HTC Desire HD

The next device we’ll look at is the Desire HD. LCD has always been more mature than AMOLED, so it would make sense for the improvement over the past four years to be much less. However, it seems that the Desire HD’s display is a far cry from today’s smartphone displays. While not as grating as the effects of PenTile on the Galaxy S, the low resolution is still quite obvious on this display. Careful examination shows quite a bit of aliasing, but from a distance it isn’t too obvious. The other issue here is the viewing angle stability. Much like the Xperia Z1s, the display rapidly washes out towards homogenous white with increasingly extreme viewing angles. This is likely due to the same *VA display technology used in both, although that’s about where the similarities end. There’s also no display lamination so reflectance is quite high, subjectively speaking.

As seen by the brightness graph, the Desire HD’s display is incredibly dim. I suspect this was done to try and keep battery life in check as the Desire HD was rather notorious for poor battery life. Contrast is also rather dismal, but I suspect this is partially due to the lack of dynamic contrast or similar mechanisms to artificially boost contrast values. The low brightness may also be due to the sheer age of the device.

In grayscale, the Desire HD is also rather poor. Although things aren’t quite as bad as the Galaxy S, they aren’t very good either. I suspect that the excessive green/blue in these devices was a method of boosting peak brightness, although by the Sensation it seems that HTC had clamped down white point to some extent.

In the saturation sweep, the Desire HD is eerily reminiscent of the One (M8), although this is mostly due to the rather extreme blues produced. The display exceeds sRGB by a certain amount in every sweep, and while the error here is relatively low, such error tends to magnify a great deal in the ColorChecker test.

It turns out that this is exactly what happens. Relatively acceptable error does become unacceptable in the ColorChecker. In reality this display is likely to be inaccurate for any color-sensitive use case, and color reproduction is unlikely to be close to the original image. It’s definitely better than the Galaxy S for color accuracy though.

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  • scy1192 - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link

    Definitely worry more about the sharpening effect than the contrast and colors. LG needs to fix that ASAP, and I say that as a G3 owner. My only complaint about the phone.
  • fokka - Sunday, July 27, 2014 - link

    the g3 has a 1440p display, not 4k/uhd. your points are still valid though.
  • Rocket321 - Sunday, July 27, 2014 - link

    After reading reviews of the G3,i bought a pair of G2's for me and my wife (they can be had for less than $300 new/off contract if you shop around for. Considering the G2 essentially matches the spring 2014 flagship specs but is selling at "last year" prices makes it the best buy currently (imo).
  • solnyshok - Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - link

    but has limited storage. I am considering getting one with 32GB soon. Those are more like $400 (EUR300 here in old europe). But, then, I must wait for August/September announcements to see what's coming ofr iOS/Nexus/SG-Note. And, surprisingly, Sony Z3 Compact looks interesting, though a bit on a small side (less than 5")
  • josemiguelcastillo - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    As far as I can tell you, the default contrast profile the phone uses makes everything a bit washed out. BUT you can control and configure as you please in "Settings > Accesibility > Color Adjustment".

    Once calibrated the screen looks gorgeous. Try it on a demo unit and you'll see how good it looks in real life
  • Hrel - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    I'd get the LG G2, or equivalent Nexus 5. Great phone.
  • solnyshok - Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - link

    wait! there is LG G3 Stylus coming soon with 6" screen
  • djw39 - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link

    How was Apple doing? Were iPhone 4/4s displays much better calibrated than those of Android phones at the time?
  • name99 - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link

    It's just one datapoint, but I still have my iPhone 1, bought a week or so after Apple released them). I use it like a transistor radio, as an audiobook player that I can use without headphones.

    - The battery is still going strong. Pretty damn amazing. Especially considering there was one unfortunate dropping in the sink two years ago (saved through rapidly pulling it out, application of paper towels then hair dryer, then three days in a tupperware container with dried rice to suck out any remaining moisture).

    - The thing feels slow as all hell when switching from one app to another. Within an app, speed is OK, but app switching is tough --- I guess 128M RAM means a LOT of constantly hitting flash, and it's not the fastest CPU in there. It's also running iOS 3, and I expect that every version of iOS adds some features that shift the speed-memory tradeoff to use a little more RAM for a little more speed.

    - the display looks to me as good as the day I bought it. Brightness, contrast, color accuracy all fine. No noticeable problems with viewing at an angle. It's not retina, of course, so there is the inevitable fuzziness that implies, but nothing as noticeable as what is being described in the article. The LED backlighting, the diffuser, and the actual LCD all seem to have survived 7 years so far just fine.

    I had an iPhone 4 till about a month ago, and the story there is much the same (in that there were no problems at all with it). That's retina of course, and running iOS7.
    Again, feels slow compared to my iPhone 5, but not the unbearable slowness of the iPhone1. I gave it to a friend in a developing country and he seems very happy with it, even compared against the various no-name brand super cheap Android clones that his friends have.
  • dylan522p - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link

    Since the iPhone 4 they haven't advanced much. I mean they got it right with the 4 so they don't need much improvement.

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