Editor’s Note: We’ve updated this story with additional information we've learned regarding Google’s response.
If it’s a day that ends in “y,” there’s probably a new Pixel bug causing headaches for hapless owners.
OK, to be fair, Google’s flagship has enjoyed a mostly calm existence since the company ironed out those early launch gremlins involving the display, coil whine and devices leaving the factory without Android installed. But Pixels have been reappearing in headlines over the last few days for all the wrong reasons — the latest incident involving the Pixel 2 XL and crippling, inexplicable lag.
Lately a small number of owners of Google’s big flagship have been complaining of significant lag on Pixel 2 XL devices running either Android 8.1 Oreo or the just-released Pie update. The slowdown is generalized and varying in severity, but it’s already affected two prominent tech bloggers: Artem Russakovskii of Android Police and well-known YouTuber Marques Brownlee.
Russakovskii has tweeted every step of the way through his experience, recording a video where he squeezes the Pixel 2 XL’s sides to trigger the camera shortcut. It takes a staggering 8 seconds for the app to launch, and then even longer for the feed from the camera to actually show up in the viewfinder.
Days after posting the video, a Google engineer and public relations representative visited Russakovskii to assess the issue. Russakovskii said in a tweet “the phone was extremely laggy to the point that both of them were visibly surprised,” and that he’d be notified if Google got to the root of the cause.
While Russakovskii hasn’t shared a diagnosis from Google, 9to5Google’s Stephen Hall has since tweeted that a source told him Google had “identified three possible causes” of the problem, and that one of them would necessitate servicing the hardware. Additionally, Tom’s Guide has learned that Google is reportedly investigating the issue, but hasn't found it to be a widespread bug.
Brownlee hasn’t elaborated to the same degree as Russakovskii regarding the problems his unit has faced, though he did share Russakovskii’s sentiment, saying in a video that his “Pixel 2 [XL] has felt like it's slowed down much more than other phones have in the same amount of time.”
While we hope Google is able to find out what’s going wrong with both journalists’ devices, we’re all quite lucky they were among those affected. Nothing escalates a bug to top-priority status quite like discouraging impressions from esteemed members of the press.
That said, it’s always disappointing to see complaints like this intermittently bubbling up regarding yet another one of Google’s very expensive smartphones. Earlier this week, we learned that the Android Pie update broke fast charging on the first-generation Pixel XL. Meanwhile, one of our commenters on the article, MickeyGoese, reported that he was encountering the same bug with his Pixel 2. We’ll continue to keep a close eye on the news to see if Google issues a fix.