The Ultimate Showdown: Discovering the PRO of Smartphone Screens in the Digital Era

The perfection of the smartphone screen is now the focus of the tech evolution with new handsets promising photographic-quality images, 3D-like viewing and connectivity superior to fixed-line broadband. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find out what makes a smartphone screen great, but it’s going to be even better than that. You’ll also find out about the leading contenders. It all boils down to the resolution, which for the first time with the new crop of smartphones, is higher than your Full-HD telly, and it towers above the resolution of your games console and the images you can create with a smartphone camera. Better yet, the smartphone colour image is potentially brighter than any photographic print you have ever produced in a darkroom – in fact brightness is measured in units called nits, and your new smartphone can produce a screen surface brightness of 1,000 nits.

The PRO of Color and Light: Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

When it comes to the best pro smartphone display, it’s hard to beat the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. At 6.8 inches, its AMOLED screen has a resolution of 1,440 x 3,120 pixels and around 505 PPI (pixels per inch). It’s bright too, with up to 2,600 nits of maximum brightness. A ‘Extra Dim’ setting makes it ideal for use outdoors even in direct sunlight. The biggest misstep, though, is the lack of Dolby Vision support – a fairly typical omission on top-line devices.

The PRO Brightness Beacon: OnePlus 12

Stepping through the 4,000-nit barrier, the OnePlus 12 is a true pro contender with a peak brightness of 4,500 nits. The handset runs a 6.82-inch AMOLED display, rendering images not only super-bright but razor-sharp and vibrant – with a resolution of 1440 x 3168 and about 510 pixels per inch – making for a display that sets a new standard for what pro brightness can do (though whether it really needs to be this high is another story).

A PRO Display in a Compact Form: Google Pixel 8 Pro

The 6.7-inch OLED screen On the pro side of the Google Pixel 8 Pro, you have a balance of the best of size, brightness, and clarity. The 6.7-inch OLED screen (1344 x 2992 resolution, 489 PPI) is one of the most beautiful screens on the market today and is in a dead heat with its competitors. Peaking at 2,400 nits, the screen was bright enough to see everything, even on a sunny beach.

The PRO of Elegance: iPhone 15 Pro Max

Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro Max has a 6.7-inch OLED display. That’s the size, and it’s probably the nicest thing to say about the handset’s screen. It’s not the most brilliant, nor the most densely packed with pixels, the highest resolution, nor the fastest to refresh compared with other handsets. At 1290 x 2796 resolution and with a 1Hz-120Hz refresh rate, it’s perfectly serviceable, although plenty of rivals have better screens. On this handset, Dynamic Island adds a bit of functional design to the duelling story of screen real estate.

The PRO High-Resolution Leader: Sony Xperia 1 V

Taking the resolution race a notch higher is the Sony Xperia 1 V with its pro-challenge 4K resolution of 1644 x 3840 on its 6.5-inch, 120Hz OLED screen. It’s a true one-of-a-kind mobile display, as it delivers 643 PPI. So if you’re a true devotee of detail in your viewing experience or just can’t find any fault in the image quality of your phone, this 4K beauty is the one you’ll want to be looking through. The screen might be a bit too ‘pro’ since it’s not large enough and it seems that it could do with extra customisation features.

Navigating the Sea of PRO Choices

For the technologies that make these devices tick, the smartphone has become a moving target. What makes a pro display for one user depends on the purpose at hand; a display with excellent brightness and the highest possible resolution and high PPI are key for one user’s activities, but they might not matter to another. Is it the OnePlus 12, one of 2022’s absolute brightest smartphones right out of the box? Or is it one of the Sony Xperia 1 V, one of this year’s highest-resolution smartphones?

Decoding the 'PRO' in Pro Displays

But what makes a display ‘pro’? It’s about more than just showing content, it’s about the delivery of that content in a way that engages. Pro is theatre. Pro is gaming. Pro is immersive. Pro is freedom. It makes every interaction a pleasure, whether you’re gaming, finding music or reading or simply browsing the web. In recent years, we have seen giant leaps in screens from the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, to the OnePlus 12, to the Google Pixel 8 Pro, the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Sony Xperia 1 V all striving to be the best.

Jun 03, 2024
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