What is Mobile HDR and which phones support HDR?

What is Mobile HDR and which phones support HDR?

HDR has arrived on mobile and it’s set to transform your viewing experience.

HDR before and after
It’s a major but still little-publicised feature that can massively improve your movie watching experience.

In fact, a huge number of phones now have HDR, and it’s a major but still little-publicised feature that can massively improve your movie watching experience. But not all HDR is made equal, and the terms used can be confusing.

That’s why this article will tell you exactly which phones have HDR, so you know which phone to buy if you want a mobile movie marathon with added pop.

But as well as that we’ll also cover what HDR is, what different versions of it there are, what services support it, and what else you should look out for to get the best viewing experience.

So, without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about mobile HDR and how to get it.

What is HDR?

HDR stands for high dynamic range, which, in everyday English, simply means a high contrast between the lightest and darkest parts of an image.

On smartphone screens that means pumping up the brightness on the parts of an image that are meant to be bright, while keeping dark colours dim.

The effect of this is to better emphasise different colours and allow images to stand out in a striking way. And although HDR is used in photography, we’re not just talking static images. When it comes to an HDR-capable screen we’re talking about the ability to do this in videos and games.

HDR10 and Dolby Vision are the two main forms of mobile HDR. They have some subtle differences, with Dolby Vision seemingly set to be the best of them, thanks to its support for a higher peak brightness (10,000 nits rather than 4,000) and greater colour depth (12-bit rather than 10-bit).

Dolby Vision also uses frame-by-frame metadata to ensure the screen you’re watching HDR on is providing the best possible results at all times, whereas HDR10 uses metadata less frequently.

However, we’re now also starting to see HDR10+ on a number of phones, and this is more like Dolby Vision in that it uses dynamic metadata, meaning that it’s frame-by-frame.

That said, you should pay more attention to the overall screen specs and quality of a handset than which form of HDR they support.

On that note, you might also see the term Mobile HDR Premium thrown around. This isn’t a type of HDR but rather a standard for mobile devices, so if a phone offers this it has been certified as offering a good HDR experience.

Which phones support HDR?

A significant number of phones now support HDR and we’ve listed them in the table below to make things easier.

Note also that while all of these phones support mobile HDR in some form, they don’t all work with all HDR sources. Further confusing matters, video platforms don’t all keep up to date lists of which handsets do and don’t work with them.

PhoneDisplay size and typeDisplay Resolution
Galaxy S20 Ultra6.9 inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X1440 x 3200
Galaxy S20 Plus6.7 inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X1440 x 3200
Galaxy S206.2 inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X1440 x 3200
Galaxy Z Flip6.7 inch Dynamic AMOLED1080 x 2636
Galaxy Fold7.3 inch Dynamic AMOLED1536 x 2152
Galaxy S106.1 inch Dynamic AMOLED1440 x 3040
Galaxy S10 Plus6.4 inch Dynamic AMOLED1440 x 3040
Galaxy S10e5.8 inch Dynamic AMOLED1080 x 2280
Galaxy S10 5G6.7 inch Dynamic AMOLED1440 x 3040
Galaxy S10 Lite6.7 inch Super AMOLED Plus1080 x 2400
Galaxy Note 10 Lite6.7 inch Super AMOLED1080 x 2400
Galaxy Note 106.3 inch Dynamic AMOLED1080 x 2280
Galaxy Note 10 Plus6.8 inch Dynamic AMOLED1440 x 3040
Galaxy Note 96.4 inch Super AMOLED1440 x 2960
Galaxy S95.8 inch Super AMOLED1440 x 2960
Galaxy S9 Plus6.2 inch Super AMOLED1440 x 2960
Galaxy Note 86.3 inch Super AMOLED1440 x 2960
Galaxy S85.8 inch Super AMOLED1440 x 2960
Galaxy S8 Plus6.2 inch Super AMOLED1440 x 2960
OnePlus 7T6.55 inch Fluid AMOLED1080 x 2400
OnePlus 7T Pro6.67 inch Fluid AMOLED1440 x 3120
OnePlus 76.41 inch Optic AMOLED1080 x 2340
OnePlus 7 Pro6.67 inch Fluid AMOLED1440 x 3120
iPhone 116.1 inch IPS LCD828 x 1792
iPhone 11 Pro5.8 inch OLED1125 x 2436
iPhone 11 Pro Max6.5 inch OLED1242 x 2688
iPhone XS5.8 inch Super AMOLED1125 x 2436
iPhone XS Max6.5 inch Super AMOLED1242 x 2688
iPhone X5.8 inch Super AMOLED1125 x 2436
iPhone 84.7 inch IPS LCD750 x 1334
iPhone 8 Plus5.5 inch IPS LCD1080 x 1920
Razer Phone5.7 inch IPS LCD1440 x 2560
Razer Phone 25.72 inch IPS LCD1440 x 2560
Huawei P30 Pro6.47 inch OLED1080 x 2340
Huawei P306.1 inch OLED1080 x 2340
Huawei Mate 306.62 inch OLED1080 x 2340
Huawei Mate 30 Pro6.53 inch OLED1176 x 2400
Huawei Mate 20 Pro6.39 inch OLED1440 x 3120
Huawei Mate 206.53 inch IPS LCD1080 x 2244
Huawei Mate 20 X / Mate 20 X 5G7.2 inch OLED1080 x 2244
Huawei P205.8 inch IPS LCD1080 x 2240
Huawei P20 Pro6.1 inch AMOLED1080 x 2240
Huawei Mate 10 Pro6.0 inch AMOLED1080 x 2160
Honor 105.84 inch IPS LCD1080 x 2280
Google Pixel 45.7 inch P-OLED1080 x 2280
Google Pixel 4 XL6.3 inch P-OLED1440 x 3040
Google Pixel 35.5 inch P-OLED1080 x 2160
Google Pixel 3 XL6.3 inch P-OLED1440 x 2960
Google Pixel 25.0 inch AMOLED1080 x 1920
Google Pixel 2 XL6.0 inch P-OLED1440 x 2880
Google Pixel5.0 inch AMOLED1080 x 1920
Google Pixel XL5.5 inch AMOLED1440 x 2560
LG G8 ThinQ6.1 inch AMOLED1440 x 3120
LG G8X ThinQ6.4 inch OLED1080 x 2340
LG V50 ThinQ6.4 inch P-OLED1440 x 3120
LG G7 ThinQ6.1 inch IPS LCD1440 x 3120
LG V40 ThinQ6.4 inch P-OLED1440 x 3120
LG V35 ThinQ6.0 inch P-OLED1440 x 2880
LG G65.7 inch IPS LCD1440 x 2880
LG V306.0 inch P-OLED1440 x 2880
Xperia 16.5 inch OLED1644 x 3840
Xperia 56.1 inch OLED1080 x 2520
Xperia XZ36.0 inch P-OLED1440 x 2880
Xperia XZ25.7 inch IPS LCD1080 x 2160
Xperia XZ2 Compact5.0 inch IPS LCD1080 x 2160
Xperia XZ2 Premium5.8 inch IPS LCD2160 x 3840
Xperia XZ Premium5.46 inch IPS LCD2160 x 3840
Xperia XZ15.2 inch IPS LCD1080 x 1920
Nokia 9 PureView5.99 inch P-OLED1440 x 2880
Nokia 8.16.18 inch IPS LCD1080 x 2280
Nokia 7.26.3 inch IPS LCD1080 x 2280
Nokia 7.15.84 inch IPS LCD1080 x 2280
Nokia 6.26.3 inch IPS LCD1080 x 2280
Xiaomi Mi Note 106.47 inch AMOLED1080 x 2340
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro6.39 inch Super AMOLED1080 x 2340
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE5.97 inch Super AMOLED1080 x 2340
Xiaomi Mi 96.39 inch Super AMOLED1080 x 2340
Xiaomi Mi Mix 36.39 inch Super AMOLED1080 x 2340
Asus Zenfone 66.4 inch IPS LCD1080 x 2340
Asus ROG Phone 26.59 inch AMOLED1080 x 2340
Asus ROG Phone6.0 inch AMOLED1080 x 2160
Realme X2 Pro6.5 inch Super AMOLED1080 x 2400
Oppo Reno Z6.4 inch AMOLED1080 x 2340

Frequently asked questions

What should you look for when choosing an HDR phone?

If you’re after an HDR phone then you probably want the best viewing experience possible, and there are other things to consider for that than just whether or not a phone supports HDR.

For one thing, you probably want a big screen, as no one likes watching films on a tiny rectangle. From that perspective, the iPhone 8 is the clear loser at 4.7 inches. The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact, Google Pixel and Google Pixel 2 are also small at 5.0 inches and the Sony Xperia XZ1 is only slightly bigger at 5.2 inches.

The other phones are all varying degrees of large, but for maximum size go for the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, S20 Plus, Galaxy Fold, Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy S10 Lite, Galaxy Note 10 Lite, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone XS Max, OnePlus 7T Pro, OnePlus 7 Pro, Asus ROG Phone 2, Realme X2 Pro, Sony Xperia 1, Huawei Mate 30, Huawei Mate 30 Pro, Huawei Mate 20, Huawei Mate 20 X, Huawei Mate 20 X 5G, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, or Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.

You also want high resolution. Again, the iPhone 8 loses here at 750 x 1334, while the Sony Xperia XZ Premium and Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium come out on top at 2160 x 3840. That means you can watch content in 4K on them. Most of the other handsets have around a QHD resolution, which is still very high.

Plus, you want to consider the display technology. Generally, OLED offers better contrast and more vivid colours than LCD, so this can be a good choice. But not all OLED is made equal – based on reviews the Samsung Galaxy S20 range is arguably the best quality, followed by the Samsung Galaxy S10 range, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 range, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Finally, you may want to pay some consideration to the refresh rate. While most phones are 60Hz, the OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus 7T Pro, OnePlus 7T, Pixel 4 range and Asus ROG Phone are 90Hz, and the Galaxy S20 range, Asus ROG Phone 2, Razer Phone and Razer Phone 2 are 120Hz, which can make motion look smoother on these phones, though this more comes into play when gaming.

Taking all that into account we’d say the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus or Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra would be the best handset overall for mobile viewing, followed by the Samsung Galaxy S20, Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, iPhone 11 Pro Max, OnePlus 7T Pro, Sony Xperia 1 or Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium.

What services support mobile HDR?

Currently, HDR content for mobile is primarily available on Netflix, Amazon Video, iTunes and YouTube – so it’s a good thing those are four of the biggest and best video services around.

Far from all content on any of those platforms is in HDR though. In general, on Netflix and Amazon it will be titles produced by those companies, and not even all of those, but the selection of content is growing and should continue to, given that it’s not just phones but also TVs which can take advantage of HDR.

On Netflix, you’ll find big-name content like The Witcher, 13 Reasons Why, Bloodline, Daredevil, and Netflix’s other Marvel content supports HDR. Just look out for the words HDR next to the description of a show to be sure. Also, be aware that you need to be on a 4 screen Netflix plan to access HDR content.

On Amazon, you can also look out for an HDR logo, and content includes shows like Carnival Row, Good Omens, Jack Ryan, The Grand Tour, Transparent, and Man in the High Castle.

On YouTube, videos will have an HDR badge next to the player controls and in many cases will also highlight HDR in the title or description.

Note that HDR tags may not visible on some services if you’re using a device that doesn’t support its HDR content.

Which networks are best for HDR?

As well as picking a phone you should also consider which network to choose. For the most part, there’s little to choose here – though if you plan to stream HDR content when out and about you’ll want great coverage and lots of data.

For the former, EE is currently the 4G coverage frontrunner, closely followed by Three, based on the most recent available figures, but all the UK networks are at close to 100% population coverage. EE also leads for 5G coverage at the time of writing.

For the latter, Three, Vodafone, EE, O2, iD Mobile, VOXI, Smarty, and Virgin Mobile all offer tariffs with unlimited data with no speed restrictions. However, you need to be a Virgin Media customer to get unlimited data with Virgin, while Smarty just offers SIM Only plans. Note however that not all of these networks offer 5G at the time of writing.

Three meanwhile has another advantage though, at least if you don’t shell out for unlimited data, as it also offers Go Binge on plans with 12GB or more, which lets you stream an unlimited amount of Netflix content (as well as TVPlayer, Apple Music, Snapchat, Deezer and SoundCloud content) without it coming out of your data allowance.

News from 3G.co.uk

Written by Editor

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