Visual Adaption – How PenTile Technology Grows on You

I never ceases to amaze me what people can become used to.  One example would be orthodonture.  How can a mouth full of brackets and wires be tolerated by so many teenagers?  What begins as discomfort soon become part of the background experience that is barely noticed.

Experiments with more radical perturbations have had surprising results.  People wearing lenses that invert images can adapt to this radical change in perception and see rather normally over time.  In fact, the removal of these lenses leads people to believe that they are now seeing normal images as inverted.

Adaption can also play a role in display technology.  CRTs had very evident horizontal raster lines which people stopped seeing over the years.  In the 1990s when CRTs were first being replaced with LCDs it was apparent to so many people that the LCDs were arranged with vertical color stripes which were far more distinct than the horizontal raster lines of CRTs.  Many complained that these lines were bothersome.  In time, however, the worst of critics adapted to these stripe artifacts for LCDs and no longer saw them.  What happened to the lines that were so bothersome only a short time before?

The fact is that the human vision system and the human brain is capable of developing filters for those portions of an image which are always there, and learns to look strictly at only the data that is being updated.  Such an adaption filter can be very helpful to remove these sources of annoyance.

For PenTile there is a pattern visibility that is different than the patterns seen in RGB stripe displays.  That which can initially be bothersome doesn’t change with the image data, so here again the eyes and brain are capable of developing filters that remove the pattern visibility of PenTile and allow the user to see only the image information that is changing.   I have seen such references repeatedly in recent weeks.  People comments generally sound like, the pattern in PenTile bothered me when I first got the phone, but now I don’t notice it at all unless I go out of my way to look for it in an image.   This is simply adaption.


At first you will noticed the patterns in the whites and stuff. (I actually liked it) but anyway. after a while of you using this device. the screen grows on you. I personally lost site of the patterns. so its like there not even there. And this screen is freaking bright. i have mine set on %30 and its just as bright as my sisters inspire 4g on full brightness.

but to me i love it.

I’m sure you wont be disapointed. I watch netfilx alot and it doesn’t bother me at all. its actually nice.

Vision scientists have long been aware of this phenomenon.  To understand this in more detail you can check out this link   Here it says, “…If you stare at a pattern for a long period of time (usually 1 min is sufficient) the visual system becomes adapted. The processes underlying adaptation are not fully understood. Adaptation may be passive (neurones become fatigued) or active (recalibration). However, what is clear is that adaptation to a high contrast pattern has the result of making it more difficult to see a low contrast pattern…”

Not everyone adapts so readily, but most people will adapt given the time and opportunity.  Given that PenTile RGBW s is the most significant savings that can be afforded a smartphone, many have felt that it is worth the wait to allow adaption to occur.  Those who have done so have appreciated the benefits of  superior outdoor viewability and much bright displays without the penalty of short battery life.


3 comments on “Visual Adaption – How PenTile Technology Grows on You

  1. Very interesting about adaptation. I spent a lot of time comparing phone displays when I bought my current phone and the winner (I’m on Verizon) was the Bionic. To my eyes the display gives a certain luminous quality that I really like, plus being nice and bright. But I noticed one thing that is kind of neat. When the phone home screen is locked the designers added a diagonal cross hatching to the display’s design. I wonder if that isn’t an intentional trick (in a good way) to help the adaptation process.

    • The very fine checkerboard pattern is intrinsic to PenTile and can be seen for fully saturated green or red on black, but on a couple of the Motorola phones such as the Photon and the Bionic there is an additional diagonal pattern that is not so easily seen except when moving your eyes. This is not a PenTile artifact but seems to be intrinsic to the way those panels are being driven.

      • A correction, in looking at an Atrix I now see that Motorola has intentionally added some textured backgrounds. That seems to be the pattern that you are referencing and is not the artifact that I have previously responded to. Thanks for pointing this out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>