Beating a Dead Horse: The GNex PenTile 720p Display

Posted Jun 30, 2012 at 9:46 am in Threads > Opinions

I’m not a hardware engineer. I’m not really even a techno-phile. But I have used the Samsung Vibrant(480 x 800 PenTile SAMOLED), the Galaxy S 4G(480 x 800 PenTile SAMOLED), the iphone 4(Retina), the Droid RAZR(qHD PenTile SAMOLED), the Motorola Photon(qHD SLCD), and now the Galaxy Nexus(720p PenTile SAMOLED). Where I work I have access to any phone that I could want to have access to. Company reps will bring the phones in and let us use them and get a feel for them. I’ve spent time with every major wireless phone that has been released in the last 3 years.

I realize that which screen technology you prefer is a matter of personal preference, so I am not here to change your mind about what you like. I am 100% here to defend the GNex’s display as the best one that I have ever used. Too many times I have seen people malign the display as one of the GNex’s weak points. I am telling you right now that I see all the phones, and it is far from a weak spot. It is a joy to behold, and when coupled with the smoothness of ICS, it is one of my favorite things about the Nexus.

I’ve seen the SLCD2 on the One X and EVO LTE. I wouldn’t trade my Nexus’s display for one of those. Colors are much brighter and more vibrant. I can have my display’s brightness maxed out all day and still make it through without draining my battery. You can throw all your specs and super-macro photographs my way, but all I know is what I’ve seen and experienced. My eyeballs don’t have a super-macro mode on them. I can’t see subpixels.

TL;DR – Don’t knock the Gnex’s display until you spend a week with it. Also, pull up the same picture on Google with the One X and The GNex. You will be surprised at shich one you think looks better.

  • A.Woodbury

    You make a very valid point sir, it is fully up to preference and the GNex is a great phone in many ways. I have been considering purchasing one from Google and this definitely helped me make my decision. Why not purchase a phone with the latest updates and an amazing screen? Who cares if some cameras are slightly more superb? We use the phone for other things that utilize the screen a lot more than we use the camera. Thank you for this thread

  • LukeT32

    I love the display on my Gnex… I have had several people not even using the phone just sitting next to me ask me about my phone just based on how amazing the screen looks from there angle. If the diplay catches a strangers eye because of how crisp and clear it is. I don’t understand how anyone can knock it. I wouldn’t trade my display or Jelly Bean for anything! :)

  • CTown

    But I myself do like the blacks and colors on Samsung’s AOMLED displays. If Samsung is saving a few pennies off each screen by making displays that a short a pixels, thats a win-win situation to me!

    Also, I made a thread on Pentile screens and I feel that John M’s response was the best:

    • kazahani

      That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Johnm is obviously has some sort of training on this subject, or else his geekdom is on a whole different level from mine. I can’t really argue against anything he said, I because frankly I don’t understand any of it to begin with with.

      But my eyeballs have never lied to me yet, but and they tell me that my Galaxy Nexus’s Pen Tile SAMOLED screen is the best one they’ve seen, and I will believe them. They’ve seen all the other screens.

      • CTown

        Well, that makes sense. If I read John M’s response correctly, the reason these screens are considered bad is not becuase it uses a Pentile Matrix but beacuse it’s missing the full range of colors a display should have. Essentially all of the screens seem to be missing full color support in the flagship devices (not just the Pentile ones).

        All of these screens are just using color changing math/magic to make these screens appear to be using colors that they are actually incapble of making. So, the fact that some people hate the oversaturation seems to be just opinion. For the Galaxy S there is software to change the colors of the screen, especially CM color and Voodoo color (but I don’t know if that is just to appease someone’s personal taste or if it really corrects anything).

        Odd enough, even the cheap Chinese tablets that look like PSPs have 24-bit color support:

        The saturation is not what makes Pentile worse, it’s the grainy-ness from not being as dense as a non-Pentile display of the same resolution and size would be (as it doesn’t have the number of subpixels it should). But the screen is HD, so I doubt many people will care or notice!

  • Jimmy_Jo

    I can’t wait to see it for myself. I’m getting the Galaxy S 3 which has a 720p Pentile display also, though I believe as a newer device has a slightly better display. I think the fact that it’s 720p is part of the reason why Pentile is no longer a liability. When you have that high of a resolution who cares about subpixels.

  • Derek

    You’re partially correct. There is nothing really wrong with a pentile matrix when viewing images, playing games, etc. Where pentile really blows is when it comes to reading text like on webpages. I used the ATT Captivate for two years and it was a very brilliant display. But when it came to reading text while websurfing it sucked balls. I always had to zoom in to get the text to clear up, otherwise it was fuzzy and blurry, especially if it was text that was colored red, blue, or green; it was then unreadable. I now have the HTC Rezound and its night and day difference when viewing text. Possibly the higher resolution of the GNex may help some.

    • kazahani

      It helps a lot. You can’t make out the pixels at 720p even if you try. The original Galaxy phones used 480×800 resolution. GNex uses 1280×720. That’s almost three times as many pixels. Text is three times sharper, but it’s still just as brilliant as it was before.

  • redraider133

    I had a nexus and currently have a maxx( my sgs3 is coming soon) and honestly I think pentile is overblown. I mean for me unless I hold the maxx like 2 inches from my face I am not seeing the pixelation and when do you ever use a phone that close anyway? The reviewers take super close up shots so yeah it looks worse than when you use it. At first I was skeptical of using a pentile screen going from the reviews but once i had the phone it did not bother me at all, especially with the nexus i really could not see any pixelation.

  • SGB101

    i own a OneX and the Wife an SG3, and i can tell you know, the sg3 may have a more ‘poping’ color, but you can see the pixels and next to the oneX it looks dated.

    all the nay sayers, about not seeing the pixels, all i can say is your eyesight must be poor, i have +20/20 vision and from a normal viewing distance, test looks pixelated on the sg3 and on the X no matter how close you try your eyes will go blurry before you see a pixel.

    • kazahani

      Here’s the thing though: The One X and the SG3 both use 720p resolution. Their pixels are the same size.

      If you claim that you can’t see the pixels on your One X, then you have no chance at all in noticing the SUBpixels in the SG3.

      I think that you have been conditioned to think that PenTile displays are grainy, and now your eyes are playing tricks on you.

  • SGB101

    Defo not playing tricks, the text is nowhere near as sharp, I’ve also done a blind (so to speak lol) test on 3 teenage children and they too can see the difference. And they have no idea of different screens and all this nerdy stuff. However my wife that does have poorish eyesight can’t tell the difference.

    But she also can’t tell the difference between the sgs1 screen and the sgs3, even when side by side. To add on our 42″ tv from the sofa I need to read the football scores and times :o)