With a new flagship handset out of the gate (we're looking at you, LG G3), it's time for us to sit down, power up the calibrators, get our magnifying glasses, and do a nice and detailed inspection of what we're dealing with when it comes to that gigantic, 5.5” display. Frankly, there's a lot going for the G3's display – it's one of the largest ones amongst other AAA smartphones, plus it comes with the remarkable QHD resolution that's supposed to make things even crisper and clearer than usual. But, as our review has already shown, the G3's display isn't quite the breakthrough affair that we were hoping for. That said, the G3 will now have to face some other handsets, whose screens have proven to be pretty exceptional (in one way or the other), such as the Xperia Z2, the One (M8), the iPhone 5s, and, of course, the Galaxy S5.

We'll be testing the displays in a number of areas, including brightness and visibility, resolution, and color reproduction. Let's see who's boss in the display category at this point!

Brightness and outdoor visibility


The first key area that we're going to focus on is brightness and visibility. This is where we find out how well handset displays perform outdoors, where there's plenty of bright ambient light.

Having a powerful brightness output is of utmost importance for every smartphone. After all, what use a massive screen is if you can't read your email while out and about. Recently, cell phone manufacturers have managed to achieve a decent level in this respect, though we're still far from where we need to be. Most high-end Android handsets stick around the 450-nit mark, which often makes for a readable screen outdoors. Readable, but by no means easy to view when the sun is shining brightly. The LG G3 and Xperia Z2 can reach about 450 nits of maximum brightness, while the HTC One (M8) manages to be a bit brighter with its 490 nits.

However, when viewed outdoors, there's hardly any difference between the M8 and the Z2. The G3, on the other hand, is just a bit dimmer. It also tends to overheat, which causes the phone to automatically lower its brightness level to about 90%, and it doesn't let you crank it back up to the maximum. Needless to say, such behavior isn't observed with any of the other phones. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S5 can outshine these guys, provided that you have the Adapt Display option activated. The GS5's brightness output actually varies depending on the content that's being displayed. On average, this allows the GS5's screen to be about as bright as that of the iPhone 5s, which cranks its brightness up to about 580 nits when facing the sun. Great performance demonstrated here by Apple's and Samsung's flagships, but there's still a lot more to be desired, as you can see from the images below.

Meanwhile, another important factor that we have to consider while on the subject of brightness is... minimum brightness. That's right – a metric which is very important for those of us who often use their phones in bed. Basically, the dimmer a phone's screen can get, the better. Some companies have started to actively deal with this – for example, Samsung has specifically made sure that the Galaxy S5 can lower the brightness to as low as just 2 nits! Measuring the handsets' minimum output when displaying solid white, the GS5 proves to be the best proposition in that category, although the iPhone 5s is a very close runner-up with its 5 nits. The LG G3 takes the honorable 3rd spot with its 9 nits, which means it's a bit brighter than what we'd consider comfortable, but still OK. Finally, the HTC One (M8) and Sony Xperia Z2 share the last spot with their 16 nits of minimum brightness. Obviously, you wouldn't want to spend too much time viewing these in the dark.




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190 Comments

1. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Kind of disappointed that G3 didn't dominated the competition. However, my Z2 is holding well in this fight :D

49. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

A 4" 640p screen scored higher than a 5"+ 1080p? Huh?

66. farhad_per

Posts: 128; Member since: Mar 26, 2014

Do you have S5...? I own S5 and I get that tiger photo... you can't belive how much this site lying...! The tiger photo was fantastic and more accurate colors...really white...they put a fake photo and related to S5..really shame on PA...every one has S5 get that tiger photo and judge your self..in real that tiger photo in S5 is far better than 5s and most accurate.!

69. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Yup. S5 hands down best display.

92. sipha

Posts: 440; Member since: May 12, 2012

Even on out door visibility picture, to me the iPhone clear got out performed by the Z2 & M8..

160. Furbal unregistered

Yeah it does have a damn good display. Theres a G2, 1520, M8 and S5 on my desk. I like the M8 better overall but the S5 does outclass it on display.

83. enthasuium

Posts: 150; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

Liar Phoerena used Professional Display Mode on s5 instead of Movie Mode.

87. needa

Posts: 205; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

it very well could be the screen in that phone vs the screen in yours. some show white in pink, some in green, some are yellow. some of the screens show white really well, some do not.

97. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

Why am I not surprise that iPhone is the no. 1. By the end of the day it's user preference .

105. DerryAhmad

Posts: 296; Member since: May 05, 2012

the iPhone shared the same score as Z2 and M8. There's no clear number one. Only number 4 (S5) ;)

113. EiadAjam

Posts: 4; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

yes sure, especially when it is white-greened tiger xD

118. neiljay6

Posts: 3; Member since: Apr 26, 2014

I found the same photo and it looks nothing like what they have on the site. hmmm...

126. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Yo you calling Ray S. a liar?!?

127. gynorm

Posts: 38; Member since: Jul 31, 2013

Ray is on something... read the article on displaymate for an accruate review on the Galaxy S5 display.

70. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

Lol it's okay it's okay. Let's wait for the Galaxy F (no sarcasm) I think I might like the design of it.

58. DEATHSTROKE9

Posts: 399; Member since: Nov 09, 2013

Look at that green white tiger on the GS5 display lol

88. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Its a green tiger dude....

153. jgalvez21

Posts: 21; Member since: May 29, 2014

put the same picture in my phone. no green tiger , it looks actually better all those photos

62. enthasuium

Posts: 150; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

Dont believe this pointless article by PA. After 1 month they will come up and Say we apologize , we did wrong Color Reproduction: HTC m8 beats other Outdoor : s5, then 5s Resolution : iphone should be less than 5 , Blurry

89. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Amoled is yellowish display. LCD is whitish display.

90. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

My question is... How do we know the camera they used has good color reproduction?

130. Busyboy unregistered

If it was taken with an ISOCELL camera it's guaranteed according to sar44

137. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

LOL I OLOLOL

119. sar44

Posts: 278; Member since: Apr 14, 2014

120. sar44

Posts: 278; Member since: Apr 14, 2014

124. sar44

Posts: 278; Member since: Apr 14, 2014

122. sar44

Posts: 278; Member since: Apr 14, 2014

Where is viewing angles, contrast, black color, video (response time) tests? Paid pa

135. baibhav93

Posts: 24; Member since: May 09, 2014

yeah z does well...even in sunlight....they didnt compare lumia 1520...its better than all of them...i used it in sunlight n it was better than my z2 and s5...

164. LGisgood

Posts: 833; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

LG G3 still the SHARPEST and still Great in COLOR REPRODUCTION. the outdoor visibility is not that bad! most people will not looking their phone'screen in the middle of the Sunlight! Great Job LG!

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