Palm Pre screen tests: color great, touch accuracy not so much | webOS Nation

Palm Pre screen tests: color great, touch accuracy not so much 46

by Jonathan I Ezor#IM Fri, 26 Mar 2010 10:19 am EDT

MOTO Development Group touch accuracy test results

In two independent tests conducted by CNET and MOTO Development Group (not to be confused with Motorola) pitted the screen of the Palm Pre against several competitors, and we ended up with a mixed bag of results for the flagship webOS handset.

We’ll start with the good, and that’s CNET’s test of color accuracy. CNET tested maximum brightness, black level, and contrast ratio electronically, displayed test pattern screens to check for errors and 24-bit compatibility, and then tooled around with games, photos, and the sun for some anecdotal evidence. The top-ranked screen came from the Motorola Droid, which had great colors, an impressive contrast ratio, and sharp text. Number two was the Palm Pre Plus (the Pre and Pre Plus have identical screens), which came in right behind the Droid. Color-wise, the Pre was spot on, with fuller tones than the iPhone 3GS, but not oversaturated like the Nexus One. While the Pre’s extra-bright backlight to produce some clouding, the Pre’s screen was hands-down the best outdoor sunlight performer.

MOTO Development Group took a different aspect of screen testing: touch accuracy. Previously, they had a tester trace a diagonal grid across a number of smartphone screens to test their tracking accuracy. The results for most, with the exception of the iPhone, were disappointing. But we like consistency, and consistency goes hand-in-hand with robots. So MOTO rigged up a robot with a false capacitive finger and went about tracing a test pattern on the same phones again, this time with uniform speed and pressure. While the Palm Pre performed quite well under medium pressure (with the exception of the bottom and bottom right corner), once the robot eased up to the “light” level (narrowing pseudo-finger), things started to fall apart. Granted, tracking was nearly as bad as the Motorola Droid or the BlackBerry Storm 2, but to call the light results good would be quite the stretch. General rule: More finger contact = better tracking accuracy.

[via: Engadget]



My Pre came with about 5-8 stuck/dead pixels, FWIW.

Mine has just one. Luckily, it's in one of the rounded-corners of the screen where it's black 90% of the time anyway, so it really doesn't bother me at all.

More finger contact = better...accuracy. {That's what she said} ;-p

My Pre is perfect. No dead pixels, good touch response in my opinion.

Isn't the screen curved? No wonder the results are poor..

I am very curious about that too. I wonder if they did take in account of the very slight curvature of the screen seeing how the rest of those phones have (to my knowledge) flat screens.

Well, if they didn't take that into account, then in the light test you should see a marked improvment in the center of the screen where it is at it's highest point, but since it seems uniform on the screen I tend to believe these results.

Or whatever they did or used (i.e. an input of parameters) to account for the depth may not have been precise enough. Maybe the robot used couldn't mimic the curve of the screen precisely. I've used CNC machines (years and years ago)before and i hate when i can't get them to be perfect.

The blurb uses the word "pressure"... so I'm pretty sure that the curve wouldn't effect the results that much, if any at all.

All I know is that at medium test... PRE IS BEST [right after iPhone, of course ;-)]!!

And as others have stated before... not registering input on light, accidental taps could actually be a benefit!!

The Pre is without a doubt the better all-around screen. You can drop it and not crack it like glass. It registers input virtually as accurately as the iPhone. It doesn't register input for accidental touches.

How could you possibly make the Pre's screen any better?

pretty sure the pre is very difficult to test light sensitivity with the curved screen. dont believe it... I call bs

It is what it is. Fan boys need to understand that their product is NOT perfect.

I would question this as I know personally that the Nexus One has horrible touchscreen accuracy, and that the Droid is more accurate than the Nexus One. To me, the Pre's screen is very accurate.




I've never had any problems except with my big thumb I can't always see where I am touching the screen. :-)

Other than that I've had no problems.

In fact, except for a few doubling of letters with the keyboard, and only in certain apps, I don't have any problems with my Pre+.

The headset issue is easily fixed. I only have it happen when using Pandora. After closing Pandora, I bring up the built in media player and then unplug the headset. No problem.

Both of my very minor issues seem to be software, so maybe the next update will take care of them.


It would have been nice to test the WHOLE screen for all devices. Look how far away the sides are for the Nexus One and Eris!

I'm pretty skeptical of the color tests-- it's obvious when you put them side-by-side that the 3GS is NOT capable of 24-bit color. The Pre's screen is so much better. Droid has a nice screen, but it seems to be 16-bit color also, or maybe that's an Android limitation.

So put it this way... people who are fat like capacitive keyboards cause it works better for them. The 7mm tracking is so much better than the 4mm.

I'm sticking to my physical keyboard. :D

Really? I'm kind of average, and still I sometimes wish my fingers were smaller when it comes to playing with capacitive touchscreen. I don't know how easy it would be to go back to resistive after trying out the multitouch, but I do miss resistive screen accuracy sometimes.

Having played with a Droid, iPhone 3G, and my Pre these results seem about right to me. I would call the iPhone's screen response SLIGHTLY more accurate than the Pre's, but still nowhere near enough for me to tolerate that virtual keyboard for more than the tiniest of typing tasks.

woot. I saw this a few days ago on a diff website (might've been engadget)... why is precentral always a day or two late?

So let me get this straight. Unless the Palm Pre comes out on top of every test out there, all of these tests are not dependable? Fanboyism at it's finest.

you are not getting that straight,you are just trying to make it closer to your interest, mr primero.

given Im seeing a pattern in you messages youd better stop accusing everyone but you of fanboyism because thats actual the first signal of childlish fanboyism.

tanta paz lleves como paz dejes.

I'm not sure what you're talking about, because the Pre did come in near the top in most of the tests.

In the light touch test, there are legitimate concerns about the accuracy of the methodology. They didn't actually vary the pressure in the light and heavy tests; there merely varied the size of the stylus (to simulate the squishing of a finger-tip). If they did so because their rig isn't capable of actually dynamically adjusting the pressure/height of the stylus, well it's certainly possible that it's not capable of applying uniform pressure across a rounded surface.

Even if you assume the test IS accurate, the Pre still has one of the best touchscreens out there, when it comes to color and accuracy.

Or we could just be wondering about their results compared to real life experience. And then questioning the methods based on that.

For a Projected Capacitance screen having a "narrowing pseudo-finger" doesn't really work for what the screen is really doing. The screen measures the local electrostatic field. NOT a touch.

Yes a touch does change the field, but just being close to the screen does as well. And small or large pieces of rubber is VERY different from a hovering piece of skin. Let along dealing with the local electrostatic field in differing humidity, clothing worn by the user, and even your shoes (think shocking people after rubbing you feet on the carpet).

So for me ... interesting results. But not a real test in the least.

I hate the iPhone :-)

Tests aside, I never have any trouble with my Pre (touch or color wise). I will say though that in the few times I have used the iphone I almost always tap something I didn't mean to, by having my finger hover "just right" on top of an icon. Never had that problem with the Pre. Maybe a poor rating on the light capacitive touch test isn't such a bad thing?

yes.. i can barely touch my screen and it responds.. you can even take your thumb off of the screen a couple centemeters and it'll still respond.. i swear! try it. start out with your thumb slowly swiping from one launcher page to another.. as youre swiping, pick your thumb up off the screen as low as you can.. you'll be very close to the screen but you wont be touching it and it'll still respond to your swipe.. i promise! these tests are BS!

The Pre came in second in the top test, so its not the worst thing out there.

I've had no issues with my screen. The screen is on the small side, but other than that everything else is dandy. No need for a huge screen with a physical keyboard. So what they've proved here is I'd have a problem using the Pre if I had a 4mm finger. Or, If I had a 4mm finger, the only phone I should have is the Iphone.

wow, I'm really surprised. Not about the colors and all that, we all know that the screen is quite beautiful and easy to look at, but about the touch. I always thought it was pretty accurate. I'm doing this on my pre, and I didn't have to zoom at all to hit the little "view comments" button, or the "log in" button. Same w facebook -no need to zoom, just tap, and get it first try.

I wonder if the use of a robot, and the curved screen did somehow skew the results just a tad?

but i don't want my screen to respond to light touches... that would mean its responding to accidental taps right?

this test should be quantitative, not qualitative, because the screen response could have been intended to be this way...

The tracking test is as pointless as 3DMark/Futuremark/etc benchmarks are for computer hardware. The only thing that matters is real life performance, not under a completely controlled environment.

Its a bit like how cars are measured their horsepower on a flywheel, rather than at the wheels, in the REAL WORLD which doesn't take into account the vehicle itself, instead of just the engine.

The Moto screen accuracy test is FAKE!

My guess is that it's a deliberate hoax, there's no way they could have "accidentally" made a mistake this significant.

Their claims that the Pre (and a number of Android phones) have less accurate screens than the iPhone. Their claim has been refuted by any number of users, now some gadget sites have tried to reproduce their results and confirmed that it's a hoax.

I'll take these results for a first gen product. Besides, the screen works fine for me and at the end of the day that's all that matters.

Can't agree with them more! As much as I hate to say this, the iphone has the best in this dept along with pinch and zoom. Palm's is a close second though.

Quick, DUCK!!! Brace yourself for the barrage of insults because you admitted that something else is better than the Pre.

Still disagree with them. I've used both and to me they require a different "touch" to get best performance of their displays.

My Pre is less about a push and more about a gentle approach. I don't ever push on the screen. Which makes sense for the projected capacitive touchscreen.

Lastly given that the screen measures the electrostatic field you do know that the smaller pseudo-finger would create a LARGER electrostatic field (think lightning rod). So their "soft" touch was completely wrong.

I went to the link for the moto article and they seem to be focusing on Apple and the Android platforms...

This test is simple bullcrap^^

I don't use my touchscreen by gently fondling or blowing on it. I use my fingers, like anyone else. And my fingers aren't 4mm thick and "very soft" o.O

So, who the frick cares?

In real circumstances, the touchscreen gives u very nice testresults and that is the only thing that counts. PERIOD

In all fairness, the Pre had the second best results when using "medium pressure". It only did poorly with "light pressure". Medium pressure is more like real world use for most.

The Pre isn't better or worse, the entire test is a HOAX!

The Moto testing methodology is non-reproducible, even when using the exact same software Moto "claims" to have used.

I don't know why all these gadget sites are giving such credibility to this completely unknown Moto.

It's becoming more and more clear that the entire Moto accuracy test is a HOAX. In other words, those squiggly lines pics above were simply fabricated, purposefully drawn in stair-steps to fabricate a non-story from thin air.

Regardless, its impressive the iphone has pretty much exactly the same results on medium and light touch.

I've had missed presses cause i went too light on my Pre...not a big deal, but still would nice to have a bit more accuracy under all conditions.

I can honestly say that this has never been an issue since I've owned the phone. I am not worried about this. In fact the test is kinda BS made up by someone who was bored.

One thing I HATE about the 1.4 update is that the screen seems more sensitive to touch. When browsing a web page, to zoom in on a column if there are links in that column more often than not I inadvertently hit the link, opening whatever site lies underneath. I wish the screen was less sensitive, and the requirement was to touch and hold a link before it opens. This has become very annoying.