Okay, Google, what's going on with the Pixel 2 XL's screen? No, not the weird color balance issue from last week, there's another potential problem.
As reported on Twitter by Android Central's Alex Dobie — showing off the screen of his Pixel 2 XL — the OLED screens in Google's latest smartphones may be suffering from burn-in. And while this kind of decay could be seen as normal after years with a device, for the flagship device to already be showing signs of age less than a month into its life is disconcerting to say the least.
Editor's Note: We tested our own Pixel 2 XL by leaving it on a static image with the navigation bar exposed at full brightness for an hour, and didn't notice any burn in.
MORE: Is the Pixel 2 XL's Screen Really That Bad? Here's Our Take
Specifically, the issue seen in Dobie's photo is that icons for Android's navigation buttons (back, home and recent apps) have already been burned into his 6-inch phone's screen, as we can see them (albeit faintly), when he pulls up a solid grey background. We will be examining our review units to look for such an issue, as OLED screen burn-in is no laughing matter when you've spent over $849 on a device.
The issue seen in the above Pixel 2 XL can't be immediately defined as burn-in, though, as OLED screens can also encounter image retention. In a statement to The Verge, Google defended its smartphone's display, but noted this report has triggered an active investigation:
OLED display burn-in is such a well-known issue, in fact, that Apple wrote "burn-in mitigation" code into iOS 11 so it can prevent this kind of issue in the forthcoming iPhone X.
We'll make sure to follow this story, as losing parts of your screen due to burn-in is a major bummer. Bezels are one thing, but digital artifacts cluttering your phone's panel are even worse.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but I really want to love the Pixel phones. Apple's not been winning *any* points from me lately, and I really want someone to provide a solid device that convinces me to switch over. Google didn't help themselves by dropping the headphone jack, but the material on the back of the Pixel 2 devices feels fantastic and I love its un-altered Android (Samsung's TouchWiz mods are just a dealbreaker).