iPhone 11 Pro Max Vs Galaxy Note 10 Plus: In-Depth Display Comparison


When we talk about a flagship gadget, each of the device's parameters have to be top-notch. Manufacturers strive to ensure this, but as the industry matures, the lines that differentiate the peak performance difference between such parameters get blurred. Therefore, to ascertain which gadget is superior in one area (display, camera performance, etc) in-depth analyses are necessary. Apple's iPhone 11 lineup became official earlier this month, and as the first devices start to enter the market, we can gauge just how different the device is from its biggest competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus.

To that end, we've already compared the gadgets' specifications in-depth and taken a look at their benchmarks. Now, as the good folks over at DisplayMate are out with a display analysis of the iPhone 11 Pro Max, we can compare the two OLED panels present on the Note 10 and the iPhone. This comparison is justified as both gadgets support HDR10+ and are capable of support modern video playback standards.

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iPhone 11 Pro Max Vs Galaxy Note 10 Plus: Display Reflectance, Brightness, Color Accuracy, Power Consumption Compared

When analyzing a display, it isn't all about resolution. While a lot of displays integrate pixels sufficient to earn them a 4K qualification, how these pixels reproduce content and other parameters set apart the winners from the losers. Naturally, these parameters require investments, and it's no surprise that high-end gadgets incorporating some of the best display panels in the world have equally high prices.

Therefore, we've segregated this comparison into three segments. The first deals with color accuracy, intensity and shift. The second compares brightness and accuracy, while the third segment sees how the iPhone and Note hold up when their viewing angles and power consumption are tested.

Before we start, here's a brief overlay on the display specifications of the Galaxy Note 10 Plus and iPhone 11 Pro Max. The Note 10 has the larger display, and therefore it's got more pixels (4.4PM vs the iPhone's 3.3MP). Samsung's phablet has 2.2 million blue and red subpixels each, and 4.4 million green subpixels, while Apple's iPhone has 1.7 million blue and red subpixels each, and 3.3 million green subpixels.

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Both support DCI-P3 and sRGB color gamuts with automatic switching, but the Note 10 Plus also features a vivid mode with the native wide color gamut of an OLED display.

iPhone 11 Pro Max Vs Galaxy Note 10 Plus: Absolute &  White Color Accuracy Goes To Note 10, Color Accuracy With APL Goes To iPhone

When we talk about color accuracy, the iPhone 11 Pro Max's White color temperature is almost perfectly alligned with the D65 Standard (6500K). Samsung's Note 10 Plus, on the other hand, has slightly warmer whites. Samsung's phablet does have more white color accuracy (JNCD = Just Noticeable Color Difference) of 0.3, less than the iPhone 11 Pro Max's 0.5. Samsung's phablet also has more accurate color reproduction on average, with the iPhone's error double at 0.8 JNCD for the DCI-P3 color gamut.

The largest color error for Cyan-Blue is 2.6 in DCI-P3 and 2.8 in sRGB for the iPhone 11 Pro Max. This is significantly higher than the Note 10 Plus' readings, especially for sRGB where the difference is more than 3x. However, the tables turn when we analyze the two devices with the Average Picture Level (APL).

For OLED displays, APL is defined as the number of red/green/blue pixels on a display fired up divided by all three fired up to produce white. So a 50% average pixel level means that either one pixel set is fully firing up and another is partially firing up, or all three are partially firing up or one is fully firing and two are partially firing.

Based on APL, which reflects real-life usage, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is superior. Its whites are slightly more accurate than the Note 10's for DCI-P3 and sRGB, and its average color error is almost a quarter of the Note. This difference is also visible in the devices' largest color error. Finally, talking about intensity (a display's ability to mix primary colors) and contrast, the Note 10 Plus is the winner with a 2.17 Gamma rating closest to the 2.20 standard. The Galaxy S10 has a 2.20 gamma rating.

iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Note 10 Plus brightness APL

iPhone 11 Pro Max Vs Galaxy Note 10 Plus: iPhone's Got A Brighter Display But Note Wins Out In Reflectance

Moving towards brightness and reflectance, we see mixed results. The iPhone 11 Pro Max has a brighter display when averaged out and with 1%, 50% and 100% APL in average ambient light. However, the iPhone's brightness shifts more when APL is decreased (15% vs the Note 10's 6%). In high ambient light, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is the clear winner. Samsung's phablet has an amazing 1257 cd/m² brightness in high ambient light with 1% APL.

Its 778 cd/m² for 100% APL and 929 cd/m² for 50% APL are also above the iPhones' results. These results aren't shown in the table above, as DisplayMate only provides a range for the iPhone 11 Pro Max's light output in high ambient light, with the range being between 769 - 904 cd/m².

Looking at the contrast rating which combines peak brightness and reflectance to determine readability in high ambient light. According to the figures, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is better for reading when present in a light-heavy surrounding. The phablet's contrast rating ranges between 181-292, higher when compared to the iPhone's 171-20, and since CR is defined as peak brightness/average reflectance, the higher value is better.

Speaking of which, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus continues to hold DisplayMate's record of lowest mirror reflection on a smartphone. The device reflects only 5.4% of light when viewed directly, which is lesser than the iPhone's 5.9%. Additionally, the Note also reflects less light from all directions as indicated by its Average Screen Reflection percentage.

iPhone 11 pro max vs note 10 plus brightness decrease

iPhone 11 Pro Max Vs Galaxy Note 10 Plus: Viewing Angles Favor Note 10 Plus & So Does Power Efficiency

Due to emitting more light, the iPhone 11 Pro Max's display also consumes more power. This is despite the fact that the Note 10 Plus has a larger display surface area (17.6 inch² vs the iPhone's 15.7 inch²). The iPhone 11 Pro Max consumes 2.45 Watts on average while emitting 821 cd/m² light, and 4.5 Watts when emitting 769 cd/m² light. In comparison, the Note 10 Plus consumes 1.30 Watt on average with a 465 cd/m² output, and 2.40 Watt maximum with a 414 cd/m² output.

While the iPhone is more power hungry and emits more light, the Note 10 Plus shows better performance at 30° viewing angles. While the two devices have a near similar White error, the iPhone 11 Pro Max distorts red, blue and green significantly at 30°. Additionally, Apple's gadget isn't too good at maintaining color accuracy at a mixture of 255 Red, 128 Green and 0 Blue. Over here, the smartphone shows a 1.3 JNCD error, nearly three times the Note 10 Plus' 0.5 JNCD.

To conclude, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the better device when we talk about color accuracy for daily usage. It's also the better choice for viewing content in high ambient light. However, the Note 10 Plus wins out in reading when present in high ambient light, for overall color accuracy, color error due to viewing angles, reflectance and power efficiency.

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