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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


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88 Reactions to this post

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


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Sharang Karve NEVER!!!
Sergio Nayar It's a matter of getting used to it. I've been using an Atrix 4G and I don't see any problem whatsoever with Pentile screens.
Steve Pierce Yes. Don't want to squint all the time to see clearly.
Jon Jerico Calanio AMOLED PenTile =/= Motorola PenTile
Shawn Knoll @Xingchi I understand bigger is suppose to be better but in this case its not. We should start wanting better and and longer zoom
Murtaza Rzv samsung have most beautiful display n mocile with os
Murtaza Rzv 99% people dun know about pentile....
Xingchi Ding Wp7 sees the future
Xingchi Ding @Shawn Knoll I think people saying about that camera is because even iPhone now do 8mp camera, do not understand why Samsung keep that back or Google? The 5mp will shoot good pic, but people have expected better than that. So we will buy a new car, but it has an older engine but bigger price.
Arvydas Grušeckas I would never buy that junk. It looks like shit. And it has crappy Android. WP7 for the win!
Peter Brinkman Having serious doubts now
Adrian Cabrera Yup. I'm out
Eric Quach this thing is so sexy, I don't give a shit. ICE CREAM SANDWICH NOMNOM
Dicken Christian It doesn't matter. After all not many android phones have even an AMOLED display...so this phone still seems to be my next one...And hell yeah, anything for a Nexus...!
Zach Cline Nope I'm getting it.
Tony Allen Nope because IT DOESN"T MATTER! :)
Alan Xenos I had a HTC Incredible in the First production series, when it came with the AMOLED Pentile screen, and you couldn't really notice that much, unless you LOOK for it.
Jon Beuerle No cause the Nexus screen is better than my DX.
Vic Espinoza Absolutely not, people need to see it in person.
Shawn Knoll I have PenTile on my Bionic and its not noticeable unless you pay close attention to it.
Lucas LeCompte im getting a nexus no matter what. Pentile display is better than the screen on my mytouch 4g. people just need to STFU
Sanku Murmu Sometimes :(
Mike West no more than the current displays on most phones? "I don't want my SGS2 because its got horrible resolution!" Nobody cares until they care. This is stupid since ths screen will look awesome.
Shawn Knoll Im sick if everybody complaining about the 5mp camera. The software and lenses are what makes the pic turn out good. Unless you are printing posters than stop complaining. The Bionic has a 8mp camera and takes shoddy pics.
Dave Torres I don't it will really matter, its not that big of a difference. What are you going to do people have the phones screen all up against your face to see the difference. It will be fine. Besides STOCK ANDROID, is snuff for me to get it. It still will be the device to beat.
Daniel Kallini The fact that it's made by samsung makes me not want to get it
Charlie Kuroiwa Only motorolas pentile sucks
Javier A Nevarez Can't wait!!!
Eric Luna Right now its a toss up between the htc rezound and galaxy nexus!
Ryan Lampkin Don't care. The software impresses me enough to where I can take little tiny squares that I can only see if I hold the phone a few inches from my eyes. I'm all go on this phone.
William Almes it does have pentile. omg, wtf ppl
John Zanatta No, but if ICS doesn't support my work's Exchange policy, that will. Stock Android 2.3 doesn't meet them, but Sense UI addition does. We can only wait and see.
William Almes not a big fan of them pentile displays, i guess the bioic has it
William Almes ok good.
William Almes you the galaxy nexus has the sam display as the Droid Bionic?
James Vincent Read that VERY wrong
Ryan Sav nope.
Daniel King Nope. At the end of the day, it's still a killer device.
David Aguilera Samsung galaxy s3 next year? :)
Jermonn J-Trillion Richardson Nah. Doesn't look bad on my DROID 3
Creighton McCain So this type screen I guess is on my 4S & its supposed to be the best if not one of the best. What makes it bad on this device. Only thing I can come up with is it because the screen is bigger?? Im assuming..
Orlando Stagg http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-Galaxy-Note-and-Galaxy-Nexus-sport-HD-Super-AMOLED---is-the-PenTile-matrix-bad-for-you_id23134 An article for all of the naysayers of the Pentile screen. Apparently, the human eye can't discern the difference unless you look at your phone with binoculars or a magnifying glass...
Jeremy Bleich The iPhone 4s has already been proven faster than this phone. It's already been reviewed in Japan.
Hunter Tea @Patrick are you kidding? Megapixels don't mean shit
Darryl Mouzone Dammit I mean pentile. I hate autocorrect.
Jeremiah Doctson Patrick - What may I ask do you plan on doing with your photos? The MP difference doesn't matter for what 95% of people do with their photos. The optics and sensor is what matters. The GNex can be better than every phone on the market right now with its 5mp. Not necessarily a step back.
Darryl Mouzone For me, no. I plan on getting this phone and penile isn't as bad as everybody thinks.
Jason King Samsung its ok to push the envelope when it comes to new technology ..... But for the regular person they dont even care what Pentile is... as long as it looks good .. Who cares ...
Mike Keslinke Nope I'm will trade my iPhone 4 for it asap
Patrick Singleton I just can't believe the camera is 5 Mega. What a step back!
Brandon Johnson I'm not really certain I understand why phones started shrinking just to start expanding again, personally I think 4" is the sweet spot. Those bigger screens drain the battery even faster and I've noticed when I mess around with android that my battery life is unpredictable as hell (N1) ranging from 12 hours to 3 but that Amoled that's supposed to reduce consumption is always the biggest drain.
Julius Sepeda First galaxy s screen look better then retina by itself now imagine 720 p. HD
Steven Bright Funny how the phone media starts the snowball rolling against any phone other than the iPhone. All the talk from everyone phone media wise was how the iPhone 5 was coming and gonna be great. It didn't show up and the media is like well we didn't really need or want it anyway we should be thankful we got a refresh from apple and should keep our mouths shut. I swear I think Apple pays off or scratches backs of any journalists or tech writer who will put out something negative against any phone that is an iPhone rival. The screen resolution not being as many ppi as the iPhone is not a news lead in my eyes before the phone is even released. That's for head to head comparisons.
Michael Santangelo Oh my god... my atrix has a qhd pentile and looks bad, I wonder how it will look on a samoled 720...
Nick Oberly ohhhh helll noooo
David Park @ people who said it matters, go look at the device yourself in person, then decide. The first galaxy phone looks awesome in person, even though it was pentile. Just imagine a 720p super amoled display.
Jeremiah Doctson Thanks David. Doesn't sound like increased brightness would be something I'd care about. I think I'm just going to get the gs2 and be plenty happy with it while I patiently await a (likely) ICS update. I'll pass on the GNex I think.
Jason Jeong well its like this....buy the most badass phone of the year with one caveat or but a dumbass phone...i dont think thats a hard decision to make
Christopher Williams The sheer size of the phone itself is already a turnoff. I liked the idea of phones getting smaller, and more pocketable, not the other way around.
Alex Stark It already did
Daniel P. Peerson That article is definitely worth a read. "The fears about PenTile appear hugely overblown when it comes to the new HD Super AMOLED technology, which delivers higher pixel density."
David Park it won't even matter, unless your vision is 20/20 you won't notice the difference between pentile and full rgb display. It's a 720p screen on a 4.65 inch screen, it's still going to look extremely crisp and vivid. I bet if you show the Galaxy Nexus to anyone, they won't even notice the difference.
David Harness @Jeremiah Doctson It also makes the screen brighter, but it's not worth it at all.
David Harness It kind of ruins one of it's perks.
Daniel P. Peerson http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-Galaxy-Note-and-Galaxy-Nexus-sport-HD-Super-AMOLED---is-the-PenTile-matrix-bad-for-you_id23134
Jeremiah Doctson Nick - what are the benefits? Less battery consumption is the only thing I'm aware of.
Jeremiah Doctson I'd feel dirty having it, but I wouldn't let something that I can't even notice affect my buying decision. I'd like to first see the phone for myself, if I still can't see any obvious flaws I'll do my best to ignore it. That being said, I'm still not convinced that buying the galxy s2 isn't a better decision if I assume they both have ics. Some one want to try to convince me otherwise?
Jon Recinos If the PPI were worse then yes. Also Nexus S>Motorola phones, so I can assume SAMOLED holds up better with Pentile.
Luke Wooldridge nah my bionic is amazing with one!!!
Danny Ohsochill Phillips noobs have no idea that this pentile isnt bad. fucking A
Alan Moncada NOPE. its still going to be really nice. ok so it doesnt have the same ppi as the retina display. my eyes arent perfect anyways so like i care. the vivid colors in the super amoled display are more than enough for me. and the resolution will still be better than whats on my charge
Tony Rivera NOPE! Amoled Pentile and what Motorola uses for Pentile are COMPLETELY two different things as I said before... those can't be compared.
Chad Kelley Yes!! Won't be buying it. I don't understand why a company puts all that effort into creating a kick-ass phone and screws it up with PenTile....
Jory Simonds Yup....100%
Nick Truskowski It had a lot of benefits with almost no resolution problems
Hansel Starley What's PenTile Display?




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