Samsung details its new Galaxy S5 display: the brightest, most efficient OLED screen to date can hit 698 nits

Samsung details its new Galaxy S5 display: the brightest, most efficient OLED screen to date can hit 698 nits
Samsung Display decided to elaborate on its claims that the 5.1" panel of the Galaxy S5 is the best Super AMOLED display it's put in flagships so far. Hot on the heels of the pros at Displaymate concurring with that assessment, Samsung Display issued a blog post explaining the main reasons why.

First off, they confirm the so-called "Diamond" structure for the arrangement of the subpixels, an alternative to the standard RGB matrix arrangement. This structure seems is an offshoot of the PenTile matrix arrangement, but its advantage is an improved fill factor, which correlates better to the efficiency of the different OLED materials used to achieve the basic colors. Samsung says that the Diamond Pixel arrangement in its AMOLED panels is actually better than the PenTile of yesteryear, as it reduces aliasing and artifacts. Still, the number of green subpixels in the diamond matrix is as high as it would be in a regular RGB stripe configuration, for instance, while the red and blue subpixels are 50% less. They are much larger, though, and with a diamond shape, while the numerous small green subpixels are oval. 

This rendering scheme has allowed Samsung to achieve the same 1080p resolution as displays with a normal RGB stripe matrix, but with two thirds of the subpixel count. The overwhelming number of green subpixels is due to the fact that green is the longest-lasting and most efficient OLED emitter, while the red, and especially blue, are more taxing on the battery, and have a shorter lifespan. Now you know why even in the Cinema mode, which has been measured to be the closest to the standard sRGB color gamut, the green pulls towards oversaturation - there are just too many green subpixels in the Full HD Super AMOLED panels. Long story short, in terms of color representation we can't expect the screen on the Galaxy S5 to differ much from the one on the Note 3 and the S4, which share the same Diamond Pixel arrangement.

The big improvements are in brightness and power efficiency, though, reiterates Samsung. OLED displays don't have backlighting, as LCDs do, and only count on the light emitted by the organic LEDs in their structure. Thus, their maximum brightness levels are usually lower than those of the best LCDs out there. As you can see in the chart below, however, the 5.1" Galaxy S5 display is 22% brighter than the panel on the Galaxy S4, and 13% brighter than the Note 3. Those 351 nits might not sound much compared to, say, the 500+ nits of the iPhone 5s screen, but here Samsung is giving an example for the typical ambient lighting levels in your home or office, for instance, where LCDs hit similar values. 

During the Galaxy S5 announcement, Samsung bragged that it can easily hit 500 nits, which is a remarkable feat for a Super AMOLED screen. Today it clarified the peak brightness levels further, saying that in  further in certain high ambient lighting situations - for example, when the summer sun outside is shining directly on the display - they've measured burst levels of 698 nits, while the S5 hits 475 nits on the regular outside. This is the highest brightness level achieved by a mobile OLED panel so far, as only some Nokia Lumias manage to hit 600 nits in those circumstances, so kudos to Samsung here. 

Moreover, the good OLED panels are covered with elaborate low-reflectivity coatings, which serves to minimize those pesky mirror reflections, so their visibility outdoor is on par with much brighter screens. Samsung touts 4.5% reflectivity ratio for the S5, which is amongst the lowest measured on a mobile screen so far, making the Galaxy S5 panel an excellent screen for outdoor usage. Last but not least in the brightness department, the minimum luminance levels are just 2 nits now, which makes the phone more comfortable to use when you are lying in bed in complete darkness, and get a message, for instance. The human eye starts perceiving glare and discomfort in those situations at levels as low as 3-5 nits, says Samsung, so it tried to go even below that with the minimum brightness level on the S5.

In addition, the improved organic materials used by the company to make the new S5 panel led to 27% reduction in its power consumption rates, compared to previous Super AMOLED editions, like the one on the S4, as well as measured up to 1080p LCD screens. This allowed Samsung to eke out about a third longer battery life from the S4 to the S5, while bumping the battery capacity only slightly. 

When we combine that power-sipping display with the new Ultra Power Saving mode on the S5, it should be ranking among the best, but we'll save the verdict for when we do our own battery test. For now, it seems that with the Galaxy S5, Samsung has indeed managed to make its best mobile screen with OLED technology to date.

Related phones

Galaxy S5
  • Display 5.1 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP (Single camera)
    2.1 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, 2GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh
  • OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow
    Samsung TouchWiz UI

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80 Comments

76. mark_ray

Posts: 35; Member since: May 26, 2013

Nothing new, Samsung is my fav vendor for all time. However, still think that Note 3 display is much superior that the Galaxy S5

75. greenlife

Posts: 21; Member since: Mar 26, 2014

use Galaxy S5 or wait note 4 ?

74. Psycorp

Posts: 4; Member since: Mar 24, 2014

Samsung QA is terrible and the reason why I won't buy another of their phones at the moment. I had to send my GS3 in for repair 3 times for display problems before I'd had enough and sold it. From what I've read on XDA the situation hasn't improved much for the Note 3 either.

73. Sivakrishnan

Posts: 6; Member since: May 15, 2012

Gud job sammy.. but in case of colour accuracy its the nexus 5 who rules..

67. mohsin845

Posts: 52; Member since: Apr 05, 2014

Best Display.....

61. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

How can people hate on the this display? It's simply the best, with the best of any mobile display has to offer! Punchy (or natural) colours, infinite contrast, impeccable viewing angles, super bright (and super dim), non-reflective and power-efficient.

62. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Because it's Samsung. Apple fans hate them and so do fans of the rest of the Android OEMs so that is a lot unjustified hatred...

53. wilsong17 unregistered

I can't wait for the note 4 love the note 3

51. Killua

Posts: 270; Member since: Nov 25, 2013

Can't wait to see Note 4's screen.

47. sam3k

Posts: 130; Member since: May 02, 2013

Hats off to samsung on this 1 for raising the display bar even higher, hope the rest of the industry will follow suit, Competition is good for us all.

39. Eclectech

Posts: 364; Member since: May 01, 2013

Somehow I'm still not convinced I'd want this over a proper LCD screen. Samsung screens have typically gone overboard with color saturation and I prefer natural color.

49. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

S5 dispay has the most natural colors , that human eyes have ever seen on display. Wake up man

36. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2365; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Wow.. Go Skamsung !!!!

31. Denco

Posts: 118; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

The interesting thing is that every new high-end Samsung Galaxy doesn't hit home at the unveiling. The powerful features are usually hidden and begin to come to the fore as time goes on. Then, the so-called initial disappointment would give way to admiration and sell out. Same with Galaxy S3, S4 and now S5.

19. Amir1 unregistered

my main problem with amoled displays are the inferior natural colors. when panel manufacturers will have the right tech to advance in that then other oem's will start using oleds. also, oleds are more expensive then ips. i'm glad that most oem use ips. overall, it is superior imo.

24. cai4651

Posts: 26; Member since: Mar 09, 2014

Cinema mode...you read that part right? Excelent color accuracy.....

29. mixedfish

Posts: 1574; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

He's talking about technology in general and OEMs, not the Samsung implementation on the S5.

34. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Try a super amoled for a week. You wont give a f to color accuracy. Those punchy and vibrant colors are just mindblowing. Superior viewing angles, now brighter screen, infinite contrast, perfect zero blacks, great minimum brightness, best sunlight legibility which cant be beaten by any LCD.

46. true1984

Posts: 871; Member since: May 23, 2012

i tried it but i didn't like it. although this new amoled is pretty amazing. if i didnt already have the m8 i might have given the s5 a chance(after rooting and flashing immediately)

48. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

S5 dispay has the most natural colors , that human eyes have seen on display. You have old information, man.

56. dmh0284

Posts: 50; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

How is that possible when the S5 has an unproportionate amount of green pixels in its display?

64. Krjal

Posts: 447; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

Because not every sub-pixel is on maximum power all the time. The image processor handles that. It's the same thing that let's you use any screen with coloured sub - pixels. The processor also lets you tune the display to show more natural colours for regular use.

68. mohsin845

Posts: 52; Member since: Apr 05, 2014

try S5...then u would believe

12. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

SUPER AMOLED FTW

25. rantao333

Posts: 346; Member since: May 21, 2013

1st time

35. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Cry more samoled displays are always the best atleast from 2011.

43. true1984

Posts: 871; Member since: May 23, 2012

well i wouldnt go that far...

10. MacWiNux

Posts: 128; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

one thing that samsung mobile is great at :D

26. rantao333

Posts: 346; Member since: May 21, 2013

*only

38. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Seems like someone died in the inside after reading the article.

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

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