As a display technology, OLED has come a long way since Google released the Nexus One in 2010. That phone was ranked very poorly for its screen - coming last in DisplayMate's 2010 Smartphone Display Shoot-Out.
The technology has, however, matured rapidly in the last eight years, thanks to the efforts of many manufacturers - not least Samsung Display, which creates the vast majority of OLED screens for smartphones today. In fact the Samsung Galaxy S, also released in 2010 and using a so-called ‘Super OLED' screen, won several awards that year.
OLED brings several advantages to the table that LCD, despite being a more mature technology, struggles to replicate. Colours are brighter, blacks blacker and the entire display architecture is thinner. Screens can also be curved and almost bezel-less, both of which features are seen on Samsung's newest Galaxy S9 and S9+ phones.
Criticism has been levelled at Samsung's newest phone because, on the face of it, it is so similar to last year's Galaxy S8 (which our sister site The Inquirer ranked as the best phone on the market). However, there have actually been several major changes in terms of the display, including excellent factory calibration and colour accuracy that is visually indistinguishable from perfect - almost certainly better than any existing tablet, laptop, monitor or even TV on the market.
DisplayMate ranks S9 as A+
DisplayMate is recognised throughout the display industry for its scientific and impartial lab tests of display technology. Among the plaudits it heaps upon the S9 are a record colour accuracy setting (0.7 Just Noticeable Colour Difference (JNCD)) and record small shifts in brightness and colour when viewed at an off-angle.
Ray Soneira, founder of DisplayMate, lists some of the improvements Samsung has made to the S9 over the S8, which may not be immediately apparent to the average user, though display geeks (like me) will certainly appreciate them:
Enhanced high brightness mode (up to 20 per cent brighter than the Galaxy S8);
Certified by the UHD Alliance for Mobile HDR Premium (OLED's peak brightness, which is important for HDR, can now exceed that of LCD);
New Luminance Independence with Varying Picture Content;
New user-adjustable white point with colour balance slider controls;
New Vision Accessibility Display Modes to help people with vision impairments.
Thanks to these improvements, DisplayMate awarded the S9 with its highest ever A+ grade.
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