Google Pixel 2 Camera Plagued By ‘Visual Banding’ Effect In LED Lighting

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One phone, many problems. That’s probably one of the best ways to define Google’s latest Pixel phones. Buyers have complained about crappy audio recording, screen burn-in, a bluish tint, flashing screen, and many other problems. The Pixel 2 camera is considered close to perfect. Even DxOMark said the new Pixel phones have the world’s best smartphone camera.

The Pixel 2 camera picks up major banding in LED lighting

Now users have taken to Google’s Support forums to complain about a weird “visual banding” with the Pixel 2 camera. Images and videos captured under LED lighting show a major banding. The issue affects both the front and rear cameras. One user said in Google’s support forum that the photos “pick up major banding,” and “the bands dance” when recording a video.

The banding occurred mostly under LED lighting. In all other lighting environments, the Pixel 2 camera takes great photos and videos. One forum member named Keandre Espina pointed out that the banding didn’t affect the original Pixel devices because of their “lower performance in low-light conditions” where the camera would blur out the flickers in the image.

The problem is mainly because of the way LED lights work, but most other premium smartphones don’t suffer from ‘visual banding’ under LED lighting. As Android Headlines points out, LED lights tend to flicker at roughly the same rate as the AC power supply. Though your naked eyes won’t notice the flickering, the camera would pick it up. Google could fix the issue via a software update.

Google Assistant not working on Bluetooth headphones

Many Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL owners have complained that the Google Assistant was not working over Bluetooth headphones. Users are supposed to be able to interact with the AI assistant on Bluetooth headphones. The problem is not with any specific brand or model of headphones. Users are experiencing it with a wide variety of brands. Customers have been complaining about the issue since October.

Customers are able to activate the Assistant with ease over Bluetooth headphones. But soon after the Assistant is activated, the microphone mutes itself. It means users can’t ask questions or interact with the Google Assistant. This problem is also likely to be fixed via a future software update.

The screen doesn’t respond to touches along the edges

Owners of the larger Pixel 2 XL handsets have also complained that the touchscreen doesn’t respond to touches along the edges. One Pixel 2 XL user posted a video showing that the screen does not respond to taps along the right-hand side edge. In many cases, the left side is also unresponsive. One user said, “It happens all the time while I’m trying to scroll while reading.”

A Google community manager responded to the complaints, saying that the search engine giant was investigating the issue. It will be fixed “in a future OTA update. Stay tuned.”

Google rolls out software update to fix many issues

Google has started rolling out the November software update for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL devices. The update will reach most phones in the next few days. It brings several enhancements, and fixes many of the problems pointed out by users. The update fixes the clicking noise coming out of the phone’s speaker during phone calls. It also brings burn-in protection and more color modes.

Currently, the new Pixel phones have a single toggle in the display settings, which is related to the vivid colors feature. The November update brings three different options: natural, saturated, and boosted. The saturated mode will put the screen into an unmanaged configuration to deliver more saturated and vibrant colors. With the saturated mode, the company aims to keep the colors accurate rather than making them appear “unnatural” and eye-pleasing. It means the new mode will not transform the colors into something extraordinary.

A Google community manager said that all OLED screens suffer from “some degree of decay over time.” So, Google will keep making enhancements via software updates to maximize the life of Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL screens. The company added that the new update would allow more apps including Settings to adopt the light navigation bar.

Google has also reduced the maximum display brightness by 50 nits to tackle the burn-in issues. Google says the reduction in brightness will be unnoticeable to users. Google is not the only company to face the burn-in problems. Just a few days ago, Apple warned the iPhone X buyers about the screen burn-in problems. Apple said it was an “expected behavior” of OLED screens.

Google says the new update also fixes a vulnerability in the Media framework. It required immediate attention because it would have allowed remote hackers to launch codes with a specially crafted file.

Despite all the technical issues, the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have been selling well. Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently revealed that the Pixel 2 pre-orders were two times higher than the original Pixel.

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