It is a very easy work to tell the quality of a display, whether it is equipped on a TV or computer, or a smartphone. Just start up the device, have a look at the user interface, and you’ll get a rough impression, which, in most cases, is true to truth in the end. But there is always someone playing tricks to convince you that his display, which is not good in fact, is good, especially on the Internet.
While most people may not trust advertising maps made by CorelDraw or perfected by Photoshop, reviews do have influence on their choices. If you are going to buy a cheap phone from China, online reviews may be the only path for consultations. Unfortunately, neither all customer reviews come from real customers, nor all professional reviewers tell the whole truth.
For example, two phones with different display resolutions don’t look too different in a photo taken beyond a certain distance. Resolution, such as 1280x720 pixels, means the number of color points (pixels) that compose an image. The more pixels, the more details of a picture are shown, but when the distance between your eyes and the screen is long, the details are not so distinguishable. In most cases, we use mobile phones in a close distance.
A little theoretical? OK, I’ll compare two phones of the same 5-inch screen size but different resolutions for demonstration, namely, Axgio Neon N1 with 1280 x 720 display (HD or 720p) and THL T6S with 854x480 (480P).
I downloaded a 1920x1080 (Full HD or 1080P) picture from the Web and put its copies into both the two phones aforementioned. It’s hard to see how the Neon N1 has better performance than T6S in the first photo when my camera was held a little far from them. But in the second photo, the grass is sharp on Axgio Neon N1’s HD display, while it is a mass on THL T6S.
Well, apart from grass, there are some scenes with smooth surface to obscure the gap between high and low resolutions even in close look, such as the sea. Smooth surface means that the colors of neighboring pixels are very similar or the same, thus the reduction in pixels may not affect the visual impressions very much.
But believe me, your eyes are more sensitive than cameras to such changes, which can be better defined in macro photos. Now you can see that the Neon N1’s 720P display has high integrity while there is mosaic with the T6S’ 480P resolution.
An HD display has about 900 thousand pixels ( 1,280x720=921,600), while a 480P display has only 400 thousand. Apparently, pixels are one time more closely arranged on a 720p display, where it’s not very easy to distinguish one pixel from others. On the other hand, there is no doubt that 480P or 540P (QHD, 960x540) screens deliver granules to your eyes in daily use.
Macro photos may be the best way to show display quality in the aspect of sharpness. For example, displays with the same face-value resolution may have varied performance in practice, while a responsible reviewer may use macro photos to make the disparity visible.
OK, let me add a 1080P display from Huawei Honor 6 before my close-up lens for a conclusion: 480P and QHD, with obvious granules; 720P HD, smooth; 1080P FHD, impressive.
I didn’t mean to say THL T6S was equipped with a bad display. On the contrary, it performs quite well at its native resolution among Chinese phones, just like Axgio Neon N1 and Huawei Honor 6.
Besides real resolution, another factor that concerns users is color. If you ever got interested in photography, you would know that color is highly vulnerable to camera settings. If a professional reviewer modifies settings to enhance contrast or saturation, it’s impossible for ordinary consumers to discern that.
But if someone plays the comparative trick, there is a way to tell. We know that no display can avoid color shift when it is viewed in an acute angle, and it’s where a dishonest reviewer can deceive consumers. He may let his camera and desktop form an acute angle, put a well-reputed phone at the far end, place an advertised phone in the center of the scene, and then shoot a picture showing the false impression that his phone is as good as or even better than the real excellent one.
I’ll still use two Chinese phones to demonstrate the trick. In the first photo, when Axgio Neon N1 was located in a bad place, it looks worse than Cubot X6 (720P display, too). But when my view angle is vertical to the desktop, you can see that the N1 is truer to life.
Again, I appeal that all professional review sites should use macro photos to show display colors, because in such a distance, color shift can be neglected.