Nexus 6P first impressions

I just received a +Huawei​​ Nexus 6P, ordered during flash sale: 499€ instead of 649€

– My unit's display exhibit a color shift that's visible enough to be an annoyance with your face right in front: the center and top/bottom do not look the same color tone. More pink in the center, more green off-center.
It's a problem since the display is so large, also both your eyes don't see the same colors since they receive light from the panel at different angles.
When holding the device in hand, you can't keep perfectly in front so the colors vary with angle. It is most apparent with bright UIs, which is the norm nowadays with Material Design.

– White point is a lot greener than it should, as seen often with this technology. It doesn't seem Google/Samsung used an adequate color matching function for AMOLED.
(It's the mathematical model uses to transform spectral light data to perceived color, so you can make two colors look the same on different screen technologies)

– Color over-saturation is more pronounced than previous AMOLED I own/owned. Every color tone becomes so intense it feels nauseous like I ate too much candy.

– sRGB mode that can be activated from Developper settings looks nothing like a sRGB calibrated display. I see why it didn't make it to display settings: it is extremely poor.
I don't imagine anyone being satisfied with it.
Colors look abnormally pale and desaturated, more than they should.
The end result is simply awful.

– Grayscale calibration is not bad on my unit, there's no obvious shift and it scales reasonably well through the brightness scale.

– Black clipping at 3, with rgb (3, 3, 3) being bright enough compared to the extremely deep black so that it introduces artifacts in dark videos.

– There is sharpening. It's slight but present, introducing halos around text fonts.
Entirely unnecessary with a pixel density that high.

Highest Android performance I've used so far.
It is the first time I observe apps like Maps not drop frames.
Google Play Store still drop frames on basic scrolling operations as it loads network assets however, but less than on other devices.

They can get very loud and keep distortion in check.
However I expected a lot better in terms of frequency response.
They still sound tiny: there's no bass, high frequencies are lacking.
At least they're not unpleasant to listen to and offer reasonable clarity.
They could use some EQ tuning.

– HDR+, even more this time should not be named "HDR"
As you can see in the quick samples attached, the HDR+ image reduces the dynamic range from the normal shot.
It makes poor processing decision in sunny outdoor conditions.

– Automatic white balance and color profile invent colors that do not exist in reality. Typically, yellow/brown tones that should be white or almost gray instead.

Good surprises
– Netflix app gets the 1080p stream.
The video is decoded on a hardware DRM-enabled surface.
(How to check quickly: enable "Invert Colors", the Netflix video content will become all white since the OpenGL compositor can't access the video surface)

– How it wakes up when you pick it up, like Android Wear watch react with movement is a very pleasant addition.

I'm not keeping this unit.
I learned my lessons with keeping AMOLED devices with sub-par panels before.
A couple hours in I don't know yet if I should ask a replacement from hoping for a better display (but might get the same or worse) – if it's even possible.
I've seen worse AMOLEDs, this one might be good enough for someone not too demanding. It is not good enough to me tho, I know very well what a good AMOLED, unaffected by color shifting is.
Or return for refund, or sell it (I could even make a profit, but it's not the point)

The only thing is that it would be a good development platform for my color correction driver since it really needs better color calibration.
But I'm not yet at the stage where I need more development devices right now.

It's really an underwhelming experience to receive a brand new premium device and.. yeah no. AMOLED quality control is ruining the show again.
Google boasted about the quality of this panel in their AMA, including on its color calibration.
Yeah, in their dreams.

#supercurioBlog #Nexus


In Album Nexus 6P HDR+ reducing dynamic range

Source post on Google+

Published by

François Simond

Mobile engineer & analyst specialized in, display, camera color calibration, audio tuning

57 thoughts on “Nexus 6P first impressions”

  1. +Sven Kloevekorn​​​​ I'm afraid the software and sensor you're using to analyze display is misleading you to invalid conclusions.
    It is not possible, in either standard or sRGB mode that any Nexus 6P produces "excellent color reproduction"
    Well I mean excellent is objective. Maybe it is excellent to you.
    It is not looking anything like a display calibrated for sRGB or any other existing standard however.

    Main explanations for your invalid results:
    – The patterns used are interacting with a hardware content adaptive brightness algorithm. You will find that the real gamma is around 2.5 not 2.2, which is what explain why the scene looks so dark and high contrast.
    It's a typical flaw with the software you use and part of why I wrote my own.
    – regarding the white point, an i1Pro using CIE 1932 color matching function sees colors that are not quite what eyes will see (this is why I was taking about color matching functions in the original post)
    It's actually a very difficult problem to solve.

    However I really appreciate you're commenting here!
    I don't have all my equipment right now but it's topics I will write about during the upcoming months.

  2. +Klaus Hinum I would have a long list of critics beside the patterns that are inadequate for mobile constrains, but instead I prefer working on my own software designed with this platform specifics in mind.
    It is already available for reviewers for evaluation and I started training a few (I do that free of charge)
    While I'm busy moving ATM, the training will resume in a month or so.

  3. I'm glad you got a chance to take a look at this device, I was awaiting your display and colour calibration review. I must say that I agree with you whole heartedly with regards to the display, I'm not a professional in the field of display, display technology or colour calibration, but I think I know a good display when I see one.

    I got my unit, a 32GB charcoal and my display was very warm, I returned it because of a pink hue on the left side of the display, when I got the replacement unit, it was a bit less warm, but now the pink hue is on the top of the display while the bottom half looks normal/blueish, I decided to keep this one because although I got my devices about a month apart, they were manufactured on the same day according to the "barcode menu" that you can access from the bootloader, so returning it would have probably meant getting a unit from the same "batch"

    All in all, the display is the only part of the device that really let me down, I am not impressed at all, the weird thing is that it seems that my eyes are getting accustomed to the display deficiencies as time goes along, which for me, is a good thing, it means that I can live with the device in hopes of better next time around.

  4. +Klaus Hinum awesome, we'll do that then!
    I really like the work done on Notebookcheck which is one very rare website paying attention to display for years with a scientific method.
    There's no obligation to use my software afterwards but it has a double interest: for you to master better the domain, how to interpret the data and, more knowledge on the tools limitations, for me I learn in the process as well and it allows me to build a better software (that I use also for calibration purposes)

  5. service is excellent so far, I called them and they're sending another unit shortly.

    I was only asked to describe the issue, explaining the color shift off-center linked to the polarizer. He asked if I tried to factory reset I said it was unnecessary since it was purely a hardware issue.

    Painless and efficient support: definitely better than I expected: I'll give it a second shot.

  6. I got the 6P during the Amazon France sale as well, and my screen is totally yellow. It is so warm that even completely white pages appear as yellow. I don't want to exchange it cos I don't want to incur the postage costs of sending it back to France, taking the risk of a replacement unit which might have a worse display, and I've already applied a screen protector etc on this one. But I'm so so disappointed with the display on the 6P.

  7. +Manish Sahai​ It sounds like you got worse at the lottery, sorry.
    I bought my Galaxy S4 Exynos I9500 through the US (an import from South America) and same thing, it was a unit with discoloration / color shifting. Also coming with a defective oleophobic coating that wore off instantly : it's what taught me to never buy an AMOLED device again I can't return.

    In case I eventually get and keep a good Nexus 6P (which also means receiving a good unit before I'm leaving France which is very soon), the reason I got a 6P is as a dev platform to build a color correction driver.
    In the hypothetical case that happens then that may become useful to you.

  8. I helped my mom configure her Nexus 6P today and fortunately she got a better screen: much nicer white point (more red) and less color shifting with angles.
    Still some compared to what a good AMOLED should be, but not return worthy.
    She's happy with it: good upgrade form her Galaxy Nexus.

  9. Good luck with the replacement. I'm through eight Nexus 5Xs now (4 from Google, 4 from Amazon, they stopped replacement after 3 devices, 1 was good, but i sent that one back because of cheaper flash sale price :():

    Six of them had one or more dead pixels, the last one i had had a darker area in the center of the display.

    I have the feeling that their QA is not very great, or the tolerance is too high, or maybe i'm just very unlucky. 😉

  10. +Daniel Becker 8 devices! 😮
    If you really want a 5X I suppose sending back the only good one wasn't the best decision.
    I feel like the 5X and 6P are both overpriced in Europe to give room for sales.
    I dislike this type of practice since it leads to all kind of insanity or feelings you got ripped off.

    I just received the replacement, let's see what's inside!

  11. Can you let us know as well the build date of devices that is shipping now?

    I’m on the same boat, bought it at the 499Eur promotion, and my display is also uneven, with the bottom way more cooler whites than the top and center where it is more yellowish. Once seen can’t unseen it, and can’t enjoy anymore the device. It is actually better after one week of use, but not good enough.

    Giving some extra days before requesting an RMA, so they get new batches, with hopefully better QA in place. My first device was built on the 4th of November

    1. I made the mistake before to keep below average quality AMOLED and they never improved.
      You can get used to the fault to some extend however.

      I’m sending back both units for refund: disappointed!

  12. +François Simond​​ Yes, that wasn't really bright, and also a bit out of anger since i wanted a working second device for my wife as well. They were also from 3 different production months (Sept, Oct, Nov).

    Also, the time I had two devices in my hand, the "good" one had a display which looked like normal white to me, and the other one looked a lot more yellow. I think they were both from November, this fact really annoyed me as well.

    Since my N4s digitizer stopped working properly, I now rock my mother's slow but steady Galaxy S2 Plus until i find another good deal. I suspect they don't sell really well since you already find a lot of price drops for the 5X.

  13. +Filippo Corti I received mine this morning, there wasn't any delay.
    I've conducted measurements and tests already.
    My conclusions is that the color shifting is about the same on all 3 units I've handled so far, and that there's a difference in white point and calibration between each device.
    It is a disappointment: I suppose Nexus 6P polarizer is not good, not as good as other AMOLED devices (until I see for myself a better unit)

    I will likely keep the second until because it's the native white point is a little better, and it's panel calibration curve near black less problematic.
    However, the second unit power and volume buttons are recessed and not as clicky compared to the first unit, which was better built overall (on this aspect and the visor lens alignment)

  14. Dammit.
    I tried to use the replacement normally during a few hours and the left side blueish tone and overall lack of uniformity started to really piss me off after reading a few articles using a white background.
    There's just no way I would use that as daily driver, and I won't spend 500€ for a device that'll stay in a drawer.
    I'm gonna ask for a third replacement tomorrow: not very hopeful anymore at that point.

  15. Oh damnit…. I've asked a refund instead. Hope they can handle it cause at the beginning I've asked for a replacement…. But they are working on it. I think I'll stay with my n5 for a while and then I'll try with the nexus 6p onJanuary or february…. Or…. 5x for 1 year and then take the next 6 inches from Google.. No jdea

    1. Try to use it for a while. Not sure if my eyes got used, or some minor burn in minimized the issue, but on my case definitely it helped.

      It is not perfect yet, still enough not to notice it on normal usage.

  16. +Shinya Kougami​ thanks for sharing. It seems out conclusions are rather similar 😉
    I went in a few few stores the last couple of days to see various AMOLED demo units and I was surprised to see that the color shifting, although not necessarily as pronounced seem to be the norm with AMOLED panels manufactured currently.
    Either I started to look for the more or it's a regression with the manufacturing process used at the moment by Samsung.
    Either way, I'll establish and share a measurements methodology to track that using my SensorMaster software soon.

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