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Best display for outdoor use comparison: Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One M8 vs Apple iPhone 5s vs Note 3 vs the rest

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Best display for outdoor use comparison: Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One M8 vs Apple iPhone 5s vs Note 3 vs the rest
Summer is right around the corner and what this means is more time spent outdoors, be it for vacations at the beach, by the swimming pool, or just for a walk. One device that will always make you company whenever you go is your smartphone, but in those (hopefully!) sunny days ahead of us, the brightness of the sun feels like a blessing for us, but it's like a curse for smartphone displays. Problem is, that the light from the sun is many times brighter than even the brightest-lit room, and it is very hard for our displays to adapt to these very bright conditions.

Try picking up your phone out in the sun, and you'll quickly find yourself looking for a shade or trying to shield it with your arms, just to see who's called, texted, or what's the time.

Some phones, however, are different than others: they can get brighter, they have anti-reflection filters, and it's generally much easier to see what's on their displays than on others. To see what's the difference we emptied our shelf with top-notch smartphones, packed them in a bag, took a look up to the sky to make sure there is indeed not a single cloud, and went out to enjoy the sun. We did not go to the beach just yet, though - it was time for a field test!

We set all the devices we had to automatic brightness as that's the settings that we think most people will use, pushing every other possible brightness option to the maximum (we also enabled Adapt display for Samsung phones, a setting that boost display luminance even higher). Here's what we found out.

Display outdoor visibility for top smartphones


First, it was time for a general test for which we compared all the smartphones we had with us. We had 8 devices: the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Galaxy S4, the Note 3, the Nexus 5, the Apple iPhone 5s, the Sony Xperia Z1, the HTC One M8, and M7.

It was time to double-check all the settings, and once again make sure all displays are tuned to auto brightness. In the images below, you'd see that on one or two of the phones, it's so hard to see what's on the display that you might think the screen is turned off. It is not - the sun just shines so bright that it's nearly impossible to make out what's on the screen. Others, on the other hand, were much easier to read and you could even notice tinier details in the images we displayed. Take a look and let us know, which one you think looks better in the sun.



Three-way: Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One M8 vs Apple iPhone 5s display outdoor visibility comparison


After this extensive test of 8 devices, it is time to look at just the best sellers: Samsung's Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8, and the Apple iPhone 5s. These three devices made an impressive showing in the 8-way comparison, but upon closer expection - looking at just them alone - one would be able to easier see the differences, and understand which one looks better under direct sunlight.



The battle for the Android top: Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One M8 display outdoor visibility comparison


Finally, we decided to leave just the two top Android devices for this year: the newly launched Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8. Which of the two does better in the sun? We already saw how the Galaxy S5 has the brightest AMOLED display to date, and in the sun, it should be able to go into overdrive with Adapt display on. At the same time, we have the HTC One M8 that features an LCD display, a technology that does not have the same difficulties with high brightness as AMOLED. So which one does better? We leave it up to you to say.

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