What is the difference between LCD, OLED and AMOLED screens?

What is the difference between LCD, OLED and AMOLED screens?

When you buy a smartphone and while reading the phone's specifications, you often do not pay attention to the type of phone screen. Screen type shortcuts can be a bit confusing and most people usually don't take them into consideration due to their ignorance. Don't worry now, we will give you everything you need to know about the main types of screens, which are LCD, OLED, and AMOLED.
Previously, there were only two main types in the smartphone industry: LCD and LED. But with the advancement in technology, many other types have emerged, such as OLED, AMOLED, sAMOLED, and Retina. LCD displays are used in most mid-range phones from Xiaomi, Realme and other Chinese manufacturers and OLED in their upper-end devices. Samsung uses AMOLED and sAMOLED displays, while Apple uses Retina displays. Let us discuss each of these types one by one.

LCD screens

LCD (short for Liquid Crystal Display). The oldest type of screen, it relies on a backlight as the only light source to illuminate the pixels. LCD screens are also brighter than most other types of displays, making them suitable for use in smartphones in bright sunlight. However, these displays suffer from less accurate colors. Smartphones use two main types of LCD displays:

  • TFT stands for Thin Film Transistor. TFT displays are an advanced version of LCD displays. While TFT is relatively less expensive to produce and provides better image quality than previous generations of LCD displays, it has higher power consumption and viewing angles and less accurate color representation.
  • IPS stands for In-Plane Switching. It is an improved version of TFT. Provides better viewing angles and color representation by taking advantage of a more powerful backlight. They consume less power than TFT, but are generally more expensive.

Advantages of LCD screens:

  • Low flicker rates.
  • Lower power consumption and is not affected by the displayed colors.
  • Versatile as it can be used in any battery-operated electronic device.
  • Inexpensive and available at reasonable prices.

Disadvantages of LCD screens:

  • Low black color display quality (appears as grey) due to the lack of backlight for each pixel individually.
  • Low color contrast.
  • It consumes more power due to the backlight.

OLED screens

OLED (short for Organic Light-Emitting Diode). The presence of this type is the main reason for the emergence of curved displays and foldable smartphones. Unlike LCD screens, which use a backlight, OLED screens do not require this because they contain a layer of organic materials that emit light when exposed to electric current. OLED displays display more saturated and vibrant colors. Due to the luminance of each pixel, OLED displays provide darker black levels. Because pixels that are not connected to electrical current are in a sleep state, OLED displays typically consume less power and give better battery life. There are two main types of screens:

  • AMOLED stands for Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode. Similar to an OLED display but has thin film transistors (TFT) on the back panel. This ensures faster and more precise control as it can turn on or off any pixel individually, and also contains a storage capacitor which allows to get rid of the display size limitations and provides the possibility of a larger screen. We will explain AMOLED displays in more detail due to their popularity.
  • PMOLED stands for Passive Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode. Cheaper than other LED displays but their lifespan is short and they cannot operate for long periods. It has a simple control system through which each row on the screen can be controlled sequentially. Due to their low efficiency, they are generally used in devices with screen sizes of less than 3 inches.

Advantages of OLED screens:

  • Accurate color representation even from the widest viewing angles, without any flares.
  • There are no restrictions on screen size and can be used on any smartphone.
  • High contrast ratios.
  • The color appears perfectly black.

Disadvantages of OLED screens:

  • Short shelf life due to the use of organic ingredients.
  • Higher power consumption than LCD and AMOLED screens.
  • Color aberration.

AMOLED screens

AMOLED (short for Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode). Improved OLED displays. The TFT element is the most important in these displays which controls the flow in each pixel. With two TFT modules for each pixel the first to start and the second to stop charging the storage capacitors this allows each LED to operate individually and generate light for itself. Due to its great flexibility, it can be used in foldable phones.

You may have come across the term sAMOLED or Super AMOLED. These displays were invented by Samsung and are available in the displays of its high-end models. This type provides a variety of colors with greater clarity. Super AMOLED displays can handle sunlight better than other AMOLED displays, while consuming less power.

Advantages of AMOLED screen:

  • Thinner and more flexible.
  • High refresh rates, ideal for gamers.
  • Less battery consumption when using dark colors.
  • There are no restrictions on screen size.

Disadvantages of AMOLED screen:

  • Low lifespan due to the use of organic materials.
  • Expensive.

So each type of screen mentioned above has its advantages and disadvantages. In general, AMOLED is superior to LCD screens. Our primary comparison criteria are higher refresh rates, better color representation, and battery consumption. As for OLED versus AMOLED, we already mentioned that AMOLED is an improved version of OLED that offers better image quality and lower battery consumption. Due to their low usability under sunlight, Super AMOLED displays are the best options.

In the end, it all boils down to your needs and budget. If you're on a tight budget, an LCD screen isn't a bad deal. But if you have a good budget, you should definitely go for the latest AMOLED screen especially for TVs.

Source: DW