One of the potential downsides to the OLED screens that are making their way into high-end smartphones is screen burn-in. This is something that happens when you have the same items on the screen for extended periods of time, like navigation buttons. Essentially, you end up with ghost images left behind on the screen. Normally this is something that happens over an extended period of time, but there are reports of burn-in happening on Pixel 2 XL smartphones only days after purchase.
Google has announced that it is looking into these problems for owners of the smartphone. The tweet embedded below has an image showing clear burn-in issues with a Pixel 2 XL that has only been in use for about a week according to a reviewer at Android Central. On the bottom section of the smartphone screen in the image, you can clearly see burned-in remains of the navigation bar in the grey section.
Ghosting, also known as image retention, could also be the culprit here leaving these lingering images behind. The big difference here is that image retention will go away on its own whereas burn-in stays. Google hasn't stated how widespread this issue is, but there are reports from multiple people seeing the same problem with the Pixel 2 XL.
Google issued a statement on the subject, "The Pixel 2 XL screen has been designed with an advanced POLED technology, including QHD+ resolution, wide color gamut, and high contrast ratio for natural and beautiful colors and renderings. We put all of our products through extensive quality testing before launch and in the manufacturing of every unit. We are actively investigating this report."
Google will reportedly be replacing the devices with screen issues. The question here, and what we hope to learn during Google's investigation, is if the problem will happen again with replacement devices. For more details on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones, read our review.