Super AMOLED display shootout: Galaxy S3 vs Galaxy S2 vs HTC One S

by: LucianMay 23, 2012
6 17 55

amoled display shootout

The three main complaints about the upcoming Galaxy S3 device have been about its Pentile display, which many didn’t expect to see in Samsung’s flagship phone, the design, which naysayers claim that looks like any other mid-end or older device, and, one of the oldest criticism about Samsung’s devices (which apparently they’re still refusing to acknowledge), the fact that it’s made of “cheap-feeling” plastic., an Italian Android site, has tried to compare the displays of Galaxy S3, the Galaxy S2 and the HTC One S, to see how they fare against each other, keeping in mind that all of them are Super AMOLED displays of some kind. The Galaxy S2 is the only “Plus” version, although with significantly lower pixels (at 800×480 resolution), the One S has a 960×540 resolution, Pentile, and finally, the Galaxy S3 with a 1280×720 resolution, also Pentile.

Here are the images of the side by side comparison:

As you can see, it’s pretty hard to notice much difference with the naked eye, and it’s also hard to see how accurate the color reproduction is, since the Italians didn’t compare the three AMOLEDs to any LCD display (which has very accurate colors). What we can see is that the colors of the Galaxy S2 are a little lighter compared to the One S and the Galaxy S3.

In the above image, we can see that the One S has a lot whiter “whites”, and therefore it’s a lot more accurate when it’s representing the white color. This has been a problem with Super AMOLED displays since day one, but you don’t really notice it unless you put the device next to another phone. But the One S uses Super AMOLED, too, so how did they manage to get it that white? My guess is HTC calibrate their own displays, and they managed to make the white a lot more accurate.

Besides the bluish whites, you’ll see that Super AMOLED also has a hard time distinguishing between the darkest shades of black. This means that, when you’re playing a space-themed game or watching anything like that, where the different shades of black matter, Super AMOLED might not be the best choice. You can see what I’m talking about in this video, which compares LG’s AH-IPS display and the Super AMOLED Plus display in Galaxy S2:

  • AppleFUD

    There’s always trade offs. . .

    I’m happy with the Galaxy Nexus screen — I can read text on it better than anything else I’ve used and I can’t see any of the “pentile issues” people talk about.

    • YellowRex

      I haven’t noticed any pentile issues, but I have noticed a bunch of AMOLED issues with the Galaxy Nexus.

      In particular, a white or light grey background drives me crazy because it’s speckled with rainbow noise. It’s worse at low brightness levels, but I notice it all the time now.

      If T-Mobile gets the One X or the Xperia P or S, I might switch for the better LCD.

  • sergio


    • andhavarapu

      you can always use a screen calibration app right?

    • Shaun Hollingworth

      My S3 definately isn’t blue tinted! I know this, having compared a white background on it with one displayed on a calibrated monitor. Both are as whute as it gets.

    • James Cranston

      i’m just going to throw it out there that mine is fine too.
      the only time mine looks blue is in the browser, and theres a low light setting (by hitting the menu button and hitting brightness you can switch between none or 3 levels of dimming for night reading.)

  • Meiyi_3000

    HTC looks to have the best screen. The Samsung S2 would look nicer if not for all those reflections. =.= Comparison of screens should be done in a more controlled environment.

  • YellowRex

    Aaa reflections! Hard to compare the displays when they’re half-obscured like that. Then again, that’s how these displays look in practice too. Someday phone makers will figure out how to make a nice screen that doesn’t double as a mirror (though for some folks that’s a feature!)

    • Bobby Phoenix

      Agreed. Why not make them Matte like older flat panel displays? All this high gloss needs to go.

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  • Perlie2007

    I viewed the Samsung Galaxy S, the Galaxy S2, a Motorola Photon, and my own HTC Merge at the cellphone store. There is NO QUESTION that the Samsung AMOLED screen cannot produce anything close to a white. Even when viewed by itself it has a strong blue tinge. That produces very poor reading of text with “their” version of white and with black letters. The screen does have vibrant colors BUT that is only useful if you are using your phone as an entertainment center rather than a communication device. I am VERY disturbed by the poor (contrast and inaccuracy of colors) quality of that Samsung AMOLED screen.

  • Mamoon Noorestani

    In my opinion, The HTC One S and the Samsung Galaxy S3 are the winners in this Super-Amoled Display shootout.

  • Michael

    Any better alternatives for the HTC One S(excluding s2 and one X)?

  • BongCastaneda

    [quote]In particular, a white or light grey background drives me crazy because it’s speckled with rainbow noise. It’s worse at low brightness levels, but I notice it all the time now.[/quote]
    This is a sign of a badly scratched matte screen protector and is not the fault of moled screens. Change your screen protector and the rainbows will go away.

  • DaveC

    Many problems with this info.
    First not all AMOLED displays will be the same on the SAME UNIT. Yes there are slight variations on the displays even on the same model phone. You can look at all S3s and some will be bluish, some will be greenish and some will be warmer or reddish. I have seen this. This is due to manufacturing variations with different batches etc.
    Also the black crushing the article refers to is not the display hardware at all. It has nothing to do with pentile or RGB etc. It has to do with the way the display drivers are made/set. It is a software and calibration issue and many times a decision made by the manufacturer.

  • Kapil Khemani

    Power saving made is on on S2 and s3 due to whichwhite is shown as bluish to save battry life i hav worked on all smartphones never seen anywhere such sharp as s3 s2 & s4 is lord of all phones