According to the latest rumors of the coming Galaxy S4 (from SamMobile), S4 will use SoLux display instead of its own flagship AMOLED. Although, this is very unlikely based on Samsung’s culture, it raised a valid question:why different display technologies matter?
Most of the time, when we talk about display, we talk about the resolution, for example nHD (640*360), WVGA (800*480), qHD (960*540), HD (1280*720), and full HD (1920*12980). In other words, the number of pixels in your display is our interest. Higher pixel density means more pixels in the given area, and of course usually results in sharper display.
Pixel density usually is measured by pixels per inch (PPI). For your information, Galaxy S has a ppi of 233, S2 with 219ppi and S3 with 306ppi. IPhone 4, 4s and 5 all have a ppi of 326. Usually, when you hold your device 5 to 10 inches away from your eyes, most people cannot differentiate pixel density difference if the pixel density is higher than 300-400ppi. For a handphone, the ideal pixel density is about 300ppi; while for a tablet, around 250ppi is good enough for most users.
So, it is safe to say most high-end handphones in the market already have sufficient pixel density for normal users. Galaxy S4 will have a 441ppi display (if rumor is true, and usually is), which is slightly lower than that in HTC One (469ppi). This is far more than enough.
But most people do not know that the color representation on your display is more (at least equally) important. Whether the color is natural, whether the color is vivid, are easily identified by human eyes. For example, most people feel colors in Galaxy S, S2 or S3 are vivid, but not so natural; while on iPhone 4 or 5, it is natural, but not so vivid.
Different from the number of pixels, color is strongly affected by the technology used to produce the LCD panel. Basically, there are three different technologies for current LCD panels.
TN-matrices is the old technology. The panel is usually used in cheap models, for example, Acer’s Iconia B1 tablet. The main problems of such panels include: slow response, small viewing angles and low-quality color reproduction.
IPS panel (In-Plane Switching technology), or Super IPS directly addresses the problems in TN-matrices panels. It has quick response, best viewing angle (close to 180 degree), and good color re-production. Most high-end mobile phones, for example, iPhone, HTC One X, Nexus 4, use such panels. The major disadvantage is more power consumption.
AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) is a quite different technology. Although the color is usually over-saturated in professionals’ eyes, for most people, the color is most vivid. This technology is dominated by two Korean companies: Samsung and LG. The later is the largest IPS panel manufacturer and does not make AMLOED panels for smartphones. SO, most AMOLED panels on your smartphones are manufactured by Samsung. Also, most middle to high end Samsung smartphones use this type of panels For tablet, only Samsung tablet 7.7 used this type display. For larger display on tablet, IPS (or Samsung’s PLS) panels are better balanced on cost and performance.
So, it is clear Samsung will always try to defend its AMOLED panel on smartphone market. It also differentiates its high-end smartphones from competitors. If Galaxy S4 ditches AMOLED, it would be disastrous for Samsung display business. Samsung already demoed the 4.99 inch full HD SuperAMOLED panel, therefore, there should be no manufacturing problems.
In addition, as an Asian company, Samsung will choose own components unless they have no choices.
The rumored SoLux display actually is usually an IPS panel with patented SoLux lighting source. It is said such lighting source can re-produce natural daylight (therefore, better color re-production) and is even more efficient than LED. HTC’s Butterfly and HTC One use this type of display. But to be frankly, most people will not be able to differ such panels with any high-end IPS panels.
For ordinary people, not for professionals, AMOLED panels still produce most “colorful” experience.
What panel will be sued in Galaxy S4? My two cents are on SuperAMOLED.
What’s your opinion? Please share with us in the comments section below.