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The Nokia Lumia 920 PureMotion HD+ screen explained: is this the best phone for Snooki?

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The Nokia Lumia 920 PureMotion HD+ screen explained: is this the best phone for Snooki?
Phone makers love 'em fancy names for every new alteration in technology they introduce with the next best thing. In display tech, we have "Retina" and "Resolutionary" on the iOS side, and "HD xxx Super", "Super xxx Plus", "True HD" and so on for the Androids. Nokia jumped in yesterday, calling the screen technology it has developed for its new flagship Lumia 920 PureMotion HD+.

Now we know HD stands for high-res screens with at least 1280x720 pixels, and the Plus usually indicates an RGB "stripe" matrix arrangement in the case of Samsung, while LG used it in the case of Optimus G to indicate in-cell touch panel. The new Lumia certainly belongs to the high-res RGB crowd, but what about PureMotion?

Nokia Lumia 920 display specification

Diagonal size:
Resolution: 332 pixels per inch (PPI)
Pixel count: 1280x768 (WXGA HD+)
Luminance control levels: 8bit i.e. 256 levels
Grey-to-grey pixel transition time: average <9ms

Display architecture: 

  • In-Plane-Switching 
  • Overdrive 
  • Backlight LED driving with high luminance mode 
  • Sunlight readability enhancement algorithms 
  • ClearBlack technology

Capacitive super sensitive touch
Nokia outed the white paper of its new screen technology, where the "+"sign stands for the WXGA pixel count, while PureMotion apparently stands for an aggregate of technologies that address the weakest points of mobile capacitive displays that have been around since they became mainstream with the iPhone introduction in 2007. Now, five year later, Nokia is trying to resolve all those issues in one fell swoop, and called it the PureMotion HD+ display. The "Pure" part winks at the PureView marketing term, of course, which has already been proven to work in enthusiast mobile devices like the 808 PureView.

With the Lumia 920's large 4.5" high-res screen, Nokia tried to address at once several issues that plague smartphone displays - poor sunlight visibility, motion blur, and the inability to operate them with anything but bare skin. Let's not forget also that at 332ppi, only a 4.3-incher like the Xperia S (342ppi) beats its pixel density, yet Nokia went much further with the 15:9 display than simply being satisfied with that, adding a number of important innovations to it. Let's delve into how the Finns did it.

Sunlight visibility

The most pressing issue with smartphone displays, once they hit the HD resolution mark, we'd peg to be their outside visibility, especially under direct sunlight. To make a screen visible outside, you need great performance in one of two components - brightness or light reflection ratio. The iPhone 4S screen is brighter than the Super AMOLEDs in the Galaxy S II/III, but Samsung uses a layer with very low light reflectance, which improves its outside visibility. 

The Nokia Lumia 900, on the other hand, has an even lower reflection ratio of its OLED screen, thanks to the ClearBlack polarization filter of Nokia, making it the best display for outside usage in independent comparisons. This comes to show that a combinatioin of both high brightness and low reflectance ratio will yield the best results, and that's exactly what Nokia did with the PureMion HD+ display of the Lumia 920.

The brightness is listed as 600 nits, which is 20-30% more than your average mobile display, but Nokia says the display automatically goes into peak brightness mode under direct sunlight, which it says is the highest brightness of all WXGA mobile screens. Now we don't know if peak brightness means something more than 600 nits, like on the Xperia P, which shoots up to 935 nits, but even if the peak luminance is 600 nits, Nokia adds a new version of ClearBlack on top for helping things out further.

The Nokia Lumia 920 PureMotion HD+ screen explained: is this the best phone for Snooki?
The ClearBlack polarization filter here not only brings screen reflectance ratio to a minimum, but an algorithm also adapts the colors and contrast to the ambient lighting, elevating the Lumia 920's sunlight visibility to new heights. To make a point, Nokia puts the low-reflectance Lumia 900 and a prototype Lumia 920 side by side under direct sunlight, and we can indeed notice more detail visible on the Lumia 920. This will help with everything when using the phone outside, including trying to dial someone in a hurry and not seeing anything clearly due to reflections, as so often happens. Of course, these are promo shots, so we'll dig more when we get a final unit.

Lumia 900
Lumia 920

Lumia 900

Lumia 920


Not that we've noticed much, if any, motion blur on our handsets while scrolling or watching movies, but Nokia claims your average mobile display pixel response rate is 23ms, while a rendered frame lasts 16.7ms, i.e. the pixels don't have time to go with the flow, resulting in blur and artifacts with fast moving objects on the screen, for example. 

The way Nokia is overcoming this is applying temporary high voltage to speed up the individual pixels, essentially putting the whole panel in overdrive mode. Lab results show pixel transition taking sub-9ms this way, i.e. plenty of time to do one frame and get ready for another without any lag and blur. This way smooth 60fps rendering is achieved, Nokia says, regardless of how speedy the action is on the Lumia 920 display. Good stuff, but we have to again check with a final unit how much of a difference this makes in reality.

The Nokia Lumia 920 PureMotion HD+ screen explained: is this the best phone for Snooki?

Supersensitive touch

The Nokia Lumia 920 touchscreen is so sensitive, that once you hit that unlock button, you can demonstrably operate it not solely with the tip of your bare fingers, but also with nails, gloves, mittens, and even certain pens, no need for a special stylus. This finally combines the best of both resistive and capacitive touchscreens in theory, so you no longer have to use your nose on the ski lift when you get a call. The technology is developed by Synaptics, which you know from your laptop's touchpad, and called ClearPad 3250:

Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi will be glad the Lumia 920 exists too, as the classy way she pimps her eagle nails must not bode well for comfortable touchscreen operation. We kid, but Nokia indeed says nails are now possible, as well as some pens, but whether this hyper sensitive touch layer can lead to "butt dialing" in certain scenarios remains to be seen after we spend more time with the handset.

The Nokia Lumia 920 PureMotion HD+ screen explained: is this the best phone for Snooki?

In the end we have to conclude that Nokia apparently threw a lot of the research that is going on in its labs into the Lumia 920, and we are glad the PureMotion HD+ screen was one of the recipients, since sunlight visibility and usability of capacitive touchscreens with something else than bare finger tips were areas that could definitely see improvement.

  • Options

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 08:47 26

1. jubbing (Posts: 150; Member since: 20 Aug 2008)

Nice.. now to see how it holds up in the real world when I get my paws on it

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 16:01 1

35. Smart (Posts: 76; Member since: 20 Aug 2011)

tell me about it......have been using nails,gloves and what not on my reistive touch phones since 2005....
grow up capacitive screens.....

lol....just doodling around....

yeah i want to grab one and play around one too....

posted on 07 Sep 2012, 09:22 3

41. AeroPrime (Posts: 175; Member since: 21 Feb 2011)

I have commented Before this lumia 920 is actually a masterpiece.

posted on 08 Sep 2012, 04:26 2

44. eiyoy009 (Posts: 57; Member since: 01 Jun 2011)

truly the most inovative one...

floating lens
puremotion with clearblack
2000 mah battery lyf
1.5 ghz dual core s4 chip

name it!! its batter than galaxy s3....

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 08:48 4

2. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)

best phone for snookie......and every other female LOL this is a womens phone jus like the iphone........LOL get a real phone .......ANDROID POWER!

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 09:10 18

13. serious9010 (Posts: 254; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

1. Are you suggesting this is less of a phone because of your personal preferences, and try to impose your opinion on others?

2. Are you making a sexist remark about how women are lesser humans and thus don't use what you call "a real phone"?

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 10:40 14

29. sbr999 (Posts: 79; Member since: 05 Jun 2012)

Dude, you're making us, normal android fans, look like some rabid, ignorant and uninformed fanbois.

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 11:26 1

30. haseebzahid (Posts: 1853; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)

you are clearly embarisment to the Android oh God what kind of people use Android this is very 3rd class comment i ever saw

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 12:06 4

32. jubbing (Posts: 150; Member since: 20 Aug 2008)

What an idiot...

posted on 07 Sep 2012, 09:23 1

43. AeroPrime (Posts: 175; Member since: 21 Feb 2011)

I don't think this phone is for snookie.... is just an amazing super phone... this is great

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 08:50 4

3. imsickwithphone (banned) (Posts: 76; Member since: 17 May 2012)

I hope the screen tech. is not fake like...............

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 08:53 7

4. fatun (Posts: 3; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)

its fake, Nokia lies as usualy

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 11:29 3

31. haseebzahid (Posts: 1853; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)

its probably too good for ur brain to except real just like u never thoguht 41mpx was real

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 08:56 5

5. whysoserious (Posts: 318; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

Everytime I look at images that involves Nokia, no matter how hard I resist, the word "fake" keeps running at the back of my head. Darn it!

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 09:09 16

10. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)

then dont look, and comment either. you keep thinking fake, others will actually try the phone then decide

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 09:12 5

14. whysoserious (Posts: 318; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

My goodness why didn't I think of that?! You. Sir. Are. Briliant!

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 09:17

17. serious9010 (Posts: 254; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

because, I like my nickname that way.

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 09:37 11

21. muhsen (Posts: 281; Member since: 07 Jun 2012)

does the word" copy cat" keep running at the back of ur head with images that involves samsung?! well if it doesn't ,u probably have some mental issues

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 09:50 7

23. Mobile-X-Pert (Posts: 565; Member since: 20 Dec 2010)

Nokia already showed a real video taken by the Nokia lumia 920. Besides that Apple and other companies have done it before, but they just don't tell you.

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 09:00 7

6. phitch (Posts: 214; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)

If Nokia would just make an Android Phone. :( The homescreen on those new WP8 phones look like jumbled mess of tiles and images.

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 09:03 7

9. SleepingOz (unregistered)

Tiles look boring!

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 10:15

26. andro. (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

Tiles are a massive deterrent,the screen could be 10 times better than anything available even next year but most would pass it on over the tiles alone

posted on 06 Dec 2012, 13:04

53. TechCheque (Posts: 10; Member since: 25 Nov 2012)

I'd rather just be quiet about user experience and design comments if i was an Android fanboy, it is just a world where Android has no business

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 09:03 8

7. redmd (Posts: 1398; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

I don't get the snooki part.

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 09:14 5

15. serious9010 (Posts: 254; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

Snooky is a Jersey Shore (reality show) participant. She's a woman with long nails. She'd probably enjoy this phone as she would be able to type despite her long nails which would normally keep her from doing so.

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 09:09 2

11. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)

I'm sure as long as the phone vibrates Snooki will be overcome with elation.
The fact that she'll be able to use her nails will only bring her much more gratification.

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 09:18

18. redmd (Posts: 1398; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

Oh I get this part. lol

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 09:22 1

20. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 2288; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)

Seems legit to me .. :-)

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 09:48

22. voxmarc (Posts: 335; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)

mine is more sensitive...just air blow it will respond immediately....and make no mistake about it snookie will love the sensitiveness...

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 09:51 6

24. speckledapple (Posts: 892; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)

So bottom line its one bad ... set of functions in one phone. Also they have taken the time to improve the device and tech itself rather than just focus on adding any new tech they can find. That is a smart company.

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