Google Will Fix The Pixel 2 XL's Display With Software

Image: Google

After a couple of weeks of reported drama with the Google Pixel 2 XL's 6-inch OLED display — manufactured by LG, rather than industry leaders Samsung — in everything from viewing angles to screen burn-in, Google has said that it'll push a software update to fix things.

In a post on its barebones product forums, Google has laid out three main areas of concern, and similarly three points at which it'll improve the Pixel 2 XL's panel using software tweaks.

Google's explanation for the wave of criticism of the Pixel 2 XL's display as dull is that it's tuned for sRGB colour accuracy, rather than the super-vibrant and hypersaturated looks of Samsung's own Galaxy S8+ to which the Pixel 2 XL is being (somewhat unfairly) compared: "We attribute this perception to our choice to calibrate the Pixel 2 XL for delivering natural, accurate colours".

A new extra-saturated screen mode is on the way that will not limit the XL's ability to display colour — an "unmanaged" mode that will let the display work to the full extent of its capability, like other OLED Android smartphones already do.

Screen burn-in, though — sometimes known as image retention — has been the Pixel 2 XL's biggest bugbear for the early testers that have had it for more than a few days now. The "differential aging" of the pixels used for the on-screen home, back and menu buttons at the bottom of the Android interface are persistent on the Pixel where Samsung hides them on the S8 and Note8, and that's led to noticeable burn-in. Google will switch to a fade-out of those buttons, and will also lower the XL's maximum brightness by 50cd/m2 to prolong its life further.

A software update is on the way in the next couple of weeks. Early comments on the post mention the fact that nothing in software can be done to fix the phone's apparent blue shift when changing viewing angles horizontally, as well as the noticeable grain in its display. [Google]

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