iFixit’s PSVR 2 teardown brings a controversial revelation about its display panels.
Shahram Mokhtari took apart the new headset to assess its repairability and inspect its components in a fascinating video we recommend you watch. Mokhtari then took a magnifying glass to the OLED panels, revealing the subpixel arrangement.
Each “pixel” in a display is actually made up of primary color subpixels. That’s usually red, green, and blue (RGB) and all modern LCD panels have the full three subpixels for each pixel. Most OLED panels, however, use a different subpixel arrangement called PenTile. PenTile has the full number of green subpixels, 1 for each pixel, but only half the number of red and blue subpixels.
The original PlayStation VR featured a full RGB subpixel arrangement and it was one of the only non-PenTile OLED panels ever shipped in a consumer product. While on paper PSVR 2 has four times as many pixels PSVR, the difference is not as extreme when subpixels are considered – though still significant of course.
|PlayStation VR||PlayStation VR2|
|Panel Type||RGB OLED||PenTile OLED|
|Pixels Per Eye||1 million||4 million|
|Subpixels Per Eye||3.1 million||8.1 million|
Alongside the diffusion filter we predicted teardowns would find in our technical analysis, the PenTile subpixel arrangement likely contributes to the perceived “softness” of PSVR 2’s image compared to even lower resolution LCD headsets. The display driver chip uses a technique called subpixel rendering to translate regular RGB input into a PenTile output, but the result is a loss of visual detail compared to full RGB panels.
Image from MobCompany.info showing RGB and PenTile 1080p smartphone panels.
OLED panels provide vibrant colors and unrivaled contrast with true deep blacks, but those advantages come at a cost. Whether that cost is worth those benefits is a controversial question, one that each VR gamer will decide for themselves.