Galaxy S III Super AMOLED HD vs HTC One X Super LCD 2 Display Comparison

Posted on May 26 2012 - 10:47am by Brian

So you’ve been reading the latest reviews on the two phones of the hour: the Samsung Galaxy S III and the HTC One X. And it boils down into 4 main discussion points: the design, the SoC, the software and last but certainly not least, the display.

Most people will agree that the HTC One X design aesthetic is superior to the Galaxy S III, however the functionality seen in the latter more than makes up for this difference (removable battery, microSD expansion, thinner frame). On the other hand, the 28nm quad-core Exynos processor handily beats the Tegra and S4 versions of the One X in battery life and processing power. Whether or not all that processing horsepower is useful in the real world… nobody knows. The contest between HTC’s Sense and Samsung’s TouchWiz is a toss up but the most contentious debate of them all seems to be that of each phones display.

On paper, the displays are quite similar in some respects: they are both about 4.7 inches with 1280×720 display resolutions. There is however one crucial difference: the display technologies. The Galaxy S III uses Samsung’s tried and true Super AMOLED display technology where as the HTC One X adheres to the Super LCD 2 panel. Now how much of a difference can display panel technology make? Well if you have’t done a side-by-side comparison before, its pretty alarming–not necessarily in a bad way.

Both Super AMOLED and Super LCD are amazing displays, but before we can make a judgement, let’s make sure we are well informed about each display.

Super AMOLED HD

You’ve probably heard lots of press regarding this display as it’s been the frontman for Galaxy S phones for quite some time now. One of the best features about these display panels is that their black levels are unparalleled–that is to say that when displaying black, the screen is practically off. This results in much richer detail in images (it’s black level, not white level that increases this quality). Combined with very high brightness and great viewing angles, the result is excellent contrast ratio which makes Super AMOLED displays perform valiantly in the outdoors. You may also hear people describe Super AMOLED colors being “vibrant” and/or “punchy,” which is also due to this great contrast ratio.

There are some drawbacks however to this display tech. Due to the nature of how the colors are delivered, Super AMOLED tend to be blue/greenish in color repdouction, which can be unwanted for those preferring neutral color balance. In addition, although the display consumes little power when displaying black, web browsing–which predominantly uses a white background–saps battery life disproportionately quickly. Finally, the display of the Galaxy S III uses a PenTile grid, which decreases the actual number of subpixels used on the display (and thus the pixel density)–this is noticeable at high magnifications, but for most users will go unnoticed.

Super LCD 2

Super LCD 2 is a great all around screen as well. Although it doesn’t have killer black levels or astounding brightness, it has great white balance and accurate color reproduction as well as a true RGB subpixel layout which renders the finest bit of detail. In Chris Ziegler’s review of the One X, he notes that the Super LCD 2 display “[has] got a near-perfect 180 degree viewing angle and perhaps the most accurate color reproduction and color temperature available…” and furthermore, “At 720p, it falls well into ‘retina’ territory where the individual pixels become invisible to the naked eye.”

Conclusion

If the Galaxy S III’s display was a Super AMOLED HD Plus with an RGB stripe display, this debate would simply be a matter of whether you prefer color accuracy or vibrancy of the display, with which the argument could be made that while important for computers, color accuracy is not [as] important on a phone and thus the Super AMOLED’s colors are more aesthetically favorable. However taking the PenTile arrangement into account, the rest of the factors can seem to be a moot point to many buyers, especially when they see images like this:

The truth is, unless you have microscopic vision or are purposely looking for image artifacts, there is no way you are going to notice a difference on the screen. As Mr. Savov so elegantly puts it,

Via The Verge

 

5 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. helio September 2, 2012 at 6:29 am -

    nao acho a tela do gs3 ruim pelo contrario e uma exibiçao de exelente qualidade comparei lado lado com minha tv lcd de 32 e o resultado e surpreendente para assistir video e baixar papeis de paredce a tela e incrivel so para texto q as imagens parece meio pixelizadas mas e quase imperceptivel a tela e muito melhor q a do galaxy s2 por que eu tive um gs2 e comparei as 2 telas o pessoal fala q a tela go gs3 por ser pentile tem pior reproduçao de cor do que a do gs2 mentira a tela do gs2 as cores ficam meio esverdeadas e com as cores bem fortes ja o gs3 nao tem esses problemas de esverdeamento e as cores parecem mais naturais nao saiam acreditando em qualquer review va a uma loja e veja a qualidade por si mesmo. mas tbm estou no aguardo pela super amoled plus hd q deve ser incrivel ainda mais q a samsung agora tem um concorrente de peso agora q é a tela true hd + ips da lg q muitos estao falando é melhor q a super amoled hd acredito q o galaxy s4 vai ser a super amoled hd plus a samsung nao vai querer perder para a lg como a nokia perdeu para a samsung.

  2. Brian July 10, 2012 at 10:09 am -

    Paul,

    Thanks for your thoughtful response! I concede that perhaps I have been too apologetic: Samsung does have its pros and cons and the PenTile display is–no matter how I spin it–inferior to a SA+ or IPS panel.

  3. Paul July 10, 2012 at 7:28 am -

    “The truth is, unless you have microscopic vision or are purposely looking for image artifacts, there is no way you are going to notice a difference on the screen.”

    Um, no, I think this is a line used by apologists for PenTile. My dad is 71 and picked up on it right away while looking at a web page on my GSIII. he asked why some of the lines are fuzzy. The only way you dont notice is if you never look at your screen much.

    If you put two HD screens, esp the One X and GSIII’s right next to each other to a child or lay person who has no investment in smartphones and doesnt care, pull up a webpage or text and ask them “which screen is sharper, and easier to read and look at for a long time” it’s a fun test. They dont pick the the GSIII or One S. You can try it yourself in a store.

    I like the GSIII. I bought one because I need removable battery. But to say the display difference isnt noticeable is a bit overly apologetic. Samsung themselves explicitly acknowledges the weaknesses of Super AMOLED – by their own development of Super AMOLED Plus to directly attack those weaknesses.

    SA Plus not appearing in the GSIII is likely more a factor of not being able to secure enough supply to satisfy global GSIII projected demand, for an HD panel using SA Plus.

    The argument about blue pixels is weak considering they had no problem selling the GSII and still do, by the tens of millions, with SA Plus.

    The other hypothetical question is whether they’ll keep the next Galaxy’s display Super AMOLED if it is that superior. We all know they wont – an improved SA Plus or its successor that both eliminate the known visual problems of Pentile will replace it.

    The GSIII should be praised for its good qualities and Samsung should be rightfully dinged on its very few issues – the display is one where they should take heat. Two product generations since the iPhone 4 and only HTC, Sony, and LG are using displays that are now starting to rival Retina for pixel density and clarity / ease of long term viewing. Samsung took a step back in order to meet acceptable volumes, IMO.

  4. Brian June 18, 2012 at 10:23 am -

    Yes it was! Thanks for the correction… coulda sworn I saw Chris’ name the first time around

  5. A June 17, 2012 at 11:45 am -

    Wasn’t the review written by Vlad, not Chris? You last line is quoting the wrong person.

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