2013 will most likely be remembered as the year of the Full HD screen in the smartphone market. Pretty much anyone who wants their flagship smartphone to be considered high-end has managed to stick a Full HD panel on their smartphone.
But as we have found out all too often, screen resolutions and pixel densities are not the be-all, end-all of a great display.
Screen resolutions and pixel densities are not the be-all and end-all of a great smartphone display.
So to find out which Full HD smartphone was the best in its class, DisplayMate pitted the HTC One against Huawei Ascend D2 and the Sony Xperia Z in a shootout for the title of the best Full HD LCD panel.
Both the Huawei Ascend D2 and the Sony Xperia Z have 5-inch Full HD panels with a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch. However, the Ascend D2 utilizes IPS LCD technology and the Xperia Z uses a TFT display.
The HTC One has a slightly smaller 4.7-inch Full HD Super LCD3 screen, and therefore comes with a slightly higher pixel density of 469 pixels per inch. Of course you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference, because these are all very sharp displays and unless you walk around with a magnifying glass, you won’t be able to resolve any pixels.
The color gamut for both the HTC One and the Huawei Ascend D2 are very accurate and therefore tend to produce more accurate colors, while the Xperia Z’s color gamut is a little too large and can produce inaccurate and exaggerated colors.
The brightness on all displays was found to be excellent, with the HTC One having the brightest screen at 491 cd/m2, the Xperia Z coming in second at 478 cd/m2, and the Ascend D2 coming third at 421 cd/m2.
The much maligned viewing angles of the Xperia Z were again found to be poor, and were a major factor against the Xperia Z, however, the HTC One and the Ascend D2 were both found to have excellent viewing angles, but like all LCD panels suffered from reduced brightness when viewed from an angle.
The final, and perhaps most important test was the display power consumption test, and the HTC One came out on top here. When tested at the same luminance and same 5-inch screen area, the HTC One was the most power efficient at 1.03 watts, the Xperia Z second at 1.07 watts, and the Ascend D2 third at 1.12 watts.
Displaymate criticized Sony’s Bravia Engine for its poor calibration, and recommends users to turn off the feature on the Xperia Z for a much improved viewing experience. It also took issue with HTC’s calibration for using unnecessary image and color processing in an attempt to make the HTC One’s display stand out, causing distorted and over saturated colors and contrast. Unlike Sony, HTC doesn’t give you an option to turn off the processing.
In the end, Displaymate heralded the Huawei Ascend D2 for the most accurate colors and a superior picture quality and gave it an A rating, with the HTC One taking second spot with a solid B+, and the Xperia Z garnering a rather disappointing B-.
If you’d like to see how the other big Full HD smartphone did in the Displaymate tests, you can check out the Samsung Galaxy S4’s display battle with the iPhone 5 by clicking here.
Do viewing angles mean anything to you? Have you noticed over saturated colors on your HTC One?