Friday, October 21, 2011

How Do Latest Nexus and DROID RAZR Stack Up in Pixel Density?


Wow! The Samsung Galaxy Nexus has a beautiful screen. The Motorola DROID RAZR also sports a pretty looking display. I'm impressed, but there's one thing missing from their silly acronym: "+." Yes the Galaxy Nexus has a 720p (1280x720) "HD" screen...marketing people go nuts. But it's a Super AMOLED, no plus. The Samsung Galaxy SII may have a "measly" WVGA 800x480 resolution screen, but it has the plus. What's the dif? The 720p sounds fabulous on paper, but the perceived resolution will not quite match the pixel density they are hoping for, as it uses a Pentile Matrix arrangement of subpixels (RG-BG). Super AMOLED+ displays use a RGB-RGB arrangement typically seen in plasmas and LCDs. The RG-BG results in a resolution 2/3 of what is advertised.

Breakdown
Advertised resolution is 1280x720 with a pixel density of 316 ppi, but it will appear closer to 1280x480...at 4.65" this is 258 ppi. It will most likely appear sharper than the AT&T Galaxy SII's (217 ppi), but not as much as hoped.

Below is a chart showing recent Smart Phone's ranked by their Pixel Density, their display tech, resolution, and screen size. Apple's iPhone 4 and 4S take the crown with 330 ppi on their small in comparison 3.5" display. Notice how much the perceived resolution drops the Nexus and DROID RAZR compared to their marketed resolution.


Phone
Screen Tech
Resolution Name
Resolution
Screen Size
Pixel Density
Apple iPhone 4/4S
LCD
Retina
960x640
3.5"
330 ppi
Galaxy Nexus
Super AMOLED (Pentile Matrix)
720p
1280x720 (marketed)
4.65”
316 ppi (marketed)
Galaxy Nexus
Super AMOLED (Pentile Matrix)
720p
1280x480
(perceived)
4.65”
258 ppi (perceived)
Motorola DROID RAZR
Super AMOLED (Pentile Matrix)
qHD
960x540 (marketed)
4.3”
256 ppi (marketed)
HTC Sensation/EVO 3D/Atrix 2
LCD
qHD
960x540
4.3"
256 ppi
Samsung Galaxy SII (AT&T)
Super AMOLED+
WVGA
800x480
4.3"
217 ppi
Motorola DROID RAZR
Super AMOLED (Pentile Matrix)
qHD
960x360 (perceived)
4.3”
209 ppi (perceived)
Samsung Galaxy SII (Sprint, T-Mobile)
Super AMOLED+
WVGA
800x480
4.5"
207 ppi

Why Pixel Density Matters
Ever had to zoom in on a web page because the text wasn't clear? Pixel Density increases sharpness when viewing text, photos, video...really anything on the screen. It makes text pop, your album art sizzle, and home-screen beautiful. This is why I love and hate tech advertising! It's a magical art to show off that a "new" tech is just so beautiful and shiny (heck Apple is a master at showing how awesome a shiny rock can be). The average consumer won't ever find out or care, but it's nerds like me that just gotta know why a screen has bad viewing angles or just doesn't quite have the great clarity as advertised.

If it's a Super Phone, why did Samsung go with a Pentile display?
Two words: Cost and Marketing. It's cheaper to go with the Pentile Matrix AMOLED display for this screen size and density. At that lower cost, they can market the display as being "720p HD." That's huge in marketing! The first 720p HD display on a smart phone!? Wow! While it is a pretty sneaky advertising move, the screen will still be gorgeous, and you will love this phone, regardless.

Will you be rushing out to get the Galaxy Nexus?

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