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How to Test for Dead Pixels

How to Test for Dead Pixels

Most of today’s screens are impressively bright, providing users with rich assortments of lifelike colors. But, if you’re dealing with a dead pixel, that’s a problem that can negatively impact the enjoyment you get from your screens.

A dead pixel occurs when it stays turned off due to not receiving power. Transistor damage and manufacturing flaws are a couple of things that can cause them.

Fortunately, you can test for dead pixels. It’s best to do that if you suspect there’s a problem and want to confirm it before taking further action. Also, keep in mind that dead pixels only apply to liquid crystal display (LCD), thin-film transistor (TFT) or organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens.

That covers the majority of screen technology on the market today. But, if you’re dealing with an older appliance, such as a TV that’s several decades old, dead pixels are likely not the issue.

Do You Have a Dead Pixel or Just a Stuck Pixel?

Before we get into the specifics of testing for dead pixels, it’s important to clarify the difference between a dead pixel and a stuck pixel.

As mentioned earlier, dead pixels don’t get power. Since they never light up, they cause black — and occasionally white — spots on the affected screens. In contrast, a stuck pixel always stays on even after the ones around it turn off.

You can recognize a stuck pixel as a colored dot on your screen — the most common pixel hues are red, green and blue. Some potential fixes aim to restore normal function to the stuck pixel.

They do this by rapidly flashing colors across the screen to try and make the stuck pixel start working again. But, if the testing methods we’ll go through below show that you have a dead pixel, fixing it is usually impossible.


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Test for Dead Pixels at Home

The good news is that you don’t need to take your device to a tech specialist for a dead pixel test. You can perform one in your house or any other place where you access the suspect device.

Website-based pixel testing tools take you through a process of viewing colors on your screen. Doing this makes it easier to see dead pixels.

For example, Dead Pixel Buddy instructs users to put their monitors into full-screen mode, then use the keyboard arrows to cycle through various blocks of color that take up the entire monitor.

Then, a pixel test at the LCDTech website works similarly but specifically warns people to clean their screens before attempting the assessment. That’s because specks of dust and dirt can mimic pixel problems.

CheckPixels.com is another pixel-checker web app. When giving that one a try, you click anywhere on the screen to switch to a new color.

Any of the tests here will help you figure out if there’s a dead pixel to blame or another problem at the root of your issues. For example, if you find that your computer’s screen is black because it won’t turn on, you need to troubleshoot in other ways.

Checking Pixels on Smartphones or Tablets

The options in the previous section are ideal for people who want to look for dead pixels on a computer or the large screen of a smart TV.

However, when you’re worried about problematic pixels on a tablet or a smartphone, the easier route to take is to download a specialized app to do the job.

Try Dead Pixel Test for Android or Screen Test for iOS.

Reacting to a Dead Pixel

Now that you know how to test for dead pixels, maybe you’re frustrated by the results. If one of your devices has one or several dead pixels, beware of quick fixes with enticing promises. As mentioned earlier, those solutions are virtually non-existent.

If you still have warranty coverage for your screen, get in touch with the brand about your concerns. Otherwise, if the defective pixel bothers you too much, consider selling it through a channel like Craigslist and being honest about what’s wrong and the extent of it. Then, you could put the cash from a sale towards a new gadget with pixels that work as they should.

It’s also smart to get in the habit of checking all your new gadgets for dead pixels as soon as you bring them home. That way, if you notice something’s not right, you can immediately be proactive by speaking to the retailer.

However, before you get too upset, check the gadget’s owner’s manual. Some brands explicitly state that they permit a small number of dead pixels, and how many. Then, they won’t replace gadgets with those minor flaws.

Testing Is the Easy Part

As this overview shows, testing for a dead pixel is one of the most straightforward tech tasks you can do. After that, you’ll have the information needed to decide how — or if — to respond to the matter.

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Kayla Matthews is a technology writer and the editor of Productivity Bytes. Her work has been featured on Digital Trends, MakeUseOf, VICE, VentureBeat, The Daily Dot and WIRED, among others. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest posts.

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