Display

With the advent of the modern smartphone, the display became one of the most important aspects of the entire experience as it was the only method of interacting with the device. To this end, Samsung has equipped the Galaxy Note 4 with their latest generation AMOLED panel, which has a higher resolution 1440p display, although this is achieved with a PenTile subpixel layout that makes total subpixel density lower than a conventional RGB stripe, so true subpixel density increases around 20% when compared to an RGB stripe 1080p panel. For reference, going from an RGB stripe 1080p panel to a 1440p panel of the same subpixel stripe would have a density increase closer to 80%.

In practice, the visible resolution varies somewhere between the “worst case” where the eye can see the true subpixel density and the best case where the display appears to be an RGB stripe 1440p display. If I look closely it’s still possible to see a fringing patterns in certain cases. Other than these minor cases, the Galaxy Note 4’s display has more than enough resolution for a smartphone use case. This is noticeably better than what I see with the iPhone 6 Plus, although in casual use it’s unlikely that these resolution differences will actually matter in most cases. I definitely think that there will be a visible difference for VR, although even the Galaxy Note 4’s display lacks sufficient resolution to have a “perfect” display in that scenario.

However, resolution is a relatively simple metric to look at. In order to better test the display we must look at other key metrics. In order to do this, we turn to SpectraCal’s CalMAN 5, along with a spectrophotometer for accurate color measurements.

Display - Max Brightness

While relatively simple, brightness and contrast are quite important as a display that’s dim or low in contrast will appear to be quite poor. In terms of brightness, we see that Samsung continues to maintain relatively high peak luminance, and a massive improvement when compared to previous generation AMOLED displays. While the normal peak brightness is a bit on the low side, as long as one uses auto-brightness the display’s “boost mode” will be able to activate and reach around 450 nits so in practice sunlight visibility should be more than acceptable. Contrast remains as incredible as it always is with AMOLED displays of this generation, although there still seems to be visible RC delay of some sort as there can be a purple trail effect when pixels transition from an unlit to lit state. I suspect this is mostly unavoidable, and is generally only visible at low brightness.

Display - White Point

Display - Grayscale Accuracy

The next test we’ll look at is grayscale, which can suggest issues with overall tints in the display and issues with gamma. In this area, we see that the display is definitely quite good in overall gamma but unfortunately there’s a bit of a green tint here which causes a regression when compared to the Galaxy S5 LTE-A Broadband. This is really only visible on some certain percentages of gray but it would be an area where some improvement is needed.

Display - Saturation Accuracy

While grayscale is one aspect of the display, it’s also important to look at color overall. One of the first tests for color is the saturation sweep, where the Note 4’s display performs admirably. At this point, there’s really not much to point out for improvement as the dE2000 average is low enough that one won’t notice any issues with color accuracy in Basic mode.

Display - GMB Accuracy

Similarly, the display does a fantastic job in the Gretag Macbeth ColorChecker. It should be possible to get a good idea of what a photo will look like on other displays and other similarly color-sensitive work on the Note 4. Samsung has also included other modes for those that want more vivid or otherwise more saturated color, which is of great benefit for those interested in such a color profile. The one potential issue here is that there is color shifting when altering viewing angles. In comparison to the Note 3, the Note 4 has a far better display. As-is, the state of AMOLED seems to be in a dead heat with LCD now as both seem to have their own trade-offs. However, we may soon see a shift as Samsung’s AMOLED becomes indisputably better than even the best LCDs.

Battery Life and Charge Time Camera: Still Image Performance
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  • BPB - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    Where are the final comments? Reply
  • JoshHo - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    Apologies, things were a bit hectic in order to meet the embargo. The conclusion is done but some aspects are still incomplete. I should be finished within the next hour. Reply
  • Try-Catch-Me - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    Anand would never allow this. Reply
  • CoreDuo - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    Except it did happen even when Anand was around. In a few GPU reviews by Ryan Smith and when Brian Klug wrote the smartphone reviews, they did on occasion go up incomplete when there was not enough time between when they got the products to review and the embargo date. They have always been finished within 24 hours of publication though. Reply
  • Try-Catch-Me - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    Relax. I'm just making a joke like how people kept saying "Steve would never allow that". Reply
  • kron123456789 - Thursday, October 16, 2014 - link

    LoL. Turns out, that New Exynos 7 Octa and Exynos 5433 in Note 4 are the same SoC))
    http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconduct...
    Reply
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Friday, October 17, 2014 - link

    They just decided to market the 5433 as a Exynos 7 series, however there are more in the 7 series (7420) coming out as pointed out in my article. Reply
  • noelbonner - Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - link

    There are a number of higher rated phones, I recommend seeing http://tinyurl.com/p7dujj9 among others. Reply
  • windycity23 - Monday, November 9, 2015 - link

    Or better yet, check out one of these http://tinyurl.com/qzz8a8y - quick and easy to read. Reply
  • Ramon Zarat - Monday, October 20, 2014 - link

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joke
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humour
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laughter

    A joke you say? Don't quit your day job just yet to become a comedian because I don't see any joke here as I failed to get the humor and I'm not laughing either. Next time, put a smiley or something so we can decipher your cryptic intentions: ;)
    Reply

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