DisplayMate: iPhone 5 Display is Best Ever (on a Smartphone), Superior to Samsung's Galaxy S III

Paul Lilly

In the smartphone arena, you win some and you lose some, as it is with everything in life. Is the iPhone 5 better than Samsung's Galaxy S III, or is the larger Android device the superior smartphone? Part of the answer is subjective is depends entirely on who you ask, but at least one round Apple manages to win against its chief competitor is the display. Our friends at DisplayMate conducted a head-to-head test between these two devices to see which one features the better panel, and not only did the iPhone 5 win, but "it's the best smartphone display we have tested to date," said Dr. Raymond Soneira, President of DisplayMate.

"It [iPhone 5] is the brightest smartphone we have tested in the Shoot-Out series, it has one of the lowest screen reflectance values we have ever measured, it has the highest contrast rating for high ambient light for any mobile device we have ever tested, and it’s color gamut and factory calibration are second only to the new iPad," Soniera added .

On the negative side, Soniera said the iPhone 5 is still a little too blue, something that's common among smartphones, and at maximum brightness, the battery fizzles out quicker than the iPhone 4, which has a smaller display.

As for the Galaxy S III, DisplayMate notes there are "a number of rough spots that show up clearly in our subjective testing," which is largely the result of Samsung going with its own OLED technology that hasn't yet been refined to the same degree as LCDs.

"The brightness is about half of the iPhone 5 due to power limits from the lower power efficiency of OLEDs and concerns regarding premature OLED aging," Soniera noted. "The color gamut is not only much larger than the standard color gamut, which leads to distorted and exaggerated colors, but the color gamut is quite lopsided, with green being a lot more saturated than red or blue, which adds a green color caste to many images. Samsung has not bothered to correct or calibrate their display colors to bring them into closer agreement with the Standard sRGB / Rec.709 Color Gamut, so many images appear over saturated and gaudy."

DisplayMate takes a more critical approach to display technology than the average user, and while it sounds like the Galaxy S III performed relatively poorly in its tests, it actually received an 'Overall Display Grade' of B+, just behind the iPhone 4, which received an A- and the iPhone 5, which got an A.

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