updated 08:35 am EDT, Fri April 26, 2013
Samsung has made significant improvements to the GS4 AMOLED display
DisplayMate has run an in depth analysis on the new Super AMOLED 5-inch 1080p display in the Samsung Galaxy S4 giving its seal of approval. According to the site, the quality of AMOLED displays is starting to "challenge the best performance of the best LCDs." Compared to the display in the superseded Galaxy S III, the new Galaxy S4 display is said to be better calibrated and brighter.
Although the Galaxy S4 is touted as having a 441ppi density, it uses a pentile arrangement. This means that compared to LCD displays, OLED displays have 2 sub-pixels in each pixel. LCD displays typically have three sub-pixels, one each for red, green and blue. For example, the four-inch display in the iPhone 5 has a pixel density of 326ppi, whereas the Galaxy S4 display has slightly fewer red and blue sub-pixels per inch at 312ppi. Despite this, DisplayMate says that the Galaxy S4 delivers "excellent visual sharpness across the board," as the overall resolution is still greater as it supports 1080p natively.
Compared to the iPhone 5 display, the Galaxy S4 display is significantly less bright and its color calibration is not as accurate. However, the Galaxy S4 represents white more accurately and has better blacks. It is also much bigger, has an overall high resolution and better overall uniformity than the iPhone 5. Overall though, DisplayMate calls it about a tie, with each of the two displays having their strengths and weaknesses.
DisplayMate said that OLED displays still have some way to go with their overall power efficiency. Even though Samsung has achieved a 20 percent efficiency improvement over the display in the Galaxy S III, it is the primary reason that LCD displays like those used in the iPhone 5 are able to produce a brighter result. However, it seems as though OLED displays will soon bridge this gap and even take a lead over LCD displays in this regard.
At Apple's conference call for its financial Q2 results, Apple CEO Tim Cook was quizzed about Apple making an iPhone with a larger display. Cook was insistent that Apple had the best possible display technology in the iPhone 5 and that it would not move to a larger display until certain 'tradeoffs' had been overcome. "My view continues to be that the iPhone 5 has the absolute best display in the industry, and we always strive to create the very best display for our customers," said Cook. It appears that Samsung hasn't been idle in improving the quality of its AMOLED displays since it launched the Galaxy S III last year, however.
A recent Apple hire may also indicate that Apple is also quietly of the view that AMOLED technology is starting to prove competitive to the point that it may not be too far into the future where Apple ships a device with the technology. The iPhone 5 display may have a comfortable lead over the display in the Samsung Galaxy S III, but the AMOLED display in the Galaxy S4 has drawn much closer in color accuracy and overall quality.