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Results: Brightness, Black Level, Contrast Ratio, And Gamma

Nokia Lumia Icon & Lumia 930 Review: Windows Phone, Premium
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Brightness

Brightness measurements are taken by recording the luminance output of each device displaying a full white pattern, with the brightness level set to both minimum and maximum values.

Nokia's Icon achieves the lowest maximum brightness result, though a peak of 300 nits was never an issue. The display is usable in all environments, even under direct sunlight.

In comparison, the Icon's minimum brightness score is actually pretty high. That's an artifact of Windows Phone 8's lack of a brightness slider. Instead, this is as low as we can get using the low setting.

Naturally, device comparisons are challenging with only three brightness options on the Icon. We typically dial devices into exactly 200 nits. But because the Nokia phone can't hit the number we need, we're testing at all three settings and extrapolating the results on a graph.

Black Level

Our black level measurement is the luminance output of a full black pattern after the full white has been standardized to 200 nits. It’s important to note that AMOLED displays always measure a black level of zero, since their pixels simply turn off to render black.

Boasting the only AMOLED display in our test group, the Icon is capable of a true zero black level. The iPhone distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack with a low 0.25 nit result. And the rest of the competition hovers around 0.35 nits.

Contrast Ratio

Contrast ratio is the difference between a full white pattern and a full black pattern. Due to their zero reading on black level tests, AMOLED displays are said to have an infinite contrast ratio.

The AMOLED screen wins again, as the Icon and its infinite contrast level trumps the IPS-equipped competition. Once again, the iPhone 5s' display leads the rest of the pack with an 800:1 measurement.

Gamma

Gamma compensates for the linear brightness levels displayed by a monitor, versus the nonlinear way our eyes perceive light. A gamma curve of 2.2 is what we want to see. Let's see how these devices compare:

The iPhone rules this test. While the Lumia Icon's AMOLED display is technically capable of a wider color gamut than IPS displays, these are often improperly calibrated by the operating system, resulting in disappointing results. More surprising is how poorly the Nexus 5 compares to the other IPS-equipped devices.

Color Temperature

Color temperature is a measurement in Kelvin that is used to describe how “warm” or “cool” a given display is. Ideally, as long as you're not viewing your device in direct sunlight, this should be in the 6500 range. Higher color temperatures result in a cool, bluish hue, while lower temperatures deliver a warm or reddish tone.

The Lumia Icon delivers a very cool 8300-degree color temperature. Although this result is probably higher than it should be, that's also Nokia's default setting. You do get color temperature and saturation controls, unlike most of the Icon's competition.

Color Gamut Volume

Our volume measurements are compared against both the sRGB and AdobeRGB color gamuts. A reading of 100% on sRGB and 72% on AdobeRGB is optimal for viewing the vast majority of digital content. Lower results are typically accompanied by an overly red or yellow image. Meanwhile, a higher reading is usually too blue/green.

The Icon suffers from its AMOLED display. Despite having a larger gamut of colors to choose from, we can see it's not calibrated properly. The rest of the pack displays a much more desirable result closer to the 100/72 standard.

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  • 0 Hide
    cleeve , April 27, 2014 11:00 PM
    We took Nokia's Lumia Icon for a month-long test to really experience life with the company's flagship Windows Phone 8-based platform. Some of the benchmark results from this Snapdragon 800-powered powerhouse may surprise you.

    Nokia Lumia Icon & Lumia 930 Review: Windows Phone, Premium : Read more
  • 0 Hide
    Amdlova , April 27, 2014 11:12 PM
    only problem on this phone is (verizon)... if you wanna spend 150us and a 1000 years contract. =) is right that numbers on benchies ? direct 3d working?
  • 0 Hide
    silverblue , April 28, 2014 12:24 AM
    Sorry for the possible double post, but this comments section is bugged to hell, so...

    I'm surprised by the bloat. My 1020 (with Windows Phone 8.1) has 32GB, of which 29 is available, after O2's (slight) footprint.
  • 1 Hide
    jasonelmore , April 28, 2014 5:31 AM
    why the hell does Verizon think they must put their logo on the phone? my god i would never buy a phone that had carrier branding on the front or back of the phone. Plus Verizon's logo is Fugly
  • -1 Hide
    vaughn2k , April 28, 2014 12:33 AM
    I have a Lumia 925. I will wait for the Windows Phone 8.1 update, that it seems promising... So the question if I will switch from IOS/Android to WP, then I guess I did, the 925 seems also a great phone, and the 'Store' has already a quite considerable amount of programs (or Apps)....
  • 2 Hide
    cknobman , April 28, 2014 7:21 AM
    My comment sucks. (Happy to edit out unnecessarily hostile sentiments for you. Keep it a little more pleasant or the comment will disappear entirely. :) 

    You did not even mention one of the coolest and most useful features that this phone offers that no other on the market does.

    The icon/930 comes with software that adapts every element on screen to the lighting conditions it is exposed to. Whether picture, text, or video it will analyze every pixel displayed and either lighten/darken/change contrast to make it perfectly view-able in any lighting condition.

    I saw this feature in person against my own GS4 and an iPhone 5s and it absolutely annihilates the other phones. I took a picture with my own GS4, sent it to the other phones (iphone, nokia) and then compared side by side. In shade the picture was visible. In bright light both the GS4 and iPhone 5S the picture was washed out and darker parts not visible. The 930 software detected the light, analyzed the picture, and dynamically adjusted the picture to make it look the exact same in bright light as it did in the shade.

    Hands down the coolest and most useful feature I have seen on a phone in the last couple of years.
  • 0 Hide
    aldaia , April 28, 2014 1:00 AM
    Wait, a "flagship Windows phone" powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800. Intel push into the smartphone market is certainly doomed.
  • -1 Hide
    shaun_shaun , April 28, 2014 8:03 AM
    still Windows Phone has long way to go. windows apps store still needs lots of improvements with official app support from big developers, optimized apps and regular updates.
  • -1 Hide
    tomfreak , April 28, 2014 1:36 AM
    We just need Lumia 1020 sucessor = Lumia 1030 with snapdragon 800 to handle the 40MP picture. A 40MP Lumia 1030 with snapdragon 800 CPU + 2GB RAM + 32GB storage + SD card expansion + a 3000mah battery will be the killer phone that no one is able beat it. Photography takes a lot of battery drain, since thats how Lumia 1020 good at, I just hope Nokia/Microsoft put a much bigger battery inside for successor.
  • 1 Hide
    RedJaron , April 28, 2014 11:08 AM
    Quote:
    Wait, a "flagship Windows phone" powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800. Intel push into the smartphone market is certainly doomed.

    Um, because Intel and MS are supposed to be attached at the hip? So, just because Intel isn't in the newest WP product, it's doomed? Surely that means nVidia is also screwed since their Tegra didn't make it into the 930.


    Quote:
    why the hell does Verizon think they must put their logo on the phone? my god i would never buy a phone that had carrier branding on the front or back of the phone. Plus Verizon's logo is Fugly

    Nearly every carrier puts it's logo on all its phones. Verizon is no different here.


    Quote:
    You did not even mention one of the coolest and most useful features that this phone offers that no other on the market does.

    The icon/930 comes with software that adapts every element on screen to the lighting conditions it is exposed to. Whether picture, text, or video it will analyze every pixel displayed and either lighten/darken/change contrast to make it perfectly view-able in any lighting condition.

    This has been in most Lumia phones, and I'm a fan of it. The auto-brightness setting works very well regardless of the lighting situation you're in. My 925 is perfectly legible in just about any conditions.
  • 0 Hide
    megamanxtreme , April 28, 2014 2:28 AM
    All is well, I still got my Lumia 1520, and it still reigns the king. 920/930 with bigger screen, for the win.
  • 0 Hide
    silverblue , April 28, 2014 11:26 AM
    Quote:
    Yeah, nice toys. About what the reviewer wanted, by the looks of it. But using these things as tools rather than toys for consuming media and maybe reading mail? No way.

    (I had been using Lumia 920 before I returned to 808 PureView. I still have it for testing purposes)

    Quote:
    I'm surprised by the bloat. My 1020 (with Windows Phone 8.1) has 32GB, of which 29 is available, after O2's (slight) footprint.


    Most of that is the OS itself.


    My original post was wrong; on my 1020, there's 29 of the 32 available to start with, of which 2.82GB is taken up by the system. Assuming a couple of gigs of apps and data, that still seems a bit better than what you get on the Icon. I suppose the lack of O2 bloat on my phone is because I didn't get it directly from them, though had I done so, it would've been the 64GB version... :|
  • 0 Hide
    cknobman , April 28, 2014 1:26 PM
    Quote:
    This has been in most Lumia phones, and I'm a fan of it. The auto-brightness setting works very well regardless of the lighting situation you're in. My 925 is perfectly legible in just about any conditions.


    You are in for a treat then because they have enhanced it and it is even better for the 930.

    They had a 920 and 925 on display there as well and while they did a decent job of auto adjusting it was 10x better on the 930. The representative said they reworked the software's algorithms to do a better job.
  • -1 Hide
    Aoyagi , April 28, 2014 3:02 AM
    Yeah, nice toys. About what the reviewer wanted, by the looks of it. But using these things as tools rather than toys for consuming media and maybe reading mail? No way.

    (I had been using Lumia 920 before I returned to 808 PureView. I still have it for testing purposes)

    Quote:
    I'm surprised by the bloat. My 1020 (with Windows Phone 8.1) has 32GB, of which 29 is available, after O2's (slight) footprint.


    Most of that is the OS itself.
  • 0 Hide
    BranFlake5 , April 28, 2014 2:08 PM
    What's the appeal of a windows phone over an android counter part?
  • 0 Hide
    satish12321 , April 28, 2014 3:59 AM
    Dude, how could you forget LIVE TILES. This single handedly put Lumia ahead of its competitors. Especially the new updates that will make it more informative.
    Android and iOs are like a graveyard of dead icons. If they font adapt, their fingerprint sensor, eye recognition and waterproofing wont be able to protect it.
  • 0 Hide
    Cryio , April 28, 2014 3:08 PM
    Quote:
    What's the appeal of a windows phone over an android counter part?


    In the case of this device: Perfectly smooth performance no matter what you do. You can forge the phone all the time and with how many apps you want, this thing will not slow down, compared to Android. Plus the scrolling is butter smooth. Flawless 100% of the time.

    It's also easier and in my opinion more fun to use.

    Also, like iOS, you can't screw you device installing/running too many apps.
  • 1 Hide
    Au_equus , April 28, 2014 5:21 AM
    Don, the specs listed in the table (first page) do not match the description given in the article.
  • -1 Hide
    shaun_shaun , April 28, 2014 3:38 PM
    too many Windows fanboys talking nonsense about Android. just try a custom ROM like CyanogenMod without bloatware if you think Android is slowing down in mulch-tasking. I'm sure Win Phone 8.1's notification center and other improvements will bring much more improvement in the near future. but as I said before you cant deny the fact that windows phone store still lags far behind compared to the competition. yes there are some good apps but overall its like a deserted island.
  • 0 Hide
    KungMagnus , April 28, 2014 4:02 PM
    Very sad about this review. Was looking for a reason to replace my 4s which I was never very happy with, not yet I guess.
  • -1 Hide
    nebun , April 28, 2014 4:13 PM
    this phone has so much junk on it...this is one reason why i love my iphone 5s, clean and junk free
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