Nothing Phone (1), yellow on display brightness: 1,200 or 700 nits?

A little yellow has arisen regarding Nothing Phone (1), specifically on the display brightness peak. The start-up of Carl Pei has indicated and continues to indicate on the site and in the advertising material a screen capable of reaching 1,200 nits of peak brightness, only that some newspapers that have subjected the smartphone to the luxmeter test have detected a much lower value.

According to the tools, Nothing Phone’s OLED (1) would reach 700 nits of peak brightness when the display operates in difficult conditions, typically under direct sunlight, instead by manually adjusting the brightness slider you get to the 500 nits indicated by the official data sheets. A completely normal difference between the brightness of the screen that can be reached with the manual setting and the higher one that is controlled by the brightness sensor when it detects limit conditions.

In fact, the point that the web is discussing is the significant discrepancy between the theoretical maximum value advertised by Nothing, 1,200 nits, and the actual one measured in the field, about 700 nits, and for colleagues of it is not a difference due to the individual test situations: “During the tests the maximum value (of 1,200 nit, ed) “, not even playing HDR content.

Colleagues write that following the affair Nothing has adjusted the maximum brightness value indicated on the portal, from the previous 1,200 nits to the “real” 700, but both on the Italian portal and on the American one and the main European countries we have not noticed any change. Either way though Nothing has admitted that Phone (1) for now travels with the “handbrake on”:

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The hardware is capable of reaching a peak brightness of 1,200 nits, but is currently limited by software to 700 nits. It is a decision made to ensure a balanced user experience in terms of heat generation and battery consumption. We look forward to hearing from our users on this and will monitor the feedback received to see if it is appropriate to adjust the brightness value in future software updates.

That of maximum brightness is one always tricky enough to handle because it is subject to numerous variables. First of all, among the most relevant is the construction variability of the individual panels OLED, which compared to LCDs are more difficult to standardize: between one unit and another there can sometimes be a difference between the characteristics.

Then we must consider that with the same power sent to the display, the brightness reached by the individual pixels can vary a lot depending on the “active” zone, that is, if a small area or the entire panel needs to be powered. During the test of Nothing Phone (1) we did not find any particular critical issues, but the my fault the company highlights how the Phone (1) display could be (much) brighter than it is now.

Of course, if you pass the ball to the users, the verdict is obvious: who wouldn’t want a super bright display in the sun? Rather it should be the company to make a decision data in hand: with 1,200 instead of 700 nits, how much does it yield in terms of heat generated, autonomy and above all physical wear of the panel? The game is worth the candle? Passing the decision on to users seems like the simplest choice.