5 phones with the very best screens

Google Pixel 8 Pro standing on a table
The Google Pixel 8 Pro (Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

The best smartphone screens are things of beauty, delivering vibrant images in crisp high-resolution and as much brightness as you could ever hope for. 

These days, most flagship phones offer top-tier displays, so choosing between them – and finding the very best screens – can be tricky.

But that’s where this list comes in. Below, we’ve highlighted five of the phones with the very best screens, ranking them according to their on-paper specs and the verdict we came to when putting each device through a full review.

1. Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra lock screen

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

It's quite possible that the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has the best screen of any smartphone in 2024. It's a 6.8-inch (1440 x 3120) AMOLED display with around 505 pixels per inch, and a 120Hz refresh rate that can drop all the way to 1Hz to conserve battery.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra's screen can reach up to 2,600 nits of brightness, and it has an ‘Extra Dim’ mode that allows it to drop as low as 1 nit while still maintaining good color fidelity. Plus, Samsung’s use of Corning Gorilla Armor doesn’t just keep the display protected, it also reduces reflections.

In our Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review, we described the phone's screen as "huge and sharp [...] among the best you’ll find”, with our only real criticism being that it doesn’t support Dolby Vision.

2. OnePlus 12

OnePlus 12 showing TechRadar.com on web browser

The OnePlus 12 (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The main thing the OnePlus 12’s display has over rival screens is an incredibly high peak brightness of 4,500 nits, which is probably unnecessary, but it’s certainly impressive.

The phone’s other screen specs are also strong, with the OnePlus 12 having a 6.82-inch (1440 x 3168) AMOLED display with around 510 pixels per inch, and a 1-120Hz refresh rate.

So, those are screen specs that rival the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, and we were certainly pleased with the display in our OnePlus 12 review, concluding that “the OnePlus 12 can reach brightness levels that are potentially harmful, and it's also plenty sharp and colorful to compete with the best.”

3. Google Pixel 8 Pro

Pixel 8 Pro showing call screening

The Pixel 8 Pro (Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

The Google Pixel 8 Pro has a 6.7-inch (1344 x 2992) OLED screen with around 489 pixels per inch, a peak brightness of 2,400 nits, and a refresh rate of 120Hz (which, like the best rival handsets, can drop as low as 1Hz when a high refresh rate isn’t needed).

So, it’s not quite as big, bright, or high-resolution as the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra’s screen, but it’s very close.

In our Google Pixel 8 Pro review, we primarily compared the phone to the iPhone 15 Pro Max (more on which below), saying the screen was “the standout feature on the Pixel 8 Pro [...] this bright and sharp display is just as good as the iPhone 15 Pro Max, and maybe better.”

4. iPhone 15 Pro Max

iPhone 15 Pro Max

The iPhone 15 Pro Max (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is another phone with a sumptuous screen. It's got a 6.7-inch (1290 x 2796) OLED display offering around 460 pixels per inch, a 1Hz-120Hz refresh rate, and a peak brightness of 2,000 nits.

Other than the refresh rate, none of those specs are a match for this phone's main Android competitor, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, but the iPhone 15 Pro Max comes very close. It also has a large Dynamic Island, which could prove more distracting than the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s punch-hole camera.

Still, our iPhone 15 Pro Max review praised Apple's latest and greatest mobile screen, describing it as “beautiful and bright.”

5. Sony Xperia 1 V

A Sony Xperia 1 V from the front

The Sony Xperia 1 V (Image credit: TechRadar)

One of the Sony Xperia 1 V’s USPs is that it has a 4K screen – specifically one with a 1644 x 3840 resolution, offering around 643 pixels per inch. That makes it one of the highest-resolution phones on the planet, with no real rivals on that front, other than previous Sony phones.

Its 6.5-inch, 120Hz OLED display also doesn’t have a notch or a punch-hole, so there’s nothing interrupting the screen.

In our Sony Xperia 1 V review, we said that “this is one of the highest-res screens you’ll find in a phone. Color and contrast are great too, but larger panels make movies and games look better.”

So, the Xperia 1 V's screen is really only let down by being slightly smaller than rivals – that and a lack of ways to customize how it looks.

Note, however, that there is also now a Sony Xperia 1 VI, but we haven’t yet reviewed this device, so we can’t say how its screen performs in practice. In any case, the Xperia 1 VI's screen has a significantly lower resolution than that of its predecessor, so the Xperia 1 V may well still offer the best display of any Sony phone.

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James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.