Google Promises Software Fixes For Pixel 2 XL Problems

Despite reports about issues with the Pixel 2 XL's display, Google today (Oct. 26) says that its latest phone is performing as intended. Still, the company plans to issue software updates aimed at addressing some user concerns while also doubling the length of the Pixel 2 XL's warranty.

"We’re very confident that the Pixel 2 delivers an exceptional smartphone experience," said Mario Queiroz, vice president of product management for Google hardware, in a Google Product Forum post. "And to give users peace of mind, every Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will now come with a 2-year warranty worldwide."

That warranty extension would seem to be aimed at concerns about screen burn-in, where ghost images and discoloration appears on a display. Reports of burn-in first surfaced over the past weekend, which would be alarming for a phone as new as the Pixel 2 XL.

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In his post, Queiroz said that its testing indicates decay characteristics in the new Pixel screens are similar to OLED panels used in other smartphones. Since Google started investigating the burn-in reports on Oct. 22, it's confirmed that "the differential aging is in line with that of other premium smartphones and should not affect the normal, day-to-day user experience of the Pixel 2 XL."

Nevertheless, expect a software update from Google. Queiroz says that Google already uses software to maximize the life of its phones' displays, and that it will further optimize that with a coming update.

You can also expect software updates to tackle one of the other big issues surrounding the Pixel 2 XL's screen — the fact that colors don't look as vibrant as they do on other smartphones. That's something we've noticed ourselves when we compared the Pixel 2 XL's display to an iPhone 8 Plus and a Galaxy Note 8. The screen on Google's phone looks warmer than the other devices and colors don't pop as much.

Colors on the Pixel 2 XL (center) look a little warmer than on the iPhone 8 Plus (left) and Galaxy S8 (right).

Colors on the Pixel 2 XL (center) look a little warmer than on the iPhone 8 Plus (left) and Galaxy S8 (right).

Google indicates that's by intention to some extent, with Queiroz saying that the Pixel 2 XL was built to show off more natural and accurate colors on its pOLED panel. Users can already adjust the colors if they want a more vivid look, but that boost is capped at 10 percent. That's about to change, Queiroz said.

"Based on the recent feedback, we’re adding a new mode for more saturated colors, which will be made available via a software update to both Pixel 2 phones in the next few weeks," he said."

In a second post, Google VP of engineering Seang Chau said users will be able to get more vibrant colors after the software update but at the expense of color accuracy. "The saturated mode puts the display into an unmanaged configuration, similar to how the Pixel 1 operates," Chau said. "The colors will be more saturated and vibrant, but less accurate (similar to most other smartphones which display more vibrant colors): we give consumers the option to choose the color saturation."

That will help users put off by the colors on the Pixel 2 XL screen. But it may not address other issues that have been spotted. For example, view the phone at certain angles, and the screen will look bluish. There's also a problem with film grain, as solid colors can look pretty rough on the Pixel 2 XL's screen.

We'll keep an eye peeled for these promised updates to see if they change our overall impression of the Pixel 2 XL.

Image Credits: Tom's Guide

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.