retail demo

For your consideration - OLED vs. LCD (usually IPS) in smartphones Photo was taken by me, and uploaded to my Imgur account, which uses the same name here.What you’re looking at in that photo is a Google Pixel XL on display at a big box retailer. Look at the top row of app icons, specifically Settings, Photos, and Retail Demo. You should see what looks like a watermark that says, “Your Assistant by Google."That’s image retention. And while it’s barely visible due to my shoddy photography, in person it was blatant. Especially in motion (swiping through anything made the retained text more obvious).Before I go into why this matters (more so than obvious), I want to explain my modern smartphone history:HTC Droid Incredible (OLED) - Purchased 2010Samsung Galaxy S II (OLED) - Purchased 2012Samsung Galaxy S4 GPE (OLED) - Purchased 2013 (and then swapped for…)Motorola Moto X 1st Gen (OLED) - Purchased 2013Google/LG Nexus 5x (LCD) - Purchased 2015I went several years using OLED displays and I always had the same problems. Notification shade, Maps/Navigation UI, and even the newer on screen buttons (home, recents, back) being burned in within months of use. Every time. I promised myself I’d go with LCD if possible, and when I got the Nexus 5x this issue became a thing of the past. I had actually forgotten about it. I’ve been considering a Pixel 2 when it comes out soon.Then, while looking at the Pixel XL at a local chain retailer, I noticed the image retention in the photo above. My memories of that issue came back and now I’m considering NOT getting the Pixel 2.OLED has a specific image retention problem caused by subpixel degradation. The 3 primary subpixel colors (red, green, and blue) do not wear evenly. Red and green are close-ish, but blue wears out at about twice as fast. Additionally, OLED is self-emissive. That means that each pixels lights itself, rather than a backlight (as LCD uses).The end result is that color accuracy drifts over time, and brightness fades over time. Even if you aren’t using a fixed UI and experience no noticeable image retention, your smartphone’s color accuracy and brightness at 1-year-old are not close to how it was on day one.Many people consider OLED to be superior to current LCD technologies (TN, VA, IPS). And in many ways it is. It offers better response time (smoother motion), wider contrast (HDR without the need for gimmicks, black is black), and better overall viewing angles. It’s just a gorgeous display technology…on day one.And this isn’t to say that OLED is "bad” per se. Again, all technologies have their issues. But I wouldn’t say that OLED is de facto better than LCD. And because of this issue rearing its head for me today, I am now more strongly considering the Essential PH-1 (IPS LCD) over the Pixel 2 (OLED). If it comes down to a tie breaker, the Essential’s screen will win me over.