Samsung's curved display is no gimmick, says researcher

The Galaxy Round's curved display has an appreciable impact on display quality, says DisplayMate Technologies.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
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.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read
Samsung Galaxy Round with curved display: 'a major and very important new display technology.'
Samsung Galaxy Round with curved display: 'a major and very important new display technology.' Samsung

The curved display on Samsung's Galaxy Round offers distinct advantages in reducing reflections and the high glossiness of flat displays, according to a report out Tuesday.

"There is widespread misunderstanding regarding curved displays. They aren't simply a marketing gimmick as has been widely reported," Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technologies, a firm that does display testing and evaluation, said in a report published Tuesday.

"In fact, curved screens are a major and very important new display technology innovation," he said in his introduction to the report, which is based on his own in-house testing of a Galaxy Round.

Soneira's findings about Samsung's curved 5.7-inch OLED display include:

  • Concave screen: The curvature on the Galaxy Round is fairly small -- the left and right edges of the screen are just 2.66 mm (0.10 inch) higher than the center. "So the effect is subtle, but it's very important."
  • Improved screen privacy: Screen privacy is improved because the curvature makes it harder for other people to see the screen.
  • Lower reflectance: A curved screen cuts down on reflections. The curvature directs reflected ambient light "coming from behind away from the viewer's line of sight. This is very important because you want to minimize the amount of ambient light that is seen reflected off the screen." The screen also magnifies the size of objects reflecting off the screen which "substantially cuts down on the interference of light reflections."
  • Glossiness reduction: Flexible OLED displays are manufactured using a flexible plastic substrate, "so they don't have the glossy cover glass used on virtually all existing mobile displays." And without the cover glass, the OLED display appears to be right on the surface of the screen, which is "visually striking."

The Galaxy Round -- which has the same-sized 5.7-inch display that is on the Galaxy Note 3 -- also features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.3GHz quad-core processor, 32GB of internal storage, 3GB RAM, and an up-to-64GB microSD card slot.

As CNET Reviews noted, it's not clear how much the Round will cost. But it does have specs similar to the Galaxy Note 3, which starts at about $300.