For the past two years, home cinema has been dominated by high dynamic range. Since the beginning of this year, we are now seeing this term more and more often in presentations of smartphones, tablets and laptops. But, what exactly does HDR for smartphones mean and what’s in it for you?
What is HDR?
HDR stands for high dynamic range. A screen that is equipped with HDR support can simply put a higher contrast and retains deep black while bright white splashes from the screen. In addition, the color range in high dynamic range display is wider, with a wider color spectrum, more accurate colors and more vivid colors. The HDR display has to come that step closer, how we experience it ourselves with our eyes. Read more about what high dynamic range is exactly .
HDR for Smartphones, tablets and laptops
In order to display HDR content, a screen must be able to reproduce a very high contrast, and we have now arrived at screens that can also do that. Lately we have therefore slowly seen more mobile devices appear that have HDR playback. For example, LG recently announced the LG G6 , a 5.7-inch smartphone with an LCD panel that supports HDR playback. Samsung recently announced the Galaxy Tab S3 , a 9.7-inch tablet with an AMOLED display. According to Samsung, this screen also provides an optimal display of content with a large dynamic range. Sony also comes with high dynamic range support and has launched the first smartphone with a 4K screen and HDR support with the Xperia XZ Premium .
Different standards for HDR for Smartphones, tablets and laptops
There are currently two important standards in the field of high dynamic range; HDR10 and Dolby Vision. HDR10 is the most widely used standard and is used by almost all media and streaming services that offer HDR material. It is a free to use standard and is accepted by all devices that support high dynamic range.
Dolby Vision is a slightly more advanced standard developed by Dolby. Dolby keeps the entire process under control, from filming and editing to mastering and playback. They are on top of it and indicate that because of this – and through the use of dynamic metadata – they can offer the best high dynamic range experience. However, using Dolby Vision costs filmmakers and manufacturers of smartphones, TVs, laptops, etc., money. They must purchase a license and make adjustments to the hardware (processor) to be able to display the content.
Dolby Vision is therefore not yet widely implemented, but LG is one of the big advocates. The LG G6 therefore supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10. The Galaxy Tab S3 and Sony Xperia XZ Premium only support HDR10. Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon usually offer both formats.
Mobile HDR Premium
Where TVs can be provided with the Ultra HD Premium certificate for a while , mobile devices now have the option to go for a Mobile HDR Premium certificate. Simply put, this means that the devices can display high dynamic range content in the most optimal form by looking at a list of minimum specifications. Think of the resolution, brightness and color range. Devices that meet the high requirements may carry the Mobile HDR Premium certificate.
Depending on the size of the screen and the use of the device, the above specifications must be met in order to bear the certificate. It is striking that smartphones and tablets actually require an OLED display. After all, an LCD display cannot achieve 0.0005 nits of black display. Laptop makers are also allowed to use an LCD display, where the brightness of black is somewhat higher. It is striking that the devices we mentioned earlier in this article are all not eligible for the certificate.