As the central piece of the smartphone, the screen is essential for any usage. But not all smartphone displays behave in the same way. Besides the typical technical specifications of size, resolution, and refresh rate, to bring a qualitative experience, the display must properly light up and adjust to different light conditions to ensure correct readability.

Whether in the dark or in bright sunlight, the display has to playback video without stuttering, and it has to show all nuances of colors, detect user’s touch and respond accordingly to the finger’s commands when browsing the web, typing a message or playing games. To help better understand display performance, DXOMARK released its Display protocol in 2020, which combines objective and perceptual testing by evaluating the most common use cases.

To keep up with the latest technology trends and usages, DXOMARK regularly updates its protocols and continues to offer exhaustive and meaningful evaluations.

Display Score Structure


hours of testing

for each smartphone 


measurement points
carried out on each test

Learn more about our Attributes

Readability 35%

We evaluate how easily and comfortably users can read the display contents from a web page to the photo gallery (excluding videos) under different situations and lighting conditions (from total darkness to bright sunlight). All measurements are done in the phone’s default mode.

In readability, DXOMARK particularly tests:

    • Readability vs. ambient lighting: brightness and contrast are measured to verify that the device can be easily read in different lighting environments, from very dark to super bright light conditions (up to 50,000 lux)
    • Readability vs viewing angle: the behavior of the display when the device is viewed off-axis
    • Artifacts that affect readability such as flicker (the frequency of the quick oscillation of light that can induce discomfort in some users) and reflectance (how much of the surrounding light is reflected by the device, therefore impacting the viewing experience)
    • Readability vs. light transitions: the display’s behavior under changing light conditions (e.g. leaving the cinema to exit onto a very sunny street, or exiting a metro station onto a very sunny street)

Color 25%

We evaluate the display’s color rendering in various usages and lighting conditions (for still contents). This is done using the smartphone’s default mode as well as its “faithful” mode, which might not be the manufacturer’s default setting.

In color, DXOMARK particularly tests

    • White point vs. ambient lighting: the adaptation of the white point color to various lighting environments. A correct adaptation will improve the rendering of the viewed contents. (Tested in “faithful” mode)
    • Color accuracy and range: whether colors are faithful and present all the nuances available in the tested pictures, within various lighting environments. Color rendering and the color range are the only measurements evaluated in the device’s faithful color mode. (Tested in “faithful” color mode)
    • Color shift in angle: measuring if screen colors shift or change when the device is held at an angle  (Tested in default mode)
    • Blue light filter impact: the device’s filtering performance of blue light and its impact on color  (Tested in night mode or blue light filtering mode)

Video 30%

We evaluate the different display quality attributes specifically for SDR and HDR video content in two different environments: dark (0 lux) and indoor (830 lux)

In Video, DXOMARK particularly tests:

    • Brightness/Luminance: how well the video brightness adjusts itself to the lighting conditions so that users can fully enjoy the contents whether they are in the dark or in indoor bright light conditions (830 lux)
    • Contrast:  the quality of the tone rendering to determine whether details in bright and dark areas are faithfully rendered as intended by the creator
    • Color: whether the colors shown in the videos match the original mastering
    • Motion: the screen’s image processing management, such as frame drops, stutter and motion blur, while watching videos or gaming

Touch 10%

We evaluate the most common way that smartphone users interact with their screen, with their fingers in key use cases such as browsing the web and photo gallery, and gaming.

In Touch, DXOMARK particularly tests:

    • Smoothness: the fluidity of interaction with the touchscreen, making sure there is no jump
    • Accuracy: whether the touch is accurate when reaching a part of the screen, particularly the sides and corners, as well as artifacts such as unintentional touches when touching the sides of the display
    • Touch-to-display response time: how long it takes the device to recognize the touch, process the action, and display the result. This is particularly crucial for usages such as gaming.

Eye Comfort

DXOMARK’s Eye Comfort Label combines the testing of four critical aspects of display performance that could contribute to eye fatigue and disturbances in the sleep cycle when a device is used in dim lighting conditions. Please note that the Eye Comfort Label itself does not figure into the overall score.

DXOMARK assigns an Eye Comfort Label to devices that meets all the criteria and measurement thresholds in the following aspects:

  • Screen flicker (temporal light modulation) : The frequency and amplitude of the rapid oscillation of the screen’s light output, a factor in eye fatigue, can help determine the likelihood that flicker will be perceived by the user. Flicker is more likely to be perceived when modulation is strong and the frequency is low.
  • Brightness level when viewing the display in dark environments : A sudden burst of bright light from activating the screen in the dark can shock the eyes and temporarily blind the user. The device must be able to attain a very low level of brightness.
  • Blue-light filtering : Most smartphones include a feature that filters out blue light, which can affect the human sleep cycle (circadian rhythm). DXOMARK measures how effectively a phone reduces the blue light at the default night mode setting.
  • Consistency of colors in night mode : Some color shifts naturally occur when the night mode is on and blue light is filtered, but the changes to the color range should be as minimal as possible to avoid interfering with the user experience.


What we also Test

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