Google started shipping its Pixel 2 XL smartphone a few weeks ago, and this is one of the first two phones to adopt LG Display's new 6" 1440x2880 (538 PPI) pOLEDs. While on paper these displays are superb, actual reviews were rather dismal - to the point that some reviewers say that these are simply "bad displays".

Google Pixel 2 XL photo

Both reviewers and customers complain about bad color reproduction, graininess and problematic viewing angles. In addition many users seem to report serious image retention issues. Google has now posted an update regarding the Pixel 2 XL display.

Regarding the color saturation complains, Google says that its design intent was to provide a natural and accurate color rendition using the display's wide color gamut. Google acknowledges that some users prefer more saturated colors. The Pixel 2 XL already includes an option to boost the colors by 10%, and the company will be adding (in the next few weeks) a new mode for even more saturated colors.

Regarding image retention (Google uses the term differential aging), Google has made the following statement: "we put all of our products through extensive quality assurance before launch and in the manufacturing of every unit. Thorough testing of the Pixel 2 XL display shows that its decay characteristics are similar to OLED panels used in comparable products. Our current investigation of burn-in, which started as soon as we received the first user report on October 22, confirms 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. Regardless, we use software to safeguard the user experience and maximize the life of the OLED display, and we’ll make ongoing software updates to optimize further."

Google did not respond to other display quality complaints (graininess, viewing angles, uneven color brightness and more). I guess this is because these are not issues that can be fixed with a software update. Hopefully LGD (and Google) will manage to increase the quality of the latest pOLED.

Google also announced that to give users "peace of mind" it will extend its worldwide warranty to 2 years. My personal experience with Google warranty was frustrating (Google did not fix my Pixel smartphone that died just 10 months after I bought it, even though it was covered by the warranty, as they have no support here in Israel).

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