The display of the Galaxy Note 3 is PenTile, but does it matter anymore?

September 19, 2013
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We take a close look at the displays of the Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Note 2, and the Galaxy S4.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy S4-2 AA

The Galaxy Note 3 is one of the most exciting devices of the season, thanks to its great design and hardware, but also to its expansive 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display. Whenever it comes to Samsung phones though, there’s one question that people regularly ask: is the display PenTile or RGB?

We explained the difference between the PenTile and RGB subpixel arrangements many times, so we won’t rehash it here. If you’re interested in an in-depth explanation, check out our Note 2 vs Galaxy S3 display comparison.

The Galaxy Note 2 featured an RGB display, while for the Galaxy S4, Samsung opted for a PenTile arrangement with diamond-shaped subpixels. There was a bit of confusion about the display of the new Galaxy Note 3, but Samsung cleared it when it confirmed to AppDated that the Note features the same display technology as the Galaxy S4.

PenTile RGBG matrix on the Galaxy S4 (source: Samsung via DisplayMate Technologies)

PenTile matrix on the Galaxy S4. Notice the larger, diamond-shaped red and blue pixels

Early generations of PenTile displays suffered from a certain jaggedness that some users observed around fine graphic elements such as text and icons. Experts panned the display of the Galaxy S3 for this reason.

Notice the jaggedness around the text on the PenTile Galaxy S3

Notice the jagged halo around the text on the PenTile Galaxy S3

But as resolutions and pixel densities advanced, it became close to impossible for most users to discern the difference between an RGB and a PenTile matrix. These close-up shots of the displays of the Note 3, Galaxy S4, and the Note 2 illustrate this point very well.

Notice how there’s no blurriness around the text on the Galaxy Note 3 or Galaxy S4.

Galaxy Note 3 text closeup. Click to enlarge

Galaxy Note 3 text closeup. Click to enlarge

Galaxy Note 2 text closeup. Click to enlarge

Galaxy Note 2 text closeup. Click to enlarge

Galaxy S4 text closeup. Click to enlarge

Galaxy S4 text closeup. Click to enlarge

Galaxy Note 3 photo closeup. Click to enlarge

Galaxy Note 3 photo closeup. Click to enlarge

Galaxy Note 3 closeup. Click to enlarge

Galaxy Note 3 closeup. Click to enlarge

The conclusion is visible to the naked eye: at Full HD or higher resolutions, the difference between PenTile and RGB only matters from a technical perspective, for things like display lifespan, power consumption, and production costs. When it comes to the actual user experience though, the difference becomes unnoticeable.

Now Watch: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Review

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