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Nintendo Entertainment Games Hardware Technology

Nintendo Switch Owners Complain About Dead Pixels, Nintendo Says They're 'Normal' (theguardian.com) 241

Nintendo says the dead or stuck pixels Switch owners are complaining about are "normal" and not defects. "New Switch players have taken to online discussion boards, including a 2,000-comment strong Reddit post, to complain of screen issues distracting play, unbecoming of a $300 handheld gaming machine," reports The Guardian. From the report: In a support document entitled "There are black or bright dots on the Nintendo Switch screen that do not go away, or there are dark or light patches on the screen," Nintendo said: "Small numbers of stuck or dead pixels are a characteristic of LCD screens. These are normal and should not be considered a defect." Customers wishing to swap their Switch consoles with defective screens will get no support from Nintendo. A similar issue happened with the Nintendo DS at launch in the U.S., but the Japanese gaming company eventually relented after complaints from buyers, begrudgingly offering replacements under warranty. Nintendo also warned users that using the Switch near an aquarium or within a meter of another wireless device, including laptops, wireless headsets, wireless printers, microwaves, cordless phones or even USB-3.0 compatible devices "such as hard drives, thumb drives, LAN adapters, etc," might cause the Joy-Con controllers to disconnect from the Switch.
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Nintendo Switch Owners Complain About Dead Pixels, Nintendo Says They're 'Normal'

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  • Dead pixels? Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @11:36PM (#53990063) Homepage

    Sounds like Nintendo's buying up all those panels that didn't pass muster for other companies' standards. Pretty cheap of them, considering the price of the unit.

    I haven't seen a dead pixel on a screen in years. I can't believe Nintendo would stoop so low to essentially buying up rejects to save a couple bucks per unit.

    • Nintendo's always been known for cheap hardware. So I can't figure out why this is surprising...

      • No, not "always". Just since the Wii.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I'd like to show you some capacitors out of my SNES. Bottom of the barrel quality.

          Or how they left out a capacitor on the power inverter and that's why many SNES's have white bars in the middle.

          Or why they chose underpowered hardware on the SNES to the point where addon chips were put on SNES carts.

          Or how they were about to join forces with Sony to make the SNES Playstation but turned on Sony at the last minute and went with junk Phillips hardware.

          • by nomadic ( 141991 )
            Nintendo HATES spending time/money/effort on hardware. If they had their way they'd still be developing for the NES and Game Boy.
          • I'd like to show you my original NES that still works today. Or my Super Nintendo that, aside from some small amount of yellowing, still plays all of my games on the first try. Or maybe my N64, with controllers that still function like new and games come up first try every time.

            I can also show you my original Playstation whose CD-ROM went out about 10 years ago. Originally due to the fact that Sony used skimpy hardware within the CD-ROM and had plastic gliding on plastic that eventually wore out and angled

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Wrong. In electrical engineering terms Nintendo are very well known for using the worst components available because they focus on price above known quality. Adding $0.05 to a power board to avoid the Chinese cap' cancer is something they will not do. They don't even have a standard set of components.for product lines. If a supplier offers something equivalent but cheaper, they'll rip off their hands to make more money despite knowing the likely quality problems.

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      give them some slack. they got a really, really reaally good deal on screens that.. ..well, simply put, 720p screens need to go into 50 bucks tablets now. 150 bucks tablets need at least 1080p.

      so, they were probably really, really, really cheap for nintendo. and someone probably had a lot of slightly defective screens sitting in some warehouse in asia, since people in asia would turn on the device before buying it (seriously).

      nintendo should have reworded it as that it's normal for a nintendo product to shi

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kronix1986 ( 1060830 )

      Dead/stuck pixels on a modern consumer display aren't deal-breaking - you probably won't notice a stuck pixel in a 1920x1080 5" phone display.

      The problem is Nintendo specified the Switch with a 6.2" 720p LCD - literally tech from 2012 - which should by all accounts have a mature manufacturing process by now.

      As someone else said, it looks like Nintendo is buying up B-grade panels for the Switch. Imagine the uproar if Samsung or Apple shipped noticeable dead pixels as standard...

      • In fairness, at one point Apple did [slashdot.org] (context note: this was from 2002. So 15 years ago. Presumably Apple still had the policy for several years afterwards, but I don't believe it to be true now. Customers seemed fairly divided about it.)
  • by Mal-2 ( 675116 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @11:38PM (#53990067) Homepage Journal

    I didn't plan to buy one anyhow, but this is proof positive that Nintendo still has the sense of entitlement leading them to say "you'll take what we give you, and you'll like it". Getting rid of region locks might have been seen as a step to hand some control back to the customer, but refusing to accept that dead pixels are defects and have been considered such for at least ten years now is an admission that they either can't do better, or are honey badgers about what the customer actually thinks. Unreliable connections are defects too, even Apple wasn't able to get away with the "you're holding it wrong" defense for very long.

    If they can't do better for technical reasons... well I'm not buying that. They can do better, because other device manufacturers are doing better. If they can't afford to do better, then they really should get out of the hardware market.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @12:25AM (#53990257)

      Here's Dells dead pixel policy for 2017. So basically Dell will ignore 5 dead dark pixels before you can get a replacement.

      Flat panel monitors with Premium Panel Guarantee (HD+ (1600 x 900) and above LCD resolutions):
              1 or more 6 or more
              Bright = 1 or more
              Dark = 6 or more
      Dell monitors (D Series) 6 or more 9 or more Combination of bright and dark = 9 or more
      All other Dell flat panel monitors 6 or more 6 or more Combination of bright and dark = 6 or more
      Dell Laptop LCD screen with standard panel (HD (1366 x 768) or below resolutions):
              Dell Inspiron laptops 3 or more 6 or more Combination of bright and dark = 6 or more
      Dell Laptop LCD screen with Premium Panel Guarantee (HD+ (1600 x 900) and above LCD resolutions): :

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@w[ ]d3.net ['orl' in gap]> on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @04:45AM (#53990891) Homepage Journal

        Aren't there any consumer protection laws that can help you in the US?

        In the UK we have Distance Selling Regulations. Basically, because buying online you don't have an opportunity to inspect the goods before buying you can return them for any or no reason at all in the first 14 days. If the goods are not otherwise defective you have to pay return postage, so in the case of a few dead pixels you would probably be out a few quid on that. but you can save some weight be discarding extraneous packaging.

        It's actually better to buy stuff online than from a physical shop for this reason.

        • Aren't there any consumer protection laws that can help you in the US?

          In the UK we have Distance Selling Regulations. Basically, because buying online you don't have an opportunity to inspect the goods before buying you can return them for any or no reason at all in the first 14 days. If the goods are not otherwise defective you have to pay return postage, so in the case of a few dead pixels you would probably be out a few quid on that. but you can save some weight be discarding extraneous packaging.

          It's actually better to buy stuff online than from a physical shop for this reason.

          US law has no similar ironclad protections; it's up to the seller to set warranty terms although there are fitness for purpose laws so you can't simply sell a toaster that won't toast. The flip side is prices tend to be lower, even after VAT is removed, because companies do not have to account for some x% returns in their pricing model. It's the same with places that have longer warranty periods by law; companies simply price in the anticipated extra costs of warranty repairs and spread it over all the unit

        • Aren't there any consumer protection laws that can help you in the US?

          In North America there tend to be vendor protection laws rather than consumer protection laws. Good luck taking something defective back to the store; many shops have signs up saying "All sales are final, no returns or exchanges".

    • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @08:55AM (#53991553) Journal

      I bought a Switch at launch, more out of curiousity than anything else. The story of the platform across the board is "handful of nice ideas let down by corner-cutting and failure to comprehend basic design lessons".

      I haven't personally experienced the most serious issues with the device. That's to say, I have no dead pixels. I do not, under normal circumstances, have the wireless interference problems that is causing the joycons (particularly the left one) to lose synchronisation (though I can replicate them if I try, by switching on more devices). Nor have I yet scratched the screen putting the thing into and out of its dock.

      That said, there are some design decisions around the Switch that scream "cheap", some which scream "incompetent" and some which scream both. For a relatively pricey piece of hardware, that's not really acceptable. Let's leave aside for the moment the crap Bluetooth transmission from the joycons and the dead pixels; here are some of the smaller quality-of-life issues with the Switch that should not be an issue in 2017:

      - The size of the joycon controllers is way too small for the average Western hand (and certainly for a good proportion of adult males). The shape of the thing provides relatively little support to the hand and, whether it is held on its own or in the grip, encourages a cramped hand posture. This is really, really bad for your hands.

      - When the unit is used in handheld mode with the joycons attached, the impacts on hand posture are arguably even worse. The device is reasonably large and, while I wouldn't describe it as heavy, nor is it particularly light. Your hands are supporting a noticeable degree of weight here. But the design of the joycons and the manner in which they attach to the main unit means that you end up crabbing your hands if you want to both hold the unit up and reach the control inputs. Unlike the Wii-U Gamepad and the Vita (both of which were by no means perfect in this respect), there is no grip at the back to allow you to distribute some of the weight more evenly around your hands or improve hand posture. It's worst for your right hand, where the location of the right analogue stick at the bottom of the unit means that you are essentially going to end up holding up that end of the unit by "pinching" it near the bottom.

      - The layout of buttons on the joycons is terrible. The + and - buttons are located, for some bizarre reason, "above" the analogue sticks. This means you need a large thumb movement to reach them, which is both uncomfortable and likely to result in an accidental button-press or analogue stick input.

      - The charging point's location on the bottom of the main unit means that it is awkward to support the weight of the unit on a table while using it in handheld mode. It also means you can't charge it while using the built-in stand.

      - The built-in stand is a cheap, nasty and fragile plastic flap, barely capable of staying upright. Many people are already reporting this has snapped off or failed.

      - The cartridge slot cover feels flimsy and fragile. I haven't yet seen reports of these snapping off, but I wouldn't be surprised to. The Vita had the same problem here.

      - The dock unit you use to connect the thing to the TV has a cheap and nasty plastic feel. There are numerous reports that the version of the dock shipped with retail units is lower than that which was seen on preview units used for demonstrations and sent out for review purposes (though I haven't seen a preview unit myself yet, so cannot confirm this). Certainly, it is a loose and wobbly fit for the console on retail units and there are many reports of the dock scratching the main-unit's screen.

      - The process of attaching/detaching the joycons is a bit fiddlier, and requires a bit more force, than had commonly been assumed.

      - It is easily possible to put the joycons on the grip unit the wrong way around. What is rather less possible is getting them off again (at least without a very large degree of force) after you've done

      • the wireless interference problems that is causing the joycons (particularly the left one) to lose synchronisation

        If that does become an issue, and you have a soldering iron, you can fix that by adding a better antenna to the left controller that isn't going to be blocked by your hand. There's at least one video online showing how to do it. The existing antenna gets blocked by the palm of your hand, which isn't as much of an issue with the right controller because everything is flipped and the antenna is near your fingers instead of your palm.

    • We purchased a 75" Samsung TV last year. It had a single pixel in the middle of the screen stuck on as a bright red dot.

      Returned it without any issues. Just said there's a pixel stuck on bright red full time and it was happily exchanged for a replacement set.

      Nintendo need to get it's head out of it's Asterix. Word of mouth like this is how you kill a product launch.

  • Terrible (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @11:40PM (#53990077)
    Nintendo really should pay more attention to these sorts of things, as this can be what makes or breaks a device. I was strongly considering getting one, but between these stories, the untransferable/unbackup-able save data, and all that on top of them repeating their inability to grasp how people use online play (Really, friend codes? AGAIN? You can't just let us use handles like everywhere else on the civilized internet?), I'm shifting more to the mindset of "maybe let's wait and see if the version 2.0 is any better."
  • by fred911 ( 83970 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @11:41PM (#53990079)

    The defects you seem to think exist are a normally engineered design to enhance our users experience. Besides, we don't have sufficient inventory to supply the current demand. As soon as our supply is greater than our customer demand, we may consider some type of compensation. Please keep complaining and we'll contract you in 6 months or so (if you're loud enough).

      Thanks and enjoy your experience!

  • by Eloking ( 877834 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @11:42PM (#53990089)

    Because if the Switch was a stunning 4K (710 PPI for a 6.2" screen), people wouldn't complain much because the pixel are too tiny to be noticeable if they die.

    But at 720P (237 PPI), that's a whole different world. It's comparable to the first Samsung Galaxy S with 233 PPI. Even the new iPhone 7 is not "that" far ahead with 326 ppi (well, the Galaxy S7 have over 500 PPI).

  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedyNO@SPAMtpno-co.org> on Monday March 06, 2017 @11:54PM (#53990131) Homepage

    ...but maybe the customers are just holding it wrong?

  • This is nothing new. Every manufacturer has a note about the number and/or type of acceptable dead/bright pixels on an LCD though they vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. In some cases, a display can have dozens of dead pixels as long as they aren't clustered together, where others will allow several dead pixels but no bright pixels.

    This is nothing new and has been Nintendo's policy ever since the Gameboy Advance was released. But, if you're nice when you call support, you may be able to get it repla

    • That's kind of the problem: Nintendo doesn't actually have a policy, unless you think saying "tough luck" is a policy. It wouldn't be a problem if they were straightforward about it, and said "x number of stuck, hot or dead pixels in total, or x number within an area of x by y pixels will be considered faulty", as other manufacturers did. They've chosen instead to make it a war between consumers and customer service to try and see whether you can get a replacement or not.
    • Most manufacturers of quality have long moved past this policy for new devices. My LCD monitor is has a zero dead/zero bright pixel policy at purchase.
    • Do you know how many CRT monitors have dead pixels? The answer is none, because consumers would not stand for that. Plus, there were about 40+ previous years of manufacturing improvements that helped eliminate manufacturing errors of the phosphors in CRTs. So you can either complain (which is what the switch owners are doing), or wait until manufacturing technology matures.
  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt&nerdflat,com> on Monday March 06, 2017 @11:58PM (#53990151) Journal
    ... on an older screen or one that has been abused. On a new device? Not so much. The only reason that anyone's going to take Nintendo's explanation lying down is because trying to stand up to Nintendo on this point is going to take a ton of perseverance, time, and probably money with no assurance that it's actually going to work out.
  • Bait... and Switch? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CanEHdian ( 1098955 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @12:01AM (#53990159)

    It's to be expected that for the first batch, QA standards aren't too stringent, as they need numbers, numbers, numbers, to get 3rd party buy-in. Early PSPs had some stuck pixels, but later ones were fine. None of my VITAs have stuck/dead pixels.

    I was planning to wait for the Mario Bundle, I'm guessing with a Mario-Red and Luigi-Green joycon, as here in Canada the Switch debuts at $400 and there's not even a pack-in game included. Yeah, that's $400 CAD and it also proves that a low CAD vs USD might be 'good for the economy' but it's bad for consumers (e.g. you and me). Hopefully by that that time the Canadian Dollar regained some of its value.

    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      Which in summary means people are fools to buy a new console or any in-demand launch device. Yeah it might work and be wonderful. Or it might suck or not live up to the hype.

      Personally I don't see much reason to buy a launch console even if its perfect. The Switch supposedly has exactly one must-have game and it'll be months before another one arrives. This is common for other console launches too however I think Nintendo dismal 3rd party relationship only exacerbates the issue.

    • Considering it's a portable device with a built in screen it's not such a bad deal. The iPad Mini 4 is $500 in Canada. Sure the iPad Mini has a better screen, but as far as pricing goes in the tablet market, $400 is pretty much right on par with other devices. The 3DS XL $239 and has been out for 5 years.

    • Early PSPs had some stuck pixels, but later ones were fine.

      Yep, I had a couple of stuck pixels on a PSP-1000 launch model, they eventually became unstuck but it took a looooong time. Eventually the UMD drive on it failed and I got a PSP-3000, no stuck pixels on that.

      The OLED Vita is perfect, no stuck pixels.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I did repair work at Nintendo when the original gameboy came out. All day long people would show up to get screen issues fixed and many of the came right back without even leaving the parking lot before it went bad again.Being an early adopter of Nintendo gear has never been a good idea.

  • Not in 2017 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @12:15AM (#53990221)

    I remember WAY back in the early 2000's when LCD flat panels first started getting cheap enough for the average consumer (I bought my first as a 17" for $300 back around 2001) it was common for there to be at least 1 dead pixel - and they generally wouldn't consider it a warranty item unless there were more than 10 or more than 2 within a few cm of each other.

    That is pretty much of thing of the past now though. In the last ~7 years I can't recall having a single display with a dead pixel, and in today's age I certainly would return a display (or device) that had one.

    • And now we know where all those panels with the dead pixels end up. You didn't think that they magically vanished, did you?

    • I remember when a few dead pixels were considered normal and acceptable on the tiny few inch color LCDs of the early 1990s, but that was because color LCD screens were still a very new and very expensive technology back then. I can buy a 20$ shit hand held "300-in-1" pirate game system in one of those questionable electronics shops you find in the downtowns of major cities that consistantly have perfectly good screens. I expect no dead pixels in a system that costs hundreds from one of the biggest game com
  • by BigBuckHunter ( 722855 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @12:36AM (#53990297)
    Nintendo has it half right

    Dead pixels ARE normal.... Fortunately, so is the replacing of affected devices under warranty.
  • Just pay them with a check having a dead digit in the bank account number.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @02:04AM (#53990549)

    No, no the pixels are not dead, they're just resting. [wikipedia.org] Remarkable pixels on the Nintendo Switch. Beautiful plumage!

  • Are you sure these people didn't accidentally write into Apple? Remember the death grip? And the touch of death (screen) and the bending and the flaming adapters and the...you get the idea.
  • In Australia this is classed as a defect which is defined as "something that would have caused you not to buy the product if you knew beforehand".

    The other option is to go in store and ask that they open and test multiple Switches until you find one free of dead pixels.

  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @04:30AM (#53990867)

    Hey Nintendo? You know what else is normal? Lost sales from well deserved bad press.

  • A number of people are complaining the screen gets scratched by inserting and removing it from the dock.

    It must be great to be an early adopter. That frisson of excitement coming from paying top dollar to be some company's beta tester.

  • Sounds like a profound "SKIP THE FUCK OUT OF IT!" to me.

    Seriously, what kind of product (OF ANY SORT) says "don't use this anywhere near anything else or it may stop functioning"?

    Time for Nintendo to go back to the drawing board and design a real product. These flaky $300 kiddie efforts are just a waste of everyone's time and money.

  • ... ready to get my first Nintendo device ever.
    Guess it's skip or wait for a few hardware refreshes then.

  • Maybe in 1992 scince back then color LCDs were very hard and expensive to manufacture, but there is no excuse for this today. If some no name phone manufacturer in China can constantly produce phones without this problem, so can Nintendo.
  • Dear Value User,

    You defective product is to be normal; no worry, all Switch(r) unit have this feature and no charge extra. Thank for inqury.

    Mr Chan Xio
    Shen Zen Mfg Co, Guangxi, China
    Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
    502 Lotus Blossom Rd #62

  • If you find that you have received a device lacking the requisite number of dead pixels, please return it to the point of purchase for a full refund.

    Thank you,
    Nintendo Customer Satisfaction Department

All warranty and guarantee clauses become null and void upon payment of invoice.

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