Technology

iPhone X vs Note 8 vs Pixel 2 XL: Which Phone Has The Best OLED Display?

The iPhone X is Apple’s first smartphone to sport an OLED display. You can say Apple is kind of a newbie in the OLED space. It was still stuck on LCD panels while most of the Android vendors moved on to OLED. Samsung is the leader in the OLED market. It has spent years refining the technology. Google has also added OLED panels to its new Pixel 2 XL. So, folks at Tom’s Guide pitted the iPhone X OLED screen against Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 and Google’s Pixel 2 XL to see which one has the best display.

iPhone X OLED Display vs Galaxy Note 8 vs Pixel 2 XL
Image Source: Apple.com (screenshot)

iPhone X OLED panel is better than the other two

Interestingly, Apple has used OLED panels made by Samsung on the iPhone X. The Note 8 comes with a Super AMOLED screen, and the Pixel 2 XL sports the P-OLED panels made by LG Display. The primary difference between them is that P-OLED screens have a plastic substrate that makes them thinner and more flexible, while the OLED and AMOLED panels have a glass substrate.

Tom’s Guide first tested the brightness of the iPhone X, Note 8, and the Pixel 2 XL. They used a light meter to measure the brightness. Samsung’s flagship reached only 408 nits. The Pixel 2 XL was a bit higher at 438 nits. The iPhone X OLED display delivered surprising results. It recorded a mind-blowing brightness of 574 nits. Google recently said it would reduce the Pixel 2 XL brightness by 50 nits to fix various display issues users have been complaining about.

Display brightness is particularly important for phones featuring OLED panels because they are dimmer than LCD screens “due to the lack of a backlight.”

When it comes to saturation, the characteristics of each phone were more pronounced. Tom’s Guide compared a still image from the movie Wonder Woman on all three phones. They said the Note 8 had oversaturated and unrealistic hues, while the Pixel 2 XL was trying too hard for realism. The iPhone X OLED panel “struck a balance” between the two phones.

The iPhone X outperformed its rivals in other categories as well. Upon comparing the color accuracy and white balance of the three phones, Tom’s Guide concluded that the iPhone X was ahead with a Delta-E score of 0.21 when True Tone enabled. The Pixel 2 XL scored 0.26 while the Note 8 was the distant third with a score of 0.5. The True Tone technology allows Apple’s phones to adjust the display brightness based on the surrounding lighting.

Even when True Tone was disabled, the anniversary iPhone found a perfect balance between the Note 8’s cool shift and the Pixel 2 XL’s warmth. Additional testing showed that True Tone helped enhanced the color accuracy on the iPhone X.

The iPhone X OLED panel suffers from the same blue tint that affects other OLED displays when viewing at an angle. However, Tom’s Guide pointed out that the blue tint was less noticeable on the iPhone X than on the other two phones. When viewed from an angle, the iPhone X does a far better job than the Note 8 and Pixel 2 XL. One area where Apple’s most expensive smartphone lags behind its rivals is pixel density. The iPhone X has a pixel density of 438ppi, much lower than the Note 8’s 521ppi and the Pixel 2 XL’s 538ppi.

Tom’s Guide concluded that the iPhone X OLED panel is the best of the lot. It’s quite surprising given the fact that it is made by Samsung. That’s ironic. Apple has modified and optimized the iPhone X’s display for accuracy and saturation to beat the Note 8. The Cupertino company was several years behind Samsung in switching from LCD to OLED panels. But the wait was worth it, said Tom’s Guide.

Features and specs of the iPhone X, Pixel 2 XL, and Note 8

All the three phones have a bezel-less design. While the Note 8 and Pixel 2 XL still have tiny bezels at the top and bottom, the iPhone X has practically done away with bezels. It only has a cutout at the top to house the Face ID, camera, and other sensors. The Pixel 2 XL has a dual tone aluminum and glass design on the back panel, while the other two phones have a glass back.

The iPhone X is the smallest of the three, and it is easier to hold in hand. The Note 8, which sports a 6.3-inch screen, is 162.5mm tall and weighs 195g. The Pixel 2 XL sports a 6-inch display, and is 157.9mm tall. The iPhone X has a 5.8-inch display and a length of only 143.6mm. Both the Note 8 and Pixel 2 XL come with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 for protection.

Both the Pixel 2 XL and Note 8 run Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chipset, though Samsung’s phone has a 6GB RAM compared to the Pixel’s 4GB. The iPhone X reportedly packs 3GB RAM, and runs Apple’s custom A11 Bionic processor, which is about 70% faster than its predecessor. In terms of camera, both the Note 8 and iPhone X have dual cameras on the back with dual optical image stabilization and 2x optical zoom. The Pixel 2 XL lacks a dual camera, but offers the same Portrait Mode photos as the Note 8 and iPhone X.