iPhone XS Max OLED display reclaims 'Best Smartphone Display' crown for Apple

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2018
The iPhone XS Max has the best smartphone display on the market, DisplayMate has declared, with lab testing of the second-generation OLED screen revealing it to have numerous improvements over the version used for last year's iPhone X.




The iPhone XS Max OLED Display Technology Shoot-Out report by DisplayMate president Dr. Raymond M. Soneira goes into detail about the changes seen in the iPhone XS Max's display compared to the iPhone X. While last year's flagship model was itself praised at the time of launch, the iPhone XS Max is revealed to be better, even though the 22-percent larger screen is more challenging to manufacture.

The "Absolute Color Accuracy" of the iPhone XS is described as "truly impressive," achieving a score of 0.8 JNCD (Just Noticeable Color Difference) for the sRGB/Red.09 color gamut, which is used for most consumer content, and 0.8 JNCD again for the wider DCI-P3 color gamut used by 4K TVs and digital cinema. Both results are classed in the report as "visually indistinguishable from perfect," and is likely to be better than most monitors, TVs and other visual output devices on the market.

For the high ambient light and brightness testing, the screen is said to be both extremely bright and with low reflectance, making it extremely useful for readability, picture quality, and color accuracy in ambient light. In the case of the iPhone XS Max, it has a record high calibrated 100-percent APL full screen brightness of 660 nits for sRGB and DCI-P3 color gamuts, while the home screen offers 725 nits.




Screen reflectance is 4.7 percent, which is close to the lowest ever measured in testing for a smartphone. Combined with the brightness of the screen, it achieved a Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light of between 139 and 164, making it the highest the testing has recorded for a smartphone.

The screen has also set or matched a variety of display performance records conducted by the testing program, including the smallest shift in color accuracy with image content APL at 0.4 JNCD, and the smallest brightness variation with viewing angle reported at 25 percent at a 30 degree angle.

"The iPhone XS Max is a very impressive top tier smartphone display," the report notes, with Apple continuing to raise the bar for picture quality and color accuracy with its Precision Factory Display Calibration, which helps the display achieve record-setting "Outstanding" levels of quality, as well as setting new records.

In all but two of the tests, the iPhone XS Max screen is uniformly consistent in reaching the highest levels, with green (very good to excellent) ratings. The two it misses in are rated yellow (good), with the largest color shift at 30 degrees viewing angle at 6.2JNCD and a 15-percent brightness variation with average picture level, which also applies to many other OLED displays.

Overall, the performance of the OLED screen has earned the iPhone XS Max the DisplayMate Best Smartphone Display Award, and the highest ever A-plus grade by providing a "consistently better display performance than other competing smartphones."

While the iPhone X received similar praise in its evaluation last year, its display was beaten a few months later by the Samsung Galaxy S9.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    I don’t really take what Displaymate says seriously, especially when they previously referred to Samsung devices as being “calibrated” (they’re not). The iPhone (and iPad) are the only mobile devices I know of with individually calibrated screens and running an OS with color management.

    And does anyone else think their website looks like it’s straight out of the 90’s with all the highlighted blue text? I keep thinking they’re hyperlinks and try clicking on them to no avail.


    That said, this will undoubtedly upset a lot of people, especially Samsung fans who will wonder how a display made by Samsung in an iPhone can be better than a Samsung display in a Samsung phone.
    caladanianjbdragonSoliradarthekatBart YSpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 17
    thttht Posts: 4,346member
    Yeah, we approached the point of diminishing returns a very long time ago on screen quality. Nice to know it is a great display, but it’s like the difference between a grade of 99.1 and 99.3. Not too meaningful anymore.

    The last great “display” feature left is a display that is as smooth as today’s oleophobic glass, but that is virtually uncrackable. Just the sheer amount of cracked glass on phones is a shame.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 17
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    I don’t really take what Displaymate says seriously, especially when they previously referred to Samsung devices as being “calibrated” (they’re not). The iPhone (and iPad) are the only mobile devices I know of with individually calibrated screens and running an OS with color management.

    And does anyone else think their website looks like it’s straight out of the 90’s with all the highlighted blue text? I keep thinking they’re hyperlinks and try clicking on them to no avail.


    That said, this will undoubtedly upset a lot of people, especially Samsung fans who will wonder how a display made by Samsung in an iPhone can be better than a Samsung display in a Samsung phone.
    It's also hard to take a website that says it cares about visual quality seriously when it looks ugly for even a site built in the 1990s. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 17
    Weren’t websites including AppleInsider saying the display is identical to last year’s X?
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 17
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,168member
    georgie01 said:
    Weren’t websites including AppleInsider saying the display is identical to last year’s X?
    No. 
  • Reply 6 of 17
    Does anyone have an iPhone X to compare to either the XS or the XS Max? I just compared mine (iPhone X Max to my iPhone X), and there is a definite screen issue with my XS Max. The iPhone X screen looks brighter and the fonts are crisper than on my XS Max. All settings are the same, with max brightness, and the X looks better both with and without tru tone activated, colors are a bit brighter as well. I have an appointment set up for this Saturday at my nearest Apple store. I am going to take both models with me and compare them to ones in the store as well. There is a definite issue, at least with mine. I urge any of you guys to try and either compare with your own X before you trade it in, if possible.
  • Reply 7 of 17

    Here are a couple of photos I took with my iPad. Maybe it's just my eyes, but the screen on the X looks better to me.
  • Reply 8 of 17



    Here are a couple more...
  • Reply 9 of 17
    jalpseonjalpseon Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    tenchi211 said:

    Here are a couple of photos I took with my iPad. Maybe it's just my eyes, but the screen on the X looks better to me.
    The whites look brighter, cleaner and more accurate on the XS Max. But then again, maybe that X unit has just experienced degradation, since it’s been operational longer.

    OLEDs suffer from color shifts and decreases in brightness over time; since the organic material degrades at different rates for each sub-pixel. The only way to know for sure is to compare two units directly out of the box and fresh.
  • Reply 10 of 17
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,168member
    Were those photographs taken at 11:10 at night, or in the morning?

    If at night, Night Shift is on as per the shown settings, which shifts the displays slightly into yellowish. That may work differently on the two phones. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 17
    The above photos were taken last night. I took photos both with night shift off and on. Here are a couple more taken in the dark to distinguish black and white levels better:

    To my eyes, the iPhone X has the truer black, and the white digits and letters are brighter and a bit more detailed on the X compared to the XS Max. And notice the Adele cover: the black in back of her face is more inky black than on the XS Max, again, in my opinion.
    gatorguy
  • Reply 12 of 17
    jalpseon said:
    tenchi211 said:

    Here are a couple of photos I took with my iPad. Maybe it's just my eyes, but the screen on the X looks better to me.
    The whites look brighter, cleaner and more accurate on the XS Max. But then again, maybe that X unit has just experienced degradation, since it’s been operational longer.

    OLEDs suffer from color shifts and decreases in brightness over time; since the organic material degrades at different rates for each sub-pixel. The only way to know for sure is to compare two units directly out of the box and fresh.
    Thanks for the information. You're probably right. I realize I may be just splitting hairs here so to speak, and I only really notice these differences when compared side by side. Still, I will go down to the Apple Store this weekend just to compare my XS Max to one of the display units to see if they are about the same.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    I don't get this from Displaymate. Note 9 beats the Xs in more than 80% of all categories apart from 3:

    *Brightness decrease under 30 degree angle (25% vs 27% Note 9)
    *Color shift ( 0.1/0.3/0.8 vs 0.2/0.7/1.2 Note 9)
    *Higher brightness manual mode

    For the rest the iPhone Xs has:

    *Lower PPI (458 vs 516)
    *Higher reflectance (4.7/5.7 vs 4.4/5.6)
    *Lower brightness in all categories apart from all white screen (725/695/766 vs 825/710/1050)
    *Lower dynamic brightness (Good vs Excellent)
    *Lower image contrast accuracy (very good vs excellent)
    *Lower white color accuracy (0.4 vs 0.1 / lower is better)
    *Lower color gamuth (103 vs 142)
    *Lower color accuracy average color error(0.8 vs 0.5 / lower is better)
    *Lower color accuracy largest color error (2.3 vs 1.2 / lower is better)
    *Higher white point color shift (2.6 very good vs 1.3 excellent / lower is better)
    *Higher Primary color shift (6.2 good vs 3.9 very good / lower is better)
    *Higher color shift color mixtures (1.9 vs 1.8)
    *Less power efficient in all catergories (2.2/ 1.8/4.2/3.3 watt vs 1.1/1.25/2.10/2.13 watt)


    All the categories are even green on the Note 9 while iPhone Xs has 2 yellow boxes meaning it performed lower/average.

    I'm sorry, but how could Displaymate call the Xs a better display exactly?? It seriously seems Apple paid Displaymate to market the Xs despite the fact the results both on paper and in real (look up youtube comparisons) tell a different story. Very dirty marketing this.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 17
    I wonder why they continually reference the Max model, and not both the XS and XS Max.

    It sounds like it's because they find it "all the more impressive because its display is 22% larger in Screen Area, which is more challenging to manufacture".... but quality wise, they are the same - aren't they?
  • Reply 15 of 17
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,168member
    tenchi211 said:
    The above photos were taken last night. I took photos both with night shift off and on. 
    Please don’t take my insistence as insulting, but are you sure? 

    The Settings app shows Night Shift automatically engages after 10pm. The Xs seems to my eye (on this aging 6s) consistently yellowish compared to the X, which is the effect that Night Shift is supposed to produce. 

    Again: I’m not trying to insult you, but just going by an inconsistency in your photographs, trying to make sure that you’re actually looking at (and showing us) what you think you’re looking at. 
  • Reply 16 of 17
    Yup, the cat is out of the bag:

    https://youtu.be/n__5y--u_nI

    Just like Dxomark, not to be trusted.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    The this is.. There is no such crown in DisplayMate site, they never rank the smartphones they test.
    And this article is full of bullsh*t,
    here is some fact, check it yourself in display mate site
    - Screen reflectance: Note 9 hold the record with 4.6% (iPhone XS Max 4.7%)
    - Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light of between: Note 9 also hold the record with 161-236 (iPhone XS Max 139-164)
    - Shift in color accuracy: Note 9 hold the record with 0.1 in cinema and normal mode (iPhone XS Max 0.4)

    Here's a quote from Note 9 review highlight on displaymate
     · Record Very High Absolute Color Accuracy (0.5 JNCD) that is Visually Indistinguishable From Perfect and significantly higher than on the Galaxy Note8.
     · Record High Brightness Mode that is up to 27% Brighter and 32% Higher Contrast than the Galaxy Note8 in High Ambient Light.
     · Record Peak Luminance that is Independent of the on-screen image content APL.
     · Record Color Accuracy and Intensity Scales that are Independent of the on-screen image content APL.
     · Record Small Shifts in Brightness and Color with Viewing Angle, including White, which is the most used background color.
     · Record Setting Galaxy Note9 matches or sets many new Smartphone Display Performance Records, earning DisplayMate’s highest ever A+ grade.

    You won't find "Record" in iPhone XS Max review highlight, because they review XS Max after Note 9 and can't beat Note 9

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