Galaxy S5 sports best smartphone display, testing firm says

Samsung’s latest flagship phone “raises the bar for top display performance,” says screen tester DisplayMate.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney

Samsung's Galaxy S5. Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung's Galaxy S5 has set records for its high-quality screen, in the view of DisplayMate president and research scientist Raymond Soneira.

In an in-depth analysis of the new phone's screen technology, Soneira called the Galaxy S5 the "best performing smartphone display that we have ever tested." Often dubbed a display expert, Soneira said the S5 established a lengthy list of bragging rights in several areas, including highest brightness, lowest reflectance, highest color accuracy, infinite contrast ratio, highest contrast rating in ambient light, and smallest brightness variation with viewing angle.

Soneira highlighted the Galaxy S5's color accuracy, saying that the phone's Cinema Mode "has the most accurate colors for any smartphone or tablet display that we have ever measured." He also praised the overall picture quality of Cinema Mode. Though DisplayMate's extensive testing found the contrast and color slightly too high, Soneira said the quality of the picture "looked beautiful, even to my experienced hyper-critical eyes."

The findings about the Galaxy S5 may signal a shift away from the usual improvements to display technology, according to Soneira. Smartphone vendors typically focus on beefing up the resolution, pixel count, and screen size. So on the surface, the S5 screen doesn't seem too much of an improvement over that of the S4.

But assuming Soneira's laudatory comments about the S5 are fully deserved, Samsung seems to have paid more attention to the finer display details this time around.

Currently available for preorder, the S5 reaches consumers on April 11.