Although peak brightness has been increasingly touted at recent smartphones, there are actually only a limited number of situations in which the brightness is exactly as it should be.
Peak brightness values are not nearly as high in real-world use
More and more manufacturers, mainly Chinese smartphone manufacturers, are promoting the brightness of their products, such as “1500 nits peak brightness” or “2600 nits peak brightness”.
For example, the OPPO Find X6 Pro has a local peak brightness of 2500 nits and a global brightness of 1500 nits, while the Xiaomi 13 Ultra has a peak brightness of 2600 nits.
The difference between “peak brightness” and “typical brightness (global brightness)” is the key, and while many manufacturers advertise only peak brightness, actually you should check the typical brightness.
Peak brightness is generally the maximum value measured at 100% brightness, but almost no manufacturer provides detailed measurement conditions.
Especially with OLED, many panels are available in high brightness mode, and peak brightness may be defined as the value obtained by displaying only 2% of a white area in a fairly bright place such as outdoors (or a test environment that simulates the outdoors) and measuring the luminance in that area.
Luminance can be measured using a luminance meter such as the LX-1336B without the need for extensive equipment. (Although there may be a slight error compared to a commercial luminance meter.)
Although the OPPO Find X6 Pro is advertised as having a peak brightness of 2500 nits, when I actually measured the brightness outdoors (with auto brightness ON), it was only 1192 nits, as shown here.
I changed various conditions, such as holding the phone in my hand and making the white area even smaller, changing theme to dark or light, but it never reached 1500-2500 nits.
Perhaps OPPO measured the peak brightness by displaying only one pixel, rather than 2%, but this means that a user expecting a 2500 nits display would actually only be able to use less than half of the brightness.
Even if it is really possible to produce 2500 nits with only one pixel, such a situation is rare and meaningless.
In the 100% white display (all-white), which is a more severe condition due to increased power consumption and heat generation, the value was 1140 nits.
This is close to the typical brightness of 1500 nits, so it is better to look at the typical brightness than the peak brightness if you want to know a practical luminance guideline.
If it is around 1000 nits, it is easy to see even under direct sunlight.
High brightness is not only required outdoors, but also for HDR videos.
Normally, when HDR video is played back, the brightness is set to the same or even exceed the high brightness mode, but in the case of the OPPO / OnePlus / realme, the brightness is only as bright as when the screen brightness is maximized indoors simply because of the control to “activate the high brightness mode only outdoors”.
Turning on the Bright HDR video mode does not change this behavior.
It seems that an environment with an ambient of about 30,000 lux is not judged to be outdoors, and requires more than 50,000 lux.
The same applies to 100% white HDR movie.
Other manufacturers such as Xiaomi often produce close to 1000 nits during HDR video playback even indoors, so if you want to enjoy bright HDR videos, you must choose a smartphone other than OPPO / OnePlus / realme.
For example, the Redmi Note 12 Turbo consistently produces around 945 nits when playing back HDR videos indoors.
Manufacturers tries to make their products look better than practical, or misleading to the point of fraud, by using benchmark boosts that only make benchmark figures look better, making bezels look thinner only in rendered images, using images that differ from actual hardware configurations, and so on.
When selecting a smartphone, be careful not to be fooled by playing with numbers.