The Pixel 2’s POLED Disaster

The Verge has taken the unprecedented step of pulling their review score for Google’s Pixel 2 XL. Here’s the full text from their amended review:

After multiple reports of possible screen burn-in on the Pixel 2 XL, we are pulling our score for this device until we have more information. We have reached out to Google, but as of this writing the company has only said that it’s “investigating.”

Since publishing our original review, our unit has developed ghostly versions of the main Android navigation buttons at the bottom, visible when you’re looking at a gray background. Several other outlets have reported the same on their review units. That’s potentially a telltale sign of screen burn-in, which can affect any OLED screen over time — but usually that time is measured in months and years, not weeks. It’s possible, however, that it’s simply a temporary “image retention” and not a permanent issue.

If it’s not permanent, it’s one more disappointing problem on an already disappointing screen, and we will update our score on the 2 XL to reflect that. If the 2 XL’s screen is genuinely exhibiting permanent burn-in after just a couple of weeks, we’ll also update our score to reflect that (and it will be a very low score indeed).

Until we know one way or the other, we’re temporarily removing our score on the Pixel 2 XL. In the meantime, we can’t recommend buying this phone until we can definitively say that the screen isn’t permanently damaging itself within weeks of buying it.

The smaller Pixel 2, however, remains a great phone with a very good (albeit smaller) screen.

If you didn’t already know, the Pixel 2 XL is being manufactured for Google by LG with a POLED display—that is, an OLED display with a plastic substrate. The smaller Pixel 2 (built by HTC) uses an AMOLED display panel built by Samsung. You can read more about AMOLED vs POLED here.

Needless to say, any major screen issue is completely unacceptable for what in Canada is an eleven hundred dollar phone. Google will give you 15 days to return any hardware bought from their online store; if you’re on the waiting list for a Pixel 2 XL you might want to cancel and see how this plays out.

Links: Android Authority, The Verge

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