When the Galaxy SIII was announced, many were disappointed that the Super AMOLED HD screen being used was still using the PenTile matrix layout. However, it may actually be a very good thing. Samsung has stated that AMOLED screens using the PenTile matrix last longer than AMOLED screens using the standard RGB stripe layout.
With AMOLED technology, the blue subpixels degrade the fastest. The PenTile RGBG layout has two green subpixels for every red and blue. The first AMOLED screens were badly designed, so the Nexus One had a lot of issues with pink tint. I personally witnessed a person go through 4 different Nexus One models because they had bad pink tinting. Current AMOLED screens take a much longer time to wear out, but PenTile technology definitely helps.
There is the argument that the screen looks worse with a PenTile arrangement. It looks less sharp, there is color fringing around the edges of icons, and sometimes you can see a checkerboarding effect when viewing high contrast content. This argument is completely valid, and all of this is true. At WVGA (480×800) resolution, the PenTile matrix was obvious on the Galaxy S. That’s the reason Samsung switched to an RGB layout for the Galaxy SII. It made a big difference. However, a lot of these points are mostly moot at a high 720p resolution and the high density of a small screen.
Samsung CAN make an RGB Super AMOLED HD panel. They have been doing it in the Galaxy Tab 7.7. It contains an HD 1280×800 SAMOLED panel with an RGB layout. But in a tablet, PenTile would have been easily noticeable. On a Galaxy SIII or Note, PenTile doesn’t make much of a difference, and the longevity of the phone outweighs the small downsides PenTile has. Most people keep their phone for 2 years, the span of a contract. Some contracts are even 3 years in length, so it’s important to have a phone last a long time. PenTile really doesn’t matter to most people when on a small, high density display.
I personally owned both a Galaxy S and an SII. PenTile never bothered me on the Galaxy S. It was noticeable at times, but never bad. Yes, side by side, the difference between the S and SII screens is pretty big. But only side by side. Otherwise it really doesn’t matter. Also consider that the Galaxy SIII screen has been improved over the Galaxy Nexus screen, so PenTile should be even less noticeable than before.
PenTile shouldn’t be a deciding factor in the 720p screen era. The difference between PenTile and RGB is really negligible these days, and for many, the amazing colors and saturation of a Super AMOLED display outweigh any negatives. Those displays are truly gorgeous. What do you think? Can you forgive PenTile, knowing it might save your phone for a while longer? Or are you still an RGB purist who refuses to buy the SIII over this (small) point? We’d love to hear your opinion.