Google Pixel 2 XL Review — Return to the Android throne?

Display

With the 2 XL, Google has decided to follow the industry leaders — but this time with good reason to. The display is an 18:9 1440p panel, and it’s a much welcome step from last year’s 16:9 display. Having the extra vertical space means that it is far easier to do almost every activity on the device that doesn’t involve media consumption, aka what you use the device for most of the time.

However, the display of the 2 XL is pretty lackluster in some cases. Being an LG-made P-OLED display, and not a Samsung-made glass AMOLED, the 2 XL’s screen suffers from blue shift. What this means is that as you get further and further away from your eyes being perfectly 90 degrees to the plane of the screen (i.e. when you tilt the phone), the display takes on a blue tinge that gets progressively worse the more you tilt the phone.

Some units have an almost unnoticeable blue shift — you will not notice it unless you tilt it beyond 45 degrees, or put it next to another device such as my year-old Pixel XL (which had a Samsung-made AMOLED panel). However, there are some units with absolutely horrendous blue shift that becomes apparent at a mere 10 to 15 degrees. This is a significant problem, and if you obtain a unit plagued with such a severe blue shift, I’d recommend returning it and asking for another, or failing that getting a refund.

There, I said it. The R word. That’s right, some 2 XL units have the problem so bad, I’d advocate eschewing the myriad of wonderful features you get with a Pixel smartphone and simply refunding the unit if you get one with a severe blue shift (or if you’re tenacious, you can keep asking for replacement devices until you get one you are satisfied with).

You may have been wondering, why are LG panels so inferior, and why did Google get those despite having anticipated the problem instead of the Samsung-made ones? As far as the former goes, even LG is clueless as to why it is still an issue after having manufactured the panels for so long. The latter, though, is pretty much Apple’s fault. In their bid to launch the iPhone X on time and with Apple-quality displays, Apple pretty much bought every unit of the 1440p 18:9 Samsung-made panels that were on sale, leaving Google with no choice but to select LG.

Fortunately, the smaller Pixel 2 is using Samsung-made displays, but it’s not being officially sold here and you are obviously missing out on superior battery life and a larger display if you purchase that one.

Sorry Google, you really missed the boat on this one.

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