June 25, 2018

Here’s why your Samsung Galaxy S8 looks red

PUBLISHED : April 21, 2017 - 12:59

UPDATED : April 24, 2017 - 12:06

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[THE INVESTOR] Editor’s note: As soon as Korean preorder customers received their Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus handsets on April 18, complaints were raised about the reddish hue of the screens. 

Samsung Electronics has announced a software update, but display discoloration has been a nagging problem for both LCDs and OLED panels. For more, The Investor talked with some industry analysts and experts including former Samsung employees who all requested anonymity. Here’s what they said.

Samsung plans software update for Galaxy S8 to address reddish screens

Q. What’s the cause of the reddish hue?


Apple’s iPhones, as well as Samsung’s Galaxy S and Notes had similar issues, such as yellow-tinted screens, and vertical red lines on the display. This has to do with the manufacturing process. For OLED panels, it’s difficult to evenly deposit luminescent organic materials on panels, and this can cause discoloring. 


There could be a cross-contamination of red, green, and blue sub-pixels. For Samsung’s OLED panels, each pixel is made of a combination of red and green sub-pixels or blue and green sub-pixels. A crosstalk of those three types of sub-pixels can contaminate the panel colors.


An excessively high driving voltage for red sub-pixels could cause the red tint in the OLED display, meaning it’s a systematic glitch.

Q. How serious is this issue?

It would be hard to call it a serious defect because it can be solved with a software solution. It also depends on the standards of both the company and consumers. 

Q. Can a software update be the fix?


It would be difficult to correct the problem with a software update because it is likely to be related to chronic manufacturing problems involving the uneven appliance of pixels. This has been a thorny issue for a while now, and unless this is solved, an update will only be a stopgap measure.


Samsung probably tried the conventional methods to balance the white tones. So I doubt software update can be a silver bullet to the problem. However, some experts I talked to believe a software update would be enough to balance out the reddish display to the extent that consumers are satisfied.

By Kim Young-won (

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