Display Showdown Part IIc: iPhone 3GS

This is Part IIc of the Display Showdown: Nexus One vs. iPhone 3GS series taking a closer look at the iPhone 3GS’s Brightness Decrease with Viewing Angle, Contrast Ratio Shift with Viewing Angle, and Color Shift with Viewing Angle. The Nexus One exhibited significant brightness and color shift at angles. Let’s see how the iPhone 3GS does.

Brightness Decrease with Viewing Angle

The iPhone 3GS exhibited a significant decrease in brightness: a 63% (vs. 28% for the Nexus One) decrease to 161 cd/m² (vs. 161 for the Nexus One) in brightness at 30° viewing angle. Terrible.

Contrast Ratio Shift with Viewing Angle

The black level brightness of the iPhone 3GS increased 19% to 3.7 cd/m² resulting in the contrast ratio decreasing to just 44:1. The Nexus One, on the other hand, had no noticeable decline in contrast ratio.

Color Shift with Viewing Angle

At a 30° viewing angle, red shifted the most by Δ(u’v’)=0.0418 (vs. 0.0262 for the Nexus One). Blue shifted by 0.006 (vs. 0.0169 for the Nexus One) and green shifted by 0.0105 (vs. 0.0107 for the Nexus One). These numbers are terrible and except for blue much worse compared to the Nexus One.

As I have mentioned in Part Ic, most smartphone users will be looking straight at the display so brightness, contrast or color shifts at off-center viewing angles might not be a problem. However there are situations when you would want little to no shifts: trying to take a picture at an off angle or playing games that require the display to be viewed at off angles. Scientific measurements and tests point to significant shifts in color, contrast and brightness for the LCD used in the iPhone 3GS, and it is quite a bit worse than the Nexus One. Again, if color is important to you make sure you’re looking dead on.


Part IId is next that looks at Display Power Consumption and Display Spectra. You can find more technical and in-depth explanations at DisplayMate.