iPad Air topped by Kindle Fire HDX in display quality test

The iPad Air is getting plenty of rave reviews, but Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX just took it in a display shootout.

When DisplayMate Technologies tested the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, the iPad Air, and Google's Nexus 10, the Fire 8.9 "leapfrogged into the best-performing tablet display that we have ever tested," according to the results posted Monday.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 significantly outperformed "the iPad Air in brightness, screen reflectance, and high ambient light contrast, plus a first-place finish in the very challenging category of absolute color accuracy," DisplayMate continued. … Read more

Samsung's curved display is no gimmick, says researcher

The curved display on Samsung's Galaxy Round offers distinct advantages in reducing reflections and the high glossiness of flat displays, according to a report out Tuesday.

"There is widespread misunderstanding regarding curved displays. They aren't simply a marketing gimmick as has been widely reported," Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technologies, a firm that does display testing and evaluation, said in a report published Tuesday.

"In fact, curved screens are a major and very important new display technology innovation," he said in his introduction to the report, which is based on his own in-house testing … Read more

DisplayMate puts tablet screens in their place

I love conducting in-depth analysis of technology; however, the problem with such analytic endeavors is that the deeper you go, the more time it takes to reach your goal.

This is why I'm always impressed with the abyssal depths of analysis DisplayMate's Ray Soneira travels when he covers display quality. In his latest article, the man gets downright subterranean.

Soneira takes the iPad 2, Xoom, and Asus Transformer and completely scrutinizes their screens on the basis of brightness, contrast, color quality, screen reflectiveness, viewing angle, and backlight power consumption. That's pretty much anything and everything important when … Read more

Study: iPad 2 screen stacks up well to iPhone 4

Despite the iPad 2 not shipping with a display that matched the pixel density of the iPhone 4, a new report by DisplayMate says the tablet holds its own against the phone's display in a number of other areas.

The Apple iPad 2 and iPhone 4 LCD display "shoot-out," which posted earlier today on DisplayMate's site, ran a number of tests on the iPad 2's display, comparing it to the iPhone 4 as well as the iPhone 3GS--all products made by Apple.

DisplayMate's conclusion is that while the iPad 2's pixel density of … Read more

The problem with smartphone auto brightness

In the last year, ambient light sensors have become a popular feature not only on computer monitors, but on HDTVs and smartphones as well.

The purported function of an ambient light sensor is to detect the amount of ambient light intersecting with the display's screen, and then either increase or decrease the display's brightness. If there's too much ambient light, the sensor adjusts the brightness upwards, and in a minimal ambient light situation, the brightness is decreased appropriately.

For monitors and HDTVs, an ambient light sensor can help save on power and the amount of strain on … Read more

Battle Royale 2: Smartphones face off, screen to screen

Editors' note: If you've already read "Battle Royale: Five smartphones face off," then you may experience some deja vu when reading this article. We've used the same tests and presented the article in the same style. Only the phones in question and the details of their performance have changed.

A few months ago in my never-ending pursuit of pain and sadness, I volunteered to test the display quality of five of the most popular smartphones at that time. Using DisplayMate Multimedia Edition for Mobile Displays, I put each phone through a battery of tests and lost a couple of weekends in the process.

With the recent release of the iPhone 4, as well as the hype that's been generated by the "Retina Display," now's the best time to determine just how good the display really is. I've decided to compare the iPhone 4's screen with only two others: the winner of the last roundup, the Motorola Droid, and relative newcomer the HTC Evo 4G. The Evo was chosen because of its popularity and relatively gigantic screen.

Like last time, we used three different types of tests to evaluate each phone:

Scientific measurements: We used the Konica Minolta CS-200 ChromaMeter to test the maximum brightness, black level, and contrast ratio of each phone and reported numbers for each of these three tests.

Test pattern screens: We used several DisplayMate Mobile test patterns to test for color-tracking errors, 24-bit color, and font legibility, among others.

Real-world: Finally, we conducted real-world anecdotal testing using 3D games, photos, and a little tool I like to call "the sun" to test the diffuse reflectance of each display.

All test screens were viewed within each phone's native gallery application. Some phones may handle pictures differently--and even improve them to some extent--outside the application. That said, we believe that testing within the respective gallery applications is still a viable test, as this is where most users will view pictures on their phones.

Note: Since we conducted our first round of tests, the Motorola Droid has received some noteworthy changes. When the Motorola Droid is upgraded to version 2.1, the Gallery (the principal image viewer for the phone) is downgraded to 16-bit color from its original full 24-bit color in version 2.0. Fortunately, version 2.1 of the Android Browser on the Droid still delivers full 24-bit color. Presumably these errors will be fixed in a future software upgrade, so the Droid will at some point return to its original, excellent 24-bit color. The tests here reflect the Droid in its 2.1 incarnation.

In order to diminish potential repetition, I'll dive right into the details of how each phone performed; if you'd like to know more about our tests, you can binge on nerdy details in our "How we tested" section at the bottom of this article. Please note that this is an evaluation of each phone's screen performance and nothing else. Check out the full reviews of these phones to determine which is right for you. Also, DisplayMate recently conducted a more technically focused evaluation of the Motorola Droid's screen that I recommend you check out.

The bottom line… Read more

Refresh rate, motion blur a nonissue on modern LCDs?

I've been testing LCD monitors consistently for the past two years. In that time, I've run various tests designed to evaluate a monitor's response time. I've used games, movies, and the occasional scientific test to confirm if a manufacturer's claimed response time is accurate.

To be perfectly honest, I have a very difficult time seeing motion blur in movies and games. In fact, I'm not sure I've seen it any repeatable evidence of it on a modern monitor during a game or movie.

So it should go without saying that DisplayMate's recent findings on LCD response times come as no big shock to me. The findings come via an article by DisplayMate founder Raymond Soneira.

Here are Soneira's major conclusions based on tests conducted by DisplayMate on LCDs from major manufacturers.

1. A manufacturer's claimed response time specifications are not a scientifically accurate or a meaningful indicator of picture blur.

The motion blur DisplayMate measured on the HDTVs tested was more than 40 milliseconds. According to the article, this is more than a factor of 10 greater than the manufacturer's published specifications.

2. LCD manufacturers have made a big deal about refresh rates in the last couple of years with the jump from 60Hz to 120Hz and now 240Hz. CNET's own David Katzmaier suspected that benefits with the jump to 240Hz were dubious already, but here's more evidence to back it up. … Read more