Galaxy S II vs. Galaxy S Plus vs. Optimus 2X: Head to head revisited

Head to head revisited

GSMArena team, 03 June 2011.

SuperAMOLED, SuperAMOLED Plus and LCD

The original Galaxy S had an amazing display. But as great as the SuperAMOLED tech is, it did have its drawbacks, mainly the PenTile subpixel matrix. The Galaxy S Plus has the exact same display so that goes on its record too.

The new generation SuperAMOLED Plus increases the size of the available panels up to 4.3”, it improves performance and it comes with a conventional subpixel matrix. We expect nothing but excellence – let’s see if the Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II delivers.

First, a few words on the PenTile matrix to give you an idea of what you’re looking at. PenTile uses only two subpixels per each pixel of the screen, unlike traditional matrices that use three (LCD displays use this arrangement too). The image below demonstrates the difference though in an exaggerated way.

SuperAMOLED vs. SuperAMOLED Plus

Even though both the original Galaxy S and the Galaxy S II have equal resolution – WVGA, or 480 x 800 pixels, the use of a conventional matrix has given the SuperAMOLED Plus screen 50% more subpixels, making the display noticeably sharper (especially when it comes to small text).

Here are a few shots we took of the displays of the original Galaxy S, the Galaxy S II and the iPhone 4. You can see that the subpixels look as we expected them to.

The iPhone 4’s Retina display is easily the sharpest of the bunch. There is a very noticeable difference between the two Galaxies in the following extreme close-up shot, but in reality, the difference isn't that prominent, unless you’re looking at them from really close.

Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
Macro shot of the screens of the Galaxy S II, the original Galaxy S (middle) and iPhone 4 (bottom)

Sharpness isn't a problem for the traditional LCD matrix of the LG Optimus 2X. The WVGA 4-incher gives the Optimus 2X the highest pixel density of the trio. That’s taking into account the subpixels, of course and not counting the iPhone 4, which isn't a part of this test.

The SuperAMOLED Plus display of the Galaxy S II has exceptional viewing angles but the old screen in the Samsung Galaxy S isn't half bad either. LCD units however, especially without IPS or similar enhancements, suffer a sharp decline color and contrast when viewed at an angle.

For this comparison we’ve put the first and second generation Galaxy S phones next to the LG Optimus 2X. The Galaxy S Plus uses the same screen as the I9000 Galaxy S, so the findings here are valid for it too.

Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
LG Optimus 2X • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S

The new Super AMOLED Plus display reportedly has improved brightness and power efficiency. We were surprised however to see the SuperAMOLED Plus screen is no brighter than the previous generation used in the original Galaxy S.

Here are our measurements.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2
iPhone 3GS 0.84 134 2.51 504
iPhone 4 0.14 189 0.39 483
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc 0.03 34 0.33 394
LG Optimus 2X 0.23 228 0.35 347
HTC Incredible S 0.18 162 0.31 275
Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II 0 231 0 362
Samsung Galaxy Ace 0.23 160 0.34 234
Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo 0.05 68 0.10 134

You’ll notice we didn’t measure the contrast ratio of either SuperAMOLED display – that’s due to how OLED works. Contrast is the ratio of how bright a white pixel is compared to a black pixel while both are visible on the screen. Since black pixels in OLED type displays don’t emit any light at all, the contrast tends to infinity (which isn't really a meaningful comparison).

Reader comments

  • Anonymous
  • 09 Oct 2013
  • jxX

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  • Anonymous
  • 09 Oct 2013
  • jxX

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  • Anonymous
  • 08 Sep 2013
  • uvT

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