How to turn off some of the pixels on your Samsung Galaxy's display and save battery

How to turn off some of the pixels on your Samsung Galaxy's display and save battery
Well, folks, it's 2015 and it's officially the year of QHD displays for smartphones – every flagship out there (safe for the HTC One M9) is on the wacky race of packing as many pixels under its glass roof as possible – even if such density and sharpness is often scrutinized for being redundant and at the expense of precious battery life.

So, some fans love their images to appear extra crisp, while others believe that going beyond the 1080x1920 resolution on a ~5” screen is madness, but we all can agree that the extra pixels, useful or not, will always mean extra battery drain. If there is one thing that can contend with the importance of a sharp image, it is the amount of time that you will be allowed to gawk at said image before having to hug a wall and recharge your handset. So, developers that do not care much for QHD have started working on solutions.

Now, simply reducing the resolution of the screen is possible, via root and minimal knowledge, but it deals more with performance issues than battery drainage – after all, even at lower resolution, the screen is still glowing at full force. However, if your handset is equipped with an AMOLED screen, like Samsung's own Galaxy phones, placing black spots in a pattern over the screen will actually turn off the pixels in those locations (because in AMOLED tech black color is achieved by actually turning off the pixels on the display).

So, some developers have taken advantage of this property of the AMOLED displays and developed apps, which simply place an overlay of black dots over your screen, effectively turning off some pixels (density adjustable). See below for an example of working with one such app.

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27 Comments

1. MrET1

Posts: 110; Member since: Jan 29, 2015

I used this before, it works quite well if you don't mind the loss of sharpness. Something you should be carefull with is the mesh density, if this is too high the screen may not register touch input anymore.

5. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

Used it and removed it immediately. The text was barely readable with the softest of the settings.

11. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

The phone will lose sharpness and... brightness also. Half of pixels turned off = halved brightness. The funny thing is, it's not much better than manually reducing the brightness by half.

16. Ashoaib

Posts: 3298; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

I am trying it on my note 4... first thing I noticed a significant increase in the speed of my phone(positive)... loss of screen sharpness and brightness(negative)... loss of screen resposiveness(negative).... not much improvement in battery life(so so)

22. Ashoaib

Posts: 3298; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Uninstall it bcoz it was straining my eyes... I dont know why but first time I started feeling strain while using note 4

2. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

What I would like to know is how much energy it saves, and if it is even worth doing this. Even though QHD does decrease battery, I would like to know by how much.

3. lehrer

Posts: 18; Member since: Feb 09, 2015

This is stupid. You will lose sharpness but you wont gain battery life. Why? Because its impact on the battery life is the 100% the same as decreasing the brightness. Logic. Overall all this app does is decrease the sharpness.

7. mrmessma

Posts: 271; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

Correct me if I'm wrong, but 100% of pixels on at 50% brightness draws more power than 75% of the pixels on at 50% brightness and the other 25% at 0% brightness (turned off).

13. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

You're right, but 75% of the pixels on at 50% brightness has the luminance (brightness) the same as 100% of pixels on at 35.5% brightness .

14. lehrer

Posts: 18; Member since: Feb 09, 2015

So? Dude... The second case with 50% of brightness has less brightness than the first case because there are less pixels producing light. So you can just lower the brightness in the first case (equal it to the second case) and consume the same amount of power but with sharper image.

4. elmtube

Posts: 16; Member since: May 18, 2012

Lol, the lengths one have to go because Samsung absolutely had to one-up the iPhone 6 in thickness. It's retarded really, the m8 is almost 10 mm or something, and I don't notice holding a thicker device than say the iPhone 6.

6. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

Except sammy phones trash m series and iphones in battery life tests, so your hate makes no sense.

8. mrmessma

Posts: 271; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

Consider how good the battery life would be if they weren't so smitten with thinness and doubled the battery capacity for an extra 1 or 2 mm of depth.

17. Rydsmith unregistered

Yet the S6 has betters battery life than the M9 with a slimmer form and QHD display.

9. Commandant

Posts: 30; Member since: Jan 31, 2015

LoL what is the point of having a QHD device when you turn it into a FHD? this is idiotic

12. sipha

Posts: 440; Member since: May 12, 2012

When you want to save battery!

15. Commandant

Posts: 30; Member since: Jan 31, 2015

buy a FHD like sony Z3 !

18. Rydsmith unregistered

But what if you want a phones with a good camera?

19. buccob

Posts: 2975; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Then you need to learn how to use the camera... My Z3c takes awesome pics. Learning when to use Manual Exposure compensation, white balance, ISO, scenes, goes a long way in photography... that is why you will not see many DSRL users taking pics simply in "Auto"

23. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I see you are trying to justify the purchase but deep down the regret is eating you.

24. An.Awesome.Guy

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 12, 2015

Well,Motorola Droid use Amoled screen and has more battery capacity than Sony Z3. So maybe someone want even more battery capacity without losing functionallity,so he may use this app.

10. epic_ninja420

Posts: 132; Member since: Nov 18, 2014

Or perhaps just use a black background/theme?

20. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 2013

it reduces light output but the phone still uses the same amount of processing power to output a 2K or QHD resolution.

21. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 2013

with amoleds, i think it's possible for samsung to come up with schemes that can make display resolutions convertible, from 2K to FHD or HD.

26. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Samsung are in the better position to tweak their hardware and software to allow this. Maybe just intergate the feature as part of their power saving mode. The don't see any different in term of battery life, my Note 3 FHD screen last about the same as my Tab S QHD screen. However, the Tab S screen has a much better visual impact compare to my Note 3 screen. I think consumer that want FHD screen can buy the brand and model that give that sort of screen. There no way to slow down the progress of screen technology. For me and most general buyer we always want the latest specification otherwise i can continue to use the older model that we already have.

25. Donbenie

Posts: 260; Member since: Aug 04, 2013

Tried the app,didn't really fancy the loss of sharpness,all minus,no plus in my books..cr@p..

27. tokuzumi

Posts: 1929; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

I used the app on my S4, and while it worked, it also caused noticable lag on my phone. I decided the lag wasn't worth the potential battery savings, and uninstalled it.

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