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Galaxy S9 owners are complaining about a big problem with the phone’s best feature

Published Apr 12th, 2018 8:51AM EDT
Galaxy S9 Plus Specs
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ flagship smartphones are two of the most impressive handsets the world has ever seen. They feature a design that is sleek and stunning, albeit not entirely new. They also feature power and performance that outshine even Apple’s latest iPhone models in some tests. Those who follow the industry know that this is the first time in the modern smartphone era that we’ve seen a current-generation Android phone outperform a current-generation iPhone — and not just on paper or in benchmark tests, but in real-world speed tests as well. On top of all that, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphone duo pack new “Super Speed Dual Pixel” camera, which is almost certainly the best camera we’ve seen on any smartphone currently available in the United States.

There is plenty to be impressed with when it comes to Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. Even still, the smartphone duo’s best feature is still the same thing that has made every flagship Samsung phone so great over the past few years. That’s right, we’re talking about the display. That big, bright, positively gorgeous Super AMOLED display. Unfortunately, however, it looks like some Galaxy S9 and S9+ owners are experiencing an aggravating problem with the screens on their smartphones.

Anyone who has held a flagship Samsung phone in his or her hand anytime over the past few years will attest to the fact that Samsung’s smartphone displays are the best on the planet. In fact, Samsung makes screens that are so impressive, even Samsung’s frenemy Apple uses screens built by Samsung Display in its latest flagship phone, the iPhone X. That’s right, not even Apple can stay away from the glory that is a Samsung OLED screen.

Unfortunately, quality assurance is always an issue in manufacturing and not everyone has the same great experience when it comes to Samsung’s screen. Over the years, we’ve seen several issues pop up — and it looks like a familiar problem is affecting some Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ handsets.

People are calling the problem “black crush” this time around, but we’ve seen it happen in the past with a few different phone models. In a nutshell, it’s a color banding issue that prevents the screen from accurately displaying different shades of black. As a result, an image or video with colors that fade from black to dark gray might replace some of the grays with black. On top of that, the dark areas of the image may before grainy or pixelated.

The image below from a blog called The Android Soul helps illustrate the problem. The phone on top shows the sample image properly, while the image on the screen on the bottom phone becomes distorted and pixelated on the right side.

Samsung has yet to comment on the issue, but it’s possible that it could be resolved with a future software update. In the meantime, it’s a problem that some Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ users will have to deal with. It’s unclear how many people are impacted at this point, though a growing number of users have taken to forums like xda-developers to report that their phones are affected.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.