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Where are all those Galaxy Nexus subpixels

first_imgShortly after the Samsung Galaxy Nexus was released, the details behind that 720p display that had been previously celebrated gave some people cause to step back and re-evaluate their decision. Like many Samsung screens before it, this screen had a PenTile matrix. This means that the display has 33% less of the red and blue subpixels than a traditional display would have.On an 800×600 resolution device like the original Samsung Galaxy S, you would be able to see breaks in single pixel white lines, which caused many critics to look down on the devices using it. While the Galaxy Nexus display has the same PenTile matrix, it also has a significantly higher resolutions screen, which in theory would eliminate those breaks in single pixel lines. Still, the news of this “imperfection” crept out, and there is some question as to the overall quality of the Galaxy Nexus screen. So, we took the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the HTC Rezound, and the iPhone 4 and gave them the macro treatment.Using a Sony NEX5 with a 200mm lens focused to 1:5.5 macro, we took incredibly large shots of these three phones. Every image was treated exactly the same in post-processing, the conditions for each image are as near to identical as we could make them. The first test used a 600dpi test pattern rendered in the browser of each of these three phones. In this test, the higher quality screens will show each of the black lines to be perfectly straight, while others will show curving patterns within the lines.[click to enlarge]With the Galaxy Nexus, you can clearly see some of the patterns forming the closer you get to the center of the image, specifically along the center vertical and horizontal lines. If you open the image and zoom in, you can see some faint color traces along the black and white lines, but otherwise the screen performed above par.The HTC Rezound performed slightly under the Galaxy Nexus in this test, showing many more pattern directions. with the patterns moving nearly to the edge of the screen. You can also notice a slight halo effect on the left hand side when you zoom in, the faintest rainbow of color that shouldn’t be there.The iPhone 4 has a significantly lower resolution that either the Galaxy Nexus or the HTC Rezound, but the screen quality is still much higher. You see almost no patterning on the lines, and although the screen isn’t high enough resolution to display the center mass, there’s very little of the color bleed that we’ve seen from the other devices either.We knew going into this that the Galaxy Nexus screen was no slouch, but what about all those subpixels we keep seeing users talk about? In order to produce results that would show the individual pixel quality on the screen, we took the next shots using a standardized color and resolution test. Because the resolutions need to be the same for the results on this test to be relevant, the iPhone was removed from this test. The Rezound and the Galaxy Nexus are both 1280×720 displays, so comparing them will show the most accurate comparison.The Rezound shows the results that are expected of an LCD display with the traditional pixel layout. As you get closer to the end of the spectrum, you can see that the color depth blends together, it becomes much harder to tell those are different shades of those colors.The Galaxy Nexus shows a significant range of color depth here, you can clearly see each shade is different from the next, which is a staple in the screens that came from Samsung. You can also clearly see patterns in the single pixel line boxes in the bottom left, as well as some patterns in the single pixel boxes inside the colors. This is the result of the PenTile matrix display, even one with such a high resolution.In these tests you can see that the Galaxy Nexus screen clearly has some strengths and weaknesses. If you go looking for them, you can find traces of the PenTile matrix anytime you see something with a single pixel line. Locating a single pixel line on the Galaxy Nexus, however, is much harder than you think. Android 4.0 was designed so there were no places in the OS that you would be able to see these subpixel artifacts. There are no single pixel lines in the OS.The closest thing you get to a single pixel line is in the Settings menu. At no place on this screen can you see line breaks or subpixel patterns. This experience is the same throughout the entirety of the OS. I couldn’t find any apps that use the single pixel line in their app that caused any issues either. As far as I could tell the subpixel patters are small enough on the Galaxy Nexus that it’s not something noticeable, or the screen resolution really is high enough that you can only see it when you are performing specific visual tests to confirm it.So there you have it, bragging right have been re-instated for Galaxy Nexus, Rezound, and iPhone users alike. Each of these screens brings both an important upside and downside to using it. Personally, having spent time with all three devices, I enjoy the rich colors and the high resolution of the Galaxy Nexus above the Retina display on the iPhone or the “true” 720p LCD display on the Rezound. The quest for the “perfect” phone screen continues!last_img read more