Nokia Lumia 900 screen with ClearBlack tech takes the smartphone crown in outdoor visibility

Nokia Lumia 900 screen with ClearBlack tech takes the smartphone crown in outdoor visibility
We already reported the words of Dr Raymond Soneira from DisplayMate, who was putting the Lumia 900 and other phones through their screen paces, but now the whole screen study is out, and the results confirm some unscientific comparisons of the Lumia 900 display.

DisplayMate are professionals in screen quality and calibration, and with all the brouhaha in recent years around smartphones and tablets, they started measuring the quality of their screens too.

The latest study is in outdoor and high ambient light visibility, which needs one of two things to be good on a smartphones - high brightness or low screen reflectance ratio. Well, preferably both, but that rarely happens with any smartphone screen. High brightness saps battery, though, unlike the passive screen reflectance coatings or layers.

Well, it seems that Nokia got it right with its ClearBlack technology that is present on the Lumia 900 and other handsets from the Finns. It scores average in the brightness department at 395 nits, but the 4.4% screen reflectance ratio is extremely low, and can only be matched by the original Galaxy S, which is, however, less bright that the Lumia 900. Third in the study is Apple's Retina Display, which has a 7% reflectance, but is pretty bright.

These are the dry numbers, which are backed up by actual pictures of all the displays compared in the study (a snippet of the first three we are providing below), and it can easily be seen how well the Lumia 900 fares in direct sunlight, the worst possible scenario for any screen.

source: DisplayMate

Related phones

Lumia 900
  • Display 4.3" 480 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.3 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 APQ8055, Single core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB
  • Battery 1830 mAh(8h 3G talk time)

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30 Comments

1. zvadim

Posts: 11; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

motorola had a promising "transflexive" display technology about a decade ago, if memory serves. It claimed that a reflective coating on the very back layer of display, would allow the ambient light to augment the backlight, thus improving outdoor performance.

9. LordOfTroll

Posts: 54; Member since: May 08, 2012

I have a paper that doesn't reflect any light, lol motosheep.

30. jnkAL

Posts: 5; Member since: May 18, 2012

Damn you must be amazing then. Able to see a completely non reflective paper. Really absolutely amazing. How do you do it? Some kind of zen sense? Or maybe you can prophecy what's on the paper?

14. Penny

Posts: 1860; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Thanks for the interesting information zvadim. Please ignore the TRUE SHEEP that do not want to even hear anybody else talking about tech from companies that they are not interested in.

2. PimpStrong

Posts: 310; Member since: Jul 25, 2011

And still, AMOLED for the win! I promise LCD will be a thing of the past soon.

3. simplyj

Posts: 406; Member since: Dec 23, 2009

I'm getting tired of AMOLED. At first I loved it, but now I hate it. I really like the screen on the HTC Titan, which I believe is a Super LCD

25. christianqwerty

Posts: 467; Member since: May 05, 2011

The one thing i didn't like about the super amoled screen was the burn in effect. i paid top dollar for my samsung focus when it came out, and i could see things burned in the screen, after a few months!

4. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

went to the main site because i was curious.. but um... where are the newer Amoled techs? The SGS2's RGB SA+ and the high density 720p screen of the SGS3/Nexus?? I love my SGS1 and all, but the tech is old compared to the new offerings. Also, correct me if im wrong, but the 900 uses the exact same screen as the SGS1, with just the "pure black" filter being placed on it, right? I guess it was to highlight the difference between the 2 with the filter. But still, where is the SGS2, Note, and Nexus? How about the LCD2 of the OneX. If your going to have a screen shoot out, use all the top screens. (notice how every one of them is made by samsung? lol)

7. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

I still use my SGS Cappy - got ICS On it and it runs great. Might be older tech for the screen, but it is still very good.

8. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

ICS on my Vibrant is the bomb. And thats hurting me. My wife is questioning why i "need" a new phone now, if the latest OS runs butter smooth on my phone.. lol. GRRRR. I might have to accidentally break my phone on SGS3 launch day to justify it... woops.. lol

12. PimpStrong

Posts: 310; Member since: Jul 25, 2011

Man up man and buy that motherf---er whenever your good and ready lol. I'm lucky, my wife has evolved like this: MyTouch 3G MyTouch 4G Sensation 4G and now she wants the Note!!

24. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

I doubt my wife will ever go that big. She's been through more phones in the last 2 years than I have since nothing has really beat my SGS1 in tinkerability and power. American S2's have a weaker GPU and the power increase is so minimal that its not worth the money. She was on a dual core phone for a while but for some reason ended up with a MT4G and is quite happy with it.

18. Penny

Posts: 1860; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

If they were comparing overall display quality, then you would have a point. In this article, they were specifically looking at outdoor visibility. The ClearBlack filter is more effective at reducing reflectance of external light than even the best of current Super Amoled Plus screens right now that do not have the same filter. Higher pixel density shouldn't have much of an effect on outdoor visibility; the primary factors of outdoor visibility are actually display brightness and low light reflectance.

23. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

Super amoled + screens are a bit brighter than the older super amoled screens, so that directly affects outdoor visibility. The test needs to be run against current phones to give current viability. This test woulda been great.. in 2010.

29. jackhammeR

Posts: 1548; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

even the S III is not as good as Nokia 900 in terms of reflectivity. Nokia's CBD technology works really good.

20. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

The ClearBlack display tech is still pretty good, even compared to other technologies. Nokia had it on some of their non-AMOLED screens as well. One thing I didn't know (but after reading this article on Gizmodo, found out) that Samsung actually makes (at least some of) the screens for the Lumia 900. So there is a chance their phones would be competitive, but not sure if they're licensed to use Nokia's ClearBlack for their own products

27. jackhammeR

Posts: 1548; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

this "only" cbd makes the difference. Huge. believe me.

5. PackMan

Posts: 277; Member since: Mar 09, 2012

All of those phone tested except Lumia 900 are outdated and have moved on to Next Gen with better displays.

15. Mobile-X-Pert

Posts: 565; Member since: Dec 20, 2010

it says: ´´and can only be matched by the original Galaxy S´´ which means that not even the galaxy S2 comes close to that. In other word the Samsung Galaxy S has a better screen reflectance ratio than the S2.

6. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1176; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

LOL! So they had to compare the new Lumia900 to an old Android for it to win? legendary. :) Why couldn't they compare to a GS2?

16. Mobile-X-Pert

Posts: 565; Member since: Dec 20, 2010

The Samsung Galaxy S has a better screen reflectance ratio than the S2.

17. Penny

Posts: 1860; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

I wish they did, so people wouldn't be able to use this excuse. The ClearBlack filter or whatever Nokia uses is known to provide the best outdoor visibility of currently implemented mobile screen technology. That includes the Super Amoled +. Higher pixel density/resolution makes little difference with outdoor visibility. The biggest factors for outdoor visibility are display brightness and external light reflectance (or lack thereof).

13. charudutt

Posts: 13; Member since: Apr 18, 2012

nokia lumia 900 is the best!!! nokia clear black display is gr8!!!

22. jellytime

Posts: 135; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Now compare it to Xperia s with it's bravia engine and hd display

28. jackhammeR

Posts: 1548; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

bravia engine is overrated and it's been proved many times

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

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