Recently, some of our friends asked what ClearBlack is and why we always say it's so great. Unfortunately, we couldn't tell them anything else except that the ClearBlack screens available on our Lumias look really good. The "black is black" and you can see what's displayed on them even when you're outdoors, in bright light. As you can imagine, we felt frustrated about our not so helpful explanation. So we started digging on the Internet, in order to find more about Nokia's ClearBlack technology and why it is awesome. Here's what we've found:
Why Was ClearBlack Technology Needed?
Before getting into a bit more technical details about the ClearBlack technology, we think that it is very important to see what it offers in terms of benefits and why it's great.
In the last decade or so, smartphones and other mobile devices like tablets have become more and more important to us. We are now using these devices almost everywhere and it's very important that they be usable in any conditions. Putting aside all the hardware you find in a smartphone or a tablet, one of the most important components from a user's experience is the screen. One of the manufacturers' greatest challenges is to make their devices' screens bright enough to be readable even when used outdoors. At first, manufacturers were developing screens with higher and higher brightness levels and that lead to a crossroad. Whenever you increase the brightness of the screen, you must pump more energy into it. That means you need to use larger capacity batteries. But that can only go up to a point, when you simply cannot put a bulky battery on an elegant smartphone. When you get to this point, you must search for other, better ways of building a screen. This is the point where Nokia started developing their ClearBlack technology.
ClearBlack manages to improve the outdoor usability of the screen, without making any compromises when it comes to the power needs.
How Does The ClearBlack Technology Work?
A ClearBlack screen uses a display designed to eliminate reflections. Sure, most manufacturers already used anti-reflective coatings before ClearBlack was developed. But Nokia wanted to find a way to further increase the performance of its screens. So they started to work on other ways of eliminating reflections, and they ended up researching polarized light.
As mentioned on the Lumia Conversations blog, ClearBlack technology works in a similar way with how polarising sunglasses do. The polarised glass cuts out reflections, making it easier for you to see things in bright environments. That's why almost every fisherman or skier uses such sunglasses.
However, this comparison is not the best to make, as ClearBlack uses much more sophisticated polarising layers. The light that goes in and out of a ClearBlack screen is processed several times before it reaches your eyes. We won't go into very technical details, because that's not the point of our article. However, if you want to know the details of how ClearBlack actually works, take a look at the picture below or read some explanations posted by Nokia, here: How Nokia's ClearBlack display delivers unbeaten results (this article is the source for the image below).
What Do ClearBlack Screens Look Like?
Would it help to talk about such a subject without making a visual comparison? We don't think it would, so we thought it would be a good idea to take a few pictures of ClearBlack screens, alongside displays without ClearBlack.
In the picture below you can see how two ClearBlack screens (from a Nokia Lumia 930 and a Nokia Lumia 820) look when compared to some other displays (Xiaomi Mi 4, Xiaomi Redmi 2 and Samsung Galaxy S).
Note that we opened the same webpage on every smartphone above and that all of them were on the highest brightness setting available. As you can see, the first two smartphones - Lumia 930 and Lumia 820 - have much brighter displays, thanks to the ClearBlack technology they use.
And to demonstrate what we were telling you about "black is black", just take a look at the next photo. We created a completely black picture and then opened it on both these smartphones: the Lumia 930 with ClearBlack and the Xiaomi Redmi 2, without ClearBlack. Can you see the differences? The ClearBlack screen simply reflects a lot less unwanted light than the other. ClearBlack is blacker than the darkest spell in the darkest night of Mordor! :)
ClearBlack is a great technology that elegantly enhances the usability of all kinds of displays. To end on the same note as we began: "blacks are blacks" and ClearBlack displays really look good, no matter if you're indoors or outdoors.