Galaxy S9 Screen Complaints Grow (Update: Samsung Responds)

Updated April 13 at 8:59 am ET with comment from Samsung

The AMOLED screens on Samsung's flagship phones have long been one of the handsets' most notable strengths. But some Galaxy S9 owners are claiming that the displays on Samsung's latest models aren't all they're cracked up to be.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The problem, as detailed by users on forums like this one at XDA Developers, involves black colors. Videos won't display darker colors accurately in an issue that's called "black crush" when it's popped up on other phones. In particular, dark areas on screens affected by the problem can look grainy or pixelated. Based on user complaints, the problem is most evident when on Galaxy S9s with the brightness at lower settings.

To illustrate the issue, the Android Soul website posted side-by-side photos of a Galaxy S8 and S9. The S9 features darker shades of black, resulting in a grainy look on the screen.

Credit: Android Soul

(Image credit: Android Soul)

As with any smartphone issue, it's hard to say with any certainty how many users are impacted. We took another look at our Galaxy S9, watching the Avengers: Infinity War trailer at various levels of brightness, and we didn't notice any issue.

MORE: 8 Reasons to Buy the Galaxy S9 (and 3 Reasons to Skip It)

Samsung provided the following statement to Tom's Guide:

"At Samsung, customer satisfaction is core to our business and we aim to deliver the best possible experience. We are aware of a limited number of reports of Galaxy S9/S9+ displaying dark colors differently than intended in certain instances. We encourage any customer with questions to contact us directly at 1-800-SAMSUNG."

A software update would most likely take care of the problem, as it has with other phones that have experienced the "black crush" problem.

Users who spot the issue on their S9 screens may be able to take matters into their own hands, though. Both Android Soul and a YouTube video posted in the XDA forums refer to an Android app called Screen Balance that lets you better calibrate the display on your phone. The YouTube video from last December focuses on "black crush" issues with Google's Pixel 2 XL, reinforcing that this is an issue that's not common to one particular phone.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.