OLED Ultrawide Monitors Show Uneven Wear with 16:9 Content, Reveals Long-Term Test

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OLED Ultrawide Monitors Show Uneven Wear with 16:9 Content, Reveals Long-Term Test

A long-term test by Rtings.com has brought to light a previously overlooked issue with ultrawide monitors featuring OLED panels. When users predominantly display 16:9 content on such devices, leaving the screen edges black, the display shows visible uneven wear after several months.

In contrast to other screen types with LCD panels, the tiny LEDs on an OLED panel lose brightness with prolonged use. Devices at risk are those where certain elements or patterns are displayed in the same spot for extended periods—examples include the taskbar, menu bars in applications, or the minimap in games. Even the small OLED displays on motherboards and all-in-one liquid coolers suffer long-term effects from consistent content display.

Typically, OLED screens now incorporate various mechanisms to minimize burn-in. Some devices occasionally shift the entire image by a pixel, brightness is reduced based on temperature, and the screen automatically powers off when idle.

Content dictates aspect ratio

However, ultrawide users may face the issue where content and games may not utilize the full screen width, leaving black bars on the sides. This inability to fully use the width of the screen makes it impossible to prevent uneven display wear, especially considering that the Samsung QD-OLED panel in two test devices can display the smaller window particularly brightly.

The result is an uneven wear pattern visible in Rtings’ test after just 10 months. Testers claim that a trained eye is needed to notice the difference, but once spotted, the variance remains visible. Moreover, this effect intensifies with the screen’s age if usage habits remain unchanged.

However, it’s important to note that the conducted test represents an extreme scenario. Testers aim to simulate a typical usage period of 10 years within two years of continuous use. Nonetheless, it’s evident that in the described scenario, visible effects can occur after just a few years. Hence, buyers should consider whether the added width is genuinely utilized in their daily routines before making a purchase decision.

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William Wylie
William Wylie, a tech writer with a penchant for future tech, shares his perspective on the ever-evolving world of tech, offering a glimpse into the next big breakthroughs.