Oct 21 AT 6:55 AM Anthony Domanico 54 Comments

Galaxy Nexus to feature PenTile panel. Should you care?


Though at first the 4.65″ HD Super AMOLED display prominently featured in the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Nexus at first had us beaming with joy, there is now reason to throw up a tiny yellow caution flag. Rather than using the full RGB display found in the Super AMOLED Plus devices (where each pixel has its own red, blue, and green pixels), the Galaxy Nexus will use the same RGBG PenTile display that has been found in all Nexus devices to date.

Though many have bemoaned PenTile devices, which have lesser color rendition, reduced sharpness, and lower sub-pixel density, there is reason to be hopeful. AnandTech suggests that if you were happy with the pixel density of the Galaxy S II devices, you probably will be satisfied with the screen on the Galaxy Nexus as well. Since nobody out there has been able to spend a significant amount of time testing out the Galaxy Nexus, it’s difficult to fully test the screen of the device against currently existing models.

FlatPanelsHD, however, uses the Galaxy Note as a proxy for the Galaxy Nexus, as the devices will feature similar displays. Judging from their analysis, viewing your phone straight on likely will result in a decent display, but turning your phone slightly to either side will result in washed out blueish-green screen.

Having used a PenTile display in the Photon4G for the better part of a few months now, I can honestly say that I haven’t been disappointed in the display, and unless you’re setting the device next to the likes of the Galaxy S II, you probably won’t be disappointed. Almost all sites who have gone hands-on with the Galaxy Nexus loved the screen, and you should too.

You can read more details of the various screen tests by clicking on the following links:

  1. FlatPanelsHD
  2. AnandTech

What do you guys think? Are you disappointed that the Galaxy Nexus will have a PenTile display rather than the RGB display found in the Galaxy S II, or do you think it won’t matter? Sound off in the comments.

Source: Engadget

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • http://goo.gl/tQ2E wwJOSHdo

    just watched the presentation, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ts5WBm0tXzI&hd=1&t=40m11s I am SO EXCITED about the Galaxy Nexus! Anticipation is KILLING me!

    • 12nd

      Agree, retina display is far superior

      • TWiT Commander

        The Notifications Centre on my iPhone 4S is so awesome, i bought 2 iPhones 4Ss so that I can use Notifications Centre all day. You see, with notifications on, the battery craps out after 8 hours.

  • John K

    Honestly, I’m a little disappointed in the choice, but still really excited about the phone and fully intend to get one.

    • monk

      Dont be disappointed, we are talking about a resolution of 1280×720 at only 4.6 inches. Thats the same resolution of 10 inches tabs and many 14 inches notebooks. So the eye will not see the difference. Apart from that, pentile on AMOLED is better than LCD. Wait and see it with your eyes

      • TWiT Commander


        As PPI increases, PenTile becomes irrelevant.

        Also, some amazing work can be done in drivers to handle PenTile matrix displays.

        The Nexus One had a 3.7″ 800×480 display and the Penile effect was too obvious.

        The Nokia N9 has a 3.9″ 854×480 display and you would be hard-pressed to notice that it too uses a PenTile matrix.

        This is because Nokia actually engineering the UI graphics so that the PenTile effect is diminished.

        • grandmasterethel

          Ha! Penile.

  • LEKO

    I don’t care, i have a nexus one… So any screen is better than my current screen.

  • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff

    Gotta leave something for the Galaxy S III right?

  • http://planet.eckhardt.ws Planet

    It’s not RGBG, like in the very first Nexus One, but newer devices (like Nexus S) have RGBW, which is a lot better. Pentile is not as good as RGB at the same resolution, but it offers a lot more detail than applying “simple math” by calculating subpixel density. It is somewhere in between and IMHO a good compromise. 720p RGB AMOLED is simply not possible (yet?) at 4.65 inches.

    Just forget about the negative buzz and listen to everyone who ever had a device in his hands. Not one failed to mention the absolutely brilliant sharpness.

    • Mike

      Pretty sure this is wrong. Moto used RGBW and its horrible. RGBG on the other hand is fine.

      • Me


      • http://planet.eckhardt.ws Planet

        I stand corrected, sorry – the Pentile Blog itself said Galaxy S uses RGBG (and so probably does the Nexus S, and it strongly hints at the Galaxy Nexus matrix setup).

        Need to get my hands on a newer Moto device to compare.

        I still say it is much better than the equivalant RGB matrix with the same number of subpixels – which would result in roughly 854 * 480.

        • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com DroidSamurai

          We can’t calculate the true effective pixel density of a PenTile display, especially a AMOLED. You get the less “true” pixel when, well, when you display the whole screen in green (with RGBG) because the green sub-pixels are shared. But if you have the whole screen in black, it’s not going to be any different than a regular RGB display because AMOLED would turn off a pixel completely when displaying black. As you can tell, the effective pixel density will be a dynamic number.

          But I gotta say I am disappointed. Our mascot is in green, how can we like a display that doesn’t have all the pixels for Green!

  • DistortedLoop

    Yep, very disappointed to read this, especially since I have an SGS II and so will see the two screens against each other frequently. The fact that it’s a “Nexus” with the latest OS months before anyone else was a major appeal of the device to me, but the assumption that it was an improved screen over the SGS II (which is fricking gorgeous) was the major draw to the phone for me. I still almost certainly get one, though.

  • http://Website Triangle

    Wasn’t the screen on the original Galaxy S SAMOLED screen pentile? I don’t remember anyone complaining about that screen.

    • Me

      That’s because Samsung uses a different PenTile display than say, Motorola.

    • kazahani

      I use the Galaxy S Vibrant as my everyday device, and I think my screen is excellent. Better than the qHD displays on newer phones, in my opinion.

  • Nathan

    Don’t matter to me

  • Ron

    The Razr has a super amoled “advanced” display.. does that mean pentile??

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      Honestly, don’t know yet.

    • tetracycloide

      ‘super’ means not pentile.

      • tetracycloide

        Sorry, super doesn’t mean pentile. ‘Super’ connotes an optically bonded panel and digitizer stack, ‘plus’ connotes an RGB stripe. So if it doesn’t say ‘plus’ it’s not RGB stripe although that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s pentile. It’s clear from photos it’s not stripe but what it actually is is less than clear. From comparison’s sake I’d say it was pentile though.

        • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

          Yeah, it does look PenTile, but I’m not sure they’ve said for sure yet.

  • Nate B.

    People had nothing better to do & wanted something negative to say about the phone. I’m sure it’ll look just fine. I mean look at the resolution. Sounds picky to me.

  • Darwin

    Pen Tile is terrible. The original Galaxy S and Atrix are good examples why. I would buy another Pen Tile. I spend lots of time reading emails and contracts and text is no good on these.

    • http://lettersfromdave.wordpress.com daveloft

      A pentile display just uses less sub pixels (the red, green and blue sub pixels that make up a pixel). So when you compare displays with similar resolution the one using a standard RGB layout as apposed to pentile will look better. But when you have a display that’s 1280 x 720 pixels, it’s not an issue compared to the best 800 x 480 or 960 x 540 displays currently on the market.

      Here are the numbers:

      - 800 x 480 pentile displays has 384,000 pixels and 768,000 sub pixels.
      - 800 x 480 RGB displays has 384,000 pixels and 1,152,000 sub pixels.
      - 960 x 540 pentile displays has 518,400 pixels and 1,036,800 sub pixels.
      - 960 x 540 RGB displays has 518,400 pixels and 1,555,200 sub pixels.
      - 1280 x 720 pentile displays has 921,600 pixels and 1,843,200 sub pixels.

      From the numbers above you can clearly see why people prefer 800 x 480 RGB over pentile at 800 x 480 and even 960 x 540. You can also see that even with a pentile display, the 720p display in the Galaxy Nexus is clearly better.

  • rovex

    Its still better than the Retina. rankly i prefer the Desire/Nexus one screen to the Retina.

    • Dave

      Seriously? A pentile 800×480 looks better to you than a higher res IPS display. That sounds like rampant fanboyism to me. I understand why you’d say it but it makes you look like fool and gives Android fans a bad name.

      • http://sean-the-electrofreak.blogspot.com/ Sean the Electrofreak

        Sorry, but I agree with rovex, and fanboism has nothing to do with it. I’ll take a more vibrant, beautiful, OLED 4 inch display over a smaller, bland LCD display with a higher resolution.

        It’s a matter of preference. rovex stated that he prefers the display to the retina. You freaked out, called him a fool, and ended up sounding a lot more like a fanboi than he did.

        • Kaelang

          Bland? You mean more accurate.

    • glenn

      I totally agree. I have compared my Droid inc with amoled to the retin
      a many times and the regular ol amoled looks a lot better imo. This all makes me sad to hear because I love the GN. Gonna buy either way. But the display is my fav spec


    I liked everything I see….. Once we found out where and when its coming i will comment more.. i refuse to get overly exited and end up in a corner sobbing that i hve to wait until Feb to get.. to LATE


    • BiGMERF

      I asked #siri if Tmobile was getting the #galaxynexus and she replied “No, AT&T forbids it” SMH what a Bitch!

  • http://none Lux143

    They are kidding right? pentile? really…..REALLY? everyone is loving this phone before it comes out but if they are gonna crap on every consumer out there by degrading the screen with this out of date garbage ill just skip it all together. pentile is GARBAGE…
    who makes these decisions? serioulsly….

    • http://www.lament.us lament

      No, the Motorola Droid Bionic PenTile display is garbage. This will not be.

    • http://sean-the-electrofreak.blogspot.com/ Sean the Electrofreak

      Don’t have any problem with the Pentile on my Galaxy S. Looks great to me.

  • http://keridel.blogspot.com keridel

    doesnt bother me at all. it will still be amazing.

  • http://None CaribGrackle

    Even if its not going to be ad bad as some would make it sound, this is puzzling for me, Google and Samsung should have made everything possibly to use the latest in technology in this device, so the Nexus can finally be an standard of phones to come, or at least be right up there with the rest of those that hold the title.

    Don’t get me wrong, for what I’ve seen from the phone it looks amazing and I’m dying to get one if I’m able, ICS is amazing, just wished the Nexus was as amazing. I still love it and will put on top of several other phones any day.

  • Dirge

    Maybe Samsung hasn’t been able to make an HD Super Amoled Plus display yet? But C’mon, look at the pixel density on this thing!

  • Wesley

    This is not something even remotely surprising. Well before the Galaxy Nexus was announced, it was mention that it would have an HD Super AMOLED screen, not an HD Super AMOLED Plus screen. Without the word plus on the name, it was inevitably not an RGB display. That doesn’t mean I want the phone any less. I think my N1 display looks a lot better than many of the other Android phones I have seen, and I’m sure the results will be even better with the GN. I think people who are freaking out about this should just wait until the phone is released to stores and then go in and compare it themselves. If they still aren’t happy with the results, at least they will have truly made an informed decision.

  • Ari32

    I don’t care if it has a pentile display, everything else about this phone more than makes up for it. Can’t wait to get it!

    • Kaelang

      You mean the sub-par DAC and camera? Yeah, more than makes up for it. At least it has a barometer. Because that’ll be awesome.

  • NotRelevent

    I’ve been looking at the PenTile screen in my OG Droid for going on 3yrs now. Before I got my Xoom I used it to do A LOT of browsing on the internet, which naturally includes A LOT of reading and even still I could not tell you the difference between the Droid’s Pentile LCD and my desktop PC’s regular LCD. They all look the same to me.

    So when ever I hear someone complaining about a phone having a pentile screen, it just sounds like useless whining to me.

    • Duh

      The OG Droid never had a PenTile display. Of course it sounds like useless whining if you have never actually seen a PenTile display.

  • Josh N.

    I was irritated at first when I heard rumors of a pentile display, but after realizing that it will still look better than other displays because the resolution is higher, I don’t care as much. Think it will still look awesome, even compared to SGSII. I had the N1, G2, and myTouch 4G, and am really looking forward to this upgrade!

  • Raptor

    “people say they never notice the PenTile pixel structure but it is just like a stain in a carpet; once you see it, it is hard to disregard.”

    That qualitative assessment tells about medical fact that red, orange, yellow and magenta solid colors look extremely dirty on pentile screens which comes from the fact that for red and blue subpixel density is just 158 ppi. Look at Opera, Firefox, Task Manager and K9mail icons for example – total disaster.

    The twice larger green subpixel density compensates partially for the red and blue, but still not really well. The flatpanelshd website mentioning 420 ppi for pentile needed – and i think ideal for RGB matrix is 450 while ideal pentile probably needs 900 (!!!). That comes from the fact that you can keep the phone not at 12″ but as close as 8″ to your eyes and this immediately drops so called perceived ppi by the factor of 1.5. Now 450ppi becomes 300 for RGB and 150 for red and blue for pentile.

    With 450+ ppi we’d forget what zooming is, reading websites like on computer screens. Otherwise after 10 years of hours per day zooming prepare to get repetitive motion disorder for your finger. ROFL LOL

  • Painman

    I have an iPhone 4 and have been looking forward to getting my hands on the next iPhone since June when I expected it to arrive. Having waited for an extra 4 months for, what is in effect an update of the iPhone 4, I have decided to look elsewhere for my next device.

    I am currently toying between the New Sensation XE, waiting for the S3 or jumping in with the Nexus on ICS.

    I’m sure that the screen on the Nexus will outshine my Retina display, I have always found it to be slightly “yellow”


    • Kaelang

      The yellow screen thing is not supposed to happen. You can exchange yours for a new one. I did and it’s perfect. The Galaxy Nexus has already been reported to have a yellow screen as well, and have that greenish blue washout that the Nexus S has.
      I can see the little dots on the Nexus S indicative of a PenTile display as well, which makes me hate PenTile even more. I won’t be switching from my iPhone 4 if the Galaxy Nexus has the yellow screen issue and I can see the PenTile matrixing.

  • tony

    Who seriously gives a flying fuck.. the phone is going to be balls to the wall awesome.

  • http://klout.com/#/SliestDragon SliestDragon

    With this phone’s insane resolution and dpi(for a 4.6″ screen that is), I highly doubt I’ll notice that it’s pentile. :p

  • homz

    Enough with this shit! Why would i care? Do i have to view my phone sideways everytime i use it? Fuck No!

  • pritams


  • i is dissapoint

    I got GN and the screen is total shit.