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From its internal hardware, software to its design, and camera, we’ve covered just about every possible aspect of the iPhone 5 here at Redmond Pie. One aspect that hasn’t been covered in more technical detail is its display. We know that it’s 4-inch tall, has a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, a resolution of 1136 x 640 and a corresponding pixel density of 326 pixels per inch, but we weren’t sure just how much of an improvement it is when it comes down to visual quality and fidelity, until now that is.

DisplayMate – a company that produces state of the art calibration tests for evaluating and setting up video hardware – has very closely and technically evaluated the iPhone 5’s display and compared it against the iPhone 4 to see how much Apple’s display technology has improved, and the Galaxy S III to see how it compares with what is often perceived as the king of smartphone displays because of its sheer size and HD resolution, even though it has a lower pixel density than even the two year old iPhone 4.

iPhone 5 retina display

According to DisplayMate’s tests, the iPhone 5 display is a considerable improvement over the displays of the iPhone 4 and 4S. Every category that they measured – save for Brightness Decrease with Viewing Angle – was improved “by a bit” and sometimes “by a lot”.

Color accuracy has improved, color gamut has received a boost, “Screen reflectance” has decreased by 52%, and contrast has increased by 57%. Save for a “minor gamma intensity” and increased power consumption at max. brightness over iPhone 4, it is more accurate than any consumer display, with it being second only to the new iPad.

display test iphone 5

The Galaxy S III test DisplayMate conducted mentioned its brightness being “about half” of the iPhone 5, having a smaller color gamut with green being dominant over red / blue giving the display a green tint of sorts. It also isn’t calibrated well with the Standard sRGB color gamut, resulting in overly saturated images. Power efficiency is also lower than the iPhone 5.

DisplayMate gave the Galaxy S III, iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 an overall display grade of B+, A- and A, respectively.

iphone 5 sdisplay grading

Even anecdotal tests – which put the displays side by side showing the same content – come to the same conclusion: the iPhone 5 has the best smartphone display in the market today.

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