Now after the HTC Desire is finally available in Germany, my cousin immediately ordered one, which finally arrived last saturday. I couldn’t resist testing the 1 GHz Snapdragon compared to the Motorola Milestone I own. But I never got to doing that…
When I looked at the HTC Desire’s screen, I found it to be looking really odd. I could see red pixels between black and white transitions, which is really irritating when reading text. When looking at a pure gray image, it looked like I was looking at a white background through a mesh. It gave me the feeling of looking at a cheap $100 low-res phone where pixels still could be seen.
After having used high-res screen devices like the HTC Touch Diamond or the Motorola Droid, I’m pretty sure that something was wrong with the screen of the HTC Desire, it simply didn’t look like a 800×480 screen to me. Well, I dropped the seller an email, saying that the phone my cousin got is broken. But today, I got my hands on a Google Nexus One, which I immediately examined for this weird behavior. The Nexus One got the exact same problem. Is that coincidence? I started asking other people whether they are seeing the red pixels, too, but most of them replied no.
I started to dig deeper and found an interesting article on arstechnica.com describing this problem. Basically, the Desire/Nexus One screen only has 2 colors /pixel instead of 3. So the screen is a mesh of red/green and blue/green pixels instead of every pixel having red, green and blue. The whole thing is based on quite a lot of rules of human eye reception, like
- Green is a color the human eye is most sensitive to, the screen has the full amount of green pixels.
- As the human eye is more sensitive to contrast than color, having a high display density should make this effect invisible.
- Having the color information only on every 2 pixels is a very commonly used procedure in compressing video to save space without visible quality loss.
But there is one problem with not beeing able to show all 3 colors at the same time. To show one white pixel, you would need to turn on 2 pixels, as red, green and blue has to be on to mix a white. This wouldn’t be a problem it the colors weren’t alternating between red and blue. So instead of having a nice black with almost invisible blue side, you get a eye-catching ugly red/blue border on every white to black transition.
Well, I sure hope that is the only device HTC will build with such an ugly screen, if not, I’d recommend people to switch to that nice Retina Display of the iPhone 4.