The new Nintendo Switch OLED model does not have a Pentile screen.
That might not mean much to you, and it’s not something that we were able to definitively confirm during our review process – other than to say that the screen is a huge improvement. What it is. But there has been speculation since the OLED Switch was announced that its panel could use Pentile technology, which could have had big implications for picture quality. Nintendo devices don’t tend to have the best screens, after all.
Pentile is a registered trademark owned by Samsung which refers to various matrix subpixel layouts most commonly used in OLED display panels. In casual conversations, or as casual as conversations about OLED subpixel layouts may be, Pentile is now essentially a shorthand for “not full RGB,” meaning the red, green, and blue subpixels are shared. between pixels rather than each pixel having all three colors itself.
Almost all OLED displays in consumer handheld devices these days use some form of Pentile subpixel layout. The advantage of Pentile screens is that they are cheaper to produce and can last longer. The downside is that they have a functionally lower resolution than an equivalent display with an RGB stripe, which means you can sometimes see artifacts like dithering and graininess, especially in high contrast situations. like reading text.
The effect decreases as the pixel density increases. Personally, Pentile stopped bothering me on phones when 1080p OLED displays became commonplace, i.e. I didn’t like the Galaxy S III panel but was fine with the Galaxy S4. So a 7-inch 720p Pentile display on a Switch would probably have been a problem. And Nintendo isn’t known for securing the best screen technologies for its devices – like the 3DS, where some models have come up at random with much better IPS displays than regular TN LCD panels, with no indication of what you are getting. would get until you opened the box – so there was a reasonable reason to be concerned about the Switch OLED model.
Well, it turns out there is no need to worry. My personal OLED switch pre-order just arrived, so of course the first thing I did with it was take a macro shot. Here’s what the screen looks like up close:
This is a white area of the screen, so all subpixels are on. The layout is actually a bit unusual, with columns of blue subpixels next to smaller ones, alternating red and green rather than arranging them in uniform RGB rows. The Apple Watch does something similar, and I’m not sure what the benefits of this layout are – it probably has to do with the relative effectiveness of each color. But what matters is that, as you can see, each individual pixel is made up of a single red, green, and blue subpixel, or in other words, you are looking at a full RGB screen with the same. resolution for all three colors.
For comparison, here is the iPhone 13 Pro:
You can see how the subpixels are arranged in a complex diamond pattern, alternating blue and green on one line and red and green on the next. On displays like this, each pixel is made up of fewer subpixels compared to LCDs and RGB OLEDs which reserve three specific subpixels for each pixel on the screen – the “green resolution” is actually superior to the other two colors. As I said before, this isn’t much of a problem on devices with such sharp panels, but the image quality can degrade when the pixels are visible to the naked eye.
It’s not necessarily a big surprise that the new Switch comes equipped with RGB – the original PS Vita had an RGB striped OLED display ten years ago – but you never know with Nintendo. There just aren’t many 720p OLED displays of this size these days, or RGB OLED displays in general, so that was certainly an open question.
Anyway, happy to clarify that. Now i will play Terror Metroid.
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