Summer's calling: Top 10 flagships with brightest displays

Summer's calling: Top 10 flagships with brightest displays
With July now well underway, it's safe to say that most of us will soon be on our way to sunny beaches. Summer can be particularly tough on smartphone users, especially when talking about using your handset under direct sunlight. Depending on a mix of factors, including screen brightness and cover glass reflectivity, the result can be a screen that is easy to make out, or one that is impossible to.

Nowadays, it's safe to say that most flagship devices come with display stacks that are, for the most part (but not necessarily) not very reflective, so screen brightness happens to be a rather important factor. Measured in nits, we have a vast database of screen measurements for a large number of devices, and brightness is on that list. For the most part, it's relatively safe to say that a brighter screen will be easier to make out, though, obviously, a very reflective glass will diminish the effect. For example, the Oppo Find 7A's display, which outputs 455 nits of brightness, is notably harder to make out when compared with the Samsung Galaxy S5's screen, which outputs 442 nits. That said, if the Find 7A's display was as bright as the Lumia 1520 (707 nits), it probably would prove as equally-visible, or even more. If all this didn't make it obvious enough, then just remember this: higher brightness doesn't necessarily mean better outdoor visibility.

With the above distinction and disclaimers in mind, find below the top 10 flagships with the brightest displays currently on the market, from brightest to dimmest.



1. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2262; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

and G3 has the highest resolution display among the 9th.

18. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Heres a G3 failing the sunlight test. Other phones (S5 wins): All the dislikes/hate from fanboys is hilarious.

2. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

I thought the S5 reaches over 500 nits?

6. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Well over 500 actually. The problem with PA's testing is that they only consider maximum brightness MANUALLY achievable. i.e. GS5's display goes even more brighter under sunlight which can't be tweaked manually. Displaymate got 698 nits approx: Even gsmarena got 529 nits:

7. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Ok. So it's like in Lumia 920 which I guess goes into maximum brightness only in automatic mode.

11. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

Actually, that's wrong. The phones are set to automatic.

12. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

But are they tested in sunlight which will truly depict its 'maximum' brightness ?

24. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

Trust me, a lot of light is going in the sensor's direction. It gets cranked up as much as its hardware/software allows.

32. TheGenius

Posts: 339; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

Check comment #22

13. Iodine

Posts: 1478; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Yep. But that would look like displaymate results are somewhat twisted... Even samsung officially says 500 nits plus some manufacturing variations (+- 10%)

14. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

17. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Ya where is the S5? The display is awesome in direct sunlight, way better than most of the phones above.

10. maherk

Posts: 6774; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

That's why phonearena should stick to average articles, like best games/apps, leaks, hands on videos sort of articles, and leave this to the experts of the field. Once again they show their arrogance that their way of doing things is a concept that shouldn't be touched, and that automatic brightness is a big No No in our books of defining the maximum brightness of a phone, which is the best if used on the Lumia 925, 1020, S5 and Note 3.

15. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Once again, PA puts out another article that has all the facts messed up.

20. buccob

Posts: 2963; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Exactly... the problem here is that brightness is only part of the story.. the other parts are contrast and reflectivity of the displays As much as I like Xperia phones, the Z2 is actually poor for today's standards... The Galaxy S5 is actually one of the best.

26. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

They only know how to read spec sheets and run custom script. Nothing more. They even did a poll on the outdoor display comparison. I think their writers don't even know what articles other have written. Go home, you're drunk!! PA!!

3. Duketytz

Posts: 534; Member since: Nov 28, 2013

Why is there a bonus? Too compelled to add in the S5?

9. Reality_Check

Posts: 277; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Well the GS5 actually goes beyond 650 nits, though it's not manually possible.

4. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2262; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

and ppi......

21. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

PPI has nothing to do with sunlight visibility. 1440p phone displays are pointless, they are a waste of GPU power and battery life.

5. bayhuy

Posts: 320; Member since: Jun 23, 2011

And Gnusmas failed again...

8. RobVLC

Posts: 13; Member since: Apr 02, 2014

And Lumia 925, 1020? how many nits? they are really good for outdoors!

19. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

The 920 is 325 Nits. The 1020 is 317. They look really good outdoors because they use AMOLED displays instead of LCD.

29. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

also clearblack as well right? Where they polarize the light source.

16. NIK01

Posts: 40; Member since: Apr 29, 2013

The only phone I have to dim indoor is the droid mini. The iPhone 5s and all the others here run on maximum brightness allways.

22. o7o

Posts: 114; Member since: Jun 26, 2009

PA, just at least look at your OWN articles for once before posting another! In this comparison: you say GS5 gets up to 580 nits and you gave it a higher score than M8, and now it's reversed! In this comparison between GS5 and Lumia 1520: you said the GS5 had 442 edging 1520's 420 nits!! And here the 1520 has 707! I'm beginning to question your credibility..

23. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

My nexus 7 2 has a very bright display. Just that it isn't a flagship phone. :)

25. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

My Nexus 5 is a good step up from my Nexus 4 in direct sunlight. I am OK with 450 plus nits, where I live is called the sunshine province with a usual 200 days a year of sunshine and I work outside. Anything better or higher then 450+ works for me.

27. rodneyej1

Posts: 3576; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

The Lumia 1520 is a great phone... 9 months old, and still keeping up with newer devices... I just wish the "1525" comes with a SD805 instead of the 801, and an even better display.. I will be getting this device.

30. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

QHD would be nice. It also wouldn't be much of a gimmick on that huge 6" screen...

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