Display Comparison: LG Nitro AH-IPS versus Samsung Galaxy S II Super AMOLED Plus

Posted on Dec 16 2011 - 6:26pm by Brian

It seems like just yesterday we were playing snake on monochrome 84×48 Nokia bricks. Now phones are wowing us with displays rocking HDTV resolutions powered by a variety of display technologies ranging from OLED to IPS LCD.

The Samsung Galaxy S line has been the gold standard for Android devices and its Super AMOLED display has set the bar high. The original 4 inch Super AMOLED of the original Galaxy S, was upgraded to a 4.3″ (4.5″) Super AMOLED Plus unit on the Galaxy S II and subsequently wowed enthusiasts ’round the world. However, since then, there have been many newcomers to the scene, from qHD to full HD, and Super PLS to Super LCD, the quality of displays continues to skyrocket.

In today’s comparison, we will be pitting the venerable Galaxy S II against LG’s flagship 4G LTE newcomer, the Nitro. If you aren’t familiar with the Galaxy S II, it sports a 4.3″ Super AMOLED Plus display running at a resolution of 480×800 (218 ppi) while the LG Nitro features a 4.5″ AH-IPS (Advanced High-Performance In-Plane Switching) display with a resolution of 1280×720 and a whopping 329 ppi count that is even greater than the iPhone’s 326 ppi Retina Display.

To compare the displays, I used a monitor calibration website to test the lights and darks and used the Galaxy Nexus Wallpaper Application to get a feel for the color reproduction. Keep in mind that my eyeballs aren’t yours, so these results are somewhat subjective. With no further ado, let’s take a look how they both perform.

Highlight Performance (Whites)

Left to right: LG Nitro, Samsung Galaxy S II

Both phones were put on maximum brightness and from the get go I noticed that the Nitro’s AH-IPS was considerably brighter. In addition, the Nitro’s white was much more true than the Galaxy S II, which as can be seen in the pictures, is more greyish. This could be due to the blue-shift that OLED displays exhibit over time.

In terms of replicating each shade, the Galaxy S II was much more apparent, on the top row, but this could be a result of the aforementioned greying. Although it was difficult to differentiate the bottom row of grey shades for both phones, it was nevertheless apparent with scrutiny.

Nitro closeup

Galaxy S II closeup

Shadow Performance (Blacks)

Left to right: LG Nitro, Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung’s Super AMOLED displays are known for providing very rich contrast, much of which is accomplished by their extremely deep blacks. This is especially apparent when viewing a blank black screen while in an unlit room–very little light emission. However, is it possible for the display to be too black?

LG Nitro

Samsung Galaxy S II

Galaxy S II’s unparalleled black

If you look at the Galaxy S II’s display, the bottom row of black squares is indistinguishable. Although the darkest black are darker than the Nitro’s blacks, the Galaxy S II’s Super AMOLED Plus display sacrifices accurate gradient reproduction.

Color Performance

Overall, I think the Nitro’s color tone is more natural and will suit most of the population. The Galaxy S II by itself looks great, but when side-by-side with the Nitro, its colors look a little too intense (unnatural). Whether or not the individual likes one display or another could be considered taste–take a look for yourselves:

Left to right: LG Nitro, Samsung Galaxy S II

Resolution & Conclusion

Asking if I would rather have a 4.3-inch, 218 ppi display or a 4.5-inch, 329 ppi display is like asking if I would rather have a single-core or quad-core processor. The answer to that is the latter. The high res HD display is absolutely magnificent–it has a great amount of real estate for content, and the high resolution makes for great readability. It’s no surprise Samsung went with this same resolution on a 4.65 inch display on their Galaxy Nexus.

I think it’s quite obvious which direction displays are/have been going–bigger is better in terms of both size and resolution. I predicted that 4.5-inch displays would become industry standard back in May of 2011 in our comparison of display sizes, and it looks like that trend will continue, especially with smartphones such as the Galaxy Nexus (4.65 inches) and the Galaxy Note (5.3) making their rounds.

So does the Galaxy S II’s Super AMOLED beat the latest and greatest display tech? No. Is it still very competitive for technology that is over a year old? Yes. If you are on the fence about buying a 480×800 class resolution, I would recommend holding out for the next/current gen displays that are being released, but even if you don’t you won’t be disappointed.

Video Review:

3 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Williamzzz July 7, 2012 at 7:35 am -

    The Galaxy S2 browser’s brightness has different brightness controller!
    Menu button> Browser brightness>Change the brightness!!

  2. William Furr May 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm -

    A better comparison would be against the 720p pentile AMOLED display on the Galaxy Nexus and the GS3.

  3. Case December 21, 2011 at 9:52 am -

    Very great article.
    Both have pros and cons but personally, I prefer IPS to AMOLED.

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