Much has been said about the infamous iPhone X notch, but its 5.8-inch screen is remarkable for other reasons. With the introduction of its first phone with an OLED panel, Apple joins the ranks of Samsung and LG ; in fact, Samsung has been incorporating the technology into its phones since 2008.
Apple has something to catch up on, and we’re interested to see how their efforts compare to their two closest competitors with OLED screens : the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the Google Pixel 2 XL.
The brightest screen
The iPhone X is, by street, the leader in brightness , registering 574 nits, while the best efforts of Google and Samsung could gather only 438 and 408 nits, respectively. The average smartphone is 433 nits.
Brightness is a key component of any display , but it is especially important in OLED panels, which are often much darker than their LCD counterparts due to the lack of backlighting. Screen builders have improved on this over the years, but the iPhone X appears to be a significant step forward from the previous standard provider up to this point, Samsung’s Galaxy S line.
Having such a bright screen lifts up every bit of content you have on screen. The darker shades have more detail and subtle colors . The edges appear universally sharper. The contrast becomes less drastic but still stands out due to the OLED ability to deliver true blacks. It’s perhaps the iPhone X’s greatest screen strength that makes a profound first impression.
Not too saturated for an OLED, but very natural
Apple has never been one to offer super bright colors, nor has it offered a variety of display modes on its phones as many phone manufacturers do. As a result, it’s not surprising to discover that the iPhone X strikes a balance between Note 8 and Pixel 2 in terms of color representation.
Users who prefer the more striking colours of Note 8 will probably be left with the impression that Apple’s OLED version is not much more immersive than the LCD displays offered on iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus . The iPhone X covered 123 percent of the RGB range in the tests, compared with the Pixel 2 XL at 130 percent and the Note 8’s impressive note range of 204 percent.
In terms of realism, Pixel 2 XL is a more worthy adversary. Google adjusted its 6-inch LG panel to an RGB color profile that is quieter compared to what is found on most phones. But then the Pixel goes too far, trying to achieve real visual effects by dimming the contrast and projecting a beige filter that permeates everything . Google says that a future software update will strengthen the color saturation, although at the expense of accuracy).
Finally, the iPhone X wins here, because handles contrast better . The increased brightness also helps to illuminate more of the dark details in the image.
Better white balance
With its True Tone Display, iPhone X can adjust its white balance to suit the ambient lighting conditions. But even with True Tone turned off, the unit finds itself in a perfect medium between the warmth of the Pixel 2 XL and the cool shift of the Note.
iPhone X vs Galaxy Note 8
Additional tests also indicated that True Tone actually improves color accuracy. With the feature turned off, the iPhone X recorded a Delta-E score of 0.28 . (Numbers closer to 0 are better). With True Tone on, it improved to 0.21. That’s comparable to the Pixel 2 XL score (0.26) and slightly better than the Note 8 reading (0.5).
Higher viewing angles
There is a common complaint about OLED screens: they don’t do well when viewed outside the center. Most have a blue tint along with a decrease in brightness that can be mild or severe. All three phones in this comparison are subject to this flaw, but iPhone X handles these deficiencies in the best way.
The Apple panel does a better job of maintaining its brightness as it tilts the phone from left to right and up and down. It gets some cooler tones as you turn it , but not to the degree of Note 8, and definitely not to the extent of Pixel 2 XL. It’s not as sharp.
This is not something you’ll probably notice in typical use, but it should be said though: the iPhone X screen has fewer pixels per inch (438 ppi) than the Note 8 (521 ppi) or thePixel 2 XL (538 ppi).
If you squint, you can see a fine alias around the text and user interface elements that is harder to pin down on the Samsung device. The problem is somewhat exacerbated when viewing 16:9 formatted content, such as images and videos, in the iPhone X full-screen view at the top and bottom of the frame.
It took Apple a long time to get on the OLED cart, but as usual, the company took it out of the park when it finally made the switch. But, is it better than the competition? The answer to that question will depend on what you like to see.
If you’re looking for realism, the ultra-bright screen of the iPhone X and the exquisite white balance provide a sense of color accuracy that you simply don’t get from other phones. But if you want tones that really stand out, the Galaxy Note 8 is still the king.
Ironically, Samsung is responsible for producing the OLED panels on both phones , but the differences in fit have resulted in two of the best smartphone displays of the year, albeit very different. Or did you doubt it?