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Google shipped a Pixel 2 that failed its quality control inspection

Between screen burn-in and mysterious hissing/clicking sounds, Google can't seem to catch a break with its Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The two phones that were supposed to be the best Android handsets of the year have quickly found themselves amidst a heap of controversy and debate, and unfortunately for Google, the hits keep on coming.

On the "Pixel 2 Display Megathread" on r/GooglePixel, 9to5Google noted that one user reported their Pixel 2 128 GB model had shipped to them with a note in the box saying that it had failed its quality control inspection.

Dpezet (the Redditor that received the defective Pixel 2) uploaded a picture of his phone, and sure enough, there's a note from QC saying that it shouldn't ship due to cosmetic damage. Dpezet did note that he couldn't see any scratches or imperfections, but even so, the phone still failed an inspection and should never have shipped.

This isn't a travesty, but it sure doesn't make Google look good.

Google has since reached out and will be replacing the Pixel 2 for a new model along with a $10 Google Play credit, and while it is nice of them to throw something in along with the free return, it still seems like a pretty weak apology for shipping a phone that shouldn't have ever arrived on a customer's doorstep.

So, who's to blame here?

HTC is technically manufacturing the smaller Pixel 2, but Google makes it very clear through its marketing and advertising that these are phones "made by Google." Some are on the side that HTC is to blame, whereas others believe that Google should be held accountable.

One reported fluke like this on its own isn't that big of a deal, but when stacked up next to the other many complaints that the Pixel 2 and 2 XL are facing, it sure doesn't help Google's image right now.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • What a shame
  • But he got at $10 Google Play card. Lol!
  • That's why I only buy Samsung!
  • Note 7?
  • I agree that the apology is weak. I never knew that something like this was even capable of happening at all.
  • My wife's Pixel 2 box arrived today with no phone in the box. I didn't know that could happen either. After a 40 minute call with Google they are sending a replacement.
  • Yay Google!
  • The fact this was actually shipped show a real failure in the process, because that should never had left QC and gone to dispatch or whatever they may call their relevant departments
  • It's one efen phone that was mistakenly shipped, it's not a big deal.
  • Exactly.
  • I'm steering clear of this train wreck
  • pre-ordered the pixel 2 to replace a 3rd gen moto x (the original Google phone) and i love it. i do miss the moto's karate chop flashlight switch and its more sensitive active notifications but those are nitpick functionalities. otherwise, the pixel 2 with Oreo blows Moto out of the water especially considering I'm still waiting for nougat... bye-bye Moto, hello pixel
  • p.s. i meant the 1st Gen Moto x (which i also owned) was the original Google phone and also meant the US 3rd gen Moto x is _still_ waiting for nougat which is why i bid farewell to Moto/Lenovo and welcomed pixel 2 with open arms -- with no regrets whatsoever.
  • Pretty much any phone not Moto mfg in the last 2 yrs blows Moto out of the water, not only the pixels
  • Out of all the issues, this has got to be the least.
    One phone getting shipped after failing the QC isn't as bad as passing QC with issues.
  • Exactly. Some companies have their QC totally f'ed. Every time I go to McDonald's, the food I get passes QC with issues.
  • Ha ha ha. Agreed.
  • Or the sticker was incorrectly on it... we don't know.
  • Is this like a Joe Maring Vs Andrew Martonik thing? Cause Joe reports all the crap and Andrew reports all the praises. LOL just my observation. And this seems to show Google, HTC, and LG have 0 QA right now. Sabotage to push the V30 and U11 Pro.
  • It doesn't matter, at this point I can make a Reddit thread and say any fault about the Pixel and there will be articles on every news outlet. All they care is coverage, clicks. Not saying all these are not valid issues, but among them there is also tech blogs licking their lips about all these stuff since it's more articles for them.
  • That how news/blogs works. Nothing new.
  • Only one response from me. WAT
  • Say it aint So D13!!! I look forward to your have failed me. For the first and possibly 1/1000th time
  • That's because I really don't have anything to say. My Google Now feed has been nothing but Pixel 2 bad news.
  • Phone reviews are a lot like gun reviews..... You never read a negative one..... Prior to release, the rumor industry drives demand, interest, and convinces consumers to preorder, sight unseen. Until the problems start showing up, then bloggers start piling on. Here at Android Central, an occasional false article will even show up... I refer to groundless concerns about Samsung Note 8 battery life. Early adoption is always a dangerous game in tech. Buyer beware. Wait a month for any hardware or software issues to be identified. The truth about new phones is they are needs, never wants. Within six months to a year their price will be heavily discounted. The worst example of a hyped phone is the Essential Phone. The prelaunch love in for a phone with no track record by tech writers was rediculous. The recent price drop should not be enough to convince a buy. But this Pixel 2.... Oh, the prelaunch love was unprecedented... And the problems have not stopped being identified. It's criminal Google shipped the phone with so many problems. Granted, no, they don't catch fire. Now, one shipped phone that was identified as a failure by QC? You get what you pay for... I'm not critical of Chinese factory workers making $2/hr.
  • Phone review are like gun reviews... What an odd analogy to make... "We're all familiar with those crazy off the wall gun reviews, right guys! ... Guys?". Lol.
  • There are gun reviews?
  • People will video review the latest KFC combo. There are reviews for everything.
  • Are there even reviews for Deez Nuts?
  • "it goes bang. 8/10"
  • Probably more people than you can even imagine
  • The poster stated in another comment he couldn't see damage. I'm pretty sure the "scratches" you see in the photo are flakes of paper/cardboard that fell off the box. It's unclear whether the device or the slip of paper is the mistake. Please don't spread misinformation. (But yes, either way it's a stupid and embarrassing mistake.)
  • Just now caught that and updated the article. Thanks!
  • I see other phone manufactures have messed up phones also, you all say its only BlackBerry that does lately, wow
    No matter what they all have stuff go wrong in the mfg process even Apple.
  • Yes, Apple too. A few prior IOS updates locked down phones, etc... It seems better now, but for a few years you would not dare install an IOS upgrade until those who did gave feedback.
  • Who has said only blackberry messes up recently? Do a search for "essential phone".
  • Wow. Just... wow.
  • Cancelled my (again) delayed Panda; as an afterthought when the burn-in issue rose to prominence several days ago. The whole manufacturing process needs to undergo an ISO re-certification as transparently and as quickly as possible/practical.
  • If this phone was shipped from the ODM, shouldn't that fall on HTC, not Google, since HTC made the phone and package up the phone and sealed it? Then Google delivered the with it failing QC and sent out a new one.
  • If Apple ships a broken phone, who would be blamed? Apple or Foxconn? Answer is clear (and no, it's not Foxconn). So yeah, if Google wanted to get into the phone business for good, they have to bear the risks. Blaming HTC, while quite accurate, is also pointless, as it's not their name on the phone, and they are not selling it.
  • Correct - I would have to believe that Google has some presence in the QA of those HTC manufacturing facilities ensuring devices with their name on it passes inspection; whether initial inspection or final inspection.
  • Gees u people act like they shipped a phone that was cracked in half. So what u bought it and u can just as easily ship it back.
  • Shouldn't have to.
  • Yeah, it's not like it exploded or anything. I think people are just hard up for entertainment these days.
  • Yeah it's not like they opened up the box and there was a **** laying on it.
  • I like how Pixel went from "BEST ANDROID PHONE EVER!!!!"
    To "Supposed to the best"
  • in all honesty I get hat mistakes happen. but if this guy is without a phone now because he's still waiting for a replacement. $10 is weak, a nice gesture but weak.
    NOW if they overnight it to him or Same day for free THEN maybe I'd agree $10 is good. One thing ive learned after a Future shop debacle is. CS has nothing, you raise hell and suddenly people want you to shut up. I called them out for false advertising in there promotions [It was for KH D3 was supposed to have a ton of bonus items for pre-ordering online] Mine arrived 2 days late. Just the game in the packaging. So, I called CS 3x and they either hung up on me or transferred me and dropped the call. Well this was after 4hours, and I was working nights so I was sleep deprived, FINALLY someone told me there was an issue in shipping. So they told me to go to my Local futureshop and the items would be there for me. So I went. Get there. It was a copy of the promised extras. I still kept my cool. Talked to a guy I knew and he just kind of shrugged me off cause he didn't know anything. BACK on CS phone line I went, being very calm. UP until they hung up on me. So I went to Twitter, Facebook, Anything where I could comment on there store and chewed them a new one. Suddenly others started to chime in, after about 30 minutes of watching there FB page go up, my phone rang. It was a CS from earlier. Asked if it was Niffi. I said yes. I was immediately transferred to the VP of marketing. Who explained there was a major error in the papers, and online. I kept my head again and explained my situation to her about every step to get me to where she was calling me. She goes silent and says "If you are willing to remove your posts or edit them, We can offer Either A or B [They where some 3DS complete kits, you know with every accessory you need." She said "OK, Did you want to grab it from a store, or mail it." said I'd go pick it up in exchange for removing my comments. So She said sure. I kept my end of the deal, Removed all my comments or edited them....To say call and They'll Give you a freebie." Sometimes a little flame war is all you need to get companies to react. Everyone who was calling to complain about the missing items, was being misdirected or rejected. So if you get enough people to hit them where it hurts. Online where EVERYONE can see. You really open a war and can get them to admit they where wrong. </End>
  • Only one? Sounds like they're shipping a hell of a lot of phones that SHOULD be failing.
  • Geez, I'm not gonna come out and say it looks like a Pixel witch hunt but... THATS EXACTLY WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE!
    Ahem. Sorry, I had a frog in my throat.
  • I agree - all the articles have made me seriously consider cancelling my preorder but now, it seems to be more of everyone jumping on the bandwagon to trash Google. Now I am seriously thinking of keeping my order since it appears just to be a major smear campaign to take down the phone
  • Same here. You'll find issues with anything if you go looking for problems the way people have been with the pixel. Odd that other than the exploding notes last year that no one ever trashed them so much for having total junk software. That to me is inexcusable, yet not one of these sites has ever been as hung up about it as they are with OLED displays doing what OLED displays do. Heck, it's as though these tech sites don't really understand OLED technology. They should spend some time over in AVS reading about the problems with OLED TV's that way they can put all of this unnecessary flaming to rest. Before the pixel people were ripping the essential phone apart. Idiots who suck at taking pictures were trashing a camera that they were never going to take good pictures with anyway. I think the world has gone absolutely mad.
  • It's true that if you go looking for issues you'll find them. But when Google started charging close to a grand for a premium line of phones, you are now expecting exactly that, a premium device. All my phones have been Nexus phones and let's be honest, there was always some sort of compromise but because of the price it became a non issue. My 1st Gen pixel felt premium and was the best phone to date, but moving up to the 2XL felt like a downgrade. I paid over a grand for that thing and I shouldn't be felt forced to love the phone and make compromises on the screen, which we'll be looking at for the life of the device. I still believe in Google which is why I'm exchanging for the smaller pixel 2. Let's not mix these silly stories with the other real issues. The screen really is subpar and for the price we shouldn't just ignore it and live with it. OLED has advanced a lot and it's been years since I've seen a screen like the one on the 2XL. Not sure if it can be fixed with a software update, but hoping Google steps up and does damage control because their phones really are great.
  • I almost cancelled mine and I am so glad that I didn't. This is by far the best phone I have owned but I am coming from a 6p.
  • Lol, Smdh. Aaand, that is one weak ass apology.
  • At least the phone didn't explode.
  • Hear, hear.
  • Good, I'm glad this is happening. This is what you get when you get too full of yourself, Google. And this is what consumers get for being willing to accept and look passed mediocrity. I was all pumped to get this phone, but thank God I went into Verizon and saw a display unit for myself. Shame on all of the people involved.
  • This pixel 2xl is kinda of a failure
  • It's beginning to look grim.
  • AndroidCentral, You are partially to blame for noise like this ^
    The Pixel 2XL isn't the mess that everyone is making it out to be. The world has officially gone mad.
  • It's not looking good for the world either
  • Oh please the world has been in peril since day 1, if you choose to look at it that way. It's a rock flying near a sun in space with lots of other flying rocks and projectiles, wtf could ever go wrong right?
  • Everything and anything. If space debris doesn't get us then the oceans rising in protest are almost certain to.
  • I'm sorry you feel this way. I tried to make sure our findings for the screen burn on the 2XL were concise and accurate, and we delivered a tempered response to wait and see what Google has to say.   I think at this point, it's not unreasonable to keep your order active for the Pixel 2 XL and see it for yourself. Cancelling isn't unreasonable, either. The important thing is to know that there seems to be a fairly widespread issue and that Google is investigating what it is and what may have caused it. You can make your own decision based on that once you know.   On a personal level, I didn't order a 2XL because I'm more comfortable with the size and screen aspect ratio on the smaller pixel 2. It's an excellent phone, and until next spring when we see products from other companies I think it's the best Android phone overall. But if I had ordered a 2XL, I certainly would evaluate it myself before I decided to keep or return it, and that's what I would (and have) recommended others do, too.
  • Jerry, much respect. Sorry for being so overly dramatic. My feed was just blowing up with more stories this morning, and then I got here and the comment section was a little too much doom and gloom for me. Thanks for the reply, that's awesome.
  • I feel you. My feed everywhere is blown up, too. I even went as far as thinking "I wish we hadn't even said anything" But quickly realized that would be wrong. I can't help that others take the information and go too far — Google should stop selling Pixel phones, The Pixel2 XL is the worst phone you can buy, etc etc — but I also know that's not really my fault. We will keep trying to let people know the things they need to know without hyperbole or nonsense. Pinky swear :)
  • Feed blowing up? WTF, at the end of the day it's a stupid phone. They're all stupid phones. Far more important stuff in the current world to be "blowing up" over.
  • I've inflated their importance in the scheme of things over the past 18 months.
  • He's not saying people are blowing up, even though some apparently are. He's saying that his news feed is blowing up. For example, if you set your news feed to send you all stories on the Pixel, you'd see a deluge of stories all about the issues affecting the Pixel. So in other words, the amount of articles on Pixel issues are "blowing up" or increasing exponentially, because none of these blogs wants to lose out on their clicks. Just like when a sensational story hits, no matter how serious it is or how famous the people involved are. If there is anything to wind people up, the news will report on it repeatedly, 24/7. Hell, some of the articles are reworked versions of the same article they previously published, but they act like it has new information, even when it doesn't. But people keep clicking away. And I agree, the world has far more serious issues to be blowing up over. But for some, this gives them an outlet, something less consequential to focus on and avoid the more dire issues.
  • Feed blowing up as in I'm getting threats like "I'll pull you out of that wheelchair you fat piece of shit" or just idiots like the people in these comments. I don't have time for that sort of crap and filtering it out gets hard when it comes from all sides.
  • I see it as an opportunity for Google to show how they can respond to a crisis. If they can solve this right, then color me a potential customer.
  • It seems like they've been shipping hundreds or thousands of them. /s
  • Don't see what's the big deal. Folks received wrong package, mail, etc etc and so on, all the time.
  • No but it's Google, so we need to bring our torches and pitchforks!
    *hands @bnice a glass a crazy juice so he can be filled with hate and start raging out against all things pixel*
  • Google is having their Note 7 moment. Except then difference is that Google already has a history of messing up hardware. They will not be excused for any reason.
  • huh?
  • I dunno, color shifting, burn-in, and clicking sounds vs a device that's battery can cause a fire aren't quite the same thing. It's bad PR, but it's still not that bad to anyone with a modicum of perspective.
  • Except this isn't on the same level as the Note7.
  • A whole $10.
    "Maybe go to the movies and take a friend..." Nope.
    Weak. Weak. Weak.
    it's more than the additional $10 as QC escape.
  • How much would have made it okay? The phone didn't explode or anything. I've received the wrong item from Amazon a few times, and you didn't see any headlines written about that. But Google sends out a pixel with a love letter and anyone loses their minds. You guys need to go smoke a J, then rub one out. You're all too wound up.
  • This was probably the mistake of one person not paying attention, and sending the phone down the wrong line. Could have been a machine error if they used a sensor to "see" the tag, but either way, the response was weak. A $25 gift card should have been the minimum, and $50 would have been the right thing to do.
  • If they would have given $75 people here would still be complaining. Seems like the non-tech/cellphone crowd has really lost their mind when it comes to the Pixel.
  • If this happened to me, I would contact Google and handle it. I wouldn't cry to the internet like a little baby. There's an entire generation of babies that can't just handle sh*it on their own
  • Agree 100% - this is now going too far. Seems like Android Central now wants to take down Google by now reporting on these types of issues
  • he was probably contacted before anyone in CS could get to him,
  • If the person in question hadn't posted it on the internet, how would anyone know to contact him about the issue? I've had phone issues before, the most I've done is go to the forums and see if anyone else had the issue, had a fix for it, or solicit advice on the best course of action. I've mostly done that to avoid contacting the company or carrier as exchanges can be a hassle. But otherwise,unless the company tells me to F off, I'm not going to make a huge deal about it. Like someone else has said, I've gotten the wrong product from online vendors, I've gotten damaged products from them too. It never made the papers, because it didn't need to.
  • Hasn't he already done so, though?
  • These companies are basically forced by us consumers to release a new phone every year, no wonder the QC isn't on par. Imagine if car companies had to manufacture a brand new model every year and how much of a pos that would end up being.
  • Man, the hits keep coming. It's like the Note 7 last year, where bad news kept snowballing. You know, maybe all this negative press means I could snag someone that wants to unload a slightly used Pixel 2/2 XL. :p j/k!
  • But is this really the same as batteries exploding and causing fires? Most didn't notice the burn in until Android Central highlighted it. The blue tinge on an angle - whatever. The colour spectrum - to the eye of the beholder. We need to put this is context - do we really want to be smearing what has been reviewed as maybe the best Android phone out there to the point where its making people like me want to cancel their phones? That is what is now happening.
  • It's a full blown and unnecessary witch hunt.
  • Not sure why my reply to you ended up as another post, but I do still want to get the Pixel 2 XL. The initial display concerns didn't bother me. I want to see how this burn-in issue plays out, but outside of that, this is the phone I still want to get. I'm just waiting for the pandas to be in stock again.
  • Same sentiments - my Pixel 2 XL is still on order and should ship this week. Black.
  • You put your name on it (and take another's name off it), you take full ownership and responsibility.
    It's 100% on Google.
  • Google is to blame. Point blank.
  • It just seems like everyone is piling on what is wrong with these phones, similar to what happened with the Note 7. True, the N7 had a safety hazard which ultimately led to the global recall (twice). It hit home for us as well as my wife had the Note 7, was replaced with another Note 7, but in the end had to return it for the S7 edge, When I got her the Note 8, she was excited to get it, but was concerned about the battery initially. She's been happy with it since. I don't know where this is going at the moment with the Pixel 2s. Could it get to the point where those that already have it can swap it out for a "better" display version? What about for those like you that have preordered it? Hard to say right now. Incidentally, the first reports of the blue tinge on an angle and color spectrum didn't sway me either. I hadn't preordered yet because the 2 XL I want (panda) is out of stock. I would very much still like to get it if and when all this comes to pass.
  • If there's no cosmetic damage and the only thing indicating as such is the paper slip, is there the chance it fell in accidentally and doesn't apply to this?
  • I wonder if HTC just did this purposely since the XL by LG is taking all the crap and they don't wanna be left out.
  • Not to seem too reactionary, but I decided to ship my 2XL back to Google for a refund yesterday. It's not just one little thing but a number of concerns about things I have discovered that made me feel that they cut corners this year and it simply doesn't look, feel or act like an $850 flagship device. Really bummed out about it because I loved last year's phone so much
  • My pixel 2 XL shipped with a fingerprint sensor that didn't work
  • That's terrible. Cumulatively, it's gone beyond a little schadenfreude on the part of naysayers.
  • That doesn't sound good
  • C'mon Android Central... So there was one issue with shipping/quality control, and this site deemed it worthy of an entire article/post?? This is obviously click bait, trying to ride any negative news of the Pixel 2 for hits. Sucks for the one consumer affected, but it obviously looks like this is an isolated incident which has sense been rectified.
  • If this was Google's attempt at achieving parity with the iPhone in terms of quality software and hardware integration, then this has been a complete failure. If you want quality hardware, you need to partner with firms that provide it, not cheap out on screens and QC and expect marketing and a shiny phone will do the work for you. I hope they learn from this experience and provide a more compelling device next year. Google can more than afford to take a hit. Mark these 50% off and be done with it.
  • Ha ha ha ha
    Shows what quality control Google has.
  • To me it just looks like a simple mistake. What ******* ever... seriously
  • I was going to look at the Pixel 2 XL this weekend at Verizon. But with all these issues I didn't bother.
  • You should have gone and taken a look anyway. I went by the store to see myself and glad I did. The screen was simply amazing (colors looked great and zero burn in) and the fit & finish to match. Truly an outstanding phone and I can't wait for my pre-order to arrive.
  • You have a very low bar on quality lol
  • Not really...I just understand that there simply isn't an absolutely perfect device out there. Every single one have compromises of some form or fashion. And I do have an opinion just like everyone else posting comments. I just chose to see for myself instead of relying on every other opinion. I tend to like natural colors and can't stand the over-saturated colors of other OLED panels out there while other people may like that. I also tend to like no-bloat devices that I can choose whatever apps I want to use without worrying about whether or not I can uninstall them. But, again, that's just me; to others, they don't really care about all that or that's just what they've been using from the start. There have been plenty of people post comments that actually agree with me about the phone. When my device comes in and I've had a chance to evaluate after several days, I'll comment again. If I have to send it back, so be it. But I'll reserve judgement until then.
  • Fantastic job, Google.
  • I didn`t let all this negativity affect my decision of getting the Pixel 2 XL, mine it`s actually arriving on Thursday!
  • Here is my honest take. I've had my Pixel 2 XL (black 128) for two days now. After reading forums on various sites for days (weeks?) about how bad this phone was going to be, my expectations were very low. I've owned an N5, N6, Nexus 6P, and the original Pixel XL. I also use an iPhone 6 for work. I can say without any reservation at all that the Pixel 2 XL is the best phone I have ever used. It's fast (really fast), it feels comfortable in the hand (not cold and slippery like metal), using Smart Lock I like squeezing the phone from a lock screen to activate Google Assistant without needing to say silly words, the front facing speakers sound great, and the screen intensity seems correct to my eyes (not comic book colors like other panels). I don't see black blurs or banding. Sure, if you look at the phone at a weird angle it looks a little polarized...but I tend not to use my phone at weird angles. Anyway, my two cents. If I had never read about any of the Pixel 2 XL's "issues" I never would have known about them. I can highly recommend this phone. Check it out for yourself.
  • Lol.... But you get that pure android experience... Screen burn in, scratched phones.... For only $1000.... lol Yeah, the hour or two you set up your new phone is the honest extent to anyones pure android experience... I've never seen PC buyers get manic about a pure Windows experience.... Lol.... C'mon Google, you are better than this. No, the Pixel 2 was never a premium phone. The LG screens are inferior to Samsung super AMOLED. Looking forward... We should see the fingerprint scanner arrive hidden beneath the front of phones next year... Wait and see if the tech works folks. Don't be a victim of an Android industry more interested in pushing faulty crap out the door to make self imposed deadlines, quality & consumer be damned.... It isn't a game... $1000 pricing for a phone will not be sustained in this age of awful quality.
  • Someone with sense. Thank you.
  • The Pixel 2 XL made me fat and made it rain today. Damn you Pixel 2 XL!
  • Lol, hope all the Android "purist" are having fun with this! There have been several articles touting the Pixel 2 as the "Android standard" on the internet but if this is the Android standard them let's all through our beloved Android devices away and just get iPhones! (By the way I'm so glad I'm rocking that sexy Galaxy S8+. Sorry I couldn't resist trolling that) 😁
  • I remember that AC Beat the Note 7 fire issue into the ground that it emerged on the other side of the earth. Then they did it again. It seemed as if EVERY. SINGLE. STORY about Samsung AC published mention the Note 7 issue - even if it was about something totally different -like Samsung Washing Machines or Samsung Stocks... And they continued to do it for about a year. So, to the fans of the Pixel 2, strap up and get in for the long haul because AC isn't gonna stop.
  • Protect the google hive at all costs.
  • Maybe they'd be better off sticking to their doodles; now those I like.