Home

Share this Story

A Closer Look at the DROIDX2 and its qHD Display, PenTile at its Not-so-Finest

SONY DSC

When the Motorola Atrix 4G first came out with its “qHD” display, we were all expecting it to be the second coming of some religious figure, but after being analyzed by sites like AnandTech, the term “PenTile” was brought into the light and quickly became the downer it word of the moment.  So naturally, when the DROIDX2 (our hands-on) was released to Verizon and sporting that same “qHD” display, we started digging into it to see what we could find.  

So what is a PenTile screen?  Without being the all-knowing guru on display technology, I’ll have to pull from some other sources on this one and recap.  The theory (as I understand it) behind using a PenTile grid is simply to give you a brighter display at a lower cost with a perceived bigger resolution, and one that also consumes less power.  In the case of a cell phone, this has “win” written all over it, right?  Well, not necessarily.

You’ll notice on a PenTile screen that certain colors won’t display correctly.  Such is the case of the DX2 or Atrix which use a RGBW layout – the pixels have to constantly fight with each other to produce the correct color that you should be seeing.  You may also struggle to view black text over white backgrounds on websites when zoomed all the way out or find yourself with a headache after quickly scrolling.  And then there is the fact that everything tends to look a little grainy.  It’s very difficult for a Pentile RGBW display to produce straight lines, some times leaving spots with an almost jagged (or grainy) edge to them.

At the same time though, you are getting a higher resolution and a supposed sharper image (from a distance), which some would consider a nice trade-off.

To give you a bit of reference to all of this though, here is a macro shot of the DROIDX2, DROIDX and Nexus S all taken in the same light, at about the same time and angle.  The Nexus S wins in color quality, but the original DROIDX appears to be leading the way in clarity.  The DX2 on the other hand, just looks odd and grainy with that PenTile grid.  In fact, the green of the Android Market almost looks brown when you compare it to the other devices.

(click image to see full version)

We also pulled up this site to see the three phones display against a green background with a variety of colored texts.  None of the devices struggled to pull up all of that green, but the DX2 was unable to even display the page correctly do to its grid.

(click image to see full version)

And a quick HD video in case those two pictures didn’t provide enough:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xp6JgchXFtg[/youtube]

Final thoughts? The PenTile (qHD) screen is really not the devil of smartphone displays (actually it is).  Sure, it looks awful under a macro lens (something normal people shouldn’t care about), can’t render certain bright green webpages, and may even give you a headache if you zoom all the way out on a web page, but that doesn’t mean it has zero benefits.  Many would take this any day if it were to provide a better battery life and brighter/clearer viewing in an outdoor setting, which it does.  I think the real story here is that “qHD” is another of this year’s marketing gimmicks by Motorola to brag about a higher resolution screen to compete with you-know-who, when it’s pretty obvious here that they are cutting a corner to make those dual-core processors last more than 3 hours without having to increase the price of their phones.

Should you avoid qHD screens? No, not at all Probably.  And to be clear, I haven’t been dissatisfied with the screen on the DROIDX2 by any means, but instead wanted to point out exactly what it is.  Just know that there are some minor drawbacks, which you should be aware of.  And hopefully this post will allow you to realize those and then decide if they are for you or not.

Update:  After spending a lengthy amount of time (our review) with the DROIDX2 after writing this post, we can conclude that this might be one of our least favorite screens of all time.  qHD to Motorola is indeed just a marketing term, because this screen is no where near HD-quality.   You can see pixels on the device with a naked eye, colors are never correct, and the instant head pounding that you receive while scrolling through anything is something I’ve never seen from another phone.  It’s not pretty in the Moto PenTile world.

  • Shyanne.

    Am I the only one that has had problems with DEAD pixels on my screen? and problems with the phone just completely restarting in an instant, out of nowhere? I am really beginning to get aggravated with this phone. The cons are starting to outweigh the pros. Honestly, I would not recommend this phone to anyone.
    Please reply to this if you have similar problems.

  • Alex Condie

    To be honest, I have no problems with my Atrix screen. It’s not as colorful as the super AMOLED. But I think It’s great.

  • Good article.  I still love my Bionic screen.  I don’t notice the problem in pentile screens.  Guess people need to find the screen that works for them.  

  • Germanshepardman

    ok I still dont get this, I like the display on the droid x 2 and to me the pics in this article look better for the dx2 than the other pics.  Even in the video (which you had to zoom WAY in to see the pixels on ALL  the phones, and yes i watched it in HD) the x2 screen doesnt look any better or worse than the other 2 phones to me. 

    It is like your saying “look at this higher resolution blasphemous screen that uses ungodly heathen DIAGONAL LINES instead of horizontal and vertical, ooooh evil diagonals!  gholem …. gholem …”  

    I have a droid x and an x2 and to me the difference is awesome.  I like the colors better, and i can see a better picture in the screen.  I like it.  I think this is a more subjective issue than what is being percieved.  Granted its no retina display (and motorola should have done that, as well as a front facing camera for the x2 in order to compete with the iphone,)  but the phone is still really nice for the price. 

  • Anonymous

    As I’ve been saying, the Droid X, though while being an OLDER smartphone is superior in screen quality to the Bionic/Droid X2 etc screen.

  • Anonymous

    Just ran across this post…I really don’t think it’s that bad.  Sure it may not look as nice as Super AMOLED color wise but the pixel stuff is not even remotely visable at any normal viewing distance.  Very happy with my atrix and the screen…and most importantly the 40 hours of battery life under normal use (30 with moderate gaming).

  • Truthhurts

    James was hired by a PR firm on moto’s behalf. He is just doing his job. Its not easy to refute reality with propaganda. Please cut him some slack, defending a garbage display is hard work…

    • I could only wish I was hired by anyone to represent PenTile. You sir, are simply uneducated, and That, my friend, is all too easy.

  • Anonymous

    Have you guys seen the PentileBlog?  It’s setup as a way to make people think pentile is better. http://pentileblog.com/uncategorized/pentile-a-gimmick/

  • One more thing… I hope the Bionic does have a PenTile display, for the very reason that if it does, you people will bash it and I can come in and drag you around the room again. Everyone pull out your microscopes, and make sure you got your phone on the charger… It’s gonna die if you don’t. A phone is NO GOOD if it Kills Batteries.

  • I have something to say about this whole Pentile display crying I hear all over the web about the display on the DX2. The display extends battery life, period. You can see things fine on it. As far as the pixelation when it’s up close, how much time do you crybabies really spend using the phone three inches from your face?? Who cares what it looks like under a microscope?? You’re probably ugly from three inches away too! As far as color clarity and all that BS, I have been using the phone for about a month now and it seems perfectly adequate, if not just Fine. Are you a photographer? Do you really give a damn if that ONE shade of green doesn’t display exactly like the one on the Samsing? WHO CARES? The phone is phenominal, and you people need to stop crying about the display. Use the phone, or Don’t. If I don’t like something, I just won’t buy it. I won’t run around the web whining about it. Motorola is not going to recall all the DX2 phones and put a AMOLED display in them just so you can have brighter color. They did it so you could read the damn thing outside. STFU!

    • bob

      The reviewer like all of us have a right to our opinion this is his u have urs respect it. You like grid then u probably own an Atari 1600 and love it for the rest of us who have moved on we prefer more since we are paying more. Your happy then b happy and shutup.The rest of us who dont like Pentile have a right not to and will indeed be purchasing from Samsung or HTC.

      • That’s great. Purchase the Samslung or HTC and get off Moto. They did a great job with the phone. If you like looking at displays under a microscope, so be it. Us normal people don’t carry around apparattus to scrutinize every pixel we see, and the display looks just as good (And twice as bright in direct sunlight might I add) as the samsung or HTC phone you speak of, if you aren’t 3 inches from the phone. It also uses less battery to run it. If you like Samsung so much, leave Motorola alone and go buy one.

        • dude, some of us care what the product is like before we pay cold hard cash for it.  don’t like DL reviews, the back button is up and to the left usually.

          • If you don’t like reading what people have to say, you should probably not view a forum, or blog. If you cared about the product you wanted to purchase, you might go LOOK at it before making a judgement against it because some dude who wanted hits on his web page looked at a phone with a microscope. 

          • Anthony

            “If you don’t like reading what people have to say, you should probably not view a forum, or blog”

            How interesting that you wrote that considering it was your rant about other people whining that started this whole thread. If YOU don’t like to read what people have to say (the whiny complaints), then maybe YOU should not view a forum or blog.

          • How interesting that you would point out me telling you to leave as I did you. See how high-school that was? Now that you notice it in someone else’s action, why don’t you take the hint and stop telling people to leave just because they responded to your weak argument?

          • TARSIS BRITO

            justin is another sheep that follows what everybody says lol

      • Garycecy

        Your right you do have a right to your opinion. What james is saying is that if you dont like it then why buy it? Why buy something and then complain about it? And if you didnt buy it then what are you complaining about???? Pick a phone and enjoy it, there is no need to bash other phones just dont buy them.
        Is one of you a developer of these phones??? If you didnt put the work in then you should give credit where credit is due and then shut up about it…..but hey thats my opinion.

      • TARSIS BRITO

        sammy display look to colorful not natural

    • Anthony

      Wow this guy is a dick.

      • Yes, yes I am when I see people who have no idea of the technology talking shit about it. It is the best mobile display technology available, period. You goofballs who keep downing it just because it looks funny from 3 inches away are Morons. Do you usually look at your displays 3 inches away?

      • TARSIS BRITO

        i agree people cry to much remember your eyes get used of anything if you are looking for pixelation u will find it i was having problems when reading on the web with my phone first day then after that i am rocking my droidx2 if this phone would of have lte and front facing what a beast

    • Jniz4747

      actually I pulled it up green page up. It does not display
      properly at std zoom.  Zoom in the grid line appear immediately.  I
      do not love the screen but do not hate it either.  It looks pretty darn
      good outside even at low brightness.

  • Starjacked03

    A better comparison would be against a phone not using that tech and shooting it with the same laser light you shot over those displays.  Personally, I don’t know why you would wanna laser light a display but I guess it makes for a video.

  • Mark J Kirk

                             Author! Author! 

    — i mean for this to be a solidly sincere compliment –If I’ve ever seen better writing of a review, I can’t recall.
    You have massive skill and and make it a pleasure to
    get right into the guts of the machine. Your word choice
    and light phrasing keep the pace brisk and rich. Future 
    reader; the author is “Kellex” let’s grab this tiger by its
    tail because it’s going to be an awsome ride!!

  • Anonymous

    I Just bought an Atrix i had an Galaxy S before… i just hated the screen, colors looks really washed out and display colors totally wrong… moviment on the phone like scrolling thru pages everything looks really jagged, and the Motorola BLUR on top of that… affff… just hated this phone! 

  • The screen on my Incredible 2 looks *much* better than this, as is my battery life.

  • Sorry, but for ME the Nexus S green is much too unnatural! It’s not that market-green that we all know, so its not the real, although more saturated color. I prefer a rasterized picture, with bright white for outdoor use and less power consumption. Thats my opinion. The DX2 has a really much brighter white.

  • JoelPollack

    You comment:  You may also struggle to view black text over white backgrounds on
    websites when zoomed all the way out or find yourself with a headache
    after quickly scrolling.  And then there is the fact that everything
    tends to look a little grainy.  It’s very difficult for a PenTile RGBW
    display to produce straight lines, some times leaving spots with an
    almost jagged (or grainy) edge to them.

    _______________________________________________________

    This just isn’t so. While PenTile displays do look a little different than RGB stripe, but  they do not render black text on white badly.  See the proof yourself a t(http://pentileblog.com/?p=47)

    It is true that highly magnified green on black will look grainier than RGB stripe, but that is that so bad for the significant power savings gained to extend battery life?  Keep in mind whites will look brighter and specular reflections from water and metal will look more lifelike.  As with any technology there are always some differences, but many agree that PenTile technology is a great fit for mobile devices (http://pentileblog.com/?p=429).

    • Joel, I cannot believe the things this guy is saying about the PenTile display. Motorola has been using PenTile displays for many years. I am pretty sure the Razr had a PenTile display. I never had a problem out of this display, and I have come to the conclusion that the only thing this guy has Anything to say about the Droid X2’s display is, to get page hits. He is a worthless moron. He sees nothing but “Uh it doesn’t display black on white very well” GIVE IT UP DUDE. “The lines look jagged” Uh yes, under a eff’n Microscope most any line would look jagged. Anyway, my point here is that you do not need to defend this technology… It beats any other display technology hands-down for 3 reasons: It is BRIGHTER, it can be SEEN in sunlight, and one more thing- It is the most current-efficient display technology in the world, allowing a phone’s Battery to last longer. WIN, PenTile.

  • Anonymous

    I can attest to it being bright.  The darkest setting is visible outdoors in full sunlight.  In fact, I almost wish I could lower the brightness some more to save battery power.

    • TARSIS BRITO

      i agree that is one thing i dont like about my droidx2 that i cant not lower the brightness even more but if i have to choose i will choose the display on the droidx with the power of the droidx2 i had the droidx now have the droidx2 i still love the screen though but the display for the droidx was better

  •  

    sells clothing,footwear,handbags,Sunglasses
    Online Store,Get Name Brand Fashion From 12USD Now!

    Our Website: =====  www voguecatch com  ====

    Our main
    product list is as follows:

  • Sirus804

    I would just like to clarify.  I own a Droid X2 and You hardly notice any of this.  Only with the green display it does this.  But you can’t notice it when using the phone normally.  As for the color or the “brown greens”.. This is just silly.  Firstly.. Look how washed out the Droid X looks compared to the X2…

    Secondly, The tone of the Android market IS an off green.  When you look up other rich green images, the X2 is flawless.. They look great.

    I have an amazing 22″ Acer monitor for my computer.  When I pull up the same image on my computer as on my droid they literally look the SAME.  The Droid X2 isn’t lacking at all… and the fact that you get a longer battery life and brighter screen is all the more better.  qHD screens are great AND AMAZINGLY CLEAR.

    This is like the whole comparison of LCD to Plasma.  Yes, you are going to get more vibrant colors with Super AMOLED displays… but they won’t be nearly as clear as qHD.

    So to anyone who is on the fence about getting an X2, don’t be discouraged by this.  qHD is definitely NOT a gimmick.. Its a great display. And the X2 is a beast.  No lag at all. (Gonna have to deal with Motoblur though.)  The Tegra 2 games look amazing.

    • TARSIS BRITO

      i do agree 100 % they gave me a droidx2 because my droid x i had an app called imo.im and i thought it was gb that was messing up my phone and it was that application. i put my droidx2 to the lowest brightness the screen looks great i would perfect the droidx display only because i like everything darker like they set the colors when you go to the movies but other than that this phone its a beast tegra and the task manager in it make this phone super fast 🙂 remember guys the task manager that moto uses it is only for the devices u cant stop the applications that make ur phone to work

  • The true arrival of Android is shown to me in this article.  When the author alludes to this technology competing with “you-know-who”, I immediately assumed he meant Samsung with the Galaxy S II  !!!  Maybe he meant Apple …. either way, Samsung wins my next smartphone investment.

    • LOOK AT THE PHONE before you say this dude. Put them side by side in sunlight and you will see that Samsung loses…. Badly. It also eats batteries for Lunch (About the time the battery will die on your Samsung with moderate usage). congratulations on listening to a guy who puts phones under microscopes for webpage hits. Bravo.

  • Screens aside, did anyone notice the DroidX and DroidX2 have terrible signal in the video compared to the Nexus S?

  • Droid Grammy

    Screen is much easier to see than my beloved dear departed D1.  I plan on keeping a magnifying glass away from DX2 screen–did not notice the pixelated screen or colors being different until I read articles on the web!  I spend a lot of time outdoors, now I do not have to shield the phone from the sun to see it. Happy with my choice, good for the $ spent. Saving my $ till after 4G is up and running flawlessly in my area. 

  • please people dont go overboard with this… i mean really.. the screen looks nice in real life situations. just leave it at that.

  • please people dont go overboard with this… i mean really.. the screen looks nice in real life situations. just leave it at that.

  • Rexboe60

    I really like the screen. Had the Droid X and went to the X2. The only thing I noticed is with the higher resolution the icons and keyboard letters and just a little smaller. Outdoors it is a lot better.

  • Glad i didn’t go with an X2

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/2df4ccp

  • Beka

    Ick.  That looks pretty darn bad.  I am in the minority tho because I don’t particularly care for the Super Amoled+ or whatever it’s called…  It looks too “crayola-ish” to me.  I’m all for good colors, but it’s just too much…

    I put on one of those VZW (P.O.S.) anti-glare screen protectors the moment I left the store the day I bought it… and I had it on for a few months.  I made the switch to the Steinheil Ultra Clear… and it was the first time I ever actually NOTICED the screen quality on my phone (DX).  I had that beauty covered up for months, never knowing how gorgeous the display actually was.  Now I feel like an idiot for doing that.  This screen looks like it has a crappy anti-glare protector on it… that you can’t take off.

  • Amenemhat1

    Thats for the great info. Very insightful. I was a big qHD fan, but did not clearly understood the technology. And as for “you know who”, I can only assume you are referring to AMOLED from Samsung,right?

  • Anonymous

    I own the Motorola xoom WiFi, and let’s face it, the screen on the xoom leaves a lot to be desired. I’ll definitelybe selling it for a better tablet once they arrive on the scene. The fact that the Droid x2 has the same washed out look, only 3g, and a locked all to hell bootloader makes it an instant failure. I think I will be avoiding Motorola after I part ways from my xoom.

  • JoeInMO

    This article is ironic. When I first looked at the X2 I expected the screen to be much clearer, but my reaction was that the text was hard to read.  I thought it was just me. 

    I suspect that Motorola simply found a cheaper screen and is trying to pass it off as an improvement. 

  • I read all the crying and whining about it before then I went to try one out and never really noticed anything that would bother me. Anyone who uses it says, “wow it does not look pixelated when you zoom in”.

    So I doubt noobs would think anything of it except for geeks that jerk off to Super AMODSOFLFEFEWF PLUS even their colors are fake and oversaturated and websites don’t look that great either.

    •  Why would we not want the best of the best for our money?  Also, stop using the term “noobs.”  It’s over.

  • Why isn’t there an app to change the picture settings of the screen like a TV? Wouldn’t that help if our screen display settings weren’t set in stone???

  • chucklesmcnasty

    i’m a fan of my droid x2 display–thing is bright.  if you hand’t pointed out the color differences, i wouldn’t have noticed.

  • Granted

    Wow it seems smart phone porn addicts will find anything to argue and bitch over with their fanboy phone humping.

    I bet I can predict the next post of this caliber. “Your phone’s Calculator… It May Not Compute Like You Think It Does!” This and more pointless dumb shit, after the break-in-being-congnizant-of-things-actually-matter….

    Nerd1 “Well my phone’s calculator is way bigger than yours!”
    Nerd2 “Whatever you damn noob! Let’s take out a ruler and rub them… I mean hold them next to each other, and then we’ll see who has the biggest calculator!”

  • Ryan C

    Well just look at the pixels of the DroidX2. In the macro shot you can clearly see they are like brick work. i mean like how bricks are a row, then another row with bricks in between the first ones and so on with bricks representing pixels. you can even see the Reds, Greens and Blues at the edges sticking out a bit, like getting really close to a CRT TV set. However on the DroidX they are all little squares placed tightly together in a grid like fashion which gives them the ability to make straight lines. just looking at that screen of the DroidX2 alone makes me want to avoid that kind of RGBW, alternating pixels, “higher” resolution display. Just my in opinion.

  • Every time I see your white Nexus S pictured, regardless of the article, I get distracted by the absolute sexiness of the device. I want that phone on verizon so bad. I don’t care if it has 3Gs, 2Gs, 1G, Dual Cores, Single Cores, No Cores. Just give me a white nexus s on verizon. 

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the heads up.  That is really unfortunate that they need to stoop to such levels to keep a competitive edge.  Do HTC phones e.g. Sensation use a similar setup so they can also claim to have a QHD display?

    • Anonymous

      The new HTC phones are also qHD but use SLCD displays.  It’ll be interesting to see how they stack up once some technical reviews are done, although I doubt they’ll be as bad as this one.  I’ve never really like the quality of screens on any of Moto’s devices.

      • Anonymous

         Well that’s good to know. Hopefully they turn out better than these or else I’ll just have to go with something with the lower res Samsungs.

      • TARSIS BRITO

        i keep saying this that phone was very small droid x has the best display out of of the droid phones including htc incredible

  • can you compare the phones with the same photo please >:|

  • Anonymous

    i couldnt even tell the difference between the droid x and the droid x 2

    that says something alrighty, it says i can pass off my droid x as a droid x 2 online and get big bucks for it LOL

  • Great article guys. Super informative

  • This qHD looks like sAMOLED. I have the Droid X (1) and it may have semi washed out colors. But it’s very crisp. I have the Samsung Continuum as well. It has sAMOLED and it may have good colors but that pen-tile screen makes it look like a 16 bit display. Crappy. I’m glad I have a Droid X not the X2. I want to be able to read the display without getting a headache.

  • Great information. Now I want the Samsung GSII instead of the Sensation. 

  • The IPS screen on the OG Droid really holds up against everything on the market now save for the iphone4. The color reproduction is really fantastic. Watching Netflix on the OG Droid is superior compared to any other android device I’ve seen in person. 

    • Anonymous

      The OG Droid’s screen is actually better than the iPhone 4’s.  The “retina” screen has lacking red and blue primaries as well as worse contrast.  The iPhone’s screen really isn’t anything special outside of its high ppi.  I’ve compared my Droid right next to the iPhone and couldn’t notice the difference in resolution because both have higher pixel densities than the human eye is capable of distinguishing.  I have perfect eyesight and I can’t see the pixels on my Droid.

      • TARSIS BRITO

        the droid display its so great because the display its smaller like the iphone 4 but i would love to see the same display on the original droid on the droidx 4.3 to see how it will look. I feel the best display of the motorolla droid phones its the droid x

    • Stephen D

      The OG Droid’s screen is NOT an IPS LCD. It is a TFT LCD from Sony(BTW, Sony doesn’t even produce IPS panel LCDs). In terms of accuracy, the iPhone 4(which is an LG IPS display) is a cut above the rest. That said, the OG Droid’s screen is still pretty accurate, especially when compared to the Super AMOLEDs with their oversaturated colors. But the sAMOLED is so beautiful, especially with the near infinite contrast ratio and inky blacks. 

  • Anonymous

    Brings a whole new meaning to Moto Blur.

  • MOTOX

    Hmm well my tbolt’s screen looks comparitive to the nexus s…actually…

  • Stephen D

    To clarify: the standard subpixel layout is RGB- Red Green Blue. This is where the difference lies. On the Nexus S, the sAMOLED’s subpixel layout is the RGBG pentile layout. On the DX2, the subpixel layout is RGBW(White.) This is the difference between sAMOLED and sAMOLED+. sAMOLED+ uses the standard RGB subpixel layout. Because of this, there are 3 times more subpixels, and therefore, the screen is much sharper. Here is a comparison with a microscope: http://www.engadget.com/2011/05/19/galaxy-s-ii-and-galaxy-s-screens-compared-at-the-subpixel-level/

    And when displaying red or blue, the resolution is halved to 400×240. The only color the sAMOLED displays at 800×480 is green. I don’t know much about the RGBW layout, but, it should have similar weaknesses to the RGBG layout. So, this “qHD” screen is actually more of a downgrade from the Droid X’s screen. If only Samsung wasn’t greedy with their sAMOLED+ displays.

    • Excellent, excellent explanation. Thank you for the post.

      • Stephen D

        You’re welcome. Just trying to help everyone understand what exactly the difference is.

    • It’s my understanding that the RGBW arrangement of SAMOLED+ enables LCD-class image quality with the benefits of AMOLED’s power savings and contrast.

      This differs from past AMOLED arrangements that used RRG or BBG for each pixel, which drops 33% of the color info from each pixel. This also lead to the infamous color fringing/text aliasing/discoloration issues that many users (including myself) hated about AMOLED panels on devices like the Nexus One or Incredible.

      I’ve also heard there is PenTile RGBW (versus RGBW stripe). Can you shed light on that?

      • Stephen D

        The SAMOLED+ is RGB, not RGBW. The DX2 is the RGBW PenTile layout. Also, past AMOLEDs were RGBG for every pixel, not RRG or BBG. The RGBG layout causes a few issues-the greyscale has green tints due to there being 2 green subpixels for every 1 red or blue subpixel, and other primary colors had accuracy issues, and banding and everything else you mentioned. A lot of people joke that the only difference between Super AMOLED and SAMOLED+ is the plus in the name, but in reality, the SAMOLED+ is a significant improvement. As you said, it has the advantages of the old OLEDs(contrast ratio, power savings, thinness, etc), along with the color accuracy of traditional LCDs, and there are also less issues with banding. And since it is “true” 800×480, the screen is much sharper. 

        • Thanks. That’s the key piece I was missing: RGB stripe vs. RGBW PenTile.

  • Josh

    How did they get the notifications bar to be black in the youtube video?

  • I have to admit, once I got over the oddity that is the PenTile screen on the DX2, I’ve found it to be much more aesthetically pleasing. I can actually see the screen in broad daylight- which is the biggest win to me. When I compared the DX2 screen to say the iPhone 4 screen, I found that the DX2 had a softer image than the iPhone, leaving to easier viewing at night. 

  • Anonymous

    I always noticed this on the Atrix, was wondering.  Thanks for taking a look at in depth.

  • Interstellarmind

    wish my tbolt had qhd. screen always consumes 60-70% of my battery.

    • Trust me, you don’t really wish that. It’s not worth the image sacrifice, and the lesser power consumption is all hearsay without 2 identical devices with only the screen being different. Also, those claims are at equal brightness, which you’d have to lower the brightness all the way to almost nothing on the DX2 to be true. 

  • jason w.s.

    I noticed this immediately when i was checkin the DX2 out the other day down at VZW. To me the screen looks SOOOO noticeably bad that its scary. Its a complete step backwards. I held the DX up next to it and i couldnt believe it. To me, Retina is pretty damn nice, but ive always honestly liked the screen on the OG and the Incredible myself. Something about em just looks so nice and crisp…i mean the DX has a great screen too, but that DX2 is just garbage compared to them. Everythings just so “Pixelly” and jagged looking. Seriously, Moto slipped up bad with this new gimmicky idea of theirs. Reminds me of the whole Blur thing. 

  • Oh well, with HTC announcing they’re not locking bootloaders anymore, I could care less what Moto does. They can ship a turd on a stick for all I care.

    • Let’s wait to see what pans out. If they release the D3 without the locked bootloader and without the pentile display, and with LTE then it could be a winner.

    • Let’s wait to see what pans out. If they release the D3 without the locked bootloader and without the pentile display, and with LTE then it could be a winner.

  • Anyone else notice that the featured is different on all 3 phones

    • that just means he opened the market at different times

  • Anonymous

    I might just get this. I’m tired of waiting

  • en28so

    It’s a 4.3 inch screen, not a 50 inch screen. So most people won’t be able to notice the difference between all these small screens. It’s like comparing 2 tvs that are less than 50 inches., and trying to see if a 1080p screen on one is better than the 720p on the other. Just my 2cts.

    • Anonymous

      I can definitely tell a difference using it normally.  It doesn’t bug me as much as I would have expected though, and I’m fine with everything but the color banding.  That just needs to be fixed.

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/297sxrk

    • Anonymous

      you bastard

  • Leearmijo91

    Hey sorry to bug people here, but trying to revert my TB from leaked GB, can somebody assist me in pushing a file to my phone through adb, for some reason my computer wont see my phone? and i wanna get it back before this thing bricks. thanks

  • AmadHTCcustomer

    Anyone else not able to tell much of a difference?
    Yea, the X2 looks better but is it that big of a deal?

    I am upset Moto.
    They hardly make the Droid 2 an upgrade from the Droid, and they hardly make the X2 an upgrade from the X.

    • The point is that the X2 *doesn’t* look better.

      • AmadHTCcustomer

        My  bad.
        I was on my iPad so I could watch the video before.

        Screw you apple.

    • Its the Apple strategy which is dumb IMO. If every phone they released was as groundbreaking as the OG Droid, I think they’d be doing much better. The Bionic better be worth the wait is all I’m saying.

      • Phone development takes thousands of hours of development, testing, refinement, etc to be able to release something new. If they made every single phone something new and “revolutionary”, it’d take forever for a new phone to come out and the prices would be stupid high.

        No instead like a smart company they take something that has worked out well (like the DroidX which I believe is Moto’s best selling Droid phone), and refreshed it to still be appealing and at the top of the technology charts with completely new phones being released now. While they have the DroidX2 which appeals to some new customers and people who bought and loved the original, they also have the Bonic coming out which will appeal to those who love to be at the top of technology.

        To keep a business successful you need to go with what works and makes you money, while also trying to push forward with something new. So in the end if that something new fails, you’re company doesn’t fail. You just cut your losses and move on to the next project, whether its a refresh or a new product.

        • TARSIS BRITO

          could not agree more people still feel the og droid its the best moto droid not it is the droidx and the most popular one in verizon. Droid revolutionized android but the x brought us the goods 🙂

  • John Maggio

    show another color besides green.  and many complain about so called HD screens being over saturated like on the Samsung phones.

    • I would, but I don’t have an HD camera that can take the pictures like K can. Orange is another color with obvious problems. Even just looking at google search results in the browser, the blue links and underlines have obvious jaggies on them.

    • TARSIS BRITO

      samsung display has to much colors i dont like them

  • Anonymous

    I really do like my Droid Charge (don’t hang me) but in terms of picture quality my iPhone beats it with an ugly stick. Samsung is doing really well though with their screens!

  • Rob Morris

    Still loving the original droid screen, you dont need anymore pixels then 854×480

    • Anonymous

      Completely agree.  The only screen better than the Droid’s is a color calibrated AMOLED+.

    • TARSIS BRITO

      the phone was smaller it will look better

  • Anonymous

    I don’t agree with the color being off.  Look at the first zoomed out shot, the green on the X2 looks better than it does on the X.  You also have to keep in mind that the Nexus’ AMOLED screen has oversaturated, unnatural colors.  I think small text can be an issue on a pentile display and I do think Motorola’s qHD is more of a marketing gimmick but it’s not as noticeable when you’re actually looking at the screen normally instead of zoomed in with a lens.  Having said that, this does actually have less subpixels than the Droid X’s LCD so it’s definitely not going to look like it has a higher resolution.  Overall this is probably more of a downgrade from Moto’s old screens sadly.

    • I speak from a non-zoomed in point of view. The very first thing I noticed when I turned on the phone was the battery icon and went “oh god”. For me at least, it’s that blatantly obvious. Also, when it comes to colors and saturation, seeing colors side by side sometimes makes one look washed out, or more blue, or more yellow than another. However, if you take away the side-by-side comparison then the color problems aren’t as noticeable. I say this in regard to the DX1 appearing “washed out”. Before the DX2 came along, I don’t think anyone complained about the colors on the DX1. In fact, the screen got rave reviews. By itself, the screen doesn’t appear to have any contrast or brightness problems. By itself, however, the DX2’s colors are very over-saturated. Pull up a picture of someone with a suntan out in daylight. I have a friend that has a profile pic like that, that looks normal on the DX1 but on the DX2 she looks like a crispy critter and her face is either *very* red or *very* white.. there is no in-between, gradual fade from dark to light. The DX1 screen looks much more close to my meticulously calibrated laptop screens.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, the original Droid’s screen is top notch with near perfect color.  I haven’t seen any technical data on the Droid X’s screen but I always figured it was similar to the Droid’s as it looks fairly close.  I was merely remarking on Kellex’s claim that the green looked washed out on the pentile screen, I think it’s actually the opposite of that like you mentioned.  If these new pentile panels are also oversaturated then bad form Motorola.

      • TARSIS BRITO

        i do agree the droidx colors are one of the best but we cant have it all i feel if moto sends an update it might get fix or we just have to look for the hd display but the display on the droidx2 will not make me dislike my phone either 🙂

    • James_Ever

      I thought the X2 looked better than the X personally. And will this be the type of screen used for the Droid3? I presume that with a slightly smaller screen that the images would look better as well. Am I wrong in thinking this? And what about durability and scratches, are there any reports about that as of yet? I feel like these are just as important, well at least for me, as the display that PenTile has.

      • Anonymous

        The Droid 3 will very likely have the same screen as the Atrix, they are both 4″ panels.  Yes, everything should look slightly better because it’s the same resolution and number of subpixels just in a smaller area.

        They all have gorilla glass panels covering the LCD so durability and scratches shouldn’t be an issue at all.

        • James_Ever

          Thanks, I appreciate the response. Can’t wait for this to be released.

        • TARSIS BRITO

          so u can have ur phone without a protector?

    • James_Ever

      I thought the X2 looked better than the X personally. And will this be the type of screen used for the Droid3? I presume that with a slightly smaller screen that the images would look better as well. Am I wrong in thinking this? And what about durability and scratches, are there any reports about that as of yet? I feel like these are just as important, well at least for me, as the display that PenTile has.

    • tjhrulz

      I think a better presentation would include a laptop and an image with set R,G,B (Like 0,255,0), to see which matches the true color.

    • Anonymous

      It definitely DOES look like it has a higher resolution.  On the lock screen, the time and date are much more crisp than the Droid X.  The problem is the battery logo in the corner, which looks god awful.  If they just changed the color to blue, it would look a lot better, but that certain shade of green exaggerates the color issues of the PenTile display.

  • Thunderbolt screen FTW.

    • Jordan

      Oh you mean the 4.3″ screen that has a lower resolution than my 3.7″ Original Droid

      • OMGEE 54 PIXLES

        Spare me

        • Jordan

          No, not a 54 pixel difference, but a 51 ppi difference in favor of the Droid, which in theory leads to around 25% crisper display on the Droid.

          Any more witty comments?

          • TARSIS BRITO

            the droid was just 3.7 display everything will look better just look at iphone i want to see those big phones with nice screen sensation has it so far droid x display its great too at 4/3

        • Anonymous

          854×480 = 409,920 pixels
          800×480 = 384,000 pixels

          That’s 25,920 more pixels.

      • You apparently do not understand the differences in screen quality and sub-pixels.

        • Jordan

          If you are comparing the Thunderbolt screen to the X2 then yes it wins.  I took it as you were saying its the best on the market though.  I figured you were one of those people justifying their purchase by saying its the best ever

          • I was comparing the Tbolt to the DX2… I still own an OG Droid.  Gave it to my fiancee.. love that phone.

        • Anonymous

          854×480 in 3.7″ = 265 ppi
          800×480 in 4.3″ = 217 ppi

          Furthermore, the Droid’s LCD is an IPS panel calibrated to sRGB.  It really doesn’t get better than the Droid’s screen.  Now, the X2’s screen is probably worse than the Thunderbolt’s.

          • angermeans

            Yes but you still have to take into consideration that slcd on the bolt is a big plus over LCD

          • Anonymous

            SLCD is marketing speak.  It’s nothing more than an IPS panel.

          • Droid’s LCD is nothing compared to my SAMOLED+, sharp, crisp, bright, and the colors pop. I see OG Droids every day and not a single one can hold a candle to my phone’s display.

          • Anonymous

            I can’t really argue with the fact that AMOLED+ panels have superior color capability, contrast and viewing angles, however by default Samsung’s screens are way off on color accuracy.

          • Anonymous

            The colors are bright, but they’re exaddurated to an extreme.  You would have to be color blind to call those colors accurate.  the Droid’s LCD had amazing, professional level color accuracy, high pixel density, and fantastic viewing angles.

      • Adam

        Lower resolution, but at least the colors aren’t washed out like on the OG Droid. Damn, I’ll never understand why so many people hate on the Thunderbolt.

        • Anonymous

          I don’t know.  I really like the Thunderbolt screen.  I saw the Charge and the Thunderbolt side by side with identical settings and viewing identical pictures and the Charge was a little bit brighter, but in all honesty the colors and quality of the pictures were pretty much the same.

          • Adam

            I prefer the Charge’s screen, and I’m a big fan of SAMOLED. It’s crisper, brighter and much more vivid. That said, The Thunderbolt’s display is no slouch either, and in my opinion it’s the best SLCD display out there at the moment.

          • TARSIS BRITO

            the sammy display looks to colorful

        • Jordan

          I was actually hating on all 4.3″ screens with 480×800 resolution.  To me, I notice a big difference in the larger screens.  Most people don’t notice it though.

        • Anonymous

          washed out?  You know the Droid had one of the most accurate screens in the business, colors were accurate, not washed out or overblown like on OLED displays.

      • Adam

        Lower resolution, but at least the colors aren’t washed out like on the OG Droid. Damn, I’ll never understand why so many people hate on the Thunderbolt.

  • Anonymous

    Super AMOLED+ for the win, true RGB sub-pixels.

    • Too bad Samsung continues to use cheap plastic or else I’d consider giving them a look. Can’t beat Motorola hardware wise.

      • Except if you’re HTC

        • Andrew J Webber

          Or… umm… Samsung. It’s like the difference between pure gold and 14 carat gold. One feels industrial and one feels cheap, but the one that feels cheap has a much higher value. I’ll take a device with much superior hardware in a plastic shell over a POS in an ugly aluminum box any day.

          • RJ723

            I agree. So far I haven’t seen anyone with better hardware than Samsung. Their new exinos processor blows away the Tegra 2. I really don’t mind the plastic though, and I love how thin they are.

          • How does it blow it away?

            You mean being slower clock for clock.

          • Mrsense70

            I guess you changed your mind by now after seeing the S2 review?

          • If you samsung fanboys dont shut up… MY phone is capable of being read if I am in sunlight… My phone doesn’t have Samsung’s UI which causes major hangups and crashes.. My phone Works. MY phone will last longer off the charger than yours… My phone’s processor runs any app or video I want it to, regardless of it’s processor speed.. My phone doesn’t have to be replaced time and time again due to hardware issues (See Samsung’s history of junk phones). My phone is flat-out more useful than yours and allows for a more trouble-free life, because I don’t have to visit the Verizon store every month or so. STFU fanboy… Just go look at your Super AMOLED+ screen… and be amazed by it… But make sure you got some shade.

          • Alex Condie

            pointless reply.

          • Alex Condie

            pointless reply

          • Alex Condie

            pointless reply

          • Alex Condie

            pointless reply

          • Alex Condie

            pointless reply

          • Alex Condie

            pointless reply

          • Alex Condie

            pointless reply

          • Alex Condie

            pointless reply

          • Alex Condie

            pointless reply

          • Alex Condie

            pointless reply

          • Alex Condie

            pointless reply

          • Alex Condie

            pointless reply

          • Alex Condie

            pointless reply

          • Alex Condie

            Just seeing how many comments deep this can get ^^

      • SladeNoctis

        They choose to use plastic but they have the material to make a phone better than HTC and Motorola in the hardware department, look up the WP7 Ominia 7. The thing is Samsung likes there phones to be known as thin and light and alot of metal construction can affect battery heat(can cause burn if battery is hot), thickness and of course weight. Either way choosing Motorola and HTC should be two companies to look at a distance until they remove the sign bootloader phase.

        • angermeans

          Well you got your wish as HTC peter chow just posted on Facebook no more locked bootloaders. Something tells me that the recent HTC phones like the evo 3d will still be locked down tho

          • SimonBelmont

            Nope. It will be unlocked as well.

            See the various emails proving this on XDA. Thanks.

        • I have a grand idea. Why not just use a phone for it’s intended purpose instead of hacking it to pieces, trying to get it to tether to a computer so you could save 20 bucks a month on data tethering?? Then you wouldn’t care about bootloaders would you?

          • SladeNoctis

            I dont care for that i care for adding better experience on my phone than sticking the one that the manufacturer thinks its good for me. 

          • Buy a phone that has the “experience” you want so you don’t have to hack one to get it… Really, what sort of “Experience” are we to have from a Phone anyway? You talk, text, and surf the web, run your occasional game or app, and put it down. Any smart phone will do this stuff right out of the box… Why bother trying to change it? What Else do we need to do with a phone?

          • SladeNoctis

            I would but I don’t live in the UK, here in the US where every carrier has there own device that aren’t similar sometimes you need to hack to change the experience to whatever you want from its either stock, miui or anything else. Maybe those are you basic needs for you phone but I use my phone as a pc,making apps, using hotspots, editing docs and being my right hand in work and school. Remember you have your own ways of using your phone and I have my way so if your against hacking phones which is legal btw just avoid comments about hacking phones

    • HJ

      No question the color is great on Super A, but the text was a bit harder to read and has a bluish hue to it.
      Found the DX to be much clearer and far brighter

  • Good article, good summary. Some may not care, but pentile is definitely not for me. Color accuracy is +1 in my book. Display calibration is the first thing I do with every desktop and notebook I buy. I have probably 30+ hours logged calibrating and tweaking my two HD TVs in my house. With little ability to tweak phone displays currently, it’s important for me to have one that looks decent from the start. So far, the DX1 has been my favorite display. It may not be quite as bright as the DX2, but image quality and presentation are 100 fold better. It’s a deal killer for me and the DX2.

    • TARSIS BRITO

      i agree i loved my droid x screen better than droidx2 but droidx2 its not bad either i would say droidx1 a 9 from 1 to 10 and an 7 or 8 for droidx2 droidx2 looks so nice in the sun though

  • Dean2359

    It looks to me that in the close up that the X2 is sharper. Look how much clearer the time, wifi and the bars are,not to mention all the detail next to the search icon. Although the color is definitely off.

    • Those hard edges that you call sharpness are inaccuracies. The slight softness of the DX1 is how the images actually look. You could make the DX1 display an image similar to the DX2’s representation, but you’d never be able to get the DX2 to display the image accurately like the DX1 shows. This is the underlying problem. People see brighter and sharper, and instantly assume better, disregarding how things are *supposed* to look.

    • Did you not see those jagged ugly lines? Also, like you said, the color sucked, too.

  • So will the Bionic have the same Pentile display as the X2 and Atrix?

    • A lot of people seem to think the D3 will have this type of display..

      • Anonymous

        Would be hard to believe that they would change it at this point.  Moto seems invested in this display.

        • Anonymous

          *groan of agony* I HATE pentile. I want the BIONIC but I can see the space in those pixels from across a room. Next to a DX2 you’d swear That a thunderbolt had a higher res and higher dpi.

  • Kevoskee

    One thing I give to Apple, the retina screen has the best screen on the market. It does seem like qHD is just a gimmick, especially with Motorola

    • Ed

      let’s hope that HTC’s qHD screens are not pentile and SAMOLED+ is in my opinion the best in the market (I prefer the colors to resolution but to each his own)

      • Megacharge

        Agreed, SAMOLED+ rapes the Retina display IMO. Better colors, better contrast, better viewing angles.

    • Apple’s Retina display proves how beautiful qHD looks with a true RGB layout. This article is much more apologetic toward PenTile than I prefer to be. Anyone with good vision who wants to see every detail on a Google Maps display will want RGB over PenTile.

      That said, options are good. Make PenTile displays for people who prefer the power savings and other benefits. Just don’t neglect those of us who want as much resolution as possible.

    • Anonymous

      I disagree.  With my Droid X2, I can zoom all the way out on a webpage and get a lot more data in one screen than I could with my Droid.  The higher resolution definitely makes a difference.  There is some annoying color banding, and a bit of a screen door effect, but it’s not really that bad.  The color banding is the worst part, which I had with the original Droid until there was a software update.  I don’t know if an update could fix the banding on the X2 though.

      • TARSIS BRITO

        yea it will because i think the display its more like a software not a hardware problem my friend its getting the update to his sensation to 2.3.4 and it says the photos and screen it will look sharper. Get fast reboot and play with the task manager just for our droidx2 and you will see how smooth our phone runs i have to point out that the app imo.im has a virus which will make ur phone reboot and loose its data and battery indicator

    • Anonymous

      I have to agree.  Everytime that I pick up my friend’s iPhone 4, I think to myself, dammitt, if only someone would take this display and put it on a solid Android device. 

    • TARSIS BRITO

      i want to see the retina on a 4/3 or 4/5 display then we talking

  • RW-1

    Gads I hope the newer phones don’t have this …. That would drive me nuts …

  • Milan616

    I think you mean RG/BG pixel grid. RGBW is a single pixel PenTile setup that is supposed to be good for image quality.

    • Anonymous

      I understood it al las RG/BG is actually decent, and used in AMOLEDS and that RGBW includes white and is the reason these qHD screens cannot produce colors correctly.

      • Milan616

        Yeah, I’m reading some more on it and it does seem like RGBW isn’t just a single pixel. Very strange stuff.

        • Anonymous

          One pixel is a combination of subpixels consisting of primary colors, in traditional LCDs and CRTs that means a grid of RGB subpixels.  The pentile arrangement adds a fourth subpixel of either green or white in an atypical arrangement so as to reduce the number of subpixels.  The advantage of this type of design has more to do with the complexity of the technology than anything else although it does have a power advantage for AMOLED displays (this is not true of LCDs because they use a backlight that always draws the same amount of power).  I find it very odd to see a pentile LCD.  I bet that Motorola went with these screens because they are cheaper to manufacturer and it allows them to tout a higher resolution on paper while in real world use the user won’t notice any improvement aside from more displayed on the screen due to the larger number of pixels but with the disappointing side effect of less clarity due to a major reduction in the number of subpixels per square inch over a normal RGB array of the same resolution.

      • Anonymous

        Correct.  RGBW uses a single subpixel for white whereas RGBG has to combine all of the subpixels to form the color, this blends the subpixels so the pentile arrangement isn’t as noticeable, it’s like an unintended anti-aliasing.  White on black and vice versa is especially noticeable on RGBW because it brings out the pentile layout and larger separation between pixels and subpixels.

  • I dont know everything but i have always heard that duel core processors actually save battery, so i dont think they need the crappy display. 

  • Great information.

  • Hjevetts

    First

  • Hjevetts

    First

    • Anonymous

      Ugly Screen!!