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.”
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