iPhone 3G unit-to-unit screen differences revealed | iLounge News


iPhone 3G unit-to-unit screen differences revealed

Confirming earlier reports of significant screen quality variations between both iPhones and iPhone 3Gs, as well as different iPhone 3G units, iLounge Editor Jesse Hollington has released a new series of photographs showing differences between an original iPhone and two separate iPhone 3Gs, one an 8GB model, the other a 16GB model. All three devices are running the latest version of OS X iPhone, 2.0 (5A347), and have been set on the same maximum brightness level.


In the photographs, which have the original iPhone on top, the 8GB iPhone 3G model is shown to have a noticeably darker screen than the 16GB unit, as well as a considerably more shallow viewing angle. “Using a standard 360° measurement,” Hollington found, “where 0° is viewing in standard portrait mode, the most noticeable ‘negative black’ effects actually occur from about 110° through 270°, give or take.” The same effect “also seems to exist on the new 16GB,” continued Hollington, “although not nearly as pronounced, and almost only visible at the 135° point.” Consequently, the 8GB unit is more difficult to see on off-center angles, which can impact the performance of video, game, and photo features.



Adding to the confusion, Hollington explains that while “the 16GB seems to have a greater range of brightness on both ends of the screen, getting a bit darker than the 8GB when turned all the way down,” it also seems too bright at its maximum: “it made my standard wallpaper look washed out when I first set it up.” For this reason, it is unclear at this point whether the screen differences represent a defect in one unit, both units, or merely a substantial variation in screen performance deemed acceptable by Apple’s factories. It should also be noted that although the 16GB model shown here appears better overall, as its brightness can be toned down to an acceptable level, it is likely that different 8GB and 16GB units use different screens, making it impossible for a buyer to know without testing a given unit whether its screen is good, bad, or somewhere in-between.



Reports last year of post-release changes to iPhone and iPod touch screens spread across Apple’s and iLounge’s discussion forums, with some users watching serial number updates on a week-by-week basis, hoping that Apple assembly line changes would result in improved screen quality. While some users reported eventually getting devices with “good” screens that did not invert their blacks at certain viewing angles, others did not, and Apple never fully explained the problem.

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My wife and I purchased 2 x 16GB 3G phones - 1 Black and 1 White on July 11th.  Both are running 5A345 which was included out of the box and have the same brightness settings.  The White unit displays the yellow tint that has been noted elsewhere on the web.  The Black unit has the blue tint similar to the 1G model.  I brought the phones to the Genius Bar to show them.  Their response was that the yellow tint was by design and that I should try to restore the Black unit.  I asked the Genius to log the issue regardless.  The only difference in the two units (aside from color) is the Black unit was restored from my 1G iPhone’s data backup and my wife’s was a clean setup.

Posted by Jody in East Amherst, NY, USA on July 24, 2008 at 1:54 PM (CDT)


I have a white 16GB model.

The screen is noticeably different than my previous 1st gen 8GB iPhone. So much so that I’m thinking about taking it in for an exchange. The yellow/warm tint is subtle, and doesn’t bother me, but the viewing angle is AWFUL, and the blacks are very washed out and almost look brownish.

Overall, the screen does not look nearly as nice as my old iPhone did.

And what’s with these rubber gaskets?? They don’t seal in the light properly.. I have light leaking on the left side of my screen. Terrible design/construction.

Build quality has really gone down with these new iPhones. Fit and finish is very erratic. Sharp edges, misaligned parts…

Posted by kloan in East Amherst, NY, USA on July 24, 2008 at 9:15 PM (CDT)


As an iPhone 3G owner in Australia, all i can say is, I DON’T CARE!!!

We’ve (Australian’s) been without an iPhone for over a year and i am completely happy with the product i have. Does all of this really matter? Taking it back? Making a complaint? Go get a life!

There are poeple out there that don’t have an iPhone, and there’s also people out there without food.

I’ve got better things to do than compare colors and viewing angles with my friends phones.

Posted by Joey Jojo in East Amherst, NY, USA on July 24, 2008 at 11:44 PM (CDT)


I had the same problem with the screen falloff when I upgraded my iPhone to an iPhone 3G. It’s clearly a deffective screen because I compared it to three other iPhone 3G screens and they were all fine. I have some Images of the problem too <a >here.</a>

“I’ve got better things to do than compare colors and viewing angles with my friends phones.”

The viewing angle on the problem screen is pretty severe. It’s not just a case of wanting to be the same as everyone elses, if you tilt it at all it makes the screen very difficult to read which makes playing acceleratomoter based games pretty useless for a start.

Incidentally, I suspect that the screens are lacking their polarizing layer because I tried putting a polarizing filter from my camera on top of the screen and it rectified the problem. Not that thats a solution but if you have one with this issue bring it back.

Posted by Thomas Fitzgerald in East Amherst, NY, USA on July 25, 2008 at 8:07 AM (CDT)


I suspect the “problems” people are seeing are less about defects in the panels rather than subtle differences between the panels from different suppliers. It would be very difficult for one supplier (Sharp, Sony, etc) to keep up with all the supply requirements for the iPhone/iPod Touch consequently Apple IS using panels from multiple suppliers and as such these panels ARE NOT identical. I imagine if you had the money and disassembled multiple iPhones you would find that the panels in all them would not be identical. That is they would have come from different suppliers.

Posted by Rand in East Amherst, NY, USA on July 25, 2008 at 10:34 AM (CDT)


I have a white 16GB and my screen also bleeds light on the left side. I thought that I was crazy but now I hear the same thing from other 16GB owners.  I have to agree that this phone is slightly disappointing when it comes to the build quality.

Posted by Sean M. in East Amherst, NY, USA on July 25, 2008 at 5:26 PM (CDT)


Joey, this is a website about all things iPod/iPhone. We’re not here to talk about the world hunger crisis.

Being an all things iPod/iPhone website, there are going to be discussions regarding all kinds of issues, so get used to it.

Glad you’re happy with yours, but others are not and have every right to voice their concerns considering how much these things are costing us.

I didn’t pay $800 (est. non-contract price) and commit to a 3 year contract just so I could ‘make-do’ with a less-than-adequate product.

Posted by kloan in East Amherst, NY, USA on July 25, 2008 at 6:38 PM (CDT)


Bought my 3g 2 days ago. The screen is as great as the 1g iphone - maybe a little sharper. No other build issues with fit or form.

Posted by Eric S in East Amherst, NY, USA on July 26, 2008 at 9:51 PM (CDT)


My black 16 3g display is grayish dull and makes the text look blurry. The blacks are washed out looking reddish brown. I also have a white 3g and the display is beautiful. Good blacks and very saturated with color. I have exchanged out my black 3g a couple of time already due to different defects. Every single replacement had something wrong with it. It proves that the new 3g iphones build quality is not at its best. :(

Posted by ArJay in East Amherst, NY, USA on August 1, 2008 at 7:23 AM (CDT)


Are there any difference between iPhone and iPhone 3G in terms of dimensions and electronics specs (can a car charger be used on both phone?)?


Posted by Collin in East Amherst, NY, USA on August 22, 2008 at 11:23 PM (CDT)

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