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Nexus 7 ghosting issues affect some displays, is it a widespread problem?

July 4, 2012

The Google Nexus 7 is available for pre-order in various markets already, but the device is not available to consumers yet in those countries. The only Nexus 7 units that can be used in the wild right now are the white versions that were handed free of charge to all Google I/O attendees last week. And it looks like some of those units have some display issues you should be aware of.

According to Android Police, the displays of some Nexus 7 units have an image retention issue, also known as ghosting, that has been replicated at least on two devices. The publication discovered the issue by leaving an image on the display at full brightness for 2 minutes and then pressing the home button. When looking at the home screen, one could easily observe the “ghost” of that former image – see images above (image) and below (retention).

Apparently the issue affects the Nexus 7 only when the display is set to full brightness. When the display is set on automatic brightness, “the problem is much less noticeable,” while under any other conditions, the problem is a lot clearer to users:

But on maximum brightness or under incandescent/fluorescent light even on automatic, hovering over some icons for 5-10 seconds on your homescreen then swiping to an empty one will leave a very visible retained image for 10-15 seconds. Let me reiterate that: it’s noticeable even with things like homescreen icons on automatic brightness. You’ll have to look for it more, but it’s definitely there. I chose this example image because it’s the only one that’s really visible in a photo, it’s much harder to capture when it’s more subtle. The problem also becomes less severe the more time the display is on – it seems to “warm up.”

Image retention is obvious only when the tablet hasn’t been used for a few hours. After “warming up” – which needs about 30 minutes of usage – the ghosting issue is of “lessened severity.” The publication says some people suggest that the image retention issue is a characteristic of IPS displays, but after comparing the Nexus 7 with the Transformer Prime and a Transformer Pad 300 – also made by Asus, with both devices having IPS panels – it was discovered that only the Nexus 7 has a more severe issue. Apparently the two Transformer tablets only retain bright-white images on darker backgrounds, while the Nexus 7 does it with any image.

Asus has already issued a response, and it appears that the company can’t replicate the problem on production units, or the Nexus 7 devices that will be shipped to buyers soon. Android Police speculates that the ghosting issue may affect only the white Google Nexus 7 units, the pre-production tablets, that were given to Google I/O attendees. We’ll tell you more once the Nexus 7 units are shipped to consumers.

Does any other Nexus 7 owner experience such ghosting issues? Let us know in the comments section below.