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Display comparison: HTC One X vs iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, LG Nitro HD, Samsung Galaxy S II

Posted: , by Nick T.

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Display comparison: HTC One X vs iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, LG Nitro HD, Samsung Galaxy S II
A display can either make or break a handset, which is why we often take the cream of the crop of the smartphone world for a thorough screen examination. Just recently, we got to review the HTC One X, and that gorgeous Super-LCD 2 display left us with a pretty good impression. That is why we decided to put it against a quartet of modern smartphones in order to see how it compares. The contenders we chose were the iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, LG Optimus LTE (which is pretty much identical to the LG Nitro HD for AT&T), and the Samsung Galaxy S II.

Now, all of these five smartphones have pretty good displays, but only by pitting them against each other we can tell which one has the best screen of all. So without further ado, let us begin by taking a look at the display specs for each device:

Display comparison: HTC One X vs iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, LG Nitro HD, Samsung Galaxy S II
 

Outdoor visibility

It is a bright, sunny day here, which is perfect for the goal of this article! Sure enough, we took the five handsets outside and put them side by side to see which one delivers the best results under broad daylight. Without a doubt, the HTC One X grabs the top spot in this category as its Super-LCD 2 panel noticeably outshines the rest, but the IPS-LCD display on the iPhone 4S is almost as good when it comes to outdoor visibility. The IPS-LCD display on the Optimus LTE and the Super AMOLED Plus panel on the Samsung Galaxy S II are usable as well, as long as they are not reflecting the sun rays directly towards the user's face. However, with them the drop in contrast is more evident. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus may not be impossible to use under such conditions, but its Super AMOLED HD screen is definitely the worst performer among the bunch. 


Resolution

Since four out of the five displays that we are comparing have resolutions exceeding the 300ppi milestone, it is really hard to pick a clear winner in this category. The fact of the matter is that even the finest of text is just as easily legible on the screens of the One X, iPhone 4S, and Optimus LTE. The Galaxy Nexus has a display with a PenTile pixel arrangement, which makes tiny text slightly jagged, but in reality that hardly makes any difference as it is barely noticeable. Same is the case when viewing graphics – individual pixels on these four devices' displays are nearly impossible to distinguish as they blend together creating picture-perfect visuals. Only the display on the Samsung Galaxy S II lags behind with its relatively low pixel density of 215ppi. Don't get us wrong for this WVGA Super AMOLED Plus screen is still more than okay for the average Joe, but it is far from what the most demanding users would expect to get nowadays. 

Close-up photos of the five displays (100% zoom)

Close-up photos of the five displays (100% zoom)



Color reproduction

Determining which one of these displays delivers the best colors is a bit tricky. After all, some people prefer the punchy colors of AMOLED displays, while others prefer more neutral tones. Still, if precise and natural color representation is of importance, the Super-LCD 2 panel on the HTC One X and the IPS-LCD display on the iPhone 4S hold the top spot. Colors on the One X's screen might seem slightly more saturated than what we would classify as neutral, but that is what makes photos and graphics come to life. On the other hand, when put next to the HTC One X, the colors on the iPhone 4S's screen look slightly washed out, but not too much and still classify as natural.

The IPS-LCD on the LG Optimus LTE has a pretty neutral color reproduction as well and is nearly as good as the aforementioned two, although whites tend to look a bit grayish. As for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S II, colors on their displays look impressive, but way too unnatural due to the excessive saturation that AMOLED panels are associated with. Also, whites on the Super AMOLED Plus panel of the Galaxy S II appear slightly blueish. One thing that we have to admit, however, is that these two AMOLED screens excel when it comes to displaying black, although the Super-LCD 2 panel is almost as good at that, followed by the IPS-LCD displays on the iPhone 4S and LG Optimus LTE.

The five displays viewed at a 90-degree angle. Note that each display has been photographed individually

The five displays viewed at a 90-degree angle. Note that each display has been photographed individually



Viewing angles

When viewing angles are concerned, the two Super AMOLED panels have the upper hand, although they are not leading by miles. They retain their brightness levels fairly well even when tilted to the extreme, but at the expense of color accuracy. The Super-LCD 2 screen on the One X, however, is nearly as good for it remains clearly visible even when viewed at a very steep angle, and the shift in color hue is minimal to non-existent. The IPS-LCD panels on the iPhone 4S and the LG Optimus LTE do not disappoint either, but they are still no match for the competition.

The five displays viewed at an angle from below. Again, each display has been photographed individually

The five displays viewed at an angle from below. Again, each display has been photographed individually



Conclusion

If we say that the Super-LCD 2 panel on the HTC One X is currently among the best ones out there, we won't be mistaken. There simply isn't anything bad that we can say about it, and we are more than happy with its real life performance. Colors on it look great, using it outdoors is nothing to worry about, and its viewing angles are way above the average. At the same time, it is impressive to see that the IPS-LCD display on the iPhone 4S does not trail far behind despite being around for over a year and a half. What we like about it is the accurate color reproduction and high pixel density, which when put together result in a symphony for the eye.

The IPS-LCD screen on the LG Optimus LTE and the Super AMOLED HD display Samsung Galaxy Nexus deserve to be honored as well for delivering a high level of image detail. Still, we wish that the former had better reproduction of whites, and that the latter was easier to use outdoors. And as for the Samsung Galaxy S II and its Super AMOLED Plus panel, we still remember how excited we were when we saw it in person for the first time, but it becomes evident how quickly it is now being overtaken by more advanced display technologies. Exaggerated colors are getting old and its pixel density is nothing to brag about nowadays.

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posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:19 33

1. droiddomination (Posts: 203; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


ppi blah blah blah. all i know is when i put my eyes on a sammy super amoled screen, i am wowed everytime. the "realistic color" of other lcd screens are flat shiney and hard to see. amoled just pops right out at you! who care if you can read fine print bettter. a little pinch and zoom and boyah! fixed!

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:23 23

4. snowgator (Posts: 3197; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


I agree, I still love the Super AMOLED. But the latest tech always gets more love. Unless it is on a iPhone, of course, than 2 year old tech is still the bomb.....

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:32 33

7. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


i'm still not sure on which would I prefer, LCD or AMOLED...

thumbs up for S-AMOLED and thumbs down for LCD please.

excited for the sgs3's display tho.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:53 10

14. ian132 (Posts: 28; Member since: 20 Feb 2012)


super amoled also saves battery has better viewing angles and higher contrast ratio its a no brainer

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 12:04 15

38. r41nier (Posts: 63; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)


AMOLED doesn't really save more battery. Unless you're viewing a plain black screen. AMOLED even consume more power than LCD when you view a pure white screen. Power efficiency on AMOLED is just a marketing gimmick.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 15:00 1

60. ian132 (Posts: 28; Member since: 20 Feb 2012)


ya i know that i was just marketing the screen myself lol

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 13:24 5

51. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3840; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


You know these screens are all getting better & better. I am never going to bust out a magnifying glass ever, so to me I just go with what I like.

I am more concerned about screen size more than anything. I would love to see a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 with a 5.3" Super AMOLED+ 720p HD screen.

That would bring joy to my eyes! lol

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 17:19 1

68. Hunt3rj2 (Posts: 396; Member since: 11 Nov 2011)


SAMOLED+ HD hopefully will bring more power efficiency improvements...

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 20:51 1

70. cheetah2k (Posts: 772; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


I just wish I could see my GNex screen better outdoors when its sunny. Even cranking the brightness up doesn't help it much......

It's my only issue I have with what is otherwise an awesome phone.. :(

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:45 5

11. eaxvac (Posts: 328; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


Hi samsuck fan.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:59 17

19. lubba (Posts: 1310; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)


hello iphag fan;-)

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 11:10 3

22. TROLL.ISAHA (banned) (Posts: 535; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


Lubba nice one!
Keep it up!

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 11:08 1

20. TROLL.ISAHA (banned) (Posts: 535; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


Hi iZoombe fan!

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 11:19 2

24. gallitoking (Posts: 4684; Member since: 17 May 2011)


hello broke @ss fans

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 11:50 3

32. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


lame. how is owning an iphone make you rich? the i4s has already had a price drop to 150 on many carriers. yet LTE android phones command 300. hmm..

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 12:47 2

46. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)


lol when someone feels that owning an iphone means you are rich then you know that person really needs to get a life...i dont know how some people think people are defined by what phone they own lol

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 13:44 2

54. gallitoking (Posts: 4684; Member since: 17 May 2011)


all the comments before mine are as stupid but why only mine got the attention sensitive fandroids,....

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 14:01

56. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


because the other 2 trolls were playing with each other very nicely with each other and then u came in and said something negative to irritate them. naughty naughty gallito.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 12:03 2

37. frydaexiii (Posts: 1185; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


lol, if bragging that you can afford 1 is one of the reasons you bought an iPhone, sadly, you're the broke @ss one here who probably could barely afford it on your Mcdonalds pay.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 12:41

43. TROLL.ISAHA (banned) (Posts: 535; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


Hello baaaaaa mbaaaa.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:59 3

18. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1205; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)


Wow, is it just me or iPhoneArena actually likes the HTC One for once. I like Amoled screen too. But not sure I can really get pass the blue screen :/ Htc one X or SGSIII >"< decision decision.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 11:11 5

23. TROLL.ISAHA (banned) (Posts: 535; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


IMAGINE OWNING ALL
5 HANDSETS......

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 12:50 2

47. PAPINYC (Posts: 2227; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


They need the other four so that they can do on them what they can't do on their iPhone.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 13:42 1

53. -box- (Posts: 3729; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


Sorry was supposed to be thumbs up.. Skyfire doesn't like this site very much

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 11:44 3

31. PAPINYC (Posts: 2227; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


I agree. Just three months ago PA was posting microscopic images pegging the GN as the clear winner. Personally, I think they're drinking too much iJuice which is rendering them severely iNcApaciTated.

I prefer Sammy's SAP displays over Apple's Truely MiSleading iRetention displays. I would have to see this HTC One X for myself before rendering a final decision.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 12:39 1

42. TROLL.ISAHA (banned) (Posts: 535; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


Papinyc that was funny lmao.....
iJuice.....
they should patent that!
Imagine drinking that!
That will turn u into a proper
iSurvile.....

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 16:23

65. GreatSII (Posts: 1; Member since: 09 Apr 2012)


The thing is that the ppi doesn't say that much, because the iPhone and the LG Nito HD have about the same ppi but the LG has a much higher pixel amount per square inch

It isn't fair man :'(

posted on 14 Apr 2012, 12:51

84. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


I gotta agree. I want what my eyes like. I used to like LCD screens....until I got my first phone with an Amoled screen.

I am a Amoled fan now.

They both have their pros n cons....just pick what you like.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:21 7

2. snowgator (Posts: 3197; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


So the ONE X is the winner here. Good for HTC. Screens are a HUGE seller in the stores, as those who walk in not really having a decsion made will be drawn to a great screen. Bodes well for their flagship, at least short term.

Maybe I do not get it, but why all the big deal on viewing angles? I look at my screen head on, and wouldn't mind ifpeople next to me can't see it. I would almost prefer "poor" visibility for every angle but mine. Why is it I am the only one who feels this way?

posted on 14 Apr 2012, 12:53

85. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Viewing angles play a part in outdoor viewing when trying to avoid the sun, light.

Big example of this is the Rezound vs. the RAZR. I cant use my Rezound outside that good. The screen is also too reflective. Its an actual mirror.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:22

3. E34V8 (Posts: 52; Member since: 16 Dec 2011)


Are there still people who try to do review on displays?? You have to see the display with your eye to able to judge its quality.

And, in the Nokia monitor test (last two pictures), why do all the phones, except for the SGS2, have gray background instead of black (especially the iphone and the LG)?

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:26 4

5. bbblader (Posts: 575; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


''Exaggerated colors are getting old and its pixel density is nothing to brag about nowadays.''
who actually would brag about pixel density
people that don't know anything about smartphones and just use them don't care about
pixel density

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:28 5

6. scmc0310 (Posts: 6; Member since: 20 Jan 2012)


Is this article for real?? First of all the Nitro HD is on AT&T's network, not Verizon. Second, if you were to walk into any store and compare the AH IPS HD screen that is on the Nitro(not IPS LCD), you would see there is a huge difference. Amoled and Super Amoled with have a gray, blue or yellow tint on any white background, and the AH IPS display will be true white. If you don't believe it, then log each phone onto Google.com and compare the colors. I have a hard time trusting who ever wrote this, since they couldn't even get the carrier right for the Nitro. I wonder if Samsung used AH IPS technology if the the writer of this article would've have picked IPS instead of Amoled?? This site is so pro Samsung, it makes me sick!!!

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:43 5

9. chapizzo (Posts: 116; Member since: 13 Sep 2011)


that's a first. Usually they are accused of being pro iphone and anything apple.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:51 4

13. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


writers cant catch a break.

how are they pro samsung if samsung lost?

BTW, Amoled creates a blue ting. Most yellow tinges are found in defective iphone screens.

There currently is no such thing as the perfect screen. they all have their + and -, and its up to you to figure out which one you like the best.

personally, Ill stick with super amoled+, thanks :)

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 11:41 2

30. scmc0310 (Posts: 6; Member since: 20 Jan 2012)


I understand HTC won, but this site is so in love with Samsung, I just can't say how much I hate it enough. Nice job changing the Nitro to AT&T. Glad I could set you straight.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 14:02

57. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


Just as a side note.. do you realize that Samsung makes the LCD2 display on the HTC? And LG makes the IPS display on the iphone4s?

The contest was really between samsung (LCD2), Samsung(amoled) and LG (IPS).

so.. yaaaaay.. samsung won.
lolz.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 15:45

62. Guest_star (Posts: 231; Member since: 30 Dec 2011)


I read somewhere that One X uses AH-IPS like matrice so it must be LGs AH-IPS , no other explanation. They can't just take same screen redo it a bit and call it theirs so i think that this is tweeked AH-IPS

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 16:06

63. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


i read somewhere..

OH IT WAS PHONE ARENA

that said samsung made the screen. its on the OneX review page. true story. :)

lol,
sorry im in a smartass mood today.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 16:53

66. Guest_star (Posts: 231; Member since: 30 Dec 2011)


well mb samsung made it but it's LG AH-IPS newr the less so there you go...and i saw that on GSMarena, so it must be true... :)

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:35 6

8. AndroidShiz (Posts: 145; Member since: 08 Nov 2011)


Hmmm.. when I put my Gnexus screen on a brighter setting, I never have any issues in the sunlight. Actually I don't even have to, the auto brightness does just fine. Maybe his sun is different than mine.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:53

15. GuiltyBystander (Posts: 199; Member since: 05 Mar 2012)


What galaxy do you live in?.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 11:51 3

33. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


the "nexus" galaxy of course.. lol.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:43 4

10. crankyd00d (Posts: 191; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


It's not right to say the screen on the iPhone 4S is an old tech, the screen is not the same as the one in the iPhone 4, it's an improved screen, unless you want to call the screen onthe Galaxy S II a 2-3 year old tech only because it shares the same WVGA resolution with older smartphones...

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:58 2

16. Commentator (Posts: 2324; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


Is it though? I haven't read anywhere that Apple improved their screen over the iPhone 4. It's entirely possible that they use the exact same screens from the exact same factories. It's clearly not right to say the SII has the same screen as other WVGA phones because no other phone in the past had ever used a WVGA Super AMOLED Plus screen. However, one other phone before the iPhone 4S had used a 640x960 IPS "Retina" screen, and that was the iPhone 4.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 19:16

69. crankyd00d (Posts: 191; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


I read an article that the screen was not the same. I think it was at Tom's Hardware , it was a long time ago

posted on 20 Apr 2012, 11:00

90. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


they didn't have to improve retina at all. The rest of the world has been trying to catch up since now.
It was good enough..and still is.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:58 5

17. frydaexiii (Posts: 1185; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


dude, don't lie to yourself, it's the same screen, if not apple would have used it as a selling point no matter how minor the improvement.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 10:49 11

12. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


"Exaggerated colors are getting old and its pixel density is nothing to brag about nowadays."

The review is mostly fair, but its too personally subjective. From a sales point of view, customers come in and they see super amoled screens and their jaws drop. They love it. Its the biggest reason for a quick purchase is how eye popping the screen is. Samsung has the sales to back it up. The SGS1 and SGS2 are the 2 highest selling android phones of all time. PPI is meaningless to non nerds. Noone sticks their phones on the screen to see the pixels. IPS LCD is flat and cold. Its boring. You can keep the PPI.

The LCD2 from every report is gorgeous. I want to see it first hand. The side effect is that its a monster on the battery, which means even though HTC gained some battery improvements by going to the S4, they were lost on the LCD2. The real challenge is going to be thet SGS3 and its rumored RBB SA+ screen. Then you will have the unimportant pixel density + saturation + the huge battery savings that super amoled brings over LCD/LCD2.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 11:31 4

26. the_s2 (Posts: 205; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Totally agree. I guess its just 1% of the total consumers who prefer true colours to punchy colours. Let us wait for what criticism they will be have on GSIII SAMOLED+ HD panel. Will it again be the bluish tinge or the unnatural colours?

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 12:13

40. r41nier (Posts: 63; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)


The 99% are the regular consumer who does not know anything at all about tech. They only choose it because it looks cool and an eye candy to them. They don't care about specs and stuffs.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 11:40 2

29. gallitoking (Posts: 4684; Member since: 17 May 2011)


wrong the Evo 4g and the OG Droid have sold more then the SG's

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 11:53 2

35. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


u really think that eh? lol yes, the singular carrier devices of the evo4g and the Droid have sold more than the worldwide available galaxy series.

back that up with fact.

sometimes you are just silly gallito.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 13:37 2

52. gallitoking (Posts: 4684; Member since: 17 May 2011)


you went worldwide I kept it in the States..

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 14:05 2

58. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


its still the biggest seller in the states anyways gallito.

The SGS1 is STILL in the top 2-4 sales spots every month, 2 years after launch. The evo is still around only because sprint's lineup kinda sucks other than the SGS2 and i4s. The droid has been replaced 3 times now. It was the first million seller. The SGS1 was the first 10 million seller... and growing. they dont even play in the same ball park, gallito.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 15:44 2

61. gallitoking (Posts: 4684; Member since: 17 May 2011)


i could prove you wrong but wil be in denial so I will leave it at that... mr. I am never worng.. I see Evo everywhere and SGS1 nowhere in sight

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 16:08 1

64. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


i see an SGS1 right now!!! its in my hands!!

wow.. how did that happen?? lol

anyways, prove me wrong. make me say im ALMOST never wrong. lol

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 12:10 4

39. r41nier (Posts: 63; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)


AMOLED doesn't really save more battery. Unless you're viewing a plain black screen. AMOLED even consume more power than LCD when you view a pure white screen. Power efficiency on AMOLED is just a marketing gimmick. HTC One X uses Tegra 3 and not S4.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 12:15 3

41. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


amoled saves battery in all instances other than white, where yes, it draws more battery than LCD. Android has been redisigned with amoled in mind, which is why the icons and screen became less white and more dark over all. Its not a gimmick.. it can be a pretty substantial savings in battery life. When the SA screen has black, the pixels turn off, which is why the amoled series has infinite contrast and the best blacks you can get. on LCD, they stay on, which is why it looks grey.

My old SGS1 can last nearly 2 days on a charge with regular use. The SGS2 has the best battery life of any current dual core A9 phone (and any android phone period for now) Hows your phone?

The HTC OneX uses both the T3 and the S4 chip depending on carrier. For ATT, it uses the S4, for Tmobile it will use the T3. The reason being the T3 is not LTE capable.

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 21:20 1

73. r41nier (Posts: 63; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)


The screen of the GS2 sucks because of its bluish tint and the oversaturation makes it more ugly even in movie mode. At least I can save battery when browsing since the screen is white. Test of DisplayMate even proved that LCD is more power efficient.

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