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Lab Tests Confirm Samsung Galaxy S III Is Dim
The Samsung Galaxy S III has a dimmer screen than previous generations of Galaxy phones, a new lab report finds.
The Samsung Galaxy S III is a pretty bright phone, intelligence-wise. But its screen is a bit of a dim bulb. In a new lab report, Dr. Ramond Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies compares all three Galaxy S generations and finds that the Galaxy S III, while impressive all around, just doesn’t pump out the lumens.
The Galaxy S III uses a 1280-by-720, PenTile AMOLED screen, which is higher resolution, but dimmer than the Galaxy S I and Galaxy S II screens, Soneira said. The culprit seems to be power management: in trying to get decent battery life with a huge 4.8-inch display, Samsung had to turn the brightness down.
Power consumption figures bear that out. Samsung cut maximum display power from 2.1 watts on the Galaxy S II to 1.3 watts on the Galaxy S III, dropping maximum brightness from 289 candelas per square meter to 224. The lower power usage, however, lets the S III get solid battery life even with the larger screen: running time with the display on increased from 4.4 hours on the Galaxy S II to 5.6 hours on the S III.
That doesn’t mean the screen isn’t visible in bright light, though. Soneira rated the Galaxy S III’s screen as “very good” in terms of viewability in bright light, in part because the screen is extremely non-reflective.
Still, the brightness/battery math may be one reason Apple has kept iPhone screens small so far, Comparing the Galaxy S phones to the iPhone, Soneira found that the iPhone 4 has a 7.8-hour running time with a screen brightness of 541 candelas per square meter; the S III’s brightness is roughly half that.
Much more detail is available from the official report on the DisplayMate website.
In our own tests, we also found that the S III isn’t very bright. Turning off the automatic brightness option helped quite a lot; Soneira calls that function “positively awful and close to functionally useless,” an assertion with which I agree.
That doesn’t change our overall conclusions about the Galaxy S III line. Thanks to its low reflectivity, the screen is bright enough to use anywhere you need it – and the all-around excellent performance of Samsung’s new phones have given them Editors’ Choice awards on every carrier so far.
By Sascha Segan, PCMag