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If, like me, you’ve ever bought an expensive monitor or TV and found it sporting one or more dead/stuck pixels, you’ll know how the sight of those dark or light spots can make a person apoplectic with rage. Many companies will swap the product with a new one (though it often depends on how many affected pixels there are), but imagine being informed that the issue isn’t a defect, but a “normal” feature. That’s what Nintendo is telling Switch owners.
While fans are enjoying the new console/handheld hybrid, it appears that Nintendo isn’t too concerned about owners who discover their units aren’t working 100 percent correctly. “Small numbers of stuck or dead pixels are a characteristic of LCD screens. These are normal and should not be considered a defect,” reads Nintendo’s support website. The big question is how many pixels does Nintendo consider “a small number?” And will it replace the unit with a new one if it goes over that amount?
Paying $300 for something that turns out to be defective, then being told the problem isn’t actually a defect, is obviously going to anger a lot of people. There are already several online forums discussing the matter, including this long Reddit post.
Many of Sony’s original PSP handhelds suffered from dead pixels, as did the Nintendo DS when it launched in the US. The Japanese firm eventually offered replacements under warranty for the latter. “We suggest that you use your system for a few weeks to determine whether this interferes with your enjoyment of game play. If, after using your system for awhile, you feel that this tiny dot is too distracting, the Nintendo DS does carry a one-year warranty,” Nintendo wrote at the time. The hope is that it will do the same again if enough Switch owners put pressure on the company. Even one "tiny dot" can be incredibly off-putting.
If you do own a Switch and find it has a pixel problem, don’t worry just yet. There’s a good chance that the retailer you purchased it from will swap it for a different model. But if they refuse, and unless you’ve got enough affected pixels to be classified as a defect, you may have to live with it.