Burn-in is one of those things that a lot of us don’t really think about anymore. After all, lots of modern TVs and monitors have functions to avoid this issue. It seemed like the days of plasma TV problems were long behind us, but the rise in OLED screens makes them a worry once again. Steam Deck OLED is, unfortunately, no exception.
Much like decade-old displays, Steam Deck OLED runs the risk of burning in, too. This means that if an image stays on the screen for too long, you could get a permanent reminder as a ghostly version stays behind. It’s not fantastic news for PCs of any kind, with permanent user interface (UI) elements floating around. Thankfully, there are a few hurdles before it comes to this, and you’d have to be borderline unhinged to force it.
YouTuber The Phawx destroyed his Steam Deck OLED so you don’t have to. Conducting a burn-in test, it seems the issue only crops up after 31 days straight of using the device with the brightness cranked up. It’s not something most people will have to worry about, but you probably should use your handheld wisely.
The Phawx actually took the Steam Deck OLED through a gruelling 750-hour stress test. Tests include putting it through both 400nits of Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) and 1,000nits of High Dynamic Range (HDR). Along with that, they tested red, green, and blue colours on it as well. This goes way beyond what anyone is likely to hit when using it for gaming, or virtually anything really.
As you might expect, there was some burn-in after all that, but it was surprisingly low. Content burn-in wasn’t a thing, which is nice, but the brightness did leave some after-images that couldn’t be removed. That’s on the HDR front, though, as SDR didn’t leave anything behind. It’s pretty astounding and speaks well to what the Steam Deck OLED can do.
Still, it’s always worth considering, and you should make sure you don’t leave your Steam Deck OLED on for a full month to avoid things like this. Also, just because it’s kind of wasteful and probably a bad idea.