When Raymond Soneira compares smartphone displays, he doesn't just stare at side-by-side screens, using his highly trained eye to detect differences in color temperature and contrast. He does that, make no mistake, but he also uses a suite of scientific tests that measure factors like brightness, color gamut, and reflection.
Soneira is the president, CEO, and founder of DisplayMate Technologies, a gold standard toolkit among manufacturers and display reviewers, CNET included. Holding a doctorate in theoretical physics, Soneira has spent 23 years fine-tuning the algorithms that analyze visual data on screens of all sizes, from smartphones to TVs. Mathematical models are a specialty of his; in past positions, Soneira has developed intricate tests for both AT&T Bell Labs and CBS (CNET's parent company), among others.
This mountain of experience and expertise is why I'm paying attention when Soneira tells me quite plainly over the phone, "Just about every single spec on displays is exaggerated."
And by "exaggerated," he suggests skewed, misleading, and sometimes utterly useless. Why? Because while a screen's resolution and other specs can indicate a certain level of performance, there are many more factors involved in determining a display's actual level of performance. … Read more