The Pixel 2 XL's oleophobic coating is pretty terrible

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,457   +171
Staff member
Chime in: Have you experienced any issues with the oleophobic coating on your Pixel XL 2 or other Pixel-branded smartphone? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below – who knows, with enough chatter, maybe Google will feel compelled to properly address the issue.

Google’s Pixel 2 XL has been riddled with issues from the get-go although fortunately, many of them have been remedied via software update. One particular shortcoming some users are experiencing won’t disappear quite as easily and may not rear its ugly head until several months in.

Ryan Whitwam with Android Police recently shared his experience with the Pixel XL 2, a device he admittedly adores save for one glaring drawback. The phone’s oleophobic coating is terrible.

First introduced on the iPhone 3GS, an oleophobic coating serves as a barrier between a phone’s glass screen and the oils from your skin. Without the coating, fingerprints would be incredibly difficult to clean up but as you’re no doubt familiar with, a quick wipe with a cloth removes most smudges from your phone with ease.

(Image courtesy ridobe, Reddit)

Virtually every smartphone shipping today features an oleophobic coating although it’s often not touted in the specs list due to the fact that it is so commonplace.

The problem with Whitwam’s Pixel 2 XL – and others online – seems to be with the coating’s durability. In short, it’s wearing off far faster than it should.

The Pixel 2 XL launched in mid-October 2017, or just over eight months ago. Even without using the device full-time, Whitwam’s handset and several others in use by the AP staff are showing heavy signs of wear as fingerprints are now smearing instead of wiping away cleanly.

Whitwam reached out to Google and received the following statement on the matter:

“We use a high quality oleophobic coating comparable with other premium smartphones, and we put all of our products through extensive reliability testing during development and in the manufacturing process. The Pixel 2 coating performs according to industry standards, which means that it is susceptible to wear over time, with variation based on usage.”

The only recourse at the time seems to be to use a screen protector to preserve what’s left of the oleophobic coating or eat the cost, replace the screen and potentially have to do the same thing less than a year later.

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tipstir

Posts: 2,854   +200
We have spend all our money on beta cell phones.. Mine Moto Z2 Force might be shatter proof but the coating can get fine scratches. I am not buying a $30 dollar case that's ugly heavy. What's the point to buy a thin light cell just to bury it into a protect case that will fall apart soon. Android, Windows, Apple they're all beta cell phones. OS get beef up as they bugs tend to pop-out. If they took the extra time to fix the bad code, hire more real people to test the devices. Just maybe they won't have all these issues. Cell is a dime a dozen but huge profits on the latest model from UAT group - User Acceptance Testing beta testers.. We're all the UAT..
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,254   +304
On the other hand, my older LG phone with Gorilla Glass 3 have less scratches than the newer LG with Gorilla Glass 4 despite being put together in my pocket.

Sometimes, the "according to the industry standard" part got me, since phones are expected on average to be used for 1-2years, it makes sense if the "industry standard" is now lower than once it was.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,765   +6,581
This is yet another reason the pixel was a failure in my eyes.

The coating issue, the screen problems, the audio and battery life issues, these are ALL things we put up with when the Nexus brand was still around, and these were $300 phones. Google got into it's head that they could charge iphone prices for nexus phones, and the result is these pieces of junk.

My moto z play has longer battery life, the same support length, and better build quality then the pixel phones, and a SD card slot, AND it has a headphone jack, AND only cost $399, not $879 or higher like pixel phones do.

The pixel brand is undeserving of the "best android phone" label. Best waste of money maybe.
 

MilwaukeeMike

Posts: 3,216   +1,469
Google knows there are issues… they already extended the warranty to 2 years, so if you have any problems you’re covered. Google also put these on sale – you get a $150 credit on Google Fi if you buy a 2 XL. Don’t want to sign up for Google Fi – you still get a free Google Home speaker.

I bought a Pixel 2 XL... it was easily the fastest device I’ve ever used. Smoothest transitions and fastest web surfing of anything – phone, computer, laptop, etc. Anything I tapped on happened immediately. Latest Android and no carrier bloatware. The camera is also top-of-the-line… this is why reviews keep calling it the ‘best’.

However – I returned mine because it has an OLED screen, which causes a blue tint color shift if the phone isn’t facing you directly. This is annoying (but not a defect), and not unique to the XL – go pick up any phone with an OLED screen (like the Samsung S9) and you’ll likely see something similar. Not all phones have this ‘feature’, but mine did. It was annoying to me, so I sent it back. I ordered a Pixel 2.
 
Nope. It's just you.

Mine's been naked for 7 months. Been in and out of jeans, been on dining tables, got dirtied, and washed, in and out of bags, been to the gym, handled palm sweat, etc.

Coating still fine. Even the white on the panda's still fine.
 
I bought a Pixel 2 XL... it was easily the fastest. However – I returned mine because it has an OLED screen, which causes a blue tint color shift if the phone isn’t facing you directly. This is annoying (but not a defect), and not unique to the XL – go pick up any phone with an OLED screen (like the Samsung S9) and you’ll likely see something similar. Not all phones have this ‘feature’, but mine did. It was annoying to me, so I sent it back. I ordered a Pixel 2.

I was worried about that after returning the useless curved screen bluing crap known as the S7 Edge. That screen was worthless for media consumption as the curved were constantly blued. I did have to turn off the retched "natural" colors in the p2xl.
 

MilwaukeeMike

Posts: 3,216   +1,469
I was worried about that after returning the useless curved screen bluing crap known as the S7 Edge. That screen was worthless for media consumption as the curved were constantly blued. I did have to turn off the retched "natural" colors in the p2xl.

Agreed - the colors were a bit washed out on the XL before changing the settings. It was a bit of a bummer to get a new phone and not have the screen look as nice as my 2015 LG G4. This is my opinion though, I expect people will like it or not based on what they're used to. I will definitely not be buying a phone without checking it out in store again though.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,765   +6,581
It's the best phone I've ever had. All the reported problems seem to be one offs that are blown up for clickbait.
If they were one offs, Google wouldnt be putting effort into fixing said problems, they would just quietly replace the phone under warranty. My nexus 5 was amazing, but I will not say that it was perfect and the reported problems were nothing-burgers. Mine ran fine, but any product will have its teething problems.

Google has a long track record of bizzare hardware problems with their phones, going all the way back to the first nexus devices. There is nothing wrong with that, the only issue is google demanding iphone level money for a nexus level product.
 
This is yet another reason the pixel was a failure in my eyes.

The coating issue, the screen problems, the audio and battery life issues, these are ALL things we put up with when the Nexus brand was still around, and these were $300 phones. Google got into it's head that they could charge iphone prices for nexus phones, and the result is these pieces of junk.

My moto z play has longer battery life, the same support length, and better build quality then the pixel phones, and a SD card slot, AND it has a headphone jack, AND only cost $399, not $879 or higher like pixel phones do.

The pixel brand is undeserving of the "best android phone" label. Best waste of money maybe.


Got the Z Play after my 6P battery crapped out after a year and three months, absolutely love it. The only thing that isn't great is the camera. Too bad Motorola didn't keep what made the original Z Play great for the Z2 and Z3 Play, not sure what I'm going to do if mine dies.

Side note, do you have the TurboPower Pack? I get four days of use with it in efficiency mode, completely worth the extra thickness and weight imo.
 

ghostf1re

Posts: 414   +265
I have never owned a phone that had issues with this clear coat coming off, no matter how long I owned the phone. I've got some older iPhones and Samsung phones still laying around that I phased out over the years and none of them have problems like this. This is purely a cop out by Google. They chose some garbage parts for their XL.