An extensive Full HD screen comparison between several handsets that pack a display with 1920 x 1080 resolution has found that the Sony Xperia Z flagship is bested by the “older” HTC Butterfly and Oppo Find 5 in several tests.

While the display is not necessarily the make or brake feature of smartphones, as buyers will surely look at the bigger picture when purchasing their next device, it certainly is one important piece of the puzzle. In recent years, smartphone makers have kept raising the display bar, coming up with bigger and bigger displays, better resolutions and more pixels per inch (PPI).

This year may be very well called the year of the  “Full HD smartphone” as most flagship handsets – and not only them – will feature a Full HD display of around 5 inches. Considering that everyone’s flagship handset has a similar display capable of offering virtually the same resolution and PPI, does that mean all Full HD displays out there are equal?

No, it doesn’t, and Russian online publication Hi-Tech has put five smartphones through an extensive screen performance test. These are, in the order shown in the available images: the Sharp Aquos Phone SH930Wthe Sony Xperia Z, the Sharp Aquos Phone Zeta, the Oppo Find 5, and the HTC Butterfly.

Unfortunately, the test does not include two brand new handsets that will soon challenge everyone else in stores, the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4, both devices that will sport a Full HD display. However, it’s worth noticing that all the handsets tested by Hi-Tech measure 5 inches, and the One could be excluded from such tests since it comes with a smaller 4.7-inch display.


As we have already told you, the Xperia Z, one of the hottest handsets of the year so far, does not come with the hottest display out there according to this comparison, as the Butterfly and Find 5 have outperformed it in various tests.

When it comes to screen brightness, seen as the most important feature of a screen by some, the publication notes that other factors that affect image contrast should be taken into consideration such as screen reflectiveness and anti-glare features. In such testing, the Zeta came first, followed the Find 5, the Butterfly, the SH930W and Xperia Z. Testing has been performed both with the screen turned off and on to measure the way each display is protected by the effects of external light sources.

When looking at maximum brightness alone, the Find 5 was found to be the brightest at 442cd/sqm. In second place was the Xperia Z (440cd/sqm, but 400cd/sqm at the edges of the screen,) followed by the Zeta (420cd/sqm,) Butterfly (385cd/sqm) and SH930W (314cd/sqm.) Considering the low brightness levels of the latter, testing has been performed at 300cd/sqm for all handsets.

The Butterfly and Find 5, both sporting a contrast ratio of about 1100:1, won the contrast ratio battle. They were followed by the SH930W (900:1,) Zeta (800:1) and Xperia Z (570:1).

For viewing angles, the Butterfly and the Find 5 “will satisfy the most demanding users,” as the images on their screens are “legible even at extreme angles,” thus besting the other three contenders, the SH930W, the Zeta and the Xperia Z.


In color reproduction tests, the clear winners were once again the Butterfly and the Find 5. The latter performed better in gamma tests, while the former did better in white balance and color gamut comparisons. The displays of the Find 5 and Butterfly have been described as well configured right out-of-the-box, with the Butterfly being better calibrated, as it was found to be superior when it comes to white balance and color reproduction.

When performing the color gamut tests, the publication concluded that the Xperia Z’s display may offer oversaturated colors compared to the Butterfly and the Oppo. Interestingly, the Bravia Engine 2 image processing technology, one of the features of the Xperia Z, doesn’t help that much:

By the way, Sony makes a pretty strong emphasis on the presence of image processing BRAVIA Engine 2. We experimented with it and came to the following conclusions: mainly the “improvement” is to increase color saturation. Perhaps this embellish quiet shades, but on many vivid images is rather superfluous. In some cases, led to a glut of colors that blended shades and lose clarity, and detail. Let’s just say, the screen Sony Xperia Z is not much of a need for additional image processing. Another thing is that the BRAVIA Engine 2 does not increase the physical contrast of the screen or viewing angles – that’s where a handy “help.” Manipulation of the signal level often give “amateur photoshop effect” than actually improve something. [via Google Translate]

Those of you really passionate about display comparisons can check out the full display tests complete with charts and graphics available at the Source link below (translated with Google Translate).

Regular buyers that aren’t as interested in such complex tests will probably not notice any differences between these displays, and their needs will surely be met by any of the 5-inch Full HD handsets featured in Hi-Tech’s display comparison. But in case display quality really matters to you then we’ll say again that the Butterfly and Find 5 were the best devices, and they may be even friendlier to your budget than an Xperia Z for example. At the same time, you should consider all the other features of an Android handset when making your next purchase.

Naturally, we expect the HTC One to be equally well-calibrated and offer a similar Butterfly-like screen performance. And we can’t but wonder how the Galaxy S4 would so in similar testing, but we’ll have to wait a while longer until these devices hit stores and can be put through similar testing.

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