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Are you seeing bad pixels on your Switch? Here's what Nintendo has to say!

Every display technology has a downside, and for LCD displays like the one in your Nintendo Switch that downside is called Dead Pixels. A single pixel can fail to respond when instructed to change color like the rest of the display, and in some cases that single pixel never changes color again. Dead pixels can show up at any time, and in many cases isn't something that can be repaired. The display almost always needs to be replaced instead, which is why manufacturers tend to have an official policy on dead pixels somewhere on support websites.

Nintendo's official policy for dead pixels on the Switch was discovered on the comapny's UK support site recently, and it has left more than a few people wondering what to do if dead pixels appear on their console.

Nintendo's official policy currently reads:

Small numbers of stuck or dead pixels are a characteristic of LCD screens. These are normal and should not be considered a defect.

From a technical perspective, this is true. Dead pixels are an expected thing on a small percentage of LCD displays. There's no way to anticipate a dead pixel, and there's no way to prevent dead pixels in normal use. They can appear at any time in the life cycle of a device, though in a vast majority of cases they never appear at all.

That last part, about dead pixels not being considered a defect, has a lot of users concerned about warranty replacements. Nintendo's included one year warranty for the Switch reads:

Nintendo of America Inc. ("Nintendo") warrants to the original purchaser that the hardware product shall be free from defects in material and workmanship for twelve (12) months from the date of purchase. If a defect covered by this warranty occurs during this warranty period, Nintendo will repair or replace the defective hardware product or component, free of charge.* The original purchaser is entitled to this warranty only if the date of purchase is registered at point of sale or the consumer can demonstrate, to Nintendo's satisfaction, that the product was purchased within the last 12 months.

So if the warranty says it will cover all defects, but Nintendo says dead pixels aren't considered a defect, does that mean Nintendo won't replace your Switch if a dead pixel appears in the first year of ownership? The answer is, unfortunately, a little confusing.

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo eShop (Image credit: iMore)

For starters, Nintendo's dead pixel statement can only be found on the UK troubleshooting page right now. It doesn't exist on the US support page, but an entirely contradictory statement does exist on the US support page for the Nintendo 3DS:

We are happy to inspect and, if necessary, fix the system at no charge within the warranty period.

Nintendo having different policies for different regions of the world for the exact same problem isn't great, but there's some other things to consider. Nintendo, like many companies with LCD products, are very careful to use the words "small numbers of stuck or dead pixels" when describing something that is or is not supported. Specific numbers aren't usually given publicly, because in many cases users don't notice when a single pixel is stuck unless the display is all one color and there's this tiny speck that stands out.

This means Nintendo's warranty likely does cover dead pixels, just not a single dead pixel. It's a fairly common position for manufacturers to take, which is why there are usually several alternatives available to users.

  • Inspect your Nintendo Switch thoroughly the next chance you get, and if you see a stuck pixel, return it to the store you bought it from before the return policy expires.
  • Purchase an extended warranty from your retailer, and your display will be covered no matter what.
  • Call Nintendo support and explain that the stuck pixel has "interfered with the enjoyment of gameplay" and be sure to use those words.

There's no guarantee that your Nintendo Switch will ever have a dead pixel, but it's important to know what is and is not covered by your warranty as early as possible. What do you think about this dead pixel policy? Will it stop you from picking up a Nintendo Switch? Sound off in the comments!

Russell is a Contributing Editor at iMore. He's a passionate futurist whose trusty iPad mini is never far from reach. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Reach out on Twitter!

13 Comments
  • Sad if this is a big enough issue for iMore to write about it. It's 2017; we've been spoiled by low-defect, high quality LCDs in phones and tablets. Shame on Nintendo if they "cheaped-out". Also, Most LCD warranties are worded this way. Sent from the iMore App
  • I know some companies don't count dead pixels as a defect, but it most certainly is. If you're buying a new product, any visible flaws are defects, it's like saying if your product comes with a scratch on it, it's perfectly normal. I don't think I've ever had a dead/stuck pixel on a mobile device, because they're high quality displays. All this shows is that Nintendo have really cheaped out on the hardware, which isn't unusual for Nintendo, but come on at least make it look like it isn't broken, people have paid good money for this! If I got a Switch and it had dead pixels I'd take it back
  • ... or if it shipped with a blown speaker. A single dead pixel is very annoying, however "1st world problem" is it. I worked hard for these over priced toys, they better be perfect! ;-) Sent from the iMore App
  • "Small numbers of stuck or dead pixels are a characteristic of LCD screens. These are normal and should not be considered a defect." This might have been true for LCDs in the past, and it may still be true for cheap LCDs today, but despite selling hundreds of phones a year I can't remember the last device I activated that had a dead or stuck pixel out of the box. I no longer consider dead or stuck pixels "normal", I consider a pristine screen "normal", and if I were to see a screen with dead or stuck pixels I would consider it "defective" because of how abnormal it is nowadays.
  • Agreed. Haven't seen a dead pixel in ages. Ten years ago, ya. On a $300 new console, not acceptable.
  • While my experiences are absolutely anecdotal, I've had two MacBooks in the last three years with stuck pixels out of the box. I think it still happens with reasonable frequency, though it is certainly declining at steady rate.
  • I think Apple would probably allow you to exchange it though, the same can't be said for Nintendo. I'm used to Nintendo cheaping out on their hardware, but this takes the ****. I would take the console back if it had stuck/dead pixels
  • Not considered a defect? I had my iPhone exchanged for ONE small dead pixel on a corner! It is a defect, saying otherwise is ascam! Well done Nintendo you are doing all the roght decision with the switch even after the disaster of the wii u: no game bundled even 1-2 switch whixh is basically a demo, savez can't be transfered and a crappy policy about dead pixels "facepalm" Good luck Sent from the iMore App
  • Won't be surprised if the Switch loses popularity in a year or so, the only thing that will keep people playing/buying it will be Nintendo's own games
  • I'm not planning on buying one of these things, but I can only refer to one dead pixel I've ever seen on any LCD device I've owned, and that's a lot. An ipad 3 had one dead pixel on the edge. That happened some time after I bought it. It was mildly annoying with a white screen, such as when reading a book, but not a real problem. The only problem was that I knew it was there, and so occasionally, my eyes would stray to that spot. But after a few more months, it actually started working again. Rare, but it happens. If there were several deal pixels on a device that I could see, I would get annoyed and want to return the device, or have it fixed.
  • It's a defect in my mind. Ok 1 or 2 dead pixels I can MAYBE live with but anything beyond that and I am returning it! IF I can ever get my hands on one that is! lol
  • Agreed If it's one or 2 not a big deal. My PSP had some right in the middle of the screen and they wouldn't do anything about. That really sucked. Eventually, I had a friend swap it out for me at game crazy with another good used one down the road.
  • Is this English? Switch was discovered on the comapny's UK support site recently.. What's COMAPNY'S... don't you guys have spell check?