updated 12:45 pm EDT, Tue September 28, 2010
DisplayMate picks iPhone 4 screen over Galaxy S
Despite perceptions, the Retina Display on the iPhone 4 is overall better than that on the Samsung Galaxy S, DisplayMate discovered in a close look at smartphone screens. Apple's screen was undersaturated and too high contrast in photos, but its brightness, deep blacks, high contrast ratio and 960x640 resolution all made it the overall best display of five different models. The Galaxy S' Super AMOLED was better in blacks and contrast but, like many OLEDs, had oversaturated color and was noticeably dimmer.
It also disabuses notions that LCDs are automatically more power-hungry than OLEDs, as the Samsung Android phone used much more energy when bright objects were on screen and wasn't any better than the iPhone 4 even in dark scenes that supposedly favor OLED.
The now almost year-old Motorola Droid still had the best pure picture quality thanks to its well-known, 24-bit IPS screen, but it had low contrast and lost brightness very quickly at significant viewing angles.
Of the group, the iPhone 3GS fared the worst, though its display is largely the same as from the original iPhone in 2007. Google's Nexus One was close behind as it had all the OLED drawbacks of the Galaxy S but without the single-layer touch and display combo that gives Samsung's newer phone its higher brightness, more outdoor-friendly reflection factor and somewhat more accurate color output.
The comparison is a potential source of embarassment for Samsung, which criticized the iPhone 4 and claimed it was inherently obsolete through the use of LCD.