Galaxy S4

A simple setting change can get you extra brightness on web pages and documents

The Samsung Galaxy S4's Full HD SuperAMOLED screen is the best AMOLED display we've seen on a smartphone. However if you're noticing subpar brightness some of the time, there's an option in "Display settings" you might want to take a look at.

By default, the Galaxy S4 and many other Samsung devices ship with "Auto adjust display tone" turned on. You can find it under Settings > My device > Display > More settings. When enabled, it tweaks the display brightness based on the on-screen image to avoid burning through an excessive amount of juice. Most of the time you might not notice this, but there's an easy way to see its effects.

Auto adjust screen tone

When there's a lot of white space on-screen, "Auto adjust screen tone" will dim the display slightly to save power. The effect is subtle, but jump between a website like Google in the web browser and your home screen and you'll probably notice that after a split second the page is dimmed slightly. That's good if you want to save power, bad if you want to take full advantage of that big, bright screen.

So if you favor battery life, you can leave it turned on - after all, it's designed to save power. But to get the brightest possible image on your Galaxy S4, you may well want to turn this setting off. 

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Reader comments

Galaxy S4 quick tip: Disable 'Auto adjust screen tone' for brighter whites


Made a little difference. Also, putting it on vivid in screen mode makes the whites much whiter and the colors pop! I know, movie mode makes for better natural colors...but I like my whites white and blacks black. This may be the best AMOLED screen ever seen, but I have to be honest, the screen on the ONE is much sharper and clearer <-----strictly my opinion.

No, it's because the phone just released and they know people are doing google searches on it. More SGS4 articles, more clicks on the site, more money for them. Simple as that. But yeah it's pretty damn annoying.

It's important to note that even with this option disabled, there's a system-wide brightness throttling that occurs, and you can NOT turn it off.

It's noticeable. What's surprising is that not a SINGLE reviewer mentioned this. It's a pretty significant shortcoming, imo, as the screen was already dim enough compared to its LCD competitors.

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“… and you can NOT turn it off.”

Now there's someone who doesn't have a rooted device if I ever saw one, or someone, or someone who has one but doesn't yet realize they can stop using the phrase " you can not " now.

I turned the auto adjust on & off to see if I'd notice a difference & I didn't. I guess for some like me its not worth the battery drain which might be minimal anyway.

I turned the auto adjust on & off to see if I'd notice a difference & I didn't. I guess for some like me its not worth the battery drain which might be minimal anyway.

Certainly agree with the comments that the HTC One screen is brighter and clearer and that brightness on the S 4 is an issue. I just don't like ambled screens all the way around with the over saturated colors. It gets old fast for me. You want to see a stunner screen check out the LG Optimus G Pro.

I read at least one review which mentioned it's brighter than the S3 (which is useless in sunlight), but still an epic fail. Waiting for S5.

the brightness change is better for your eyes. especially if youre looking at your phone before trying to sleep. Bright white screens can keep you awake. lower temperature colours are even better.

I chair an IT committee and displays are a real passion of mine, the jump between brightness was something that I noticed when testing S4 versus "one" and this setting toggle, sadly, has done nothing to change the issue on my 16 GB Galaxy S4 (AT&T, Black Mist). Oh well - I still love this display and find brightness outdoors to be plenty visible!! The display (size SuperAMOLED) were huge factors in me choosing this over HTC One or buying another iPhone 5 when I switched from Sprint.

I found a solution,
Go into Settings > My device> Display > Screen Mode>
Uncheck Adapt Display then choose Dynamic.

This should fix the issue.