DisplayMate: the iPhone 5 has the best smartphone display

By , Sep 25, 2012

Display experts DisplayMate put the iPhone 5 display through its paces and walked away pretty impressed, ranking it the best smartphone display they have ever tested. A lengthy analysis confirms that Apple improved upon pretty much every aspect of the iPhone 4/4S display. No longer are colors undersaturated and brightness doesn’t drop as much when looking at the iPhone 5 from side.

Moreover, the display on the iPhone 5 has excellent calibration plus accurate color and contrast. Overall, DisplayMate rates the iPhone 5 display as “A” versus “A-” for the iPhone 4 and “B+” for the Galaxy SIII…

According to DisplayMate’s findings, the OLED display Samsung used on the Galaxy SIII is a “very good OLED display” that, however, exhibits “medium” color and brightness shifts with viewing angles. In comparison, the iPhone 4 and 5 show “small” color and brightness shifts with viewing angles.

I think this comes as a given to anyone who has ever compared the iPhone’s LCD IPS display to Samsung’s OLED display. Though colors pop and are more vibrant, they tend to be oversaturated a bit. More importantly, OLED suffers from substantial color and brightness drops when viewed from angles other than having been seen head-on.

DisplayMate notes sums it up nicely (via MacRumors):

Based on our extensive Lab measurements the iPhone 5 has a true state-of-the-art accurate display – it’s not perfect and there is plenty of room for improvements (and competitors) but it is the best Smartphone display we have seen to date based on extensive Lab measurements and viewing tests.

Another important feat making the iPhone 5’s display way more pleasurable to look at: it has significantly lower screen reflection. This, in part, is due to advances in LCD technology, from thinner Corning Glass 2 to in-cell assembly technology which eliminates a layer and fuses the touch sensors directly into the panel.

It means less light refraction and the overall image that appears to be closer to your eyes, as if it were directly painted on the glass front.

The iPhone 4 and 4S Retina display reflects approximately about 8.1 percent of the light that bounces off of it versus 6.1 percent for the iPhone 4 (7.1 percent for the Galaxy SIII). This means the iPhone 5 display is easier to see in bright light or direct sunlight.

The iPhone 5 also exhibits a markedly improved color gamut: it’s “essentially perfect” at about 104 percent of standard. Compare this to only 64 percent of what color gamut should have been on the iPhone 4 or the “too large” gamut of 139 percent of standard on the Galaxy SIII.

The iPhone 5 has a Very Good display calibration, but it is not quite as accurate as the Excellent calibration on new iPad because its Intensity Scale Gamma is a bit too high, which upsets both the image contrast and color accuracy somewhat. It is still probably more accurate than any display you own, unless you have a new iPad.

Here’s another chart.


Click to enlarge

It should be also noted that the iPhone 4 shows a little too blue color temperature.

No matter how you look at it, the iPhone 5 display is not just about being taller (but not wider), measuring four inches diagonally or packing in 18 percent more pixels. It’s about display and assembly technologies that combined make a huge difference to the quality of the images and how you experience and interact with your content.

If you held an iPhone 5 in your hand, I’m curious as to whether or not you’d agree with DisplayMate’s assessment?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/LethoeshatedadedicatedfatherGreen Keith Green

    Yes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/khan.rulzz.7 Khan Rulzz

    very nice apple !!!

  • AWonton

    “the iPhone 4 (7.1 percent” I believe that’s supposed to say iPhone 5.

    Great article, makes me really jealous to be locked in with my 4S, I’m always a sucker for a nicer display.

  • thedarkknight80

    More icing on the cake . Great job apple .

  • Aaron de Silva

    I agree, noticed the difference from my iPhone 4 to iPhone 5 immidiately on irst boot

  • http://www.eraser.org B. Braun

    I had hold the iPhone 5 in my hands and can’t really see any diffrences to my 4s

  • SoCoMagNuM

    have to agree the retina display is better than my galaxy 3 oled display. its not a deal breaker though.

  • http://twitter.com/jake1047s jacob wolin

    I agree

  • http://www.facebook.com/dudu.mohammad.khidhir Dudu Mohammad

    biased

  • DC

    I don’t care what the tests show- I have used the Samsungs and the AMOLED displays simply kick A** and are more vibrant than the Iphone displays. I have the Iphone 5 and like it a lot but lets get real AMOLED are simply better

    • Dan

      I’d have to disagree. I recently switched to Samsung Galaxy S3 after having used iPhone for several years. The one setback I notice is the screen quality. I love my GS3 and don’t regret the switch overall, but I feel the display is inferior (colors don’t seem as bright or vibrant).

      • DC

        Dan I will agree and disagree- the S3 that many of my colleagues have uses AMOLED and Isince it is higher resolution- the colors and saturation are NOT as good as the S2 that I have used. The S2 is brighter and more vibrant than both the IP5 and S3, Also I have an Samsung Android 7.7 tablet (Very pricey and not sold in USA except through Verizon) – with the that gorgeous AMOLED display- I have set it next to my sons Ipad 3- the Samsung is for sure better and much more vibrant than the Ipad 3 (resolution not withstanding) than the Apple. If I had my druthers I would like the AMOLED- but it is not a deal breaker at all the IP5 screen is of course, not at all bad.

        What I dont like on the Iphone (different subject) is NO LED strobe AFTER you have received a call or message- alerting you that someone has tried unsuccessfully to reach you. It strobes WHEN they call or text, but you have to turn the phone on just to see what you have missed- if anything, so i turn my phone on constantly. I do actually leave it from time to time on my desk or in another room and have to check it when I get back EVERY time- 600k apps and no app to flash a strobe or the screen on a missed event?? Really? That is cell phone 101.

      • http://www.facebook.com/studman1 Troy Studnicka

        Dan you better get your eyes checked son!! Maybe ur glasses are foggy. I’ve seen both over and over and over again, no comparison. My super amoled display on my s3 blows away the iphone!!!

      • Dan

        My wife has an iPhone 4s at home, screen is definitely brighter. Perfect vision. The “son” remark makes you sound like a douche btw.

    • http://www.facebook.com/studman1 Troy Studnicka

      whoever is voting down don’t know shit. They are obviously fanboys. I agree my s3 super amoled hd screen blows away the iphone!!!!!

      • Ender Wiggin

        You agree with yourself? Lol, loser.

  • James Fletcher

    Yeah the screen is great!! Really makes the Apple Map app shine!

  • http://twitter.com/2morebatteries AAAA

    As much as I HATE Apple, I don’t doubt that their screen is top notch (ever since iP4). And adding “super”, “+”, “HD” to the marketing BS by other manufacturers out there ain’t helping. I’ve seen the HTC One X in action and it doesn’t compare.

    But this won’t persuade me to go back to Apple.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.tilden.9 Jamie Tilden

    So any word on the iPad Mini? Or have we all completely forgot about that?

    • Liu Zhenyu

      I want it

      • Liu Zhenyu

        FUCK UP STOP USING MY NAME111

      • Liu Zhenyu

        IF YOU DO NOT STOP THIS, I WILL REPORT THIS AND I SHALL SEE YOU IN COURT

  • http://twitter.com/lgasparjnr laszlo gaspar

    It’s easily the best screen on a phone. The only better screen is the iPads screen and the only screen that is better than the iPad screen is a new MacBook pros screen. Vote up if you agree with this.

  • Liu Zhenyu

    It’s got a nice screen. Not sure I like the other parts of the phone.

    • Liu Zhenyu

      FUCK UP AND STOP COMMENTING and using my namE111