LCD Performance, Quantified
If you plot out the iPhone 5's gamut over an LUV (Luminescence, red-to-green, blue-to-yellow) color map, it's pretty clear that we're dealing with a different LCD screen than what the iPhone 4S used. Apple cites similar technical specs, but the color output is inherently different. Even if the pictures on the previous page seem like they could be subjective, the gamut map proves that there’s a substantial increase in blue saturation.
According to Apple, color saturation on the iPhone 5 is 44% higher than what you get on the 4/4S. That claim is based on the NTSC 1953 standard, named for the year when it was codified. It's mainly used in discussions about televisions.
Computer monitors evolved at a much faster pace than televisions, though. And as a result, we often talk in terms of much bigger gamuts. Adobe RGB1988 and sRGB are more commonly the references when it comes to photography, printing, and color accuracy.
We measure a gamut value of 66% for the iPhone 5 in Adobe RGB1998. That's a roughly 54% increase over the iPhone 4S, which we peg at 43%. That’s a substantial gain, backed by the sRGB measurement that shows the iPhone 5 achieving 92% of the sRGB color space.
However, the One X puts up slightly better results. Covering 97% of the sRGB gamut, HTC’s flagship looks remarkable compared to the iPhone 5. Although that 5% delta may not seem like much, it is apparent if you have an eye for photography.
But the crown goes to Samsung's Galaxy S III. It’s the only example of the four phones we're testing with an AMOLED screen, and that's why it has an insanely high contrast ratio of 5444:1. Blacks truly look black. Even though its luminance result isn't that high, Samsung's S III looks just as brilliant as the iPhone 5, and it boasts better color fidelity.