OLED, AMOLED, TFT, LCD… The different screen technologies explained

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Translated from an original PlanHub article

Several screen technologies coexist in our cell phones. Depending on the use, the range or even the brand, the type of display can vary considerably. We have decided to explain them to help you make the best choice when buying your phone.

Image Credit: Samsung

While LCD has long dominated the world of phones, the arrival of IPS and OLED is slowly sounding the death knell for this technology. Initially confined to the top of the range, OLED is becoming less expensive to produce, becoming more and more democratic and thus gaining the lower ranges. Of course, high-end phones continue to stand out and switch to AMOLED, the evolution of OLED, not to mention IPS at Apple, which further complicates matters. Don’t look any further, we’ll explain it all to you!

OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode): OLED screens are a huge success in the phone industry for one main reason, each pixel lights up and emits light when crossed by an electric current, thus dispensing with backlighting. As a result, the absence of backlighting saves space in the phone and ultimately reduces manufacturing costs. It also offers many other advantages, starting with a wide viewing angle, better responsiveness, deep blacks and better contrast.

AMOLED/Super AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode): This technology consists of adding a TFT filter to OLED screens. It allows the pixels of the OLED to keep the electricity flowing through them longer, which increases its responsiveness and therefore its ability to display a greater number of images per second. This filter called Active Matrix (AM) adds the acronym AM to OLED which gives AMOLED. Thanks to this type of screen, phones can display more than 120 frames per second in video games. Otherwise, except for this TFT filter, the technology does not change compared to OLED screens.

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display): This liquid crystal technology, which is more than 30 years old, is currently found in entry-level phones. It offers an excellent compromise between a good display and a low manufacturing cost. Even if it does not offer the brightness of an OLED or IPS screen, LCD technology takes advantage of its low cost to continue to impose itself.

TFT (Thin Film Transistor): Derived from LCD, TFT adds an overlay to increase the speed and responsiveness of the display. Manufacturers have widely used this technology on high-end phones in the late 2000s, but it has given way to OLED. However, this technology is still often found on mid-range screens. It allows you to display fast games, in good condition and at lower costs. Good to know, the screens of phones that do not mention the type of LCD used are always TFT.

IPS LCD: High-end evolution of the LCD, IPS screens are distinguished by their superior brightness and better viewing angles. More expensive to manufacture, they are found on high-end phones, especially iPhones for a simple reason, the conflict between Samsung and Apple in phones. Even if the iPhone X was excellent, Apple did not take kindly to the remarks and mockery of the public and the press concerning its OLED screen from Samsung. The Apple brand has therefore chosen IPS, which offers a similar rendering without sacrificing display quality and responsiveness, and has at the same time silenced the mockery against it.

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