DisplayMate has conducted a pretty comprehensive outdoor display test of today’s popular smartphones and tablets. They tested the following devices: Apple iPad 2, Amazon Kindle Fire, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Apple iPhone 4, HTC Desire, Motorola Droid X, Nokia Lumia 900 and Samsung Galaxy S.
And guess which device goes home with the winner’s title? The Nokia Lumia 900. Nokia’s ClearBlack Display handles reflections very well, and manages to filter out light that shouldn’t reach the screen and make it unreadable in the process.
The DisplayMate Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light for the displays ranges from a low of 15 (HTC Desire) to a high of 90 (Nokia Lumia 900). From both the Lab Measurements and the Screen Shot Viewing Tests the top performing device for display viewability under Bright Ambient Lighting is the Nokia Lumia 900.
This results from a combination of its high screen Brightness and low screen Reflectance, which Nokia calls ClearBlack technology. The Samsung Galaxy S and Apple iPhone 4 are tied for second place.
The best Tablets all performed a notch below the Smartphones – the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was the leader, with the iPad 2 in second place. The new iPad (not included below) performs better than the iPad 2 and just behind the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
The other Smartphones and Tablets performed well below these top models – ALL manufacturers need to pay much more attention to their display performance in high Ambient Lighting because that is frequently how they are used.
The highly touted and advertised display Contrast Ratio applies only to Absolute Darkness, which makes it pretty much irrelevant for mobile devices.