Nokia Lumia 800 Review

Sharif Sakr, Engadget:

With the Lumia 800 it’s opted to use the slightly cheaper PenTile type of AMOLED display. […] In the case of the Lumia 800, the green tinge isn’t awful, but the strange pixelation can be often be distracting, like a multicolored mesh or grid sitting on top of an otherwise high-res display.

Photos generally look fine, but fuzziness is clearly visible to the naked eye when it comes to text — in particular, characters in a thin font seem to ‘hum’ slightly at their edges, which is a shame because such fonts are a big part of the Windows Phone aesthetic.

I find the combination of PenTile Matrix and Windows Phone 7.x to be a gross mismatch. From the very beginning Microsoft has touted WP’s typography, but PenTile Matrix’s Achilles’ heel is text.

Because of the unique sub-pixel arrangement OLED manufacturing is simplified and power consumption reduced. OLED displays are more expensive than LCDs but with PenTile the premium is shaved. And precisely because of the unique sub-pixel arrangement text rendering is sub-par, especially at the edges.

The Lumia 800 fails where it most wants to succeed: Nokia is trying to graft WP’s beautiful OS and especially its typography unto a display not very well suited for text. A major oversight on an otherwise fantastic looking smartphone.

Update: via John Gruber. Jon Gold:

One of the only bad bits about the hardware is the screen – it’s an AMOLED PenTile and every bit as bad as the Androids with similar panels. It warps colours and distorts images, and really puts me off developing for the device.

Update 2: Brian Klug, AnandTech:

The Lumia 800 uses a WVGA (800×480) 3.7” Super AMOLED display which of course comes with RGBG PenTile. The reality is that Windows Phone actually feels like it’s designed around AMOLED to some extent, so this isn’t nearly as big of a concern as it would be otherwise. In fact, WP7 does take advantage of AMOLED’s light-emitting nature to display as much black as possible unless you change the background theme […]

This is interesting. The use of more black in the UI could be understood as being more OLED friendly, but as I’ve mentioned in other posts already the use of PenTile Matrix for Windows Phone 7 is a gross mismatch. Microsoft touts typography as one of many strengths in WP7. But it is exactly in the rendering of text where PenTile Matrix falls behind RGB stripe. The best match for OLED I consider to be the BlackBerry UI, which is mostly black with outlined icons.