Those that were lucky enough have a new issue to contend with. Apple has admitted that there are issues with the screen on the iPhone X in a suitably downplayed support document called ‘About the Super Retina display on your iPhone X’. They say: If you look at an OLED display off-angle, you might notice slight shifts in color and hue. This is a characteristic of OLED and is normal behavior. With extended long-term use, OLED displays can also show slight visual changes.
This is also expected behavior and can include ‘image persistence’ or ‘burn-in,’ where the display shows a faint remnant of an image even after a new image appears on the screen. These issues are similar to those being experienced by owners of Google’s Pixel 2 XL smartphone, although the Pixel 2 XL has the additional problem of poor colour calibration on the screen.
While this can be tweaked through software (and I would expect an over-the-air update to take care of that in the next few weeks), the physical properties of the Pixel’s OLED screen cannot be altered so easily. Apple now faces a similar issue. Although it has calibrated the screen (and the TrueTone technology constantly shifts the balance depending on ambient light conditions) the display suffers from the loss of accurate colours when looking from the side and the potential for bright images to be burned into the screen.
It’s unusual for Apple and Google to experience these problems, because it is an issue that other manufacturers have worked hard to avoid. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is one of many Galaxy devices to carry an OLED screen in the last few years, and there is no indication of blue tinting or colour issues on that device.
Samsung has also taken steps to avoid screen burn in by having elements that are constantly on display (such as its ‘virtual’ home button) move very fractionally around the screen during the day. In day to day use these small flaws are not going to affect the iPhone X (or indeed the Pixel 2 XL) but issues that have been solved in other smartphones have returned with Apple’s latest.
When you are paying close to £1000 for a new smartphone, you expect that known issues with established technologies such as OLED to be addressed, rather than meekly mentioned in the middle of a support document hiding behind a rather innocent title.