Display Showdown Part IIb: iPhone 3GS

This is Part IIb to Display Showdown: iPhone 3GS, part of the Display Showdown: Nexus One vs. iPhone 3GS, that looks at Color Temperature and Chromaticity, Color Gamut, Intensity Scale and Gamma. The iPhone 3GS has the opposite problem exhibited by the Nexus One: colors are weak.

Color Temperature and Chromaticity: 6977° Kelvin

The color temperature of the iPhone 3GS is 6977° Kelvin, which is very close to the standard D6500 (6500° Kelvin), the color of daylight. Unlike the Nexus One’s display that was marred by a bluish tint the iPhone 3GS has no such problems: white looks white. For the iPhone 3GS’ CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram please hop on over to DisplayMate and look at Figure 2.

Color Gamut

Unlike the Nexus One that had a color gamut significant larger than the standard sRGB, the iPhone has a much smaller one. Because of the smaller-than-standard color gamut colors on the iPhone 3GS are under-saturation; colors look washed-out.

Intensity Scale and Gamma

The intensity scale controls contrast and how the three primary colors mix to produce color. The industry standard has an intensity scale of Gamma 2.2. Unfortunately, the TFT LCD in the iPhone 3GS is too shallow compared to Gamma 2.2 leading to low contrast and under-saturated colors and at times inaccurate color. For a diagram detailing the iPhone 3GS’ intensity scale pay close attention to Figure 3 on DisplayMate.

Although there are more display test results to comb over before making final conclusions it seems the displays used in both the Nexus One and the iPhone 3GS is far from perfect. Hopefully the respective companies will work on these issues and deliver improved displays in their next versions.


Next, Dr. Raymond Soneira and I will be adding more results from the Measurements and Test Pattern Tests for the iPhone 3GS:

  • Part IIc: Brightness Decrease with Viewing Angle, Contrast Ratio Shift with Viewing Angle, Color Shift with Viewing Angle
  • Part IId: RGB Display Power Consumption, Display Spectra

For screen captures, more technical and in-depth explanations please visit DisplayMate.