Screen Comparison: Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 vs Xperia Z vs One vs Galaxy S III vs Lumia 920

Screen Comparison: Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 vs Xperia Z vs One vs Galaxy S III vs Lumia 920
The Galaxy S4 – the hottest Android smartphone right now... We're so happy that we had the chance to check this guy out early on! Not only did we enjoy it, but we also managed to get a lot of content done for you guys. One of the things we decided is worth checking out was how the brilliant 5" 1080p Super AMOLED screen compared against the other best screens currently available. You know, the usual suspects like the iPhone 5, Lumia 920, One and so on. Well, let us tell you this – the Samsung has done a wonderful job with the GS4's screen, although there's still room for improvement.

You want the details? Read on!

Brightness and Visibility

Despite the improvements that Samsung continues to do to its so-called Super AMOLED screen technology, it's still lagging behind the quality LCD screens in the brightness department. We find the LCD displays of the iPhone 5, One, Xperia Z and Lumia 920 to be a bit brighter than the one of the GS4, and even more compared to the GS3, which is dimmer than its successor.

This lack of brightness also leads to worse visibility in outdoor conditions for the AMOLED screens. The Galaxy S4 isn't unusable, but it's perceptibly harder to read than the bright screens of the Apple iPhone 5 and HTC One, which lead the pack in this respect.

In addition, we would like to see manufacturers make their displays so that the user is able to set the brightness extremely low, in order to make it more comfortable to view in the dark. Some models are much better than others at this, with the iPhone 5 taking the lead. The Galaxy S4 is OK, it can get quite dark, but it would have been nice if it could go even further.

Viewing angles

Most of the smartphones we've line up here treat us to some pretty good viewing angles, but there are some exceptions. First of all, we would like to point the Xperia Z out, as the device that probably has the worst viewing angles of all six. We still don't know why, but Sony's screens traditionally suffer from poor viewing angles, with contrast and brightness degrading quickly as we start tilting the handset.

Then come the AMOLED displays of the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S III, which are quick to become bluish even when looked at a slight angle. Otherwise, they do well retaining relative contrast and brightness. However, the quality LCD screens of the iPhone 5 and One do equally well, and even manage to retain a more natural color balance. Unfortunately, the Nokia Lumia 920's LCD display is more similar to the Xperia Z in terms of viewing angles, rather than the iPhone 5 or One.


Resolution is the name of the game in 2013, as most high-end Android phone manufacturers are equipping their creations with 1080p screens that reach astronomical pixel densities of 400+ ppi. The HTC One leads the pack in that respect as it couples the 1080p resolution with a 4.7” screen, which makes for the incredible 468 ppi. The second places is shared by the Xperia Z and Galaxy S4, the 5” displays of which have a pixel density of 441 ppi. Third is the Lumia 920 with 332 ppi, and immediately after it comes the iPhone 5 with 326 ppi. Finally, we have the Galaxy S III with 306 ppi.

As you know, basically every display which has a pixel density of more than 300 ppi is very sharp, but hey, these 400+ ppi monsters we have today are really pushing the boundaries to the extreme. There's so much resolution that you can't even tell that the Galaxy S4 has a PenTile matrix pixel arrangement. You can examine the pixel arrangement of each display in the super-close-up images with the word “Classic.”

Color reproduction

Our favorite screens in terms of colors are those of the Apple iPhone 5 and HTC One. Their advanced LCD displays output super-realistic, yet vibrant and lively colors that manage to please both the purist users and those who just want a breath-taking image. The Nokia Lumia 920 is also quite good, though it's a bit less vibrant. The Xperia Z isn't bad as well, though as we said, it's very easy to lose the liveliness in it just by viewing it at a very slight angle.

Samsung is still struggling to achieve a more true-to-life image with its AMOLED screens, which have always gravitated towards the colder side. That becomes evident with the appearance of special screen modes in the Galaxy S4 that aim at tuning the screen to a more natural state. We certainly appreciate the company's efforts as they are clearly in the right direction. Indeed, the Galaxy S4 is much better than its predecessor color-wise. When you compare the two, the GS III is noticeably more bluish. Still, there's still more room for improvement.


Just when we thought that LCD technology doesn't have anything more to offer, innovation has once again come to the rescue, allowing certain manufacturers to produce one of the most amazing screens we've ever seen. After all is said and done, it becomes evident that the quality LCD displays like those of the Apple iPhone 5 and HTC One are unsurpassed when it comes to overall image quality with their sharp, lively and realistic visuals.

However, Samsung is making big moves forward with each new major release. Its AMOLED technology has transformed from cold and pixelized to surprisingly authentic and artifact-free. The Galaxy S4's Super AMOLED screen is an improvement over its predecessor in every possible way, but this comparison showed us that there's still quite a bit of room for improvement. Still, the GS4's display is amazing the way it is right now, and proves that this relatively young technology has the potential to become something exceptional as time goes on.



1. ultimatebatman

Posts: 52; Member since: Dec 04, 2012

I thought the Xperia Z was supposed to be the worst. From the images, It's on par with the iPhone and One, and better than the Lumia 920. This just proves that everyone bashes it for nothing.

5. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

The only "bad" thing I can say about the Xperia Z's screen is that blacks are a bit grey-ish.

59. harshithh

Posts: 12; Member since: Feb 18, 2013

that problem have been solved !!!coz sony has released new colour colabration software for that!!

75. omar300

Posts: 210; Member since: Jun 24, 2012

i see people here are arguing within android realm, honestly this is awesome and exciting. people dont give a s**t about iphone anymore. as long we competition is between sony, htc or samsung its great cus that means its only advantage for all of android fans :)

82. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

I thought that was only for the ZL, not the Z?

150. AbuSymbian

Posts: 5; Member since: Dec 24, 2012

is there a video of showing the display with that new software ?

185. z00mflight

Posts: 4; Member since: Mar 30, 2013

186. giri555

Posts: 111; Member since: Mar 15, 2012

when? you have to be rooted for that right? pls post a link?

63. amiroo

Posts: 269; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

Correct.. htc one has a best screen sure.

129. kclgphilsbsa

Posts: 765; Member since: Jan 21, 2013

we already kknow from d start that lcd will actually deliver the best display with this kind of comparison// still many people love the way amoled pops into their eyes :)

136. Dynamac

Posts: 25; Member since: Dec 01, 2012

Exactly the case. The screens in this age is all about technology preference. I personally love the over saturated colours and that's why I would stay with Samsung, Amoled is a big differentiating factor vs the others. However at the same time many will want more natural and realistic reproduction and hence the One wins the day. You can't really say one is better than the other when comparing S4 and the One. However as good as LCD is these days, they will always appear slightly washed out simply due to the fact that a backlight is required. Can't change that unless you go Amoled. If you ever try turning on a S3 or S4 in complete darkness....WOW!

154. Dynamac

Posts: 25; Member since: Dec 01, 2012

Btw, has anyone noticed Samsung might have somehow solved the problem with white colour drawing more power in Amoleds? There is a lot of white screens in S4's menus including the main menu. If not white, they are blue or other colours, but very little true black. Samsung had always used as much black as possible to minimise power usage by screen.

156. AppleHateBoy unregistered

GS4's SAMOLED screen uses a tilted Bayer Filter like arrangement.

153. thunderising

Posts: 232; Member since: Nov 25, 2011

Use the upcoming Display Calibration software.

37. omar300

Posts: 210; Member since: Jun 24, 2012

I KNOW! colour reproduction and pixels would go to S4 for obvious reasons. But viewing angle on xperia z is better than any other phone in that line up. i dont like the blue screen of galaxy s4. but we know that will never go away so we might as well embrace it. atleast its better than galaxy nexus.

40. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1245; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

It's blacks are greyish AND it has bad viewing angles. Whether you personally care about viewing angles or not, it demonstrates how the screen just isn't of the same quality as the One and the iPhone.

64. Feanor

Posts: 1379; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

I think that the Z is marginally worse overall than the One and the S4 but since these models were presented, its disadvantages are greatly exaggerated. I think that for everyone who likes its design, it's still a pretty good handset.

76. Feanor

Posts: 1379; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Haha, I wonder where all these thumbs-down came from... from Sony fans who didn't like that I find the One and the S4 better, or from S4 and One fans that they didn't like that I still find the Z good enough?...

127. rgxVOiD

Posts: 440; Member since: Aug 30, 2012

Are you sure its red thumbs-down? Cause on the S4 it would be green as well

131. Feanor

Posts: 1379; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Haha! Maybe.

80. imran86

Posts: 208; Member since: Sep 14, 2012

Even if Samsung produces a 4K OLED mobile display, PA will still favor the Icrap. You have no shame PA.

93. TechBizJP08

Posts: 495; Member since: Mar 25, 2013

I agree. and to think who the supplier of the LCD. Your guess is as good as mine. :)

130. apawar71

Posts: 12; Member since: Nov 28, 2011

Lol. Thumbed you up! :D

172. HDShatter

Posts: 1021; Member since: Jan 17, 2013

PA: iphone finally gets 1080p screen in 2015. Android flagships featuring 2k screens with RGYB Oleds. The icrap would win in the reviews.

95. GTR722

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 20, 2012

Samsung fanboys make a lot of noise...Z screen is fine.

104. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

PA is just biased. They said the Lumia had better viewing angles than Z for instance, the actual images couldn't be further from the truth.

128. Dimitru

Posts: 40; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

yup Z viewing angles is better than Lumia...

168. ahhxd717

Posts: 332; Member since: Dec 08, 2011

If that's true, then idk why people are complaining about the Z's screen, since the Lumia has more than adequate viewing angles in actual use.

111. AnTuTu

Posts: 1620; Member since: Oct 14, 2012


126. ubuntu

Posts: 40; Member since: Jan 11, 2013

everythings in green lol

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

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