IPS or OLED? One’s not necessarily better than the other, just different
at the BottoM of Apple’s current range, the iPhone 7 has the same 4.7–inch screen size as the iPhone 6s and 6 before it, but with a 25 per cent stronger backlight. They’re all brighter than desktop monitors based on similar IPS LCD tech, ensuring you can see the display clearly through any reflections on the surface of the Gorilla Glass.
All of Apple’s current phones, in fact, claim a maximum brightness of 625 candelas per square meter (cd/m2, sometimes called nits). That might seem odd when the iPhone X, XS and XS Max use OLED, where each pixel has its own backlight. But it’s natural that Apple would design for a consistent level of illumination that’s adequate for use in all circumstances without draining impractical amounts of battery power. BlaCk Mirror The big change with OLED isn’t how bright it goes, but how dark. Apple’s IPS displays have a quoted contrast ratio of 1,300:1 (for the Plus models) or 1,400:1, meaning a pixel set to maximum RGB values, representing pure white, is up to 1,400 times brighter than one set to zero, or black. That pixel won’t be completely dark, because some of the LCD panel’s backlight leaks through. But a black OLED pixel emits almost no light, giving an effective contrast ratio of about a million to one.
That’s what makes the OLED iPhones look more vivid and enables them to qualify as HDR (High Dynamic Range) displays, ready for next–generation content that stores more colors. Apple aims to cover the whole of the video industry’s DCI–P3 color space, which is significantly bigger than traditional sRGB. Within that, accuracy of color reproduction can still vary; in third–party tests the XS Max isn’t quite as faithful as a pro graphics monitor, while the X is about twice as inaccurate, with the XS falling in the middle. To the untrained eye, these displays are all superb.
The IPS–based iPhones, meanwhile, cover sRGB with almost perfect accuracy. On paper, the older non–Plus models have fewer pixels per inch, at 326ppi, versus 458ppi for the XS and XS Max; the 7 Plus and 8 Plus 1080p Full HD screens work out at 401ppi.
In reality, though, as Apple’s Retina designation indicates, the screens are so sharp that, unless you hold your face close to the iPhone and squint at it, your eyes can’t tell the difference. Although the Plus models render the display’s contents at 2208x1242 pixels and then downscale to 1920x1080 pixels, you’re very unlikely to spot any effects of this when you’re using them.
the big change with oleD screen tech isn’t how bright it goes, but how dark