Are all AMOLED phones very susceptible to burn in or am I just unlucky?

Jaymzkerten

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I have a Galaxy S7 that I bought when they launched last year. Technically I'm already on my second one because about 2 months after I got it the screen completely died and AT&T replaced it. Now here I am just over a year from then and thus outside of warranty period, and I've got issues with screen burn in and a pink line down the screen (AT&T rep noted that was a common problem with the S7...). I knew before getting the S7 that AMOLED screens can have burn in if something is on the screen for long periods of time, however in my case what burned in was Waze running, and I only have that running for 20 minutes in the morning and 40 minutes in the afternoon during my work commute. After that I usually either close the app and turn the screen off entirely, or I switch to a game.

With my screen having the pink line right now I find it as an annoyance that will make me want to replace it soon, but now I'm weary of AMOLED screens. Did I just have bad luck with this phone? Are the screens usually more tolerant of burn in? Do other AMOLED phones have better quality screens with less chance for burn in? I liked the always-on display feature of the phone, but not enough to deal with another one destroying the screen in a year's time.
 
D

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OLED displays are organic (hence the "O" in the acronym/name) and they have a limited lifespan so, yes, all OLED display technology (OLED, P-OLED, AMOLED, Super AMOLED, etc) is susceptible to burn-in because of the basic nature of the technology behind it. Not all OLED technology suffers from burn-in to the same degrees, however, and yes it is caused by two things: a static image on active display (and by active I mean it's actually turn on and displaying the static image) as well as the brightness. Just as there are two causes for the burn-in there's two ways of alleviating it to some degrees: use smaller time-outs for the display like 30 seconds, I use 2 mins on my LCD-based devices and 1 minute on OLED-based devices, it's never been an issue for me with any OLED hardware, and lower the damned brightness which is what really has the most effect on burn-in when it happens.

Ever go into a phone store, like an AT&T retail location, and just looked at the Samsung devices, especially since they use AMOLED or Super AMOLED displays by nature (AMOLED is Samsung's technology)? Because the store display phones are designed to stay on all the time in demo aka attract mode, and they pretty much always have the displays at max brightness all the time, those devices in those stores suffer burn-in to crazy extremes. It's utterly horrible to look at and not a great way to demo the product to someone that's interested in it by showing them a nice flagship device and it's got such horrid burn-in that they can't help but notice it.

I own a Samsung Galaxy S Captivate, which was the 1st generation Galaxy S model (the Captivate is the AT&T variant, there were over 2 dozen variations in different form factors for T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and other carriers worldwide) and it has a Super AMOLED display in it and the phone itself is coming up on 8 years old soon (released in March 2010). I found it at a pawn shop for $5, seriously, because they couldn't get it to power on but of course when I got it home it worked just fine - I think they were just not using a good charger or the USB cable they might have attached was not making contact on the microUSB port, no idea, but I still own it going on 4 years now. I use it primarily for audio listening because it has the simply awesome Wolfson DAC in it and when coupled with VoodooSound (an app that "unlocks" some aspects of the Wolfson DAC's capabilities) the sound quality it produces is really tough to beat.

Anyway, because of its age and being just shy of 8 years old and having a Super AMOLED panel in it one would think it's got massive amounts of burn-in considering the OLED lifespan issues but mine doesn't have any burn-in at all. Can't speak for the previous owner(s) of the device before it ended up in the pawn shop but for me I keep the brightness at about 40% and the screen is off about 98% of the time. Since I use it basically as a DAP (Digital Audio Player) and nothing else there's no reason for the display to be on at all that 98% of the time. I have a custom ROM on it that allows me to skip audio tracks by holding the Volume Up or Down buttons (a quick press changes the volume, long press enables the skip) so again, no reason to wake the display at all.

Now having said all that I don't want you thinking that OLED technology is useless because it's not. The LG V30 is brand new and LG finally jumped on the OLED bandwagon and it's a fantastic display, with the typical color and saturation expected of such panels (aspects can be altered, of course, sorta like a color calibration aspect) and I doubt they'd have gone the OLED route if they weren't confident they could last long enough for people to enjoy using without serious burn-in. Apple of course now has the iPhone X coming soon (looks like they're claiming production delays pushing availability to early 2018, another marketing gimmick to stir up more buzz more than likely aka "The pre-orders were amazing and we can't keep up with the demand!!!" bullshit) and it's got an OLED panel in it. Still no official word on the supplier but it's more than likely Samsung but it could be LG too, we'll find out soon enough.

So again, my advice for an OLED-based device of any variation on the actual technology being used:

- alter the screen time out to 30 seconds or 1 minute and if you must use longer periods then try and get into the habit of changing the display content frequently

- absolutely lower the damned brightness as this is the most significant factor in burn-in on OLED technology, if you don't absolutely REQUIRE 100% brightness or anything close to it then don't use it and lower it to 50% or whatever you can tolerate, as low as you can go at any given moment in time. The "auto" display brightness thing rarely ever provides adequate brightness for many people (myself included) so unless yours works the way you like I'd say set brightness manually on the fly as required

Those two tips alone when used regularly will extend the usable non-burned-in lifespan of any OLED-based display by a big huge margin. I see people with Samsung Galaxy devices constantly when I'm out and about and in any and all environments they almost invariably have the screens at max brightness or damned close to it and I just want to laugh.

There's another big benefit to lowering the screen brightness as much as possible in all situations: your battery life on a per-charge basis will increase, sometimes rather dramatically, because the display panel is the single largest consumer of power in a smartphone overall - sure you can lose a chunk of battery power by playing games which hit the CPU and GPU pretty hard but the display overall is still going to end up having the most power consumption from the time you unplug a charger till you plug back in, practically guaranteed.

Yes OLED tech uses less power than LCD tech because each individual pixel is powered instead of having one huge backlight that's always on to various degrees of brightness, but even so, again, lowering the brightness has nothing but benefits all around.
 
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brettjrob

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Given the severe burn-in I've witnessed on display units of various AMOLED phones over the years, I have to imagine they're all susceptible.

Obviously display units represent an unnatural worst-case scenario, but the burn-in on you see on them after a few months is so laughably ruinous that it's not hard to imagine a much lesser version occurring after a year of semi-normal use.
 

N4CR

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Yes, all are, yet to hear of a new model that hasn't. Google any new OLED phone and burn in and you'll see it.
I can't wait till this blows up with the latest crapple trinkets too.

Reason is mostly the blue emitters, they are 30% of the output of the other colours, plus significantly larger to offset the lower lifetime. I will not buy an OLED phone in future, IPS does it just fine without the burn in bullshit.
All colours burn out but the blue is the worst offender by far. There is no way to prevent this from happening, only reduce/prolong it with low brightness, and a dark UI etc etc.
 
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I've noticed that my mother's old Galaxy S5 that I sent for trade-in (knocked $200 off my Note 8) had some very, very faint burn-in only perceivable on solid white/high value colors, and that likely stems from her habit of leaving the brightness fairly high and playing video slots for hours on end. The faintly discolored areas loosely matched up where the reels would be.

Meanwhile, my Galaxy Note 4 doesn't seem to have any obvious areas of burn-in different from the rest - not even on the status bar area, since I made a point of using fullscreen view while Web browsing to avoid burn-in up there in the first place. However, I could've sworn the screen didn't have such a yellow white balance when new, which likely boils down to the blue subpixels aging over three years. (I use AMOLED photo display mode, which should correspond to AdobeRGB with 6500K white point, but this feels a bit yellower than that.) Only time will tell if the same thing happens to my Note 8, but I'm expecting it - just like I'm expecting that there's going to be nav bar burn-in for the people foolish enough to not auto-hide that waste of space.

Funny thing is, for all the burn-in susceptibility of OLEDs, I have FD Trinitron CRTs that displayed static UI elements for hours on end, and I still didn't see any burn-in whatsoever. Here's hoping that OLED eventually gets to that point, and we might see it used on desktop monitors, where LCD in general is just a big letdown after you've experienced a GDM-FW900 for a while.
 

Jaymzkerten

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Granted yes the burn in on my screen is not very noticeable short of having a full-white page up, but the fact that after only just over a year an app that I only have up for around half an hour twice a day caused a burn in is a bit concerning. If I do end up getting another OLED phone this will probably just be the final nail in the coffin for me to stop using Waze.

I don't tend to leave my phone on the max brightness, though auto does tend to throw it to max when it's outside. I find max brightness tends to be too intense for me to look at unless I have my sunglasses on.
 

Mad Maxx

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I keep my display at this setting. No burn-in issues, at least not yet.

YU0Gpoe.png
 

CHANG3D

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What Samsung and LG (and other manufacturers) had been doing is using this technology called "Pixel Shift" in the OS to prevent burn ins. But not every OS does it well.
 
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Am I the only one here who uses adaptive/automatic brightness?

It's implemented far better on the Note 8 (and possibly S8) than it was on the Note 4, more gradual changes and it learns from your adjustments at given ambient light levels.

That way, I don't have to change it myself when I go from bright sunlight to indoor lighting conditions. It's perceptibly as bright as I want it, give or take a few nits.
 

Mad Maxx

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Am I the only one here who uses adaptive/automatic brightness?

It's implemented far better on the Note 8 (and possibly S8) than it was on the Note 4, more gradual changes and it learns from your adjustments at given ambient light levels.

That way, I don't have to change it myself when I go from bright sunlight to indoor lighting conditions. It's perceptibly as bright as I want it, give or take a few nits.
I tried adaptive brightness, but it kept my screen too dark at night.
 

brettjrob

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Saw a display Pixel XL the other day with god awful burn-in... like, Stevie Wonder would've been appalled. I actually thought it was a software error at first when I swiped to the Google Now page. I guarantee this has driven away numerous would-be AMOLED phone customers in stores worldwide over the years.

It's remarkable that stores haven't implemented some basic strategy (like, you know, having the screens timeout at minimum) after years of these panels being mainstream. Of course, now that Apple almighty is testing the waters, that will probably change.
 

Meeho

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Used several Samsung OLED phones for years and never experienced it. I refuse to buy a phone without it as I can't stand the low contrast of the LCD phones, especially at night.
 

SmokeRngs

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I keep my display at this setting. No burn-in issues, at least not yet.

YU0Gpoe.png

That's almost exactly what I have my Galaxy S6 set at and I've had no problems with any burn in for the time I've had it. I'll agree with some others that the adaptive brightness tends to be a little low but I got used to it. The only time I really have any issues is with watching videos when I'm in a dark room. At that point I have to turn off the adaptive brightness while I'm playing the video.
 

Decibel

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I've read so many horror stories about people having hardware fail within the first few months to first year of owning it and I realize, I must be really, really fucking lucky.

All the smartphones I've purchased have been OLED - Samsung Captivate, S3, S5, 1+ 3T. For work I've carried a few more including a 1st gen Moto X. I've never seen any burn in on devices I control. My current on call phone is an S7, but it gets so little screen time that it gets like a week from the battery.

I admit, I use adaptive brightness almost always. I read a lot of ebooks after dark for which I turn the brightness all the way down and use dark brown text. I use my phone as a GPS several times a week and will turn the brightness up playing games or watching videos. If it's daytime and I'm outside or near a window I'll turn it all the way up. I've never really worried about taking care of my screen.

I've also been lucky with my plasma TV the g/f is trying to kill by leaving it on the Netflix home screen for hours at a time.
 

Tup3x

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I had (still have actually) Galaxy S and it did have burn in issues. Vibrator broke and they replaces the display (because apparently they had to replace the entire screen) with something that was completely burnt in - every desktop icon, task bar... when displaying solid colour (clearly used part from some kind of display phone). I was like "what the hell is this shit" but at least they changed it to proper screen after that...

Still, Galaxy S had some kind of "display memory" problem especially when displaying dark colours when the brightness was low. Also solid dark colours had issues. Oh, and pentile... I sure hope that AMOLED screens are much better now.
 

SmokeRngs

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I've read so many horror stories about people having hardware fail within the first few months to first year of owning it and I realize, I must be really, really fucking lucky.

All the smartphones I've purchased have been OLED - Samsung Captivate, S3, S5, 1+ 3T. For work I've carried a few more including a 1st gen Moto X. I've never seen any burn in on devices I control. My current on call phone is an S7, but it gets so little screen time that it gets like a week from the battery.

I admit, I use adaptive brightness almost always. I read a lot of ebooks after dark for which I turn the brightness all the way down and use dark brown text. I use my phone as a GPS several times a week and will turn the brightness up playing games or watching videos. If it's daytime and I'm outside or near a window I'll turn it all the way up. I've never really worried about taking care of my screen.

I've also been lucky with my plasma TV the g/f is trying to kill by leaving it on the Netflix home screen for hours at a time.

The vast majority of on screen time for my phone is reading ebooks. Quite a while back I changed around the background and text settings in my ereader. I use a black background with a not too bright off-white text and it works a hell of a lot better than the old white background and black text. Overall it's nowhere near as bright and it's a lot easier on the eyes.
 
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