iPhone 8 Plus Review: Display


iPhone 8 Plus is the most advanced iPhone on sale before iPhone X being put on sale in 3rd Nov. It is powered by the latest A11 Bionic processor with 10nm LP technology, Apple says it is better than any processor Android smartphone uses. Also, the display screen and technology are enhancing every year.

If we just concern about the specifications, the display screen on iPhone 8 Plus is almost the same with iPhone 7 Plus, 5.5-inch IPS FHD, sRGB and DCI-P3 color gamut, and 3D Touch. So, what's the difference in display? First, Apple added True Tone in iPhone 8 with iOS 11, which was first adopted in iPad Pro 9.7. Ture Tone would adjust displayed color temperature according to ambient light sensor. In our daily using, iPhone 8 Plus would be warmer in cold LED lights, and it would also adjust colors in outdoor using, but the color temperature almost still is the same with default setting.

Display experience had been an iPhone advantage over android smartphones these years. Till now, most TFT-LCD IPS Android smartphones, even flagship models, are significantly worse than iPhone in max brightness, viewing angles. Some are not that bright, some are not good on glass screens, for miss coating like oleophobic coating, polarizing coating, or anti-reflective coating, resulting too much reflecting in outdoor using, not-able-to-be-seen when wearing sun glasses, brightness and contrast losing in specific angles, or greasy-like looking in some AMOLED displays. Even the latest flagships, such as HTC U11, Sony Xperia XZ Premium, do not solve those problems, while iPhones keep improving in those experiences.

Manual brightness adjust was hidden into a deeper drawer from iOS 11, you can find it in General -> accessibility -> Display Accommodation. The color and luminance accuracy on smartphones may not that important as printing or professional displays, colors may be determined by manufacturers or consumers' appetite, however, iPhones keep excellent in those items, in addition, Apple provides Macs, which are also providing excellent display experience. By convention, we will use SpectraCal Calman for test to provide quantitative results. We will adjust display brightness to 200cd/m2 in our color and luminance accuracy tests to keep consistency from iPhone 8 Plus on. [The actual brightness may vary from 197 to 202 because of the adjust accuracy, color gamut, and color temperature.]

Display Mode True Tone On,
Natural Ambient Light
True Tone On,
Cold Ambient Light
Max Brightness 542 518 545
Grayscale (Gamma 2.2) 2.25 2.26 2.21
Average Color Temperature K 6930 6280 6974
Average Luminance Error, Delta E 6.09 6.99 6.42
Comparision iPhone 8 Plus HTC U11 XZP sRGB Mode Galaxy S8+ Pixel XL iPhone 7 Plus
Brightness cd/m2 545 434 358 399 401 525
Grayscale (Gamma 2.2) 2.21 2.17 2.22 2.29 2.18 2.21
Average Color Temperature K 6974 6600 6669 6324 6348 6794
Average Luminance Error 6.42 2.15 2.91 2.58 2.59 1.95
Comparision iPhone 8 Plus DCI-P3 iPhone 8 Plus sRGB HTC U11 XZP sRGB Mode Galaxy S8+ iPhone 7 Plus
Color Gamut(sRGB) 132.9%
[103% P3]
102.77% 131.77% 95.55% 98.99% 101.45%
Average Color Error 3.98 3.64 3 2.14 3.01 1.69
Largest Color Error 7.92 8.1 4.95 3.69 5.05 3.08
  • 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.

We can see from those results, Ture Tone, or actually, ambient light, affects iPhone 8 Plus displayed color temperature significantly that the smartphone would adjust it between 6300K to 6900K, so lots consumers feel their iPhone 8 Plus are yellower than previous ones. However, you can see from the Gamma curve that iPhone 8 Plus is a little greenish, so white and yellow distortions are a little high, and the color and luminance accuracy are not as good as earlier generations. From the color style, iPhone 8 Plus keeps the vivid, wide dynamic advantage, just like MacBook or iMacs. In addition, our iPhone 6s Plus almost remains the same color and luminance performance just like 2 years ago, representing the stable and reliable display panel quality.

During our daily using, we find human eyes are not that sensitive to green as red or blue, iPhone 8 Plus's colors looks almost the same as the earlier generation. Ture Tone is positive to eye protecting by adjusting color temperature, we recommend you switch it on if you are not a cold color lover. Another benefit of Ture Tone is higher peak brightness in outdoor using. Overall, iPhone 8 Plus is slightly better in outdoor using than iPhone 7 Plus, and keeps the same color style, however, not as good as the former generation in color accuracy, for greenish in with and yellow. It worth notice that we have to manually adjust to get more reliable colors in lots Android smartphones we ever tested. Now, iOS 11 also provides color tune adjust, will it be good to color accuracy? We may test it in the future.

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