NOVA Display vs Super AMOLED Plus vs Retina Display vs IPS LCD
For our tests we used studio setup identical to the one we used when we first got the Samsung Galaxy S II: with diffused lighting on both sides with the same color temperature as daylight, for reference purposes, and then we turned the light off for shots in complete darkness. For the camera white balance adjustment, we used three matte patches on cardboard: 90% white, 18% grey, and 1% black (velvet).
The NOVA display boasts an incredible brightness. The luminosity measures at 700 nits (the equivalent of 700 candelas per square meter if you wish), far more than the 500 nits on the similar IPS-LCD on the iPhone 4 and noticeably brighter than the Samsung Galaxy S II and its Super AMOLED Plus. Performance on paper aside, our real-world experience with the screens proved that the NOVA display on the Optimus Black is indeed shining brightest.
Winner: NOVA Display
Ever since AMOLED screens got introduced, our very understanding of what great contrast on a mobile display is has been totally redefined. No LCD display can boast the almost infinite contrast levels of AMOLED screens, and we're glad to see this great performance live on with Samsung's latest Super AMOLED Plus technology, found on the Galaxy S II. Undoubtedly, handsets which rely on the advanced IPS-LCD technology, like the iPhone 4, have come a long way to having a very juicy picture on the whole, but still, if we have to pick one screen that is best out there when it comes to high, punchy contrast, it will surely be the Super AMOLED Plus one on the Galaxy S II.
Winner: Super AMOLED Plus
Actually, LG goes on to claim that 700 nits is the exact threshold for perfect outdoor visibility, allowing the human eye to easily make out pictures even in direct sunlight. Overcast skies didn't allow us to test the screen under the sun, but we can confirm that we had no trouble whatsoever with it in cloudy weather. Comparatively, it measures a bit better than the iPhone 4, which in turn is a tad bit brighter than the Galaxy S II with its extremely low 4% screen reflectance that is as important outside as brightness.
Winner: NOVA Display
In terms of text readability, the resolution of the screen makes a huge difference and the iPhone 4 easily won the first place here. The NOVA display does well, but there is still some noticeable pixelization, just as on the Super AMOLED Plus-wielding Samsung Galaxy S II, which is still a significant improvement from its predecessor in the Galaxy S.
Winner: IPS-LCD “Retina Display” on iPhone 4
You might have also wondered about the origin of the Black part of the LG Optimus Black name. And again it's the deep blacks, which consume zero watts that are the likely justification. But it's not only the blacks – the whites are also clear and colors are soft. The difference is striking when put alongside a Super AMOLED Plus screen, where a cold blueish hue is noticeable, and despite being punchy, colors on a Super AMOLED Plus display look comparatively exaggerated, and covering way more than the standard color gamut. Ultimately, we'd go for the more balanced looking colors on the iPhone, despite it reproducing 64% of the standard color gamut, whereas the Optimus Black produces slightly warmer colors, with a perceptible yellowish tone to the white.
Winner: IPS-LCD on iPhone 4
Wide-angle visibility is top-notch on the Galaxy S II with almost no change in color and contrast. The LG Optimus Black, when viewed from extreme angles, has a slight purplish shade, also noticeable (in a lesser degree on the iPhone 4). Although the Galaxy S II with its Super AMOLED Plus display does not perform convincingly at the most extreme angles (at which you'll probably never look your phone), it's the best when it comes to angles up to 140 degrees.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S II
From left to right - LG Optimus Black, Samsung Galaxy S II, Apple iPhone 4, LG Optimus 2X
From left to right - LG Optimus Black, Samsung Galaxy S II, Apple iPhone 4, LG Optimus 2X
Finally, the NOVA screen technology is battery-savvy, working in concert with the energy effective TI OMAP chipset to deliver excellent battery life. But in a pure screen fight, it wins only in the brightness department. When it comes to screen legibility and resolution, it's the high-resolution IPS-LCD, dubbed Retina Display, that truly wins here – a technology used in professional monitors, yielding the most accurate results. If you value balance and resolution first, you'd appreciate what the iPhone 4 has to offer; the LG Optimus Black being a runner-up with a slight yellowish hue. If you value great contrast and high saturation for extremely punchy images, Super AMOLED Plus on the Galaxy S II is the way to go.
3. Foreign Guy Who Can't Get Amer (unregistered)
*Foreign Guy Who Can't Get American Slang Right*
28. iPhone 4 (unregistered)
I have an iPhone 4 & I can say that the testing done on this site favors my phone. From what I saw from the tests conducted the Super AMOLED + won in color gamut. I wish my iPhone 4 had the infinite grays of the Super AMOLED +. Yes my iPhone 4 has the best resolution, but I want to see better colors for my backgrounds & for my games with the sweet blacks the Super AMOLED + has. Plus I really want a bigger screen also. 4.3 inches is so much nicer to see a movie & to play games on. I think the Galaxy S II is going to be my phone when it comes out!
29. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4438; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Well it looks like iPhone 4 sees the light. No but all kidding aside, the Super AMOLED + looks like a slick screen. I agree with you iPhone 4 that the color gamut should have gone to the Super AMOLED +, with it's insane contrast ratio & infinite grays it makes the color gamut only better. You are also right in screen size, playing games on a 4.3 inch screen makes a huge difference compared to the iPhone 4. The real-estate makes big difference in the movie watching & the game playing. I wonder how the qHD screen on the HTC Evo 3D with its higher resolution will fare against these big boys?
4. ecml (Posts: 129; Member since: 23 Mar 2010)
I am sure the Samsung Galaxy S II should have won for Color gamut....
5. Johnabis (Posts: 56; Member since: 17 Feb 2011)
wait which phone has the super LCD in the comparison above? thats the technology the evo3d uses I think right? i guess super LCD comes in last place to the 3 other displays?
6. herbie19999 (unregistered)
Samsung totally winss
7. NeXoS (Posts: 278; Member since: 03 May 2011)
Wow, this site is run by total Apple fan boys!
It is scientifically impossible for the IPS display to have a wider color gamut than the SAMOLED+ display. You said it yourselves, the SAMOLED+ has infinite shades of gray, which directly correlates to a display's color gamut.
IPS was "slightly" brighter than the SAMOLED+? Looks like you guys are more than slightly biased towards the iPhone 4.
The only valid category the iPhone 4 should win is the PPI category.
Will you guys please put your iPhones down and try to write an unbiased, Apple Fan Boy laced article??? This is the reason why I stopped reading Engadget.
8. MalakiMills (Posts: 256; Member since: 15 Jun 2010)
I agree, I mean look at the wins, each technology has 2 wins (except for the LG optimus 2x hehe) but the end it by saying "it's the IPS-LCD that truly wins here". Just doesn't make that much sense.
11. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)
welll maybe some things have more weight then others... the ppi of the iphone is extremely important... without a high res the screen doesnt look nice no matter what... honestly if apple can make such a high ppi screen, why cant lg or samsung? samsung even makes the darn screens!
19. Sniggly (Posts: 7183; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
My Droid X, which arguably doesn't have as high resolution, still looks very nice. I'll take it over the iPhone 4 any day.
21. Sic_lusifer (unregistered)
sorry man but fyi Apple didnt "make such a high ppi screen" they just bought them !!
24. Iphonearena (unregistered)
In case you haven't noticed yet the "retina" display was developed by LG and not by Apple...
33. jcoberg10 (Posts: 110; Member since: 30 Oct 2009)
PPI is also, variable based on screen size. so the phone with the smallest screen would have the highest PPI.
64. dharkness (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Dec 2011)
You are wrong PPI = pixels per inch. that is the density of the pixels on the screen. The density of pixels does not go down if you make the screen larger.
65. Yerdeniz (Posts: 2; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)
No, PPI totally depends on the size of a screen. (E.g Galaxy S II 4.27'' 480x800 resolution, ≈220 ppi. Samsung Wave 3.3'' 480x800 resolution, ≈283 ppi.)
39. remixfa (Posts: 14191; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
resolution is important lucas, but your eye cant really tell the difference between super amoled+'s resolution and the iphone's resolution at normal viewing distances. If the iphone's screen were enlarged, its ppi count goes down and it becomes even more of a tie.
so if your eye cant really tell the difference besides maybe some of the most minor artifacts ever... how is the "retina" display even relevant other than fanboys screaming about the highest PPI??
Ill take better color, higher brightness, thinner and lighter screens, gorilla glass, better battery use, better viewing angles, and everything else the SA+ offers over the IPS, and lose that marginally better resolution that i cant really notice anyways.
42. protozeloz (Posts: 5381; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
retina is just a word for hight res screen on a certain size and no one is doing it maybe because apple may sue them, just saying...
47. remixfa (Posts: 14191; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
apple doesnt own the "retina" tech.. LG does. Apple cant sue anyone over it.
If it was THAT important to be over 300ppi, other companies would be doing it already. as an article i read last week said, the difference between the SA+ resolution and the iphone4's resolution is about 5% extra clarity to the eye. Its not that big of a difference unless you stick your face on the screen.
49. protozeloz (Posts: 5381; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
they are suing over the use of a green call icon and other stuff..... at this point nothings surprises me.
people talk about retina as if it where some great discovery, but it is what it is, a hight res, there is nothing more than that unlike SAMOLED, and other tech that works hard on improving certain aspect (power saving and others)
23. Iphonearena (unregistered)
I totally agree with you Nexos and sadly it’s no secret that this site is run by biased Iphone fanatics.
It has been proven several times by independent sources that the Super Amoled displays have a much wider range of color gamut than the Iphone’s IPS-LCD display.
Here are the figures (google them if you don’t believe me, you’ll find them on several websites):
Color gamut Iphone 4: 64 %
Color gamut Super Amoled Displays: ~140 %
As you can see for yourself, the Super Amoled displays boast a much wider range of color gamut than the Iphone 4. Sure, some people might perceive the colors of the Super Amoled displayed as being over-saturated but you can easily adjust that by downloading software from the android market that allows you to fine-tune your display settings accordingly (if you wish to do so).
It’s easy to draw a conclusion from this “comparison”: If Iphonearena had done a fair review it would have awarded the color gamut category to the Galaxy S II and the SII would have been the overall winner but considering how biased Iphonarena is there’s more chance of hell freezing over than Iphonearena admitting that the SII is actually a better device than the Iphone 4…
Heck, this site doesn't even list its real street/office address on their website (just check their "about us", "contact us", terms or privacy site, you won't find their address anywhere!) because phonearena's office is probably located in Cupertino...
34. NeXoS (Posts: 278; Member since: 03 May 2011)
Hahaha, good one! I wouldn't doubt that. Apple does a lot of shady things. Well, I hope someone comes up with a tech blog site that isn't secretly sponsored by Apple.
40. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4438; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Yeah good luck! lol Apple has moles in all the tech blog websites. iGN.com, iPhonearena.com, iEngadget.com, and so on. Apple is like the KGB, an operative is always on the mission! The iSheep mission, to brainwash as many as they can & report to Jobs himself! lol
62. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
26. Dark4o90 (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Feb 2011)
will see next gen amoled displays from samsung
12. Jeromeo (Posts: 135; Member since: 11 Jan 2010)
Oh, PhoneArena, I remember why I liked you...
On a side note, I think the color gamut shoulda gone to the GalaxySII and the wide angle shoulda gone to the Black.
30. phbelov (Posts: 122; Member since: 25 Mar 2011)
All displays have won 2 times (except for the IPS LCD on the LG Optimus 2X). Or guys, you all write that iPhone is so bad device because you just can't buy it because it's very expensive for you? I think that the iPhone 4 is a great device.
Android phones are great as well.
36. NeXoS (Posts: 278; Member since: 03 May 2011)
It's very expensive? The Samsung Galaxy S II will probably cost the same if not MORE than the iPhone 4 when it's released.
Are there still retards that think owning an iPhone 4 is a "financial status symbol"?
All it really is, is a symbol of technological stupidity. People who are dumb at technology buy the iPhone and it's great for those people. But that group is shrinking. More people around the world are becoming more tech savvy and want more than just a "dumb" smart phone that tells you what you can or cannot do. They want a smart smart phone that will do whatever you want it to!
43. protozeloz (Posts: 5381; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
believe me there are guys here that believe that, android is cheap iPhone... you really want to find a wall to smack them
46. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
Agreed. iPhone is a great device and Android has some great devices. Can't we all just get along?
48. remixfa (Posts: 14191; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
if we all got along.. what the hell would we talk about here? i come here for the crazy boards, not for the lackluster reporting.. lol.
14. smartphone fan (unregistered)
This website could change a little bit its name
how about iPhone Arena?? =)
15. the truth must be said i have (unregistered)
I really love applearena sorry my mistake phonearena thwy always make me feel good about my iphone4 everytime someone show me there phone and I see that their new gadget phone specially the ones with the galaxy s or epic at a business meeting or at a dinner and they say to me you haven't moved to the new kids in town so they flash the Android phone they have and say we gived up the iPhone for the best phone then I play with the android phone for a little and I won't one but then I come to my applearena oops phonearena and I start feeling good about my iphone4 again please phone arena stop the bull you know what I love my iphone4 but those phones out there it make my iphone4 look a older technology and when it come to the screen my boss samsung epic screen looks better then my retina display so stop calling yourself phonearena and changed to applearena I'm going to get the Samsung galaxy 2 as soon as at&t start selling it and ill send you my iphone4 so you could admire it
16. the truth must be said i have (unregistered)
I type it sold this by voice using my wife android phone Motorola atrix
17. the truth must be said i have (unregistered)
That another reason why I love my iphone4
18. CantBe (unregistered)
Brightness = Nova
Contrast = Super AMOLED plus
Outdoor Visibility = I think it should be tie :)
Text readability = Retina
Color gamut = Super AMOLED plus
Wide-angle view = Super AMOLED plus
conclusion: I can do better Comparison than PhoneArena
Victor H you SUCK , and I RULE xD
37. NeXoS (Posts: 278; Member since: 03 May 2011)
They should fire Victor H and hire you! But I hear Victor bakes cookies for his boss, Steve Jobs, so they won't fire him. :(
22. IOS5 (unregistered)
ya it's slightly brighter then Super Amoled plus but still has real natural color than super Amoled and 325ppi vs 260ppi!.
25. Laurynas (unregistered)
I have searched some info about a "Super AMOLED" and its "Burn-In" effect and I have found a forum with a vote poll. Voted about a 200 "SAMSUNG Wave" users and about 35% of them was telling that their screens are affected by "Burn-In" effect. And they was claiming that "Burn-In" effect has affected their screens approximately after 3-4 month of usage. Also I have read that "SAMSUNG Galaxy S (I9000)" screens are also affected by "Burn-In" effect. And that is pretty sad!
So, it would be useful to know more official news about "Super AMOLED Plus" lifetime and "Burn-In" effect, I think it may be a big disadvantage!
And if you don't believe me, just Google and you will see that internet is full of people which are complaining about a "AMOLED" and "Super AMOLED" "Burn-In" effect ("Samsung Galaxy S" and "Samsung Wave" both). According to this vote and all these Google results, we can make an conclusion - Yes there is such problem like a "AMOLED screen" "Burn-In" effect and it is not so rare case.
35. Laurynas (unregistered)
List of OLED Advantages and Disadvantages:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O
38. NeXoS (Posts: 278; Member since: 03 May 2011)
Yea, I believe that. And I also believe that Osama Bin Laden is still alive!
41. Laurynas (unregistered)
I'm not sure if I understand it correct, maybe it is your sarcasm or something. :)
Anyway, I suggest to read about "Lifespan" and "Screen burn-in" in the list of OLED disadvantages. There is some info that confirms (at least in part) what I have said before.
63. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
n yeah i love u lol:)
27. Dark4o90 (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Feb 2011)
SAMOLED+ winsss you won't be watching texts with loop sooo it's perfectly clear
31. SHM93 (unregistered)
Where is Sony Ericsson's Arc?
32. CantBe (unregistered)
and what does it have to be here ? LCD with a " gimmick " called Reality display and Bravia Mobile engine !!
50. lcd (unregistered)
well there is a LCD phone with something called retina display so i guess it it would be fair of the added it
44. mr john (unregistered)
samsung galaxy s2 win with all aspect
45. applearena lover (unregistered)
Wow they took my comment away hay applearena I have the iphone4 the only thing is I said the true wow wow wow even an iphone lover like me is out just because I said the true shame an you applearena sorry my mistake is Phonearena for Apple only and say something good about your iPhone or your out
51. chinakidoliver.iab (Posts: 75; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)
didnt the statistics say nova won,
52. funynda (unregistered)
Thanks phonearena for this fair and objective review (I am not an Iphone user).
It confirms for me what I was thinking looking at other websites/photos: The NOVA display is a fabulous one, and check at site where you see NOVA displaying photos. The white is whiter for the NOVA (it is really a true white, and not a shade of grey or a shade of blue).
One key point (for a smartphone) is outdoor view, in which LCD-IPS are the best.
NOVA is the (ANDROID) screen I prefer, and a first choice on ANDROID platform.
53. J4M35 (unregistered)
I saw the Galaxy S2's Super AMOLED Plus display in store yesterday, and it looks amazing. All this pixelation stuff is utter rubbish, because there is no noticeable difference in sharpness between the iPhone 4 and the GS2. If anything, images look sharper on the S2, because the contrast ratio is INSANE, and it's so incredibly colourful.
I looked at the iPhone 4 afterwards, and if i'm honest it looks very nice, but underwhelming in comparison. The iPhone 4 doesn't seem to be the most responsive phone anymore either, since the S2 seemed far smoother and speedier. Probably be my next phone :)
54. MarioBros (unregistered)
Entre las imágenes la pantalla con mejor definición en texto es el iphone 4
55. Tokomibashi (unregistered)
Those who say that the color gamut part of the review is biased are seeming to ignore one thing briefly mentioned in the review: the Galaxy S II's display is unrealistically punchy. While having a wide gamut is valuable, having an *accurate* one is important too.
Considering how the grays bias toward blue, and some of the colors pop out unrealistically, the Galaxy S II's accuracy is lower than it could be. Each color on the Galaxy's display has a different vibrance than the others, where they really ought to be consistent.
Yes, those big vibrant reds on the Super AMOLED Plus are very pretty, but they pop out more than almost everything else. To put it simply, colors aren't supposed to be competing with each other like that. There's not supposed to be one "better" color that sticks out more than the rest. :P
I've owned several models in the Galaxy S line, as well as other OLED models, and I love them all to pieces. However, as a graphic designer, I need accurate colors sometimes. OLEDs simply don't give that as well as IPD LCDs yet, so when I'm viewing a draft on the road, I switch over to one for that sort of thing.
There's a difference between supporting a platform and being a crazed fanatic who isn't willing to hear anything bad about their baby. I wish Android users would stop crying "iPhone fanboy!" every time somebody pointed out an uncomfortable truth about the platform.
Admitting there's room for improvement is sort of a requirement if you ever want something to get batter, you know? The platform isn't even three years old yet, of course it still has flaws and I love it despite them. I just wish more people could admit that instead of instantly calling foul at criticism.
57. alimehran (unregistered)
sgs2 have a best performance and super amoled plus is exelentttttttttttttttt its king of the mobile until now
58. Dre (unregistered)
I used to be a big fan of android phones. I still have original droid, droid x, droid 2 global, samsung continuum and htc thunderbolt. I switched over to iPhone 4 month ago and will never switch back to android. I always used to diss Apple users, but in reality ios is far better polished than android system. As far as screen goes, my opinion is that resolution is most important thing. Hate looking at pixels while browsing the net, playing games. Especially on 4.3 inch screens makes it even worse.
59. Lol (unregistered)
Worthless phonearena, in FACT in overall the SAMOLED+ is the winner here clearly. Dreeeeam on that iphone is the winner hahah. Its ooooooold and outdated jail-phone that cant do a s**t out of the box, you need to modify it yourself to actually have acess to SOME of the stuffs that allready is in Android devices inbuilt. People who are retard go and buy an old iphone4. why da f**k go buy it when there is the wonderful samsung S2 around? Dumb peoples :) and compring pixels when they are 2 diffrent sizes is just foolish. I can bet you wouldnt have seen a s**t if the s2 had 3,5" like the noobPhone in pixel density. I almost couldnt see it in real life comparison with the s2 and iphone4 sooooo..
60. SaurabhJain666 (unregistered)
Samsung Galaxy S Ii's SuperAMOLED Plus should have obviously won in the Color Gamut.
61. ekimr (Posts: 1; Member since: 22 Aug 2011)
It's a funny thing: I see these comparison articles, screen shots everywhere.. but I feel that manny people are missing the most important part ! screen size!
The iPhone 4 is only 3.5 inches ! - if the Iphone screen is at a resolution of 960x 640 at 300ppi (compare to other phones at 960x 540 a mere 100 pixels) that will all change if the screen is a larger size, say 4 inches. Bottom line "Retina" (lol made by LG not apple) really only works as well as it does in exactly a 3.5 inch screen. The Samsung galaxy for instance is a 4.3 inch display - almost an inch larger ! As a matter of fact I believe all of the phones tested are much larger than the iPhone 4. Lets see apple borrow a 4inch plus LG retina display - then re-enter this same comparison .. LMAO !
I have also read on many sites the supposed apple "retina display" will and can be used only any phone LG wants.. sorry to shock apple 4 owners but apple did not make the retina display - nor owns it LG does - google it.
At this point I don't see "retina" standing up to the ever advancing super AMOLED plus screens in the 4 plus size range. Do your self a real favor: compare an iPhone 4 screen with any black image to an iPhone 4 - or pictures for that matter with a SGS 2 phone and remember the SGS 2 display is almost an inch larger - see true blacks.
Text is clearer on an iPhone - there is no doubt about it - 5% difference - blow the 3.5 inch retina display to 4.3 inches - and come back and test LMAO.