When the LG G6 was announced, slipped in among all the talk about 18:9 aspect ratios and wide angle cameras, was a mention of Dolby Vision’s image enhancement for smartphones. Essentially, it’s software-based high dynamic range (HDR), which allows phones to have true (read, warmer) colors, more detail, a wider color gamut, and better contrast.
Until now, we’ve only really seen HDR on TVs and Blu-ray players because it relied on dedicated hardware. What Dolby has done is make it so that Dolby Vision can work on a variety of solutions, including different screen sizes, different resolutions, and both IPS and OLED displays.
According to a company representative I spoke with, Dolby takes into account the capabilities of the device and its color range and work with the phone’s manufacturer to calibrate the display and map it to a reference monitor. That means each device must be tailored individually, but it also means that it’s likely the G6 won’t be the only phone to get Dolby Vision since, in theory, even a phone with a 720p LCD display can get Dolby Vision just as easily as a 1440p Super AMOLED one.
The key question is; does it actually make a difference? Having seen it in action, I can unequivocally say yes, but you can judge for yourself.
In the included pictures (above), you can see the G6 without Dolby Vision on the left and the G6 with Dolby Vision on the right. The one on the right has a warmer color temperature, but details are also clearer and there’s a much bigger contrast between brighter whites and darker blacks. In part that’s because Dolby Vision brightens or dims the screen backlight in light or dark scenes. That has the dual impact of improving contrast while also saving a bit of your phone’s battery life.
For the moment, Dolby Vision content is still limited, but the company is keen on continuing its partnership with content providers to deliver original content. “We are revolutionizing mobile entertainment for consumers so they can finally have a compelling and life-like visual entertainment experience on a mobile phone,” said Giles Baker, SVP, Consumer Entertainment Group, Dolby Laboratories. “Through our expanded collaboration with LG, Amazon, and Netflix, consumers can watch exciting content on their smartphone that looks and sounds spectacular.”
For the moment no other upcoming smartphones have Dolby Vision announced, but we would be surprised if a certain phone due to launch on March 29th incorporated the feature.