Goodbye PenTile, hello hexagons? Samsung rumored to use new matrix for Galaxy S4 display

by: Bogdan PetrovanJanuary 23, 2013

pentile vs rgb

Subpixel arrangement matrices tend to be an issue people like to argue over. Some say that PenTile displays show horribly jagged graphics, while others seem to be just fine with it. First world problems? Probably. With that said, if you’re interested in the actual difference between a PenTile display and a RGB display, check out our comparison here.

The Galaxy S3 features an HD PenTile AMOLED display, but with the whole industry moving to full HD, Samsung had no choice but to put a 1920 x 1080 panel on the Galaxy S4. Achieving full HD resolution on AMOLED panels is no easy task, and Samsung even considered using LCD technology instead of OLED for the next iteration of the flagship device.

As far as we know, the Samsung Galaxy S4 will feature a full HD AMOLED display measuring 4.99-inch across. To overcome the technical difficulties associated with building a full HD panel based on AMOLED tech, Samsung is reportedly considering using a novel type of subpixels. Instead of the classic square or rectangular pixels used on most types of displays, the display on the Galaxy S4 will reportedly feature hexagonal or diamond shaped subpixels, applied on the substrate using the LITI (laser-induced thermal imaging) process.

These new types of subpixels would allow Samsung to create super dense panels, with pixels per inch ratios well above the state of the art 441ppi that phones like the Xperia Z or the Droid DNA achieve. We’ve heard chatter about the display of the upcoming M7 boasting a record-breaking 468ppi, so it will be interesting to see how the Galaxy S4 does against it.

pentile vs rgb 2

The fuziness of Pentile displays is visible in the Galaxy S3 shot.

Diamond subpixel arrangements could suffer from the same problem as PenTile – a visible fuzziness that appears around certain graphical elements (see image above). Nevertheless, at the super high resolution of a full HD display, the effect should be minimal. We’ll see for ourselves in March, says the latest rumor.

  • Filip Justin

    Interesting.. now bring me the phone!

  • I am actually hoping for a Full HD LCD, but given that it’s Samsung they will put Full HD AMOLED, but hey at least you get those really black blacks and color saturation!

    • Skander

      Why do you prefer LCD over AMOLED? a good quality AMOLED with the same matrix as an LCD beats it.

      • LCD has natural colors and uses less battery. AMOLED has deep blacks but oversaturates colors and uses more battery juice.

        • MasterMuffin

          No, amoled is more battery friendly (though it depends on what you do)

          • If you have a Black Wallpaper and no icons, and no White on the screen at all, Then Yes, it is in fact battery friendly.

        • bgebsif

          Depends. LCD colours are more washed out and amoled panels display blacks by turning the pixels off. So that saves battery.

          • Most of the things you do on your phone rarely includes half black screen. Remember that background of 99% of websites is white and most apps use rather gray than black so it doesn’t help.

        • PeriaShan

          same here man, the color reproduction of lcd is natural comparatively plus lcd screens have better brightness then oled panels and that favors viewing experience on lcds. It varies from person to person some look at the oversaturated colors of OLED and like it but i always prefer natural colors so dont really like OLEDs for that.
          P.S. in my view as good as the blacks are on OLED the white color is as bad on an OLED.

        • john

          with battery part, it depends, but I always use apps with black background, and black=with amoled no energy used to light them=save! I mean my GS1 had very good battery life.

          I think the color reproduction is really based on personal taste, I like the “Super” IPS on my Transformer Prime, but I prefer amoleds when I watch movies, the pixels look more “even” to me…that’s just me though.

          I think LCDs are good in aspect that they have higher reflectivity than AMOEDs. This means when there is plenty of lights in the environment, LCD simply reflects the ambient light to show the pictures. AMOLED however would look like black sheet of paper without it’s own light source.

  • Steve_

    YOUM Full HD!

  • juseph

    If is HD witch RGB (3 subpixels)harder to make than pen-tile ( 2 subpixels ), then the full HD hexagon (6 subpixels ?) will be much harder to make than RGB, if the SGS 4 will use hexagon, it will be propably not be full HD unless samsung have a joker in this game.

    • Hexagon is the shape of the pixel which can be packed tighter than the usual rectangular pixel

      • john

        I need a visual representation of this!

  • Peterson Silva

    To me this has always sounded like a first world problem. I had a low-end phone. After getting the S3, I have no complaints about the screen. I still find it amazing :)

  • MasterMuffin

    T o me the picture of sgs3’s screen looks better o.O

    • With pixels the edginess is what you want, not squares that are blended together.

    • HellG

      But then put into consideration the huge deference in pixel density 217 VS 306
      And not too big of a deference? That’s the work of pentile :/

      • MasterMuffin

        Damn you pentile! :/

      • sd

        actually its 260ish

        • HellG

          Sorry to disappoint you…
          480 x 800 pixels at an area of 4.3 inches = 217 pixels per inch…

  • 5 inch phone? NOOOO!

  • Evan Wickes

    Is white magic technology in this??