Report: Samsung Galaxy S9 Has the Best-Ever Smartphone Display

Posted on March 1, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 22 Comments

Report: Samsung Galaxy S9 Has the Best-Ever Smartphone Display

The experts at DisplayMate have bestowed the Samsung Galaxy S9 display with its highest-ever grade, an A+, noting that it offers the best-ever performance for any smartphone display.

“Based on our extensive Lab Tests and Measurements, the Galaxy S9 has an impressive display that establishes many new display performance records, earning DisplayMate’s Best Performing Smartphone Display Award, and receiving our highest ever A+ grade,” DisplayMate notes in its report.

It’s no surprise that Samsung makes the best-ever smartphone display, it was already pumping out the best smartphone displays on previous devices. In fact, the display of the previous record-winner, the iPhone X, is made by—wait for—Samsung.

But this is another important notch in the Samsung Galaxy S9’s, um, belt. (Yes, I routinely complain when other people use antiquated idioms like that. But I at least know what it means. Plus, a notch in the belt is way better than a notch in the display. Am I right?) The flagship smartphone is already receiving accolades for its other impressive features. And the original assessment that this new phone family is somehow just “more of the same” is quickly being cast aside as the evidence rolls in.

And that applies, go figure, to the display as well.

“While the Galaxy S9 display might at first appear to be very similar to the Galaxy S8, there are many major display performance improvements,” DisplayMate explains. “instead of just focusing on pushing the OLED hardware performance levels higher for the Galaxy S9, Samsung has instead concentrated on significantly enhancing and optimizing the on-screen absolute picture quality and absolute color accuracy of the OLED display by implementing precision factory display calibration, moving the overall Galaxy S9 display performance up to Outstanding levels, and setting many new Display Performance Records, including Absolute Color Accuracy that is Visually Indistinguishable From Perfect, and almost certainly considerably better than your existing Smartphone, living room 4K Ultra or HDTV, Tablet, Laptop, and computer monitor.”

Woof. That’s a lot of words. And if you want to see even more of them, check out the DisplayMate report. It’s chock full of ’em. (Yep, I did it again.) It’s like death by word count.

 

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Comments (22)

22 responses to “Report: Samsung Galaxy S9 Has the Best-Ever Smartphone Display”

  1. justincrawford

    "is made by—wait for—Samsung"


    Paul, you have been using the "wait for it" expression a lot lately. It's tired, old, and adds nothing to the quality of your writing.

  2. Skolvikings

    Plus, a notch in the belt is way better than a notch in the display. Am I right?


    Good article, but I wonder if my coworkers could hear the groan I uttered when I read that part. :)

  3. RobertJasiek

    As much as I like DisplayMate for what it measures, I dislike it for what it does not measure. Most notably, 1) pulse width modulation (flickering), which is very bad (there at all, and with low frequency hurting health) on all OLED displays so far; 2) reflectance compared to what is possible (best: matte displays, second-best: far below 2% of the glare displays with the lowest reflectance) but DisplayMate only tests devices with glare displays so that "best for smartphones" (4.4%) means nothing more than "...among only those tested by DisplayMate thus far".

    • lilmoe

      In reply to RobertJasiek:


      I'm personally very sensitive to the pulsating light of LEDs, to the point it messes with my vision, gives me headaches and affects my sleep. Whenever I buy a smartphone, screen or any light source for my home or office, I move and flick my finger in-front of the screen (or light) with a white background. I buy the screen/light only if I see my finger 'ghosting' smoothly.


      On my GS7, however, this pulse is present in a manner worse than that on my old GS4 (the only phone I never tested before buying, ugh). They do that because it supposedly helps with preventing burn-in and/or improving color accuracy, even with ghosting. Thankfully, this pulse stops at above 50-55% brightness, and beyond that the LEDs start emitting smooth light. The simple remedy was downloading an app (called Screen Filter) that overlays a dark foreground over everything displayed on the screen, then cranking up the brightness. When I'm home or at the office, I enable this app. God what a difference.

  4. Brazbit

    When I first read this I couldn't help but wonder who cares what the creators of those stupid animated sheep has to say about smartphone displays. After some digging I found that the sheep were from Screen Mates, not DisplayMate. Now I can read the article without that distraction.


    I can't say as I am surprised. It's essentially the same screen as the closest competitors, all made by Samsung. Outside of the lab many will likely prefer it thanks to Samsung allowing you to choose the most pleasing display profile for you, even if it's not 100% accurate, unlike Apple's "we know what the user wants" approach. Too bad they just can't slap a half eaten fruit logo on it to convince the rest.

  5. brisonharvey

    Can't wait to see Paul's thoughts on the DxOMark score revealed today. Like Paul, the camera is of utmost importance. After living with the iPhone 7 Plus for about a year, I am ready for something better. And after two years in iPhone land, I am ready to give Android another try.

    • wolters

      In reply to brisonharvey:

      I have both the Note 8 and Pixel 2 XL. The Note 8's camera was already good but I was surprised how much better and consistent the Pixel's camera is. And I am excited to see how good the S9 is.


      The trade off between the S9 and Pixel 2 XL would be Software Updates and Clean Android. The S9 for sure is going to have a better screen.


      If you come from the iPhone, Pure Android may be the better fit.


      It is an interesting choice.

  6. longhorn

    If this screen takes RGB tech to its limits, then maybe we'll see this ancient standard being extended with additional colors for increased color accuracy. It could happen by first adding an extra subpixel (has been done before) managed by a software solution similar to that which manages pentile-displays. Later on computer software and GPUs could get support for additional primary colors. Today we have the manufacturing capabilities and CPU/GPU speed to vastly improve RGB.

  7. wolters

    Paul, after your comments on What The Tech, it seems like you are warming up to Samsung or about to go back to iPhone. I do truly feel your pain.


    I myself go back and forth myself. I have a Note 8. AWESOME display and excellent (but not the best) camera. I find the S-Pen to be very useful. Yet I was drawn to the Pixel 2 XL because I wanted THE BEST camera. It is the single most important thing for me. I do wish the screen was a little better on the Pixel 2 XL but the camera has been worth it .


    The battle I face is Samsung's Ecosystem Vs. Pure Android. Once I go pure, it is so hard to go back to Samsung and the apps I cannot disable, so I am forced to scroll through duplicate contact, calendar, browser apps. And the Galaxy app store that is required for a few Samsung apps. CLEAN is everything.


    I myself am tempted by the S9+ for the camera and now the display. And it is a ways off before the next Note and Pixel. But am I willing to go back to slower updates and Samsung's ecosystem to grab the best camera and screen available now? That is the question I'll ponder for some time.

    • IanYates82

      In reply to wolters:

      I started with Android using an S6 and have now had an S8 for a year. I don't think I run into any Samsung apps on a daily basis. I admit I haven't used a Pixel, but I don't see any real Samsung-ification of the phone that's unwelcome. I changed launcher (MS launcher), use Chrome, Outlook, etc.


      Well, there's the Bixby button... But I just forget it's even there apart from the 3-4 times per week I hit it by accident. OK Google works just fine, as does a long press on the home button.


      Samsung health is actually pretty handy. It's auto battery management app is also nice.

      • wolters

        In reply to IanYates82:

        I admit, going to Pixel 2 XL had made me bit if a purest now. But, Samsung stuff isn't all that bad but kind of hard to go back to once you go pure Android. If there was an alternative ecosystem I could embrace, it would be Samsung over any other Android phone maker.

      • RonH

        In reply to IanYates82:

        Don't you fi f that the Samsung apps won't go away? For me, the camera app still wants to. Go to the Samsung gallery and not the Google one when I press the review button. I have to leave the camera app to iew the pi tyres I just took. Also, contacts is an issue

    • RonH

      In reply to wolters:

      Try "BK Disabler" to rid yourself of those pesky Samsung apps.

  8. winlonghorn

    I am definitely eager to see this phone in action!

  9. Bats

    Well, it would be surprising for anyone to think that this would be surprising. 

    This is the company that makes fantastic televisions and even makes the screens for Apple iPhones. 

    In the past, Apple's iPhones have practically been a Samsung Galaxy phone. Samsung has made part of their chips, their hard drive, and their screen.

    I've always told people that Samsung is best technological phone company in the market. The only downsides to a Galaxy phone are their UI (Touchwiz) and incredibly slow Android updates.

    Screen is an okay feature for a phone, but I am not going to get a techgasm over how sharp a 6 inch screen can be.

  10. Stooks

    Samsung also has some of the WORST update support.


    My Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7inch bought in the summer of 2017 (by my company for testing) is still stuck on some 7.x version from September of last year.


    You could NOT pay me to personally use a Android phone. The ONLY option worth considering are the Pixel phones but those are just blah at best.



    • lilmoe

      In reply to Stooks:

      What's wrong with your galaxy tab? Is not running as it did when first bought? Has it been hacked? Something wrong with the battery life?


      I fail to see what the problem is. I thought the general consensus was that people hated regular updates...

  11. arunphilip

    I started reading the DisplayMate article, but the tone of it made it sound a bit too effusive, and not very objective. I do know that DisplayMate have been reviewing screens for a long time and they award others like Apple as well (so I'm not implying any bias)... but this was the first time I actually attempted to read one of their reviews and came away... underwhelmed.

  12. jboman32768

    Good to see Paul warming up to Samsung - would genuinely like him to the review the S9+

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