After rave reviews for its latest flagship smartphone, Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy S8 reaches U.S. consumers this week in one of the most closely watched product launches of the year.
Samsung needs a seamless start for the S8 to help win back consumer trust, following its costly recall last year of 3 million Galaxy Note 7 devices due to overheating batteries.
The company is holding its breath. Some customers in South Korea—where preorders of the new phone became available Tuesday—are already complaining that their screens have a red hue.
Samsung says the red-tinted screens aren’t defects, and that users can rectify the issue by adjusting the colour range of the display in the device’s settings.
“Galaxy S8 was built with an adaptive display that optimises the colour range, saturation and sharpness depending on the environment,” the company said in an emailed statement. Samsung wouldn’t say how many complaints it has received about the screen colour.
In recent days, dozens of people posted pictures on Facebook, Instagram and elsewhere comparing Galaxy S8 devices, with some showing a stronger red tint. One picture showed two devices with identical RGB colour-balance settings, but one of the screens was a stronger shade of red. The tint led some customers to dub certain Galaxy S8 devices the “cherry blossom edition.”
Samsung has touted improvements in the Galaxy S8, including a display that bleeds across almost the whole phone, as one of the smartphone’s main features. The S8 has notched more preorder sales than its predecessor, the S7, according to the company, including over one million in its home market of South Korea.
Lee Seung-yun, a homemaker in Gyeonggi-do, near Seoul who was one of the people who posted an image of her phone to Instagram, said she had exchanged her Galaxy S8 and had seen red-tinted screens on both devices. “There was still a red rim around the display even after I optimised the display setting,” said Ms. Lee, 30 years old. On Thursday, she went to her carrier to request a refund.
Industry analysts say display screens with stronger hues of a certain colour aren’t a new phenomenon and have appeared in other mobile devices. The Google Nexus 5 and Apple Inc.’s iPhone 7, for instance, faced user complaints about a yellowish display.
Still, it is surprising to see this in a top-tier Samsung phone, said Claire Wen, principal research analyst specialising in display technologies at research firm Gartner Inc.
Samsung, through its display unit, supplies the vast majority of organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, screens such as the ones used in the Galaxy S8. The Korean company will supply OLED screens for Apple’s new iPhone this year, The Wall Street Journal reported in February.
Several factors could cause a red tint in Galaxy S8 phones, according to industry experts including Ms. Wen, who said the functioning of the chipset that is attached to the OLED panel and which adjusts the screen’s colour performance could be to blame, reports WSJ.