Types Of Display
There are many display types used in smartphones: LCD, IPS, TFT, OLED, AMOLED, Super AMOLED, Retina and so on.
LCD means Liquid Crystal Display. As you can probably figure out, LCD is made up of an array of liquid crystals that get illuminated by a back-light. Because LCDs don’t require much energy to power a screen, the technology is very popular in portable devices.
LCDs also tend to perform quite well in direct sunlight, as the entire display is illuminated from behind, so they are ideal for smartphones. However, this back-lighting means that blacks tend to appear gray and LCDs therefore have less contrast than some other display technologies.
There are two main types of LCD: TFT and IPS. TFT stands for Thin Film Transistor, an advanced version of LCD that uses an active matrix (like the AM in AMOLED). Active matrix means that each pixel is attached to a transistor and capacitor individually.
IPS stands for In-Plane Switching and it is a further improvement on TFT LCDs. To summarize very roughly: the way the crystals are electrically excited is different and the orientation of the crystal array is rotated.
This orientation change improves viewing angles, contrast ratio and color reproduction. Energy consumption is also reduced compared to TFT LCDs. Because IPS LCDs tend to be better than TFT LCDs, they are also more expensive when put on a smartphone.
The ‘good’ news about LCD screens is that their energy consumption isn’t affected by the on-screen colors. On an LCD screen you can use bright colors, white or dark themes and not have to worry about one or the other consuming more battery life.
AMOLED stands for Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode. While this may sound complicated it actually isn’t. We already encountered the active matrix in TFT LCD technology, and OLED is simply a term for another thin-film display technology.
OLED is an organic material that, like the name implies, emits light when a current is passed through it. As opposed to LCD panels, which are back-lit, OLED displays are ‘always off’ unless the individual pixels are electrified.
This means that OLED displays have much purer blacks and consume less energy when black or darker colors are displayed on-screen. However, lighter-colored themes on AMOLED screens use considerably more power than an LCD using the same theme. OLED screens are also more expensive to produce than LCD.
Because the black pixels are ‘off’ in an OLED display, the contrast ratios are also higher than LCD screens. AMOLED displays have a very fast refresh rate too, but on the down side are not as visible in direct sunlight as back-lit LCDs. Screen burn-in and diode degradation (because they are organic) are other factors to consider.
On the positive side, AMOLED screens can be made thinner than LCDs (because they don’t require a back-lit layer) and they can also be made flexible. This is why we’ve seen Samsung bending the AMOLED display on the Galaxy S6 Edge and LG using a Plastic OLED (P-OLED) on its flexible G Flex 2.
Retina is another marketing term, this time from Apple. A Retina display is not defined by any particular characteristic, other than that it is supposedly of sufficient resolution that the human eye can’t discern pixels at a normal viewing distance.
Which Display Type Is Better For Mobile Phone?
Don’t fall into the trap of believing the marketing hype. Analyze the displays for yourself, ask other users on the forum.
If you’re crazy about squeezing every drop of life out of your battery or are simply obsessed with eye-popping color and contrast, then take a look at AMOLED. In some ways the grass will always be greener because not every display type can satisfy all preferences, but you can still make informed choices that will tick as many boxes as possible for you.
Difference between AMOLED and Super AMOLED
Super AMOLED is the brand name given by Samsung to its range of superior smartphone displays. Super AMOLED displays reduce the thickness of the screen by integrating the touch response layer with the display itself.
Super AMOLED displays handle sunlight better than AMOLED displays and are also better on power consumption. As the name implies, Super AMOLED is simply a better version of AMOLED.
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