2010-03-25

Followup to the Ars article

I wanted to collect a few of the most insightful comments I get in response to the Ars article in one place.

Update: I wanted to highlight Jakub's link in the comments below to a side-by-side closeup comparison of PenTile and non-PenTile displays (HTC Desire vs. HTC Legend).

Lone Shepherd said:
I must say I'm continually surprised at the lower quality of comments on front page articles compared to the Ars forum. What's with all the fanboism, accusations of FUD, and people insulting the author because he dared investigate and criticize a design decision?
You guys need to take this article for what it is: a technical investigation on the display tech used on the Nexus One. If you're a tech enthusiast, you might find this sort of analysis interesting. I know I did. The article isn't about bashing the N1, or making the iPhone or Droid look better, or whatever. It's talking about tech, period. It's not about dissing your phone, or ignoring another phone, or making yet another phone look better in comparison, or any of that partisan, fanboy crap.
Get a grip, people.
lhopitalified said:
Your comment about rods and cones is not entirely correct. Density of rods and cones varies depending on angular distance from the fovea (i.e. cones are most dense at the fovea, rods are most dense about 20 degrees away), which complicates the matter of a single numeric comparison. Moreover, the whole "rods are for luminance" and "cones are for color" argument is rather simplistic. Cones are the only photoreceptors that get mapped into color channels, but that does not mean that they are not used for luminance. Unlike rods, fewer cones map into an individual retinal ganglion cells (the actual "pixels" of the eye). This is a method used to boost the low-light sensitivity of rods.
When reading, it is clear that the cones are being used -- when you focus on one letter of text, it is very difficult to make out letters that are a short distance away unless the text is really big because the resolution of cones decreases dramatically. The opposite occurs at night when viewing dim stars -- if you view them directly, they disappear because the cones are not sensitive enough, but reappear when you shift your focus point away and let the rods do the work.
My main point is that the human visual system is a LOT more complex than most people give it credit for!
neatchee had a great comment for balance:
OHS NOES! Images crafted with the sole purpose of causing irregularities on the Nexus One's screen cause irregularities on the Nexus One's screen?! Whatever shall we do!
Seriously, this article is a whole bunch of sensationalism. Luke has a valid point in there somewhere but it's lost among the cries of "oh em gee it doesn't follow the exact specifications I expected and other screens have used!" NONE of these examples show a real world scenario. Stippled images? When the hell will I be viewing a stippled image on my N1 except in this article? Not to mention, if you change the zoom level by even 1%, the effect disappears. It's like my kid saying "it hurts when I twist my head like this, and put my arm over here, while I jump up and down."
In practice the N1 screen is vibrant, and text is about as readable as it comes. If you're specifically looking for fringing then I'm sure you can find it. But you'll have to hold the phone so it's touching your nose, and squint, and mutter something akin to "I think...I'm pretty sure I see it...yeah, I think I see it." Text is not "blurry" it's solid as compared to the Droid screen where I can actually discern individual pixels in a solid color area (it's like looking at a white wall and seeing each individual molecule). Here's a tip: when an image has a white background, I want it to look like a solid white background, not hundreds of white dots.
I should say that I asked Ars to remove some of the sensationalist language that they added in, in a final round of edits, and the editor rejected my changes.  I guess I'll self-publish from now on.

klassobaneiras said:
Smartphones are sold on their awesome specs, and who lives by the specsheet dies by the specsheet.
Plus, you can't blame people for wanting to feel they got what they paid for.
alexvroger said:
Why all the nexus hate ?
No matter what tech site I check (Wired, Engadget, Gizmondo) there's some bad press about Nexus One.
I have Nexus One and it's screen is absolutely the best I've ever used. The Iphone compare to it is a joke (and I had 3GS). 
Nexus One is easily the best smartphone on the market, so please stop all the hate