Help Upgrading from 2016 Moto Z and away from OLED?


Jul 26, 2020
Louisville, KY 40223
I'm looking to change brands away from Motorola, and for a phone that doesn't have an OLED display. Motorola/Lenovo gives up tech support way too early on products that haven't stood up to real-world long-term use; their customer service responsiveness hasn't been very good. I swapped out the OLED display on my phone twice; each time the uneven brightness levels caused a noticeable difference in image quality due to the burn-in thing to which OLEDs are prone. It's like we're back in the old days where you'd have to have screensavers. The Moto Z originally sold for less than $300 when it was released, and the resolution on it is 1440x2560. I'd like to at least hit that minimum resolution. My minimum budget is $300. My max budget isn't well-defined, but I don't want to go higher than $600, since apparently manufacturers stop RMA-ing stuff within two years of a phone's release and I'm a magnet for accidents.

I've had my Moto Z for at least two or three years. About four months ago, the battery on it started failing, so I replaced it with what was available on the used market, since Motorola had already stopped supporting it and no new parts were available directly from Motorola. Replacing the battery didn't fix the problem, and it's up to speculation what the problem actually is, since Motorola has given up on any tech support for it. The battery I've got in the phone might be faulty; it's alarming and potentially dangerous that the battery has expanded in size enough to make a gap between the case and the display where I already sealed it with electronics adhesive.
Your new battery has expanded?
If so, it is bad.

Had the old battery expanded as well?

About 2 years or so is a typical lifespan for a cellphobe battery.

Why buy a used one, when new ones can be had for $10 - $20?

Keep in mind that a new battery has been in a warehouse since the device was new, so it has still aged. Batteries that sit around are still getting older.

But the real issue here is what is causing the 'burn in' on your screens?

This is a very uncommon problem.

Do you have the screen on for hours and hours with the same, unmoving images on the display?

If anyone should get this 'burn in' it would be me, due to the fact that my devices get very little downtime, and I often fall asleep with the screen on, sometimes with an unchanging display.

So I would suggest first to get an unused battery, and then run the device with the screen brightness level turned down.

Before you turn it down, it may be worth your while to try leaving Daydreams on for a full day or so. It is the equivalent of a built in screensaver, and runs your screen through the gauntlet of color options and brightness.

Leave it plugged in, and in the display settings choose to have colors display whenever charging.
Well, the battery currently in it wasn't used. I misspoke. But yeah, you can't get batteries that haven't been sitting around in a warehouse for a couple of years since they're not making any more of them. The Moto Z has a static image on the bottom used for navigation. It's a black bar with three navigation icons: a left arrow, a circle, and a square. It's present in almost all apps and doesn't have an auto-hide option. When I play a full-screen video, the burn-in is noticeable; i.e. that section has a different brightness and those icons look like they're still there. I could notice the burn-in after less than two weeks of replacing the old screen with a new one. I don't think the old old battery I had expanded, so maybe I just got a bad battery.

The point is that I'm either going to keep gambling with the battery lottery in hopes I get a legit good one, or I get a new phone with a reliable supply chain of OEM batteries or that I can RMA if the battery goes bad. That excludes Motorola/Lenovo from candidacy, since their phones aren't reliable even within two years of use. It's an issue with design, supplier quality control, tech support, and customer support. As for the screen, maybe it's just the particular implementation of the AMOLED that Motorola went with.

AFAIK, OLEDs in general have problems with burn-in, and it's not limited to just one design, supplier, manufacturer, or brand. I don't think I can use the method you mentioned because the battery barely keeps pace with staying charged when it's plugged in and the display is on.
OLED burn-in is actually quite rare, though if you have 3 static navigation icons that are always present and you often use high brightness that certainly ups the risk. That said seeing burn-in within 2 weeks suggests a faulty panel: even shop display units (run constantly at max brightness) take longer than that to develop it. I've never actually seen it from real-world use, and I've personally had 2 OLED phones which I've used for 3 years or more without developing any trace of it.

But if you want to avoid OLEDs, have a look at GSMArena's phone finder search tool. That lets you, amongst other things, specify the display technology and resolution you want. One word of warning though: OLEDs have become so fashionable that most high-end phones use them these days, and lower-end phones don't usually have the resolution you are asking for, so there may not be a lot of options that satisfy you. I personally don't care what technology is used as long as it can reproduce colours fairly realistically, so am more than happy with a good IPS LCD, but the OLED hype train has made this more or less a must-have for marketing purposes (as well as being easier to implement other "coolness over functionality" things like under-display fingerprint readers) that you may end up having to compromise on something if you insist on LCD.
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In your display settings, there should be/are settings for how long you want the navigation bar to remain visible.

It has various adjustments.

This is from an old device, but I have one that does as you described, and the options are similar.