Samsung Tablets hit with screen “oil slick” issues

Right on the heel of the release of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 5.0 in the Philippines, we received a couple of reports of an “oil slick” problem appearing on the screen of the tablets.

This problem has been reported in other countries before and was documented earlier here and here.

The “oil slick” or “Newton ring” is some sort of liquid blotch that appears on the screen as shown in the photo below:

The issue appears to be caused by heat from the device and becomes worse with prolonged use.

We got some customers sending us emails about this issue. This one is for the Galaxy Tab 10.1:

Have you heard of the oil slick or newton ring issue on the Galaxy 10.1 which was released about a week ago? I’ve seen a number of reports about it since July from other countries. I got a unit during the launching and I found out that I have the same issue, in addition to a dead pixel. – Macjune

Here’s another one:

Currently, the “oil slick” is about 3.5″ long by 0.5″ wide. For the first unit I got last Sunday (21 Aug) from GB5, I only discovered the problem on Tuesday (23 Aug) when I removed the original “plastic” cover. It’s almost the same size right now.

The replacement (second) unit I received last Tuesday evening doesn’t have the “oil slick” problem when they released it to me. However, the next day after just a few hours of use, the problem re-appeared starting at the center and expands to the left and right of the screen. It slowly increased its length from just 0.5″ to 3.5″ now.

The problem is quite annoying if you’re running an app with white or black background or if the LCD is off. However, the performance of the tab is not affected somewhat. Although there are apps that I installed which seems the tab is not responding to touch like the Pumpkins vs Monsters and sometimes even using the Android Market app. – Edwin

These could have been isolated issues and may happen to a small batch of units shipped to the Philippines so we’ve sought comment from Samsung Philippines about this. Will update once we get official word.

Update: Samsung Philippines responded to our inquiry and admitted that they are aware of the issue:

Samsung Electronics Philippines Corporation is aware of limited number of customers who have experienced “watermarks” appearing on the screen of their GALAXY Tab 10.1. Affected customers are encouraged to contact the Samsung customer service center at 5805777 to receive further assistance. Samsung is committed to providing a high-quality experience for its mobile users and fulfilling our complete commitment to customer satisfaction.

We received a few more comments from people affected with the same issues on their tablets since we posted this story. I suggest contacting Samsung on the number provided above.

95 Comments on this Post

  1. antonio rangel


    I write from portugal i have a unit for 30 days and today i came to the beach and have a e problem in my galaxy tab 10.1

    Portugal CE

  2. Hello Abe,

    Pwede pa confirm sa Samsung kung talagang nirecall nila yung first batch at nung pinadala nila yung 2nd batch wala nang issue? yun kasi yung sabi sa akin sa samsung store sa festival mall nung Oct 1 2011


  3. I keep on monitoring this post for updates. Hopefully Samsung PH will recall those units with oil slick issues.

  4. Hardware problem indeed. I read in xda that after replacing the screen of the tab, the oil slick never happened again. I better wait for a new manufactured batch before purchasing one.

  5. Omar Carter

    So im on the phone with samsung as we speak. They know about it and said it happens during shipping to stores were the glass inside makes contact and has this effect. They will let you ship it to them for free and will replace the glass so that it never happens again. They said as of so far no one who received a new one has had the problem again.

  6. Samsung Greenhills branch replaced my screen. No more oil slick! :) They recognize that it is a known issue and will replace the LCD for you.

    For those who bought it on Amazon I recommend that you write Amazon back about it. If not, then try the local service centers.

  7. I’m planning to bring my tab to a service center in festival mall this afternoon. How long did it take to replace your screen?

  8. rpestalitz

    I don’t recommend LCD replacement, and I believe Samsung philpines head office does not recommend this as well, I already speak to them regarding this.

    Oil slick is a known issue and have been acknowledge by Korea and Philippines, it a clear manufacturing defect, Samsung will provide unit replacement, just visit your nearest service center, and request for unit replacement, and give a Xerox copy of ur OR. Replacement will usually take, 2 weeks.

    You get to keep your current unit until your replacement arrive.

    Keep in mind manufacturing defects, should be replace/recall.

    That’s what i did, its been a month no oil slick yet.

  9. too late i already brought mine and it’s out of 7-day replacement period. i have it for almost 2 months now.

  10. update:

    problem solved :)

    goodbye newton ring

  11. jepoy, would they replace your unit even if you don’t have any receipt, like what Apple does?

  12. can someone please inform us if this defect is specific to a particular batch or set of batches? im planning to buy one soon and this worries me a lot.


    • Only the first batch is affected by the newton rings. Almost all units sold at G5 prelaunch are affected.

  13. My Galaxy Tab has the same issue – bought 8/1/2011 from Best Buy. I thought it was the screen protector at first, but found it to be this issue. Called Samsung, and they sent me a UPS label to mail it in for repair/replacement. They said they were aware of the issue. Apparently, unless you call in and want it fixed, there isn’t going to be a recall.

    • Hi Terry,
      Where do you live? I bought mine from Best Buy too and I live here in the Philippines. What number did you call? Did you include your receipt? I also hope that Samsung sends me a UPS label so I could send my tab back to them for a replacement. Hope you reply soon!

  14. there seems to be an inherent manufacturing defect in the screen of the Samsung galaxy tab 10.1, in that it develops an oily slick / newton rings( just google newton rings oil slick galaxy tabs and you will see the extent of the defect ) ,when the tablet has been used for approximately a week , this does not affect all the tablets but around 45-60 pct. are affected , I have written to Samsung uk asking for a change under warranty , they have refused saying that because I bought the tablet overseas they cannot repair it .
    I may understand some of that , if it was a warranty claim , however as a manufacturing defect this becomes too much ! , I am NOW trying to assemble as many people as possible to mount a legal case against Samsung uk , as they are refusing to repair any tablet that was bought outside their territory and they have known about that defect for a while now
    if anyone is interested please let me know and I will send you my pm

  15. Like all of you, I have the same problem. Here, in Canada, Samsung won’t admit that there is a problem, even if it’s all over the world and the Web.

    First time I send my tablet to repair, the only thing they did was : cleaning. Yeah, thanks. And it took 2 weeks.

    A couple of days later, the tablet had the same problem. I wanted to get another one or a refund. Samsung refused. They told me that as long as the problem is not in their database, there is no problem. I must be hallucinating.

    It’s been another 2 weeks now. I still have no news from the repair service.

    They say they might replace the tablet after it was sent at least 3 times to repair. Great…

    I loved my Galaxy Tab. But maybe I should have bought an iPad.

  16. i have a problem with my samsung tab 10.1 as well, i bought it in singapore sometime september this year (2011).

    my unit now is not working. it suddenly stopped for somne reason. i was trying to open it but it won’t work ;-(

    don’t how to handle it because i bought it abroad and suppose it has an international warranty.

    can pls somebody try to help with this? i’m just kinda freaking out!!! pls help! pls email me!

    thank you!

  17. I now have the same problem with my Galaxy Tab 10.1 after about two months.

    Purchased in South Africa.

  18. Hola tengo un lg arena y se me cayo al piso y se me rompio la pantalla queria saber cuanto esta el repuesto y si se consegue? espero una respuesta

  19. hi.. how about the sim card slot issue for the 10.1 – do you have any idea how much for replacement?

  20. I put mine in the fridge for 10 mins and the oil slick which was quite large disappeared and has NOT returned some 3 weeks later after daily use.Fantastic Tab 10.1


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