The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ have finally launched in select markets after a seemingly endless string of leaks. The device looks very much as expected with that sleek new curved display, complete with rounded corners. Still, it wouldn’t be a phone launch without some potential hardware defects. A number of users have reported a markedly red tint to the display on Samsung’s latest phone. Samsung, however, says there’s nothing (red) to see here.
This phone uses an AMOLED display, as have all of Samsung’s high-end devices for many years. In the early days of the Galaxy S line, AMOLED displays were noted for having extremely inaccurate colors. That completely changed after a few generations, and Samsung’s AMOLEDs are now considered the most accurate and brightest displays on the market.
Reports from the first few people to get their hands on the device may not be representative of all the phones, but there does seem to be a tendency toward “warmer” white balance. Some photos show the phone’s display looking noticeably red next to other devices that are apparently unaffected (as you can see above). Some have pointed to Samsung’s use of a new “deep red” OLED technology as the cause of the issue. This is supposedly aimed at making colors more accurate, though.
Samsung claims this is not evidence of a defect, pointing out there are several display mode options in Settings Display Screen Mode. The default setting is Adaptive Display, which uses light sensors on the device to alter the saturation, color range, and contrast as you use the phone. There are also Photo, Cinema, and Basic modes—each of these has a different calibration, and some are bound to look more red than others. Adaptive mode even has custom color sliders that can make the display less red if you want. These images showing red screens on the GS8 could simply be the result of comparing two very different calibrations side-by-side.
Having used a Galaxy S8 and compared it with other AMOLED phones, it does look slightly red to me. Although, I’m hyper-aware of the issue now—I probably would never have seen any problem were it not for this story hitting the tubes. After fiddling with the color sliders, I don’t see any substantial red-shift in the display. You have to remember, after spending $700 or $800 on a phone, people are going to be understandably picky. I expect Samsung will tweak the default calibration in an OTA if only to keep people from complaining.