Top 10 Displays in Consumer Technology
There’s been an awful lot of fuss made over the display on the ‘new’ third-generation iPad, so we thought it was a timely opportunity to compile a list of some of the gob-smackingly beautiful displays on other current (or soon to launch) devices that we’ve seen.
Of course it’s what you put on it that really counts, but all content being equal, your movies, games and photos will be giving a fantastic airing on any of these beauties.
10. SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB 7.7
OLED displays have long been touted as the next big thing – but we’re yet to see the release of an actual fully-sized living room OLED TV at any price. These fantastic little displays have become commonplace on smaller devices though, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 having the largest such display that we’ve ever tested.
Measuring 7.7in across, this Super AMOLED Plus screen looks truly stunning. The Plus part of its moniker means that it has full RGB colour resolution (unlike some OLED panels). This gives it vibrant colours and deep blacks. 196 pixels-per-inch may not be the highest figure you’ll find here, but the 1,280×800 resolution looks pin sharp to us. A great choice for watching movies on the move.
9. SONY PLAYSTATION VITA
We have to admit to being wowed by the Nintendo 3DS when it first appeared, glasses-free 3D is still impressive now, but Nintendo hasn’t done enough with it, to date, to justify its inclusion on the handheld.
Sony has taken a far more traditional approach with the new Sony PlayStation Vita. Measuring 5in across with a 960×544 resolution giving a very eye-friendly 221 pixels-per-inch. We believe that the unit uses a Super AMOLED Plus display with full colour resolution, though this hasn’t been officially confirmed.
8. SAMSUNG SERIES 9
Samsung claimed at CES that its new 2nd generation Samsung Series 9 Ultrabook had the best display it had ever put in a laptop. Having got one in for review currently, we have to agree. The IPS panel has a 1,600×900 resolution, not unusual for high-end Ultrabooks, but it’s the incredibly bright 400nit backlight that really shines (sorry), making it practical to use in almost any situation. Despite this extra brightness, the panel still has plenty of contrast. A great display in a great laptop.
7. ASUS TRANSFORMER PAD INFINITY 700
Until Apple released its new iPad, the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 briefly held the record for the highest tablet resolution. It packs a still incredible 1,920×1,200 pixels into a 10.1in display, providing just over 224 pixels-per-inch, compared to the iPad’s 264. There’s a difference there, but it’s not as huge as Apple might want you to believe – being around 17%. We look forward to comparing them both side-by-side in the near future.
With its clip-on keyboard attached the Infinity begs the question: why don’t we have higher resolution screens on the high-end Ultrabooks? Surely some next-gen 13in models for Windows 8 should include at least a Full HD display.
6. PANASONIC PLASMA TV
We tried to keep this list to consumer tech you could buy today (one or two exceptions creeped in, admittedly); now this year’s crop of high-tech TVs aren’t with us yet, and we except LCD to make further gains on Plasma, but for now you can’t go far wrong with buying a Panasonic Plasma – the TV that many of us, and our families, currently watch.
The Panasonic Viera TX-P42GT30B for example, provides great blacks, fabulous contrast and fast response times – for both gaming and 3D viewing. It’s a brilliant bit of kit, and you should be able to pick up the outgoing models right now at bargain prices.
5. IPHONE 4/4S
Despite our dislike of the slightly meaningless ‘Retina Display’ branding, which seems to be based on some slightly meaningless scientific facts, we do love the display on the iPhone 4, now also on the Apple iPhone 4S. With a 640×960 resolution display squeezed into just 3.5in it manages a pretty incredible 326PPI.
With great colour and plenty of brightness, thanks to IPS screen technology, it’s still one of the best phone displays around.
4. GALAXY NEXUS
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus was largely known for being the first handset with Android 4.0 onboard – a fact that becomes ever yet more impressive as we wait and wait for more handsets using the OS. However, its 1,280×720 resolution display is equally notable of mention. Packed into just 4.65in, that works out as an iPhone rivalling 316 pixels-per-inch – or does it.
The Nexus, like many AMOLED devices actually uses a PenTile arrangement of coloured sub pixels. These means it has a lower colour resolution than its native resolution suggests. It’s still a great screen, but not quite a world-beater.
3. NEW IPAD
Resolutionary – it’s an abuse of the English language that’s hard to forgive, though this incredible display goes a long way to making up for it. The incredible 2,048×1,536 resolution provides over three million pixels in just a 9.7in diagonal display – that’s a whopping 264 pixels-per-inch. The improvement to photographs is noticeable over the older model, but its with text that it really shines, with incredibly finely crafted letters. Google maps never looked so good – though it appears Apple didn’t want everyone to see it that way.
Where Apple leads, others tend to follow – once they can get their hands on the same technology of course. So we should see similar super-high resolutions on other devices over the next few years. The trick is going to be making the best use of that extra resolution with solid software support.
2. KINDLE AND OTHER EBOOKS
The brilliant Amazon Kindle and excellent Kobo Wireless eReader, along with numerous other eReaders, all use the same E Ink Pearl displays. These clever, high-contrast monochrome panels have revolutionised digital books, as they are both easy-to-read under most lighting conditions (though you do still need light, as there’s no backlight) and are incredibly power efficient.
If you want to know how the screens work exactly then read our 10 things you should know about your kindle. Everyone else should just sit back, read a nice book and relax in the knowledge that when you finish it you can get another one in seconds – and all without having to go to Oxfam every year to offload boxes of the bloody things.
1. TOSHIBA ZL2
Eight million pixels. £6999.
Those are the two key facts you need to know about the fantastically-brilliant, but ludicrously-priced Toshiba ZL2. This 55in TV is the first ‘4K’ screen released in the UK. You’ve probably seen lots of 4K movies, as this is the standard projection format for digital cinemas, and if it’s good enough for a giant cinema screen, it’s better still over 55 inches.
Toshiba’s marketing revolves around the ZL2’s ability to provide glasses-free 3D TV – which works quite well and is great if you like to have 3D TV burbling on in the background. But we were more impressed viewing high-resolution photos and upscaled Blu-ray content (which looks fantastic). All a good thing as native 4K content is rather thin on the ground for public use.
Let’s just hope that 4K technology drops in price quickly, so we can all have screens like this one to watch the footy on, instead of only those playing being able to afford them.