What is Samsung Vision Booster?

The home screen of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Samsung employs a lot of specialized technologies for its Galaxy phones, but few shine as bright as Vision Booster. Beginning with the Galaxy S22 series, Samsung Vision Booster kicks in when a phone's display is in bright sunlight, making it easier to see when you're in the great outdoors.

But how does Vision Booster work and why is it different from a screen that's just very bright? Here's where you find out.

What is Samsung Vision Booster?

Why you can trust Android Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Samsung Vision Booster kicks in automatically when Adaptive Brightness is enabled in the phone's display settings and is present in all the best Samsung phones like the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S23 lines. The Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Ultra are the two phones that can get the brightest, peaking at 1,750 nits of brightness. The less expensive models often peak at 1,500 nits with Vision Booster.

But Vision Booster goes beyond just increasing brightness. In addition to maxing out those pixels, Vision Booster reduces contrast and changes up the tone mapping on the screen, producing an image that's technically less rich but more visible for a set of human eyes when viewing a screen under direct sunlight.

The important part here is to focus on being in direct sunlight which, at the normal contrast ratios and color depth levels, makes a display extremely difficult to view. That's because modern smartphone displays don't reflect light back into their pixels the way an E-ink device would. Rather, they have to produce enough brightness to overpower the Sun's rays from the perspective of our eyes.

A comparison between the Galaxy S22 Ultra with Vision Booster on and off

(Image credit: Tshaka Armstrong / Android Central)

In our Galaxy S22 Ultra deep dive review, Tshaka demonstrated just how much clearer the S22 Ultra's display can get in bright light with adaptive brightness enabled.

By lowering contrast and adjusting color tones and related color factors, Samsung can help reduce the contrast our eyes create when viewing a phone's display under bright sunlight. The result is a picture that's wonderfully bright even when using dark mode all the time.

Adjusting those other parameters also means that your battery won't drain as quickly when the phone needs to pump brightness up. That's because the image on the display is more effective in bright light, preventing the phone from having to max out the brightness just to make the panel visible.

How to enable Vision Booster

Vision Booster is something that kicks in automatically when the phone's ambient light sensor detects bright sunlight, but it can't do that unless the "Adaptive Brightness" setting has been enabled. Here's how to do that:

  • Unlock your phone and pull down the full quick toggles UI by sliding down on the status bar twice. The status bar is the bar at the top of your phone that displays the time, battery, and other icons.
  • At the bottom of the screen, tap the three vertical dots located on the right side of the brightness slider.
  • Slide the toggle for Adaptive Brightness to the right to enable the feature.

Now, any time you step foot in bright sunlight, Adaptive Brightness will utilize the Vision Booster function to make your screen more visible. Vision Booster only kicks in when super bright light is detected, so this isn't a feature that you can — or need — to use under darker conditions.

Phone deals: Best Buy | Walmart | Samsung | Amazon | Verizon | AT&T

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu