Display Measurement

When it comes to displays, last year's iPhone XS didn’t showcase any major display changes compared to the original iPhone X, as the two phones seemingly shared the same display panel. In contrast to that situation, for the new iPhone 11 Pros, Apple is advertising using a newer generation panel which brings notable improvements with it.

In terms of dimensions or resolution, there’s no visible changes on the new panels, and you’d have to look under the hood to see what has actually changed. The most notable improvement this year is a switch in the OLED emitter material that’s been used by Samsung in producing the new screen. The new generation emitter was first introduced in the display panel of the Galaxy S10, and to my knowledge it has subsequently only been used in the Note10 series as well as the new OnePlus 7T (regular version only). The iPhone 11 Pro phones now join this limited group of devices, and the biggest improvements to the user experience will be higher maximum brightness levels as well as improved power efficiency.

The regular iPhone 11, on the other hand does not seem to have changed much from the iPhone XR. It remains a relatively lower resolution LCD screen, although its display characteristics remain excellent.

We move on to the display calibration and fundamental display measurements of the iPhone 11 screens. As always, we thank X-Rite and SpecraCal, as our measurements are performed with an X-Rite i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer, with the exception of black levels which are measured with an i1Display Pro colorimeter. Data is collected and examined using SpectraCal's CalMAN software.

Display Measurement - Maximum Brightness 

In terms of maximum brightness, Apple has advertised that the new iPhone 11 Pro’s can reach up to 800nits of brightness displaying regular content. We’re able to verify this, as our 11 Pro Max sample reached 807 nits while the 11 pro reached 790 nits. Consequently, it’s quite odd to see that the LCD-based iPhone 11 is now the lowest brightness device in the line-up. As always, Apple doesn’t make use of any brightness boost mechanism and thus allows its peak brightness to be achieved in any scenario.

Apple also advertises that the screen does go up to 1200 peak brightness in HDR content, however I haven’t been able to go ahead to verify this in our current test suite.

 
SpectraCal CalMAN
               iPhone 11: 
        iPhone 11 Pro: 
iPhone 11 Pro Max: 

In the greyscale tests, all the iPhones perform extremely well, as expected. The Pro models do showcase a tendency to have slightly too strong red levels, so their color temperature is ever so slightly too warm. This characteristic diminishes the higher in brightness we go on the Pro models. The iPhone 11 has a weakness in the greens, so its color temperature is a above the 6500K white point target.

Gamma levels are excellent and target levels of 2.2. The Pro models are veering off towards higher gamma at higher picture levels, something that isnt as prominently exhibited by the iPhone 11. I’m not sure if this is due to a non-linear APL compensation of the phone screen during our measurement patterns, or if there’s an actual issue of the calibration.


iPhone 11 / SpectraCal CalMAN
iPhone 11 Pro / SpectraCal CalMAN
iPhone 11 Pro Max / SpectraCal CalMAN

Display Measurement - Greyscale Accuracy

The dE2000 deviation scores for the Pro models this year are slightly worse than what we saw in last year’s XS devices, however it’s still firmly among the best in class devices out there in the market, and you’d be hard pressed to perceive the small deviations. The iPhone 11 oddly enough does fare a bit worse off than the iPhone XR due to the larger deviations in color balance.


iPhone 11 / SpectraCal CalMAN

In the sRGB color space (default device content), the iPhone 11 performs extremely well with only minor shifts in hue in the greens.


iPhone 11 Pro / SpectraCal CalMAN

iPhone 11 Pro Max / SpectraCal CalMAN

In the same test, both the Pro models are showcasing exemplary accuracy.

Display Measurement - Saturation Accuracy - sRGB dE2000

The Pro models are just a bit worse off than the XS models of last year, but again these are among the most accurate displays you’ll find out there – mobile devices or not. The iPhone 11 is still excellent, although showing a bit larger deviation compared to the XR.


iPhone 11 / SpectraCal CalMAN


iPhone 11 Pro / SpectraCal CalMAN


iPhone 11 Pro Max / SpectraCal CalMAN

Display Measurement - Saturation Accuracy - Display-P3

For Display P3 content, the iPhone 11 Pro models showcase the best saturation accuracies we’ve ever measured on any display. This time around, the iPhone 11 is in line with the XR.


iPhone 11 / SpectraCal CalMAN

In the Gretag-MacBeth test of common tones, the only real issue of the iPhone 11 is the whites which had showcased a weakness of greens. Notice how the luminosity of the tones are essentially absolutely perfect.


iPhone 11 Pro / SpectraCal CalMAN


iPhone 11 Max Pro / SpectraCal CalMAN

Display Measurement - Gretag–Macbeth Colour Accuracy

Overall in terms of the color calibration and screen quality, the iPhones are the very best in the industry. There’s really nothing I can say about them as they’re class-leading in every regard.

The iPhone 11’s LCD screen isn’t for my taste due to the lower resolution, which frankly does bother me, and it certainly doesn’t have the same contrast characteristics as the Pro models. So while colors are still extremely good, it remains a compromise in 2019 when essentially every manufacturer has moved on to adopt OLED screens.

Display Power Measurements - Generational Improvements

Naturally, we didn’t want to finish the display evaluation section without verifying Apple’s claims about the new improved power efficiency of the iPhone 11 Pro panels.

Comparing the three generations of identical format iPhones, we again see that the display power consumption between the original iPhone X and the XS didn’t differ much at all. Plotting the new iPhone 11 Pro in the chart however we immediately see the difference in the new generation.

At equal brightness levels, Apple has indeed been able to improve the power efficiency of the panel by 15% - just as Apple’s marketing described it. We also see how the new panel expands past the brightness limits of the X and XS, reaching 800nits. This does come at a cost however, as the improved power efficiency isn’t able to completely make up for the larger brightness increase, so the maximum power consumption of the screen displaying full white does rise from 2.6W to 3.1W.

GPU Performance & Power Battery Life - A Magnitude Shift
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  • Henk Poley - Saturday, October 19, 2019 - link

    Does the A13 have more security features, such as the pointer encryption that was added with the A12 (essentially binding pointers to their origin (e.g. processes)) ? It was kinda interesting that the recent mass exploitation of iPhones uncovered, didn't touch any of the A12 iDevices (and neither does jailbreaks). Reply
  • techsorz - Sunday, October 20, 2019 - link

    I'm sorry Anandtech, but your GPU review is absolutely horrendous. You are using 3Dmark on iOS, which hasn't recieved an update since IOS 10 and then compare it to the Android version which was updated June 2019. There is a reason you are getting conflicted results when you switch over to GFXbench, which was updated on iOS in 2018. How this didn't make you wonder, is amazing. Reply
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Sunday, October 20, 2019 - link

    The 3D workloads do not get updated between the update versions, so your whole logic is moot. Reply
  • techsorz - Sunday, October 20, 2019 - link

    Are you kidding me? The load won't change, but the score sure will. It makes it look like the iPhone throttles much more than it does in reality. That the score is 50% less due to unoptimized garbage does not mean that the chipset actually throttled with 50%.

    I can't believe that I have to explain this to you, 3Dmark supports an operative system that is 3 years old, for all we know it is running in compatibility mode and is emulated.
    Reply
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Sunday, October 20, 2019 - link

    Explain to me how the score will change if the workload doesn't change? That makes absolutely zero sense.

    You're just spouting gibberish with stuff as compatibility mode or emulation as those things don't even exist - the workload is running on Metal and the iOS version is irrelevant in that regard.
    Reply
  • techsorz - Monday, October 21, 2019 - link

    In computing you have what is called a low-level 3D API. This is what Metal and DirectX is. This is what controls how efficiently you use the hardware you have available. If you have a new version of this API in say, IOS 13, and you run an iOS 10 application, you will run into compatibility issues. These issues can degrade performance without it being proportional to the actual throttling taking place. On android however, it is compatible with the latest low-level API's as well as various performance modes.

    The hillarious thing is that Anandtech even contradict themselves, using an "only" 1 year outdated benchmark, where the iPhone suddenly throttles less at full load. This entire article is just a box full of fail, if you want to educate yourself, I suggest you watch Speedtest G on Youtube. Or Gary Explains. He has a video on both 'REAL' iOS and Android throttling, done using the latest version of their respective API
    Reply
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Monday, October 21, 2019 - link

    > If you have a new version of this API in say, IOS 13, and you run an iOS 10 application, you will run into compatibility issues. These issues can degrade performance without it being proportional to the actual throttling taking place. On android however, it is compatible with the latest low-level API's as well as various performance modes.

    Complete and utter nonsense. You literally have no idea what you're talking about.
    Reply
  • techsorz - Monday, October 21, 2019 - link

    How about you provide a proper response instead of saying it's nonsense. How can the throttling be different at full load on 2 different benchmarks otherwhise? There is clearly no connection between actual throttling and the score itself. You are literally contradicting yourself in your own review. Reply
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Monday, October 21, 2019 - link

    A proper response to what exactly? Until now all you managed to do is complain is that the test is somehow broken and wrong and I need to educate myself.

    The whole thing has absolutely nothing to do with software versions or OS version or whatever other thing. The peak and sustained scores are performed with the same workloads and nothing other than the phone's temperature has changed - the % throttling is a physical attribute of the phone, the benchmark doesn't decide to suddenly throttle more on one benchmark more than the other simply because it's somehow been released a few years ago.

    The throttling is different on the different tests *because they are different workloads*. 3DMark and Aztec High will put very high stress the ALUs on the GPU, more than the other tests and create more heat on and hotspot temperatures the GPU, resulting into more throttling in and reduced frequencies those tests. T-Rex for example will be less taxing on the GPU in terms of its computation blocks have more load spread out to the CPU and DRAM, also spreading out temperature, and that's why it throttles the least amount.
    Reply
  • techsorz - Monday, October 21, 2019 - link

    Thank you for your informative reply. Then, is it crazy to assume that 3-year-old 3Dmark benchmark is not providing the same workload as the 2019 version on Android? Maybe you could run an outdated buggy benchmark on a rog 2 as well and it would stress the ALU even more? Possibly, the rog 2 is getting a much more sensible workload while the iPhone is getting unrealistic loads that don't utilize the archiecture at all. In which case, it is pretty unfair and misleading. It's like taking a car and only testing 1 wheel and the other cars get to use all 4. Reply

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