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DisplayMate: iPhone 7 has the best-performing mobile LCD screen ever tested

By Shawn Knight · 11 replies
Sep 19, 2016
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  1. For many, the search for a new smartphone begins and ends with its display. As the gateway to the device, it’s one of the few components utilized on an almost constant basis. Most high-end handset makers have made the jump to OLED panels with the one major holdout being Apple.

    The Cupertino-based company has been criticized for sticking with dated LCD screens in the iPhone 7 instead of adopting newer OLED technology. That’s a fair argument although as DisplayMate President Dr. Raymond M. Soneira points out in his recent evaluation, Apple hasn’t phoned it in (no pun intended) with the iPhone 7.

    Soneira, a well-respected professional in the display industry, says Apple’s use of two standard color gamuts in the iPhone 7 – the new DCI-P3 wide color gamut (which only three manufacturers currently have) and the traditional sRGB / Rec.709 color gamut – have been implemented with absolute color accuracy that is visually indistinguishable from perfect.

    Elsewhere, Soneira found that the iPhone 7 produces 602 nits of brightness, slightly under Apple’s claimed 625 nits. That’s with manual brightness enabled and the slider set to max – when the phone is set to automatic brightness, Soneira measured up to 705 nits of peak brightness – no doubt useful in short stints when outdoors under direct sunlight. It's not nearly as high as the 1,048 nits of brightness the Galaxy Note 7 puts out but impressive for an LCD.

    The display guru also found the iPhone 7 to have a record low reflectance for smartphones and a record high contrast ratio for IPS LCD displays. Oh, and their samples came from a retail Verizon store meaning they weren't "hand-picked" units.

    In conclusion, Soneira says the display on the iPhone 7 is a truly impressive and top-performing display and a major upgrade to the display on the iPhone 6. It is by far the best performing mobile LCD screen they’ve ever tested (note: not the best mobile display ever as that honor belongs to Samsung's Galaxy Note 7).

    All things considered and regardless of whether or not Apple jumps to OLED screens next year (my vote is they will), Soneira says that future panels of either type need to improve image and picture quality and screen readability under real world ambient light by reducing screen reflectance, expanding the native display color gamut as much as possible and implementing dynamic color management.

    If detailed display technology jargon is your cup of tea, I'd highly recommend checking out DisplayMate as they do an absolute bang-up job of evaluating displays of all shapes and sizes.

    Permalink to story.


    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,720   +808

    Whatever happened to transflective panels? Or was that a TFT only technology? Even old Pocket PC's from the late 90's had better direct sunlight readibility than today's displays.
  3. bexwhitt

    bexwhitt TS Evangelist Posts: 406   +126

    FYI someone else makes Apple displays so, give Apple credit for the slickness of the A10 arm cpu and the OS but the rest is just ordering and arranging.
    DaveBG, crocography and p51d007 like this.
  4. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,892   +2,219

    The only, and I mean ONLY redeming quality to Apple products is putting high quality, IPS displays in their products. IIRC, they put IPS displays in all their products including All-In-Ones and laptops.

    I know IPS is no longer the gold standard for displays, but they are impossible to go wrong with.
  5. winjay

    winjay TS Rookie Posts: 20

    I have to disagree for display and camera software:

    Display calibration is done in the Apple factory, not from the display manufacturer. Since I can remember, iPhones had better better display calibration compared to most other smartphones(except the recent Nexus phones) as does macbooks compared to other laptops.

    Also, for the camera, lot of other manufacturers have used Sony sensors, but the image quality and video 4K quality does not come close. Software optimization is important.

    It is not simply assembling.
    ScubaRhys likes this.
  6. bexwhitt

    bexwhitt TS Evangelist Posts: 406   +126

    Display accuracy for a phone screen is just fluff that means nothing in real world use. This post is mostly on how bright the screen is and contrast ratios which is down to Apple specifying what they wanted and LG or whoever delivering it.
  7. Greg S

    Greg S TS Evangelist Posts: 1,607   +443

    This article is kind of the same as saying Zenith makes the best tube TVs ever. It's an irrelevant article when AMOLED is so far superior in nearly every way possible.
    MonsterZero likes this.
  8. winjay

    winjay TS Rookie Posts: 20

    It is not fluff for content creators.
  9. MonsterZero

    MonsterZero TS Evangelist Posts: 566   +323

    If I ran my games at 1080p I'm sure I'd be better benchmarks too...
  10. Blakey

    Blakey TS Booster Posts: 33   +53

    "It is by far the best performing mobile LCD screen they’ve ever tested (note: not the best mobile display ever as that honor belongs to Samsung's Galaxy Note 7)"

    Best mobile display phone also blows up, is there no points deducted for exploding phones? lol
  11. JohnnyStone

    JohnnyStone TS Enthusiast Posts: 67   +34

    Heading is correct but could be misleading. So many people are ignorant of what they read and will read "Best display" and not "best LCD." This could be labeled as slanted journalism by some.
  12. JohnnyStone

    JohnnyStone TS Enthusiast Posts: 67   +34

    Even though 90 phones in USA is quite a lot and it is a great fiasco for Samsung, the screen has nothing to do with the battery, does it? Ford had quite a fiasco with Firestone tyres long ago. The tyres caused serious accidents. It did not however have anything to do with Ford's engines, did it?

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