Samsung started shipping its Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ phones in Korea, and some of the first customers are complaining that the display have a reddish tint - which did not go away even after correcting the color display settings. This issues was quickly labeled as "Red Gate"... will Samsung face a new crisis?

Red tinted Samsung Galaxy S8 (Yonhap image)

Samsung itself says that there are no quality issues - and that the problem can be adjusted. Customers are welcome to replace their device, though, at service centers in Korea.

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Samsung - Red Gate

Recently when I was passing some time at London Heathrow airport in an electronics store, I noticed Samsung phones and tablets with OLED displays had very noticeable screen burn-in which showed up as reddish areas when viewing a clear white background say in the Chrome browser. On my return back to US, I visited a BestBuy store and again I noticed the same issue with Samsung OLED devices. I am not an expert but I wonder if the blue OLED pixels which have shorter life start fading after a while and make those areas appear reddish.

Red Tint

A few things. Initially when I heard about the color balance feature- I though it was a neat way to adjust for screen warmth- not a necessity to compensate for variability in the manufacturing process. And if I knew the latter, I wouldn't have bought the phone. Second, the color balance feature only works in adaptive display mode. And third, it doesn't address lack of uniformity- for example splattering of pinks or blues on the screen edges or worse. Again, if I had known these quirks were inherent in Samsung's amoled technology- I wouldn't have bought the phone. Finally if is inherent in their technology- it doesn't explain the 60% of phones that have no issue.

Finally, there are characteristics of Amoled screens that are acceptable and represent a trade off. For example, tinting does change based on viewing angle- on the other hand, there are deeper blacks and more robust colors and contrast. This kind of trade-off is acceptable. Red, blue or purple splattering is, at least for me, not.

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