Avoid Any Gadget with OLED Displays (For Now)

With each new device comes a bigger and better screen with sharpness, color range and contrast levels that are downright incredible. Tablets are now advancing beyond HDTVs and as tech junkies, it is in our DNA to purchase these bests of breed. However, these advances do not come without their faults. On the cutting edge of screen clarity is the OLED display (or AMOLED, or Super AMOLED) which is derived from ultra thin organic materials. You can read up on OLED displays here. The downside with these, like most any organically sourced product, is that they have a limited lifespan before it begins to degrade. In this case, I am finding mobiles suffering screen burn out where pixels that are activated the most lose their brilliance.


As a power user I have started to notice this a bit on my personal device, a 1 year old Samsung Focus and, upon further investigation, in many store display units. It seems that devices that have the screen powered on a lot with the brightness up, or perhaps set with longer timeout periods seem to suffer the most. Since home screens are generally static (albeit less so in Windows Phone), it is those sets of icons that remain in place as you go elsewhere in the phone.


Here is a picture of a six month old Samsung Focus S demo unit in my local at&t store. You can see while
open to the browser the ghosting of the home screen remains. The problem becomes much more apparent,
and hard to ignore in low light situations.


This burn in would not happen if the units had non-static home screens or screen savers, but come on screen savers? While the color saturation and the true blacks of a Super AMOLED are hard to pass up, until further improvements having an OLED screen is a big disqualifier for a device to me.


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