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Display Quality: Color Gamut

Toshiba Thrive Review: The Swiss Army Knife Of Tablets

Toshiba doesn't tell us what type of panel it's using on the Thrive, but the company commonly describes it as IPS-like. As a result, most publications say that the Thrive uses an IPS display.

In our opinion, this tablet's viewing angles are decent, but not as good as competing models like Asus' Eee Pad Transformer or Apple's iPad 2 (tablets that we know for certain employ IPS technology). This makes IPS an unlikely option.

Pulling out our Celestron lab microscope confirms our suspicions. Based on the subpixel structure, the Thrive uses a VA panel, which explains how this tablet achieves deep blacks.

Toshiba Thrive: LCD Color Gamut (VA Panel)

Even though mobile operating systems don't honor ICC color profiles, native color management does occur at the hardware level. When a GPU sends 10 different hues of blue to an LCD only capable of displaying three, the subpixels display the closest matching color. So, in a way, smartphones and tablets behave as if they’re using relative colorimetric rendering. For more information, read Tom's Hardware Benchmarks Inkjet Printer Paper!

Most tablets still deliver less color quality than the cheap TN panels we see on the desktop, which is why the Thrive doesn't surprise in this test. Overall color gamut is extremely close to the A500. The Galaxy Tab 10.1's Super PLS panel still sets the standard when it comes to display quality. There isn't a tablet we've seen able to match it.

These gamut measurements are accompanied by a couple of caveats. First, we're disabling dynamic brightness because it doesn’t allow us to get an accurate (or reproducible) measurement of the display’s potential. Second, brightness is set to the highest value. If you don't use the same settings, your color gamut is going to look smaller than what we're showing here.

The Thrive's VA display is a little cool at 7900 K, but it's nothing out of the ordinary. White backgrounds have a very faint bluish tint, but the relatively low gamma helps masks the problem with other colors.

Understand that gamma doesn't affect black or white performance, but it does affect midtones. If gamma is set too high, the midtones appear dark. If it's set too low, they're pale. Adobe, Apple, and Microsoft all recommend a gamma of 2.2. It's an arbitrary value carried over from the NTSC standard, but it was originally chosen because it allows colors to appear more natural in slightly dim environments. 

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