Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ Review: Display


After Galaxy Note 7's recall, Samsung brought the latest Galaxy S8 series. The S8 & S8+ are not only equipped with the Qualcomm flagship Snapdragon 835, but also support iris identification and Qi wireless charging. But S8 & S8+'s most charming feature is the Infinity Display. A curved display screen expands to 4 edges in front, so Samsung removes the buttons above, and also the fingerprint sensor is moved to the back. Samsung flagships has a stable outstanding display performance among Android smartphones in both quality and color management. We are also expecting the S8 & S8+ having a better performance.

The S8 has a 5.6-inch display, and the S8+ has a 6.1-inch display, both share the same resolution 2960x1440, so the PPI of them are 570 and 529. This AMOLED display still uses the Diamond-Pixels Pentile sub-pixel array. Display screens wider than 16:9 are not that popular in PC market, lots joke this as hair-tail display. However, S8 & S8+ are different, longitudinal symmetry design, narrower border, and smooth curves brings elegant appearance. In addition, a wider display helps a wider view angle when using GearVR.

Most hi-end display panels are IPS, representing by LG, or AMOLED, representing by Samsung. IPS display panels has a longer life and better sub-pixel array, while AMOLED displays are widely adopted by Chinese manufacturers as it is more vivid and transparent in colors, and flexible in design. Also, AMOLED displays are better in laggings when it is cold outside.

Just like the previous S7 series, S8 & S8+ provide 4 screen modes for users to select: Adaptive Display, AMOLED Cinema, AMOLED Photo, and the Basic Screen Mode, each matches the NTSC, DCI-P3, Adobe RGB and sRGB color gamut. Users can adjust color temperature at Adaptive Display mode. In order to improve display on edge, Samsung provides Screen Edge Color Balance, user can adjust edge color display to the point he or she wants.

Display Mode[S8] Adaptive Mode AMOLED Cinema AMOLED Photo Basic Color
Max Brightness 403 397 395 396
Grayscale (Gamma 2.2) 2.24 2.27 2.26 2.27
Average Color Temperature K 7068 6287 6265 6276
Average Luminance Error, Delta E 3.27 3.78 3.82 3.67
Display Mode[S8+] Adaptive Mode AMOLED Cinema AMOLED Photo Basic Color
Max Brightness 408 403 402 399
Grayscale (Gamma 2.2) 2.25 2.28 2.29 2.29
Average Color Temperature K 7104 6262 6298 6324
Average Luminance Error, Delta E 4.12 3.05 2.73 2.58
Display Mode[S8] Adaptive Mode AMOLED Cinema AMOLED Photo Basic Color
Color Gamut (sRGB) 142.80% 129.81% 121.27% 96.2%
Average Color Error 4.32 3.87 4.26 3.43
Max Color Error 8.48 7.55 6.99 6.66
Display Mode[S8+] Adaptive Mode AMOLED Cinema AMOLED Photo Basic Color
Color Gamut (sRGB) 147.05% 135.46% 124.71% 98.99%
Average Color Error 5.25 3.91 3.83 3.01
Max Color Error 8.13 6.54 6.27 5.05
Comparision Galaxy S8 Galaxy S8+ Pixel XL sRGB Mate 9 Pro Moto Z Standard Mode iPhone 7 Plus Samsung S7 Edge Standard Mode
Max Brightness 396 399 401 365 339 525 349
Grayscale (Gamma 2.2) 2.27 2.29 2.18 2.05 2.16 2.21 2.13
Average Color Temperature K 6276 6324 6348 6702 6854 6794 6415
Average Luminance Error, Delta E 3.67 2.58 2.59 2.36 2.74 1.95 2.13
Comparision Galaxy S8 Galaxy S8+ Pixel XL sRGB Mate 9 Pro Moto Z Standard Mode iPhone 7 Plus Samsung S7 Edge Standard Mode
Color Gamut(sRGB) 96.2% 98.99% 98.41% 130.41% 109.12% 101.45% 103.60%
Average Color Error 3.43 3.01 1.44 4.58 2.38 1.69 1.74
Largest Color Error 6.66 5.05 4.48 7.37 4.18 3.08 2.73
  • Max Screen Brightness (cd/m2 or nits): The maximum brightness one screen could reach, without considering glass quality, algorithm or dynamic adjusting. Over 500 cd/m2 can be used under strong light, below 400 cd/m2 will be to use.
    Gamma 2.2: Gamma value is the key factor in contrast display. Our eyes do not perceive light the way cameras do. Under sRGB, if the gamma value is 2.2, the tonal range is just what human eyes receive. Lower than 2.2, the contrast will go down, otherwise, it will go up. Except the gamma value, we have to see form the picture if the red, green and blue curve overlap, if not, different color contrast will be different. The value between 2.1 to 2.3 is qualified for display, while if the value is below 2 or over 2.4, the contrast will be lower or higher than standard.
    Average Color of White: The average color temperature in degrees, D65 with 6500 K is the standard color of White for most Consumer Content and needed for accurate color reproduction of all images. Higher than 6500K will tend to be cold, otherwise will be warm.
    Color difference: A measurement used to indicate how much a color deviates from standard. The higher the E, the more inaccurate the color. This is because the human eye is only capable of detecting color difference at certain thresholds. It is hard to detect if average E is below 5, less than average 3 E and less than 5 E is excellent, the smaller the E is, the better the color is. Between 5 to 10 E is detectable, over 10E is significantly detectable.
    Color Gamut(sRGB): The specific range of colors that one device is able to display. Our test is based on sRGB. If wide-gamut device is tested, Adobe RGB or NTSC gamut will be noted for reference. Display with over 90% will be enough for everyday use, higher than a certain percentage will not affect using experience significantly. However, photo playback requires precisely range, 10bit video requires wider gamut.
    Restricted by our devices, we will not test the viewing angle. On average, more than 30 would bring over 50% brightness loss.

S8 and S8+ are similar in color display, color temperature and grayscale. Color temperature in AMOLED Cinema, AMOLED Photo, and the Basic Screen Mode is around 6300K, lower than the 6500K standard, which makes it looks a little warm and red. So they are not ideal in luminance error and color accuracy test. For the contrast part, S8 and S8+ is a little higher than the Gamma 2.2 standard, which brings a bright color performance. Even in the Adaptive Display mode, S8 & S8+'s color and grayscale performance are still better most China brand smartphones, but it looks too vivid, we felt a little dazzling when using warm color apps like Taobao or

S8 & S8+ perform best in AMOLED Cinema mode, the color temperature is near the standard DCI-P3 6300K, and each covers 99% and 101% of DCI-P3 color gamut. However, most online videos are recorded by other color gamut, and most of them are low quality, so find and play a high resolution movie in smartphone is not that easy. AMOLED Photo just cover about 85% of Adobe RGB standard, and Basic Screen Mode does not cover all sRGB color gamut. Our S8 and S8+ have about deltaE 1.4 luminance error on the top and bottom, much lower than S6 Edge.

S8 improves the max luminance over 10% than that of S7, which enhances the outdoor user experience. The curved edge also brings color shifting, the colors on the edge still appears to be reddish. The Screen Edge Color Balance would help, but just in Adaptive Color Mode. We recommend you to use this mode if you do not take this phone as a professional display for photos or videos. Although S8 & S8+ are outstanding in display, but they are not perfect. S8 & S8+ are not as stable as iPhones in color temperature, color display and luminance error.

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