Pixel 2 Problems: Google investigating reports of screen-burn issue

Google is actively investigating problems with the Pixel 2 XL display, after reports that review handsets are suffering OLED screen burns. 

The Pixel 2 XL, while a brilliant Android phone, had a weak point in our reviews: Its underwhelming screen performance.

But it seems the screen’s problems don’t end there, with journalists reviewing the Pixel 2 XL reporting that after around a week’s worth of use they are noticing screen-burn, with buttons and navigation bars seemingly leaving ghosts-like images on the panel even after they are no longer being displayed.

It should be noted that our reviewer Max Parker has seen no evidence of this on his Pixel 2 review units.

Screen-burn has long been an issue in the display world, affecting TVs and monitors as well as the odd smartphone display. It usually takes the form of semi-visible images of previously displayed icons or video content left ‘burned’ into the display even when they’re no longer supposed to be visible. The problem can go from causing a minor but annoying distraction to making a display unusable.

One reviewer Alex Dobi posted a photo of his Pixel 2 XL online which showed visible screen burn in the form of menu buttons showing up when the display should be showing a grey background.

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While Google has defended the pOLED display, which comes courtesy of manufacturing partner LG, in terms of colour and contrast, the company did say it is looking into these potentially more serious problems.

“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,” a Google spokesperson said.

There is a chance that such screen burns could fade over time, but for a flagship phone with a hefty price tag, Google will have been expected to have created a near-flawless display for its Pixel 2 XL.

For people keen to get their hands on a phone loaded with Google’s machine learning prowess but want a decent display as well, then the smaller Pixel 2 with its AMOLED display is arguably the safer bet than its larger sibling.

Related: Pixel 2 deals

Is screen burn a big no-no for you when it comes to smartphones? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.