It seems that the troubles of what should be Google’s most powerful smartphone has just gotten started. And it seems that most of them might be about the Pixel 2 XL’s screen. While reports and complaints of muted colors might be a subjective matter at best, a software problem at worst, this latest one is a bit more severe and more problematic. Users are reporting that the larger Pixel 2 is exhibiting burn-in behavior that produces a ghost navigation panel that will haunt your fullscreen content.
Although screensavers have gone the way of the dodo, the burn-in problem of screens, both LCD and OLED, have never really gone away. That’s true for TVs, monitors, and, yes, even smartphones. In fact, the issue of burn-in came up again earlier this year when it was revealed that the Galaxy S8’s Always On home button fidgeted in order to avoid exactly that problem.
The issue with the Pixel 2 XL however isn’t that it’s happening. Eventually, all screens will have burn-in. The problem is at the rate and speed that it happened. Android Central’s Alex Dobie tweeted that his burn in happened within just 7 days of full-time use. Others have had better luck, but still short of the minimum of months before you usually see cases like these.
What makes the Pixel 2 XL’s screen so problematic? It’s definitely not the first time Google had to deal with OLED screens, as it used AMOLED on the previous gen Pixel as well as the smaller Pixel 2. The problem might be traced back to the first use of plastic OLED, or P-OLED, which uses a plastic substrate instead of glass to make it more deformable. The LG-made component might be proving to be more trouble than it’s worth.
Google is apparently already aware of the issue, or at least the reports, but only says it is looking into it. And while it’s not as disastrous as the Galaxy Note 7 last year, the Pixel 2 XL might turn out to be this year’s fiasco.