What are Nits in Display? How many nits do we need?

We all have heard about ‘nits’, a term used to project the display of electronic devices like smartphones, laptops, and tablets nowadays.

In simple words, Nits are the measure of the brightness level of a device’s display, the light emitted per unit area. Technically it is ‘candela per square meter’, where Candela is the SI unit for light measurement.

candela per square metre
candela per square meter

Let’s think about the situation while using your phone under direct sunlight. Are you able to see each and every corner of the screen? Do you feel any difficulty in seeing the things displayed on the screen?

This is where the term nits comes into play.

Since it is the intensity of light per unit area, the size of the screen does not play a role in the value of nits. Whether it be a small screen or a large, if we divide the area into unit squares, then each unit will have a uniform amount of light emission.

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A higher nits value means greater brightness. Places like displays are done under dark conditions like the theatre screen has fewer nits value. On the other hand, the display of our smartphones and laptops, which have to be operated under a variety of outdoor conditions like either a dark or a bright room, under direct sunlight, etc, will have large amounts of nits.

Importance of nits

Based on the area of application the value of nits of devices will vary.

The total light emitted from a theatre screen is greater than a smartphone, but the nits of the smartphone are greater than a theatre screen.

  • Candela = about the light from 1 candle
  • Nit = the light from 1 candle per square meter
  • More nits = more candles per square meter = Brighter Display

How many nits do we need?

This is where our priority comes from. In the case of smartphones, it has to be used both outdoors and indoors. The range of nits in a smartphone or tablet will range from 200 to 1000.

Only a few smartphones will have the 1000 range, but a range above 400 nits is excellent for almost all conditions. If your smartphone has 250 or less, then the screen will be a bit dimmer and you will find it difficult while use the device under direct sunlight.

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ExampleEnvironmentSuggest Brightness
Dark RoomA room at night with all lights turned off50 nits
Dim RoomA room with soft lighting at night100 nits
Lim RoomA well-lit office conference room with no daylight (Home Theatre)200 nits
Bright RoomA well-lit room with windows and indirect daylight (TV)300-400 nits
OutdoorsIndirect Sunlight600+ nits
Ambient Lighting Environment

In the case of laptops, since the major use of laptops are under indoor conditions, the value of nits range is between 200 to 650. Any laptop with 600+ nits is considered an excellent display with a good color tone, but anything within 250 to 500 is very much acceptable.

If the nits value is 400 or above, then we can use the laptop with half or less display power, you will never find a need to put the laptop in full brightness, hopefully.

The case of televisions with a high dynamic range requires a minimum of 500 nits. Some higher-end models achieve 2000+ nits. But most of the premium brands are aiming for around 700+ nits.

Conclusion: Should we consider Nits in Display

Should you really consider the value of nits while purchasing a smartphone, tablet, or even a laptop?

The answer is simply no. Because most companies nowadays are using Super AMOLED displays. and they have good brightness and dynamic range.

Nits are important but should not be the one deciding factor in your screen choice unless you specifically need something above a certain level of brightness for HDR or outdoor use.

It is not a higher concern for a common man to consider the nits value while purchasing unless you are a tester or want a phone with a high dynamic range.

So, these are all about Nits in Display. If you like the article and think it will be helpful for others, share it with your friends and family. Further, if you have any questions, do let us know in the comments below.

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