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No need for 4K display on Apple's iPhone 7 because of screen quality, expert claims

Apple's Wide Color display on the iPhone 7 is the iPhone's best yet, with a record high contrast ratio and record low reflectance according to a recent third party analysis, and the quality of the screen may cast doubt on rumors of a shift to OLED displays.

DisplayMate has examined the displays on the iPhone 7 family, and has overall found them to be best in class. Besides just the contrast ratio and low reflectance, the company found the peak brightness in high ambient light situations to slightly exceed Apple's claims at 705 nits.

The analysts also discovered that the iPhone 7 has a screen reflectance of 4.4 percent, the lowest that the company has ever recorded in a mobile device. The overall record low is 1.7 percent on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Color accuracy, including both the sRGB and DCI-P3 Wide Color were examined. DisplayMate calls the iPhone 7 screen overall the "most color accurate display that we have ever measured."

"The iPhone 7 excels due to its record absolute color accuracy, which is visually indistinguishable from perfect," says DisplayMate, "and is very likely considerably better than any mobile display, monitor, TV or UHD TV that you have."

As a result of the display improvements in the iPhone 7, DisplayMate claims that the screen doesn't need the 4K resolution because of sharpness, will perfectly replicate any video content the user wishes to throw at it, and will force other manufacturers to "play catch-up fast" or be left behind in the marketplace.

Wide Color, as found most recently on the iPhone 7 family, is Apple's name for the DCI-P3 color space. DCI-P3 was designed as a standard for digital movie projection for American film industry. Most displays use the older "standard RGB" (sRGB) with a narrower color space — the iPhone 7 is calibrated for both color profiles, and shifts between them as needed.

Both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus feature the Wide Color display. The 4.7-inch iPhone 7 features a 1334x750 display at 326ppi, with the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus including a 1920x1080 screen at 401ppi.