handset started shipping, and it joins a growing list of complaints about Google’s new Pixel displays.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are two of the hottest smartphones on sale right now — especially if you like pure Android as Google intended it. Both devices have received glowing reviews since making their debut last week, but there is one thing that fans and critics aren’t happy about.
That’s their displays: Google says both are much-improved over last year’s Pixel screens, with greater DCI-P3 coverage, increased contrast ratios, and enhanced brightness. However, these improvements are incredibly difficult to spot for most Pixel 2 adopters.
Pixel 2 display issues
If you checked out our review roundup, you will have noticed that some critics were disappointed with the Pixel 2’s display. Most agreed that it looks washed out, with “muted” colors and poor viewing angles. These complaints have since been echoed by buyers.
But that’s not the biggest display issue. Some users are now discovering that there’s also a burn-in problem that starts to present itself after a few days of use.
That's some pretty wild OLED burn-in on the Pixel 2 XL after maybe 7 days of full-time use pic.twitter.com/EPJTs6D0Kg
— Alex Dobie (@alexdobie) October 22, 2017
Viewing solid images on the screen can highlight areas in which certain elements are now stuck, or burned in, to the display. It seems the navigation bar is the most common area affected, as demonstrated in the tweet above from Alex Dobie.
What is burn-in?
Burn-in occurs when the same image or element has been displayed in the same place on screen for an extended period of time. On Android devices, the navigation buttons, status bar, and clock are common causes of burn-in because they don’t move and rarely disappear.
Once an image or element is burned in, remnants of it can still be seen when it disappears. For instance, you see faint outlines of the navigation buttons when displaying an image or movie in full-screen, even though the buttons aren’t actually present.
Burn-in is a common problem with OLED displays, though it can affect LCD displays in rare cases.
How to identify burn-in
Fortunately, burn-in can be difficult to spot, which means that in most cases, it won’t be a major issue for you. Your handset may have it and you’ll hardly even notice it. But burn-in can be easier to see when displaying certain imagery, such as solid colors.
On the Pixel 2, it is recommended that you look at solid black or red images. With these displayed in full-screen, you can then examine the areas where static elements would normally appear — such as the navigation bar — and see if you notice any remnants of those elements.
Google is aware of a possible Pixel 2 problem
If you have identified burn-in on a Pixel 2, you’ll be pleased to know Google is already aware of a possible problem.
“We put all of our products through extensive quality testing before launch and in the manufacturing of every unit,” the company told The Verge. “We are actively investigating this report.”
If a widespread problem is identified, Google should take steps to rectify it. In the meantime, if the issue is a constant concern for you, you can get your Pixel 2 replaced under warranty. Simply contact Google or the retailer you purchased it from to arrange this.