Apr 19, 2017

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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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.

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.

The 2nd International TADF workshop, July 2017, Kyushu, JapanThe 2nd International TADF workshop, July 2017, Kyushu, Japan