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  1. #1
    Don't eat yellow snow spaceman's Avatar
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    new laptop, dead pixel - acceptable?

    Hi All,

    We've just bounght a new laptop/notepad (NEC), but discovered that it has a single dead pixel in the middle of the screen.

    We're taking it back now to the local store with the expectation that it will be swapped for another machine but, not being very up with notepad issues, I was just curious to learn from others:

    1. Are dead pixels common on laptop screens?
    2. Are dead pixels strictly a hardware failure, or can they be software related?
    3. Can dead pixels be repaired, or is it always a case of swapping the screen for a new one?
    4. Can we expect that, over time, dead pixels on our laptop will 'naturally' increase?

    Thanks - just curious!
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    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy JRMillion's Avatar
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    I hear it tends to happen on LCD's, has never happened to me.
    But if it did, it would drive me nuts and I would have it back at the store SO FAST.
    If they turn you away, call NEC.

  3. #3
    Don't eat yellow snow spaceman's Avatar
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    Thanks JRMillion - my associate has just called me from the store, and the store is telling him that NEC's policy is that only if it has 5 or more pixels would they replace it. And the store is going to forward to us an email to this effect from NEC.

    So basically the store is saying they won't replace it because NEC won't.

    Bugger! On the one hand it's only 1 pixel, but on the other it's a brand new machine, and as small as the defect is, it's a defect nonetheless. Hmmm. Considering our position...
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    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy JRMillion's Avatar
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    keep calling NEC... again, and again, and again and again.

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    SitePoint Wizard Aes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRMillion
    keep calling NEC... again, and again, and again and again.
    Exactly! They can't (and won't) ignore you forever. Honestly, the five pixels or more policy is kind of rediculous. I would definitely keep calling.

    Just to give you some background information though -- it's difficult to manufacture perfect LCD screens -- especially the often-used XGA types. The higher quality you go (SXGA --> SXGA+ --> UXGA --> UXGA+), the more and more complex, and as a result expensive, the manufacturing process is. That also results in a much lower chance of dead pixels.
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    ********* Genius Mike's Avatar
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    Mine had a dead pixel out of the box...

    Been a year now and it has 2 dead pixels. Doesn't bother me though...

    I'd call NEC anyways if it bothers you.
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  7. #7
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    All manufacturers have different dead pixel policies, and these policies will even vary between countries for the same manufacturer. Some retailers or manufacturers have policies that if you take it back within 7 days, or 3 days, or the same day, they'll simply swap it over - even if it's against the manufacturer's usual dead pixel policies. You might be lucky. However, my point is that you need to be fast. The quicker you take it back to where you bought it, the more likely they are to replace it for you. Try taking it back the very same day.

    1. Are dead pixels common on laptop screens?
    2. Are dead pixels strictly a hardware failure, or can they be software related?
    3. Can dead pixels be repaired, or is it always a case of swapping the screen for a new one?
    4. Can we expect that, over time, dead pixels on our laptop will 'naturally' increase?
    1. Depends what you mean by common. You're very unlikely to ever see two laptops at once, both with a dead pixel. However, it's possible.

    2. Hardware failure only.

    3. No, a dead pixel can't be repaired. Because the screen itself is manufactured as one part, the entire screen must be discarded when there are faults in it. However, don't let that deter you from returning it. Manufacturers discard screens all the time due to faults, before they reach stores. The only way you can get a screen with a fault is if they missed the fault, or don't consider it enough of a fault to throw away.

    4. Yes, but this depends heavily on what type of screen it is, the manufacturer, and just plain luck. It's possible to own a screen that never develops a dead pixel, ever. However, it's also possible for a screen to develop dead pixels with age. In an ideal world, these would be classed as faulty and replaced by the manufacturer (given that they're in warranty). However, some manufacturers won't do that. Don't let them tell you that all screens develop dead pixels with age though - it's not true.
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    SitePoint Wizard xyuri's Avatar
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    I know I'm a little late, but anyways.

    Quote Originally Posted by mmj
    3. No, a dead pixel can't be repaired. Because the screen itself is manufactured as one part, the entire screen must be discarded when there are faults in it. However, don't let that deter you from returning it. Manufacturers discard screens all the time due to faults, before they reach stores. The only way you can get a screen with a fault is if they missed the fault, or don't consider it enough of a fault to throw away.
    Well, I have found that sometimes if you rub them sternly sometimes it can sorta like "wiggle" back into the right place. A few notebooks with the little control knob thing sometimes gets pushed against the screen and sometimes starts messing up the pixels.

    Also, there is a world-wide shortage on LCD pannels and some places, like Dell, have you waiting around 3 months before replacements can arrive.

  9. #9
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xyuri
    I have found that sometimes if you rub them sternly sometimes it can sorta like "wiggle" back into the right place.
    Yep, I've heard this too, and it makes sense. However, I'd be worried about causing more damage to the screen, and voiding the warranty at the same time. What I'm saying is that it could be risky.
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    googlicious graymatter bvarvel's Avatar
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    If you just bought it, I'd just return it if they refuse to replace it. Then purchase your laptop elsewhere and make sure the store knows it's their lack of customer service that's pushing your business elsewhere. If you push hard enough they should replace it. Business' think they can get away with this kind of crap simply because customers don't push back... it's actually trained now..

  11. #11
    l 0 l silver trophybronze trophy lo0ol's Avatar
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    I snickered at first when I read it (what's one dead pixel going to matter?), but then I realized how much it would drive me crazy.

    It's probably something you could get used to, but I'd lean on them a bit to see if you can get a replacement. Either that or figure out how to kill 4 other pixels.

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    googlicious graymatter bvarvel's Avatar
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    One pixel may not seem like much but consider that you paid for a brand new PC. The assumption is that it should be free from defects, which obviously it is not. Precisely the reason I've never understood why customers don't speak up

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    Don't eat yellow snow spaceman's Avatar
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    I just got off the phone the 'NEC Computers' here in Australia. They confirmed the following:

    For a laptop screen to be deemed 'faulty' within the (I think) 12 months guarantee period, it must have either
    1. 5 or more 'scattered' dead pixels, or
    2. 2/3 or more 'grouped/joined' dead pixels.

    We phoned NEC just to double check that the store wasn't bullSh$tting us, and it appears that they weren't.

    On balance, we've decided to keep the laptop regardless and just get on with it. All things considered, we've got a fantastic deal on this machine, and whilst we'd rather have zero dead pixels than 1 dead pixels, this issue is not enough for us to insist on a refund from the store (not worth our time, and not sure we could find the same deal elsewhere).

    So there you have it! Food for thought for the next person with a dead pixel on their hands!!! :-)

    P.S. Don't get me wrong - I'm normally the first to demand justice from a store when I feel that I've been wronged as a consumer - it's just that, in the bigger picture, we've got much more important things to deal with right now over and above a single dead pixel.
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    SitePoint Wizard trampt's Avatar
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    That is ridiculous. My roommate got a new PC from Dell and his monitor had one dead pixel. He called Dell and they gave him the same run around saying that they wouldn't replace it. I got on the phone with them, kept asking for supervisor, got an angry tone of voice and after 30 minutes of yelling at some guy at Dell they send a replacement monitor overnight .

    Call again and get to a higher up, tell them you will complain to the FTC or whoever is the equivilent in Australia.

    Good Luck,
    Keegan

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    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    I agree that you should be persistent. Keep in mind that having a dead pixel 'policy' itself is wrong, even if it's what the manufacturers say. Essentially what they're doing is selling faulty products. I'd try returning the laptop to the store for a refund. Surely they could do that if it's within a couple of days. Then tell the manufacturer that you're going to buy another brand, one with a zero dead pixel guarantee. A number of manufacturers provide zero dead pixel guarantees, and still others say that while a dead pixel near the edge of a screen is not a fault, a dead pixel near the middle is. I'd say be persistent. Even with large organisations with seemingly iron-clad policies, whether you get a replacement or not for a dead pixel can depend on who you talk to.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmj
    Keep in mind that having a dead pixel 'policy' itself is wrong, even if it's what the manufacturers say.
    Unfortunately the current state of the art in LCD production means that dead-pixels are unavoidable, unless you are ready to destroy a huge share of your production right out of the production line.

    So almost all manufacturers allow for a few defective pixels to exists in their retail products. This is actually codified in a ISO standard.

    Tom's hardware has a good article on this subject : http://www6.tomshardware.com/display/20030319/

  17. #17
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Betcour
    Unfortunately the current state of the art in LCD production means that dead-pixels are unavoidable, unless you are ready to destroy a huge share of your production right out of the production line.
    This is the myth that manufacturers like to perpetrate so that most people will not complain about dead pixels. The truth is different. The majority of screens sold do not have any dead pixels. In addition to this, manufacturers already discard quite a lot of screens due to defects. Manufacturers wouldn't go out of business if they replaced screens with dead pixels.
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    The knight who said ni! RockyShark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmj
    The majority of screens sold do not have any dead pixels.
    To be honest - I'd never even heard of a dead pixel before reading this thread. And we've got 3 Diamond View LCD monitors, and 2 laptops - a Thinkpad and a Compaq. So out of 5 LCD displays we have 5 that are all fine.

    I'm with mmj - don't let manufacturers convince you that defects are normal. Would you publish a website that had defects and tell your client that it's normal? Of course not!

    Hogwash!!!

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyShark
    Would you publish a website that had defects and tell your client that it's normal? Of course not!

    Hogwash!!!
    Bill Gates and Microsoft would
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmj
    This is the myth that manufacturers like to perpetrate so that most people will not complain about dead pixels. The truth is different. The majority of screens sold do not have any dead pixels. In addition to this, manufacturers already discard quite a lot of screens due to defects. Manufacturers wouldn't go out of business if they replaced screens with dead pixels.
    The math is really easy: The more they throw away, the more expensive the remaining screens have to be. And in fact the few manufacturers that guarantee zero dead pixels have prices well above average.

    Out of curiosity: Can you refer us to any "hard facts" that support what you said: "This is the myth that manufacturers like to perpetrate so that most people will not complain about dead pixels. The truth is different."
    Thanks.

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    Exclamation dead pixels

    Working for a major computer Co. in the support side of things We see this every once and a while 5 dead pixels is industry standard and all manufacturers do post this on their sites as do resellers Look at LCD's on http://Newegg.com all of them state this right on the description. As for the manufacturers you have to search their support sites for this info. It is my experience that when you state the industry standard (which is regulated by the FTC) most people accept this. If not accepted I will exchange the LCD as a cust sat issue but with the statement of the industry standard and there is absolutely no guarantee that that the new LCD will be any better and can rarely but can happen get worse.

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    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R. U. Serious
    The math is really easy: The more they throw away, the more expensive the remaining screens have to be. And in fact the few manufacturers that guarantee zero dead pixels have prices well above average.

    Out of curiosity: Can you refer us to any "hard facts" that support what you said: "This is the myth that manufacturers like to perpetrate so that most people will not complain about dead pixels. The truth is different."
    Thanks.
    I'm afraid I don't have any statistics or sources on hand with regard to how many monitors are sold with pixels, but it is a very small percentage of monitors sold.

    One very convincing 'hard fact' however is that some manufacturers are now offering zero-dead-pixel guarantees. If the 'myths' were true, then it would be impossible for a manufacturer to offer a zero dead pixel guarantee.

    Besides, these are massive companies and can surely afford to lower their profit margin by a small fraction to remain honest. It's good to see that some manufacturers have begun to realise that trying to outbid their competitors by lowering quality control standards and knowingly selling a number of faulty products can come back to haunt them later. Their products cost a little more, but that's because they don't sell any knowingly faulty products. There is a significant amount of value in knowing that your screen will never have a dead pixel in the warranty period, or it'll be replaced.
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    Don't eat yellow snow spaceman's Avatar
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    Just phoned 'Consumer and Employment Protection' here in Australia: http://www.docep.wa.gov.au

    Their advice was this (and the guy indicated that they've received similar 'dead pixel' queries like this before): They DO consider this to be a fault and worthy of a replacement regardless of what the warranty/NEC say BUT because we bought it for business purposes (as opposed to home/personal purposes) they are not able to act on our behalf. Because we bought it for business purposes our only recourse would have to be legal at our own cost.

    I'm adding this note here just to keep people informed. We don't plan to take this further (call me a wimp!) simply because we are a small business with limited time and resources and with much bigger challenges to worry about than a single dead pixel. Annoying, yes, but 'the bigger picture' dicates that we live with it (it's not that irritating - yet!!) and move on.
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    SitePoint Wizard trampt's Avatar
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    Then what I would advice is calling NEC and tell them that you spoke to the Consumer and Employment protection regarding your laptop and they say that since its your home computer that they need to replace it. If NEC doesn't then tell them that you will press action against them.

    NEC doesn't know that your computer is used for business, call and threaten them. You still might be able to walk away from this with a new laptop with NO dead pixels. You should legally get the replacement or repair you are ENTITLED to as per your warranty.

    You still have many ways to get this resolved without costing you money for taking them to court. I can't imagine a large company like NEC going through this much hassle over one laptop.

  25. #25
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    most companies expect a tft screen to have dead pixels...because their so hard to make...ill have a look at the warenty info for my sony vaio and find out what they class as an ok number
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