We’ve already spent time outlining the various AMOLED technologies employed by current smartphones and our video guide explains just where the differences lie, but this was all before Samsung shook the mobile market up with the launch of their new flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S3, another device which makes use of AMOLED display tech.
The Galaxy S3 may employ an HD SuperAMOLED display, but despite technically utilising the same underlying technology used by the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Note, Samsung have taken steps to improve its pentile technology even further. Not only does it technically differ from Samsung’s previous HD Super AMOLEDs, it’s noticeably better in real world use.
A common plight of AMOLEDs is that they degrade faster than alternative display technologies, however manufacturers opt for such displays due to their notable advantages in power efficiency. Having said this, the Galaxy S3’s display proved to be undeniably brighter and sharper than the Galaxy Note’s screen when we placed them in a side-by-side comparison. The Note’s lower pixel density may account for a loss in brightness, but in the time between the two devices respective launches Samsung have also been able to eliminate the blue tinge common in many AMOLEDs, including the Note (bear in mind, the Note's display is still fantastic).
When the Galaxy S3 was announced, many were disappointed to find that Samsung stuck with pentile technology for the phone’s display. The main disadvantage of pentile displays are their pixel structure compared to Samsung’s AMOLED Plus displays, such as that used by the Galaxy S2 or other alternative technologies such as LCDs. Whilst ‘Plus’ offers uniform pixel sizing and position, pentile distorts the size, arrangement and ratio of red, green and blue pixels on the screen, however this improves screen longevity and brightness (over AMOLED Plus) in the process. A closer inspection of the S3’s pixel arrangement can be seen in these images captured by Engadget, where the S3’s small green pixel and squared red pixel are particularly apparent when placed alongside the LCD 2 pixel arrangement of the HTC One X.
In our comparison with the HTC One X’s LCD 2 display, the drop clarity is noticeable, but the opposing argument is that battery life on the S3 is dramatically better, partly thanks to its choice of HD SuperAMOLED.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 may not use the brightest or most vivid screen technology on the market, but you have to commend Samsung for choosing the right tool for the job. The HD SuperAMOLEDs power efficiency (particularly important on a quad-core device like the Galaxy S3), and going forward, its longevity, will keep users happier far longer than better screen technology employed on a device that expires in half the time.