Nokia Lumia 1520 is first with assertive display: watch it easily beat Galaxy Note 3's screen

Nokia Lumia 1520 is first with assertive display: watch it easily beat Galaxy Note 3's screen
Nokia unveiled its first phablet, the Lumia 1520, two days ago and one of its key features is the sharp and vibrant 6-inch 1080 x 1920 pixel screen. It’s not all about color fidelity and sharpness, though, having a good screen is also a lot about actual visibility under both bright sunlight and in low light and at night.

The Lumia 1520 does admirably in all those conditions and now there is a factual proof as we see how the 6-inch display on the Nokia device adjusts quickly and accurately to changes in lighting while the otherwise great display in the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 fails to do so.

The two displays - the 6-inch 1080p one on the Lumia 1520 and the 5.7” 1080p one on the Galaxy Note 3 - share the same resolution, but are drastically different in the technology they employ. The Lumia features an IPS LCD display, while the Samsung phablet relies on a Super AMOLED panel.

Lumia 1520 is the first smartphone with assertive display tech

However the stark difference in readability comes from a technology called assertive display and developed by Apica. Assertive display outdoes all existing display management functions like Samsung’s Adapt display for instance. The core benefit from using it is dramatically improved outdoor viewing experience but not at the expense of battery efficiency.

You most likely already have a light sensor in your smartphone that can adjust the display brightness to lighting conditions, but what this assertive display technology does is actually tweak every pixel, and not just the screen as a whole. It all happens in real time and the results are telling.

The technology actually adjusts the color and brightness of every pixel depending on the lighting conditions and the changes happen extremely quickly. Here is Apica’s own explanation of how its technology allows users to watch a movie on a tablet even under the direct sun:

“Assertive Display dynamically adjusts content to ambient lighting conditions using state-of-the-art pixel processing algorithms. This means that the effective screen contrast can remain around 1000:1, similar to an HDTV, even when the real screen contrast ratio is around 10:1, as it is for LCD and OLED displays in bright sunshine.”

How does it work and will we see it on other smartphones?

Assertive display is not just a software trick - it’s an actual semiconductor IP core that is made to be easily adaptable and ready for integration in various displays. The technology works independently of the underlying processor architecture and does its magic by taking data from a single photosensor on the device.

The actual pixel correction uses iridix, a technology that has been developed for years on end to mimick the human’s eye capability to adjust to different lighting conditions. As we’ve already said, this is the local tone mapping engine that drives dynamic real-time changes in every single pixel and revealing lost detail in shadows and highlights while still keeping the realistic colors and overall appearance of a picture. Most importantly, it leaves the midtones in an image untouched.

Iridix uses that independent hardware core so it does not additionally stress your CPU or system memory, and it works with all display types.

"The thing to remember is we're not changing the brightness or the power of this display at all," stresses Apical CEO Michael Tusch, "we're just tuning the pixels to adjust the contrast ratio."

Nokia Lumia 1520 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3: an easy win

With so much theory, it’s time for a telling video demonstration. This is a test Nokia prepared at Nokia World, but we only get to see it on video now. What this test focuses is exclusively on the actual readability and adaptation to different lighting conditions, not color fidelity. And the Lumia 1520 wins this over the Galaxy Note 3 easily.

As the lighting conditions change from pitch dark to bright illumination, the Galaxy Note 3 display struggles to adjust and the overwhelming majority of the text is lost. The Lumia 1520 - in contrast - remains perfectly legible all the time.

Take a look at the video below and also make sure to check out the official press release from Apical about assertive display on the Lumia 1520, and decide for yourself how big of a difference this makes. For us it’s huge and we're eager to put it to the test ourselves soon.

Related phones

Lumia 1520
  • Display 6.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 20 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3400 mAh(25.1h 3G talk time)
Galaxy Note 3
  • Display 5.7" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 3200 mAh(21h 3G talk time)



1. GeekMovement unregistered

Wow beautiful screen Lumia. Would've been a hit if it came to more carriers.

7. eisenbricher

Posts: 973; Member since: Aug 09, 2012

Beautiful screen indeed. Oh and wanna mention, what a juicer this beast holds! at 3400mAh this phone will be awesome. Once again congrats Nokia for bringing something first in the market. After success of PureView cam, HAAC mics, wireless charging, sturdy phone chassis, PureMotion screen, best image processing algorithms, offline navigation I wonder what people want more.

16. ghaniosman

Posts: 78; Member since: Jun 06, 2013

Smartness a.k.a android,, just add it then its complete

46. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Smartness? What does that mean? Root-ability? Customizability? Wallpaper-ability? Hardware beef-ability? Back then, being smart meant being quick, prompt and precise among many. Don't want it...don't buy it. There are tons of Androids out there for you.

91. doejon

Posts: 411; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

lol just deactivate the autobrightness

117. qjphone

Posts: 19; Member since: Mar 11, 2013

wrong dude unlike windows phones before it and after the HTC HD2 this one actually goes head to head with the android big high spec boys. You can no longer say it is running on outdated hardware vs samsung buddy thus invalidating your argument. Now windows phone can actually be fairly compared to android since this 1520 is not just another midrange device passed off as high end like the previous nokias.

123. dre786

Posts: 46; Member since: Nov 10, 2012

smartness or you laggy software that eats up memory

18. saffant

Posts: 274; Member since: Jul 04, 2011

Android baby. That's all I need and i'll jump ship right away. No notification menu/swype = no deal.

77. dratomic

Posts: 483; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

absolutely right. android is the closest thing to windows (pc) and I love it.


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Android is no Windows PC. When this system evolves it will be a forced to be reckoned with trust me. I love my GS# and my next phone may be a Note 4, and after that I see a possible Windows phone in the future.

31. gawer33

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

no its not first. the 1st one who had assertive display is the 3d adroid phone from sharp. the one if not mistaken who widely introduce wireless charging to phone is HP

33. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

They also were not the first to have phones with optical zoom like a lot of people believe.

58. tgiffin

Posts: 4; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

Ahh, the N93! What a fabulous piece of hardware. Did not know that someone still remembers it.

108. hmmm...

Posts: 81; Member since: Jun 05, 2013

True, they may not be the first with optical zoom, and others, but i thinbk they are the first ones to make such technologies available worldwide, not just sold in their own coiuntry or selected regions. There might be people who think that andorid phones are the first to use infra red as a universal remote, but old nokia phones about 10 years ago could do that through third party apps

89. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

"...I wonder what people want more." How about availability on more than just AT&T in the U.S.? I hope the L929 has all of the new technology of the L1520, just in a smaller package. I would trade a smaller size screen for having everything else available on VZW. I would even make the effort to learn WP.

97. StreetNerd

Posts: 870; Member since: Dec 08, 2010

=) nice

15. ghaniosman

Posts: 78; Member since: Jun 06, 2013

Every phone out there will react the same to that technology of the lumia, note 3 is no exception so PA stop bashing only note 3

42. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Grow up!

72. user996

Posts: 221; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

really? note 3 has BEST EVER AMOLED (as samsung says) display of all that's what nokia did to simply best display out there LoL

78. clevername

Posts: 1436; Member since: Jul 11, 2008

they arent bashing the note 3. the note 3 has one of the best screens ans its the most obvious competition. be prepared for more 1520 vs. note 3 comparisons. its not bashing or bias, its just natural comparison between competitors. also, be prepared for the 1520 to win most of these

83. kabhijeet.16

Posts: 892; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

They are comparing two different kinda technology. Its like comparing mangoes & oranges. Both are fruits & awesome in their own way. Nokia's tech is new and different. Its great how technology develops. SOon it will be adopted in every other device..

59. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

1520 is the best phablet so far, but only one thing let this down is OS.

68. dratomic

Posts: 483; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

totally agree with you mate

98. StreetNerd

Posts: 870; Member since: Dec 08, 2010

thn stop posting at nokia/wp related articles... i allways see the same kind of comments from u... get over it and make the switch

62. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

I highly doubt carrier exclusivity is what will make this handsets sales lackluster, it's Windows Phone. Once Google makes a full suite of Google apps for Windows Phone, or at least if Microsoft makes a suite of apps that are full featured enough to work well with Google's services then it can be considered as a fully matured platform that I would go back to. But right now Windows Phone is too big of a shift for anyone tied into Google services which Microsoft doesn't have good competitors to. Windows Phone will continue to falter until this compatibility is addressed.

119. JPDVM2014

Posts: 4; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Unfortunately, this will never happen. MS has already said that they want to work with Google to bring the apps over, but Google wants nothing to do with it. Just look at the youtube app fiasco. Also, MS has alternatives to almost every Google service except youtube. The hardest part is switching data, but it is doable. I'm proud to be google free. (again, except for youtube, sigh)

93. picassimo

Posts: 15; Member since: Oct 31, 2012


2. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

woah dang

3. Damitel

Posts: 66; Member since: Apr 21, 2013

Why can't iphonearena allow samsung to be, is Note 3 the only phablet in the market, "easily beat", you people should do a balanced review. Finding this kind of thing highly disgusting and unprofessionalism.

12. Wiki_jaan

Posts: 704; Member since: Jun 24, 2012

this is just a screen but nokia cant beat sales and features samsung is offering , also android customization .............

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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