With the rise of smartphones and tablets, the display has become one of the most important aspects of a mobile device as it’s the primary mode of interaction. However, throughout computing the display has generally had relatively little attention. People might have talked about resolution, size, and latency, but the discourse was vague at best. In order to really understand displays, it’s important to discuss a number of factors that affect display quality and the underlying design of the display. These factors range from subpixel arrangement to TFT structure and various emitter materials. With traditional reviewing methods, it’s often difficult to say one way or another whether one display is “better” than another. While simple metrics like maximum brightness can be compared in a relative manner, it’s hard to say whether one has better colors or higher static contrast. In order to test these metrics, we turn to objective measurements from devices like X-Rite’s i1Pro2 spectrophotometer and i1Display Pro colorimeter. In order to acquire the data from these devices and present it in a usable manner, we use SpectraCal’s CalMAN 5 with a custom workflow.

Under the microscope and based upon some quick viewing angle tests, subjectively the Galaxy Note5 display looks and feels like a bigger version of the Galaxy S6 display. Viewing angles for some angles feels like the display is almost painted on to the glass below, but some odd interference effects with viewing angle changes breaks the illusion to some extent. In the case of the S6 edge+, the curved edges of the display cause a noticeable shift in luminance when looking at the edge compared to the center of the display, which also causes an odd green shift which is probably due to the RGBG subpixel layout. I suspect the best LCDs will still be better at the “painted to the glass” illusion for the near future. This isn’t a huge deal, but it is a noticeable difference.

Display - Max Brightness

Moving on to our brightness testing, we can see that the Galaxy Note5 delivers a healthy improvement over the Galaxy Note 4 generation of AMOLED, but it isn’t quite at the same level as the Galaxy S6. It isn’t clear why this is the case, but I suspect this is related to longevity and other concerns outside of brightness. Meanwhile the use of OLED means that black levels are perfect and contrast remains solely determined by the lighting of the room and the reflectance of the display, which is similar to most other smartphones.

Display - White Point

Display - Grayscale Accuracy

In our standard grayscale testing, the Note5 delivers acceptable color accuracy but it seems that the Basic screen mode tends towards a warm color balance. I suspect this helps with power efficiency, as blue in general requires more power to achieve the same level of luminance. Other than this slightly warm white balance, the grayscale accuracy doesn’t have any significant errors. This means accuracy ends up very good - certainly below our threshold for noticable errors - especially in comparison to the Galaxy Note 4 which had some noticeable problems with green tint on some units.

Display - Saturation Accuracy

In our saturation test, Samsung does well enough that there’s really nothing to talk about because there's so little wrong here. You could argue that magenta is a bit warm on our review unit, but the difference is too small to be worth talking about. Error on average is going to be hard to spot unless you have a flawless reference monitor to compare against.

Display - GMB Accuracy

In the GMB ColorChecker test, Samsung continues to show a strong performance when looking at various hues that are commonly found in consumer content such as movies and camera photos. There’s a slight red shift on some of the tested hues, but the error is so minor I don’t notice that any problems here.

Overall, the Galaxy Note5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ both have an incredible display. The Galaxy S6 edge+ does have some problems with viewing angle shifts by virtue of the curved display, but this is effectively unavoidable given the subpixel layout and the radius of curvature. With this generation of AMOLED, Samsung has definitely equaled the best LCDs on the market. I suspect within the next year or two it will be inevitable that Samsung AMOLED will be clearly superior to even the best LCDs. However, without other OLED suppliers that can provide similar quality and cost I suspect OEM adoption will continue to be limited.

Battery Life and Charge Time System Performance
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  • The0ne - Friday, October 2, 2015 - link

    WTF, so you want him to voice on something that doesn't exist then? That's just stupid. I bet you use this argument all the time to feel good about yourself. lol. Be easier if you just tell him to not bother in your little fight at all. Makes much more sense.
  • Sttm - Friday, October 2, 2015 - link

    Go cry about your real world problems and leave the comments sections of a tech site to us! I'm sure there is a starving kid somewhere that can use your tiny violin services.
  • The0ne - Friday, October 2, 2015 - link

    He's not crying, he's laughing at you and the other people bitching about the two companies RATHER than enjoying the devices. You totally misunderstood and misinterpreted his comment. Tech sites needs smart people, please just leave. Take your fanboy arguments elsewhere.

    And thanks for sharing something a little about your selfish self, all from your stupidity.
  • melgross - Saturday, October 3, 2015 - link

    Oh, shut up!
  • kspirit - Saturday, October 3, 2015 - link

    No. >:(
  • generalako - Saturday, October 3, 2015 - link

    A more recognized source is the industry standard DisplayMate. Take a look at their tests of the newest Samsung flagships. Ever since the S5, they have been leading in the mark, and ever since the Note 4, their displays have been "considerably better" than the best LCD display (iPhone 6) out there, on virtually every category (contrasts, black levels, efficiency, color accuracy, brigthness, performance in bright lights, viewing angles, sharpness, etc.)


    Anandtech's test is hard to take seriously when they can't even rate the true peak brigthness of the Samsung phones. They don't even mention that they have left it out of their test! When put on auto brigthness, the Note 4, S6 and Note 5 all get far higher brightness than on manual. The Note 5 can reach 861 cd/m2. That's 50% more than Anandtech claim.

    Take a look at DisplayMate's review. They give a proper analysis of the display, which contradicts the Anandtech review on so many areas it's funny.
  • Peichen - Monday, October 5, 2015 - link

    DisplayMate is a Samsung marketing partner. I wouldn't trust it consider them never mention the lackluster AMOLED sub pixel arrangement.
  • MattL - Saturday, October 10, 2015 - link

    What the hell are you talking about... first of all read the DisplayMate Samsung review again and search for "Diamond" where they outline the Diamond sub-pixel arrangement. They also have a completely separate article detailing this arrangement (including a zoomed in picture):


    Also in the review in their spec lists they list the sub-pixel count so you can fully compare resolution and sub-pixel counts... hell for their distance in which 20/20 vision can be resolved by the human eye they include stats for the different subpixel counts (which are different per color based on the Diamond arrangement).

    How you missed all that I have no clue other than you didn't bother to actually read it.

    Also on your first point, Displaymate has been a leader in screen calibration for a long time now... this is their specialty and not the speciality of Anandtech, hence why people take them far more seriously on that topic... it's also why it's a bit surprising Anandtech keeps coming up with different (and less detailed) results, especially when Anandtech doesn't include important values and analysis)... You should really know what you're talking about before you make such a bold response.

    Also Displaymate rates the iPhone screens *very* well, just not as a good as Samsung for the past couple generations. You do realize of course that Apple sources their screen manufacturing from a variety of companies... including Samsung, so it makes complete sense that Samsung is doing better when they finally decided to put the resources into it.
  • Kamus - Sunday, October 4, 2015 - link

    On par? You do realize that a Delta below 3 is very much unnoticeable when it comes to gamut and grayscale calibration right?

    This means that even the galaxy note 4 display smokes any iPhone display to date, because EVERY LCD that has ever been made has downright comical contrast ratio. And OLED on the other hand has the end game in contrast, as in, its perfect.
    The only reason this isn't more obvious is because most of the content viewed in smartphones is bright and viewed in very bright environments. Which sort of gives LCDs a free pass since its contrast ratio deficit isn't as obvious as in those situations.

    You should know that videophilies spend thousands of dollars on displays that offer even slightly better contrast ratios. And here we have a situation where we go from terrible contrast, to perfect. Watch any sort of dark content on both displays at the same time in a light controled environment and you'll immediately see how these Samsung displays are simply in a whole different league.

    Then there's is also the fact that the color gamut is also much wider on OLED, so if the day ever came that we finally decide to stop using the obsolete sRGB standard, OLED would also have an advantage there. (Somethg that had been ironically seen as a disadvantage before they started shiphing phones with color profiles, because the gamut is so wide it results in over saturated colors if a profile isn't is used for sRGB)

    I also have to question the brightness results that anandtech got from their unit. Displaymate stated that this is the brightest smartphone display they have ever tested, they get over 800 Nits on their unit. Making it by far the best display you can use under the sun.

    To meet it seems obvious that LCD has been surprised in most meaningful metrics, and its only going to get worse for LCD as OLED continues to evolve. LCD has never been good enough, but as it matured it got to a point where it became really good in a lot of ways compared to CRTs (never in contrast or switching times)

    TL;DR: these Samsung displays are the benchmark every other display has to be compared to.
  • thedons1983 - Sunday, October 18, 2015 - link

    Yeah, but it's made by Apple, and is pretty much exclusively sold, therefore, to sheep, whom generally have no idea what they are talking about. I'd rather not have a smartphone at all, than one of those ugly ass iphones. But then, that's probably because I actually have taste, and don't just buy whatever hipster rubbish is currently en vogue.

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