Google responds to Pixel 2 XL display complaints, promises fix for ‘clicking’ noise on the Pixel 2


Shortly after Google’s new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL began shipping, some users noted that the devices seemed to have some… quirks.

Onscreen colors on the XL seemed faded, some users reported. When switching screens, evidence of previously displayed images sometimes seemed to linger (as if they were burned into the screen). Others reported that the screen seemed to turn an odd shade of blue depending on your viewing angle. Meanwhile, Pixel 2 users reported hearing high-pitched “clicking” sounds when on a call.

Google said on Monday that they were investigating the reports, and they’ve just shared their first findings.

You can find the full version here, but the short version: they think things are working mostly as intended, but they’re making a few software changes and extending the device’s warranty anyway.

On the display’s colors, Google VP of Engineering Seang Chau writes:

We’ve received some feedback about the Pixel 2 XL displays not appearing as saturated as other phones. We attribute this perception to our choice to calibrate the Pixel 2 XL for delivering natural, accurate colors, taking advantage of the new color management support in Android 8.0 Oreo.

Based on the feedback we’ve received since announcing Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, we learned that some users do want even more vibrant colors. So, through a software update to Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, we will soon be adding a new “saturated” color mode.

In other words: they like the way colors look on the device, but they’re going to add a “saturated” mode by way of a software update. The device already has a “Vivid” mode that tweaks the display colors a bit, but it sounds like “saturated” mode will take things even further.

And on the “burn-in” effect:

We’ve received reports of Pixel 2 XL devices exhibiting image retention on the screen and have been actively investigating them. Extensive testing of the Pixel 2 XL display show that its decay characteristics are comparable to OLED panels used in other premium smartphones.

With that said, they’re still making some changes to the way the screen works:

  • The nav bar buttons at the bottom of the screen will fade out when not in use
  • They’re dropping the display’s maximum brightness by 50 nits — an amount they say is “almost undetectable,” but that should reduce strain on the display “significantly.”

And while they’re at it, they’re bumping the warranty of all Pixel 2/Pixel 2 XL devices up from one year to two.

Google says the update with these changes should roll out to the Pixel 2 XL in coming weeks.

As for the clicking sound that some Pixel 2 users were hearing during calls, a separate thread on the user forums suggests that Google has pinned down the issue on a software bug in the NFC functionality, and promise a fix is on the way. In the meantime, turning off NFC will stop the clicking.

[Cheers to Andrew Martonik for spotting these]



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