We have been seeing OLED displays on smartphones for quite a while now. Until recently, IPS and TFT were completely dominating the smartphone market. They were seen everywhere, from the most budget smartphone to the most expensive. Samsung was the first to use OLED displays in its phones, but that was a very long time ago.
OLED has only been dominating the market for a couple of years though. Why did it skyrocket now? Let’s take a more detailed look.
Advantages of OLED
There are plenty of advantages to having an OLED display vs having an IPS or LCD. Let’s dive in a bit deeper and see!
If that does not seem to make sense to you, it is very simple. The contrast ratio is simply the difference between the brightest pixel and the dimmest pixel. OLED displays manage to get extremely high contrast ratios because as you might now, it is a derivative of LED. LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes. Diodes are small lamps, and OLED displays consist of one diode for each pixel.
These diodes can be turned off individually, meaning that when the display is showing a black image, it is completely off. The same happens when only a small part of the image is black. This provides very deep blacks and rich whites.
OLED displays have absolutely beautiful colors. They are saturated and rich in colors. However, there is a lot of debate on whether they are to be preferred over LCD. The main reason is that the colors of LCD are more natural and true-to-life than those of OLED. I would prefer the eye candy provided by OLED over the natural colors.
Another benefit of having OLED displays is that they are efficient. Since black pixels are off, they no longer consume any energy. This can be benefited from by applying dark wallpapers, or even black wallpapers. Furthermore, Always On Display functionality is much more possible with this display technology.
Many companies have included this functionality with their phones that have OLED panels. However, you might also know of LG, which did it with the G6, even though it has an IPS. Nevertheless, companies that do it have to do it right. For example, if Always On is to be integrated into a phone with an OLED, it’s content has to shift and change location. This is to avoid burn in, which I will talk about later on.
Disadvantages of OLED
As previously mentioned, these panels tend to have an unrealistic color reproduction. They can be very contrasty and saturated, providing a far from real life image, or even iPhone displays.
Burn in Issues
As I mentioned earlier, OLED displays can have burned in issues. This is when a display is showing the same image for a very long time and leaves a mark. The navigation bar, status bar and always on displays are the most likely to have been damaged by this problem. This rarely happens at early stages of using the phone, but we have been seeing that with the Pixel 2 XL.
As you can imagine, all those advantages come at a price. These panels are very expensive, especially to replace. The panels are not only very expensive but also hard to replace. This is not strictly for OLED Displays, as flagship phones are all expensive to perform a screen replacement on.
The problem comes when they are used on less expensive smartphones. For example, a budget phone from Samsung, the Galaxy J7 Pro, costs around $250. Screen replacement cost? $150, without installation, just the display unit itself.
So, which one is better?
We all know that OLED is the future of technology. We are seeing more and more iterations of it, and development is not slowing down one bit. You can tell that it is a leap forward from LCD with most phones moving to it. Which one do you prefer? Why is that? Make sure to tell me in the comments section below, I would love to know what you think!