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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  • Impulses - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link

    Yeah, photography is the one big reason it matters in phones IMO, and not because I'd print straight from phone or wanna edit content on my phone... Trivial yet very practical endeavors like buying stuff online or even sharing stuff requires some degree of accuracy.

    I was renting a tux for a wedding where I was best man and the bride wanted my tie/handkerchief to match the bridesmaid's... I ended up bringing my camera for something that should've been wholly unnecessary (taking a handful of pictures of neck tie colors) because between my phone's camera and display I'd have little control over what she'd end up seeing...

    Even then I had no control over her own display but I know they have a recent iPad so... Figured that'd be close enough.
  • Alexey291 - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link

    Yeah except you see there's a simple issue of - you take the photos with a camera on a phone. You expect them to be piss poor. (Sorry for the lingua but its true - there's not a single smartphone out there that actually takes good quality photos compared to a dedicated camera). Some phones are better than others but the tiny lens simply ruins colours and light.

    If you actually cared about how people would perceive your photos you would take them through a photo editor on a computer with a decent screen (and use a dedicated camera for god's sake). Most never bother. But even if one does the point is still moot because most people have their screens/monitors/phones all configured differently. Despite this one single website's (yours) crusade for standardisation :)

    But I don't exactly expect you to stop posting these reviews. Though I do find this blast from the past a little odd considering how many reviews you have pending currently :P
  • Streamlined - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link

    This isn't 2002 anymore. The best camera is the one you got and for most people that is their phone. And if people really wanted quality pictures only from a dedicated camera than someone forgot to tell Nokia, Apple and Samsung.
  • jwcalla - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link

    The point still stands though. The color accuracy of the display is hardly relevant when dealing with photos taken from a smartphone camera. In that case the weakest link in the color accuracy chain is, by far, the camera.
  • AnnonymousCoward - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    "Weakest link" arguments often don't make sense. Inaccuracies are additive. A good display is always beneficial. Furthermore, don't you think websites you visit on your phone have pictures taken with DSLRs?
  • Alexey291 - Sunday, July 27, 2014 - link

    you'll find that good pictures you see on your FB/G+ stream ARE in fact taken from a dedicated camera, usually with a stand and separate flash (if need be) as well.

    And then there's the stuff people with smartphones take. Which might as well be viewed on tiny smartphone screens - at least there it MAY look passable.
  • mkozakewich - Sunday, July 27, 2014 - link

    "If you actually cared about how people would perceive your photos you would take them through a photo editor on a computer with a decent screen..."

    That's the whole point! If your phone is a computer with a decent screen, you can edit your photos.
    Your argument is generally that today's phones don't make good production environments. The fix for that is to identify why, and improve them. Better apps, better screens, better processors, better interfacing (keyboards/mice), and then there's no reason you can't just edit photos on it.

    If I were editing photos, I'd prefer to look at them on an iPhone 5 (or better, an iPad Air) than on my current computer screen.
  • Alexey291 - Sunday, July 27, 2014 - link

    Well they don't make good production (for photography at least) environments because the camera is bad.

    Very little can be done to fix that due to lens size in the smartphone. The screen is just a small factor in the equation.
  • bill5 - Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - link

    yeah i dunno, the color accuracy thing just seems like another big phone media way to bash samsung/praise apple
  • akdj - Saturday, August 9, 2014 - link

    So apparently you've. It read the past year's worth of Samsung and Apple reviews? The measurements of AMOLED in 13/14 vs 11/12? I'm not sure you're actually comprehending the actual article. At all

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