PlayStation Vita Dead Pixels

Published on November 23rd, 2011

Last night, I got to sample much of ’s launch line-up at the Vita Rooms in London’s Piccadilly – and as I mentioned on Twitter, the majority of them are superb.

But no matter how great some of the games looked on that huge 5″ OLED screen, there was a niggling problem in the back of my head throughout the evening. One of the first games I tried, Super Stardust Delta, was being demoed on a Vita unit with a stuck pixel, the bright blue square drawing my attention away from the game and, frustratingly, onto the flaws of the hardware itself. Later on I found a second Vita unit again suffering from a stuck pixel.

If you’re one of those lucky enough to have never experienced a stuck or dead pixel, you might not be sure of what exactly it is I’m talking about. A stuck or dead pixel is a defective collection of sub-pixels whose transistor is either stuck on, resulting in an always-on bright red, blue, green or white pixel, or stuck off, resulting in a dark spot on the screen.

It isn’t product-destroying but it’s certainly an annoyance, and while a stuck pixel might not be of too much concern on a 40″ 1080p TV, on a smaller screen like Vita’s it can be horrendously off-putting – as many PSP and DS owners (myself included) can already attest to. Ideally it’s something we wouldn’t want to see from a £230 handheld in 2012.

Unfortunately though, stuck pixels are often par for the course when it comes to LED screens, and manufacturers have differing views on what classes as a faulty display. Some will replace or fix a unit that suffers from any stuck or dead pixels, while others require a certain amount before they class it as defective. It’s not yet known what Sony’s stance will be when it comes to Vita.

It’s worth remembering that just two of the eighteen or so units I played on last night seemed to be affected by stuck pixels – and, of course, there’s the caveat that these may not be the same screens we’ll find in the final retail hardware. But for what are presumably carefully selected units being demoed to press prior to release, it’s certainly cause for concern.

If, as my findings suggest, around 10% of Vita units suffer from stuck pixels, there are going to be a lot of disappointed customers come launch day. And when you’re paying out quite so much, why should you settle for a Vita with a defective display?

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