There has been much debate around exactly what improvements Samsung has brought to the table with the Galaxy S3 over the S2 and a big part of that discussion has concentrated on the two smartphones’ displays.
While many users have agreed that the S3’s screen is a natural evolution from the S2’s panel, there have been more than a fistful of critics disagreeing with that opinion, which has led to Samsung officials issuing statements defending the new display.
Naturally, that hasn’t completely calmed the criticism “storm”, but maybe DisplayMate’s most recent in-depth analysis will manage to do just that. According to what looks like a very objective report and comparison based simply on raw numbers, as well as extensive lab tests and measurements, the S3’s display is indeed an evolution from the S2’s panel, which itself is much better than the original Galaxy S screen in most areas.
The report is truly an in-depth one and might be a bit boring and overly “nerdy” for some of you, which is why we will try to very quickly summarize it and put it in a more mundane wording.
By far the juiciest part of DisplayMate’s analysis is the comparison between the S, S2 and S3 displays. As expected, the Galaxy S3 comes on top quite clearly, but surprisingly (for many) the differences between Samsung’s latest flagship and the S2’s screen are not exactly “critical”.
It was a widely known fact that the S3 HD Super AMOLED screen comes with more pixels and sub-pixels per inch than the S2 Super AMOLED Plus panel, but when talking about brightness the new “beast” is actually not as competitive as the old one. In fact, the S3 comes with a poorer measured maximum brightness than even the original Galaxy S, so that’s not very good for Samsung. Then again, the screen reflectance helps make the S3’s brightness downsides not as visible in real use as you would think by looking at the raw numbers.
On the other hand, what makes the S3’s panel noticeably better and more competitive than its predecessors is the improved power efficiency, as well as the very smooth intensity scale and image contrast. In terms of power management especially, the new display performs significantly better, having a 5.6 hour running time at maximum display power (the S2 has only 4.4 hours).
As for the duel between the S2 and the S screens, this is pretty easily won by the former, mostly due to the higher brightness levels, color depth, reflection and contrast ratio.
While I’m sure that most of you will be interested primarily in the head-to-head battle between the S Series’ screens, DisplayMate’s report actually insists more on Samsung’s OLED evolution and in suggesting ways to drive the technology forward in the future.
If you’ll take a look at the report in full, you’ll notice that its author, Dr. Raymond Soneira, is mentioning more than just a couple of times that the technology “needs work”. Samsung’s “marketing policy” is especially criticized for crippling the OLED evolution, as most of S3’s issues come from the company's desire to make the most competitive, brightest and power efficient display while keeping its thickness obscenely low.
Be that as it may, the report clearly states that Samsung has greatly evolved over the past years, having the potential to make OLED the future standard for smartphone screens. S3’s panel is better than the original Galaxy S display in practically every area, but there are a few of these areas that Dr. Soneira feels they haven’t been really pushed to their full potential.
There are many mentions of the OLED vs LCD battle in the report too, but as you might imagine there unfortunately isn’t a definitive conclusion to be drawn just yet.
Hoping that our little sum up (who didn’t turn out to be so little after all) didn’t bore you to tears already, we recommend all you “closeted” geeks out there to head over to DisplayMate and at least try to read the report in its fullness. There are truly very many interesting things to find out about Samsung's OLED screens, the technology in general, and the comparison between OLED and LCD.