It’s a constant debate. AMOLED Displays feature remarkable colors, deep blacks and eye searing contrast ratios.
IPS LCD Displays feature more subdued (though some would say more accurate) colors, better off-axis viewing angles and often times a brighter overall picture.
With that being established, which screen is better?
Samsung extensively utilizes AMOLED screens and pioneered their implementation on Smart Phones.
The LCD has been around for a while longer, but has the technology finally reached its full potential? Will the next iPhone switch from LCD to the “superior” technology of AMOLED?
On a technical level, what differentiates these two prevalent screen technologies?
Well, lets start with the basics.
Both screens are made up of Pixels. A pixel is made up of 3 sections called sub-pixels. The three sections are red, green and blue (primary colors for display tech).
To make a certain color, each pixel lets certain amounts of light through each pixel at different intensities, showing the color on your screen.
Where you start seeing differences emerge, is how the light is generated in each screen.
The light is generated from a “backlight”. A series of thin films, transparent mirrors and an array of white LED Lights that shine and distribute light across the back of the display.
On some lower quality LCD screens, you can see bright spots in the middle or on the perimeters of screens. This is caused by uneven light distribution. The downside to using backlights, is that black is never true black, because no matter what, light has to be coming through, so it will never have as dark of a screen as an AMOLED screen. Its comparable to being able to slow a car down to 2 mph versus coming to a complete stop.
Each pixel is its own light source, meaning that no backlight is necessary. This allows the screen assembly to be thinner, and have more consistent lighting across the whole display.
In addition, since each pixel is an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) or individual light, showing black means it shuts off pixels it doesn’t need to generate color.
So on the Samsung Galaxy S lineup of phones, the notification lock screen, which is white text on a black background, uses barely any power, because 90% of the screen is actually powered off.
LCD and AMOLED displays are fantastic technologies that continue to push forward the standard for Mobile Displays.
Considering that the AMOLED display as we know it in Smart Phones is only a few years old, it is exciting to see what kind of innovations we can look forward to in the future.