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DisplayMate Display News
Display Technology Commentary and Analysis
by Dr. Raymond M. Soneira  -  President of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation

Display News covers selected interesting and timely topics and issues in Display Technology
For in-depth Articles see our Mobile Display Shoot-Outs covering Smartphone and Tablet LCD and OLED Displays.
Multimedia and HDTV Display Shoot-Outs for OLED, 3D, Motion Blur, LCD, Plasma, LCoS, DLP, and CRT Displays.
Follow DisplayMate on Twitter to keep up with Display News, our latest Shoot-Outs, and other display technology topics.

Display News Headlines...
Watching Displays at Night
iPad mini 4 gets a Great Display
Enhanced Sapphire Displays
Sapphire Displays
The Next Generation of Mobile Displays
2014 Innovative Displays and Display Technologies
DisplayMate Recognized as a World Leader in Display Technology
Bogus Color Accuracy Measurements and Reviews

The Latest Cutting Edge Displays and Display Technology from the SID Show in Vancouver
Will ClearType Sub-Pixel Rendering on the Microsoft Surface Improve its Sharpness?
Goals and Predictions for the iPhone 5 and All 1st Tier Smartphone Displays
Understanding Misleading Display Specs
The Google Nexus 7 Display Stumbles and Falls Short...

Your Existing 1920x1080 HDTV is Already a True "Retina Display"
Ghost Images on the MacBook Pro Retina Display
Apple's Newest Retina Display on the MacBook Pro
LG Shows a Record 440 Pixels Per Inch Display
The LG and Samsung OLED HDTVs at the SID Show
Sherlock Holmes Predictions for the iPhone 5 and Apple Television

Displays can be invisible with Polarized Sunglasses
About the Author and DisplayMate Technologies

-------------------- Watching Displays at Night

The article Watching Displays at Night is our in-depth scientific analysis on the issues affecting watching displays at night, how their blue light spectra can affect sleep, and how to improve display viewing comfort and performance, including our detailed Recommendations for Consumers and Recommendations for Manufacturers.

With the rapidly increasing use of displays, particularly at night, vision and sleep researchers discovered that watching a display at night can not only make it harder to fall asleep (up to 1.5 hours longer), but then the quality of sleep during the night is also reduced, and it carries over into the following morning with reduced alertness. So improperly watching a display at night can lead to sleep disorders, which in turn can lead to a wide variety of serious psychological and medical issues, which have been documented in sleep research studies.

So Watching Displays at Night requires both consumers and manufacturers to make some important changes and adjustments. We analyze Apple's Night Shift and also examine how new display technologies including advanced LCDs with Quantum Dots can improve Watching Displays at Night.

-------------------- iPad mini 4 gets a Great Display with a Full Color Gamut and Record Low Reflectance

The iPad mini 4 has finally grown up and become a full fledged respectable iPad family member with a high performance display that Steve Jobs would be proud of - with not only a full and very accurate 101% sRGB Color Gamut, but even more important, with a very low 2.0% screen Reflectance - the lowest we have ever measured for any mobile display - very impressive!

All of the previous iPad minis had a small 62% Color Gamut with poor color saturation, and very high screen Reflectance - the mini 3 had 6.5% Reflectance and the original mini had a blinding 9.0% Reflectance.

What does this mean now?
First of all, the colors and color accuracy of the iPad mini 4 now match all of the recent full size iPads and also the recent iPhones (5 and 6 including S and Plus). So across the entire mobile iOS product line you'll now see color matched photos and screen images. The mini 4 is an excellent super size upgrade to the iPhone 6(S) and Plus and now truly qualifies as a small version of the iPad Air 2.

But in terms of real-world viewing conditions, the record low 2.0% screen Reflectance actually makes a bigger visual difference for the image colors and image contrast that you actually see because ambient light washes out and degrades the displayed images and reduces screen readability - so its record low Reflectance actually makes a bigger difference!

The previous record holder for low Reflectance was the iPad Air 2 with 2.5%, but most of the Tablets that we have tested recently fall in the range of 5.0% to 6.5% screen Reflectance (including the mini 3). So the iPad mini 4 has a Contrast in ambient light that is a factor of 2.5X to 3.2X higher than most other tablets (and 36% better than the iPad Air 2) - a major display performance improvement in real world viewing conditions! In fact, the iPad mini 4 has a Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light of 225, the highest we have ever measured and another record for the mini 4.

What does this mean for the future?
This places some major pressure on all manufacturers to lower their screen Reflectance if they want to remain competitive. The era of low screen Reflectance has finally arrived - where visual display performance in real world ambient light viewing conditions is now a major competitive factor - something that all consumers will easily see and appreciate - both indoors and especially outdoors!

In particular, with all of the latest Apple iPads having low screen Reflectance, it seems certain that the iPhone 7 will also get a very low Reflectance screen. It will be an exciting year for displays as all of the manufacturers respond...

We will have our usual in-depth analysis of the iPad mini 4 display when we cover the iPad Pro coming in November. Until then, refer to our iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 Display Technology Shoot-Out article. Other iPad mini 4 lab measurements include a high Luminance of 449 nits and a Contrast Ratio of 955 (in 0 lux absolute darkness). Follow DisplayMate on Twitter to learn about our upcoming display technology coverage.

-------------------- Enhanced Sapphire Displays     February 2015
The use of sapphire for the iPhone was one of the most talked about technology rumors of 2014 - when it was announced and again when it failed due to production and other issues.

None-the-less sapphire is already being used in a number of mobile smartphones from Huawei, Kyocera, and Vertu, for example. And given the widespread consumer perception of sapphire as a very rugged, scratch resistant and a premium luxury item together with its rapidly falling production costs, means that sapphire will find its way into an increasing number of smartphones.

However, a major issue, as I have pointed out many times, is that sapphire has roughly double the screen reflectance of Gorilla glass, so smartphones with sapphire are much harder to see and read in ambient light as a result of the significantly greater reflections off the screen, which washes out the displayed images in both contrast and color. Screen reflections are already a major problem with glass, but with sapphire doubling them has been a major hurdle, up until now...

An important new high technology breakthrough has produced Enhanced Sapphire that significantly lowers the screen reflectance of sapphire to much lower than glass, turning its former major disadvantage into a major new advantage. We have done extensive Lab tests and the results are very impressive - Enhanced Sapphire has the lowest reflectance we have ever measured.

A technical note, this isn't an Anti-Reflection AR coating, which would scratch off easily and defeat sapphire's tremendous scratch resistance - so Enhanced Sapphire is now number one in scratch resistance, low reflectance and performance in high ambient light. In addition, displays using it could run with lower screen brightness and result in increased running time on battery.

This new production ready low reflectance Enhanced Sapphire will undoubtedly be one of the major new advancements for smartphone displays, and is likely to go mainstream in the very near future for those companies that adopt it. And this is just the tip of the iceberg... It's all still under an NDA, there is much more to come, so stay tuned...

-------------------- Sapphire Displays     October 2014
The use of sapphire to make the iPhone screens scratch proof was one of the most talked about rumors over past year as a result of Apple's $578M investment with GT Advanced Technologies to build a factory in Arizona. The likelihood of sapphire appearing on the iPhone 6 was close to zero because it will probably take at least another year for everything to come together. It is important to note that sapphire has some downsides over and above its much higher cost and manufacturing complexity.

The most important issue for display performance is that sapphire has almost double the screen Reflectance of glass (due to principles of optics), so it will be harder to read sapphire screens in high ambient light.

That might be one reason why the recently announced Apple Watch Sport edition has a cover glass rather than sapphire like the other models - because it is much more likely to be used unshielded in high ambient light outdoors. Another reason is that while sapphire is very hard it is also brittle and is likely more prone to impact breakage, which is more common in sports situations. So, if given the choice, I personally would choose a cover glass with its better screen visibility and breakage protection. Others may find the scratch protection more important.

With the new Anti-Reflection screen coating on the iPad Air 2 its Reflectance is just 2.5%, by far the lowest we have ever measured for any Tablet or Smartphone. The previous record holders all had about 4.5%, the minimum possible for cover glass all by itself. The much lower Reflectance improves screen readability, image contrast, and color saturation in ambient light by almost 2:1, a major innovation and enhancement for mobile displays.

Anti-Reflection coatings are used in just about all high-end lenses and related optics. The problem is that most coatings scratch easily and show fingerprints easily. Apple (or more likely one of its suppliers) has found something that doesn't scratch easily or show fingerprints and works well on Tablet and Smartphone touch screens.

Presumably Apple's future products will have the same Anti-Reflection coatings as well - so forget about Sapphire on future iPhones because if you apply an Anti-Reflection coating to Sapphire, which has a very high 8% Reflectance all by itself, you lose its very high scratch resistance because the softer coating is now on top.

Other manufacturers will need to implement similar Anti-Reflection coatings on their Tablets and Smartphones in the near future in order to stay competitive. Our 2014 Innovative Displays and Display Technology explains why...

-------------------- The Next Generation of Mobile Displays
The best performing LCD and OLED displays are now delivering impressive sharpness, brightness, low reflectance, high color accuracy, accurate image contrast, and great viewing angles. So what comes next? Essentially all published display specifications and factory calibrations are based on performance in absolute darkness 0 lux, but mobile displays (and even TVs) are seldom viewed in the dark. Even low levels of ambient light significantly affect the image and picture quality. For example, the 100 percent sRGB Color Gamut specified by many manufacturers only applies at 0 lux. At 500 lux, which corresponds to typical indoor office lighting, the on-screen colors are washed out by the reflected ambient light, typically reducing the on-screen Color Gamut from 100 percent down to 80 percent, plus the image contrast is also significantly affected. And it gets worse as the ambient light levels increase. So here is what needs to come next...

The most important improvements for both LCD and LCD mobile displays will come from improving their image and picture quality and screen readability in ambient light, which washes out the screen images, resulting in reduced image contrast, color saturation, and color accuracy. The key will be in implementing automatic real-time modification of the display's Color Gamut and Intensity Scales based the measured Ambient Light level in order to have them compensate for the reflected light glare and image wash out from ambient light as discussed in our 2014 Innovative Displays and Display Technology and SID Display Technology Shoot-Out articles.

LCDs will need Quantum Dots in order to implement the necessary wide Color Gamuts. The displays, technologies, and manufacturers that succeed in implementing this new high ambient light performance strategy will take the lead in the next generations of mobile displays... Follow DisplayMate on Twitter to learn about these developments and our upcoming display technology coverage.

-------------------- DisplayMate Recognized as a World Leader in Display Technology
Here are just several of many citations recognizing DisplayMate Technologies as a world leader in the display industry:

Samsung:   For the Display of the Year Awards at the 2014 SID Display Week conference, the display industry's premier annual event, Samsung, the world's largest display manufacturer, referred to us in their Award Press Release:
"DisplayMate, one of the world's leading display research laboratories."

We are flattered and grateful for this recognition from Samsung.

SpectraCal:   One of the world's leading companies for ProAV display calibration mentioned us on their website:
"One of the most valued contributors to the industry's understanding of display technology issues is Dr. Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies. Among his other great values to the industry such as an unmatchable resume and impeccable methodological rigor ­is a fearless impartiality. Ray always reports exactly what he finds, no matter whom it might offend."
Display technology expertise, scientific accuracy, objectivity and fairness are our core values.

Display and video industry organizations and publications:   a large collection of quotes and citations for DisplayMate:
DisplayMate's Outstanding Industry Recognition, Reviews and Awards

-------------------- Bogus Color Accuracy Measurements and Reviews
Recently some reviewers have published articles contradicting my Absolute Color Accuracy Measurements for the Samsung Galaxy S5. For example, see this recent review in phone Arena. The problem is that these reviewers are not scientists or display experts, and are using canned display calibration software incorrectly in order to test a display, which produces incorrect results and bogus conclusions. Below is a brief semi-technical analysis...

The Color Difference dE used by the Reviewers Incorrectly includes the Luminance:   The reviewers are using retail display calibration software products that use a Color Difference measure called dE, which includes a Luminance (Brightness) Error component in addition to the Color Hue and Saturation (Chromaticity) Error component. Using the Color Difference dE is appropriate for setting the display calibration, but dE is Not a measure of Visual Color Accuracy (Hue and Saturation) because it also includes the Luminance (Brightness). The eye sees and interprets brightness and color as two separate visual issues - dE combines them together. So all conclusions based on using dE for Visual Color Accuracy are incorrect.

Our Color Accuracy only includes Color Hue and Saturation:   Since the eye sees color and brightness as two separate visual issues I measure and analyze them separately. My published Absolute Color Accuracy measurements and data analysis includes only the Color (Hue and Saturation) Chromaticity Error component Δ(u'v') or d(u'v'), which evaluates just the difference in Hue and Saturation seen by the eye, and is plotted on a 1976 CIE Uniform Chromaticity Color Diagram in all of my articles. This is the correct method for evaluating Visual Color Accuracy (Hue and Saturation). Compare my very precise and detailed Absolute Color Accuracy plots with their crude figure.

The Galaxy S5 has 5 Screen Modes:   Note that the Galaxy S5 has 5 different Screen Modes, the Cinema and Professional Photo Modes are very color accurate, whereas the 3 other Screen Modes are intentionally vivid and therefore intentionally not color accurate. Some reviewer figures, numerical results and screen shots are for the intentionally vivid modes, which is misleading.

Accurate Galaxy S5 Color Accuracy:   When measured and analyzed correctly, the Galaxy S5 Cinema Mode has excellent true Absolute Color Accuracy (Hue and Saturation), to date the most accurate in our Mobile Display Technology Shoot-Out article series. Our measurements are made in our world-class Display Test Lab using a Spectroradiometer and expert mathematical data analysis. My scientific credentials are listed here and here.

Some Additional Reviewer Inaccuracies:   The reviews are also loaded with many other technical inaccuracies - one example, using the very old and long obsolete 1931 CIE Color Diagram with (x,y) coordinates, which has large color non-uniformities so that it is not useful for judging or evaluating Color Accuracy. Another recurring problem is reviewers using inexpensive Colorimeters, which are much less accurate than the Spectroradiometer we use for our lab measurements. The phone Arena derived Intensity Scale Gamma of 2.25 is also way off, most likely due to incorrect test patterns and incorrect mathematical analysis of the data. For my accurate measurements and data analysis of the Luminance, Intensity Scale, and Gamma for the Galaxy S5 see this Figure and this Table. My complete Galaxy S5 article is here and my Mobile Display Technology Shoot-Out series is here.

Bogus Reviewer Results and Conclusions:   Again, all conclusions that are based on using dE for evaluating Visual Color Accuracy (Hue and Saturation) are completely wrong and are the result of reviewers, who are not scientists or display experts incorrectly using and interpreting canned display calibration software. My correct and accurate Galaxy S5 Color Accuracy results are here.

-------------------- 2014 Innovative Displays and Display Technologies
In this article we cover the major innovative display and display technology developments, predictions, and trends that you'll see during 2014 for Smartphones, Tablets, TVs, and Wearable displays. Click on the links below for each topic.

2014 Display Technologies:
Quantum Dots
Curved and Flexible Displays
Full and Wide Color Gamut Displays
Improved Absolute Color Accuracy and Picture Quality
4K UHD and High Resolution High PPI Displays
Very Bright Low Reflectance High Ambient Light Displays
OLEDs and LCDs

2014 Display Products:
Wearable Displays

-------------------- The Latest Cutting Edge Displays and Display Technology from the SID Show in Vancouver
The Society for Information Display (SID) Display Week Conference held May 20-24 is the display industry's top annual gathering and exhibition. It's not a consumer product show but rather where manufacturers show off their latest and greatest display technology that will make their way into the upcoming generations of consumer products in the near future. I spent most of my time in private meetings rather than cruising the show floor, but here are a number of general interest display products that caught my attention.

Quantum Dots:   A revolutionary new technology that efficiently increases the color saturation and color gamut of LCDs by up to 50 percent for Smartphones, Tablets, HDTVs, and large monitors. Quantum Dots bring LCDs up to parity with OLEDs for color gamut and saturation. They use quantum physics to efficiently translate the color spectrum of the LED backlights for LCDs into precise and narrow red, green, and blue spectra for the LCD panel. This not only efficiently increases the brightness and power efficiency of the display but the narrow spectra should allow the screen's overall reflectance to be reduced. I saw several display prototypes, including some that should be in production in the near future. The leading companies are Nanosys (working with 3M) and QD Vision (already in some Sony TVs). Be on the lookout for them...

OLED Full HD TVs:   LG showed two very impressive 55 inch OLED Full HD TVs - one with a flat screen and the second with a curved screen. Both are in production but not yet available in the USA. Last year I called the prototype of the LG OLED TV "the most impressive TV I have ever seen" - that is still true! One OLED TV was showing 2D and the other 3D. The demo videos that were running at the show were seductively spectacular. We hope to do an in-depth scientific Display Technology evaluation in our Lab sometime soon. Stay tuned...

OLED UHD 13.5 inch Display:   Sharp showed a prototype of an incredible 13.5 inch UHD 3840x2160 OLED RGB Stripe display that was gorgeous. That works out to 324 Pixels Per Inch, almost identical to the LCD on the iPhone 5, and with 7.3 times the screen area of the OLED Galaxy S4. It is most likely destined for a notebook, small TV, or a monitor - we'll see where it shows up...

Curved and Flexible OLED Displays:   LG, Samsung, and Sharp all showed Smartphone sized flexible OLED displays, including some molded into exotic curves. On the first day LG allowed people to hit their OLED display with a hefty carpenter's rubber mallet to prove how indestructible they are. But some attendees took that as a challenge and brutally smashed away, so the mallet was taken away for day 2...

3D Smartphone Display with Eye Tracking:   LG showed a 4.5 inch Glasses Free 3D Smartphone display that uses an eye-tracking camera to figure out where you are so it can adjust the 3D image real-time for optimum perspective and 3D effects. The 3D viewing distances are from 10 to 18 inches anywhere within a ±45 degree viewing angle. It worked impressively well, with a nice demo that continued to demonstrate good 3D as I changed my viewing position.

Displays for Tablets and Notebooks:   They are moving to even higher resolutions and becoming more power efficient. Sharp showed a 10.1 inch IGZO 2560x1600 display and also an 11.6 inch IGZO 2560x1440 display. LG showed a 7 inch 1920x1200 Tablet display and a larger 14 inch 2560x1440 display. Samsung showed two 10.1 inch 2560x1600 Tablet displays, one with the traditional 3 RGB sub-pixels and another with 4 RGBW sub-pixels, which Samsung calls a "Green" display because the White W sub-pixels can provide much higher white luminance for the same power (but may reduce color saturation depending on the color management scheme used). Samsung also showed a larger and impressive 3200x1800 13.3 Inch "Green" RGBW display, most likely for a notebook.

Gigantic Ultra High Definition TVs:   Ultra High Definition 3840x2160 4K TVs are especially impressive when displayed on very large screens. Both LG and Samsung showed gigantic 84 - 85 inch TVs that were quite visually impressive. For UHD TVs the bigger the better because as I wrote last year Your Existing 40-60 inch 1920x1080 HDTV is Already a True "Retina Display"

Digital Signage Displays:   They are now bright enough and large enough to be used in storefront windows in direct sunlight to entice you to go inside with their colorful changing and animated content, which is much better and more effective than existing printed signs. The LG and Sharp displays are both extremely bright at 2,000 nits, more than 5 times brighter than most Smartphones. LG showed a 47 inch 1920x1080 digital signage LCD display that is also designed not to degrade or blacken due to the heat from direct sunlight, which can affect some LCDs. Sharp showed their large 60 inch 1920x1080 Digital Signage display.

Transparent Signage Displays:   LG showed a 47 inch 1920x1080 transparent interactive digital signage display with a touch screen acting as a refrigerator door. You can see the refrigerator contents inside and can touch the screen door for more product information on the contents, or presumably to dispense the product in a vending application.

-------------------- Will ClearType Sub-Pixel Rendering on the Microsoft Surface Improve its Sharpness?
Back in my 2011 iPad 2 and iPhone 4 Display Shoot-Out I pointed out that the sharpness and text quality on the 1024x768 132 Pixels Per Inch PPI iPad 2 could be significantly improved by using Sub-Pixel Rendering rather than the Pixel Rendering that is used on the iPads and iPhones. And I did a side-by-side comparison between the iPad 2 and an essentially identical Asus Netbook with a 1366x768 130 PPI display that had Microsoft's implementation of Sub-Pixel Rendering, which they call ClearType. With Sub-Pixel Rendering the individual Red, Green and Blue Sub-Pixels are treated as independent addressable image elements and are not all bound together into specific Pixels. In some cases Sub-Pixel Rendering can make the screen appear to have up to 3 times the resolution of Pixel Rendering.

Microsoft Surface RT:   This issue is surprisingly relevant again for the upcoming Microsoft Surface RT Tablet, which has a 1366x768 148 PPI screen that is fairly similar to the iPad 2 1024x768 132 PPI screen. So the question is how will it compare with the iPad 2, and especially now with the equivalently priced much higher resolution new iPad 3? While I haven't yet seen the Microsoft Surface RT Tablet, its screen specs are almost identical to the Asus Netbook so I repeated the Display Shoot-Out - this time with both the iPad 2 and the new iPad 3, which has a 2048x1536 264 PPI screen. A CNET article quotes Microsoft as claiming that the Surface RT is sharper than the new iPad 3. So I decided to do a comparable test with the Asus Netbook standing in for the Surface RT.

The Shoot-Out:   I ran the Safari Browser on all 3 displays and compared them side-by-side using the New York Times website front page with its small text. All 3 displays have the same 5.9 inch screen height in Landscape mode, so it was an excellent and very fair comparison.

The Result:   The Windows ClearType 768p display on the Asus Netbook was significantly sharper than the iPad 2 768p display but also significantly less sharp than the new iPad 3 1536p display. It is certainly possible that the Microsoft Surface RT Tablet will perform better than the Asus Netbook, but it is very unlikely that it will turn out to be visually sharper than the new iPad 3. On the other hand the Windows Pro version of Surface will have a 1920x1080 208 PPI screen, and it is quite possible that it will be comparable in sharpness to the new iPad 3 with 2048x1536 264 PPI. It will be really interesting to compare them all... including the displays on Windows Tablets from other manufacturers, who might provide better displays than the Microsoft Surface...

Windows Tablet Shoot-Outs:   Sharpness is only one aspect of display image quality. I will be doing an in-depth Display Shoot-Out between the Microsoft Surface RT and the new iPad 3 when the Surface RT ships, and I will be repeating this sharpness test. When other Windows Tablets ship I will include the best of them in future Mobile Display Shoot-Outs. So stay tuned...

-------------------- Goals and Predictions for the iPhone 5 and All 1st Tier Smartphone Displays
The display will play a central role in the marketing, appearance, and performance of the iPhone 5, which will be announced on Wednesday September 12. The iPhone 4 Display is no longer state-of-the-art. While I don't have any inside information about the iPhone 5 display, below are a series of Sherlock Holmes deductions based on existing information and trends from the iPhone 4 and the latest competing Smartphone displays. The iPhone 5 will need to meet most of these Goals in order to retain its Number 1 Ranking. These same Display Goals apply to any Smartphone that wants to be a 1st Tier Smartphone.

Screen Shape:   The Aspect Ratio (screen width divided by its height) for the iPhone 4 is 3:2. For the iPhone 5 the Rumor Mill has settled on 16:9, the same as HDTVs and most video content. This looks like an excellent bet, so we'll work with that...
1st Tier Smartphone Goal and iPhone 5 Best Guess:   16:9 Aspect Ratio.

Screen Resolution:   The current iPhone 4 Screen Resolution is 960x640 pixels. In order to maintain compatibility with existing Apps the iPhone 5 can't stray too far from this. Since the Aspect Ratio is increasing from 3:2 to 16:9 the best guess is that the iPhone 5 will keep the same 640 pixels and just increase the 960 pixel value based on the new Aspect Ratio. In that case the Screen Resolution will be 1136x640 pixels. That's 176 more vertical pixels, so existing Apps expecting 960x640 will simply be Letterboxed with 88 pixel black borders on the top and bottom. But since we are already Letterboxing, why not raise the 640 pixel base up to 720 pixels and add 40 pixel black borders there as well? Even better... 720 pixels is true HD High Definition - that is not only a major marketing advantage but there is much less processor overhead (and battery power) from rescaling content from 1080p to 720p than to 640p (rescaling by 3/2=1.50 rather than by 1.69). While the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Nexus have 1280x720 pixels they are PenTile displays so they aren't as sharp as true RGB 1280x720 displays.
1st Tier Smartphone Goal and iPhone 5 Best Guess:   1136x640 pixels - but 1280x720 pixels (true HD) would be much better.

PPI Pixels Per Inch:   The higher the Pixels Per Inch PPI the sharper the image on the screen, but what really matters is the sharpness perceived by your eye and that depends on the Viewing Distance from the screen (and also how good your vision is compared to 20/20 Vision). So PPI cannot be used by itself, but must be used together with the Viewing Distance in order to draw any conclusions about visual sharpness, and whether or not it qualifies as a Retina Display. Apple's Retina Display criterion is based on 20/20 Vision. The iPhone 4 has 326 PPI and it appears perfectly sharp for 20/20 Vision down to a viewing distance of 10.5 inches. The new iPad 3 has a lower 264 PPI, but it is still a Retina Display because it appears perfectly sharp for 20/20 Vision down to a viewing distance of 13.0 inches, which is less than its typical viewing distance. To be a Retina Display down to a viewing distance of 12.0 inches the display needs 286 PPI or more.
1st Tier Smartphone Goal and iPhone 5 Best Guess:   326 PPI, but it can go down to 286 PPI and still be a Smartphone Retina Display.

Screen Size:   The Screen Size will depend on the Screen Resolution and Pixels Per Inch. If the iPhone 5 keeps the same 326 PPI as the iPhone 4 and has 1136x640 pixel resolution, then the Screen Size will be 3.96 inches, an 18.5 percent increase in the area of the screen (the diagonal size increases by 13 percent). But with Steve Jobs' 300 PPI value, the screen would be 4.35 inches. Using 286 PPI, the screen would be 4.56 inches and remain a Retina Display down to 12.0 inches viewing distance. Finally, with a resolution of 1280x720 and 326 PPI the screen would be 4.5 inches. So there is lots of room for a Smartphone Retina Display up to 4.5 inches.
1st Tier Smartphone Goal and iPhone 5 Best Guess:   4.0 inches, but could go as large as 4.5 inches and still be a Retina Display.

Screen Reflectance:   Most Smartphones are used in reasonably bright ambient lighting. Reflections from the screen not only decreases picture quality but it makes the screen harder to read and causes eye strain. We measured the iPhone 4 Reflectance at 7.0 percent, but many mobile displays now have Reflectance values much lower than that. The current record holder is the Nokia Lumia 900, with a screen Reflectance of 4.4 percent - so the iPhone 4 reflects 59 percent more light than the Lumia 900. The iPhone 5 needs to do a lot better...
1st Tier Smartphone Goal and iPhone 5 Best Guess:   Reflectance under 5 percent.

Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light:   The Screen Reflectance together with the Screen Brightness determine how easy it is to see the screen under high ambient lighting. We have defined a DisplayMate Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light (CRHAL) that is an excellent visual indicator of how screens look under high Ambient Light. This article has screen shots of 9 displays from 0 lux up to 40,000 lux ambient lighting - watch how they each degrade as the Ambient Lighting increases. The iPhone 4 has a CRHAL of 77. The current record holder is the Nokia Lumia 900 with a CRHAL of 90.
1st Tier Smartphone Goal and iPhone 5 Best Guess:   Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light over 90.

Color Gamut:   The Color Gamut is the range of colors that a display can produce. If you want to see accurate colors in photos, videos, and all standard consumer content the display needs to match the Standard Color Gamut that was used to produce the content, which is called sRGB / Rec.709. Most mobile LCD displays produce around 60 percent of the Standard Color Gamut in order to maximize Screen Brightness and Battery Running Time. The iPhone 4 has a Color Gamut of 64 percent of the Standard, which produces somewhat subdued colors. The new iPad 3 has a virtually perfect 99 percent of the Standard, so we expect the iPhone 5 to follow suite. This figure shows the Color Gamuts for the iPhone 4, iPad 2, new iPad 3, and sRGB / Rec.709 Standard. A widely held and exploited misconception is that the bigger the Color Gamut the better - but it isn't... A display with a larger than 100 percent Color Gamut cannot show colors that are not in the original content - it just exaggerates and distorts the colors.
1st Tier Smartphone Goal and iPhone 5 Best Guess:   100 percent of the sRGB / Rec.709 Color Gamut Standard - not larger!

-------------------- Understanding Misleading Display Specs
Most HDTVs, Tablets, Smartphones, Laptops, and Monitors prominently list their Display Specs as a sales and marketing tool. Unfortunately many of these Display Specs are misleading and are misunderstood by both consumers and professionals. This makes it harder to figure out which displays really are better. Below are many of the Display Specs you'll see together with brief explanations that will help you understand what they actually mean. For in-depth explanations see our article series on Mobile Displays and HDTV and Multimedia Displays.

Screen Size:   This Spec sounds straight forward - it's just the length of the screen diagonal. True, but that doesn't actually tell you how big the screen really is. What really matters visually is the area of the screen (width times height) and that changes significantly faster than the diagonal size indicates, so you'll either over or under estimate the true visual screen size based on just its diagonal size. To get an idea of the screen area, square the diagonal size (multiply it by itself on a calculator) and use that for comparison. For example, a 7 inch Tablet actually has less than half the area (49) of a 10 inch Tablet (100). There's more - the area also depends on the shape of the screen, which is another Spec called Aspect Ratio (below). Lower Aspect Ratios have larger screen areas for the same diagonal size. For example, a 10 inch 4:3 Aspect Ratio screen is 12 percent larger in area than a 10 inch 16:9 screen. If you're not handy with this math, you'll often see the actual screen width and height listed in the Specs - multiply them on your calculator to get the area.

16:9 and 4:3 Aspect Ratios:   The Aspect Ratio is the screen width divided by its height and it's the Spec used to indicate the shape of the screen. It can be described as a ratio like 16 by 9, or numerically by dividing the two, 1.78. For all consumer displays you can also get the Aspect Ratio by dividing the screen's listed horizontal and vertical Pixel Resolution - dividing 1920 by 1080 is also 1.78. 16:9 is the standard Aspect Ratio for HDTV content, so it fits perfectly on 16:9 screens. While that's often called "Widescreen" most Widescreen movies have Aspect Ratios much larger than 16:9, so you'll see black "Letterbox" bars on the top and bottom of the screen, which reduces the effective viewable Screen Size and Resolution. Another common Aspect Ratio is 4:3 or 1.33, which is also the same Aspect Ratio as content from 8.5x11 inch documents. This Aspect Ratio is better for reading in either Landscape or Portrait modes, but not as good for viewing Widescreen content. The iPad has a 4:3 Aspect Ratio and the iPhone has 3:2 or 1.5. Other common Aspect Ratios are 5:3 or 1.67 and 16:10 or 1.6.

PPI Pixels Per Inch:   As a result of Apple's Retina Displays, Pixels Per Inch is a very hot Spec - it's one of the most closely followed display Specs, but it's also one of the most misunderstood. True, the higher the PPI the sharper the image on the screen, but what really matters is the sharpness perceived by your eye and that depends on the Viewing Distance from the screen (and also how good your vision is compared to 20/20 Vision). So PPI cannot be used by itself, but must be used together with the Viewing Distance in order to draw any conclusions about visual sharpness, and whether or not it qualifies as a Retina Display. While the iPhone 4 has an impressive 326 PPI, it is typically held relatively close and viewed from around 12 inches. Larger displays like Tablets and Laptops are typically viewed from 16 inches or more and need only 215 PPI to appear perfectly sharp with 20/20 Vision (what Apple calls a Retina Display ). In fact, existing 1920x1080 HDTVs, which are viewed from much larger distances, are already what Apple calls Retina Displays as explained in this Display News article.

Color Gamut:   The Color Gamut is the range of colors that a display can produce. A widely held and exploited misconception is that the bigger the Color Gamut the better - but it isn't... If you want to see accurate colors in photos, videos, and all standard consumer content the display needs to match the Standard Color Gamut that was used to produce the content, which is called sRGB / Rec.709. A display with a larger Color Gamut cannot show colors that are not in the original content - it just exaggerates and distorts the colors. A smaller Color Gamut produces subdued colors, and too large a Color Gamut produces over saturated and even Gaudy colors. That's why a smaller Color Gamut is visually better than too large a Color Gamut. Most LCDs have a Color Gamut smaller than the Standard and most OLEDs have a Color Gamut larger than the Standard, as illustrated in this figure. We objectively measure the Color Gamut in all of our Mobile Shoot-Outs and HDTV Shoot-Outs.

NTSC Color Gamut:   You'll see the NTSC Color Gamut Spec listed for some displays and reviews. It's an indication that the manufacturer or reviewer is way out of touch. The NTSC Color Gamut was defined about 60 years ago in 1953 and has been obsolete for over 30 years. It was never actually a true Color Gamut standard because consumer TVs never produced the NTSC Gamut even way back then. Specifying the ancient NTSC instead of the current sRGB / Rec.709 Color Gamut Spec is ridiculous...

16 Million Colors:   You'll see this Spec for most HDTVs, Tablets, Smartphones, Laptops and Monitors. 16 Million Colors is effectively the standard for most consumer content (including digital cameras). But it doesn't mean what most people think it does - a larger number of Colors does NOT mean a larger Color Gamut - it is merely the total number of possible combinations of the Red, Green and Blue primary color intensities. The primaries each have 256 possible intensity levels - that produces 256x256x256 = 16.7 Million possible intensity combinations, which are not really colors in the intuitive sense. There is also lots of duplication - for example, pure Red counts as 256 Colors. Not all displays can produce 16 Million Colors - you'll sometimes see 262,144 Colors, and some that claim 16 Million Colors can't directly produce them - more on that under 18-bit and 24-bit Color, below.

Billions and Trillions of Colors:   Some display Specs list Billions and even Trillions of Colors, which as explained above does not indicate a larger Color Gamut, but rather is just the total number of intensity combinations produced by the primary colors. What happens is those displays process the image internally using 1,024 or more intensity levels. When you multiply this out as above you get Billions up to Trillions of intensity combinations, which sounds very impressive. But this Spec is misleading and visually useless for two reasons: most consumer content only has 256 intensity levels (and that's all there is) and very few displays can accurately produce even the standard 256 intensity levels on-screen, which is the only place where it counts (most displays have irregularities that result in fewer than 256 distinct intensity levels on-screen). If you see a Spec listing Billions or Trillions of Colors consider it meaningless marketing puffery...

18-bit and 24-bit Color and Dithering:   As mentioned in 16 Million Colors above, the Spec for the number of Colors is actually just the total number of possible intensity combinations for the Red, Green and Blue primaries. For 16 Million Colors, each primary color needs 256 intensity levels, which is 8-bits in binary. Since there are 3 primary colors and each has 8-bits, they add up to 24-bits. That's called 24-bit Color and you'll sometimes see this Spec listed instead of 16 Million Colors. Some lower performance displays can only produce 64 intensity levels, which is 6-bits per primary and adds up to 18-bits. That's called 18-bit Color and it produces only 262,144 Colors. But the real problem is actually the smaller number of 64 intensity levels, which often introduces visually noticeable discrete steps into images that have smooth variations in intensity - from faces to the sky - it's called False Contouring. This effect is often masked by using two methods of Dithering: spatial Dithering, which uses combinations of pixels to produce intermediate intensity levels, but that reduces image sharpness; and temporal Dithering, which rapidly switches the intensities to produce intermediate intensity levels, but may produce noticeable flicker in some content. A word of caution: some 18-bit displays with 262,144 Colors use Dithering methods to claim full 24-bits and 16 Million Colors. It's possible to detect the Dithering on images with close visual inspection.

170+ Degree Viewing Angles:   Many HDTVs, Tablets, Smartphones, Laptops and Monitors list a Viewing Angle Spec, which is the full angle (compared to 180 Degrees) within which the display can supposedly be watched with satisfactory picture quality. 170 degrees is ±85 degrees out of a possible ±90 degrees. The Spec seems to imply that unless you are watching from a ridiculous 5 degrees from the edge of the screen you will see a perfectly fine image on the screen. This Spec is nonsense and very misleading because it is defined for the angle where the Contrast Ratio (below) falls to an abysmal 10. That is generally less than 1% of the Contrast Ratio seen when viewing the screen face on - so the picture quality will also be abysmal at that Viewing Angle. Viewing from other than the face-on center sweet spot generally decreases image and picture quality for effectively all displays. For example, in high-end IPS LCDs the Brightness and Contrast Ratio both fall by roughly 50% at ±30 degrees. For other LCDs there are also noticeable color shifts at ±15 degrees as shown in this article. For OLED displays we measured a 30% Brightness decrease and noticeable Color Shifts at ±30 degrees. So, the Standard Viewing Angle Spec is useless. We objectively measure Viewing Angle performance in all of our Mobile Shoot-Outs and HDTV Shoot-Outs. The best way to evaluate it yourself is to look at a fixed (frozen) moderately colorful image or photo and see how the image changes as you shift your viewing position.

Contrast Ratio:   Contrast Ratio is the Spec that tells you how good the display is at reproducing relatively dark content, particularly at or near black. It is measured in an absolutely pitch black Lab. It is very important if you watch movies with dark content under low Ambient Lighting. It's not so important if you are watching in bright Ambient Lighting (like for many HDTVs and most mobile devices) or when watching ordinary television shows and sporting events (because they have almost no dark content). Mobile displays should have at least a true Contrast Ratio of 500 and home theater HDTVs at least 1,500 (a good LCD). Videophiles will want at least 4,000 from Plasma HDTVs, and are waiting anxiously for the much higher values in the new OLED HDTVs, as explained in this Display News article.

Dynamic and Mega Contrast Ratios:   You'll often see displays advertised with Contrast Ratios from 20,000 up into the Millions. Unless it's an OLED display (which can easily do that) it's a phony Dynamic Contrast Ratio. The word Dynamic may or may not appear. This Contrast Ratio is calculated by using the maximum Peak Brightness from one image with the minimum Brightness from a different image that has a darkened Backlight - so it doesn't apply to any actual single image, which makes it very misleading, especially when the word Dynamic is left out. The true Contrast Ratio is what you actually see on any single image. The best LCDs have true Contrast Ratios of around 2,000 and the best Plasmas around 5,000, so ignore values much larger than that as marketing puffery. OLEDs deliver true Contrast Ratios from 50,000 up to almost infinity.

Response Time:   This is another over-hyped Spec that is a prime example of marketing wars fought with misleading numbers. LCDs sometimes produce visible Motion Blur because the Liquid Crystal (the LC in LCD) can't respond fast enough from video frame to frame when images change quickly due to motion, resulting in a blurred image. Standard video content is updated 60 times per second, so a new frame is transmitted every 17 milli-seconds. In principle, the Response Time measures how quickly the display responds in milli-seconds. It's important to make that number a lot smaller than 17ms (milli-seconds). A lot of advanced technology has gone into improving the hardware Response Times, but also a lot of advanced marketing has gone into improving the published Response Time Specs, with the values falling precipitously from 8ms, to 4ms, to even 1ms. Using high speed screen shots in this article we demonstrated that the true objective Response Times are actually considerably longer than 30ms. So the Response Time Spec is mostly meaningless marketing puffery...

LED TVs and Displays:   This one really amazes me because there aren't any LED TVs or consumer LED displays - the only true LED Displays are large commercial outdoor signs. What are being marketed as LED TVs and Displays are actually LCD TVs and Displays. The LEDs are just the Backlight for the LCD - nothing more - very misleading...

Brightness:   In principle, the higher the maximum Brightness Spec the better, but people often set the screen Brightness too high, which causes eye strain and wastes power (and reduces battery running time). The optimum screen Brightness varies with the current level of Ambient Lighting. Many displays have Automatic Brightness controls that should appropriately adjust the screen Brightness, but we have found them all to be functionally useless as explained in this article. High Screen Brightness is only useful when you need to look at the screen under high Ambient Lighting. But under these circumstances the Reflectance of the screen is actually more important than the screen Brightness because it washes out the image, and you generally see reflections of your face and the area behind you, which is distracting and causes eye strain from involuntarily focusing on them instead of the screen content, which is much closer. We objectively measure the Brightness and Screen Reflectance in all of our Mobile Shoot-Outs.

Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light:   Contrast Ratios (above) are measured in the dark and are only relevant for displays viewed in low Ambient Lighting. As the Ambient Lighting increases the Screen Reflectance becomes a dominating factor and the Contrast Ratio becomes increasingly irrelevant. We have defined a new Spec called Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light. It is based on Brightness and Reflectance Lab measurements that accurately indicate how well a display performs in high Ambient Lighting. This article includes the Contrast Rating, Lab measurements, and screen shots for 9 Tablets and Smartphones for Ambient Lighting levels up to 40,000 lux.

Anti-Glare or Anti-Reflection Treatments:   Many displays list within their Specs that they have Anti-Glare or Anti-Reflection properties, but most of the time it's a vacuous statement. Our Lab tests show that there is a tremendous 3 to1 range in Reflectance between many popular Tablets and Smartphones. We objectively measure the Screen Reflectance in all of our Mobile Shoot-Outs. This article has the Lab results plus Screen Shots showing how the screens of various Tablets and Smartphones degrade under high Ambient Lighting levels up to 40,000 lux.

-------------------- The Google Nexus 7 Display Stumbles and Falls Short...
The Google Nexus 7 is the first of the second generation 7 inch Tablets out of the gate... and it sure looks like it could be a winner. The published display specs look pretty good, and some of the basic Lab measurements also look pretty good. But just like in Triple Crown races, an important but overlooked issue can spoil the outcome. In this Display News item we'll explain what went wrong with the Nexus 7 display - the details will appear in our upcoming in-depth 7 inch Tablet Display Shoot-Out.

The display on the Nexus 7 sounds great on paper - a 1280x800 display with 216 Pixels Per Inch, within the PPI sweet spot we have recommended for Tablets, so text and graphics appear very sharp, but not as sharp as on the new iPad 3. It also has a premium IPS LCD, the same technology found on the iPads and the first generation Kindle Fire, which provides excellent wide viewing angles. In the Lab we measured the Nexus 7 Brightness (Luminance) to be about 350 nits, comparable to most other 7 inch LCD Tablets. Its display Contrast Ratio is about 1,000 which is excellent for mobile displays. So far so good... Next we measured the Color Gamut, something where almost all mobile LCDs come up short in order to improve power efficiency and battery running time. They typically provide only about 60 percent of the ideal Standard Color Gamut, which results in somewhat subdued colors in all displayed images, including photos and videos. For the Google Nexus 7 we measured an impressive 86 percent of the Standard Gamut - not as good as the new iPad 3's 99 percent, but much better than most existing LCD Tablets and Smartphones. So far, it sounds really good - but let's see how good it actually looks...

Even before I examined the display with our DisplayMate diagnostic test patterns I knew something was seriously wrong when I looked at the first of many sets of standard photos that we use to visually evaluate displays. Normally we compare everything to a calibrated professional studio monitor to check for image and color accuracy. But that wasn't necessary with the Nexus 7 because many of the images were noticeably washed out - they looked like over exposed photographs with missing highlights, reduced image contrast, and weak colors. However, darker images look a lot better than brighter ones, which actually tells us a lot about its cause...

Nexus 7 Intensity Scale So, what's the problem? The Intensity Scale (often called the Gray Scale) is way off. The display's Brightness fails to increase sufficiently for bright image content, causing bright image detail to be compressed and lost. See the Figure at left for the Nexus 7 and this Figure to see what the Intensity Scale should look like. The Nexus 7 Display Stumbles and Falls Short both figuratively and literally... There is about a 25 percent compression of bright image content, which is quite substantial. This holds for both the Gallery Viewer and the Chrome Browser. On some cheap displays this is done intentionally by the manufacturer because the compression actually makes them appear artificially bright. Here I think it's probably just incompetence by the manufacturer, which is too bad because they messed up a really nice display. Depending on the display firmware this may or may not be correctable with a software update. These tests were made under Android 4.1.1.

Looks like Google didn't pay enough attention to the Steve Jobs memo that the key to a successful Tablet is an outstanding display. If high image and picture quality is important to you, then you might want to skip the Google Nexus 7 and wait for a Tablet with a better display, or wait and see if Google can correct the problem...

Although the Nexus 7 has a high quality display, they messed up the factory calibration. This affects all displayed images, but it is most noticeable on any form of photographic image, including videos, because the color and intensity mixtures are visually critical for them to look right. On the other hand, for high contrast software generated text and graphics the display will look fine.

In short, the display produces washed out images and colors in spite of the fact that it has a display with excellent color saturation and contrast.

We'll provide all of the details in our upcoming 7 inch Tablet Display Shoot-Out. We're now waiting for the rumored Apple mini iPad and the rumored new Amazon Kindle Fire - the rumor drums are beating very loudly so we are expecting a Shoot-Out very soon... Stay tuned...

-------------------- Your Existing 1920x1080 HDTV is Already a True "Retina Display"
There is a widespread misunderstanding of exactly what constitutes an Apple "Retina Display" - or any display that has an equivalent visual sharpness. While the first Retina Display on the iPhone 4 has 326 Pixels Per Inch PPI, all Retina Displays don't need 326 PPI because the eye's resolution is not based on linear Pixels Per Inch, but rather on angular resolution, so visual acuity depends on the viewing distance. That is why you take a standard vision test at 20 feet and aren't allowed to walk right up to the chart and read the smallest letters on the bottom line - visual acuity depends on the viewing distance.

Apple's Retina Display definition is equivalent to standard 20/20 Vision - your eyes won't be able to resolve the individual pixels on the display provided you don't look at the screen from too close a viewing distance. If you have 20/20 Vision and view the iPhone 4 from 10.5 inches or more its display will appear "perfectly" sharp to your eyes - meaning the display appears at the visual acuity limit of your eyes. If the display were any sharper with a higher PPI or higher pixel resolution your eyes wouldn't be able to see the difference. That is what "Retina Display" means... Let's see what PPIs are needed for other displays in order to qualify as a Retina Display:

iPhone 4, new iPad 3, and MacBook Pro Retina Displays:   The new iPad 3 and MacBook Pro have much lower PPIs than the iPhone 4 but Apple correctly markets them as Retina Displays because they are typically held further away from the eyes and therefore still appear "perfectly" sharp at their proper viewing distance. Below we have calculated the viewing distances needed to qualify as a 20/20 Vision Retina Display (defined as 1 arc-minute visual acuity). For a discussion on the difference between the Acuity of the Retina and 20/20 Vision Acuity see this article.

The iPhone 4 with 326 PPI is a Retina Display when viewed from 10.5 inches or more
The new iPad 3 with 264 PPI is a Retina Display when viewed from 13.0 inches or more
The MacBook Pro with 220 PPI is a Retina Display when viewed from 15.6 inches or more

1920x1080 HDTVs:   On the other hand, the average viewing distance for living room HDTVs in America is around 7 to 10 feet, depending on the screen size. So to appear "perfectly" sharp with 20/20 Vision like the iPhone 4 Retina Display, HDTVs only need a proportionally much lower PPI in order to achieve "Retina Display" status and have the HDTV appear "perfectly" sharp and at the visual acuity limit of your eyes.

Existing 40 inch 1920x1080 HDTV is a "Retina Display" when viewed from 5.2 feet or more
Existing 50 inch 1920x1080 HDTV is a "Retina Display" when viewed from 6.5 feet or more
Existing 60 inch 1920x1080 HDTV is a "Retina Display" when viewed from 7.8 feet or more

Since the typical HDTV viewing distances are larger than the minimum distances listed above, the HDTVs appear "perfectly" sharp and at the visual acuity limit of your eyes. At the viewing distances listed above the pixels on a 1920x1080 HDTV will not be visible by a person with 20/20 Vision in exactly the same way as the Retina Displays on the iPhone 4, new iPad 3, and MacBook Pro at their viewing distances. So existing 1920x1080 HDTVs are "Retina Displays" in exactly the same way as the existing Apple Retina Display products. If the HDTVs had a higher PPI or a higher pixel resolution your eyes wouldn't be able to see the difference at their proper viewing distances. So existing 1920x1080 HDTVs are already equivalent to what Apple calls a "Retina Display." When Apple launches its own Apple Television it will almost certainly have a resolution of 1920x1080 and it will be a True Retina Display [for humans with 20/20 Vision at standard HDTV viewing distances].

4K HDTVs and Projectors:   Some manufacturers are introducing HDTVs with resolutions that are at least double the existing standard 1920x1080 resolution - 3840x2160 or more. They are often called 4K displays. Some reviewers have already claimed dramatically improved picture quality and sharpness - but that is impossible unless they have significantly better than 20/20 Vision or are watching from an absurdly close viewing distance. However, the higher resolutions are important for Digital Cinematography and cinema projectors that have large 10 foot or more screens. But note that there isn't any consumer content available yet for resolutions higher than 1920x1080, so save your money and wait for the Apple Television with a true 1920x1080 Retina Display...

-------------------- Ghost Images on the MacBook Pro Retina Display
Some users have been reporting ghost images or image retention on the MacBook Pro Retina Display. If you leave a bright static image up for a while and then switch to a uniform dark gray image you may see a ghost of the static image that may take up to 5 minutes to disappear.

This is not peculiar to IPS displays as some news reports have claimed. We've been testing for this effect for over 15 years and have seen it in all sorts of display technologies, including LCD, Plasma, and even CRTs - our DisplayMate products have specific test patterns to look for ghosting and image retention. In some cases it can take hours for the ghost to completely disappear. The ghost can be either a positive or negative image, and either color or monochrome depending on the cause.

It used to be much more common, but now it's unusual to see it in a display. The cause varies: an electrostatic build up, a chemical impurity build up, a thermal imbalance, or an electronic levels issue within the panel. Depending on the cause it can be better to leave the display on with a dark uniform image, on with a bright uniform image, or turn the display off all together.

We don't have a MacBook Pro Retina Display here to test yet, but there is absolutely no detectable ghosting on our new iPad 3, which is an even higher PPI IPS display.

This is most likely a start-up production problem that may already be fixed.

-------------------- Apple's Newest Retina Display on the MacBook Pro
The new MacBook Pro with a Retina Display continues Apple's strategy of making the display its flagship and number one marketing feature. It's brilliant and has made all other existing Tablets and Laptops obsolete. We'll see how long it takes other manufacturers to learn how to improve their display performance - Contact DisplayMate Technologies to learn how. While we are not planning on publicly reporting display test results for the new MacBook Pro Retina Display, here is some analysis and commentary:

Retina Display:   With 220 Pixels Per Inch PPI a person with 20/20 Vision won't resolve the individual pixels on the display provided the viewing distance is at least 15.6 inches. That is Apple's criterion for a Retina Display (not the actual resolution of the Human Retina, which is about twice as high). Since the typical viewing distance for a display this size is 18 inches or more the MacBook Pro is comfortably in Retina Display territory...

5.1 Million Pixels:   The 2880 x 1800 resolution display has 5.2 Million Pixels (and a total of 15.6 Million Sub-Pixels). That's an incredible number of pixels - your much larger HDTV has only 2.1 Million. Text and graphics will appear amazingly sharp. What is especially interesting is that this is the first consumer display that can do any justice to those 5+ Mega Pixel Digital Cameras everyone brags about but they are looking at on 1 to 2 Mega Pixel displays, which always seemed silly to pay for camera pixels you couldn't see on any display - until now...

Color Gamut and Accuracy:   While the enhanced screen resolution is getting most of the attention, Apple is also announcing "richer and more vibrant colors" for the MacBook Pro Retina Display. Good color is what gives a display its real Wow factor. But color needs to be done carefully for accuracy and not excessively into gaudiness as with many existing mobile displays. The new iPad 3 did an amazing job with color accuracy and picture quality - our new iPad 3 Lab Tests showed that it is more accurate than any display unless it is a professional display that has been professionally calibrated. The MacBook Pro Retina Display should have the same incredible accurate calibration, colors and picture quality so that everything including photos, TV shows, movies, and videos will all look exactly the same on all latest generation Apple devices. I've speculated in an earlier Display News piece that this how the Apple Television will be marketed to consumers and why it will be successful...

An IGZO Retina Display?   Traditional high PPI displays (with amorphous Silicon) are inefficient with both brightness and power. As a result, the new iPad 3 with a Retina Display needs a 70 percent larger battery than the non-Retina Display iPad 2, but the MacBook Pro with Retina Display has only a 23 percent larger battery with the same 7 hour running time as the non-Retina Display MacBook Pro. How can this be? You may recall that IGZO technology has been making headlines for months, first rumored to be the technology used in the Retina Display for the new iPad 3. IGZO is significantly more efficient than amorphous Silicon. It wasn't ready in time for the new iPad 3, but Sharp announced that production of IGZO LCDs with up to 300 PPI started in March of 2012... Just in time for the MacBook Pro... These facts lead me to speculate that the MacBook Pro is using a Sharp IGZO Retina Display...

Less Reflections and Reduced Glare:   I have been making a big deal about Screen Reflectance since 2004 - all of my Mobile Shoot-Out articles include Lab Measurements of total and mirror reflections from displays. So I'm glad that Apple is now making this a marketing issue. According to Apple the MacBook Pro Retina Display does not have a separate cover glass with an Air Gap (like the new iPad 3). This lowers the Screen Reflectance (like on the iPhone 4) but it's more difficult and expensive to manufacture (and a lot more expensive if you crack the screen). Apple is claiming a 75 percent reduction in Glare, which is one form or another of Reflectance. That is a factor of 4 reduction to 25 percent Reflectance of previous models. I find that 4:1 reduction claim hard to believe... more likely is a 25 percent reduction to 75 percent Reflectance.

An IPS LCD with Better Viewing Angles:   Like the iPads and iPhone 4 the MacBook Pro Retina Display has an IPS LCD with very wide viewing angles and no visible color shifts. There are very few Laptops that have IPS displays, so this is a Bigee too...

-------------------- LG Shows a Record 440 Pixels Per Inch Display
LG showed an amazing 440 Pixels Per Inch (PPI) display at the Society for Information Display SID Show in Boston June 5-7. It is a Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel display, the same as your 40+ inch HDTV, but on a Smartphone sized 5 inch screen.

While other manufacturers are working on 400+ PPI displays this is the first one to be shown publicly, and will probably be the first one into production - LG says by the end of 2012. Previous product PPI record holders include the iPhone 4, which has 326 PPI, and a 329 PPI HD 1280 x 720 display, also by LG. Note that the high PPIs quoted for PenTile displays (which only have 2 sub-pixels per pixel) are not comparable to the PPIs for standard RGB displays.

No surprise here - the LG 440 ppi display looked amazingly sharp from inside its glass case at the SID show. Very bright too - 500 nits, brighter than most mobile displays (but this display was not battery powered). The colors looked very good - LG specs the Color Gamut at 82% of the Standard sRGB/Rec.709 (but they shockingly state it as 72% of the NTSC Color Gamut, a 60 year old spec that is obsolete although it is still used by many manufacturers. I'll comment on the use of the obsolete 1953 NTSC and 1931 CIE Color Gamuts in a future Display News article).

One surprising technical note is that the display shown at SID uses traditional amorphous Silicon, which is not particularly efficient with brightness or power at high PPIs, and is the same technology used in the new Apple iPad 3. However, LG said they were also planning a Low Temperature Poly Silicon LTPS version, which is very efficient with brightness and power, and is the same technology used on the Apple iPhone 4.

Of course, one question is do you need a 440 ppi display? If you have 20/20 Vision then you'll have what Apple calls a Retina Display down to a viewing distance of 7.8 inches - at that distance or greater you won't be able to make out the individual pixels, so the display appears as sharp as your eyes can resolve. 7.8 inches is close, but not an unreasonable viewing distance. For some content you will need a magnifier to read any fine text and graphics designed for viewing on larger screens.

One major advantage of this format in a Smartphone size is that there is a tremendous amount of content designed and formatted expressly for 1920 x 1080 HDTVs that can be displayed exactly without requiring rescaling to lower resolutions, which always introduces scaling artifacts. So the 1920 x 1080 screen format will make the images very crisp and also save processing time and power, since the images can be passed unaltered to the display.

A display like this will require lots of battery power for the CPU, GPU, memory, and Backlight, so it remains to be seen how widely adopted it will be for mobile devices in the near future. But from a marketing perspective high PPI "Retina Displays" are very hot...

-------------------- The LG and Samsung OLED HDTVs at the SID Show
Both LG and Samsung had prototypes of their flagship next generation 55 inch OLED TVs on display at the Society for Information Display SID Show in Boston June 5-7.

The LG 3D OLED TV with its running demo was absolutely stunning - visually it was the most impressive TV I have ever seen. And if you have read any of my Display Shoot-Out articles you know that I am a tough grader for displays and don't readily hand out compliments (for displays). On the flip side, this was a prototype unit and I was watching a manufacturer's demo - and all good demos are finessed to be seductive - and I admit to being seduced at the show. But in our DisplayMate Labs and Shoot-Out facilities everything is objective and we have our own suites of test patterns, test photos, test videos, and instrumentation, plus I become just like Mr. Spock, incapable of being swayed or seduced by human emotions... So I am looking forward to testing a production unit later this year...

LG OLED TV Technical details that impressed me:

1. IGZO:   The LG OLED has an IGZO Metal Oxide Active Matrix backplane. You may recall that IGZO technology has been making headlines for months, first rumored to be the Retina Display for new iPad 3. It wasn't ready in time, so this was the first IGZO display I've seen.

2. Color Gamut:   The LG OLED has a Color Gamut that is 118% of the Standard sRGB / Rec.709. That is somewhat larger than the Standard, and will produce images that are a bit on the vivid side - and some people like it that way - but hopefully LG will provide an option for an accurate 100% Standard Color Gamut for purists. The larger Color Gamut will also allow the TV to compensate for the loss of color saturation at high ambient light levels - we'll see if LG adds that functionality.

3. 3D OLED TV:   The LG OLED is a 3D TV and it produced excellent 3D using LG's FPR technology that uses the same Passive Glasses that are found in most 3D movie theaters. The 3D image and picture quality were excellent - just as in my 3D TV Display Technology Shoot-Out.

4. White Sub-pixels:   The LG TV uses WRGB OLEDs, meaning there are White sub-pixels in addition to the traditional Red, Green and Blue sub-pixel primaries for every single pixel (this isn't PenTile WRGB). Ordinarily I don't like White sub-pixels because they are used to artificially increase image brightness at the expense of color saturation and accuracy. It all depends on the color management strategy and most manufacturers do a poor job of it. LG assured me that they are mindful of this issue and that the primary function of the White sub-pixels is for producing bright white backgrounds for Apps and internet applications with text. I hope so...

5. Glossy Screen:   The one thing I did not like on the LG OLED prototype was its glossy screen. Although the Screen Reflectance was relatively low, it was still a giant mirror and I could see everyone watching the TV in the booth whenever the images were dim or black. To be fair the TV was in a brightly lit area of the show and most people that buy an expensive high-quality TV like this one will put it in a home theater with controlled or reduced ambient lighting. A glossy mirror-like screen is fantastic for watching in total darkness, but very few people do that, and it's even dangerous as you can run into things when you get up... So I hope that LG adds some sort of haze finish and/or additional anti-reflection treatments.

Samsung had more than one OLED TV at the SID show:

The Samsung 3D OLED TV with its running demo was very nice but definitely not in the stunning category like the LG 3D OLED TV in my opinion. The running demo was mediocre and that might be the source of the problem. One surprising technical point - the Samsung OLED is using a Low Temperature Poly Silicon LTPS Active Matrix backplane, which is very expensive to manufacture. This first model is designed for showing off their OLED TV technology and almost certainly will be sold at a loss...

The Samsung 2D OLED TV was in my opinion horrendous because its color saturation was turned up so high that it was beyond gaudy and into visually repulsive territory in my opinion. Samsung has this thing about flaunting color saturation rather than flaunting color accuracy. They make excellent state-of-the-art display hardware, but when it comes to calibrating their own products they degrade the picture quality and accuracy with exaggerated marketing features and effects that are designed to make them stand out (scream) in stores and in marketing materials. To prove my point, the new Apple iPad 3 has a Samsung display that is perfectly calibrated by Apple and produces better picture quality and accuracy than any Samsung branded product that I have ever seen. See my predictions for the Apple Television below...

Pricing:   The first generation of both the LG and Samsung 55 inch OLED TVs are predicted to cost $8,000 or more - so sales will be limited to early adopters with deep pockets. Like every other new technology the manufacturing costs and retail prices will fall over time. Eventually, the manufacturing costs for OLEDS will be lower than for LCDs because they don't require backlights and other optical components. But that will take years...

A Shoot-Out:   Once both OLED TVs are in production it will be really interesting to do a side-by-side HDTV Shoot-Out. I can't wait...

-------------------- Sherlock Holmes Predictions for the iPhone 5 and Apple Television
I was hesitant about writing this piece because of guilt by association with all of the idiotic rumors circulating about the iPhone 5 and Apple Television. This article is different because it is based entirely on Sherlock Holmes logical deductions from facts that are in plain view for everyone.

Fact Number 1:   The iPhone 4 and iPad 2 have displays with identical photometry and colorimetry so images on both models appear visually identical (except for pixel resolution and pixels per inch). See my iPhone 4 and iPad 2 Display Shoot-Out. This is not an accident but results from a very careful systematic factory display calibration.

Fact Number 2:   The new iPad 3 has a much improved virtually perfect factory display calibration that produces the most accurate images and colors of any consumer device that we have ever tested. See my new iPad Display Shoot-Out. Again, this is not an accident...

Deduction Number 1:   The iPhone 5 will have photometry and colorimetry that is identical to the new iPad 3 in the same way that the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 are identical. Again, this is not an accident, but will be the basis of a major strategic decision by Apple. Starting with the new iPad 3, images on all future Apple devices and displays will appear visually identical and with extremely accurate colors and images.

Why this is Important:   The devices from every other manufacturer are not only inaccurate and different but also inconsistent from device to device and model to model. So all images look different on every Smartphone, Tablet, and HDTV. This is especially bad when people have multiple devices and are sharing personal photos with family and friends because everyone wants to be sure that they look just as good to everyone else as they do on their own devices. Right now that is definitely not the case... See my Mobile Shoot-Outs and HDTV Shoot-Outs for proof.

Why Apple will Introduce an Actual Television:   Why does Apple need to introduce its own Apple Television with an actual TV screen as opposed to just relying on an Apple TV streaming box connected to some other brand of TV? Because all existing TVs produce inaccurate and inconsistent colors and images that will be poor matches to Apple's own iPhones and iPads. Photo sharing is especially important and convenient on WiFi and internet connected TVs.

Why an Apple Television will be Very Successful:   Consumers will love the fact that everything including their personal photos, TV shows, movies, and videos will all look exactly the same on all Apple devices. Plus if Grandma also has an Apple Television then she'll see photos of the family exactly as they appear on your own iPhone, iPad, and Apple Television - and she'll know that her photos will look exactly the same on your Apple Television as on hers. That is priceless... And that's why consumers will flock to Apple Televisions.

This is all based entirely on Sherlock Holmes logical deductions. We'll see if my Sherlock Holmes accuracy is just as good as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's... I am leaving this article up permanently for the record...

-------------------- Displays can be invisible with Polarized Sunglasses
All LCDs and some OLED displays have issues with polarized sunglasses - that includes not only Smartphones, Tablets, eReaders, Laptops, computer Monitors, and HDTVs, but also the displays appearing on an ever increasing number of everyday products. More and more people have polarized sunglasses and they can significantly interfere with seeing the display - the screen can become invisible and just appears entirely black. Of course all of this should only matter outdoors, although movie stars and an increasing number of regular people also wear sunglasses indoors, so be careful and check before you buy...

Smartphones and Tablets:   With polarized sunglasses all iPads go black in Portrait mode. Other LCD displays go black in Landscape mode. Much better is for the manufacturer to set the extinction angle for 45 degrees orientation so that the display looks good in both Portrait and Landscape modes. The Motorola Xoom behaves in this way as do many Smartphones, Laptops and even computer Monitors. Best of all, manufacturers can add compensating film layers to the display that make this effect go away almost entirely by converting to Circular Polarization. The iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 do that and have no extinction at any angle (just a small color shift - see below). This extinction effect should only apply to LCDs because they use polarized light internally.

LCD HDTVs:   Fortunately every HDTV that I have checked has its extinction set for Portrait mode, so the screen will be invisible only if you are watching TV while lying down with polarized sunglasses. If you watch with your head tilted at some intermediate angle then the screen brightness will vary between normal and all black.

3D HDTVs:   If you have a 3D capable HDTV and are watching standard 2D content while wearing polarized sunglasses, what you see will depend on the particular 3D technology. FPR 3D TVs (that use Passive Glasses for 3D) are unaffected by the viewing angle in 2D because they use Circular Polarizers - so you can watch in any position including lying down. On the other hand, for LCD 3D TVs that use the battery powered Active Glasses the brightness will vary between normal and all black depending on how you tilt your head. See our 3D TV Technology Shoot-Out.

eReaders are primarily used in their default Portrait mode, so they should be readable and not extinguish in Portrait with polarized sunglasses. But both the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet are unreadable in Portrait mode with polarized sunglasses. Since both are IPS LCD displays they should switch to Landscape extinction or add a Circular Polarizer (see below). Note that E-Ink ePaper displays found on all of the black and white Kindle and Nook eReaders are not polarized and are readable in direct sunlight with or without polarized sunglasses.

OLEDs should not show any extinction effect because they don't use polarized light like LCDs. The Nokia Lumia 900 behaves in this way, which is very nice, but the Samsung Galaxy S has a surprising extinction at 45 degrees orientation - this effect is due to using an external linear polarizer in a Quarter Wave Plate to reduce the Screen Reflectance.

IPS LCDs can only be set for either Landscape or Portrait extinction. All other LCD technologies can have any extinction angle desired, of which 45 degrees is better for mobile displays. The best solution of all is a compensating film (technically a Quarter Wave Plate) that turns the Linearly Polarized light from the LCD into Circularly Polarized light. That is what the iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 use to eliminate the effect.

LCDs are everywhere... even my electric toothbrush and shaver have LCD displays.
Digital Cameras:   All digital camera LCD displays should have a 45 degree extinction angle so that both Landscape and Portrait photos can be viewed with polarized sunglasses. My Canon S95 and Nikon D90 both fail on this one...
GPS and Automobile displays are always used outdoors and frequently with sunglasses so you would think that all of the manufacturers would have checked to make sure that the screens are visible with polarized sunglasses. All of mine are fine, but several friends and colleagues have reported that their GPS and Automobile displays are invisible with polarized sunglasses.
LCD Watches:   My Casio LCD watch is readable with polarized sunglasses. I'm wondering how the new Sony Android Watch and the iPod Nano used as a watch behave with polarized sunglasses.
Unreadable with Polarized Sunglasses:   My LCD indoor and outdoor thermometers, Barbecue LCD timer, sprinkler system LCD remote control, (expensive) LCD TV Universal Remote, LCD Pedometer, LCD Caller IDs, and Keurig coffee machine LCD display are all unreadable with polarized sunglasses.
Readable with Polarized Sunglasses:   On the other hand, about half of my LCD clocks, my Alarm System LCD, Honeywell LCD Thermostat, and Panasonic cordless phone LCDs are readable with polarized sunglasses.

-------------------- About the Author
Dr. Raymond Soneira is President of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation of Amherst, New Hampshire, which produces video calibration, evaluation, and diagnostic products for consumers, technicians, and manufacturers. See He is a research scientist with a career that spans physics, computer science, and television system design. Dr. Soneira obtained his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from Princeton University, spent 5 years as a Long-Term Member of the world famous Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, another 5 years as a Principal Investigator in the Computer Systems Research Laboratory at AT&T Bell Laboratories, and has also designed, tested, and installed color television broadcast equipment for the CBS Television Network Engineering and Development Department. He has authored over 35 research articles in scientific journals in physics and computer science, including Scientific American. If you have any comments or questions about the above news articles, you can contact him at

About DisplayMate Technologies
DisplayMate Technologies specializes in proprietary sophisticated scientific display calibration and mathematical display optimization to deliver unsurpassed objective performance, picture quality and accuracy for all types of displays including video and computer monitors, projectors, HDTVs, mobile displays such as smartphones and tablets, and all display technologies including LCD, OLED, 3D, LED, LCoS, Plasma, DLP and CRT. Our Shoot-Out articles are a lite version of our intensive scientific analysis of Tablet and Smartphone mobile displays - before the benefits of our advanced mathematical DisplayMate Display Optimization Technology, which can correct or improve many of the display deficiencies. We offer DisplayMate display calibration software for consumers and advanced DisplayMate display diagnostic and calibration software for technicians and test labs.

For manufacturers we offer Consulting Services that include advanced Lab testing and evaluations, confidential Shoot-Outs with competing products, calibration and optimization for displays, cameras and their User Interface, plus on-site and factory visits. See our world renown Display Technology Shoot-Out public article series for an introduction and preview. DisplayMate's advanced scientific optimizations can make lower cost panels look as good or better than more expensive higher performance displays. For more information on our technology see the Summary description of our Adaptive Variable Metric Display Optimizer AVDO. If you are a display or product manufacturer and want to turn your display into a spectacular one to surpass your competition then Contact DisplayMate Technologies to learn more.

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