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Google Pixel 3 XL Display Review

Google Pixel 3 XL Display Review

The launch of the Google Pixel Four is just a few months away, and this yr Google began up the hype practice terribly early by posting renders of the again of the smartphone 4 months prematurely of its anticipated launch. The entrance of the telephone continues to be up for hypothesis, however what we do know is that Google is trying to up the ante of their display division. Google takes large satisfaction of their DisplayMate A+ score of the Pixel three XL, even resorting to touting about it as a PR response to show points (which I’ve additionally encountered as a canned customer support response). DisplayMate’s assessment clearly bolstered Google’s ego — right here’s my tackle the show.

Google Pixel three XL Boards

Google is so shut to creating a smartphone with a show that could possibly be thought-about among the many greatest. Indoors, the Google Pixel three XL show is completely stellar with iPhone X(S)-like high quality — colours, distinction, viewing angles and all. The silhouette on the entrance of the gadget is extraordinarily modern with a pleasant flat darkish slab that hides the bath notch and chin properly when the show is off (a results of the high-quality anti-reflection absorption layers), and a show that appears simply as well-laminated because the iPhone X-series. Identical to Apple, Google determined to make use of a versatile substrate on a flat display — which I extremely favor — to realize the plastered-screen look (therefore “Versatile OLED” regardless that the display seems flat). If Google carried out its panel’s excessive brightness mode I might give the Pixel three XL show an “A” score, however Google has to go even additional because the competitors is boasting 600+ nits show brightnesses. Till Google does so, its shows will all the time appear lackluster since there are actually dozens of us that really go outdoors, the place the Pixel telephone shows merely seem unpleasantly dim when in comparison with the competitors.

On the other spectrum, Google additionally wants to enhance the shadow calibration of their shows. Inside a few of our native habitats — within the pitch black — the Pixel telephone shows have exhibited larger black clipping than most different handsets, making darkish scenes a black blotchy mess. The Google Pixel three XL has completed higher than the remainder of the Pixel units on this regard, however it’s evident that the difficulty lies with Google’s calibration. In each Pixel telephone’s native vast gamut, there’s noticeably much less black crush, which suggests a low-breadth LUT or an error within the tone response curve/transformation matrix to sRGB.

So as to add to the low-brightness nuances, the brightness steps on the low finish are jumpy and never clean. On the minimal brightness, the Google Pixel three XL outputs 2.1 nits and jumps as much as three.5 nits on the very subsequent step. This can be a 67% improve from the earlier step. For reference, it takes roughly a 5% improve or lower in magnitude for a change in luminance to be noticeable (in subsequent patches), so 67% is a really noticeable bounce. The subsequent step outputs 5.zero nits (43% improve), then 6.Four nits (28% improve), then Eight.zero nits (25% improve). This occurs for a lot of the show’s decrease brightness vary, and it could possibly be annoying on your show to sporadically stutter in brightness when utilizing auto brightness. It additionally lowers the obtainable vary of brightness values to select from in dim environments; at night time time the leap from 2.1 nits to three.5 nits is fairly giant, and you may want a setting in-between.

Subsequent up is colour administration. I beforehand wrote an identical phase in my Google Pixel three (non-XL) show evaluation that I would really like my readers to learn since all of it’s nonetheless related. With the Pixel three and Pixel three XL, Google moved on from defaulting to an correct shade profile and switching over to a brand new colour saturation-expanding “Adaptive” profile. This profile doesn’t have any type of colour administration, so utilizing this profile doesn’t permit the viewing of pictures in different shade areas at any correct constancy. That is utterly counterproductive to Google’s current announcement that they’re bringing broad shade pictures to Android. Within the publish, Google explains the significance of shade administration and colour correctness in apps and how one can put together and implement the concepts, all of which might be pointless within the Adaptive profile.

Moreover, I’m pretty sure that the Google Pixel Four would be the first to debut broad colour images in Android. I caught a touch of this final yr through the Pixel three XL leaks once I observed that the photograph samples from the leaks had a Show P3 embedded shade profile, coming from a dogfood-version of Google Digital camera. I used to be dissatisfied to see it omitted from the discharge product, however the current Google large shade photograph announcement leaves me little question that it’s coming with the Google Pixel Four. They only gained’t be correctly viewable within the Adaptive profile, so I’m curious to see what Google goes to do. Google can also be doubtless implementing an automated white stability function just like Apple’s TrueTone, which suggests no less than some give attention to the show — be it only a function — for the subsequent Pixel.

Rant over.

Methodology ▼

Shade Profiles

Colour gamut for Pixel three XL

The Adaptive profile is the punchier, shade saturation-expanding profile and is about on the Google Pixel three XL by default. It doesn’t help any type of automated colour administration, and from my utilization, there’s nothing “adaptive” about this colour profile.

The Pure profile is the color-accurate profile that targets the business normal sRGB colour area by default. The profile additionally helps Android Eight.zero Oreo’s automated shade administration system, so apps that correctly help rendering content material with embedded shade profiles (that are at present few and much between) can show content material of their respective shade area.

The Boosted profile is the Pure profile with, unsurprisingly, a slight increase in saturation. In accordance with Google, the profile boosts the saturation in all instructions by 10%. You possibly can change the quantity boosted with adb and root.


Backside of the barrel; poor daylight visibility — D

Our show brightness comparability charts examine the utmost show brightness of the Google Pixel three XL relative to different shows that we’ve got measured. The labels on the horizontal axis on the underside of the chart characterize the multipliers for the distinction in perceived brightness relative to the Google Pixel three XL show, which is fastened at “1×”. The magnitude of the shows’ brightnesses, measured in candelas per sq. meter, or nits, are logarithmically scaled in accordance with Steven’s Energy Regulation utilizing the modality exponent for the perceived brightness of some extent supply, scaled proportionally to the brightness of the Google Pixel three XL show. That is completed as a result of the human eye has a logarithmic response to perceived brightness. Different charts that current brightness values on a linear scale don’t correctly characterize the distinction in perceived brightness of the shows.

When measuring the show efficiency of an OLED panel, it is very important perceive how its know-how differs from conventional LCD panels. LCDs require a backlight to cross mild via shade filters that block wavelengths of sunshine to supply the colours that we see. An OLED panel is able to having every of its particular person subpixels emit their very own mild. Which means the OLED panel should share a specific amount of energy to each lit pixel from its most allotment. Thus, the extra subpixels that have to be lit up, the extra that the panel’s energy must be divided over the lit subpixels and the much less energy that every subpixel receives.

The APL (common pixel degree) of a picture is the typical proportion of every pixels’ particular person RGB elements throughout the complete picture. For instance, a totally purple, inexperienced, or blue picture has an APL of 33%, since every picture consists of utterly lighting up solely one of many three subpixels. The entire shade mixtures cyan (inexperienced and blue), magenta (pink and blue), or yellow (purple and inexperienced) have an APL of 67%, and a full-white picture that utterly lights up all three subpixels has an APL of 100%. Moreover, a picture that’s half black and half white has an APL of 50%. Lastly, for OLED panels, the upper the whole on-screen content material APL, the decrease the relative brightness of every of the lit pixels. LCD panels don’t exhibit this attribute (barring native dimming), and due to it, they are typically a lot brighter at larger APLs than OLED panels.

Brightness reference chart

In typical Google style, the show on the Pixel three XL is among the many dimmest out of any flagship smartphone out there, even being outshined by many mid-range units. The primary purpose for that is that Google doesn’t make the most of the Excessive Brightness Modes of their shows, which all of Google’s Pixel telephones are able to. It requires root to toggle, however it’s lengthy overdue for Google to implement it seamlessly into the auto brightness system. With Excessive Brightness Mode, the Google Pixel three XL can attain 525 nits at 100% APL, which perceptually seems about 16% brighter than with out Excessive Brightness Mode. Whereas 525 nits continues to be not very aggressive with different flagship shows, it nonetheless barely aids in viewing the Google Pixel three XL beneath brighter circumstances.

To activate Excessive Brightness Mode in your Pixel gadget, you need to first be rooted, then enter the next adb command: adb shell echo “on” >> /sys/class/backlight/panel0-backlight/hbm_mode

Most OLEDs sometimes save energy by decreasing the brightness of the show as complete show emission will increase. The show within the Google Pixel three XL virtually utterly disables this mechanism, various its brightness little-to-none with content material APL, which is important for correct tone response.

On the low finish, the Google Pixel three XL will get as little as 2.1 nits, which is simply positive, however even decrease would assist some individuals use the telephone extra comfortably throughout night time time. Shows such because the Apple iPhone XS and the Samsung Galaxy S10 can go right down to 1.7 nits, which is noticeably dimmer.

The brightness steps within the Google Pixel three XL are nonetheless tousled like they have been in all of the earlier Pixels. I initially wrote about it in my Google Pixel three (non-XL) show assessment, and an entire beta OS replace and system launch later, Google nonetheless hasn’t fastened the distribution of their brightness steps. Simplified, Google doesn’t have sufficient brightness steps within the decrease vary of the brightness slider to permit clean transitions when altering brightness ranges, and the exponent that Google makes use of (2.5) to map the brightness setting to the output luminance is just too excessive, leading to a ramp up that’s too sluggish within the dim finish and too intense close to the height. No different handsets I’ve examined recently have both of those points.

Shade Accuracy

Wonderful; consists of vast gamut help — A+

Our shade accuracy plots present readers with a tough evaluation of the colour efficiency and calibration tendencies of a show. Proven under is the bottom for the colour accuracy targets, plotted on the CIE 1976 chromaticity scale, with the circles representing the goal colours.

Base Shade Accuracy Plots chart

Within the colour accuracy plots under, the white dots symbolize the place of the Google Pixel three XL’s measured colours. The related trailing colour represents the severity of the colour error. Inexperienced trails signify that the measured shade distinction could be very small and that the colour seems correct on the show, whereas yellow trails point out noticeable colour variations, with larger severity at orange and purple trails.

In its Pure profile, the Google Pixel three XL is among the many most chroma-accurate smartphones, sharing the highest with the opposite Pixel telephones and the iPhones. All Google Pixel units help Android’s automated colour administration, to allow them to additionally show content material in different wider shade areas if the app helps it. Testing it out, Google Pixel three XL excels not solely in reproducing the sRGB shade area, however it’s simply as correct when rendering P3 content material: each gamuts are focused with a mean ΔE of zero.9 with very low variance. The utmost error for each gamuts is when rendering 100% blue at low brightness, reporting a ΔE of two.7 and three.zero for the sRGB and P3 gamuts, respectively. Each most errors are simply unnoticeable, which means that the Google Pixel three XL has a show by which all colours seem correct in any respect brightness ranges (apart from when very low, <10 nits).

Distinction & Tone Response

Barely skimped shadow rendering with otherwise-excellent tone response — A

The gamma of a show determines the general picture distinction and lightness of the colours on a display. The business normal gamma that’s for use on most shows follows an influence perform of two.20. Larger show gamma powers will end in larger picture distinction and darker shade mixtures, which the movie business is progressing in the direction of, however smartphones are seen in many various lighting circumstances the place greater gamma powers usually are not applicable. Our gamma plot under is a log-log illustration of a colour’s lightness as seen on the Google Pixel three XL show versus its related enter sign degree. Measured factors which are larger than the two.20 line imply the colour tone seems brighter than commonplace, whereas decrease than the two.20 line means the colour tone seems darker than normal. The axes are scaled logarithmically because the human eye has a logarithmic response to perceived brightness.

Most trendy flagship smartphone shows now include calibrated shade profiles which might be chromatically correct. Nevertheless, because of the OLED property of decreasing the typical lightness of the colours on the display with growing content material APL, the primary distinction within the complete colour accuracy of recent flagship OLED shows is now within the ensuing gamma of the show. The gamma makes up the achromatic (grayscale element) picture, or the construction of the picture, which people are extra delicate in perceiving. Subsequently, it is extremely necessary that the ensuing gamma of a show matches that of the content material’s, which usually follows the business commonplace 2.20 energy perform.

Chroma accuracy is only one half of the equation. The opposite, arguably extra necessary element to paint, is its luminance, and the Google Pixel three XL nails this, too. The Pixel three XL show gamma ranges from 2.20 to 2.31 and averages out to about 2.25, which is superb and seems utterly correct for nearly all shade mixtures in addition to these with sign ranges under 10%. It’s at these low sign ranges the place the Pixel three XL show struggles to render colours in its Pure profile, crushing blacks at and under three% sign degree (channel values under 9 in Eight-bit). In its Adaptive profile, nevertheless, the Google Pixel three XL’s shadow rendering is superior, decreasing its black clipping threshold from three% sign degree to 1.6%, gaining 5 full channel Eight-bit channel values.

Drive Stability

Principally constant look — B

The colour temperature of a white mild supply describes how “heat” or “chilly” the sunshine seems. Shade sometimes wants no less than two factors to be described, whereas the correlated colour temperature is a one-dimensional descriptor that leaves out important chromaticity info for simplicity.

The sRGB colour area targets a white level with a D65 (6504 Okay) shade temperature. Concentrating on a white level with D65 colour temperature is important in shade accuracy because the white level impacts the looks of each colour combination. Observe that, nevertheless, a white level with a correlated shade temperature that’s near 6504 Okay might not essentially seem correct! There are various shade mixtures that may have the identical correlated shade temperature (referred to as iso-CCT strains) — some that don’t even seem white. Due to this, the colour temperature shouldn’t be used as a metric for white level colour accuracy. As an alternative, we use it as a software to symbolize the tough look of the white level of a show and the way it shifts over its brightness and grayscale. Whatever the goal colour temperature of a show, ideally its correlated shade temperature of white ought to stay constant in any respect sign ranges, which would seem as a straight line in our chart under.

The drive stability charts present how the intensities of the person purple, inexperienced, and blue LEDs differ with show brightness, overlain with the show’s correlated colour temperature of white, they usually reveal the “tightness” of the colour calibration of the show. The charts present rather more shade info than the one-dimensional shade temperature chart. Ideally, the purple, inexperienced, and blue LEDs ought to stay as constant as potential all through the show’s brightness vary.

Google Pixel 3 XL Color Temperature

Common colour temperature for Pixel three XL

Drive stability of Adaptive profile for Pixel three XL

Google Pixel 3 XL Drive Balance

Drive stability of Pure/Boosted profile for Pixel three XL

The drive stability of the Pure profile is sweet. The three OLEDs are tightly coupled with no noticeable variance from 10% to 100% sign degree, with a slight pink bias within the shadows, then steering chilly at even decrease sign ranges. The Adaptive profile appears to have a smoother LUT, however barely larger variance in its pink OLED, tinting the show barely hotter for midtones and shadows.

Google Pixel three XL Show Overview


  • Wonderful colour accuracy
  • Wonderful tone response
  • Nice anti-reflection and polarization layers


  • Horrible peak brightness
  • Shadow tones want enchancment in Pure Profile
Specification Google Pixel three XL Notes
Sort Versatile OLED

PenTile Diamond Pixel

Producer Samsung Show Co.
Measurement 5.Eight inches by 2.7 inches

6.Four-inch diagonal

15.2 sq. inches

Decision 2960×1440 pixels

18.5:9 pixel facet ratio

Precise variety of pixels is barely much less on account of rounded corners and cutout
Pixel Density 370 purple subpixels per inch

523 inexperienced subpixels per inch

370 blue subpixels per inch

PenTile Diamond Pixel shows have fewer purple and blue subpixels in comparison with inexperienced subpixels
Distance for Pixel Acuity <9.three inches for full-color picture

<6.6 inches for achromatic picture

Distances for just-resolvable pixels with 20/20 imaginative and prescient. Typical smartphone viewing distance is about 12 inches
Brightness 388 nits @ 100% APL

393 nits @ 50% APL

398 nits @ 1% APL


(HBM) 525 nits @ 100% APL

three% variance with APL

Dynamic brightness is the change in display luminance in response to displayed content material APL
Angular Shift -26% for brightness shift

ΔE = 6.Eight for colour shift

Measured at a 30-degree incline
Black Clipping Threshold <1.6% for Adaptive

Sign ranges to be clipped black. Measured at 10 cd/m²
Specification Pure Adaptive Notes
Gamma 2.20–2.31
Common 2.25
Common 2.26
Correct to plain
Commonplace is a straight gamma of two.20
White Level 6523 Okay
ΔE = 1.5
6576 Okay
ΔE = 1.1
Correct to plain
Normal is 6504 Okay
Shade Distinction Common ΔE = zero.9 ± zero.5

Most ΔE = 2.7
at 100% blue

for sRGB

Common ΔE = zero.9 ± zero.5

Most ΔE = three.zero
at 100% blue

for P3

Exceptionally correct
Most errors seem correct

Common ΔC = 7.three

ΔC = 10.6 for pink / ΔH = zero.1 in the direction of magenta

ΔC = 12.9 for inexperienced / ΔH = Four.9 in the direction of cyan

ΔC = Four.zero for blue / ΔH = 1.three in the direction of cyan

ΔE values under 2.three seem correct

ΔE values under 1.zero seem indistinguishable from good

ΔC measures distinction simply in saturation relative to sRGB colours

ΔH measures distinction in hue relative to sRGB colours

Google Pixel three XL Boards   Google Pixel three XL Product Web page

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