There has been a lot of talk about the infamous notch of the iPhone X, but its 5.8-inch screen is remarkable for other reasons. With the introduction of its first phone with an OLED panel, Apple joins the ranks of Samsung and LG; In fact, Samsung has been incorporating technology into their phones since 2008.
Apple has something to do to catch up, and we’re interested to see how they compare their efforts with their two closest competitors with OLED screens: the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the Google Pixel 2 XL.
The brightest screen
The iPhone X is, of a street, the leader in brightness, registering 574 nits, whereas the best efforts of Google and Samsung could gather only 438 and 408 nits, respectively. The average smartphone is 433 nit.
Brightness is a key component of any screen, but it is especially important in OLED panels, which are often much darker than their LCD counterparts due to the lack of backlighting. The creators of screens have improved in this regard over the years, but the iPhone X seems to be an important step forward compared to the previous standard provider until now, the Samsung Galaxy S line.
Having such a bright screen lifts every part of the content you have on the screen. The darker shades present more details and subtle colors. The edges appear universally sharper. The contrast becomes less drastic but still draws attention because of the OLED’s ability to deliver true blacks. It is perhaps the greatest strength of the iPhone X screen that causes a deep first impression.
Not very saturated for an OLED, but very natural
Apple has never been someone who offers super-live colors, nor has it offered a variety of display modes on their phones as many phone manufacturers do. As a result, it’s no surprise to discover that the iPhone X achieves a balance between Note 8 and Pixel 2 in terms of color representation.
Users who prefer the more striking colors of the Note 8 will probably come away with the impression that the Apple OLED version is not much more immersive than the LCD screens offered on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone X covered 123 percent of the RGB ranges in the tests, compared to the 130 percent Pixel 2 XL and the impressive Note 8 note range of 204 percent.
In terms of realism, Pixel 2 XL is a more worthy adversary. Google adjusted its 6-inch LG panel to an RGB color profile that is quieter compared to what is found on most phones. But then the Pixel goes too far, trying to achieve real visual effects by softening the contrast and projecting a beige filter that permeates everything. Google says that a future software update will reinforce the saturation of the color, although at the expense of the precision).
Finally, the iPhone X takes the victory here, as it handles the contrast better. The increase in brightness also helps illuminate more of the shadowy details of the image.
Better white balance
Thanks to its True Tone screen, the iPhone X can adjust its white balance to ambient lighting conditions. But even with True Tone off, the unit is a perfect medium between the warmth of the Pixel 2 XL and the brilliant change of the Note.
iPhone X vs Galaxy Note 8
Additional tests also indicated that True Tone actually improves color accuracy. With the function disabled, the iPhone X recorded a Delta-E score of 0.28. (The numbers closer to 0 are better). With True Tone activated, it was improved to 0.21. That’s comparable to the Pixel 2 XL score (0.26) and slightly better than the Note 8 (0.5) reading.
Superior viewing angles
There is a common complaint about OLED screens: they do not do well when they are outside the center. Most have a blue tint along with a decrease in brightness that can be mild or severe. The three phones in this comparison are subject to this flaw, but the iPhone X handles these deficiencies in the best way.
The Apple panel does a better job of maintaining its brightness as it tilts the phone from left to right and top to bottom. Get some colder tones as you turn it, but not the grade of Note 8, and definitely not as large as Pixel 2 XL. It is not so sharp.
This is not something you probably notice in typical use, but it must be said, however: the iPhone X screen has fewer pixels per inch (438 ppi) than the Note 8 (521 ppi) or the Pixel 2 XL (538 ppi).
If you squint, you can see a fine alias around the text and elements of the user interface that is more difficult to pin down on the Samsung device. The problem is somewhat exacerbated when viewing content formatted in 16: 9 format, as images and videos, in the full-screen view of the iPhone X that appears at the top and bottom of the frame.
Apple took a long time to get on the OLED, but as usual, the company took it out of the park when it finally made the switch. But is it better than the competition? The answer to that question will depend on what you like to see.
If you want realism, the ultra-bright iPhone X display, and the exquisite white balance provide a sense of color accuracy that you simply do not have from other phones. But if you want tones that really stand out, the Galaxy Note 8 is still king.
Ironically, Samsung is responsible for producing the OLED panels on both phones, but the differences in the setting have resulted in two of the best smartphone screens of the year, although very different. Or did you doubt it?