Consumers deliberating between the Apple Watch Sport and the Apple Watch (or even the Apple Watch Edition) might be interested in hearing that, according to a recent report from DisplayMate, the display on the low-end Sport model performs best in direct, outdoor light.
Because the sapphire glass on the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition is more reflective than the Ion-X glass used on the Apple Watch Sport, the display on the Sport is more visible outdoors. Though both glass types perform equally well in darker conditions, once you step outdoors a noticable difference between the two displays can easily be seen. And “screen reflectance,” according to DisplayMate, is indeed the reason behind this:
For the Apple Watch Sport with Ion-X Glass we measured the Screen Reflectance to be 4.7 percent, while for the Apple Watch with Sapphire we measured 8.2 percent Screen Reflectance, which is 74 percent higher than with Glass. Both values are about 0.6 percent higher than just pure sapphire and glass alone, indicating that Apple has done an excellent job in optically bonding both the glass and sapphire to the OLED display without an air gap.
Despite Apple’s efforts with sapphire glass, however, the more scratch resistant glass does indeed mean the display performs poorer in ambiant light, compared against the Ion-X-equipped Apple Watch Sport’s display.
Of course, for your extra cash, the mid-range Apple Watch model also features a ceramic cover over the smart watch’s heart rate sensor, along with a stainless steel body (which, in my opinion, looks much nicer and is more eye-catching than the dull aluminum of the Apple Watch Sport). Though, with its sapphire glass display being a key selling point for the Apple Watch, it’ll come as some surprise for consumers to hear that the lower-end Sport model indeed performs better in outdoor light.
Regardless, I’m still pleased with my stainless steel Apple Watch. Countless times now, I’ve clipped the display against doors, metal handles, and more. So far, there isn’t a single scratch on the Watch’s sapphire display.
For DisplayMate’s full report, click this link.