What is a PureDisplay?

Credit: HMD Global

HMD's new Nokia 7.1 is the first smartphone with a PureDisplay screen. Here's what you need to know.

What is a PureDisplay?

PureDisplay is an augmented smartphone display configuration, currently only found in select Nokia devices, that's capable of supporting HDR playback and automatically upscaling content from SDR to HDR.

The term PureDisplay is not tied to a specific resolution in the same way that Apple's Retina and Liquid Retina Displays are, nor is the technology tied to a specific type of panel. When asked by PC World Australia, HMD Global informed us that both LCD and OLED PureDisplay screens are possible.

Juho Sarvikas, Chief Product Officer, HMD Global says that "almost two thirds of videos around the world are viewed on mobile which is why we’ve introduced our PureDisplay screen technology, to give our fans a premium viewing experience on a smartphone. The Nokia 7.1 even offers real-time SDR to HDR conversion, meaning you can experience HDR quality entertainment, even when your content is not."

HMD say the Nokia 7.1's PureDisplay tech allows it to achieve a higher 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and support HDR-content playback - two feats it wouldn't ordinarily be able to accomplish without the technology.

The display will also upscale non-HDR content in real-time using a dedicated 16-bit engine and automatically adjust brightness and contrast to suit ambient lighting conditions.

The above functionality - brought about by a combination of a dedicated display processing chip and a set of software algorithms - is ultimately what defines a PureDisplay. In this respect, it's somewhat similar to the Nvidia's G-Sync technology. A G-Sync display is a regular display panel with a little bit of extra tech sprinkled on top.

A PureDisplay is essentially a regular smartphone display panel with some extra tech sprinkled on top that augments it and makes it more capable than it would otherwise

Credit: HMD Global

What's good about it?

If you like the idea of watching all your content in HDR, you'll probably appreciate what a PureDisplay brings to the table.

Basically, the sell here is that a PureDisplay automatically makes your existing video playback experience better. First, by supporting HDR content on displays that otherwise wouldn't be able to. Then, by automatically upscaling non-HDR content to HDR.

The ambient brightness and contrast optimisation is merely just an extension of the same core idea driving the other pillars of the PureDisplay experience: making your existing smartphone viewing experience better without any extra work on your part.

Who makes PureDisplay? Can non-Nokia phones have PureDisplays?

Currently, HMD Global are the only manufacturer offering smartphones with PureDisplay screens.

This is because HMD Global owns the term “PureDisplay”.

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Fergus Halliday
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