Pixel 2, #ColorGate, and OLED is HARD

I bought most of Google's Nexus phones, starting with the Nexus One. I bought the original Pixel. I pre-ordered the Pixel 2 XL right after the event. Now I'm thinking of canceling that order. The reason? It seems like Google chose to ship bad displays on their flagship phones.

Before you get your lazy, dismissive "fanboy", "biased", or "hater" retorts primed, it's not me who's saying that. It's the reviewers and Android experts.

Andrew Martonik, writing for Android Central:

Google's biggest selling point on the Pixel 2 XL's display was its color accuracy and the fact that it could reproduce 100% of the DCI-P3 color space. And to my eyes, that's clearly where all of the tuning time went: accuracy above all else. Because this screen, I hate to say, looks a bit dull and washed out.

Since Google went with pOLED (plastic substrate OLED), it also has issues with viewing angles:

No matter how you feel about the colors you'll notice an apparent color shifting when viewing the phone off-axis at all, to the point where holding the phone at an angle the colors at the top of the display (further from you) are more blue/green than what's at the bottom.

Then there's this:

The 2880x1440 resolution is plenty high, but the Pixel 2 XL exhibits the same sort of soft grain and grit as the V30 on white backgrounds when scrolling — one of those things you can't un-see once it's been pointed out. It's something we expect to see on super low-end phones, but not anything remotely high-end in the past few years — and it's surely not a problem that Samsung has with its OLED displays nowadays.

Alex Dobie, also from Android Central, agrees:

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It's not just Android Central either. Dieter Bohn, writing for The Verge:

The charitable way to put it is that Google opted for something practical when it could have gone bolder. The less charitable way to put it is that the Pixel 2 XL has a bad screen with bad color tuning.

Vlad Savov, also from The Verge:

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Vlad followed up on Circuit Breaker:

Look at that New York Times icon in the image above. Stop flinching and really look at it, soak in the kaleidoscope of colors washing over it. Just to make sure we're all on the same page, I'm seeing a haze of green in the middle of the gothic "T", which then blooms into a red that eventually transitions into the white that the icon is supposed to be. But the fun isn't over; when you get up real close, you'll see the edges of the icon are all fringed by a sort of purply-red and, again, green. The neighboring heart icon, which is also supposed to be white, presents us with a crosshatch of red and green and white micropixels.Does that look like 2017 to you?

Ron Amadeo, writing for Ars Technica:

The Pixel 2 XL display has a consistent "dirty" grain to it, and you can see it all the time if you know what to look for. But the dirt is most noticeable in a dark room with the screen at 0-percent brightness, which is a totally normal, "night-time" use case. Any time there's a solid color background—like, say, in a list with a white background—you'll see the grain. It jumps out when you're scrolling, when the text moves but the layer of grain is stationary. If you're not in the "night-time" scenario, the grain is much less noticeable. But if you look closely, especially during scrolling, you can see it is always present.

There also appear to be burn-in issues with the Pixel 2 XL display. That's something not atypical of OLED, but also something vendors try to mitigate against.

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So, to be clear, there seem to be four separate issues with the Pixel 2 XL display:

  1. Color calibration that many find dull or off-putting. (Google decision that can be changed in a software update.)
  2. "Dirty" grain-like artifacts in the panel. (Issue with LG pOLED that can potentially be mitigated somewhat by a software update.)
  3. Off-axis color shifting. (Limitation of LG pOLED that can't be fixed by a software update.)
  4. Burn in. (Issue with LG pOLED that can potentially be mitigated somewhat by a software update.)

In other words, Google sourced atoms but might be able to mitigate it somewhat by shipping better bits.

At first, I was tempted to simply cancel my Pixel 2 XL order and get the regular sized Pixel 2 instead.

Russell Holy, also from Android Central, disabused me of that option:

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It's ironic since, when Android Oreo was announced, many praised its new color management features. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to have helped with either of these phones. Or either of these panels.

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That's very likely the case since the Google Pixel 2 XL and LG V30 both use the same LG panel. In other words, the panel is doing as much as it can, it just can't do very much.

To be fair, not every reviewer mentioned the issue. I don't know how much of that is sincere and how much is the "grading on a curve" problem I called out last year. Some reviewers also commented on the "cheap" feel, due to the coating Google applied to the unibody, and insufficient battery life, so it could just be general inconsistency at work. But that's not good either.

I used #ColorGate facetiously in the title but I have no doubt that had reviewers found the same issues with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus displays, that hashtag would be trending and showing up in headlines across the web. And to be clear, I'm not saying Apple is treated unfairly. I'm saying every vendor should be treated the same way, otherwise it's potential customers like me who are being treated unfairly.

Granted, I live primarily on iPhones, and Apple is famously obsessed when it comes to panels. It individually calibrates its current LCD panels at the subpixel level, it works to achieve the widest viewing angles possible, it applies not only proven color management systems, but technologies like TrueTone that match the ambient color temperature so whites don't look yellow or blue — they look paper white.

That's why I think the Pixel displays will bother me so much.

OLED is hard. The technology has some amazing qualities but also has some real gotchas if your hardware game isn't tight. A display is the sum of many parts: Panel, hardware engineering, calibration, color management, software system, and more. Google's Android Oreo has made huge strides forward with sRGB Extended, 16-bit float. There's stuff in there I hope Apple adopts as well. But if the panel is substandard and the calibration and accuracy are off, none of that matters. It's like putting stone tires on a Ferrari.

It's the same reason I'm really excited to spend more time with iPhone X. Apple waited a long time to bring OLED to iPhone, even after using it on Apple Watch and Touch Bar. When Apple did, it went with a Samsung panel, which is the best OLED in the industry right now, and then added all the display tech the company has spent the last few years building out, including sub-pixel anti-aliasing, Apple's own color management, TrueTone, and more. It's like putting racing tires on a Formula 1.

Meanwhile, my Pixel 2 XL is only scheduled to ship in December, because Canada, so I have some time to decide. Right now I'm leaning towards canceling, but we'll see. There are some things that really excite me about it, like the Pixel Vision Core that hardware accelerates HDR+, for example.

I want a really great Google phone — and one that doesn't demand all my personal data before it will enable features, by the way — and I want Google to want that too.

Updated to include burn-in issues with Pixel 2 XL display.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Just read the review for the Pixel 2’s earlier. Can’t see spending another $850 for a phone that comes up short on the main thing I’d use it for: watching video.
  • http://i.imgur.com/c78juHo.jpeg
  • This article serves no other purpose than to trash competition as it is on AN IPHONE blog. I expected nothing less from you.
  • Is Android Central, or Ars Technica Android blogs? Because that's the source, not here!
  • An iPhone enthusiast is going out of his way to try and talk crap about a phone not by Apple and running Android merely to talk up the iPhone.
  • He’s bashing LG and their inability to make OLED screens for phones. Notice how he didn’t bash the S8 or Note8 screens.
  • Not really, the Pixel 2 generally hasn't been given good reviews, even by Android enthusiasts
  • Android Central maybe, but look around the internet. It's considered fairly average. Also you've changed your tune, thought you didn't like having no headphone jack, now you're all for it because the Pixel 2 doesn't have one?
  • If you want a 3.5mm jack then you will never own a Google phone or an iPhone again. Eventually the other manufacturers will follow suit too
  • In all fairness, Rene didn't paint it as a flop. He only referenced the display issue, which would be considered a fairly serious downside for a phone of this price.
  • To be fair, the display is a pretty integral part of a smartphone, considering without it you wouldn't be able to operate the phone
  • The iPhone X has one of the best displays on the market, the horns don’t change that. The Pixel’s crappy display is nothing compared to the iPhone X
  • Not really. Apple's displays have always been known to be the most color accurate. It's Samsung's that are oversaturated
  • That's not really true. Endgadget, Wired, ArsTechnica, Phonearena, tomsguide, just to name a few, all gave it very good reviews.
  • You're conflating two separate issues. A phone can receive generally good reviews and still get dinged for having a crappy display. Rene didn't say it was a bad phone. He quotes multiple sources describing its poor display. Most people considering the purchase of a nearly $900 phone might want to think twice if it has a bad display.
  • Did you bother to read the reviews he referred to... reviews on Android sites? In this case it matters little whether or not Rene is based against Android. The fact is that multiple, Android-focused reviewers have all called out the new Pixel phones for having crappy displays, and that's pretty outrageous for an $850 flagship phone commissioned by Google themselves and promoted as the ultimate Android phone.
  • He's not wrong though... There's inconsistency.
  • An "iPhone enthusiast "? No! A person. And you're what? I've seen your avatar on countless other sites and your name, you are a die hard Google fanboy, not to say the T-word. You go to the point of enlisting here and 9to5mac, MacRumors, etc. just to say negative things about Apple. It is a fact that LG OLED screens are not as good as the best, live with it. Oh, and it would be unprecedented if Android websites said bad things about Apple products...
  • I don't go to Mac Rumors
  • Also...is that why I urged my mom to get an iPhone 7 after having an iPhone 5 for years that I bought her? I set up her iPhone 7 too.
  • you're kidding right? have you seen the comments on Android Central towards iPhones?
  • Yes, they are very complimentary.
  • As a former Note 8 user and a current iPhone 8 Plus user, the Pixel 2 XL's screen is garbage. It's washed out, the colors are muted, and there's a cool look to the screen. It's not good. But LG made the screen and it's the same one on the V30. Terrible choice.
  • "I want a really great Google phone — and one that doesn't demand all my personal data before it will enable features, by the way" User data is at the core of how Google creates the Google experience, and you already get a curated/limited version of that experience on the only hardware that you genuinely appreciate. That can be a Google-ish experience if you choose or an Apple experience... and an Apple experience regardless of how you feel about it. Yay?
  • He did that article some years ago as part of his 'Switch to Apple' thing.
  • The problem is that Google harvests user data for far more questionable purposes other than optimizing the user experience. Some users value their privacy.
  • Not really. Google use our data to send us targeted ads. None of our personal details are shared and it is incredibly easy to opt out.
  • > None of our personal details are shared "Broken Promises Of Privacy: Responding To The Surprising Failure Of Anonymization" https://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=0610810240131120290670221160... "Senate Report Opens a Window Into Hidden World of Data Aggregators" https://www.aclu.org/blog/privacy-technology/senate-report-opens-window-... > it is incredibly easy to opt out "Google's Quiet, Confusing Privacy Policy Change Is Why We Need More Transparency & Control" https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20161021/17382035854/googles-quiet-con...
  • This line is old and tired. We should all live under a rock then. We have NO privacy. All of our info is on the web somewhere, personal, identifiable info at that. I could care less they Google knows I prefer Colgate over Crest. I DO however care that Equifax leaked all my info, SS, wages, addresses etc. You can add VZW, ATT and evey other major US carrier to that list as well as many other companies.
  • > We should all live under a rock then I don't have to live under a rock. I function perfectly well with a variety of well-integrated and connected apps and services while avoiding virtually all contact with Google or Facebook. It's really not that difficult. > You can add VZW, ATT... I use T-Mobile, which has never been caught engaging in the sort of privacy-invasive tactics that AT&T and Verizon are well-known for.
  • “I use T-Mobile, which has never been caught” Yeah, keyword - “never.” All of us have done something illegal or at the very least frowned upon in our lives without actually getting caught.
  • That's an asinine way off looking at things. Bottom line is that Verizon and AT&T both have long and well-established track records for anti-consumer behavior in terms of pricing, restrictions, misleading advertising, and the use of super cookies and other subversive technical methods to spy on users and sell their personal data to government agencies, advertisers, and data aggregators without their knowledge or consent. T-Mobile have *never* been caught doing *any* of these things, which they've used to their advantage by marketing themselves as the more consumer-friendly wireless carrier.
  • “That's an asinine way off looking at things.” What the he*ll does that have to do with anything?? Doesn’t suddenly mean that it’s not necessarily true nor false. I think a more asinine way is thinking they’ll never do it. You say T-mobile hasn’t gotten caught doing anything shady like this, yet what was that net neutrality crap people were b****ing about a while back?? All carriers are out to metaphorically **** us all for money, fact. Just because T-mobile may not be doing anything with your personal info doesn’t mean their ******** its subscribers in another matter.
  • Two carriers repeatedly caught mistreating customers vs. a third carrier with a solid track record for fair pricing, policies, and no spyware shenanigans. Any rational person would place more trust on the latter, even if there's always some degree of distrust and uncertainty towards any corporation.
  • So Google makes a subjectively bad design decision in its display for the Pixel 2 and it generates an article decrying it with cherry-picked quotes yet Apple makes an asininely bad design decision in its display with the horns on the iPhone X and you deem it necessary to write a screed defending it. Come on Rene. At least try to make a better attempt at some semblance of objectivity.
  • It's YOUR OPINION, and nothing else! All Android fanboys are saying that, because the iPhone is the only one with that design, because it's more expensive to manufacture, and requires software tuned for it!
  • Funny enough, Samsung is rumored to be doing the notch next year.
  • Oh that’s great, 2 companies having a **** measuring contest, exactly what we need more of.
  • The worst part is that the patent makes Samsung’s attempt really ugly.
  • The design team responsible for that "flat tire" on that Motorola smartwatch must be laughing their behinds off right now.
  • Aesthetics aside, the notch on the iPhone X actually results in more usable screen space, whereas the fat tire on the Motorola watch had the opposite effect.
  • Please do share the source on that one... Nobody is going to make that big of a design failure decision.
  • https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sammobile.com/2017/09/05/galaxy-s9-spor... A design parent they filed for in 2016 is a pretty good source.
  • Wow that looks bad. Flicked via the BlackBerry keyboard on my Pixel
  • I happen to like the iPhone X notch, aesthetically speaking. And I suspect that consumer demand will prove that there's no shortage of customers who agree. Less subjectively, it makes perfect sense from both a design and marketing perspective, since it maximizes the amount of available display real estate while also establishing a distinctive and iconic new profile for the next generation of iPhones.
  • Demand will be based on finally having an updated design. Few will care that they are getting a choice between virtual bezels or missing part of their video or game.
  • As an iphone user I would consider the smaller pixel 2 a big win, I like the physical size and stereo speakers, and portrait mode front and back. The only phone at this size with front back bokeh is the iphone 10. Oled has its ups and downs, and I’ve used LG quantum dot lcd panel, it’s really quite bad, because we see every imperfection. And who has been kind to Apple. When Apple gets new features = copies or useless or completely ignored. When I saw the note 8 getting live messages, that looks a lot like iMessage, when pixel gets Live Photos and portrait mode, it looks a lot like what Apple did right? Looking at the phone landscape Apple popularised a lot of features for other phones. And the pixel buds with the auto pair is also what the AirPod brought to the ideas table right. People made fun of animoji but completely forgot s8 was introduced with Snapchat photo mask. We are inherently biased right. Apple also did a lot of catch up this year with inductive charging, faster charging, too bad Apple couldn’t bring 120hz this year also when they have teased it on the iPad Pro already.
  • >I would consider the smaller pixel 2 a big win, I like the physical size and stereo speakers, and portrait mode front and back. Did you see Dieter Bohn's sample photos on Twitter? Half the background was blurred while the other half remained in focus—ruining the faux bokeh effect.
  • "... when pixel gets Live Photos and portrait mode, it looks a lot like what Apple did right?" Live pictures have been around since 2013 with HTCs Zoe photos and Nokia's Motion Photos, and Apple's portrait was predated by a year with the Huawei Mate 6 Plus in 2015.
  • The 1020 came out in 2013.
  • I think that screen can be called an objectively bad decision if one can apply an existing standard that it fails to satisfy. The horns are bad design, but that is more subjective.
  • IMO, the notch on the iPhone X only looks bad in landscape mode. When viewing a full-screen video, it can be hidden with a simple tap. And app developers have every opportunity to design around it gracefully.
  • “ one of those things you can't un-see” Like the notch on the iPhone X.
  • Pretty sure you'd forget about the notch once you've used it for a week
  • There's no chance of that ever. It impedes every video or game unless you are using thick virtual bezels.
  • It was just like when the iPhone 6 Plus came out, and people were like "this is way too big". Then once you've used it for a week, you don't even realise
  • Nope. The plus model is still way too big with its huge bezels.
  • Well that's your opinion, but the majority of Plus users find it comfortable to use
  • Well it’s easy to find something fine when you haven’t used something better. One of my friends used to use crappy earphones that produced tinny sounding music, she thought it was fine until she tried mine, then she hated hers and got something better. If you’re used to a sub-average display, then you’re not going to think it’s bad
  • No, the Pixel's. Of course, that was pretty clear, but good try.
  • Thats like saying you won't see the ****** screen on the Pixel once you've used it for a week, lol.
  • It was just like when the iPhone 6 Plus came out, and people were like "this is way too big". Then once you've used it for a week, you don't even realise.
  • Uh not entirely true, otherwise I don’t think Apple would’ve gone out of its way to make the SE. Clearly there is a user base out there who want a small phone. So yes, as a plus user both 4.7 and 5.5 are simply too big for some people.
  • You're right I wasn't referring to everyone, more just a section of people who were unsure to start with. The people that generally bought the SE, were the ones that never attempted to try out the Plus in the first place, as they were 100% certain they didn't want a bigger phone. I was more referring to people who were unsure, and when first tried the Plus, thought it was too big. But these people got used to the size very quickly. It even took me some time to get used to the Plus but once I did it's just second nature now.
  • For me, even the iPhone 6/6S is too big. I accept its uncomfortably large size as an acceptable sacrifice in return for the larger screen. But for me, a plus-sized model is completely out of the question no matter what the other benefits may be. Any phone that can't be operated with one hand is a non-starter for me.
  • Ha! Rene, you never disappoint... Sensationalism is alive and well, indeed!
  • What was it when Ron Amadeo at Ars called LG out for the V30 screen issues?
  • Ars Technica is not an iPhone specific blog and was doing an actual review
  • iMore isn’t an iPhone specific blog either.
  • From Mobile Nations corporate site: The authoritative iMore team shows you how to get the most of life by leveraging Apple's products and the apps, services and devices they connect with to their fullest.
  • lol
  • Not sure about the "Whataboutism" type of response and what that has to do with RR's article.. Regarding this piece, RR is a master at getting fish to the chum line. He knows he'll be called on it, so he prepares a defense ahead of time. "Before you get your lazy, dismissive "fanboy", "biased", or "hater" retorts primed, it's not me who's saying that." He knows he's cherry-picking from assorted sources to frame his take. Pretty much all of the reviews of the Pixel 2 line that have come out have been very positive, on a whole. Even while acknowledging the apparent misstep with the LG p-OLED screen for the Pixel 2 XL. which I'm sure Google with correct with a software update. Somehow, his "reporting" on the display issues for the Pixel 2 XL turn into praise for an iPhone that's not even available for order yet, much less in the wild. No telling how the phone will behave once it ships, but nonetheless... Google won't even sell 10 million of these phones. They're a fraction of the mobile market, yet here we all are. On an Apple dedicated site, with an "informative" take on an Android device... Again, on a blog that's dedicated to everything Apple.
  • The thing is though, I get the feeling like he did this and he just assumed people wouldn’t noticed. He had “someone” else write a “review” for the S7 (Could be wrong on the product) in the past but could obviously tell by the negative tone of the article that he had a lot to do with what went into that article.
  • I was waiting for his article. I thought for sure he'd have one up sooner the moment positive previews started popping up on the 6th.
  • I was going to get the XL. I went into Verizon to check it out. The display looked washed out. It was noticeable, especially when Samsung and Motorola Phones with better screens are < 10 feet away and you could Compare them almost side by side. It looks worse than an iPhone 6S LCD display. I'm very disappointed they went with the LG screen. LG'S P-OLED screens are notorious for being terrible.
  • Just curious... does the display look washed out compared to an iPhone, or only compared to other OLED displays?
  • When next to the iPhone 8 Display it does look washed out. Not as noticeable as say next to the S8 and Note 8. But the colors do not pop. Also the grain I noticed when I used it in store, only knew the grain was an issue a couple days later when I started to read the reviews. So it’s something I noticed without even knowing it was a problem. But compared to the Samsung Display in the smaller phone the XL does look washed out and duller. And then from there the S8’s Display looks better then the smaller Pixel’s Display. I don’t know what Google did but there is some major inconsistencies in these phones.
  • May be you should write about how the Pixel camera thrashes the competition including the new iPhones. But no all your tweets are just pointing on one thing. You don't have to worry since Pixel isn't even going to sell few millions but they sure are kicking Apple in software and camera tech.
  • Hardly. The Pixel lacks the most important aspect of dual-camera design: optical zoom. No amount of ML powered multi-image blending and stitching can fix that omission. Don’t use DxO mark as a measurement tool without understanding the subjectivity of their criteria and how they hire themselves out to companies to consult on how to improve their scores.
  • But notice he didn't say anything about DxO mark ? I am interested when a phone camera gets a high DxO mark but at the same time I take their scores with a pinch of salt.
  • DxO reviews contain useful information if you read through the details. But the "DxO score" is completely arbitrary and meaningless.
  • Except it doesn't have duel cameras.
  • You're right, it doesn't have combat-ready cameras... XD
  • I'd gladly take an iPhone with a flatter color profile if it meant more accuracy, though I suppose I'm in the minority.
  • I don't think you're in the minority, I'd much prefer accuracy. Especially when viewing photos, nothings worse than opening a really nice looking photo on another phone to watch the colors get over-exaggerated or blown out in some way
  • I would have agreed a few years ago, based on the horrible color accuracy of OLED displays at the time. But in the last couple of years, Samsung's OLED displays have improved dramatically. Comparing a friend's S8 display to that of my iPhone 6S put my phone to shame. The Samsung phone's camera also has dramatically faster autofocus and better color reproduction and dynamic range in low light.
  • More striking doesn't mean more accurate. When I look at a lot of smartphone photos on my desktop monitor (that's been calibrated for print), they look simply wrong. Like I said, I'm in the minority. I prefer right over nice, mainly because I always take photos with the intention of printing, not Instagramming.
  • That's hardly a scientific analysis. Samsung's latest AMOLED displays have been judged to be pretty color-accurate. I'm not referring to OLED screens in general, and especially not those produced a couple of years ago. I'm referring to the latest and the best. http://www.displaymate.com/Colors_34.html And colors aside, you can't argue against the fact that OLED displays produce pure blacks, while LEDs render blacks as muddled greys.
  • No it doesn't you I just trying to find an angle from which to defend Apple's use of inferior LCD screens.
    After all Apple themselves stated in their iphone x presentation that the OLED they will use is superior to their LCD screen is every way.
    There is no such thing as absolute color accuracy and iphone's screen is accurate according to the sRGB and DCI-P3 but what would you know Samsung's phones are also color accurate according to those standards. A thing you seem to ignore. The thing you apple fans can't deny is how much objectively better Samsung's screens are when side by side with an iphone.
  • I seriously don’t understand why if you are a hard core Google fan, why are you on this blog reading it if you are only going to dismiss everything that is said as Apple fanboyism . Perhaps taking this information in the context it is given and using it to make an informed purchasing choice should be the order of the day. You are buying a device sight unseen, any and all info is of value when you pass the pocket change level of purchasing. If this issue doesn’t matter to you, go buy your pixel, if it does maybe have a look at what Samsung if offering.
  • Such a hashtag would trend for Apple because Apple sells a ****-load of iPhones. It won't trend for Google, because Google doesn't. (Had it happened with a Samsung phone, you can be **** sure it would trend as well.) I don't know what the overall percentage is, but the Pixel line is just a drop in the bucket in the world of Android phones. Not saying the issue shouldn't be exposed, just that trying to compare the attention given to any thing related to a Pixel, as opposed to an iPhone, is pointless. They aren't remotely located in the same stratosphere of public consciousness.
  • sounds like crying to me, and from an apple fanboy that's to be expected. shut the **** up and go die in a fire, nobody cares what you think.
  • Wow, looks like The_Donald is leaking on iMore now.
  • oled>ips
    thinking for yourself>listening to whatever apple tells you
  • A bad OLED is worse than a good IPS.
  • Agreed. The HTC U11 has an IPS screen and it looks utterly fantastic (until you try and use it wearing polarised sunglasses, natch!)
  • It’s a ****** phone, calm the **** down. Seriously?? B****ing about lack of OLED on a 5 inch phone?? Again, it’s a phone!!! I think I’ll stick to OLED where it matters: on a Television where I consume my entertainment.
  • Which OLED TV do you own?
  • Typical making a big deal about color profiles that can be fixed by software update, but the stupid notch design in the x it's fine, SMH.
  • Not all of the screens issues can be fixed with software. you can’t make a screen that can’t render colors right and has uneven colors/grays magically perfect with software That’s not how screens work and that’s not how software works.
  • Nothing more to say that this post didn't already say. It was pretty apparent that Pixel 2 XL was going to have some serious with the display. LG OLED technology, at least for mobile devices, is years behind Samsung. Having plenty of past experience with plastic substrate OLED panels, I was never encouraged when I heard it during the Pixel 2 XL launch. Google also opted for lower component costs it seems in order to maximize margins on whatever small number of devices it sells. It is unfortunate because the Pixel 2 XL could have been the king of Android for 2017. Now it's just "meh" , and for the asking price it is a non-starer.
  • "LG OLED technology, at least for mobile devices, is years behind Samsung. " This really troubles me considering rumors that Apple wants to tap LG to diversify its OLED supply chain. I've been hearing about problems with LG displays for years now. The most striking was back in 2013 when I bought my Retina MacBook Pro. Apple sourced LED displays from both Samsung and LG at the time, and a huge number of the LG-made screens developed a terrible image persistence defect, including mine. Apple eventually agreed to replace these, bu t not before updating their firmware to make it impossible for customers to determine which brand of display was on their MacBooks.
  • Luckily it looks like Apple won’t be adding them to the supply chain soon. They did find their OLED manufacturing something like 2.7billion to get it where it needs to be. But since Apple took over 5 years working to make an OLED suitable for the iPhone I doubt they would start using the company that everyone knows has inferior OLED manufacturing.
  • I'm still unsure why OLED is considered so great. I've owned so many different phones over the past 10 years, and OLED has never impressed. Even the latest/greatest flagships tend to have inconsistencies with OLED panels.
  • Don't know what to tell you there. I've compared my iPhone's display to that of a Galaxy S8 and the difference is striking. Much more vibrant colors, deep blacks, infinite contrast.
  • Agreed. And it is striking. But the S8 looks too "contrasty" to me. I know, it was ranked the most accurate by... can't remember the group now. But the S8 looks like cartoons to me, while the iPhone (using an 8 right now) looks more realistic and "normal". Every time I go back to an LCD panel from an OLED panel, my eyes feel a slight sense of relief. I've felt that way about every LCD panel vs OLED panel over the years. The S8 is by far the best to date, though - Samsung has really done a great job of mitigating issues with OLED in their latest flagships.
  • I had the same opinion about OLED displays before. And I examined my friend's S8 with a critical eye, expecting to have a negative impression. But for me at least it looks great. I realize that some folks still dislike the colors on the Samsung OLEDs, but for my eyes at least they look great. I don't like the idea of tinkering with color space settings, but they're there for those who want to tweak them. Display aside, the Galaxy's camera is way better than the iPhone's. Autofocus and low light performance are dramatically better. And this remains the case compared to the iPhone 8. Thought the DxO review gave the new iPhone their top score (which is meaningless anyway), their detailed review revealed that there is still a huge gap in autofocus performance. I find it annoying that most iPhone reviews fail to mention this at all.
  • I'm currently using an iPhone 8 Plus and I think the photo quality is comparable in general. But your'e 100% right - the auto-focus on the S8 is so fast... if I wasn't so intertwined with my family and work with iMessage, I'd be using an S8 as my daily driver. But as it stands, I can't break way...
  • Don't get me wrong. I'm deeply invested into the Apple ecosystem and have no intention of ever buying an Android phone. But this performance gap is a point of frustration for me, exacerbated by the fact that it gets zero coverage by the tech press. I would happily give up all of Apple's clunky camera features like portrait mode in exchange for better AF and low light performance. This is a key reason why I am still using an iPhone 6S, despite upgrading to a new model every previous year since the original one in 2007.
  • My wife just upgraded from a 6S to an 8. She was sold on the wireless charging, but her 6S was also on its last leg anyway (she used it hard...) otherwise she would've held onto it. IMHO the 6S still takes some of the best photos in good to medium lighting, as it keeps everything so natural, balanced, and true to life.
  • I agree iPhones take great quality photos in good lighting conditions. And I still love some of the brilliantly innovative software features Apple introduced years ago including panoramas, slow-motion, and time-lapse. But as someone who is into photography for more than just snapshots, I often find myself taking shots in conditions where the iPhone's camera just can't hack it. The best lighting from an artistic standpoint is generally in dimmer situations at night or around sunrise and sunset. And some of the best shots are of fleeting moments that require fast response times. Unfortunately, these are precisely the conditions where the iPhone's camera is a handicap.
  • .
  • "I used #ColorGate facetiously in the title" I'd expect nothing more from you.
  • I think the iPhone X is going to have the same issue. Most reviewers are probably comparing the Pixel 2 lineup of screens to that of Samsung phones. The issue with that is that Samsung's panels are amazingly vibrant and have more saturated colors that are not aligned with color accuracy. So the real question is, do we you want an accurate screen experience or do you want one that has over saturated and vibrant colors?
  • Apple is using Samsung panels.
  • "Samsung's panels are amazingly vibrant and have more saturated colors that are not aligned with color accuracy." That's not an accurate assessment of Samsung's current displays. For the last two years at least they've been rated as having very high color accuracy. That's separate from the image processing used by their cameras, which sometimes reproduce colors differently from an iPhone—at times better and other times worse.
  • True, but if you get an iphone 8 plus and a galaxy Note 8 and hold them side by side there is a clear difference. Does this difference mean one is more accurate than the other? We will now praise Samsung for their displays because Apple is using them in their new flagship but Googles flagship is sub-par because they use LG pOLED technology. I held a Pixel XL 2 at a Verizon store and the screen was absolutely amazing compared to my iPhone 6s.
  • I think that has more to do with LCD vs Amoled (iPhone 8 vs note 8)
  • "may force me to look elsewhere for my yearly Android fix."
    I had no idea Rene needed an Android fix :-)
  • I think the sole purpose of his "Android fix" is to keep abreast of the state of mobile tech outside of the Apple sphere, and to help him deliver better-informed analysis.
  • "better-informed analysis" ?!?! Rene ?!? HAHAHAHA HEHEHEHE Oh man I need that laugh thanks :-D
  • agreed
  • I actually agree with this article. I put my Note 8 side by side on the Pixel 2 XL and the screen of the 2 XL is just awful. If I were to spend $950 on a phone, it better have the best screen out there. Google/LG dropped the ball on this one.
  • Great article Rene!!! I agree 1000% that a lot of reviewers are grading on a curve, when it comes to Android. I haven't felt the phone but the coating seemed like a bad choice. It feels like they are trying to hard to be different, which isn't a bad thing if it's done right. I'm glad to see phones getting more expensive though. I think when people accept a $1500 starting price point most manufactures will be able to push out some really great devices.
  • I agree with the article in the sense that it was an absolutely idiotic decision for Google to use LG. I was very angry about this the minute the rumor started that LG would make the bigger version of the phone. I prefer the smaller form factor myself, so I didn't have interest in the XL anyways, but the fact that they ruined what was great about the original Pixel - nearly identical from the same manufacturer who is known to have good build quality: HTC.
    However, I read this site and Android Central almost every day...the amount of anti-competition articles that this site has versus Android Central - which is a sister site as they are both under Mobile Nations, is astounding. Android Central will once in a while make an article, especially when the iPhone comes out poking fun at how Apple is "inventing" something that has existed for a while...but the level of vitriol on this site for anything Android is still shocking to me somehow. I would think by now Rene would've grown up and gotten over his insecurities about his Apple products, but clearly that's not the case.
    Again I actually agree with how the screen on the Pixel XL 2 is bad, and how they should've definitely not gone with LG for the screens...but if you read any review of the Pixel from sites that don't only write negative articles about the competition - they've already mentioned it! So why bring it up here other than to enthuse Apple fanatics who hate anything not made by Apple? There is no reason.
  • Also the coating feels great. I'm torn because the phone doesn't have wireless charging, but on the other hand my Pixel 2 feels great and I'm not afraid it will slip and fall from my grip like my iPhone 7 or my original Pixel did. So in my opinion, the coating - a little weird decision, but I like it overall.
  • I visit this site and Phone Arena almost daily, and have seen reviews on the Pixel XL 2 as well as a YouTube review of it, and I did not know about the screen issue until I saw it here. It was an interesting article to myself and I think he did a fair assessment. He cited several sources, commented reasonably objectively and drew a comparison to the X, which is expected given it is an Apple site.
  • So why do you think that is? Why did that youtube video and reviews you mention not talk about it? Rene falsely believes that everyone wants to beat up on Apple, which is just an indication of his insecurity over his device choices. Surely you don't believe something so ridiculous. Is it possible that it's actually not that bad? That some may not even notice it? I have the regular size Pixel, my friend just bought himself the XL so I compared the screens as soon as he got back from lunch. Yes, there is a dramatic shift as soon as you tilt the XL in any direction. But looking at it head on, it looked fine. It didn't look good, but it looked fine. If I wasn't specifically looking to see problems, I can imagine not noticing. Is it acceptable? Not in my opinion for a phone that's $850. Will a lot of people notice in day to day use? Not at all. Again, I think it's been very widely reported: Android Central mentioned it and seemed *quite* upset about it, the Verge talked about it, Android Police talked about it, CNET is talking about it, Android Authority, Engadget talked about it, XDA and Reddit are on fire about it. Rene wrote this article to continue the trend of anti competition articles that this site seems to churn out on a too regular basis. That's it. That's his MO. Defend everything someone may criticize about Apple's products, while criticizing everything about everybody else's products and downplaying the advantages of the competition. Only recently has Rene started to feign objectivity, and I believe it's only because of comments like mine and others (that I am very happy to see) - calling out his BS. Even then, you can see he's just trying to feign objectivity, and not actually being objective - because compliments towards the competition are always given in a backhanded way and defense of iOS/Mac is in full swing.
  • I did cancel, because in the final analysis I just could not see spending 900 dollars on a product with issues. NOW I MAY get a V30, if/when LG discounts them in a few months, OR if someone is unloading one cheap. I think I can live with the display at 500 or 600. ;) And the V30 while having the same or similar screen, DOES have several key advantages for me, such as it's audio ability, and it's dual camera. And dare I mention the headphone jack? ;) lol
  • Wow this article got moved off the homepage quickly. I wonder if all the criticism Rene is getting for being a hack had anything to do with it.