Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has only been official for just over a week and is yet to see the light of day in any part of the world, but has already provoked more controversy and passion than probably any other Android-based smartphone in history.

It’s practically impossible to find someone interested in technology who doesn’t have a strong opinion on Sammy’s new flagship phone, with feelings ranging from disappointment and anger to excitement and enthusiasm.

The Galaxy S3’s detractors voiced their discontent with the phone’s design first and foremost. But there have been a lot of voices that expressed concern over the use of a PenTile subpixel layout for the new Super AMOLED display. Samsung’s officials have defended the phone’s design from the get-go, calling it revolutionary and innovative, but up until now they have kept quiet about the Pentile screen “issue”.

However, in an exclusive talk with the guys at MobileBurn, Sammy officials have finally weighed in on the PenTile vs RGB debate. Moreover, they offered what seems like a very plausible explanation for the use of the PenTile pixel layout.

RGB or PenTile – What is the difference?

Before getting into the subject, let’s quickly talk about PenTile and RGB and explain in a few words the two technologies. RGB means “red green blue” and is generally used to refer to the sub-pixel matrix used in a display that sees three individual sub-pixels (one red, one green, one blue) making up a complete pixel. The red, green, and blue sub-pixels exist as vertical bars, each one measuring a third of the width of the full pixel.

In contrast, the PenTile matrix uses five sub-pixels in a different formation. They can act as a part of numerous logical pixels, and they often contain pure white sub-pixels. PenTile displays are perceived as brighter than RGB screens, but many display purists consider them fuzzier and overall inferior to the classic RGB.

Samsung: PenTile is more reliable

Now that we’ve explained how things should be in theory with PenTile and RGB, let’s hear what Sammy has to say. According to Philip Berne, from Samsung America, the choice of PenTile was made with durability and reliability in mind. According to the Samsung official, AMOLED displays that use RGB layouts have a tendency to degrade faster, due to the green subpixels being for some reason more “fragile”.

However, the PenTile matrix used for the manufacturing of the S3 display arranges the subpixels in a RGBG layout (red, green, blue, green). Thus, there are more green subpixels than red or blue, and so the display will have a longer lifespan than a classic RGB.

Furthermore, Philip Berne said that PenTile’s problems with fuzziness and the overall lack of crispness are usually encountered on displays with lower resolutions, like qHD or WVGA. The S3 has a 1280 x 720 pixels resolution display, so, as far as Sammy officials are concerned, it should provide the crispest images around, the widest viewing angles possible, and increased reliability.

What do you think?

There you have it, ladies and gentleman, the reason behind the decision that has stirred so much controversy! I personally haven’t had the opportunity to play around with the S3, so I can’t say if the phone’s display is actually “as perfect” as Samsung describes it. But we will surely do a thorough review soon enough and come back with our opinion.

In the meantime – do you buy Samsung’s explanations? Are you expecting the Galaxy S3 to sport the greatest display ever? Also, do you think that regular users will be bothered by (or even notice) those extremely subtle differences between displays with RGB and PenTile layouts?

  • mike

    The screen on S3 is awesome !

  • Chriski333

    Im pretty sure s3 will be amazing I can’t stop reading about hoping to find a release date for the usa and if Verizon will get it?

    • Rolex1

      Sorry..but a lot of you are just being silly with this..its our money..and its our upgrade from a SAmoledPLUS SGS2.. Why should we have expected any less? Where’s the logic in that? Most of us purchased a SGS2 instead of the Nexus S due to the screens RGB layout..this was an upgrade from a Galaxy S in every way..many even today will buy a SGS2 instead of the Note or Galaxy Nexus purely for the sharpness and colour representation of the SGS2’s RGB Display..the hardware train was moving forward..Better processor,better battery, better cameras(technically), better speaker..better everything..Why did the screen department (the most important tool on the phone) take a step backwards? This is pathetic.. this isn’t a Galaxy S3..its a “Galaxy S-S”
      Just to make it clear why I said ppl are being a bit silly..the Galaxy Nexus has the same pentile pixel arrangement as the Galaxy S3, but a smaller screen size..which means it has a higher pixel density than the S3.. so even the Galaxy Nexus has a better screen..where’s the upgrade? The 720p immaculate RGB that would have blown the socks off the entire industry?
      However u look at it..the S3’s screen is a failure..I left the Galaxy Nexus due to the ability to always notice the pentile arrangement when looking at whites,reds,blues ..any color other than green..its like a film over the screen that’s putting micro jagged black lines throughout the display..for those that know..spoiling their viewing experience..
      And you know what? Their gona get away with it..

      • Nick

        Wow you must be an Avenger or a super…. something….they need to magnify it under microscope but you can see it with naked eye… interesting…
        Anyway… I wasn’t disappointed at the screen. I was a little disappointed at these few things:
        1 – Camera… was expecting 12Mb….
        2 – The design was not what I would expect. But after days of looking at it, I sort of like the white one… not too ugly…
        3 – RAM, well I was hoping for 2Gb.

        Things I like:
        1 – Quad Core
        2 – Detachable batteries
        3 – SD slot.

        The reason why many of us are not buying the Nexus is because no SD & 5Mb camera, ICS is only an OS which will come to SGS2 soon… I would not touch HTC One because of the Detachable batteries & no sd slot. I am using SGS2 with 32Gb card and I still do not have enough.

  • Guest

    Great side-by-side comparison picture. And… as always… the caption forgot to mention which screen was which.


    • Ryan MORGAN

      Could you not work that out for yourself?!

    • Guest

      Left – RGB | Right – PenTile

  • Guest

    If the pixels are far, far smaller than my eye can even see… how can the overall picture be “too fuzzy”????

    • erikgrad

      I don’t think fuzzy is the right word for it…its more like ‘imperfect’. With some pixels of a different size, it creates a distortion effect, but I don’t think most people notice it.

      For some reason, my eyes see it enough that I prefer a 480×800 RGB over a 1280×720 pentile…

      …or, it is just in my head.

  • Samsung fan

    i was realy hoping for 1080 screen

    • Disturbd1

      On a smartphone that has a screen less than 5 inches? Why? You literally wouldn’t notice a difference on something that small…

      • umm, that’s the whole point

        • pssst,

          He was talking about the difference between 720 and 1080

  • andhavarapu

    I am not sure I buy the reliability reason. Somebody should explain that better. As far as I know 2 green vs 1 red and blue had to do with our eyes increased sensitivity to one of those colours. The logic about the high resolution makes sense but I doubt the reliability story. That said, camera makers measure their displays in dots and i guess phones should switch to that now since all pixels aren’t equal…

    • AppleFUD

      Yeah, I don’t buy the reliability claim either. After all, how long are you going to keep a smartphone? If Samsung has its way you won’t keep it more than a year anyway.

      Nonetheless, the Galaxy Nexus screen is crystal clear to me however, I’m still game for the better screens as I’m sure they are even clearer :)

      More importantly. . . how about screen that give better battery life?????

      • andhavarapu

        Well not just in the sense of how long you keep it. Seeing that its a bit inconsiderate to discard something that works well, it would be nice to have a phone for as long as its functioning. Even if it is relegated to second class and you get a new one… But well whatever the marketing guy was fed really…

        But battery life I am afraid the onus rests upon the users. If we flock to thin and light like mad people then we deserve this. If the demand slumped when the battery life dropped, then the manufacturers would have taken the hint. I mean 16mm to 9mm phones is excellent. But below that now I really would rather have battery life even if it means the thickness goes back to 10mm or so.

        • AppleFUD

          I’m not talking about bigger battery Vs thinner devices. . .

          I’m talking about tech like ‘Liquavista’ that Samsung purchased a while back — an HD color e-ink type of display that uses significantly less battery, since the screen uses the most battery out of anything on a smartphone.

  • Looks awesome.. can’t wait to get it!

  • Jaysann22

    I wish the talk would just be over already and just release the damn phone in the US!! The US has practically 0 information on whats to come yet as far as a US release and yet Samsung states its coming in June. Thats only a few weeks away and as far as carrier releases we know nothing…

    • Helenoftroy

      I agree! God! Just stop talking about it and release it! No one even knows what it will cost? I assume $299 with a 2 year contract! I would love to know the talk time, stand by time, etc? Ugh! Ur right! Stop TALKING BOUT IT! AND LET US HAVE IT, BEFORE WE CHANGE OUR MINDS……. LOL

  • Bradtigas03

    Im not disappointed with the SGS3 because still have a good contrast with very saturated and vibrant colours along with good viewing angles compare to other phones. But if my LED TV used a pentile technology that is my big disappointment!

  • Siorizzo81

    It’s the same exact display as the Galaxy Nexus so therefore it’s not the best. It’s good but not as good as the HTC one X.

    • Buster Palmano

      It’s a different size and the space between pixels is smaller, so no.

      • markt9002

        Yes, the display on the One X, and EVO 4g LTE is better than the Galaxy S3. I was planning on buying the SGS3, but the display on the LTE is beautiful. I believe both the LTE, and SGS3 will be supported by a very active development community. You cannot go wrong with either.

  • Undecided

    Has anyone who is posting here had both phones in their hands at the same time and can speak from experience? If not, please stop the nonsence. Engineers, fan-boys and geeks need to wait and actually SEE the display. Not video, pics, or what Aaron (from you know who) says. Just STHU. Thank You.