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Lab tests compare Apple's iPhone 4 Retina Display to rival phones

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
The new Retina Display Apple uses in iPhone 4 was compared against alternative screens used in competing smartphones, and Dr. Raymond Soneira, President of DisplayMate Technologies, has offered additional comments about the display comparison.

The test results, published by PJ Jacobowitz of PC Mag, compared Apple's iPhone 4 with the Motorola Droid X, HTC Droid Incredible and HTC EVO, looking at brightness, contrast, color depth, and color accuracy. Soneira commented on the lab results, which provide the first technical look at the performance of the iPhone 4 Retina Display.

Brightness

The brightest display was on the iPhone 4, which at 536 cd/m² was found to be twice as bright as the OLED display of HTC's Droid Incredible. PC Mag said the Incredible measured a "weak 236 cd/m²," and that, "compared to the iPhone 4's display, the Droid Incredible is very difficult to view outdoors." Other models tested fell about in the middle.

After the results were published, Soneira added that "the iPhone 4 is 25 percent brighter than the iPhone 3GS, which was the previous record holder, so the iPhone 4 is now the brightness king for smartphones."



Contrast
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Explaining that "the difference between the darkest and brightest points on a display is known as contrast," PC Mag reported that iPhone 4 was just slightly better than the Droid X in terms of contrast radio, achieving 1097 vs 1071 on the Droid X. The HTC EVO "offers a little more than half the contrast of these two, just 649."

The HTC Droid Incredible achieves a much higher contrast ratio due to its OLED screen, so while its "not very bight, it can create extremely dark level of blacks which creates contrast that eclipses all of the competitionÂit measured a staggering 39,373," PC Mag reported.

Soneira added, "Steve Jobs promised a Retina Display Contrast Ratio of 800 and PC Mag measured 1097, 37 percent more than the Apple advertised spec. That's very impressive because you seldom ever see manufacturers conservatively understate their specs to that degree - but then see my widely reported (and often misquoted) comments on the iPhone 4 Retina Display, where it falls short on that spec. The iPhone 4 is a tremendous improvement over the iPhone 3GS, which only had a measured Contrast Ratio of 138. But note that the Motorola Droid remains the Contrast Ratio king of mobile LCDs with 1436, which I measured in our own DisplayMate Lab tests."

Soneira also said that, "while the iPhone 4 LCD has a significantly lower Contrast Ratio than OLEDs, which typically have Contrast Ratios of 30,000 or more, it's not particularly relevant for mobile displays because they are typically viewed under bright ambient lighting, where screen reflections of the surrounding ambient light are much greater than the display's own internal black level. The Contrast Ratio spec only applies for viewing in the dark. The iPhone 4's bright screen and low reflectance means that it delivers a much higher real screen image Contrast under typical ambient lighting than OLEDs, which are not as bright and have inherently higher screen reflectance than the iPhones. But in dark ambient lighting the OLEDs deliver outstanding Contrast."

Color Depth

Color depth refers to the resolution of color supported by both the display hardware and the operating system software. Of the screens tested, only iPhone 4 and the Motorola Droid X supply screens capable of 24-bit color (16,777,216 colors, which Apple calls "millions" and which Windows refers to a "true color"); HTC's hardware on the Incredible and EVO can only display 16-bit color (65,535 colors, which Apple calls "thousands" and which Windows refers to a "high color").

In their bundled software however, only the iPhone 4 actually displays 24-bit color. Android's photo application is crippled to only support 16-bit color, reducing the Motorola Droid X to the same performance as the Incredible and EVO, expressing color banding and jaggies due to their significantly lower color resolution.

Color Accuracy

In looking at color accuracy, PC Mag wrote that displays should reproduce "100 percent of the sRGB color gamut; no more, no less. Anything more means that the colors being displayed are oversaturated, or punchy. Anything less means that colors are being understaurated, or blah." It called the test "good measure of color accuracy."

The report said the Droid X screen was closest to the desired baseline of color reproduction, with just 6 percent undersaturation; EVO was also close with 10 percent undersaturation. iPhone 4 was undersaturated by 36 percent, a figure similar to previous test results of the iPhone 3GS, while the Droid Incredible was oversaturated by 37%.
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Soneira said "the PC Mag lab test result that really surprised and disappointed me was the small iPhone 4 display color gamut, which is only 64 percent of the industry sRGB/Rec.709 standard color gamut that is necessary to obtain accurate color reproduction for videos and photos. As a result all iPhone 4 images will have colors that are somewhat under-saturated and on the weak side. The same was true for the iPhone 3GS and all previous iPhones and iPods. I was really expecting the iPhone 4 to correct that deficiency and perform as well as the Motorola Droid, an IPS LCD that matches the standard color gamut almost exactly and delivers essentially perfect color accuracy images, as good or better than most HDTVs. So the iPhone 4 is disappointing in color saturation and color accuracy, but is state-of-the-art in pixel resolution and sharpness.
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"On the other hand, the PC Mag lab tests found that the HTC Droid Incredible had way too large a color gamut and color saturation, the same as the Nexus One and most OLED displays on many phones. While that often gets an initial 'wow' response  even from reviewers who should know better  too much image color and coloration in photos and videos is actually visually worse than too little color. So the iPhone 4's less than ideal weak color is actually visually better and preferable to all of those OLED displays that have excessive color  unless you prefer gaudy colored images."

A reader added the comment, "the color accuracy (sRGB color gamut) of the iPhone is 'undersaturated' simply because higher saturation color filters on LCDs attenuate more light. Therefore, you need a brighter backlight behind a higher color saturation filter (e.g. R, G and/or B) to get the same light out of the front as compared with a lower saturation color filter. Since Apple was already taking a big hit on efficiency of the LCD assembly due to the high-resolution display, there was a trade-off made to use lower saturation color filters in order to obtain reasonable battery life in the device."

Overall results

PC Mag reported "iPhone 4 has the most well-rounded display of our bunch. It offers a completely 24-bit color experience, the brightest screen, and great contrast (for an LCD.) The iPhone 4 could be even better if didn't Apple didn't limit its color accuracy."

It awarded Motorola's Droid X second place, while noting "the HTC Droid Incredible is the master of contrast, but its 16-bit display, oversaturated colors, and lack of brightness for outdoor viewing might turn some people off. The HTC EVO 4G, meanwhile, didn't excel at anything."
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Soneira said DisplayMate Technologies will be reporting its own intensive lab tests on the iPhone 4 display, "with in-depth evaluations and analysis and some comments on how manufacturers can improve their mobile displays." The company produces display optimization, calibration, evaluation, and diagnostic products for consumers, technicians, and manufacturers, used by hundreds of publications worldwide for editorial reviews for every type of display.
post #2 of 30
The display is top notch. The 3GS and below are just horrible now.
post #3 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

The display is top notch. The 3GS and below are just horrible now.

i never cared for the 3G/3GS display overall. never seemed as good as the original. the "only" thing holding me up from upgrading is the possible reception issue. not sure what to think of that. will likely try to get my hands on one this weekend.
post #4 of 30
Since the Droid X is not out yet, where you reviewing a pre-release version?
post #5 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljbyrne View Post

Since the Droid X is not out yet, where you reviewing a pre-release version?

Read the article: the tests were performed by PC Mag using equipment provided by HTC.

If they'd reviewed the Droid, you'd be pissing your pants about that model being half a year old.
post #6 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidch14 View Post

i never cared for the 3G/3GS display overall. never seemed as good as the original. the "only" thing holding me up from upgrading is the possible reception issue. not sure what to think of that. will likely try to get my hands on one this weekend.

I don't think the display on my 3GS is bad, compared to most touch screen smart phones I see people using I'd rate it as pretty damn good overall.
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post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by saarek View Post

I don't think the display on my 3GS is bad, compared to most touch screen smart phones I see people using I'd rate it as pretty damn good overall.

In many ways, like colour accuracy, brightness, use in sunlight, et al. it's top notch, and was a high ppi when it was introduced 3.5 years ago, but by today's standards the resolution is pretty low. I'm glad we're at a point where I don't care if the resolution is upped any more as it's beyond what my eyes can see, and any changes other real changes to make the display better quality won't affect the way apps look or developers.
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post #8 of 30
I have not yet seen the Retina Display in person, but, I'm so glad Apple really pushed the envelope here. I have an iPhone 3G still, and I felt that even that display was pretty decent quality for a phone. Apparently the new iPhone 4 is capable of about 320 dpi, which is higher than high-resolution printing used in glossy magazines (usually around 266-300 dpi). That's pretty incredible that our phone screens can now achieve print-resolution quality. For this reason alone, I want an iPhone 4! I just hope they fix the antenna first.
post #9 of 30
the iPhone 4's screen is absolutely fantastic. Its razor sharp and it's not too big. I feel as if the Evo's screen is just a touch too big.

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post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trajectory View Post

I have not yet seen the Retina Display in person, but, I'm so glad Apple really pushed the envelope here. I have an iPhone 3G still, and I felt that even that display was pretty decent quality for a phone. Apparently the new iPhone 4 is capable of about 320 dpi, which is higher than high-resolution printing used in glossy magazines (usually around 266-300 dpi). That's pretty incredible that our phone screens can now achieve print-resolution quality. For this reason alone, I want an iPhone 4! I just hope they fix the antenna first.

The display is simply the best out in the wild. I'm one week into my iP4 and it still amazes me how sharp it is. Any other display now is 2nd-rate. I can't squint my eyes hard enough to see the pixels it's that darn good.

I have no issues with the reception. While I'm not excusing Apple for their "blunder" whether actual or implied, it's still the best phone (imho) on the market. Fandroids and Wintards would love to imply otherwise but honestly, every phone I've had has always had a case and with the the iP4, it is almost a necessity as the build quality is so high on the next level, it's like carrying around fine-china. I'm not excusing Apple but at the same time, I am using a case therefore the entire reception fiasco is moot.

I retired my old 2g iPhone and after using the iP4, I won't be going back.
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trajectory View Post

Apparently the new iPhone 4 is capable of about 320 dpi, which is higher than high-resolution printing used in glossy magazines (usually around 266-300 dpi). That's pretty incredible that our phone screens can now achieve print-resolution quality. For this reason alone, I want an iPhone 4! I just hope they fix the antenna first.

326 to be exact, but it's not JUST an improvement in the resolution, it also has other very important improvements which aren't as easily advertised and therefore likely to be ignored by rivals.

The others are:
  • Increased brightness. The 3GS was already brighter than other phones, but the iPhone 3 is even brighter.
  • IPS display. I'm amazed they improved the battery so much when using IPS over TN. » http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TFT_LCD#Types
  • The glass bonding and less distortion. The least marketable to the average person, but there is no longer a space between the display and the glass seems to have better optics resulting in a clearer image under a microscope. The iPad appears to benefit from this, too. » http://prometheus.med.utah.edu/~bwjo...etina-display/
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post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

326 to be exact, but it's not JUST an improvement in the resolution, it also has other very important improvements which aren't as easily advertised and therefore likely to be ignored by rivals.

The others are:
  • Increased brightness. The 3GS was already brighter than other phones, but the iPhone 3 is even brighter.
  • IPS display. I'm amazed they improved the battery so much when using IPS over TN.
  • The glass bonding and less distortion. The least marketable to the average person, but there is no longer a space between the display and the glass seems to have better optics resulting in a clearer image under a microscope. The iPad appears to benefit from this, too. » http://prometheus.med.utah.edu/~bwjo...etina-display/

This should also stop the dust from getting inbetween the glass and the display. i used to get that all the time with my iphone 3gs. I just got my iphone 4 today and i am amazed at the screen.
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

326 to be exact, but it's not JUST an improvement in the resolution, it also has other very important improvements which aren't as easily advertised and therefore likely to be ignored by rivals.

The others are:
  • Increased brightness. The 3GS was already brighter than other phones, but the iPhone 3 is even brighter.
  • IPS display. I'm amazed they improved the battery so much when using IPS over TN.
  • The glass bonding and less distortion. The least marketable to the average person, but there is no longer a space between the display and the glass seems to have better optics resulting in a clearer image under a microscope. The iPad appears to benefit from this, too. » http://prometheus.med.utah.edu/~bwjo...etina-display/

H-IPS doesn't suffer from the S-IPS refresh rates.
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by majortom1981 View Post

This should also stop the dust from getting inbetween the glass and the display. i used to get that all the time with my iphone 3gs. I just got my iphone 4 today and i am amazed at the screen.

Another benefit. And hopefully that bonding will help with the Corning Gorilla Glass' ability to absorb an impact.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

H-IPS doesn't suffer from the S-IPS refresh rates.

Can you add more info. My knowledge of displays is very limited. I know H-IPS came out after S-IPS but I don't know the inherent pros and cons of each. I can't even find info on which IPS display they are using. I've read that is also includes AFFS, but that doesn't seem universally accepted.
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post #15 of 30
If you upgrade, I would suggest you hold your old phone next to the new one. You will be surprised by two things. The first being how clever they are when the dither colors to smooth edges and jaggies on fonts, and what second, what it looks like when that just isn't necessary.

The display is flat out amazing. I didn't think it would be one of my favorite points in the new phone, but it has turned into a surprising pleasure.

If you're holding out on a new iPhone due to problems with reception, know that a simple cover, which most people seem to end up with anyway, will resolve any issues. I just bought a clear Belkin case, which increased the thickness only by about 2 millimeters. I haven't been able to affect signal strength at all with the cover on, and it's MUCH improved over 3GS's call quality.

If you like your phone bareback, then hold out until they resolve whatever issues they are having, but if you normally use a cover, don't sweat it.
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post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

If you upgrade, I would suggest you hold your old phone next to the new one. You will be surprised by two things. The first being how clever they are when the dither colors to smooth edges and jaggies on fonts, and what second, what it looks like when that just isn't necessary.

The display is flat out amazing. I didn't think it would be one of my favorite points in the new phone, but it has turned into a surprising pleasure.

If you're holding out on a new iPhone due to problems with reception, know that a simple cover, which most people seem to end up with anyway, will resolve any issues. I just bought a clear Belkin case, which increased the thickness only by about 2 millimeters. I haven't been able to affect signal strength at all with the cover on, and it's MUCH improved over 3GS's call quality.

If you like your phone bareback, then hold out until they resolve whatever issues they are having, but if you normally use a cover, don't sweat it.

One thing they did is use a new font to for the new display.

While I don't this to be "clever", instead a requirement for a refined device, it's not something I would expect MS, Google HTC and others to include in their chosen shipping OS or OS addendum.

You can read more about this change at the link below:
http://daringfireball.net/2010/06/4
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post #17 of 30
so one big thing, it appears, is that all the hype about the Droid X and other Androids capturing "HD" 720p video is crap. because 16 bit color is all its software can process. 16 bit color is not "HD," period, no matter the resolution (or how many megapixels in a still photo). the artifacts are definitely visible. and it is also outputting that crap to your TV via its much-hyped HDMI jack too.

whereas the iPhone actually delivers the real thing, 24 bit all the way.

let's see how fast all the Android hyping tech blogs pick up on this crucial Android spec flaw. prediction: they won't, or they will downplay it as something soon to be fixed with future Android products/updates, so it doesn't really count, you know? even when you buy a forever-crippled Evo now.
post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

so one big thing, it appears, is that all the hype about the Droid X and other Androids capturing "HD" 720p video is crap. because 16 bit color is all its software can process. 16 bit color is not "HD," period, no matter the resolution (or how many megapixels in a still photo). the artifacts are definitely visible. and it is also outputting that crap to your TV via its much-hyped HDMI jack too.

whereas the iPhone actually delivers the real thing, 24 bit all the way.

let's see how fast all the Android hyping tech blogs pick up on this crucial Android spec flaw. prediction: they won't, or they will downplay it as something soon to be fixed with future Android products/updates, so it doesn't really count, you know? even when you buy a forever-crippled Evo now.

Yeah, but that's 65,536 colours of freedom!
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post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Yeah, but that's 65,536 colours of freedom!

For freedom!
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post #20 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Yeah, but that's 65,536 colours of freedom!


post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

image: http://pwwwblog.ibeatyou.com/blog/wp...c101019223.jpg

Off topic, but the news about his anger and racism today is out there. I guess we can knock a few more acceptable colours off if we're adding Mel Gibson into the mix.
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post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

The display is simply the best out in the wild. I'm one week into my iP4 and it still amazes me how sharp it is. Any other display now is 2nd-rate. I can't squint my eyes hard enough to see the pixels it's that darn good.

I have no issues with the reception. While I'm not excusing Apple for their "blunder" whether actual or implied, it's still the best phone (imho) on the market. Fandroids and Wintards would love to imply otherwise but honestly, every phone I've had has always had a case and with the the iP4, it is almost a necessity as the build quality is so high on the next level, it's like carrying around fine-china. I'm not excusing Apple but at the same time, I am using a case therefore the entire reception fiasco is moot.

I retired my old 2g iPhone and after using the iP4, I won't be going back.

Once it becomes economically feasible for Apple to use this same display tech in the next generation iPad, magazines and books will surely be obsolete.

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post #23 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Once it becomes economically feasible for Apple to use this same display tech in the next generation iPad, magazines and books will surely be obsolete.

I ran some number on what that will be. Basically, get a 326 ppi "Retinal Display" that matches the iPhone's display means around an 2527 x 1900 resolution.

And doing the same doubling along each access, like the jump between the previous iPhones and the iPhone 4, means 2048 x 1536. Note that would still not be a "Retinal Display" by definition of 20/20 vision from 12".

For comparison, the 30" ACD is 2560 x 1600.

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showp...9&postcount=27
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post #24 of 30
The iPhone 4 display is indeed gorgeous, much better than I expected. I've yet to try it in low light, where it presumably look much worse, but in normal conditions it's amazing. My one gripe would be that it's just too small. It wouldn't have to grow to those huge Android sizes, just fill more of the front of the phone and be 16:9. Would make a world of difference for watching movies.

Also, the iPad screen looks horribly low-res now by comparison. It's even worse than the previous iPhone, which also looks like an ancient relic compared to the iPhone 4.
post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

The display is simply the best out in the wild. I'm one week into my iP4 and it still amazes me how sharp it is. Any other display now is 2nd-rate. I can't squint my eyes hard enough to see the pixels it's that darn good.

Most reviewers do not agree with you. The Samsung Wave and Galaxy S have the best screens currently available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

so one big thing, it appears, is that all the hype about the Droid X and other Androids capturing "HD" 720p video is crap. because 16 bit color is all its software can process. 16 bit color is not "HD,"

The Galaxy runs Android, has a 24 bit screen and shoots 720p.

Soneira famously claimed the Nexus One screen was only 16 bit, but he was wrong, so I would take anything he says with a pinch of salt.
post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by majortom1981 View Post

This should also stop the dust from getting inbetween the glass and the display. i used to get that all the time with my iphone 3gs. I just got my iphone 4 today and i am amazed at the screen.

Oh thanks a lot, I never noticed dust in mine until you just said something! I just had to go look, stupid stupid....
post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

Most reviewers do not agree with you. The Samsung Wave and Galaxy S have the best screens currently available.

The Galaxy runs Android, has a 24 bit screen and shoots 720p.

Soneira famously claimed the Nexus One screen was only 16 bit, but he was wrong, so I would take anything he says with a pinch of salt.

Let's look at this with facts since you refuse to supply any links to back up your claim.

Wave display is 282ppi, Galaxy S is 233 ppi, and iPhone 4 is 326 ppi. Only the iPhone has pixels that can't be seen by someone with 20/20 vision at 12" away.

Wave and Galaxy S have S-AMOLED which gives it better contract and deeper blacks, but that's it. iPhone 4 is IPS and brighter backlight. iPhone wins in every other category.

Wave has 3.3" display and Galaxy S has 4" display, both with a 1.67 aspect ratio which makes it "widescreen" therefore less effective for viewing text and better at watching video, but if that's your goal for a smartphone you're better off with the Galaxy S over the Wave.

They all have 24-bit displays, but iOS offers 24-bit colour depth. Android doesn't so the Galaxy S loses to iPhone. Does Bada offer 24-bit colour depth?
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post #28 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Let's look at this with facts since you refuse to supply any links to back up your claim.

Wave display is 282ppi, Galaxy S is 233 ppi, and iPhone 4 is 326 ppi. Only the iPhone has pixels that can't be seen by someone with 20/20 vision at 12" away.

Wave and Galaxy S have S-AMOLED which gives it better contract and deeper blacks, but that's it. iPhone 4 is IPS and brighter backlight. iPhone wins in every other category.

Wave has 3.3" display and Galaxy S has 4" display, both with a 1.67 aspect ratio which makes it "widescreen" therefore less effective for viewing text and better at watching video, but if that's your goal for a smartphone you're better off with the Galaxy S over the Wave.

They all have 24-bit displays, but iOS offers 24-bit colour depth. Android doesn't so the Galaxy S loses to iPhone. Does Bada offer 24-bit colour depth?

It is not that I 'refuse' to supply links, it's more of a case I can't be bothered. I have often found when I do supply links, the one-eyed iPhone fanatics either don't bother checking the links or just slither away without comment, never admitting they were wrong. But since you have asked, I am happy to supply links.

Bada has a unix Kernal and the display colour depth is 24 bit (Display:Color-Depth: \t 24 bit/pixel (16777216 scales)) http://pdadb.net/index.php?m=specs&i...s8500_wave_8gb internally the OS seems to support 32 bit.

Quote:
• Supported bitmap formats:
– RGB565
• Each pixel contains 16 bits of color information.
– ARGB8888
• Each pixel contains 32 bits of color information (24 RGB bits + 8 alpha bits).
• As Alpha is supported, images can be displayed transparently.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...&ct=clnk&gl=au

Android 2.0.1 supported 24 bit in the gallery viewer app. 2.1 saw this downgraded to 16 bit. But the OS still supports 24 bit and other apps can still display images in 24 bit.

You have fallen for the same trap Soneira did, measuring the capability of one app and thinking the results indicated a limit in the underlying hardware/OS.

In focusing on pixel pitch, you are picking the one metric the iPhone display could be considered to be superior in and elevating it to being the be-all-and-end-all criteria for display quality.

You can view text in either portrait or landscape, or are you trying to argue neither quite matches the iPhone for perfect proportions for viewing text? ;-)

What I said was "Most reviewers do not agree with you. The Samsung Wave and Galaxy S have the best screens currently available."

Here are the links to back up that view:

GSM Arena review of the Wave:
Quote:
The Super AMOLED touchscreen is the envy of the industry, with image quality that no other phone display could match."
...
And the screen… words can hardly describe the difference to regular LCD displays. It’s just beautiful simply to look at.
...
The display is just incredible
The AMOLED display technology has a great edge over LCD in terms of contrast that’s no news. Super AMOLED screens have the deepest blacks we’ve seen on a mobile phone. Besides, color vibrance has got a boost too, which makes the S8500 Wave display image quality all the more impressive. The viewing angles are the best in business and outdoor visibility is remarkable too.

http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_s850...review-480.php

Were you about to tell me the iPhone 4 screen is brighter and better visible in sunlight?

Quote:
Even John Gruber got it wrong the other day when he wrote about Samsung “They can say this now, but they won’t be able to say such things and be taken seriously after the iPhone 4 is released and people have seen it in person. Until they figure out a way to make AMOLED visible in daylight, they’re not even in the game.”

Samsung has already figured this out and the Wave, and the upcoming Galaxy, are proof of that- they work perfectly in bright daylight.

http://www.pda-247.com/wordpress/201...-already-over/

Engadget compared the displays of the Samsung Galaxy S and iPhone 4 in real life conditions - including direct sunlight - and concluded the Samsung AMOLED display was marginally better:

Quote:
Cellphones, Mobile Handsets
iPhone 4 Retina Display vs. Galaxy S Super AMOLED... fight! (updated)
By Vlad Savov posted Jun 24th 2010 1:15PM
Hands-On
If the title of this post isn't enough to entice you, we don't know what else to say. We've gone and run some sunlit comparisons between Apple's brand spanking new phone's Retina Display and Samsung's equally fresh and exclusive Super AMOLED panel on the Galaxy S. We don't know if we'll be able to settle the argument, but we're certainly going to subject both superphones to an expansive visual inspection. Follow us after the break for video exploration of this most pressing topic.

Update: Due to the Galaxy S having a separate setting for browser brightness, which we didn't max out in the original investigation, we've gone back and collected some truly 100 percent illuminated pictures. See the gallery after the break. Keep in mind that this shouldn't discredit most of the work done here, as we were more interested in pixel-level detail than brightness.
iPhone 4 vs. Samsung Galaxy S display face-off


First thing's first: all the images in our gallery are left entirely untouched, with the first four being 100 percent crops of the original camera output, altered only to insert our watermark and phone notation. The quickest thing to stand out to us when putting this set of photos together was the iPhone's brightness. The Super AMOLED display on the Galaxy S remains pretty much a standard-setting screen, and yet it looked almost gray when sat next to Apple's latest (with both handsets rocking a 100 percent brightness setting).

Update: Thanks to an arcane browser-specific brightness setting on the Galaxy S, we were originally looking at less than the full force of the S-AMOLED panel. Consequently, we went back to Samsung's offices for another look at the two displays and have now produced the comparison gallery below. It gives a taste both of the displays' capabilities and of the browser rendering being done beneath them. It's important to note that we didn't feel there was any tangible difference in the Samsung display's output beyond the obvious increase in brightness. Ergo, the rest of our observations stand as before.
iPhone 4 vs Samsung Galaxy S: displays at full brightness


Viewing angles are pretty much impossible to split, though we're inclined to give the iPhone the thinnest of edges here as it seemed to give us that bit more definition from tight viewpoints. But consider that a nuanced draw rather than any sort of win.

When we brought the pair outside for some time in the sunshine, we were immediately disappointed by a typical turn for the worse by the British weather, but there was enough light to challenge both displays. Should you ever have the somewhat unusual circumstances of having light beaming directly down onto the screen without your noggin casting a helpful shadow, neither display will give you any great usability. But cast that shadow, turn away from the sunlight, do anything to avoid the direct rays, and you'll get some pretty sweet utility out of both. Once again, it's a pretty impossible task to differentiate between the output of the Retina Display and Super AMOLED, though if we have to choose, Samsung will get the nod. This really is a territory where personal preference will determine which the better screen will be, the differences are that minuscule.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/24/i...-amoled-fight/

Quote:
When Samsung launched this phone they made a big deal of the Super AMOLED display and rightly so. At 3.3 inches and with a resolution of 480 x 800, it is pin sharp, but that's not the only quality we like about it. The colour rendering and the deep blacks are astonishing: many mobile phone displays look grey, but looking into the display of the Samsung Wave is like peering into an inky well.

The colours are really vibrant and leap out of the display. There is definition in video and photos that make them look sensational; it's the best display we’ve seen on a mobile phone

http://www.pocket-lint.com/review/48...00-bada-review

Quote:
Screen (10/10)

Hands down the best screen I have used on a smartphone. It is highly responsive and looks splendid in all conditions. The colours are incredibly vibrant and the screen content feels as though it is closer to the glass than most other smartphones. The main advantage of this screen is the performance in bright sunlight. I tested it next to the iPhone, which is very good in bright conditions, and it is much, much better. When I saw AMOLED on the specs sheet my heart dropped because they are often unreadable in bright conditions, but the mDNIe technology (whatever that is?) used here really does work. The viewing angles are to the extreme and it is simply wonderful to look at and use. Superb!

http://www.pda-247.com/wordpress/201...view-part-two/

Is that enough links?
post #29 of 30
Brilliant post, cnocbui. Now that's a rebuttal!
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #30 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Brilliant post, cnocbui. Now that's a rebuttal!

Brightness: Iphone wins over amoled. No comparison to Droid

Contrast: HTC wins and anyone who knows the slightest bit about HDTV's, projectors, etc...can tell you that contrast is the most important element in picture quality. So at least for video, the amoled and upcomming samoled screens are the clear winner.

Color Accuracy: Droid wins, iPhone equally as undersaturated as HTC is oversaturated

Color Depth: Tie other than the photo viewer on android (will probably be fixed with 3.0--why this was downgraded I have no idea)

Resolution: iphone wins

Here is one they forgot:

Screen size: Droid wins by far, HTC second, iphone last.


By January we are going to see 720p dual core Android phones, with super amoled screens, and with hummingbird GPUs or better. So all of these phones will be far behind the curve.
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