Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition)

The new Note 10.1 2014 Edition is a sleek piece of gear. We saw it at IFA last week and we loved its super crisp display and thin profile, and then there’s the S Pen and all the creative things that you can do with it.

With its faux leather finish, the new Note 10.1 looks pretty smart on the outside, but its innards are just as intelligent. Among them is the 10.1-inch LCD display, which according to industry sources cited by the Korean news portal DDaily, uses 30 percent less power than regular LCD screens of the same size, thanks to its RG-BW subpixel arrangement.

Quick explanation: unlike AMOLED screens, which are self-illuminating, LCD displays have a backlight, which is a usually a white LED. To show all the pretty colors our eyes can discern, the light goes through an array of pixels, each of them made up of several subpixels. Generally, LCD panels have three kinds of subpixels for the three basic colors – red, green, and blue. Simply put, each kind of subpixel absorbs two of the colors (actually light of different wavelengths) and lets the third one go through. This is how colors are formed.

The problem is a lot of the backlight is absorbed and turned to heat, and thus wasted.

To allow more light through, Samsung added a “white” subpixel to the arrangement, though a better term would be “clear”. This subpixel doesn’t absorb light like the other three types and serves to increase brightness, especially when it comes to displaying the white backgrounds that are prevalent on the Web.

RG-bw lcd pentile

Typically, each pixel on an RGB LCD display is made of three stripes of equal size of the three colored subpixels. In the Note 10.1 2014, the setup is a little different: each pixel is made of just two subpixels: either a red and a green one, or a blue and a white one. This accommodates the fourth clear subpixel, but it also increases the size of the subpixels allowing more light through. This is a subpixel arrangement called PenTile, and is typically used by Samsung on AMOLED panels. An earlier device that came with a PenTile RG-BW LCD display was the 2011 Motorola Atrix.

30% less power, 1.5X brightness

Thanks to the white subpixel and the PenTile arrangement, the Note 10.1 2014 Edition’s display can output 1.5 times more brightness than a typical RGB display. In fact, according to DDaily’s report, the technology allows for a 30 percent decrease in power consumption, which is very substantial, especially for a 10-inch device. That gives us hope for some extra long battery life in the new Note 10.1, which we’ll definitely test when we get for review.

Another interesting tidbit that we’ve learned from the report is that Samsung will use the same PenTile RG-BW LCD technology in a 13.3-inch device coming sometime next year. The Ativ Q matches the description, though gossip has it that Samsung delayed or cancelled the project due to patent issues.

Bogdan Petrovan
Bogdan is the European Managing Editor of Android Authority. He loves tech, travel, and fantasy. He wishes he had more time for two of those things. Bogdan's phone is a Nexus 6P.
  • RarestName

    Galaxy Note 10.1, does it have a battery life of 10.1 hours?


  • Cl3V3rMe

    impressive, that coupled with a good battery should make for an awesome battery life
    i’m waiting for some high end windows tablets from samsung the ativ tab 3 is cutting it for me

  • Tamadrummer94

    Wasn’t Japan Display experimenting with displays like this too? I think they were called “white magic.” That was a while ago, I’m not sure what happened to them.

    • lil bit

      JDI used 4 subpixels per pixel, not like this crap.

  • dfq

    look sony, samsung now has the white magic display you introduced with the xperia p. awful sony. you can’t even get your z1 display right. the viewing angle problem still exists. colors still shift at an angle. sony didn’t really improve after all.

  • Jack3D

    Wait…are we celebrating a device for using PenTile???


    • lesportif

      Yes. This is hilarious.

  • Jo

    It sound very impressive. I hope the next edition of Note 8 gets this type of diplay too. This is the tablet I’m waiting for.

    • Spruce Cycle

      Note 8 is a damn good tablet and I’ll have mine next month. Thought I could wait till it got the “2014” treatment like this Galaxy 10in but I want it NOW.

  • MasterMuffin

    Nobody here complaining about PenTile? GOOD!

  • Amine Elouakil

    more power efficient that what? first generation RGB LCD screen sure but what about the last generation? this is just marketing stunt from Samsung to shift attention from it bad pentile screens.

  • Spruce Cycle

    Now that’s innovation! Apple, please take notes—Galaxy Note!

    • Lisandro O Oocks

      Moto X had it first. I don’t give them credit for coming up with it, merely for pushing it forward.

      • Stocklone

        I think you mean the Motorola Atrix 4G.

      • Moto bought those screens from Samsung, so…

    • lesportif

      Apple devices screen are full RGB. Compromises like Pentile are not innovation :-)

      • You mean the screens that Samsung has made a good percentage of? Those screens?

        • lesportif

          Yes. The screens Samsung used to make for Apple (before they switch to LG/Sharp/Japan Display).
          What’s your point ? We’re speaking about full functional device, not one part or another.

  • RanRu

    The main point I took from this “innovation” is that it now takes the Note 10.1 two full pixels to show colors that should only take one. Meaning it has an effective resolution of 800×1280, half it’s advertised resolution. Small wonder it uses less power.

    Sharp is able to make displays with four subpixels per pixel (RBGY), so why can’t Samsung do the same with a white pixel instead of a yellow one? Then again, why bother when you can cut corners like this and still get all the marketing hype?

    In the end, this is just another tradeoff between quality and functionality that Sammy is masquerading as an all-around improvement, which it’s not. I’m thoroughly unimpressed.

    • Blowntoaster

      you haven’t even seen the screen, or a review of it yet and somehow you seem to think you know what you are talking about.

      go nitpick somewhere else.

      This will be a good tablet, with great battery life.

      bring it on Samsung, and ignore the bloody whiners…

      • Stocklone

        I WAS excited about the Note 10.1. I’ve seen RGBW displays in Motorola phones and those are the worst damn displays I have ever seen on a phone. So yeah, not happy about this. I hate RGBW far more than RGBG. I’m waiting til I can play with it in a store. No chance in buying it unseen now.

      • RanRu

        I’ve seen enough of Samsung’s PenTile displays to know that I never want to own a device with one.
        If they’re so technologically advanced, why can’t they manage to make screens with a proper subpixel layout anymore? They did it with the Super AMOLED Plus display on the Galaxy S II. Whatever happened to that?

        • Stocklone

          The AMOLED display in the Note II is fantastic. It’s not a traditional RGB stripe but it still has 3 subpixels. I looked hard when I first got the phone for artifacts and couldn’t find a thing wrong with the screen. They used the same AMOLED setup with the Moto X and the new Droid phones too. Pentile is crap for the most part. I actually don’t mind the pentile on the S4 but that’s 1080p on a 5″ screen. But the pentile on this tablet really has me worried.

    • Gabriel

      I’m not an expert, and have only been following sites like this for a few weeks, but doesn’t it mean a resolution of around 1131×1810?
      Since it is a 1600×2560 screen, it has 4096000 pixels. But because of the pentile RBGW setting, it has half as much green, red and blue subpixels: 2048000.
      That means that this screen has 2048000 “complete” pixels (which would be a true RBGW pixel with 4 subpixels.
      A screen with this number of pixels and a 1:1.6 format is a screen of a resolution of about 1131×1810 (these numbers are slightly rounded down, their product is actually 2047110).
      This seems to return a ppi of 210.7, far lower than the announced 300, but very close to apple’s ipad retina. And the white subpixel gives it higher luminosity with lower energy expenditure

      • RanRu

        You’re right. I’ll admit I didn’t think that part through.
        It still doesn’t excuse the use of a PenTile display. The only reason Samsung would use this RB-GW pixel setup instead of a proper RBGW setup is so they can cut costs while still advertising a 1600×2560 resolution.
        I don’t agree with the method. I find it dishonest.

        • Dominic Powell

          its dishonest true, but I think the thing to do first would be to compare its display to others first. If somehow the display can still display the super deep blacks amoleds are known for with truer whites and the W pixels tones down the over-saturation a little. it could be a great display.

      • Adrian Meredith

        resolution is measured by the number of green subpixels, so it actually has more subpixels than a normal screen.

  • VasyaPupkin

    Some comments below show how easy it is to fool people and make something bad look as good.

  • james Blunt

    I am still waiting for the Samsung galaxy Ativ Q the hybrid tablet that has a 13.3 inch and a Intel Core i5 haswell processor .

    • sausalito

      RIt will never come. That was recently announced !

    • hot_spare

      It has been put to ‘hold’ now. Some patent related issue. No idea what specific patent we are looking here, maybe some design related. Wait for a re-design.

  • Peeyush Malik

    Lol what a pun “galaxy note 10.1 2014 edition is a sleek piece of GEAR”
    It’s the other way actually

  • Jusephe

    White subpixel also means washed out collors, because if you got something colorful like a nice purple flower and you will fire some white into it to increase brightness you will get less intense purple color.

    And that 150 % brightness compared to what ? nexus 10 ? That could be nice because its got decently bright screen already but nexus 10 just sucked up its battery quick as hell when it was at max brightness and knowing samsung it’s not 150% brightness and 30 % lower power but 150 % brightness OR 30% lower power. And because this got smaller battery than nexus, 30% power reduction couldn’t be enough, cause again nexus got just very hungry screen.

    And of course it’s 30% less power if it has 30% less subpixels ! It means it has 30% less driving transistors and so 30% less parts to block the light that comes through. Also you will get sharpness like a 200 ppi display instead a 300 ppi one. (Closer to an iPad mini than to a nexus 7 2)

    Putting this into a context what would you like to buy ? This or an thinner lighter iPad 5 gen. (That runs android to make it fair choice) with a very well calibrated display with greater sharpness and power efficiency (it will be propably IGZO) that gives 10 (maybe even more) hours on a charge at equal price of 499$ ?

    This aehm disappoints me… It just an attempt by samsung to fit a 2560 by 1600 spec on their spec sheet but they needed to rearrange pixels to give it greater power efficiency and they compromised on color reproduction and nexus-class sharpness. I was seriously hoping for an AMOLED tablet from samsung for some time now…

  • RaptorOO7

    I will reserve judgement until I see it in person and use it, but otherwise I am getting one.

  • sausalito

    We are still waiting for the prise ! It will be the problem, I think.

  • sourabh

    The specs of the note 10.1 are just awesome.

  • Listen. Unless this has some other major changes in the display technology, this is nothing new. Take a look at this PenTile that uses white compared to the LCD on the One X:

    This is the display that Samsung introduced in 2011. Hands on reviews seem to indicate that without dimming, darks & particularly light images on a dark background are not so great, since you get a lot of fringing & require dimming to even be halfway decent. This is an old stab at a cheap display with less power consumption. Bottom line… I’d rather see metal oxides on an LED or LCD display than a rehashed stab at dumping your 2011 garbage stock Samsung.

  • Guest

    Fuck pentile. I want my 3 subpixels per pixel, so I can display images like they’re meant to be. Pentile is a cheat. It means that the producer was unable to get the resolution this high so they saved subpixels.