Tuesday, November 25, 2014

iPhone 6 Pixel Peeping

Ole Begemann on the iPhone 6 Plus (comments):

Result of rendering the test pattern at logical 3× scale after it got downsampled by the device. Notice how every line bleeds into neighboring pixels. In the section on the left, every single pixel is lit green at varying brightnesses. The black 1-pixel-wide gaps between each green line have been lost.


The test pattern (rendered at 2× scale) on an iPhone 5. This is how it is supposed to look. Perfect! Notice how much brighter the pixels are than on the iPhone 6 Plus (both devices were set to similar screen brightnesses).


Pixel-perfect rendering is a thing of the past on the iPhone platform. Having seen the rather severe results in the worst-case scenario (rendering a regular grid of hairlines), I am actually surprised how little of an issue the automatic downsampling is in practice. As I mentioned, I simply don’t notice anything of the effects I have illustrated here in real life.

Bryan Jones on the iPhone 6 (via John Gruber):

So, why does this display look so good? It turns out that what is different, like the iPhone 5 vs. the iPhone 4 is the proximity of the pixels to the glass in the iPhone 6 compared with the iPhone 5. With the iPhone 6, the pixels appear to be almost one with the glass. When the iPhone 5 came out, Apple bonded the display to the glass in an effort to get the pixels closer to the surface and Apple has appeared to make the pixels in the 6 even closer still.

Update (2014-12-17): Ole Begemann:

My tests show that activating Display Zoom on the 6 Plus has no discernible negative or positive effect on output quality. The effective scale factor changes from one non-integral number (2.61 px/pt) to another (2.88 px/pt), resulting in a final image that is just as flawed on a per-pixel level as it was before.


On the iPhone 6 […] The end result is a slightly blurry image which, unlike the ever-present-but-practically-invisible loss of image quality on the 6 Plus, looks clearly worse than the non-zoomed image at normal viewing distance. Especially text looks distinctly worse when Display Zoom is on. I’m not sure whether the lower-resolution screen on the iPhone 6 (326 ppi vs. 401 ppi) or the fact that upscaling is worse for image quality than downscaling is the major contributing factor here.

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

[…] (2016-10-13): Previously: iPhone 6 Pixel Peeping (via Ole […]

Leave a Comment