Samsung Galaxy S5: deeper dive in the Diamond PenTile matrix reveals the secrets of the brightest AMOLED display

Samsung Display has just unveiled a lot of the inner works of the new AMOLED display of the Galaxy S5, but now we have even deeper insights coming from an ongoing dissection of the display by Chipworks.

Samsung has been using a Diamond-shaped PenTile matrix since the Galaxy S4, and while the Galaxy S5 also features a Diamond matrix, this time there are some slight, but noticeable modifications. Unlike traditional RGB LCD displays where each pixel is made out of a red, green, and blue sub-pixel, PenTile displays use less sub-pixels. In the Galaxy S4 we had diamond-shaped sub-pixels for the blue and red colors, and an oval-shaped green sub-pixel. In the Galaxy S5, all sub-pixels are now in the diamond shape, and that’s the first change.

The actual arrangement of the pixels has not changed from the S4 - in every 4 sub-pixel diamond shaped block, we have two green sub-pixels, one red and one blue sub-pixels. However, the actual size of the sub-pixels has changed. In the Galaxy S4, the blue sub-pixel was larger than all others by a huge margin, and it was assumed that this is because of the lowest emission efficiency. If that was indeed the reason, it seems that now, the Galaxy S5 has largely fixed such issues, as the blue sub-pixel now matches the red one in size.

This in turn, should have likely resulted in some changes in the OLED filters that Samsung uses. This is important, as this change might be the factor that allows for Samsung’s huge breakthroughs in display brightness. Samsung says its Galaxy S5 is up to 47% brighter than the Galaxy S4 under ambient light, and DisplayMate has measurued up to 25% boost in brightness under less challenging conditions.

Right below you get to see an intimate close-up look of the Galaxy S5 display with its new Diamond pixel arrangement: mesmerizing, isn't it?

source: Chipworks

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Galaxy S5
  • Display 5.1" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 2.1 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh(21h 3G talk time)



1. ChildInTime

Posts: 9; Member since: Feb 12, 2014

So now the white will be greenish instead of blue?

2. Victor.H

Posts: 1062; Member since: May 27, 2011

It seems that Samsung is intentionally keeping the display bluish in the standard 'Adapt' display mode. It should be closer to perfect white in Professional and Cinema modes. Stay tuned - our full-on review is coming very soon, and we'll be answering all such questions with hard facts and measurements there!

32. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Well good to see PhoneArena editors joining in the conversation and commenting,,,,,,

38. freakf43

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 01, 2014

HI, It's great to see some of the PhoneArena staff commenting here. Do you know why some screens tend to become more and more yellow with time. It has happened to me with a Lumia 928 and now with a Moto X. I have seen two phones, same model, one gets this yellow tint, the other remains beautiful and vibrant even after a year. It is very notorious with Amoled screens, but it also happens with LCD screens.The question of why this happens has been haunting me for a long time.

39. Kamamura

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 02, 2014

Hello, I am not a member of the staff, but I will try to answer your question. As to OLED screens turning more and more yellow, it has a logical explanation. OLED subpixels contain phosphorescent organic materials that transforms electricity to visible light while degrading over time, and the main problem is that the speed of degradation is different for the materials used for each color. Blue subpixel degrade much faster than red and green subpixels (though recent advances in r&d have allegedly diminished the problem), and the result is that individual pixels contain more red and green light and less blue light comparatively over time while driven to display the same color. Since yellow light is composed of red and green light, the image will appear to have a yellowish tint, which is presumably the phenomenon you are observing. In case of LCD displays, the situation is more complicated, since CCFL or WLED displays exist (according to the tech used in backlight) CCFLs are not used in mobile applications due to size, but the lamps are reported to dim and shift to redder hues over time. However, the white LED backlight should display opposite shift, since white LEDs are composed of ulra-violet diode coated by yellow phosphor that turns monochromatic UV light into a range of colors (while blue component being still most prominent). With age, the phosphor coating degrades, but the resulting color shift should not be towards yellow.

41. aliquis

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 20, 2016

Yellow light isn't composed of red and green light. However the color collecting part of our eyes normally just collect along three ranges of light and don't have any receptors for yellow specifically and since it work anyhow I can only assume that both the blue and green receptors in our eyes collect some of the energy/photons and that the brain interpret the mixed signal as yellow. Sending blue and red light to the same receptors and have them signal for that obviously accomplish the same task. But yellow light isn't both red and green, it is its own wave-lengths in-between those two. I assume you kinda already know that and were just discussing on how RGB displays work but it wasn't what you said and maybe someone think the way you mentioned it. That green + red would become yellow may make no sense for someone who have mixed painting colors but the reason of the outcome is shown if you google for light spectrum (I can't post links since I just registered.) If you google Wikipedia photoreceptor cells and move down to humans you can also see the absorbance of various wavelengths by each of the RGB cones in the eyes. The rods seem to react most to green and least to blue. 6 million cones and 120 million rods it say, pretty s**tty color sharpness then =P Feel free to also google wikipedia human tetrachromats for the possibility of even better color perception.

42. aliquis

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 20, 2016

Or shorter: Yellow light isn't red and green. Yellow light is yellow. However due to how our eyes and displays work they just send red and green light instead of yellow and our eyes interpret that as yellow because our eyes doesn't have better accuracy than that.

7. dickwyn

Posts: 621; Member since: May 07, 2012

i've played around with the galaxy s5 in the shop and from the stock browser i can distinctivly say that the whites are not more brighter and accurate than on the s4

13. livyatan

Posts: 867; Member since: Jun 19, 2013

Do not judge AMOLED color screen accuracy by playing with the retail unit on the store shelf. If you haven't changed the default setting(standard mode) to cinema mode, then you likely saw a bluish white. Like Victor said, only the professional photo and cinema modes give accurate whites. Same goes for the Note 3. In standard mode its white is not accurate, but in Cinema mode, it is. Look up for DisplayMate reviews

27. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

those modes consume more battery?

20. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Display Mate: "The most accurate colors we have ever seen" Try harder now.

3. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012


4. v3n0m

Posts: 8; Member since: Mar 01, 2014

The xperia z2 will be better. No doubt that! Just wait and I see. Sony invested their recourses developing a brand new display, Samsung only tweaked the technology they already have, and they don't want to invest too much, they need to make maximum profits - typical Samsung...

9. phljcnth

Posts: 556; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Do you expect display technology to shift from one flagship to another? Sony developed what seem to look like a brand new display since we all know they have to ditch the old ones on their early Xperia Zs. In contrast, Super AMOLED is one of the most promising displays today that's getting even better as its weaknesses are being addressed. Its improving brightness, wide color gamut, power efficiency are the proof that Super AMOLED is getting mature. You can't say they "only tweaked" it.

12. hboy857

Posts: 367; Member since: Jun 03, 2013

S5's display will be hard to beat.

18. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

What???? sony had just now ditched the old bad tft displays...and you're saying that it is big thing and all.... But samsung embraced amoled when it was in such a poor form developed it to be the best display out there.... Nothing against sony though...

21. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

"and they don't want to invest too much, they need to make maximum profits - typical Samsung..." iBS Samsung invested in R&D more than any company, iboy.

30. HansGoneInsane unregistered

Even though I like Sony and the Z2, I think that the Z2 will not deliver a better display than the S5. I guess that in some situations the S5 display is better than the Z2's display and vice versa. With the Z3 however, Sony might make a larger jump forward since the Z2 is just an update to the Z1 to eliminate it's most striking weaknesses such as the outdated display.

5. Trex95

Posts: 2381; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Never believe Samsung in there screen statement. Even Note 3 for watching movies or YouTube not that great even though it's a full HD screen, still not as good as G Flex 720p POLED with real RGB that shows more realistic colors and better sharpness due to the 3 Suppixels arrangement unlike Super Amoled 2 suppixels sharing pixels arrangement.

6. Ashoaib

Posts: 3282; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

3 sub pixels were used in gs2 years back in superAMOLED Plus and abandoned by samsung due to screen life concern...

16. grahaman27

Posts: 364; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

But now you are getting into the old "oled vs LCD" argument. RGB is always better, but depending on the screen tech, it's not always practical.

40. Kamamura

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 02, 2014

Concerns, schmoncerns, I still have and use Samsung Galaxy S2 and the colors are still perfect even after 3 years. However, I have been postponing new phone purchase because pentile is a deal breaker for me.

11. phljcnth

Posts: 556; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

It's either your eyes are set at a microscopic level or the YouTube video is 240p.

14. livyatan

Posts: 867; Member since: Jun 19, 2013

He is obviously a troll that never even used the Note 3

23. Trex95

Posts: 2381; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Those the devices I used it last 4 month ago. 1- Nexus 4 2- Nexus 5 3- Sony Xperia z ultra 4- HTC one 5- Note 3 6- HTC one max 7- BB Z 30 8- BB Z 10 9- Lumia 1520 10- LG G flex So as you see I'm a phone junkie

25. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Then see an eye doctor. LOL

31. phljcnth

Posts: 556; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Too bad that you had to buy those phones only to make a poor conclusion.

17. grahaman27

Posts: 364; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

If you have ever seen Erika Griffin's videos, when the note 3 came out, she did a blind tests with her family that didnt care about tech. She asked them which they think looks "higher res", the note 3 or the note 2.? The note 2 used an 5.5" RGB 720p screen, while the note 3 used a 5.7" pentile 1080p screen. Everyone thought the note 2 "looked" like it had a higher res. Just saying.

22. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

"Never believe Samsung in there screen statement." LOL Read then Display Mate statement, iboy

29. Trex95

Posts: 2381; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Why should I read it since I played with the S5 couple of weeks ago. Yeah S5 screen better than Note 3 and S4, but still has some yellowish tint on it same as S4 screen.

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