Smartphones use two main types of screens, OLED and LCD. These two screens have been used by manufacturers to create custom iterations that best suit their customers.
OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode)
- AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) – mostly used in high end smartphones
- Super AMOLED – Samsung’s improved version of AMOLED. It is much thinner, brighter and more sensitive to the touch than traditional OLED.
- Plastic OLED – mostly used in smartwatches and smart wrist bands
- Have very vibrant colors, contrast and deep blacks. This improves sunlight readability and enables immersive media consumption.
- They consume less power since they do not require backlighting like LCDs.
- Thinner in size
- Good for gaming and fast moving scenes.
- Expensive to manufacture hence devices bearing them are costly.
- Image sticks on screen if left static for long
- Older OLED devices have less appealing color representation
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)
- IPS (In-Plane Switching) – this is the most popular screen today, mostly due to its affordability. It has improved viewing angles compared to TFT LCDs of yesteryear.
- NEO-IPS – This is an improved IPS that is exclusively found in Huawei devices. It has all the qualities of IPS but adds the deep blacks of OLED displays.
- SLCD – this is a version of LCD that has been customised by HTC. It colors are richer than those of regular IPS dipslays.
- Much brighter than AMOLED display due to presence of backlighting effectively making them better under direct sunlight.
- Cheaper to manufacture.
- LCDs have longer lifespan than OLED
- Consumes more power than OLED due to backlighting.
- They have poor blacks and lower constrast, hence their colors are not as vivid and vibrant as OLED.
- They have lesser peak refresh rate.
Your choice between the two screens will depend on your preferences. If you are on a tight budget, spend more time in sunny outdoors, and use your devices for many years before upgrading, then LCDs are more suitable. Otherwise, if you enjoy media on the device, do lots of gaming, want a thinner phone with longer battery life, then OLED is the way to go.