Youtuber leaves Switch OLED on for over a year to test the effects of burn-in

John Lennon said that everything in life has a price, nothing is free. This price can be understood as consequences of something, and in the case of a technology-based panel OLED that price to pay is the risk of burn-in. This process that generates spots on the screen is correlated with the technology itself, so no matter how careful you are, there is always a risk.

On the other hand, there is a potentiation on top of the theme. It’s easy to find comments on the internet of people discouraging others from buying an OLED TV because of the risk of burn-in, as if it were something that happened with worrying frequency, in a short period of time. Although it is not possible to give an answer to either side, we can reach a compromise, and say that the risk of burn-in, for the absolute majority of devices that use OLED, is low.

The market itself tries to find solutions that try to mitigate even more the effects of this problem on the panels. THE apple, for example, it uses an OLED panel in the latest iPhones, and the company explains that it uses special algorithms that monitor the use of each pixel to produce data about the screen’s calibration. iPhone uses this data to automatically adjust each pixel’s brightness levels as needed to reduce screen-burning visual effects and maintain a consistent viewing experience. These engraving effects would be the stains that the panel acquires over time. Remembering that, in addition to OLED, even LCD panels can be stained, in this case, it is more associated with an image retention problem, an effect that is temporary.

A recent test shows what the burn-in effects would be on a device that uses an OLED screen. Youtuber Bob Wulff did the following experiment, he took his Nintendo Switch OLED and left it exposed to a significant amount of hours on uninterruptedly. At first, Wulf showed the effects of burn-in after the device was turned on for 3600 hours, equivalent to 150 days. The conclusion was that the screen was already starting to show signs of burn-in, but that it was still possible to continue using the device, since it did not interfere with the game.

The test was completed after the device remained turned on for a total of 13 uninterrupted months of exposure to an image. Impressive 10,000 hours. At this point, the console’s screen showed stains that made continued use unfeasible. The test was done in a way that completely deviates from a normal use pattern, since, in addition to remaining connected for an atypical amount of hours, the console was displaying the same image all the time, a cruel characteristic for any OLED panel.

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Certain characteristics and cold numbers do not necessarily represent a really significant problem for the user. We can use the example of the SSD here. All SSDs have an average TBW value, which is the average amount, represented in terabytes, that drive will be able to handle data writes. Tests have already shown that it is perfectly possible to go beyond what the manufacturer stipulates as a threshold for recording data, and it is very likely that you have already changed your SSD, or even changed your device, before the finitude of recording, considering the standard average of the absolute majority of users, really be a problem.

The same goes for OLED. The technology has implicit limitations, but in a scenario where the device left the factory perfect, the effects of burn-in for most devices, under most conditions of use, is minimal. Technology evolves.

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