Apple Watch display tested: Apple Watch Sport has the best screen
DisplayMate tested the Apple Watch display, and, before you jump to early conclusion, let’s clear one thing up in the very beginning: all Apple Watch models (Sport, Watch, Edition) are equipped with the same display technology, a Flexible OLED display most likely manufacture by LG. So how come the best Apple Watch display is the one on the Sport model?
While you can find in-depth explanations and tests at the source link below, the main takeaway is this: the Sport version of the watch is the only one that has an Ion-X strengthened cover glass (same as on the iPhone 6, similar to Gorilla Glass), instead of Sapphire on the Watch and Edition versions. While Sapphire is a lot more resistant to scratches than the Ion-X strengthened glass, it is, at the same time, much more reflective.
DisplayMate explains that Sapphire glass works with classic timepieces, but it is, at this moment in time, probably not the best choice for smartwatches: Sapphire “reflects about twice as much ambient light as glass (due to fundamental principles of physics and optics). That is not a problem for traditional watches because their displays actually work by reflecting ambient light, so the extra light reflected by the sapphire crystal on top is a minor issue. On the other hand, it is a major issue for smart watch displays because doubling the amount of reflected light will significantly wash out the display’s own image light, reducing both contrast and color saturation, and making it harder to see the image. So for smart watch displays, but not for traditional mechanical watches, sapphire comes with a significant display performance cost. We’ll measure and discuss this in detail below.”
Of course, these results are based on lab measurements, in controlled environments, with professional gear. There are chances your eyes won’t see a huge difference. Also, DisplayMate didn’t test the Sport version, but it claims reflection and other measurements from the iPhone 6 (which they did test) apply.
Feel free to check out more details at the source below! In case you missed it, go check out our unboxing and initial setup process or our own Apple Watch.