An altogether very well-received phone, the Pixel 2 XL has gotten mostly glowing reviews for its minimal bezels and standout camera. Its display, however, has been widely criticised for a host of reasons, including washed out colors, significant blue shift when viewed at an angle, lines of dead or colored pixels, graininess, and light bleed, just to name a few. Now, reports are surfacing of yet another issue with the screen — as if the current ones weren't already enough.
In a post on the Pixel User Community forum, multiple users have been complaining that the Pixel 2 XL's screen will occasionally flash when locking or unlocking the device. Apparently, pressing the power button or even using the fingerprint sensor to turn the display on or off causes the screen to briefly flash a bright white before returning to normal.
The behaviour doesn't happen 100% of the time the screen is turned on or off, and while some users have reported that they starting running into the issue just a couple hours after purchasing the phone, for others the problem first started happening seemingly "out of nowhere."
Unfortunately, rebooting into safe mode or even performing a factory reset on the phone has been ineffective in solving the issue, though a few users have reported some (temporary) results by toggling Ambient Display off and on again. There are even videos of the screen flashing when booting up the Pixel 2 XL from a fully powered-down state, which may be indicative of faulty hardware rather than a simple software bug.
Videos by Kevin Peralta
It's worth emphasizing that this issue appears to affect only a small minority of Pixel 2 XLs (and not the regular Pixel 2s) and that if you haven't run into it so far, it's more likely than not that your device is perfectly fine. That said, even uncommon problems like this one will undoubtedly have a considerable impact on the public's perception and trust in the Pixel brand, tarnishing what is, by all accounts, an otherwise great phone.
If you are experiencing random flashes on your Pixel 2 XL's screen, you should probably return your phone to Google and ask for a replacement. There's no reason to put up with a faulty device when you're spending over $800 on it.
Edit: A few Nexus 6P owners have stated in the comments that their phones also started experiencing the same problem since the update to Oreo, though apparently with a lower frequency what is being reported on the Pixel 2 XL. If that's the case, it's possible that this bug may be not due exclusively to a hardware flaw but to an issue with the software as well.
- Pixel User Community Forum