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Google Nexus One versus Motorola Droid Display Shoot-Out

 

Dr. Raymond M. Soneira

President, DisplayMate Technologies Corporation

 

Copyright © 1990-2010 by DisplayMate Technologies Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

This article, or any part thereof, may not be copied, reproduced, mirrored, distributed or incorporated

into any other work without the prior written permission of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation

 

 

Series Overview

This is Part V of a comprehensive multi-part article series with in-depth measurements and analysis for the OLED and LCD displays on the Google Nexus One, the Apple iPhone 3GS and the Motorola Droid. It is produced as a collaboration between DisplayBlog and DisplayMate Technologies. We will show you the good, the bad, and also the ugly unfinished rough edges and problems lurking below the surface of each of these displays and display technologies. Each article will be introduced and discussed on DisplayBlog by Jin Kim, followed up with a detailed technical analysis and measurement data on the DisplayMate website. Part I deals with the Google Nexus One, Part II with the Apple iPhone 3GS, and Part III is a detailed point-for-point Shoot-Out comparison between the displays on Nexus One and the iPhone. Part IV deals with the Motorola Droid and Part V is a detailed point-for-point Shoot-Out comparison between the displays on the Nexus One and the Motorola Droid.

 

Introduction

There have been lots of articles and discussions comparing the iPhone, Nexus One and Motorola Droid displays, but no one has yet done anything more than superficial eye ball commentary. This article series is an in-depth scientific analysis of these displays.

 

 

 

The Nexus One display is distinctive and unusual in several respects: it is an Organic LED display, which is an emissive display technology, whereas most mobile devices have an LCD display, which uses a static backlight behind the panel. The screen is 3.7 inches diagonally and has a high-resolution high-density 800x480 pixel display with a screen Aspect Ratio of 1.67.

 

The Motorola Droid has a traditional LCD display with a White LED backlight. The screen is 3.7 inches diagonally and has a high-resolution high-density 854x480 pixel display with a screen Aspect Ratio of 1.78, which is identical to standard 16:9 widescreen displays, such as HDTVs, which have an Aspect Ratio of 1.78.

 

Both phones use the Google Android OS. The Nexus One was tested with version 2.1 and the Motorola Droid with version 2.0.1. We found so many image and picture quality problems and implementation issues with the display on the Nexus One that it will be especially interesting to see whether the Motorola Droid, which has the same Android OS, suffers from the same problems and issues, or whether Motorola did a better job of engineering the display hardware, firmware and software than Google and HTC.

 

 

 

Important Note for Android OS 2.1 Upgrade

The tests for this article were performed using the original 2.0 Android OS for the Motorola Droid. Afterwards, when the Droid was upgraded to version 2.1, the Gallery (the principal image viewer for the phone) surprisingly downgraded to 16-bit color from its original full 24-bit color in version 2.0. Fortunately, version 2.1 of the Android Browser on the Droid still delivers full 24-bit color. Image Scaling for the Gallery (which adjusts images so they fit the native resolution of the display) went from Excellent in version 2.0 to Poor in version 2.1, the same as for the Browser (both versions). As a result the beautiful screen shots for the Droid in Figure 1 in Part IV now look exactly like those for the Google Nexus One on the left. Overall, the Droid still delivers substantially better picture quality and accuracy than the Nexus One. Presumably these errors, which affect both the Droid and the Nexus One will be fixed in a future software upgrade, so the Droid will at some point return to its original excellent 24-bit color and scaling. The quality of the 24-bit color and scaling for the Nexus One remains to be seenÖ

Click Here to Compare Before and After Upgrade Images. Google acknowledges these problems for all 2.1 Android phones including the Nexus One and Motorola Droid. The next major release of the Android OS will fix these issues and provide full 24-bit color and improved scaling.

Click Here to Read the Google and Cooliris Statements.

 

The inner details of the display technologies are very interesting, but our concern here is to evaluate the actual image and picture quality that they deliver, so we donít really care how they do it, as long as they do it well. None-the-less with the measurements and analytical test patterns we will learn quite a bit about how they work.

 

Shoot-Out Overview

First we provide a summary of the Graphical Data from Part I and Part IV, next a comprehensive point-for-point color coded Comparison Table, and then finish with Suggestions and Conclusions for Google and Motorola.

 

 

Graphical Data

Below is the Graphical Data for the Nexus One and Motorola Droid from Parts I and IV.

For details, measurements, explanations and in-depth analysis see Part I devoted to the Google Nexus One and Part IV devoted to the Motorola Droid.

 

Figure 1 shows the Color Gamuts and White Points with the sRGB / Rec.709 Standard for computer images, photos and video.

Figure 2 shows the Intensity Scales for the Nexus One and Motorola Droid and a Standard Gamma of 2.2.

Figure 3 shows the light spectra for the Nexus One and Motorola Droid.

 

Figure 1.† CIE Chromaticity Diagram with Color Gamuts and White Points

 

Figure 2.† Intensity Scales and Standard Gamma

 

Figure 3.† RGB Spectra for the Nexus One and Motorola Droid

 

Nexus One and Motorola Droid Display Shoot-Out Comparison Table

Below we compare the data on the Nexus One and Motorola Droid from Parts I and IV.

For details, measurements, explanations and in-depth analysis see Part I devoted to the Google Nexus One and Part IV devoted to the Motorola Droid.

 

Note that we are testing and evaluating the displays on the Nexus One and Droid with whatever hardware, firmware, OS and software are provided by Google and HTC for the Nexus One and Motorola for the Droid.

 

 

Google Nexus One

Motorola Droid

Comments

Overall Assessment

Unfinished Prototype

Eventually Good

Excellent Display

DisplayMate Award

The Motorola Droid LCD display is the finest mobile

display we have tested. The Nexus One display still

needs a lot of work to deliver a high quality picture

Display Resolution

800 x 480 pixels

854 x 480 pixels

Both displays have comparable screen pixels

Total Number of Sub-Pixels

0.77 Million

Less Sharp

1.23 Million

Sharp

The Nexus One has only 2 sub-pixels per pixel

instead of the 3 used in most other displays

Displayed Color Depth

16-bits on-screen

Browser and Gallery

Full 24-bits

Browser and Gallery

16-bits produces false contouring and

green-magenta tinted gray scales

Image Scaling to Fit the Screen

Poor for Browser

Poor for Gallery

Poor for Browser

Excellent for Gallery

Rates freedom from scaling artifacts and noise

The Android Browser does this poorly

Viewing Tests

Gaudy Images

Photos and Videos

have too much color

and too much contrast

Excellent Images

Photos and Videos

have accurate color

and accurate contrast

The Viewing Tests examined the accuracy of

photographic images by comparing the displays

to a calibrated studio monitor.

Overall Factory Calibration

Poor

Very Good

Rates color and gray scale tracking and accuracy

Poor means RGB primaries irregularly balanced

Maximum Brightness

or Peak Luminance

229 cd/m2

Relatively Low

449 cd/m2

Excellent

Very important for a mobile device

because of the typically high ambient light

Black Level Brightness

or Black Luminance

0.0035 cd/m2

Outstanding

0.165 cd/m2

Good for Mobile

Only important only for low ambient light,

which is seldom the case for mobile devices

Contrast Ratio

for Low Ambient Light

65,415

Outstanding

1,436 Very Good

Dynamic 2,721

Only relevant for low ambient light,

which is seldom the case for mobile devices

Donít confuse these values with inflated specs

Screen Reflectance

of Ambient Light

15.5 percent

Relatively High

12.1 percent

Average

The most important spec for a mobile display

because of the typically high ambient light.

Nexus One reflects 28 percent more than the Droid

Contrast Rating

for High Ambient Light

15

Very Low

37

Very Good

This Contrast is very important for a mobile device

because of the typically high ambient light

Dynamic Color and Contrast

Yes

Yes

Best picture quality and accuracy is with No

Should be an option to turn on and off

Color Temperature

8870 degrees Kelvin

Too Blue

6752 degrees Kelvin

Close to D6500

D6500 is the standard for most content and

necessary for accurate color reproduction

White Point Chromaticity

uí=0.1871 ví=0.4508

uí=01946. ví=0.4680

CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Coordinates

Color Gamut

Poor - Too Large

See Figure 1

Excellent

See Figure 1

sRGB / Rec.709 is the standard for most content

necessary for accurate color reproduction

Color Saturation

Too High

Excellent

On the Droid the colors in images, photos and

videos are accurately reproduced

Intensity Scale and Image Contrast

Mostly Too High

and Very Irregular

Very Good

The Intensity Scale controls image contrast needed

for accurate image reproduction. See Figure 2

Gamma for Intensity Scale

1.82 to 2.55

Very Irregular

2.24

Close to Standard

Gamma of 2.2 is the standard and needed for

accurate image reproduction. See Figure 2

Brightness Decrease

with 30 degree Viewing Angle

28 percent decrease

to 166 cd/m2

Large for OLED

64 percent decrease

to 160 cd/m2

Very Large

Screens become less bright when tilted

Both displays are equally bright at 30 degrees

Droid behavior is typical for LCDs

Black Level Increase

with 30 degree Viewing Angle

Visually Insignificant

Not Measured

88 percent increase

to 0.31 cd/m2

An increase contributes to image wash-out

Droid behavior is typical for LCDs

Contrast Ratio

with 30 degree Viewing Angle

Extremely High

Not Measured

280 is Low

Dynamic 516

A measure of screen readability when tilted

Droid is still fine for text but images affected more

Color Shift

with 30 degree Viewing Angle

Δ(uíví) = 0.0262

7 times JNCD

Δ(uíví) = 0.0020

Ĺ times JNCD

JNCD is a Just Noticeable Color Difference

Droid has no noticeable color shift with angle

Power Consumption

at Maximum Brightness

0.91 watts

0.87 watts

Both about 1 watt

Power Consumption for the

same Peak Luminance 229 cd/m2

0.91 watts

0.54 watts

LCD with LED backlight is more efficient

Power Consumption for Black

0 watts

0.46 watts

OLED is zero because it is emissive

Droid Dynamic Contrast reduces power for Black

 

 

Suggestions and Conclusions:

Below are the suggestions and conclusions for the Nexus One and Motorola Droid from Parts I and IV.

DisplayMate Technologies specializes in advanced mathematical display optimizations and precision quantitative and analytical scientific display factory calibrations to deliver outstanding image and picture quality and accuracy while increasing the effective visual Contrast Ratio of the panel and producing a higher calibrated brightness than is achievable with traditional calibration methods. We can also make lower cost displays look almost as good as more expensive higher performance panels. These articles are a brief introductory critical analysis. Our optimizations correct these deficiencies and much more. If you are a display or product manufacturer and want to turn a standard panel into a spectacular one Contact DisplayMate Technologies to learn more.

 

Suggestions for Google:

1.       Eliminate the primitive 16-bit display interface and fix the Browser, Gallery and other applications.

 

2.       The White Point is too blue, lower it to D6500, which will improve color accuracy, slow the aging of the Blue OLED, reduce power consumption, and improve battery run time.

 

3.       Improve the factory display calibration to correct the large color and gray-scale tracking errors and the irregular and non-standard display contrast and Gamma.

 

4.       The color saturation of the display is way too high. You can trade this excess color saturation to boost the screen brightness by adjusting the software color calibration matrices. This will also improve the color accuracy of the display.

 

5.       Take full advantage of the OLED display: the ambient light sensor now just controls the screen brightness. You should also use it to control the gamma, color gamut, color saturation, and edge enhancement so that in low ambient light the display delivers beautiful and accurate image and picture quality, but as the ambient light increases slowly turn up these parameters to counter-balance the washed out appearance of the images in bright ambient light. Also add a display Vivid or Pizzazz control because some people prefer punchy images and pictures, while other people do not.

 

Suggestions for Motorola:†

Keep up the good workÖ To make your displays even better follow the detailed comments and recommendations above and in greater detail in Part IV. Also ask Google to fix the poor image rescaling and its 16-bit implementation in the Browser and possibly other Android OS applications.

 

Nexus One Conclusion:† The Nexus One Display Looks Like a Prototype

The Nexus One OLED display has many spectacular qualities, but it is also loaded with lots of rough edges, hasty unfinished beta display drivers and Android software including principal applications like the Browser and Gallery, poorly implemented image processing, poor system integration together with sub-standard factory display calibration. It really looks and behaves like a prototype for a very nice future display, not a finished production display for a world class mobile device that Google markets it to be. It will be interesting to see the degree to which existing units will be corrected and improved with software updates.

 

Motorola Droid Conclusion:† Excellent Mobile Display wins two DisplayMate Best Video Hardware Guide Awards

The Motorola Droid is an excellent mobile display with just a few comparatively minor shortcomings. In terms of image and picture quality it comes closer to a high quality computer monitor or HDTV than any other mobile display we have tested Ė all the more impressive because mobile displays operate under challenging size, power and cost constraints. In fact, the image and picture quality and accuracy on the Droid is actually better than in most computer monitors and HDTVs (but smaller, of course). The screen is very bright and very sharp, has excellent color and gray scale accuracy, and has very good Contrast and readability under both dim and bright ambient light. For these reasons we have awarded the Motorola Droid the DisplayMate Best Video Hardware Guide Award for both Smartphones and the entire Mobile Display category.

 

 

For Additional Details, Measurements, Explanations and in-Depth Analysis:

Read Part I devoted to the Google Nexus One and Part IV devoted to the Motorola Droid. Part II is devoted to the Apple iPhone 3GS.

 

Special Thanks to Jay Catral of Konica Minolta for visiting the DisplayMate Lab and bringing the CS-2000 Spectroradiometer to measure the Spectra and the very dark Black Luminance of the Nexus One. And Special Thanks to Konica Minolta Sensing for loaning us the CS-2000 and sending Jay Catral.

 

About the Author

Dr. Raymond Soneira is President of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation of Amherst, New Hampshire, which produces video calibration, evaluation, and diagnostic products for consumers, technicians, and manufacturers. See www.displaymate.com. He is a research scientist with a career that spans physics, computer science, and television system design. Dr. Soneira obtained his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from Princeton University, spent 5 years as a Long-Term Member of the world famous Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, another 5 years as a Principal Investigator in the Computer Systems Research Laboratory at AT&T Bell Laboratories, and has also designed, tested, and installed color television broadcast equipment for the CBS Television Network Engineering and Development Department. He has authored over 35 research articles in scientific journals in physics and computer science, including Scientific American. If you have any comments or questions about the article, you can contact him at dtso.info@displaymate.com.

 

About DisplayMate Technologies

DisplayMate Technologies specializes in advanced mathematical display optimizations and precision quantitative and analytical scientific display factory calibrations to deliver outstanding image and picture quality and accuracy while increasing the effective visual Contrast Ratio of the panel and producing a higher calibrated brightness than is achievable with traditional calibration methods. We can also make lower cost displays look almost as good as more expensive higher performance panels. These articles are a brief introductory critical analysis. Our optimizations correct these deficiencies and much more. If you are a display or product manufacturer and want to turn a standard panel into a spectacular one Contact DisplayMate Technologies to learn more.

 

Article Links: Google Nexus One OLED Display

Article Links:† Apple iPhone 3GS LCD Display

Article Links:† Motorola Droid LCD Display

 

Article Links:† Nexus One versus iPhone 3GS Display Comparison Shoot-Out

Article Links:† Nexus One versus Motorola Droid Display Comparison Shoot-Out

 

Article Links:† Mobile Display Shoot-Out Article Series Overview and Home Page

Article Links:Display Technology Shoot-Out Article Series Overview and Home Page

 

 

Copyright © 1990-2010 by DisplayMate Technologies Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

This article, or any part thereof, may not be copied, reproduced, mirrored, distributed or incorporated

into any other work without the prior written permission of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation

 


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
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