Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Google Responds to Pixel 2 XL Display Complaints

You may remember a series of news articles last week regarding the sub-par OLED display in the new Pixel 2 XL.

Google VP of engineering Seang Chau has now responded to those complaints in a lengthy post on the Google Product Forums. First, on the muted and downright weird displayed colours:

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.

I don’t fully buy this explanation. A well-calibrated display is great, but I’ve never seen the same kind of complaints about colours not displaying correctly on recent models of iPhone, which feature the same P3 colour gamut as the Pixel 2 XL’s display and are also calibrated for accuracy. I also haven’t seen the same complaints about the standard Pixel 2 which has a Samsung-supplied display, suggesting that this issue is specific to the limited viewing angles of the LG-supplied display in the XL model.

Nirave Gondhia, Android Authority:

If you look at the Pixel 2 XL screen at even a slightly off-centre angle, the screen adopts a blue tint. It’s not a bright blue hue, but more of a darkening and cooling of the display. It weakens the screen’s overall color reproduction.

Chau also writes that Google has no indication of abnormal image retention, despite users seeing it on their devices, but also says that they will be issuing a software update to fade the on-screen navigation buttons while they’re not actively being used.

If anyone is wondering why Apple is reportedly entirely dependent on Samsung for the iPhone X’s display, here’s your answer: almost nobody else makes OLED displays in large quantities, and other manufacturers simply aren’t delivering the quality that Samsung does.