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

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:

 

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. 



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.



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.



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.

FEATURED VIDEO

91 Comments

1. droiddomination

Posts: 203; Member since: Dec 01, 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!

4. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 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.....

7. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 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.

14. ian132

Posts: 28; Member since: Feb 20, 2012

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

38. r41nier

Posts: 71; Member since: Oct 13, 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.

60. ian132

Posts: 28; Member since: Feb 20, 2012

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

51. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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

68. Hunt3rj2

Posts: 396; Member since: Nov 11, 2011

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

70. cheetah2k

Posts: 2275; Member since: Jan 16, 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.. :(

11. eaxvac

Posts: 328; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

Hi samsuck fan.

19. lubba

Posts: 1313; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

hello iphag fan;-)

22. TROLL.ISAHA

Posts: 535; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

Lubba nice one! Keep it up!

20. TROLL.ISAHA

Posts: 535; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

Hi iZoombe fan!

24. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

hello broke @ss fans

32. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 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..

46. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 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

54. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

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

56. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 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.

37. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 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.

43. TROLL.ISAHA

Posts: 535; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

Hello baaaaaa mbaaaa.

18. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 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.

23. TROLL.ISAHA

Posts: 535; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

IMAGINE OWNING ALL 5 HANDSETS......

47. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

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

53. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

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

31. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 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.

42. TROLL.ISAHA

Posts: 535; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

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

65. GreatSII

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 09, 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 :'(

84. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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.

2. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 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?

85. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.