Engadget on the Motorola Photon 4G

It is good to see the thorough review by Engadget of the Motorola Photon 4G.  http://engt.co/q4whbJ This Motorola phone has already been recognized for its ability to achieve high brightness with long battery life.  Saving half the power with PenTile RGBW is no small part in making this happen as the display backlight is a significant consumer of phone power.

The specific comment by Myriam Joire of Engadget was “…With its stunning display, impressive battery life and solid performance, the Photon 4G comes very close to dethroning Samsung’s mighty Galaxy S II as king of the Android hill…”

I had the experience last week of going to a Sprint store to look closely at the Photon PenTile RGBW LCD display.  While I was there a young woman, whose eyes had better acuity than mine, was hunting for a new phone.  She complained of the battery life of her current smartphone (unsolicited comment I swear).  I told her why the Photon was better than her current phone in that regard.  In the spirit of full disclosure I told her that some bloggers were complaining of some artifacts in this display.  I asked her to see if she saw anythings wrong with the display.  When she couldn’t, I pointed out the pattern visibility issue for the battery indicator.  She couldn’t see it, so I lent her my eye loop.  She could then see it, but said “So what?  If this saves my battery life I could care less.”

By the way, in the recent software update for the Atrix I noticed that Motorola addressed the pattern visibility in the battery indicator with some changes that have eliminated the pattern visibility on this icon.

I hope that more reviewers like Engadget begin to put a little weight on battery life, brightness, and overall performance.

4 comments on “Engadget on the Motorola Photon 4G

  1. There’s no doubt brightness, battery life are important factors when judging performance of a display. But after all it all matters of what weights more for you. We can draw a parallel to cars – there are cars that do 50MPG and others that do just 10MPG. Similar size and weight cars, but different mileage. Why? Because there are other parameters that come into play – like engine power or technology. Everything has pros and cons. Finding the balance is a personal choice. Just like the example you gave in the article.

  2. Hi,
    I know that informing ignorant people isn’t an easy task but I have a question.

    I read all this pages and I’m quite convinced that pentile is a great tech, a least a great try to be a great tech but…

    How do you explain the visible chessboard that we see on some tonalities?
    Please have a look at the last photo of the photon in the article you linked, do you see the green droid? It have a chessboard on it, do you see the square over the 1 of 6, it have a chessboard.

    How do you explain the chessboard that pentile create on some images?
    There are many users who says that white images are often pink, is this something related to your tech?

    The photon photos are at a normal distance, so if we can see the chessboard at a normal distance, is this ok?

    • We appreciate hearing from people with questions about PenTile technology. Even the display experts have some misconceptions when it comes to how PenTile technology works.

      As for the visibility of a “chessboard” pattern, you are seeing what is referred to as pattern visibility. This artifact for PenTile RGBW is only seen for fully saturated green or red areas. In these circumstances we are lighting up only green subpixels while the adjacent red, blue and white subpixels are dark. Due to the geometry of the arrangement of the subpixels it looks like a chessboard.

      Since PenTile subpixels are one-third larger than those of RGB stripe it may be more visible than the pattern visibility in the equivalent RGB stripe LCD. For the larger, lower dpi panels it will be easier to spot this than for smaller diagonal screens. That is why we strongly advise our customers to only apply this technology to high dpi applications.
      This is not so different from the pattern visibility seen in a RGB stripe panel where the pattern would be dark stripes rather than a chessboard. There are RGB stripe displays with dot pitch that is low enough to see this as easily as this chessboard pattern in the PenTile RGBW display and yet you will not see complaints. The reason is that people have become accustomed to seeing this pattern and are accustomed to filtering this out with their vision system. If you are not looking for this in the PenTile display you may filter this out over time as well.

      Given that this pattern is never seen in anything but fully saturated red or green it seems to many to be a reasonable tradeoff made in exchange for 2X the power efficiency of the LCD’s backlight and good outdoor visibility. Also as the industry moves to higher resolution designs, this will be not be noticed as much as has been noticed to date.

      While this chessboard pattern is a PenTile attributable artifact, there are several other artifacts that people have been blaming on PenTile that are not caused by PenTile. One is a complaint about diagonal lines on the Photon and Bionic display mostly visible with moving images or when moving your eyes. This is not caused by PenTile.

      Another past complaint of “pinkishness” was related to the use of PenTile RGBG for OLEDs where the input data was 5-6-5 bits leading to imbalanced quantization. I wrote about this several months ago (http://pentileblog.com/?p=63 ) All PenTile displays handle color data internally as 8-8-8 (RGB), but when 5-6-5 is input into such a high contrast display as an OLED it is possible to shift the white point ever so slightly toward red, giving a pinkish appearance. Most recent phones have gone away from such 16-bit color, moving to 24-bit color and eliminating this pinkishness issue. Again, pinkishness is not a PenTile caused artifact.

      Thanks again for taking time to submit a comment.

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