Shootout: iPhone 4 Retina Display vs. Galaxy S Super OLED

Shootout: iPhone 4 Retina Display vs. Galaxy S Super OLED

Summary: A DisplayMate shootout between the iPhone 4 Retina Display and the Samsung Galaxy S Super OLED concludes that the Retina Display by far has the brightest and sharpest display.

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Ray Soneira, President of DisplayMate Technologies, conducted a shootout between the iPhone 4 Retina Display and the Samsung Galaxy S Super OLED Display. He concludes (in part):

The iPhone 4 by far has the brightest and sharpest display and is the most power efficient of the displays... The Samsung Galaxy S by far has the lowest screen reflectance and largest Contrast for both bright and dark ambient lighting, and the best viewing angles. On the flip side, the iPhone 4 has a weak color gamut and viewing angles... and the Samsung Galaxy S has lower brightness, excessive color saturation, higher power consumption and some sharpness issues.

The article also includes incisive comparisons with the iPhone 3GS, Motorola Droid, and Google Nexus One. "Super" LCD versus OLED - which is better and why - what are their relative strengths and weaknesses? Soneira's results are based on extensive scientific measurements and visual tests.

The master color coded Results Table and a Highlights section that incisively summarizes the major results for each smartphone plus:

  • Super LCD  versus  Super OLED
  • iPhone 4  versus  iPhone 3
  • Super OLED  versus  OLED
  • Winners  versus  Losers

It's an excellent read and further cements the Retina Display's reputation as the best display on the market.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, iPhone, Smartphones

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41 comments
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  • RE: Shootout: iPhone 4 Retina Display vs. Galaxy S Super OLED

    Referenced article is simply one of the best I have read. Highly recommended. Your conclusion about the Retina Display being the best is a little overstated. Don't get me wrong, this could be asserted, but there are enough qualifiers to "best display" to allow other interpretations.
    mmarquis
    • I'll Say It's Overstated, Never Mentions Response Time!

      @mmarquis One of the most crucial screen spec elements isn't even mentioned. This is not a contest for Best eBook Reader Screen. Apple chose (because Samsumg forced them to by denying SAMOLED to them) to have LG just do a die shrink for higher pixel density. Which then REQUIRES a stronger backlight on highest brightness, plus response time is miserably slooowww.<br><br>The backlight energy usage is not even figured into this energy usage comparison between a screen that has far larger screen area, MUCH FASTER RESPONSE TIME and doesn't use any energy for a backlight to one that does with an abysmal 25ms. Then too there cost of replacment costs. If the Gorilla Glass which is thicker on SAMOLED breaks, you only replace the glass. Because the Touch Interface is integrated directly into the Screen w/o a backlight or any other air gaps. It's also indestructible on top of that. So the glass breaking will still leave the screen intact. Replace a few dollars of glass and you're done. While iPhone4 you have to replace the whole assembly at over 100 times the cost of the glass alone on Galaxy.<br><br>Now back to "Response Time" which on IPS Tech is ridiculously slow. With the only tech change a die shrink for greater pixel density. With that comes less light getting through the screen. Consequently it needs a stronger backlight and the Response Time suffers even more. There is no IPS screen available faster then 10 to 12ms. Average LCD computer monitors today are at 2 to 6ms. Super Amoled is down to 0.01ms, which is so fast as to be as close to instantaneous as can be!<br><br>Why is Response Time so important to a Muli-media device that not only is used for viewing pictures and reading books or surfing the web, but has to display Faster Games and Sports, Action Movies as well. Retina in iPhone4 is the perfect eBook Reader at the expense of being capable of really playing future Games and video content. Especially when you consider it's far inferior SGX535 GPU. That's only capable of rendering less than 30,000 Triangles per second. While SAMOLED Screen w/ 0.01ms and SGX540 GPU (90,000 Triangles per second) Hummingbird SoC Processor also has ARM's full Neon Multimedia Engine Support built in. Making it capable of not only beating some PC w/ LCD screens, but trouncing iPhone4 into the dirt in displaying future content!<br><br>Right now we have very little content that pushes SAMOLED Screen or GPU even near it's maximum capability. There aren't even benchmarks designed to test it yet, let alone the content. After Samsung's new fabrication supply plant comes on line (which is why Samsung said no to Apple on SAMOLED for iPhone4-no supplies). Then you'll also have second generation w/ increased Pixel Density greater than Retina. That will no doubt far surpass Retina IPS Tech altogether. With future content it will be left in the dark while displaying the most severe Ghosting ever witnessed since IPS Technology was invented in the late 90's!<br><br>Retina is only a STOP GAP TECHNOLOGY! Nothing new and better suited for a pure web device or ebook readers. While Super AMOLED is the FUTURE! ....mainly because contrary to this ignorant one sided review (blind to full energy usage & response time in favor of the tester's own personal bias for Apple IPS) uses far less energy. If you consider screen size and lack of energy used for a back light in it. Obviously this is the Ultimate reason in 2years IPS will be dead and Super AMOLED may even rule over Desktop Monitors and HDTV's as well!!! ENERGY USAGE ALONE ON SUPER AMOLED WINS HANDS DOWN! .....Super AMOLED Screens supply their own light NATURALLY!!! haha....
      i2fun
      • RE: Shootout: iPhone 4 Retina Display vs. Galaxy S Super OLED

        @i2fun@... It looks like someone is in denial...
        athynz
      • haha.... You're so hilarious ....when you're wrong!

        @athynz Besides LG being in the number two position to Samsung, both looking down on CrApple btw... totally off the charts for Cell Phone sales again this last quarter over everyone else. Admittedly though LG doesn't have near the R&D Department of just Samsung's Screen Division in Electronics World Market. Which btw... is the only segment of their family of companies that's not held privatively (alas Publically traded). Yet is still just a minor player in this Mega Corp Conglomerate with Industrial holdings, Auto Industry, Insurance, etc. that aren't even publically traded or claimed owned by Samsung Group for Tax avoidance purposes. The largest non-privately held entity within Samsung Group, while being 5th largest Conglomerate in the World is their Electronics Division! lol.... who's in denial?

        You may want to check out an Industrial Contract Deal they recently signed (just one deal) worth 50 Billion alone with Dutch Shell Oil for the largest Natural Compressed Gas Holding Facilities on the Planet. In fact the Only Natural Compressed Gas Storage Facility!

        CrApple to Samsung is like an ant to Hercules by comparison. They are the leader in Electronics R&D alone as the Largest and most valuable Brand on the Planet by far! #20 Top 100 Global Brands compared to Apple at #40!

        They're #1 in Electronics alone and no one to top them. Not even in LG or Siemens now!!! ....they obliterate all other manufacturers in chips alone (including Intel), Memory and make most of the memory branded as everything else. Sell most TV's, Screens (make all Sony's too now), Most kitchen appliances globally owning Asia, Africa, and South America (electric and gas ranges, microwaves, refrigerators, etc), there is no major Airline that doesn't have Samsung electronics parts in their planes and factories. No computer made today that doesn't have at least one part that Samsung makes. They own a whole city in China for their plant assemblies and are the largest non Chinese owned manufacturers in China. Largest employer in S. Korea by far. Built and own the largest Shopping Mall in the World. Have 4 Towers instead of twin towers as their headquarters that they also built themselves! haha.... just their R&D facilities dwarf Apple's entire campus in the Bay area! ....who's in denial? lol....

        And topping this all off supply most of the costly parts in both iPwnd4 and iFad ..... and you say I'm in denial? lol... take a look in the mirror buddy and you'll see more denial than you've ever seen in your life! haha..... ;)
        i2fun
  • I agree, LG's retina display is fantastic

    Remember folks, Apple had nothing to do with innovating or inventing the retina display, they simply contracted LG to create a display and all the genius was LG's. Apple simply paid for it. Ooops, no, [b]I[/b] paid for it, Apple simply passed some of my money along to LG.

    However, I do laugh and laugh and laugh as people talk about how wonderful the resolution is in the iPhone 4. 2 years ago, when I got my HTC Touch Diamond with its near 300 ppi, all you iPhone zealots kept saying how unimportant resolution was and that the iPhone 3G's resolution was just fine. I laughed and said that the only people who could possibly think that were people who'd never actually seen a high quality display.

    My my how the arguments have changed. :)
    NonZealot
    • So, if all it took was writing a check to LG, why didn't

      anyone do it earlier?
      frgough
      • What on earth are you talking about?

        @frgough <br>You act as if Apple is the first company to buy a high res LCD display. My HTC Touch Diamond had a high res LCD display 2 years ago. Lots of companies have done it earlier.
        NonZealot
      • Your HTC Touch

        had less resolution and a resistive touch screen (read: piece of crap). So, I ask again. If all it took was a check to LG to get a retina display, why didn't anyone do it earlier?
        frgough
      • LOL!!!

        @frgough <br><i>Your HTC Touch had less resolution</i><br><br>No, my Diamond had <b>far superior resolution</b> when compared to the iPhone at the time. Far superior. As in 2 times better.<br><br><i>why didn't anyone do it earlier</i><br><br>Like I said, companies have been using high resolution LCD screens for a while now so I don't know why you believe it hasn't happened. Yes, resolutions have been getting better and better but that is thanks to the genius of LG and people like me who pay Apple to pay LG for the 300 PPI IPS LCD screen that LG designed and manufactured. Again, the HTC Touch Diamond had one of the best screens at the time but no one believed that HTC invented it. Only Apple zealots are stupid enough to believe that the tech in Apple products was all invented by Apple.

        You are probably stupid enough to believe that Apple helped design the Intel Core i7 because it is found in some Macs!
        NonZealot
    • laughed

      @NonZealot
      we just laughed and still laugh at the idiots who though an oled display that is hardly visible in daylight, let alone sunlight, is better situated for a phone than an lcd display just because it has a higher pixel density. opps, you were one of them. and no pixel density still doesn't count that much, no matter if apple has the highest or not. there are a lot of factors as this shootout clearly demonstrates.

      p.s. some of the engineering of the retina display was done by apple, they co-developed it with lg. why would they have it for themselves otherwise, when all the other manufacturers have to use inferior oled display?
      banned from zdnet
      • You should be banned from life

        @banned from zdnet
        [i]opps, you were one of them[/i]

        Never owned an OLED display and I don't really remember commenting on OLED displays other than to laugh and laugh and laugh at a stupid Apple funded roughly drafted article that spread FUD against OLED.

        [i]they co-developed it with lg[/i]
        No, Apple did not co-develop this with LG.

        [i]why would they have it for themselves otherwise[/i]

        Apple does [b]not[/b] own the high resolution LCD display. They don't have anything to themselves. I'm sure they've trademarked the name Retina Display but that would be a trademark only, it hasn't prevented anyone else from having high resolution LCD displays.

        You guys should experience the world from outside of Steve Jobs' shadow. It is quite nice out here. :)
        NonZealot
      • It would seem that Banned and NonZ have a disagreement.

        @banned from zdnet
        Now I don't know Banned at all I've seen a few of his posts over time and they've amused me. As for NonZ well she's funny but in a different way. The question seems to be has Apple aided LG in developing the Retina Display technology and NonZ says no they did not. So does either of the two have any actual "FACTS" to back their claims/statements up? Other wise they are just that claims and nothing more.

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • Apple wanted OLED

        @banned from zdnet
        However, Samsung can't meet current demand from all phone makers and couldn't supply enough for Apple. Seems that even if Apple got 100% of Samsung's capacity, it would only have been 50% of what Apple needed. They then went long term with LG for their screens, which was developed by LG and Hitachi.

        I am not sure where you get your results.
        http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/24/iphone-4-retina-display-vs-galaxy-s-super-amoled-fight/2
        "Once again, it's a pretty impossible task to differentiate between the output of the Retina Display and Super AMOLED, though if we have to choose, Samsung will get the nod. "

        Now, BOTH of them, in fact any display is not ideal in full sunlight, but you can see the pictures yourself, both are entirely readable and reasonable.

        Bottom line, I believe, we are nibbling at the fringes with differences. Kind of like my car will do .93 on the skidpad while yours does a measly .91. Oh yeah, well my car does 0-60 in 5.3, not the horse and carriage 5.6 yours does.

        Which, above 300DPI, Apple already is over what the human eye can see. "only 268 DPI". Ugh, how can you stand such "crap", lol.

        TripleII
        TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
      • @TripleII: thanks, iDiots always think Apple invents everything

        [i]They then went long term with LG for their screens, which was developed by LG and Hitachi.[/i]

        What I think is [b]hilarious[/b] is when iDiots talk about how Apple developed Retina Display technology. What is Retina Display technology? It is nothing more than a label Apple attached to an IPS LCD screen at 960x640. There is no technology called Retina Display. It would like talking about Kleenex technology.

        The only thing that keeps the Droid from having something called a Retina Display is that Apple has likely trademarked the term Retina Display. Retina Display is not a technology and Apple had nothing at all to do with designing, inventing, or innovating the actual technology behind the label known as Retina Display.
        NonZealot
      • @NZ

        That would be a high-density display combined with Apple's font rendering engine that can take full advantage of it. On Win mobile when you up screen resolution, you get tiny letters. Because Windows renders all fonts to the pixel grid.
        frgough
      • Ah frgough, always eager to show your ignorance

        [i]That would be a high-density display[/i]

        Yeah, just like the Motorola Droid which also has a high resolution IPS LCD screen that you claim Apple invented. As of the iPhone 4, Apple barely surpassed the PPI of the other smartphones (one of the reasons I bought one BTW). However, before the iPhone 4, iPhone had [b]terrible atrocious horrible ugly[/b] resolutions so using your logic then, all the other smartphones had invented better tech in their screens. Like I said, the argument always changes with you guys depending on what metric Apple happens to be ahead in on that day. When Apple had industry trailing resolution, PPI didn't matter. Now that they are leading (for the time being, they won't lead for long, all it takes is a payment to LG for a 300 PPI IPS LCD screen) resolution is all that counts to you guys.

        [i]On Win mobile when you up screen resolution, you get tiny letters.[/i]

        Why are you always so keen to show your ignorance? Stunning.

        http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb431852.aspx

        [i]For devices based on Windows Mobile 2003 and later, the DPI settings are configurable.[/i]

        So 4 years before Apple was able to create a crippled copy of WM, MS had an OS that had a configurable DPI. So you lied. Again.

        [i]Because Windows renders all fonts to the pixel grid.[/i]

        WM came with ClearType to smooth screen fonts. So you lied. Again.
        NonZealot
    • RE: Shootout: iPhone 4 Retina Display vs. Galaxy S Super OLED

      @NonZealot Very funny reply , but it has real meaning in it, everything has to be reviewed in all such directions, for such reviews of samsung http://techyoke.blogspot.com/2010/09/never-miss-moment-with-longer-recording.html
      inspirearun
    • RE: Shootout: iPhone 4 Retina Display vs. Galaxy S Super OLED

      @NonZealot
      It is quite easy to tell just by looking at the chart above, higher resolution ALONE does not make the best display!
      lelandhendrix
  • RE: Shootout: iPhone 4 Retina Display vs. Galaxy S Super OLED

    I don't see how they reached the conclusion they did that Apple Retina display is the best? Looked to me that the Droid screen was the best ALL AROUND performer. Especially for color and contrast. ANd I was at the AT&T store the other day and stood there with the Galaxy S and iPhone 4 in hand next to each other and I thought (personal unscientific opinion) that the Galaxy S screen was better. It seemed brighter and more vibrant to me than the iphone 4 screen did, plus it was larger! And I'm guessing tha the "Super" oled screens are the same as the AMOLED screens? I wish a couple other phones had been included in this comparison. I'm really interested in the Nokia N8 and would like to see how it's screen stacks up to the others.

    Overall though, good article and comparisons. Hard to believe that 7 years ago I was still using a nokia slider phone with a monochrome lcd screen with something like 7 or 9 lines for text and images, and it was only about 5 1/2 years ago that I had my first WAP enabled phone with a small color screen (also a nokia). The changes have been incredible and exciting. It used to be that you weren't missing much if you only replaced your phone every 2 or 3 years. Now, let 2 years go by and your phone's looks and performance seems almost ancient!
    mgrubb9
    • Uh oh, wish you hadn't written this

      @mgrubb@...
      [i]plus it was larger[/i]

      Don't you know that the iPhone screen size is the perfect screen size? Anything smaller is too small to use properly and anything bigger makes it instantly non mobile. At least according to the Apple zealots.
      NonZealot