Google spent years showing Android OEMs how the OS should be implemented in order to give users the best performing devices. There’s no doubt that the company’s stock software is superb, however, the story isn’t the same when it comes to the hardware side.
Over the years, Google has relied on the expertise of other companies to manufacture its Nexus and Pixel devices, but this is going to change thanks to the acquisition of the entire Pixel team from HTC. This is the team that made the first-generation Pixels alongside the smaller Pixel 2, but as for the bigger Google Pixel 2 XL, which is the subject of this article, it is LG’s job.
Like last year, the XL model is supposed to be the premium phone from Google. The phone brings you all the goodness of Android 8.0 Oreo, a new design that puts it on the same level as other flagship phones in 2017 and an unrivaled camera that for the first time comes with support for optical image stabilization. Similar to Samsung Galaxy S8, LG V30 and HTC U11, among other high-end phones released this year, the Pixel 2 XL has the latest Snapdragon 835 processor mated with 4GB RAM and two storage options of 64GB and 128GB.
In 2017, a flagship smartphone with a 3520mAh battery unit is everything you can ever dream of, especially if the phone has a battery-saving POLED display screen, even if it’s as big as the 6-inch unit used on the Pixel 2 XL. Display screens are known battery hogs, but OLED panels are less battery consuming compared to LCD panels. The phone also supports wireless charging and waterproofing, among other goodies everyone insists on these days, but it drops the 3.5mm audio jack in favor of a universal USB-C port.
In short, with the Google Pixel 2 XL, you’ll have a device that brings you the closest you can get to contentment as an Android user, but it appears that the phone has its imperfections. Several online publications have had their hands-on views on the quality of the LG-made display screen on the phone and they seem to agree on one thing – that the display is subpar, especially for a phone that costs $850.
I’ve interacted with the new Samsung Galaxy S8 and if you have, too, you’ll agree the display screen is vibrant and colorful and the result is compelling, more saturated colors. This is what you’d expect from world leaders in the display industry like Samsung and LG, but it appears that the latter isn’t close to achieving the same status as the former.
According to Android Central, the display screen of the Google Pixel 2 XL “is kind of disappointing…and looks a bit dull and washed out.” Apparently, the phone always exhibits color shifting when held at different angles to a point where you notice more blue or green at the top of the display screen compared to the bottom. This is the same discovery made by The Verge, which calls the Pixel 2 XL display screen “so weird.” The publication’s Vlad Savov thinks the LG’s 6-inch panel on the XL is “an inexcusable disaster” and not expected from companies like LG and Google while Ars Technica says the display has a consistent “dirty” grain that is most noticeable when the brightness is at 0%, probably at night time.
To defend the apparently terrible display screen of the Pixel 2 XL, Google says that “we designed the Pixel display to have a more natural and accurate rendition of colors this year but we know some people prefer more vivid colors so we’ve added an option to boost colors by 10% for a saturated display. We’re always looking at people’s responses to Pixel and we will look at adding more color options through a software update if we see a lot of feedback.”
Of course, not everyone will notice these flaws, because we all know one man’s food is another’s poison. These are views of people who’ve spent years reviewing every other smartphone out there and they’ll notice the tiniest of things that the common consumer won’t notice. More so, if you are simply buying the Google Pixel 2 XL for the software experience, you’ll be happy to learn that the company is also getting very serious about its hardware.
For this kind of audience, which is actually the majority out there, this display issue won’t be such a big deal. But what about the perfectionists out there who’d like to see every one of their hard-earned $850 accounted for? Could the Google Pixel 2 XL display screen be a deal breaker for an otherwise great phone?
Let us know in your comments below.