The Pixel Watch is finally coming to customers’ doorsteps. But some of these early buyers are running into a strange problem — and it’s looking a lot like burn-in. When always-on display is enabled, small bits of image and text refuse to disappear from the Pixel Watch’s screen.
As you may know, OLED displays do not rely on a backlight. They contain an array of independently controlled organic LEDs. This provides an increased sense of contrast as an OLED display only illuminates the pixels needed to create an image.
But these organic LEDs slowly degrade over time. And unfortunately they can degrade unevenly if a static image (e.g. a watch face) is displayed for too long. This effect, known as burn-in, leaves a ghost image on an OLED display.
Early reports suggest that the Pixel Watch, which uses an OLED display, will suffer from burn-in very quickly. But Google says the Pixel Watch doesn’t suffer from burn-in. In conversation with 9to5Googlecalls it the problem “Image Retention”.
What you see is the image storage. It’s a non-permanent issue that affects OLED displays. It is not a precursor to burn-in and should not be confused with burn-in. Image retention goes away, but the longer it’s on screen, the longer it takes to go away.
According to Google, you can clear “image retention” from the Pixel Watch by disabling the always-on display. This is a “non-permanent problem” and “not a precursor to burn-in”.
Google’s description of this problem is correct. You can clear “ghosting” from the Pixel Watch by disabling the always-on display and waiting a few minutes or hours.
But the notion that this issue doesn’t result in OLED burn-in, more accurately known as “permanent image retention,” is debatable. And the fact that some customers haven’t encountered this problem (Google admits it) is also worrying.
Most modern OLED displays, especially those designed to show static images, use a bunch of fancy tricks to avoid image burn-in or sticking. For example, they automatically update their display panel or smoothly move pixels on the screen. So we’re not sure why the Pixel Watch has this “image retention” issue.
I suggest disabling the Pixel Watch’s always-on display for now. We’ll likely learn more about this issue as customers continue to complain.
Google Pixel Watch – Android Smartwatch with Fitbit Activity Tracking – Heart Rate Tracking Watch – Matte Black Stainless Steel Case with Obsidian Active Band – LTE
The Pixel Watch has Fitbit integration with a range of sensors to track your sleep, heart rate and exercise. It runs on the Wear OS 3 platform and offers hands-free control with Google Assistant.
Source: Google via 9to5Google
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