MKBHD Attention On Phone's Pink Line Makes It A Priority Issue

Like it or not, Marques Brownlee has one whole heck of a lot of eyes and ears on him, and when he's got an issue with a phone, brands pay attention. This week Brownlee (aka MKBHD) posted a Tweet on Twitter about his Google Pixel 3 XL, showing a distinct pink line of pixels running vertically down the near-center. He reported this situation on the 24th of October, and on the 25th of October, he seems to have an answer on why the line appeared.

A similar situation is going on with Artem Russakovskii. Not that there's another display problem, but that because the problem is had by a prolific and popular reporter / influencer, it becomes a much more well-seen issue than it would otherwise. Artem's issue was (and is) with a camera save bug, while MKBHD's issue is with his OLED display.

The VLD, aka Vertical Line Defect, was not unique to MKBHD. This line's been appearing on smartphones for many moons, now – back several generations of OLED displays. It's not extremely common for phones in general – or at least not generally reported in a place where quite so many people will read or hear about it. MKBHD's pink line appeared in a fashion similar to that of many pink lines before it.

"This pink line (called VLD, Vertical Line Defect) is common in OLEDs, and typically shows up after a drop impacting the fragile bottom of the phone," said Brownlee. "Turns out about a week before this line showed up, I had a small pocket-slip drop (maybe a foot)."

This sort of thing was a newsworthy occurrence back in January of 2017, too, with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. "The phone actually landed on the top corner, got a little ding, thought it was nothing," said Brownlee. "But here we are, several days later, the phone had been acting normal all day, then suddenly I wake it up at work and there's a pink line down the middle ¯\_(ツ)_/¯."

So what's an industry to do? Make the edges of smartphones more robust? They're already aluminum – maybe something harder? Or are we close enough to the next generation in displays that we might as well just chalk it up to a loss? Surely by now it would've been fixed if Samsung had enough issues back in 2017. Instead, it's likely less costly to replace those phones that have the issue pop up than it is to fix the potential for the issue in the first place.

Have you ever seen a pink line of pixels in your smartphone's display? What did you do when you saw it? Was the store where you bought the phone or the manufacturer that made your phone happy to supply you with a replacement?