Have you ever wondered why some screens seem too bright, vivid and so much more saturated than other screen.
Have you ever wondered why it may be, why flagship SAMSUNG smartphones and few others like MOTO X, Nexus 6 have a display that speaks volume for itself. Here comes the difference. All of these phones have an AMOLED or SAMOLED(S denoting SUPER the proprietary name given by Samsung to its AMOLED display).
Now you may ask what's the difference really to this. I am here to tell you about the main basic differences between an AMOLED and a LCD display panel.
AMOLED display of Samsung Galaxy s3 neo
AMOLED stands for Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode. Meaning it doesn't need and other light or backlighting as found in the LCD panels to produce different colors.
The pixels composed of red, green and blue pixels emit their own light when given appropriate currents.
One of the main advantages of using an AMOLED panel it is much more power efficient as there is no need for backlighting as mentioned above.
AMOLED displays as they produce their own light have a wider color gamut thus having more shades of the same color as compared to LCD. Even though with each generation of LCD panels, the difference is getting less and less prominent but still a visible difference is present when viewing the displays side by side.
Now another advantage of AMOLED panels is that the pixels turn off when displaying black color. This allows for amazing contrast and "Pitch dark" blacks. This is even more prominent again when you see both the displays side by side. As the pixels are off while displaying black color this it makes the AMOLED displays more power efficient too. A black wallpaper or a dark theme would give you a little bit of extra juice.
All this is great but doesn't mean AMOLED displays are faultless.
Viewing angles on an AMOLED display is very good. No matter at which angle you look at the screen you can see 100%of the screen with minimal or no color shift.
AMOLED displays not needing a backlight can also be produce to be very very thin. This helps in producing those super thin smart phones like Oppo R5, Gionee Elife 5.1 etc.
Also they can be bend and can be used in the future to produce flexible displays. Prototypes such as the Samsung's YUOM, and full fledged retail models most notably Samsung Note 4 Edge, Galaxy round, Lg G Flex 2 are already in the market.
AMOLED displays are least efficient while displaying white color as all the pixels are working at their maximum to produce it. And as almost all the websites are mostly in white color, battery life may take a hit while surfing the web for prolonged duration.
Another problem AMOLED displays suffer from is burn in issue. What this means is a part of the display that has been displaying the same image/text in that area for very prolonged time ( such as date, time, notification area), leaving a slight shadow or very slight discolored area there. Many times these can be fixed. Even apps are present in the Google play store to fix this issue.
Also AMOLED displays are susceptible to lose their vividness and saturating over time. Although this has been rectified to some point. More about that in my next post.
AMOLED displays are also much more expensive to manufacture this has lost its when with many manufacturers over time ex HTC started using Super LCD technology for its flagship OneX from 2012.
LCD display of LG Nexus4
LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. There is a thin panel containing liquid crystals which produce various colors when electricity is passed through them. These crystals only produce colors and are unable to produce any light of their own. Thus a source of light in the form of backlighting is required. LCD displays bring cheaper to produce are found in almost 90%of displays present today be it TVs, smartphones, computer monitors etc.
LCD consist of blue, green and red sub pixels.
LCD has a lesser color gamut than AMOLED displays but they produce what many people call "True to life colors". Colors look much more subtle and natural as opposed to super saturated AMOLED(although this can also be tweaked).
LCD produce pure white, and have no effect on the battery no matter which color of being displayed as the backlighting is always on. Backlighting helps in these displays to get much much brighter than the conventional AMOLED displays, but this is also changing with each passing generation.
LCD displays have a longer life and are much more durable than AMOLED panels as they don't suffer from image burn-ins and color fading.
Viewing angles have improved vastly, with very mandible color shift and distortion.
Though great at displaying white, LCD displays, due to the persistent backlighting on, are much less efficient than AMOLED. And this power consumption increases as the resolution increases. Which may in future result in worse battery life unless the batteries get buffer or the battery technology improves dramatically.
Another thing to notice if that even though LCDs have slimmed down considerably, they'll never be as thin as AMOLED. Again the reason is the backlighting.
LCD displays can never produce "Pitch black" color like AMOLED, again due to the backlighting. The black areas always tend to be in a shade of grey, this may not be noticeable in day to say usage, but when the displays are put side to side the difference is definitely noticeable.
Conclusion:- LCD have been present for a long time in the industry. Yes it's true your calculators, digital wristwatches, microwave timers etc all had an LCD, almost all of the TVs are LCD (just with different backlighting systems). Even though they are efficient, natural looking and cost effective. Soon this all is changing. Future is moving towards bendable, flexible displays which can be worn on (Samsung Galaxy Gear S). And when this goes mainstream surely the future less with AMOLED displays.
Let me know which display you like more and why down in the comments below.