February 24, 2010, 11:04 AM — While Google's Nexus One may have its issues (its many, many issues), one thing that nobody is complaining about is its gorgeous, 800-by-480 pixel AMOLED screen. When compared to the iPhone 3GS's paltry 480-by-320 pixel LCD screen, well, it hardly seems a contest.
But not so fast--DisplayMate, a video diagnostics testing company, has done an in-depth analysis of the Nexus One's AMOLED screen and the iPhone 3GS's LCD screen, and it seems that the highly-touted AMOLED screen is coming up short.
The main issues:
• The Nexus One uses the PenTile pixel arrangement, which means that there are only two sub-pixels per pixel instead of three. So instead of having a green, red, and blue sub-pixel in each pixel (as is the case with most LCDs), all pixels include a green sub-pixel but the red and blue sub-pixels alternate. The result is that an 800-by-480 pixel AMOLED screen has only two-thirds the number of sub-pixels as an 800-by-480 pixel LCD screen--so images won't be as crisp. Of course, the iPhone 3GS has significantly lower-resolution 480-by-320 pixel LCD screen, so the difference is nominal.
• The peak white brightness of the Nexus One is low and insufficient when used in "high ambient lighting" (read: outside). The peak white brightness of the iPhone 3GS is significantly higher," about as bright as you'll find on any current mobile display."
• Nexus One picture quality is gaudy--photos had "way too much" saturation and contrast. The iPhone 3GS isn't a winner in this category, either--its picture quality lacked in contrast and saturation, resulting in flat, washed-out photos.
• The Nexus One's built-in apps (such as the gallery and browser apps) use 16-bit color instead of 24-bit color. This means that there are 32 intensity levels for red and blue, and 64 intensity levels for green, instead of the better (24-bit) 256 intensity levels for red, blue, and green. This results in some pretty egregious color-banding, as seen in