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DisplayMate Finds Huawei’s Ascend D2 1080p Panel the Best, Leaving Sony’s Xperia Z Branded “Disappointing”

June 19, 2013 - Written By Tom Dawson

In these days of quad-core CPUs, 2GB of RAM and incredible GPU performance in our smartphones, it’s easy to forget that the displays are perhaps the most important part of our modern smartphones. Recently, the smartphone world has seen a shift in displays, it was once the reserve of Apple to have high-density displays but with the advent of 720p panels, and now Full HD 1080p panels Android is now beating Apple at their own game. Of course, high pixel density doesn’t automatically make a smartphone’s display great. DisplayMate have been in the business for a long time now and they recently put three LCD panels head-to-head. Huawei’s Ascend D2, Sony’s Xperia Z and HTC’s One were all put through a range of tests and assessments to see which one of them was the best, and of course, which one of them came out worst.

It’s important to remember that this isn’t necessarily what us at AH think about these displays, some of our staff prefer IPS panels to AMOLED, and some just don’t care. So, below you’ll find the summaries from DisplayMate for each device. We’ve ranked them in terms of how well they performed throughout the test, and so that leads us to begin with the Ascend D2 from Huawei, which got a lot of praise indeed:

With the Ascend D2 Huawei appears to have taken the same successful solid approach for display performance as Apple. In our extensive side-by-side viewing test comparisons the Ascend D2 was virtually indistinguishable from the iPhone 5 and iPad Retina Display, two of the most accurate and high quality mobile displays we have ever tested. The Huawei Ascend D2 joins an elite group of Smartphones with world class displays.

Here’s how HTC’s One fared:

While it has an excellent LCD panel (made by Sharp), HTC has significantly degraded display performance by introducing unnecessary image and color processing in a poorly implemented attempt at making the display stand out. The result is distorted and over saturated colors and contrast. And unlike Sony, HTC doesn’t provide an option to turn this processing off, which is a shame. Hopefully, such an option will become available in a future software upgrade.

The Xperia Z didn’t come out shining in this test and here’s why:

The performance of the Sony Xperia Z flagship top-of-the-line Smartphone can only be described as extremely disappointing. First of all, the Xperia Z has awful viewing angle performance, which is common for low-end low-technology displays, but is inexcusable in an expensive flagship top-of-the-line product. Second, the “Bravia Engine” that they brag enhances picture quality instead significantly degrades it, introducing extremely gaudy, oversaturated and distorted colors – similar to what you’ll see if you turn the Color Control on your HDTV all the way up to maximum. At least they provide an option to turn the Bravia Engine Off, which improves things a lot, but not enough.

Here at Android Headlines, we reviewed both the HTC One and the Xperia Z, and while we praised the display from HTC, we were less impressed with the Xperia Z. In fact, we’d say that DisplayMate hit the nail on the head when they branded the Xperia Z’s display as “disappointing”. It was a surprise to see Huawei come out on top but, we suppose that if you go with decent hardware and keep it simple, the results can be just as good – if not better – than a more complicated solution.

A lot of the time, viewing angles come into question when we talk about smartphones and while it can be said that enabling the person next to you to see what you’re looking at isn’t desirable, I think we can all agree that we’d like to see our smartphones from every angle. Here’s a test that DisplayMate ran, and it clearly shows that the Xperia Z’s display does not have good viewing angles:

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We’re interested in what you think, and whether or not you choose a smartphone solely on the performance of their display. To get the full low-down on these displays why not head on over to DisplayMate and read the full report?