Pixel Battery Saver turns off some of your AMOLED display's pixels to conserve energy


Developer: Pawell OboziakDownload: Android
Category: ToolsPrice: Free

There are many ways to tackle the issue of mobile devices' unhealthy appetite for battery. And sticking increasingly bigger batteries inside them is not the way to go - especially for smartphones that need to stay lean and mean. Battery tech has a limited room for improvement, which throws the hot potato to technology makers who are pressured to create more efficient components. But that's only the second tier of operations. The third is software optimization, which explains why there are so many battery saving apps out there. One of the more interesting ones we have for you is Pixel Battery Saver, an app that takes advantage of AMOLED displays' control over every individual pixel. 

As you probably know, AMOLEDs don't have a backlight, and they accomplish the deep blacks they are known for by actually turning off the required pixels. This is where PBS comes into play. It superimposes a black mesh on the screen and lets you adjust its density, therefore rendering half or more of the pixels off and not leeching energy. Obviously, this will degrade the image quality as removing pixels takes away detail, but with proper adjustment, you can still enjoy the content you're looking at while saving a bit of electricity for a rainy day. 

The approach makes sense. Today's high-end smartphones, which objectively struggle the most with battery drain due to their demanding displays and fast chipsets - they have, to put it mildly, overkill pixel densities. Thus, you can safely shave off a respectable number of pixels per inch and still end up with a quality image. As for tablets, we believe their nature of being not-on-the-go devices that also have ample battery packs doesn't call for an app like PBS as much as a smartphone does.

Of course, due to the nature of its workings, PBS is not an app to constantly have running. It is best used in times where your battery is steadily going South, as a supplement to manually dimming the display. The app is being developed with new features in mind, such as automatically enabling the mesh at specific battery levels, so definitely keep an eye on it if your device has an AMOLED screen. 

PBS is free, with a premium version in the works.

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31 Comments

1. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

All the more reasons to get a smartphone with an AMOLED screen

8. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

AMOLED rules o/

20. torr310

Posts: 1645; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Samsung should've had this built-in their phones.

26. sraive

Posts: 80; Member since: Aug 21, 2014

AMOLED screen is the worst! In fact, the IPS LCD is the best. All AMOLED is going to burn in, it has shorter lifespan, the colors degrade much faster and uses more power than LCD. The only advantage of Samsung phones is the removable battery. A phone with non-removable battery is even worse than a phone with AMOLED. Because the batteries has even shorter lifespan than AMOLED. Yes, the pixels with black colors are off. And this is why the notification bar burns in (in fact, the rest of the screen burns in, and this bar stays less degraded) in phones with AMOLED screen.

31. Tracy1988

Posts: 208; Member since: Dec 18, 2014

Yeah but I'll be throwing it away for a new one before any of this happens. I might even drop and break the whole thing before then.

2. karas

Posts: 85; Member since: Jul 08, 2011

bring this to windows.. please !!!!

3. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

I don't think it's possible on WP for third party app.

4. Hashed unregistered

It could be an extra bonus, since the battery life is good on WP devices due to optimization.

23. ijuanp03

Posts: 568; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

if WP devices are optimized, why does the battery test in PA (or any website) says otherwise? WP devices can't even match the Galaxy S5, more so on Xperia Z3/Z3 compact devices.

5. geusan

Posts: 137; Member since: Oct 19, 2014

buy a device with 2k res, turn it to hd or 480p, is it like that?

9. zacsaturday

Posts: 262; Member since: May 09, 2014

Basically, this only works for AMOLED displays (almost all Samsungs, some Motorolas and one or two other phones)

17. torr310

Posts: 1645; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Yes, I think this app is best for the >2k resolution. Most of time 720P would do fine.

27. sraive

Posts: 80; Member since: Aug 21, 2014

This article is not about resolution. However it's true that reducing the resolution is the best way to improve battery life and gaming performance. But unfortunately it requires root.

6. galanoth

Posts: 428; Member since: Nov 26, 2011

Love AMOLED screened phones.

15. Tracy1988

Posts: 208; Member since: Dec 18, 2014

Ditto. I wish my Z3C has AMOLED display. Beside their gorgeous displays, Samsung phones are just ugly and the stupid protruding camera. Grr...

7. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

AMOLED > LCD

10. iDi0T

Posts: 5; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

Or, you could buy a phone with a lower resolution.What's the point of buying a Overkill PPI phone if you are just going to lower it?

12. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Apt username. You do realize a phone with lower resolution can't just increase its PPI right ?! Also, Note 4 has proven the theory of increasing resolution will reduce battery doesn't really apply to Amoleds on Samsung. Note 4 (with 2k display) has slightly smaller battery then Note 3 (with 1080p display) yet it beats Note 3 comprehensively in battery life department. Parroting like some fanboys who think 2k is bad is daft. Technology is moving forward. Don't blame samsung just because they are the only ones who released a 2k display phone in 2014 which was correctly implemented.

21. g2a5b0e unregistered

You had me at your first two words! +1

28. sraive

Posts: 80; Member since: Aug 21, 2014

You're brain washed by the marketing. Any resolutions from QHD and above are pointless. 720p or 1080p are perfectly enough for any phone. Even monitors barely have higher resolution than 1080p. Because you're a biased fanboy, you don't talk about the fact that even Note 4 has low FPS with high-end games. If Samsung would have keep 1080p resolution for Note 4, then the games would be smoother, and battery life would be even better. The opposite is the true of what you said! There is NO improvement with increased screen resolution. Because the improvements in GPU performance and battery life are wasted on the resolution. The performance won't be better. So increasing resolution is nowhere near to "improvement" and "new technology". It is just a gimmick for fanboys like you. It's just capitalism, marketing. The manufacturers have to create something that looks "new" on paper, because they must sell their products to maintain their profit. But I still prefer the better (GPU) performance and battery life than the unnoticeable, gimmicky high pixel density.

30. Tracy1988

Posts: 208; Member since: Dec 18, 2014

Right on! Sraive +1

11. WallStreet

Posts: 256; Member since: Sep 21, 2014

Exactly- I must admit I agree with the idiot^ what's the point of overpaying for a QHD if you're going to lower it! Some might say that you can use higher res for gaming / movies and adjust to lower foe everyday tasks, but that don't convince me. Lowering res to save battery life- well the app some of the battery as well. AMOLED screens are too punchy/ unnaturally colorful. PPI above 400 I consider enough. Just get a Z3!

16. Tracy1988

Posts: 208; Member since: Dec 18, 2014

Get the Z3 yourself, idiot. Sony mobile display is the crappiest I've seen. Please educate yourself before you recommend a product.

22. Dattack

Posts: 61; Member since: Jan 09, 2013

Never used a Note 4, have you? Christ's sake, that screen is gorgeous as f**k. Seriously, everything is good about it, even it's colors. Just put it on the right screen mode.

13. Donbenie

Posts: 259; Member since: Aug 04, 2013

Will give the app a spin..

14. tokuzumi

Posts: 1865; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

I've got a S4. I'll give it a shot, and see if I notice a difference. I'm indoors most of the time, so this shouldn't cause issues viewing the screen.

18. KinqElessaR

Posts: 45; Member since: Dec 04, 2014

With this app even a 4K smartphone can be used for a long time. If you want battery life simply run this app, or if you want quality or VR experience enjoy 4K. Choice is yours. 4K screen battery problem solved. :D

19. Furbal unregistered

Can you run your battery test script with it on? See how much of a difference it makes.

24. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Get ready for lots of low reviews from uninformed people who try to use this with their LCD-screened phones...

25. JEverettnow

Posts: 228; Member since: Mar 11, 2013

I have to say, this app works really well. The comments are funny because it is a bunch of people with non amoled phones that are complaining that it doesn't work. Otherwise this would be rated a 5 star app. Usually I lose about 10% every hour. With this app running at the least efficient setting my phone only dropped 2%. My pixel density looks like it would be around the 200ppi range though. Awesome app!

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