Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

DisplayMate Assesses the iPhone 7

Dr. Raymond M. Soneira of DisplayMate summarizes the iPhone 7’s new, wide-gamut LCD panel (capitalization his):

The display on the iPhone 7 is a Truly Impressive Top Performing Display and a major upgrade and enhancement to the display on the iPhone 6. It is by far the best performing mobile LCD display that we have ever tested, and it breaks many display performance records.

Just count the number of superlatives in this review. Soneira is a notoriously tough data-driven reviewer, but his commentary on the iPhone 7’s display is effusive.

The next major iPhone redesign is rumoured to include a change to an OLED display. Soneira addresses this:

LCDs are a great cutting edge high performance display technology for Tablets to TVs, but for handheld Smartphones, OLED displays provide a number of significant advantages over LCDs including: being much thinner, much lighter, with a much smaller bezel providing a near rimless design, they can be made flexible and into curved screens, plus they have a very fast response time, better viewing angles, and an always-on display mode. Many of the OLED performance advantages result from the fact that every single sub-pixel in an OLED display is individually directly powered, which results in better color accuracy, image contrast accuracy, and screen uniformity.

With only the super-saturated displays of Samsung and LG smartphones as reference points, I didn’t think that OLEDs could be calibrated to the accuracy of an LCD. But, after seeing that my Apple Watch is a near-perfect match for the colour profile in my iPhone, I have hope that a hypothetical OLED-equipped iPhone will be as accurate and clear as the LCD reviewed here. I still don’t think greys are quite perfect on my Watch, but they’re close. There are few companies that calibrate displays the way Apple does, and there’s nobody else doing it at their scale and across their entire product line.