Choose the right screen mode on the Galaxy S5

Samsung gives you advance controls to adjust the display on your smartphone. Make sure you're choosing the one that's best for you.

Dan Graziano Associate Editor / How To
Dan Graziano is an associate editor for CNET. His work has appeared on BGR, Fox News, Fox Business, and Yahoo News, among other publications. When he isn't tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos, he can be found enjoying the sights and sounds of New York City.
Dan Graziano
3 min read

Watch this: Choose the right screen mode on the Galaxy S5

Most smartphone manufacturers don't give users the option to make adjustments to the screen quality of their devices. While you can change things like brightness, there are no controls for altering the display's color and contrast. Samsung isn't like most manufacturers, however.

The company is one of the few that actually lets users choose their own display mode. Starting with the Galaxy Note 2, Samsung's Note and S line of smartphones have included a special option in the settings menu that gives users more control of their phone's display.

Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET

To choose a new screen mode on the Galaxy S5, open the phone's settings, select Display, and click on Screen Mode. Here you will be presented with five display options: Adapt Display, Dynamic, Standard, Professional Photo, and Cinema.

Each mode has its advantages and disadvantages, here's how you can choose the one that's right for you.

Adapt Display

The default setting on the Galaxy S5 is Adapt Display. This option optimizes the color range, saturation, and sharpness of the display while inside of the Camera, Gallery, Internet, Google Play Books, Smart Remote, and Video apps. Samsung does warn, however, that Adapt Display may not work in some third-party apps.

It's best to use this mode while in areas with high ambient light, such as when you're outdoors on a bright and sunny day. The higher color saturation of the mode will offset some of the reflected outdoor glare that usually washes out the colors in an image.

Colors become oversaturated when the Galaxy S5's screen is set to Dynamic mode. Sarah Tew/CNET

Dynamic and Standard

Both the Dynamic and Standard modes tend to oversaturate the color, Dynamic more so than Standard. Colors in both of these modes won't be as accurate as those in Adapt Display, Professional Photo, or Cinema. If you are interested in a display with colors that pop, however, Dynamic and Standard are the options you should look into.

Professional Photo

The Professional Photo mode is something very unique that Samsung includes in its smartphones. This option, which is rare to see in such a device, offers accurate colors and is a good choice for viewing high-end Adobe RGB-standard photos, such as those taken with a DSLR camera.

Cinema mode on the Galaxy S5 offers the most accurate and natural colors. Sarah Tew/CNET

Cinema mode

The experts over at DisplayMate found that while in Cinema Mode the Galaxy S5 had the most accurate colors of any smartphone or tablet they have ever tested. This mode is great for viewing photos of friends and family, watching movies and TV shows, and even when shopping for products online. It's best to use Cinema mode when you are inside and in areas with low ambient lighting.

Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET

Auto adjust screen tone

I also recommend disabling the Galaxy S5's "auto adjust screen tone" setting. This option attempts to reduce power consumption by adjusting the screen brightness based on the on-screen image.

At the same time, however, it can also reduce color accuracy and contrast levels. Disabling this feature will help unleash the phone's full light output capabilities while also improving color and contrast ratios. Enter the phone's settings, click on Display, and uncheck the "Auto adjust screen tone" box.


Remember that it's all about personal preference. The experts say Cinema mode will display the most accurate colors, but not everyone wants that. Some people enjoy a more oversaturated look, while others prefer more natural colors. It's all about what you like.

There are numerous debates on whether or not Samsung's TouchWiz user interface enhances the Android experience. In this case, having the ability to adjust the display to meet your needs is greatly appreciated and isn't something that should be taken for granted.

Extreme closeup: Samsung's Galaxy S5 (pictures)

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