DisplayMate has published their preliminary analysis of the Apple Watch’s display, and they’ve discovered some new things about it which Apple chose not to publicize. Most significant, I think, is the internal calibration and accuracy of colour. I was worried that the OLED display would create significant oversaturation, but it looks like the colour profile is tuned to be similar to that of the very accurate iPhone 6.
But the biggest question is how the display of the Watch Sport compares to the Watch, the latter being both laminated and covered in sapphire. The title of DisplayMate’s analysis — “Apple Watch Display Technology Shoot-Out” — implies that they got their hands on at least one of each model and have subjected them to a comparative battery of tests. But that’s not the case: DisplayMate picked up only an Apple Watch, and they’re using the iPhone 6 for reflectivity measurements for the Sport. While the Sport does use the same kind of glass as the iPhone 6, the latter’s display is laminated, while the former’s is not.
At best, then, this isn’t a “shoot-out” between different Watch displays; it’s an initial analysis of one of the models. But that didn’t stop Buster Hein of Cult of Mac from proclaiming that the “Watch Sport has [a] better display than pricier models”. Not only is that not what DisplayMate is claiming, that statement is based solely on one assessed factor. While it’s true that this factor affects other parts of the perceived display quality — more reflected light reduces display contrast — the sum total of all factors might put the Watch’s display over the Sport, but we can’t know that for sure unless the Sport is put to the test. And even if there is a measurable difference, the perceived difference might be very little or none at all.