Will a PenTile display turn you off of the Galaxy Nexus?

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: October 21, 2011

Rumors of what the next Nexus phone might be spread far and wide over the last few months. Samsung finally hit the stage and announced the Galaxy Nexus (gah, I hate that name) just three days ago, laying rest to rumors of carrier exclusivity and other far-fetched specs that may have found their way into a leaked spec sheets.

Aside from being the Ice Cream Sandwich halo device and being ultra thin, the Galaxy Nexus has one other unique feature in tow, a 720p display with one of the highest screen densities (second to the iPhone) in a phone to date. But there's one key part of the HD Super AMOLED display missing: the "Plus" tag.

So what's the problem, exactly?

Samsung has cultivated a rather large following over the years for their display technology. The Super AMOLED display on the Nexus S and Galaxy S line were of PenTile type, which showed a great deal of graininess. Thankfully, Samsung decided to leave PenTile technology behind in the Super AMOLED Plus display and welcomed the standard RGB subpixel layout back into their display. For those of you following along, you know that this means that Samsung has regressed back to PenTile technology.

As explained by Engadget's Sharif Sakr, RGB layout offers better color reproduction, sharper images and higher subpixel density. Instead of the standard pixel being composed of three subpixels (one red, one green and one blue), individual pixels in a PenTile Matrix layout share subpixels, yielding a much lower subpixel count – roughly 33 percent fewer. FlatPanelsHD calculated that even at 4.65-inches and 720p resolution, the Galaxy Nexus has the same number of subpixels as the 3.5-inch iPhone 4/4S. This could create the illusion that the display is a lower density than it actually is by showing visible grain on heavily saturated images. Above is a decent example with the Photon 4G (click for full size), which has a 4.3-inch qHD (960 by 540) display.

Based on a handful or rumors, we all saw this coming and could only hope the rumors weren't true. I kept thinking to myself, "Maybe ... just maybe Samsung will throw us a curve ball and surprise us with a HD Super AMOLED Plus." Well, that obviously didn't happen and, unfortunately, the Nexus does in fact sport a PenTile display.

There are a number of reasons why Samsung chose to go with a basic Super AMOLED versus a Plus display, reasons I'm sure we will never know. Maybe they did it to keep costs down or to squeeze a little more life out of the screen. Regardless, it still begs the question of how many people will pass on the Galaxy Nexus, solely because the display, which is the highlight of the device. Since the display is not a Plus, Sakr seems to believe that the display is a "minus" and that color rendition may be sub-par. "Think of a word with no r, g or b in it, and you eventually arrive at 'disappointed,'" says Sakr.

Just from some of my device reviews and articles on PenTile Matrix technology, I know that a lot of you are likely upset. But will it affect your decision on buying the Galaxy Nexus?

I'm not particularly a fan of PenTile technology, and the fact that the subpixels in the Galaxy Nexus' display is the same as that of the iPhone 4 is a bit unsettling. But quite honestly, I'm not terribly worried. I will still buy a Galaxy Nexus, and I'll likely be just as happy with it as I would if it had a Super AMOLED Plus. I'm just hoping the higher resolution will counteract the lack of subpixels enough to where it isn't as noticeable as it is on other PenTile displays like the DROID 3 or BIONIC.

So tell me, readers. Will you still buy the Galaxy Nexus, despite it having a PenTile display? Do you think the 720p resolution will negate any possible grain?

Image via Engadget