iPhone 5, Galaxy S3 displays go head to head -- iPhone wins

Samsung's OLED tech has not reached the level of refinement of Apple's Retina LCD, a display testing firm claims.

iPhone 5's display: "it's not perfect...but it is the best Smartphone display we have seen to date," said DisplayMate.
iPhone 5's display: "it's not perfect...but it is the best Smartphone display we have seen to date," said DisplayMate. Apple

Apple's iPhone 5 beat Samsung's Galaxy S3 in a display tech "shoot-out" at screen testing firm DisplayMate Technologies.

The iPhone 5's Retina screen is the best smartphone display that DisplayMate has tested to date, according to results the firm posted today.

iPhone 5: "It is a significant improvement over the display in the iPhone 4," said DisplayMate's Raymond Soneira, who cited much lower screen reflections, much higher image contrast and screen readability in high ambient lighting -- the latter, the highest he's ever tested.

DisplayMate -- which gave the display an "A" -- also cited improved color gamut and factory calibration that "delivers very accurate colors and very good picture quality." The Retina iPad is the only thing that beats it in accuracy, according to Soneira.

Galaxy S3: While DisplayMate said the OLED display is "very good" and gave it a "B+," it fell short of the iPhone 5.

The problem, comparatively, as Soneira sees it, is that the Galaxy S III's OLED technology is still on steep development curve. OLED is "a new technology that has not yet been refined to the same degree as LCDs, particularly the IPS LCDs on the iPhones, so it doesn't objectively test or perform as well as the iPhone 5," according to Soneira.

The brightness on the Galaxy S3's display is about half of the iPhone 5 "due to power constraints resulting from the lower OLED power efficiency," among other issues, that makes for poorer image contrast and screen readability in high ambient lighting compared to the iPhone 5, said Soneira.

Other issues he cited are a "lopsided" color gamut and calibration. "For some reason Samsung has not bothered to calibrate the Color Gamut on any of its OLED displays, so they are wildly inaccurate and produce inaccurate and over saturated colors."

Samsung Galaxy S3
Samsung Galaxy S3 Samsung
DisplayMate Technologies
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About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.



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