When you’re in the market for a new phone, which features are most important to you?
Many people make their decision based on operating system, overall battery life, and the manufacturer. But what about the screen? If you’re a smartphone addict, it’s arguably the most important aspect to consider.
These days, the common belief is that the iPhone X’s screen is the best one out there. But is that true? Let’s take a closer look.
The iPhone X’s Screen and Display
We’re going to focus on the specifications and underlying technology in leading smartphones’ screens.
As such, we won’t be discussing the divisive notch and virtual home button on the iPhone X. You can let us know what you think about those in the comments section.
Well, the iPhone X is Apple’s first OLED phone. For those who don’t know what OLED means, it stands for “organic light-emitting diode.” In practice, it means every pixel on the screen produces light. That differs from a typical LED screen, which instead uses a backlight.
As a result, users can expect to see deeper blacks, more vibrant colors, a greater brightness range, and improved contrast. OLED screens also help battery life; black pixels don’t need to produce any light. It means iPhone X owners can enjoy an average of two hours of additional battery life when compared to the iPhone 8.
But OLED screens are nothing new; top-of-the-line Android phones have been using them for a while. There must be something else that lets the iPhone X screen garner such praise, then.
And there is! It’s the resolution. The iPhone X’s display boasts an incredible resolution of 2436×1125, giving it a pixel density of 458PPI. Apple calls it “Super Retina,” but as a user, all you need to know is that it’s really, really crisp.
But wait, there’s more! DisplayMate—the leading company for testing, evaluating, and comparing phone displays—came up with a list of areas in which the iPhone X screen set or met existing records.
All the tests were conducted under laboratory conditions, and the results found the iPhone X had:
Highest absolute color accuracy
The highest full-screen brightness for OLED smartphones
Highest full-screen contrast rating in ambient light
Highest contrast ratio
Lowest screen reflectance
Smallest brightness variation with viewing angle
But what about the competition? After all, the iPhone X isn’t brand-new anymore. Several flagship models from other manufacturers have since come to market.
Compare to Samsung Galaxy S9’s Screen and Display
In March 2018, the Samsung Galaxy S9 hit the shelves. You can argue about which phone offers the best features and overall package, but remember, we’re only interested in comparing the screens.
And in the battle of the screens, the Samsung Galaxy S9 wins. Seriously, it’s better than the iPhone X.
Don’t believe us? Let’s refer back to our good friends at DisplayMate. Here’s what the company said about the Galaxy’s screen:
“Based on our extensive Lab Tests and Measurements, the Galaxy S9 has an impressive display that establishes many new display performance records, earning DisplayMate’s Best Performing Smartphone Display Award, and receiving our highest ever A+ grade.”
The phone set two new records:
For “Highest Absolute Color Accuracy,” its 0.7 JNCD (Just Noticeable Color Difference) beat the iPhone’s 0.9 JNCD. The S9 also won “Smallest Shifts in Brightness and Color with Viewing Angle.” The review even went as far as the call the color accuracy “visually indistinguishable from perfect.”
The Galaxy S9’s screen also introduced three new features that were previously unseen on any smartphones:
Luminance independence: A peak brightness that does not interfere with lower average picture levels when used in ambient light.
User-adjustable white point: The idea of adjusting a screen’s color temperature is nothing new, but the S9 allows you to only set the temperature of white pixels, leaving the rest untouched. You can set the temperature to between 6,800K and 8,600K.
Vision accessibility display modes: Designed to help people with visual impairments, a new color lens mode offers 12 types of color filtering with selective transparency. Meanwhile, the color adjustment mode lets the user adjust colors interactively based on their visual similarity.
Elsewhere, it offers 529PPI and a resolution of 2220×1080 pixels.
Perhaps none of this should come as a surprise. In its iPhone X review, DisplayMate praised Samsung for developing and manufacturing the OLED hardware in the device. The S9 merely took the next step.
Compare to OnePlus 6’s Screen and Display
The only other phone screen that can come close to rivaling the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9 is the OnePlus 6. It was released in May 2018.
There’s no denying that this phone’s screen is incredible. It’s a considerable step up on every other flagship phone that’s available today. But alas, it’s not as good as its two competitors.
However, in the interests of completion, let’s take a quick look at what it offers.
The 2280×1080 resolution offers a pixel density of 402PPI. That’s less than the S9 (529) and the iPhone X (458), but it still marks an upgrade on previous OnePlus models.
It also lags behind the other two phones when it comes to viewing angle. According to independent testing, you’re liable to experience color fringing when using the screen at a closer-than-typical distance. Broadly speaking, pixels are unresolvable past 12 inches.
The phone also struggles with color temperature. Whereas the S9 earned praise for its adjustable white point, the OnePlus’ sRGB and DCI-P3 display profiles show whites at 6276K. That’s too warm; 6504K is considered the standard for white.
Unfortunately, the repercussion of the excessively warm OnePlus display is skewed color accuracy. The upper half of the red saturation range is below average.
The iPhone X’s Screen Is Good, But Not the Best
If you’re buying a phone based solely on screen quality, the clear winner is the Samsung Galaxy S9. The iPhone X is the runner-up, with the OnePlus 6 in a distant third. However, all three models are significantly better than any other flagship phone on the market.