Display Comparison

Due to the nature of smartphone and tablet sampling, it's not often that we get two units of a device sent to the same reviewer. Since I already had to set this Pixel C to 200 nits for battery life testing, I figured that it would be interesting to see how the accuracy compares to the original review unit that we received. While a sample size of two is still hardly enough to make any definitive conclusions on the variance from unit to unit, it is an interesting exercise in seeing how far or how little two completely different units differ from one another. If you're looking for more commentary on the Pixel C's display I encourage you to check out the display analysis page in original review.

Display - White Point

Something that I quickly noticed about this new Pixel C unit is that the display is warmer than the original one. This is hardly a surprise, with all mobile devices having fairly high variability with the white point. While the last one was above the standard illuminant D65, this one is a bit below. What this does imply is that Google is probably hovering around D65 with their white point target, so there doesn't appear to be a heavy shift toward the blue to improve battery life, which is something you do see on many other smartphones and tablets. The low power LTPS panel is seemingly able to keep power low enough that shifting toward blue to improve backlight efficiency isn't required to achieve good battery life.

Original Pixel C

New Pixel C

Display - Grayscale Accuracy

This new Pixel C performs a bit worse in our greyscale accuracy test, but the difference really isn't noticeable. In fact, the similarity between the results on both devices is almost spooky, although it really just speaks to the level of consistency Google is enforcing. Due to the green component of luminance dropping off as you move toward 100% white you see similar errors for each shade of grey. I actually tested again to make sure I hadn't accidentally tested the same unit twice, even though the differing white points made me fairly sure of that. While Google isn't giving you ridiculous levels of calibration with DeltaE values below 1, it is clear that they're fairly consistent with targeting a DeltaE of around 3 for greyscale.

Display - Saturation Accuracy

Saturation accuracy drops a bit on the new Pixel C, but it's really not a big enough difference to make an impact on even highly color sensitive workflows. 

Display - GMB Accuracy

In the color checker test we see that both Pixel C units have equivalent average error values. There's not much else to be said here, as both panels are at a point where further improvements to color mixture accuracy won't really bring any tangible benefit.

As I said before, two units is hardly enough to make a conclusion about Google's calibration standards. That being said, you can definitely use the data to get an idea of how tight their tolerances are. I think in this case it's clear that you'll be getting a pretty accurate display with the Pixel C, and the biggest difference will be whether your white point leans more toward red or blue. 

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  • ESC2000 - Thursday, February 18, 2016 - link

    You must be new here:p. (Although in fairness I think the reporting in this article is not biased...but if you want to see annoying apple bias keep surfing this site)
  • Nintendo Maniac 64 - Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - link

    Just yesterday there was an article lamenting the lack of 16:10 displays.

    Yet here we are with a 10:7 device...

    (yes I realize said article was talking about monitor-sized displays!)
  • a2x - Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - link

    For any Pixel C users reading this: There's a custom kernel on XDA which includes Nvidia's reference WiFi driver. As far as I can tell, it has basically fixed the WiFi issue. You can't miss it, it's the only custom kernel for the Pixel C available on XDA.
  • tuxRoller - Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - link

    Regarding multitouch zoom, try Firefox. I just verified that it tracks very closely to ideal. Far better than chrome.
  • johnny_boy - Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - link

    Been using Firefox for Android for ages because of how good it is and how bad Chrome is. I also tested the pinch to zoom when reading the article oin my Nexus 9 on Firefox and it works flawlessly.
  • tuxRoller - Thursday, February 18, 2016 - link

    Same here.
    I'm really not sure why more people don't use it on Android.
  • funkdancer - Thursday, February 18, 2016 - link

    After reading the comments on Firefox here I've set it up on my Samsung 8" S2 Tab, and it's pretty flawless. I must admit I have no idea where the reviewer is coming from about Android tablets; mine is ultra responsive, my son's previous gen ipad Air is an annoying POS in comparison. So many things don't work properly on that. Pinch zooming in Firefox though, bloody awesome. So fast also. Thanks guys.
  • tuxRoller - Thursday, February 18, 2016 - link

    Good to hear:)
  • andy o - Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - link

    Brandon, could you quickly check if it now supports bluetooth hands-free profile, so you can make calls over bluetooth with a headset? It does not currently have that ability. See this link for more https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/nex...
  • Brandon Chester - Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - link

    I just tried to do a Skype call with my MBR10RBT and Plantronics BBP and neither even fed the audio to the headset even when I explicitly selected Bluetooth in Skype. The person on the other end did say that the quality of my voice got better when I switched the Bluetooth setting OFF and used the built in setting, so I don't know exactly what was going on there.

    In any case it seems like hands free is still not working, and there's no phone audio profile in the settings app like there is on the Nexus 5X. That's a pretty major omission that I never thought to check for because I tend to not use Bluetooth headphones on Google devices due to erratic behavior and generally poor audio quality.

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