Over the past several weeks, there have been reports of the Pixel 2 XL, and to a lesser degree the smaller model, encountering moderate to severe performance issues. For some, but not all users, this includes system lag from animations to opening apps, primarily the camera. Google is currently investigating the issue in light of recent reports, though notably the majority of owners are free of these problems.
Android Police founder Artem Russakovskii raised the issue last month, with Marques Brownlee also highlighting some of his own problems in a video. These issues fall on a spectrum with the YouTuber encountering a minor variant in comparison to the former’s travails.
Since then, there have been reports on Reddit and Twitter about issues that focus on animation lag and app performance. The most prominent, and understandably frustrating, deals with the camera. As Artem captures in one video, the Pixel 2 XL takes approximately 10 seconds to open Google Camera using the power button double-tap gesture. Within that wait period, the phone is frozen with touch and swipe gestures not working.
Once the camera is loaded, switching to video takes another few seconds, with the resulting recordings having a “choppy” quality to them, according to one user.
Here's just one example of what I described as "devastatingly and embarrassingly laggy" on my Pixel 2 XL.
— Artem Russakovskii (@ArtemR) August 9, 2018
This behavior is absolutely unacceptable as it without a doubt will cause users to miss crucial moments on a device touted for its camera prowess. This sentiment is echoed by many impacted owners who keep using the phone regardless for the excellent camera. However, they have to make accommodations like opening the camera ahead of time before any expected usage to make sure the event is not lost.
Next up are issues around navigation, from dropdown menus opening slowly to apps similarly taking a few seconds to open or respond to gestures. MKBHD in his video demonstrates the animation lag in comparison to other Android flagships, like the OnePlus 6. The differences in animation speeds are clearly visible to the naked eye in a direct comparison.
The issues for Artem (and presumably the countless people he has retweeted lately) were present on Android Oreo, as well as throughout the P Developer Preview and ultimately the final release of Pie. A handful of reports note that the Pixel 2 is facing similar issues, but errors seem to favor the Pixel 2 XL.
In response, Google earlier this week specifically investigated Artem’s phone by examining it and collecting data for analysis. Presumably, they are also inspecting a larger sample size, with some users getting replacement RMA phones that fix the problem for the moment. Google has yet to detail their findings.
Meanwhile, we heard from an anonymous tipster recently that Google identified three possible issues with the Pixel 2 XL. One involves hardware and thus requires a replacement, while the two are presumably addressable with software.
Anonymous tip: Google has at this point identified three possible causes of @ArtemR's (and others) Pixel 2 XL lag issues, one of which would require hardware replacements.
— Stephen Hall (@hallstephenj) August 16, 2018
While there are many reports of users facing slowdowns, there are a similar number that have not encountered these problems. Speaking personally, my own Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are lag-free, with the team at 9to5Google encountering similar results.
Update 8/20: According to a Google spokesperson, general performance “data indicates this is not a widespread issue.” The company is still investigating last week’s report and notes that “it is too early to draw conclusions.”
“We have teams who constantly manage and monitor performance on our devices and our data indicates this is not a widespread issue. Getting bug reports is a normal part of our process – as is common for most consumer devices. We use these to evaluate what might be wrong and work on any necessary fixes. We are still in the process of investigating this report so it is too early to draw conclusions.”
What about you? What have your experiences been with the Pixel 2 XL as it ages? Let us know below.