When Samsung announced their newest tablet lineup, the Galaxy TabPRO on Monday, they impressed us with a number of things. First off there seems to be some serious UI redesign going on, for better or worse of course, and with Google’s recent banning of the menu button Samsung replaced said button with a proper Recents button for quicker multi-tasking. Last but not least were the top-of-the-line specs and of course that amazing sounding 2560 x 1600 pixel display, which is the same resolution no matter which of the 3 sizes of Galaxy Tab PRO you choose to get. Unfortunately we found out from Erica Griffin that not all 3 sizes are created equal, and oddly enough the Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 is just a little more grainy than the other two models. This is apparently because the screen used on the 10.1 model is a Pentile RGBW screen rather than the full RGB that the other two sizes are. This results in a less-than-advertised actual display resolution, leading to problems normally associated with lower resolution displays. Below is a closeup of the phone icon on the Tab 10.1 so you can see the effect.
While this isn’t a deal breaker in any way, it is a hit to what seemed like an almost perfect lineup of tablets. What exactly does a pentile display look like? Well if you’ve ever used a Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4 or a Galaxy Note 3 you’ll know what I mean when I say it is grainy looking. The Galaxy S4 and Note 3 are very high resolution for their size, so you need to look very closely to be able to tell, but once you see it you can’t “unsee” it unfortunately. Of course your mileage may vary here, as some people’s eyes are more sensitive to this sort of thing than others, but it’s curious why Samsung would choose to do this for 1 of its 3 new tablet models rather than all 3. In the past no particular reason was given for choosing the Pentile RGBW display over a standard RGB display, and Samsung has wavered in its use of either type of display too. What exactly makes the Pentile screen less desirable? It’s all about the make up of pixels and how your eye perceives light and color.
Basically an RGB display is comprised of 3 sub-pixels that make up each pixel; a red, green and blue subpixel. Since there are 4,096,000 pixels on any one of the regular 2560 x 1600 RGB displays, there are then 3 times the number of sub-pixels in that display. The Pentile RGBW display has a 4th subpixel per each pixel, effectively giving the display an additional pixel, however because of the way it has to be laid out you get that “grainy” effect on the screen because the white pixel doesn’t convey any color information, it’s simply used to achieve a higher brightness level. Maybe Samsung thought more people who buy the 10.1 would need to see it outdoors, in which a higher brightness display would certainly help. Usually you notice this effect most on icons, where the edges aren’t as crisp as they should be if it were a full RGB panel. Regardless of this fact many people will still buy the Galaxy Tab PRO 10.1 and love it, as many have bought Samsung’s other models with Pentile RGBW displays. What do you think? Does this affect your purchasing decision or is there a fuss being put up over nothing? Let us know!