Introducing WhiteMagic™ – the technology in Xperia™ P

Ever had trouble viewing your phone screen in bright sunlight? Yesterday, we announced the Xperia™ P, which solves this problem through Sony’s new WhiteMagic™ technology. In the Xperia P display we introduce a fourth sub pixel, adding a white to the red, green and blue that common displays have. By combining this sophisticated new hardware with advanced algorithms, the display becomes up to twice as bright and up to twice as power efficient. When used outside with “outdoor mode”, the screen of the Xperia™ P is one of the brightest displays on the market; while inside with “indoor mode”, it is extremely power efficient. Get a deeper understanding of the technology after the jump.

Xperia™ P is the first smartphone with an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) that utilises Sony’s WhiteMagic™ technology. In common LCDs, each pixel is divided into three sub pixels which are aligned horizontally beside each other. Each pixel has one red, one green and one blue sub pixel. In our WhiteMagic™ display, we add a white sub pixel beside the other three, so that each pixel consists of four sub pixels.

With WhiteMagic™, the red, green blue and white (RGBW) sub pixels are aligned horizontally. This illustration shows four pixels in total.

In LCD screens, the sub pixels are made of liquid crystals in the three primary colours through which the backlight  is filtered in different proportions to compose different colours. In normal LCDs, white is represented by letting the backlight pass through all three sub pixels in the right proportion. In the Xperia™ P display with WhiteMagic™ technology, the light can also be filtered through the white sub pixel, to represent a true white. WhiteMagic™ technology will significantly increase display brightness compared to normal LCD and OLED screens. In this way, WhiteMagic technology can be used to double the brightness or to save up to 50% of the backlight power based on user’s preference and surrounding light. By making the display brighter, it also brings out details in images and video content.

Super bright outdoor mode and power efficient indoor mode
With WhiteMagic™ technology, the display operates in two different modes called outdoor mode and indoor mode. To simplify, outdoor mode can be described as a mode using all LED lamps that provide backlight, while in indoor mode half of the LEDs are used.  With the same content shown on the screen, outdoor mode reaches double the brightness compared to indoor mode. In other words, indoor mode can save up 50% of the power. Indoor mode saves power by intelligently analysing the individual content’s colour composition, so there are no worries about colour distortion. The Xperia™ P is equipped with a sensor that measures the light in the environment, and depending on the surrounding light the display settings are automatically changed between indoor and outdoor mode.

In the settings menu, you can choose to manually set the level of brightness. In this case, the use of indoor or outdoor mode is fixed and the light sensor is turned off. This means that when choosing a high level of brightness, outdoor mode is always used, while with a low level of brightness indoor mode is always used.

Choose between bright mode and power efficient mode
When automatic brightness is enabled, there are two options for users – bright mode and power save mode.  In bright mode, your phone will always prioritise a bright and clear viewing experience and at the same time save power compared to other displays when indoors. In power save mode, the WhiteMagic™ technology is combined with a lower level of backlight to save even more power. It has up to 50% lower backlight compared to bright mode. This way you prolong the battery time, which lets you use your Xperia P even longer without charging. However, in both cases the backlight is adapted to surrounding light to provide a comfortable viewing experience.

Illustration of the difference in brightness between a normal LCD and the Xperia™ display with WhiteMagic™, and also the difference between outdoor and indoor mode with WhiteMagic™. cd/m2 means candela per square meter.

Xperia™ P is capable of up to 935 candela per square meter (cd/m2)  which is more than any other phone with the same level of pixel density (pixels per inch – PPI)  on the market.

Developer tips
By using as much white as possible in the content shown on the screen, you can make your app less power consuming when running it on an Xperia™ P. For example, if you have a use case where power efficiency is crucial, you can save a considerable amount of power by using only black and white. When your app is running on Xperia™ P, the display will then save up to 50% in power consumption, compared to most other displays. In addition, almost all use cases where natural photos are used saves power, since these normally contains a lot of white. Also, Images of humans and natural surroundings save a lot of power, since the colour saturation tends to be low in these kinds of images.

So what do you think of WhiteMagic™? Do you think about these things while developing applications? Let us know what you think! Drop us a line below with your comments.

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  1. By Nikolaos Beratlis


    Is it possible to always display at 935 nits even if you are indoors and the lighting conditions are low? For example if automatic brightness is disabled and the brightness is set to maximum is the brightness 935nits no matter what the lighting conditions are?

  2. By Claudio Rossetti


    Never found a so bright screen as the one of Xperia P. After this phone, I had Xperia Z, Z1 and probably I’ll goz the Z3, but they cannot be compared in terms of brighteness… honestly I still cannot understand why Sony has abandoned WitheMagic technology in his phones, first of all in high range.

  3. By Ismael Perez


    Me encanta para mi cumpleaños pedire uno!
    Pienso que deberian pornerle ranura para microSD, el doble flash y también deberian inventar un celular con un mini panel solar pero potente par cuando estamos fuera de casa lo bloqueamos y empiece a cargarse!

  4. By Dan Dascalescu


    Will this display technology be ported to other SONY phones?

  5. By REZA Asmaeli



  6. By Kirill Filaretov


    I love my Xperia P, it’s the only phone I can use at 100% in my convertible even with sunglasses. But i miss the SD card slot, water protection and I would like to have a good CMOS sensor inside with wide dynamic range. I would be completely satisfied with a phone like that.

    • By Anna Aleryd



      Great to hear that you like your Xperia P so much 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts on what you want from a phone!

      Best regards,
      Anna from Developer World

  7. By Анастасия Резникова


    У моего телефона есть только китайская клавиатура. Она выдаёт только два языка. Китайский и Английский.
    В настройках пыталась поставить Русский, но такого варианта не оказалось. Убрать Китайский я не могу. Поставить другой язык тоже. Хотя сама система на Русском.
    Что делать, подскажите. Скачивать новую клавиатуру?

  8. Pingback #11

    […] algorithms, the display becomes up to twice as bright and up to twice as power efficient. Introducing WhiteMagic Reply First … […]

  9. Pingback #12

    […] kendine has özelliklerinden ilki, alüminyum kasası, ikincisi, WhiteMagic teknolojisidir. Bu ekran teknolojisi kullanılarak ekrana normal piksellerin yanı sıra beyaz […]

  10. Pingback #13

    […] kendine has özelliklerinden ilki, alüminyum kasası, ikincisi, WhiteMagic teknolojisidir. Bu ekran teknolojisi kullanılarak ekrana normal piksellerin yanı sıra beyaz […]

  11. By Yehia Salah


    Amazing technology, we want it in all SONY Xperia NXT phones 😀 plus Dragontrail glass which is used in Xperia Active 😀

  12. Pingback #15

    […] WhiteMagic añade un cuarto subpíxel blanco a la pantalla Reality; las pantallas de LCD tradicionales tienen tres: rojo, verde y azul. ¿El resultado? La notable combinación de una pantalla ultrabrillante y gran eficiencia en el uso de energía. Es eficaz en el uso de energía porque WhiteMagic ajusta automáticamente el brillo de la pantalla a la luz del ambiente: cuando la luz no es tan intensa, el Xperia P consume menos energía de la batería. Mas (en ingles) […]

  13. Pingback #16

    […] Learn about WhiteMagic technology in our WhiteMagic blog post. […]

  14. By Roman Abreu


    This is the Pentile of LCDs, it looks the same as Atrix 4G display and I’m worried it’s going to look as bad as Atrix 4G display where in many situations you could clearly see patterns created for the White pixels.

    Is this the case or is it a better implementation than Motorola Atrix 4G?