Google faces potential lawsuit over Pixel 2 XL's screen burn-in, "black smear" and audio popping issues

Law firm Girard Gibbs LLP seems to be building up towards a class action lawsuit against Google for the defects in the Pixel 2 XL.

Law firm Girard Gibbs LLP seems to be building up towards a class action lawsuit against Google for the defects in the Pixel 2 XL.

Google faces potential lawsuit over Pixel 2 XLs screen burn-in, black smear and audio popping issues

Image credits: Google

The firm has set up a dedicated page along with a form for users to submit their issues for a free case review. Judging by the number of reports of Pixel 2 XL issues popping up since launch day, Girard Gibbs LLP might already have enough material to go ahead with a lawsuit.

Girard Gibbs LLP specifically points to the reported screen burn-in and "black smear" issues with the display, as well as reports of “persistent whistling and clicking sounds” when making phone calls.

Android Central, ArsTechnica and TheVerge were among the first reviewers to report screen burn-in issues on the Pixel 2 XL. This was within two weeks of the launch of the device. We’ve yet to receive our own review unit of the Pixel 2 XL, so we can’t confirm the issue for ourselves. Screen burn-in is an issue where a section of the display persistently displays an image even after that image was supposed to change. This usually occurs with UI elements that are persistent on the display, such as the navigation bar on Android.

Google investigated the burn-in issue and reported that according to their tests, the LG-made Pixel 2 XL displays will eventually display burn-in, as will all OLED panels at some point, and that the Pixel 2 XL’s display performs within industry standards. Google added that for the sake of the peace of mind of users, it would extend warranty on the Pixel 2 XL devices to two years.

The “black smear” issue is another one that’s common among lower-end OLED panels, and should not normally be found on a high-end phone like the Pixel 2 XL. This phenomenon occurs when the pixels on an OLED panel must switch from black to colour, leaving a “smear” of black as the pixels catch up with what they’re supposed to display.

The electronic whistling and clicking sounds are an issue that some users have reported, but doesn’t seem to be too widespread at this time. Essentially, you hear a clicking and/or whining sound when using the earpiece speaker when making a call. Google appears to be honouring all RMA requests related to the issue and is issuing replacement units. This issue appears to be affecting Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL users. Our review unit of the Pixel 2 doesn’t appear to be affected.

There is some speculation regarding the issue. ArsTechnica points out that one user claims to have been told that it’s a software issue that can be fixed in an upcoming update. Other users are speculating that the issue stems from the NFC module and goes away once turned off.

The original Pixel also had serious audio issues that were not adequately addressed. Users who complained were given replacement units.

Girard Gibbs LLP has a history of suing tech companies over various issues, and has already filed lawsuits against Google over the Pixel and the earlier Nexus 6P.

Whether the lawsuit goes through or not, Google really does need to get its act together and work on its hardware QA process.

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