As monitors grew thinner and more minimalistic, it brought with it some challenging new issues. Backlight bleed among other problems with monitors have become more prevalent as nanotechnology and mass-production grew more and more sophisticated. Simply put, monitors became more fragile.
That’s not exactly an issue, of course. It’s a valid compromise if you’re pursuing size, immersion, or visual quality. You will want to know if your monitor (or even your TV) actually has some of these common monitor defects, not just backlight bleed.
So we’ve compiled a list of what you might want to look out for when inspecting your newly bought electronic device with a display whether it’s a phone, monitor, TV, or laptop.
LCDs or even LEDs rely on a panel of lighting at the very corners or sides of the whole screen device in order to light up the whole display. This is called the backlight. It also controls brightness, contrast, and other image clarity metrics.
On certain screens, however, this backlight can be too aggressive and might appear as hazy white or illuminated patches on the display. The light appears to ‘bleed’ to the screen, making certain parts brighter like a reverse bruise. Hence, the term backlight bleed. They also appear more intense if you set the brightness higher. But the bottomline is, they’re really intrusive and can even adversely affect visibility.
Backlight bleed is also more prominent on the sides or the corners since those are the sources of light. Refer to the image above for an excessive amount of backlight bleed– one that you can consider a defect.
Here’s a good way to test for backlight bleed. It’s best to perform it in a room with no light to eliminate glare and reflections.
Not All Backlight Bleed Instances Are Defects
This is the tricky part. Backlights are necessary evils for LCD monitors, particularly those with an IPS panel. There’s also a separate phenomenon called IPS glow which is similar to backlight bleed except it’s less intense and considerably less noticeable, and therefore more tolerable for the common user.
When it comes to chalking it up as a defect or an IPS glow, you’ll have to refer to your device’s manufacturer and the specifics of its warranty. Certain stores also accept refunds based on the intensity of backlight bleed and they can also determine whether what you assumed as backlight bleed is just IPS glow.
The big difference is that backlight bleed gets worse over time while IPS glow doesn’t and it can even be repairable. Older screens thus tend to be more susceptible to backlight bleed.
It goes without saying that if your LCD monitor doesn’t have an IPS panel (VA panel or TN panel, for example) and you still see some creeping white haze near the corner or the sides, then there’s a big chance it’s backlight bleed and not IPS glow. So check the specs first.
Dead Pixels / Stuck Pixels
This one is more notorious than backlight bleed since in most cases, it doesn’t go away and can even proliferate.
Dead pixels are just black or colored dots on your display that can’t change color anymore due to defects. They’re jarringly noticeable and are easy to spot, especially if they’re near the center of the screen.
As a rule of thumb, dead pixels are usually black while stuck pixels have color. The latter is easier to fix and might even go away if you restart your device or screen. Dead pixels, on the other hand, are grim omens of a factory defect.
Again, there are some handy tests you can perform in order to check whether your screen has dead or stuck pixels.
Depending on the pixel color or number, the device might be eligible for a return or refund. Some stores or manufacturers have a policy where a single dead or stuck pixel isn’t considered a defect and you’ll need multiple defective pixels in order to invoke your device’s warranty.
That’s why a lot of people feel more comfortable with bigger and more popular brands, as the added price premium might be indicative of a more lenient warranty.
This is even worse than pixels and backlight.
A certain line of pixels can sometimes ‘band together’ and ruin your monitor for good by introducing a straight horizontal or vertical line across the length or width of the screen. It can be any color.
And these lines don’t go away. Often, they even get thicker.
In such cases, it’s usually time to say farewell to your monitor or screen. These kinds of screen artifacts won’t disappear and are mostly symptoms of a failing LCD. There’s nothing you can do to repair this and you can only hope that your warranty is still valid by the time these lines appear.
You could take it to a technician, but the repair cost might run too expensive and you’ll do better by just purchasing a newer screen or monitor. This kind of defect tends to happen with cheap LCD screens, especially those in the budget price bracket.
Flickering / Constant Shutdowns
Flickering is less prevalent in LCD monitors these days but it can still happen. Sometimes, the cause is low refresh rate or electrical interference such as loose wirings or plugs.
Speaking of loose cables, this can also cause some shutdowns. Check each factor to eliminate them.
- Re-seat the plugs and cables to see if they’re the cause
- Change the refresh rate through Windows Display settings
- Remove other electronics near the screen
If none of those are the issue, it might be due to your old LCD screen (more than five years). In most cases, a brand new screen shouldn’t be displaying this as newer and more modern models have practically eliminated flickering.
If the monitor turns on or is powered (usually indicated by the light near the power button) yet the display is still black or blank without indicating a lack of source, then there’s a chance it’s a dead screen.
Monitors these days will quickly indicate or display a lack of source (likely do to a missing or loose cable). So if they’re not displaying anything (even a backlight) despite being plugged and powered on, then there’s something wrong with them and you could be eligible for a refund if it doesn’t show anything despite checking other factors mentioned above.
You might also want to check your computer’s sleep settings since this can also stubbornly cause monitors to shut themselves down. But this kind of case is easy to fix with a restart or a few dozen mouse or keyboard inputs.