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X220 IPS - Image retention, white spots, warranty exchanges

X200/X201/X220 (including equivalent tablet models) and X300/X301 Series
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X220 IPS - Image retention, white spots, warranty exchanges

#1 Post by dr_st » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:55 am

Two issues are known to be abnormally common in X220 (and in some cases, X230) IPS LCDs:

1) Image retention/persistence (sometimes called "ghosting", which is not entirely accurate)
2) White spots (possible wear/pressure marks) developing under normal use

My personal X220 4291-4BG has had noticeable image retention since I got it (some time late 2013). Nonetheless, as it was only observable in certain scenarios (over relatively dark backgrounds), which was not common in my workflow, and as I knew that there is no guarantee that an exchange will be free of this issue, I did not bother getting it replaced for a while.

However, a few months ago, towards the end of the warranty (expired last December) I also noticed it began developing the infamous white spots. That tipped the balance towards replacement.

For various reasons, the replacement experience was long, although far from unpleasant. The service representatives were always courteous, helpful and professional. However it took a while to get a good panel. In the process I've received:
  1. A TN panel (FRU 04W3920, panel LG LP125WH2-SLT2), which was either ordered by mistake or shipped by mistake.
  2. The correct IPS panel (FRU 04W3462, LG LP125WH2-SLB1), marked as "Certified used part". Manufacturing date was 2012-01, whereas my original screen was 2011-09. The observed image persistence was much lower on the new panel (although still noticeable in some cases). However, it had a couple of even more noticeable white spots, which is not surprising giving its age and the fact that it's been used.
  3. Another 04W3462, also refurbished, but an even older one (dated 2011-05). It did not have any white spots, but had more image persistence than the 2012-01 panel. Furthermore, it would randomly flicker / cut out and display vertical bands instead of an image. This could be a sign of pressure due to improper installation, or permanent damage to the panel.
  4. Finally, the new X230 IPS screen (FRU 04W3919, panel LG LP125WH2-SLB3), which is fully compatible and has in fact been used on late X220 machines, or as warranty replacements. This panel has also been marked as "certified used", but according to the sticker, the manufacturing date is 2014-07. Strangely, AIDA64 shows the manufacturing date as "2010", which almost certainly is wrong, since I do not think they were making the original revision of these IPS panels back then, much less the new one. The screen itself appeared flawless - no white spots, and the image persistence is far far lower than on any of the previous ones. It is still possible to sometimes see a trace of it (as always, on dark backgrounds), but you have to specifically look for it, and often it will only be observable in very static areas (like the system tray), which suggests it takes it longer to set.
Conclusions

My experience led me to the following conclusions, which, although limited and inherently subjective, are supported, in part, by reports of others:
  1. All LG IPS panels used on these laptops experience the image persistence phenomenon. However, the severity varies greatly. On panels where the effect is less pronounced, it may be unnoticeable unless explicitly searched for.
  2. It has been suggested that LP125WH2-SLB1 LCDs manufactured after a certain date in August 2011 generally experience less persistence. This does not always appear to be the case. My original one was manufactured in 09-2011 and had a good deal of persistence. On the other hand, ZaZ, who is a member here, has a very early X220 IPS LCD with no visible persistence.
  3. The newer revision (FRU 04W3919, LG LP125WH2-SLB3) tends to have the effect far less pronounced. Granted, I only witnessed one (good) sample of this panel, but the same conclusion was reached in a long discussion on iXBT.com (Russian) forums, and the fact that less threads are opened complaining about ghosting/persistence on the X230 (where the SLB3 became the default panel) seems to support that as well.
  4. With regards to the white spot issue, my experience is insufficient to determine whether this is in fact more common on these panels than on your average laptop LCD. 2/4 IPS panels I witnessed had this problem, but so did most of the IPS LCDs on older laptops I owned (and a few TN LCDs as well). It is said that it tends to develop faster on the X220/X230 LCDs, but on my unit it only became evident towards the end of the 3-year warranty, which is not unheard of. Then again, my laptop LCD may have been relatively lightly used.
  5. Finally, based on the fact that 3/3 of the replacement IPS LCDs I received were marked as "certified used" suggests that Lenovo will freely reuse LCDs returned to them during warranty exchanges for light defects such as ghosting/white spots. It makes sense to do so, since not everyone notices / cares about these defects, and they may still be used as good replacements for screens that are completely busted/unusable.
And one thing I am entirely not certain about:
  • After the first exchange was the wrong panel type, my original LCD was put back in the machine for a couple of days while the second replacement shipped. It seemed to me that during that period, the image persistence was far worse than what I could remember before, although it was the exact same LCD unit. This leads to a theory that the phenomenon may not be caused just by the panel, but also by installation (how firmly the connector is attached or how much pressure is applied to the panel or whatever). This is a wild theory, and is probably wrong, especially since I am not 100% sure the difference in persistence was there. I could have just imagine it. Then again, it has been reported that the amount of persistence varies with time, even on the same panel. It may be that I was just seeing "normal" fluctuations.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

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Re: X220 IPS - Image retention, white spots, warranty exchan

#2 Post by dr_st » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:57 am

Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

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Re: X220 IPS - Image retention, white spots, warranty exchan

#3 Post by Tasurinchi » Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:09 am

Thanks for posting this!

I recently installed a LP125WH2-SLB1 in my X220, I will check the manufacturing date and search for signs of image retention. Any recommendation about the best way to check for them?
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Re: X220 IPS - Image retention, white spots, warranty exchan

#4 Post by dr_st » Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:28 am

Well, my main advice would be "Don't go looking for them". :)

If they are not serious, you may never notice them during normal work. But if you look for them, you will surely find them, and then they might bother you, if only just psychologically. Kinda like dead pixels. :P

But if you insist, then the best method I found is outlined in my earlier forum thread (second link in above post). That is something that can, in principle, be reproduced during normal work.

There is also the extremely artificial "grid test". That one is almost guaranteed to produce retention on almost every screen, even those where the retention will never be observable in real life conditions (e.g., my DELL U2410).
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

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Re: X220 IPS - Image retention, white spots, warranty exchan

#5 Post by Tasurinchi » Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:56 am

dr_st wrote:Well, my main advice would be "Don't go looking for them". :)
Ha haa! Fair enough!

I will try though, I haven't noticed image retention yet although I haven't used it so much, right now it's being used for Win10 testing. I will pay closer attention, is also good to know the X230 panel will work as well, i wasn't aware of that.
IBM Convertible 5140/L40SX/220/240/240X/2*340CSE/360PE/365XD/380D/380E/380XD/380Z/390/560E/560X/2*570/2*600/600E/750Cs/755C/760CD/760EL/760XD/770E
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Re: X220 IPS - Image retention, white spots, warranty exchan

#6 Post by Tasurinchi » Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:25 pm

D@rn, according to AIDA and HWInfo my panel is from 2010, surely ghosting enough... :(
IBM Convertible 5140/L40SX/220/240/240X/2*340CSE/360PE/365XD/380D/380E/380XD/380Z/390/560E/560X/2*570/2*600/600E/750Cs/755C/760CD/760EL/760XD/770E
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Re: X220 IPS - Image retention, white spots, warranty exchan

#7 Post by dr_st » Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:44 pm

I don't think that's accurate info, as I've explained. I don't think they were making them in 2010...
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

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Re: X220 IPS - Image retention, white spots, warranty exchan

#8 Post by Tasurinchi » Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:04 am

Thought the same, but that's what those packages report. I have no intention on getting the panel out to watch the real one lol :mrgreen:
IBM Convertible 5140/L40SX/220/240/240X/2*340CSE/360PE/365XD/380D/380E/380XD/380Z/390/560E/560X/2*570/2*600/600E/750Cs/755C/760CD/760EL/760XD/770E
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Re: X220 IPS - Image retention, white spots, warranty exchan

#9 Post by erik » Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:28 pm

dr_st wrote:I don't think that's accurate info, as I've explained. I don't think they were making them in 2010...
the X220 panels started production in 2010 since they would have been needed for the pre-SIT and SIT phases of development spanning 12~18 months before production.   if the firmware in the panel was never updated to a later year, production panels manufactured in 2011~2014 could still read "2010" as the production year even though it's technically incorrect.   that would explain why your 04W3919 shows 2010 despite the information decal stating otherwise.
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Re: X220 IPS - Image retention, white spots, warranty exchanges

#10 Post by Justintoxicated » Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:12 pm

I have a couple white spots too but I am not under warranty :(

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Re: X220 IPS - Image retention, white spots, warranty exchanges

#11 Post by dr_st » Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:05 am

Neither am I anymore. Eventually I will most likely end up with some new white spots, not under warranty. :)
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

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Re: X220 IPS - Image retention, white spots, warranty exchanges

#12 Post by mpcook » Sat Apr 04, 2015 4:08 pm

My X220 IPS screen is being replaced under warranty due to white spot and image retention. I suppose it's a gamble, it's quite possible to go bad again. Is there an easy way to know which screen the tech is putting in (i.e., TN vs IPS). I have onsite so will be watching while they operate. Should I be looking for FRU 04W3919, LG LP125WH2-SLB3 as newest version?
Current: 2 x W520 ET, 2 x X220 i7, T420, X230 i5, T420s, MacbookPro, Dell Venue 11 Pro, Dell XPS 8930, X1 Yoga 3GEN
Past: IBM5150-8088 500 600E 600X T20 T21 5xT23 X30 3xX31 X32 T40 T42 3xT43 T43p SL510 T60p X60T X60s T61 2xT400 T410si T400s T500-3.06GHz X200 X201 X220i5 X220i7 2xT420s

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Re: X220 IPS - Image retention, white spots, warranty exchanges

#13 Post by dr_st » Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:42 am

mpcook wrote:Should I be looking for FRU 04W3919, LG LP125WH2-SLB3 as newest version?
If you have any ability to influence the FRU you are getting, this is what I would recommend, yes.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

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Re: X220 IPS - Image retention, white spots, warranty exchanges

#14 Post by mpcook » Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:51 pm

The new screen is indeed the newer version, FRU-04W3919, LG LP125WH2-SLB3 and so I am hopeful it lasts without new white spots and image retention. So far, it looks perfect. The tech arrived, asked me what the problem was, and replaced it in a matter of minutes. He said the work order said cracked screen, I said no, white spots and image retention. He had never encountered this problem, but may not have worked on an X220 before. He didn't recognize which laptop he was working on.
Current: 2 x W520 ET, 2 x X220 i7, T420, X230 i5, T420s, MacbookPro, Dell Venue 11 Pro, Dell XPS 8930, X1 Yoga 3GEN
Past: IBM5150-8088 500 600E 600X T20 T21 5xT23 X30 3xX31 X32 T40 T42 3xT43 T43p SL510 T60p X60T X60s T61 2xT400 T410si T400s T500-3.06GHz X200 X201 X220i5 X220i7 2xT420s

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