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Nokia Lumia screens have slow refresh problem

Chris Finnamore
12 Mar 2014
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Laggy red pixels lead to motion blur

An Expert Reviews reader has brought to our attention that that there's something strange going on with Nokia's OLED smartphone displays. When scrolling around screens with a white background, such as Google's search results, there is visible ghosting on purple links (those you have already clicked on).

As you scroll down the page, for example, the text appears to split almost in two, with a bright red ghost appearing above the rest of the link. The ghosting is also visible on blue text, to a lesser degree.

The red part of purple and blue text lags behind when scrolling on a Lumia 1020 - best viewed full-screen at 720p

While the video above shows the problem on the Nokia Lumia 1020, we also noticed the same issue on the Lumia 925. You can see the issue more clearly in the screenshot below.

Nokia OLED refresh problem

For clarification that the problem was limited to Nokia's OLED displays, we checked the LCD screens of the the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 720. As expected, neither phone displayed any of the ghosting issues, meaning that the problem is limited to OLED. From the looks of things, the red pixels don't appear to refresh as quickly as the green or blue pixels, giving the smearing ghosting pattern demonstrated.

Nokia's response was that motion blur is common on OLED screens. A Nokia spokesperson told us, "We invest in reducing motion blur, which is often seen on OLED screens, but a small amount as seen here is common and does not affect the overall user experience."

However, comparing the Nokia Lumia 1020 side by side with a Samsung Galaxy S4, we could see that the Samsung model had no such trouble with its red pixels. Hopefully Nokia will find a way to speed up its AMOLED screens soon.

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