Google took heat last year for outfitting its flagship Pixel 2 XL with an inferior OLED panel, but it looks like that’s not a problem with the new Pixel 3 XL. An in-depth analysis from DisplayMate confirms the Pixel 3 XL uses a top-tier OLED with colors that are “visually indistinguishable from perfect.” That’s the same phrase used to describe the Note 9’s screen, and it shouldn’t be a surprise — the Pixel is using a Samsung panel.
Samsung has long dominated mobile OLED tech, but Google invested heavily in LG to bulk up its operations. As a result, it used an LG panel on the Pixel 2 XL. However, that first generation of LG OLED was pretty rough around the edges with lower panel uniformity, brightness, and color accuracy than competing Samsung OLEDs. Google worked to make sure the Pixel 3 had a better display, and it sent a test unit over to DisplayMate in advance of the announcement so it could do its usual in-depth testing.
DisplayMate gave the Pixel 3 XL an A+ and noted that it rated as “Very Good” or “Excellent” in all its tests. This is only the third time a smartphone has managed that feat, the first two being the Galaxy S9 and Note 9. When the Pixel 3 XL is set to “natural” mode, the accuracy is spot-on. This phone will almost certainly be the most accurate display in your home unless you have a professionally calibrated reference monitor.
One of the most vexing issues with the Pixel 2 XL was the “blue shift” at off-angles. DisplayMate says the 3 XL shows no color casting or unusual brightness drop as you move away from the center. However, the overall brightness is a bit low compared with some phones. The maximum output is 424 nits. That’s good enough to read outside, but it’s less than half the max brightness of Samsung’s recent phones.
This is quite a turn-around for Google in just a year, but the truth is far less interesting than you might think. According to iFixit, Google just switched back to Samsung OLED panels this year. That’s why the Pixel 3 XL performs so much better than the 2 XL. LG’s OLED technology has reportedly improved, though. The V40 is getting high marks for the display, and Apple is reportedly using some LG OLEDs in the new iPhones. It’s possible Google just didn’t want to take any chances after getting so much hate last year.
Noe read: Apple’s iPhone X OLED Sweeps the Field, is Now the Display to Beat, In First OLED-to-OLED Test, Samsung Snatches ‘Best Display’ From the iPhone X, and Samsung Swears to Deliver Foldable Phone By End of 2018
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