Demystifying Smartphone’s Display: AMOLED versus LCD

The mobile phone display technologies are divided into two; LCD and AMOLED. The displays have become the latest battleground as smartphone manufacturers try to outdo each other and capture a bigger market share. However, how much do you know about AMOLED and LCD technologies? In this post, we demystify the two technologies so that you can select the best phone.

A closer look at AMOLED technology

To appreciate AMOLED technologies, you need to understand OLED. OLED is a Light Emitting Diode (LED) that is arranged in blue, green, and red light clusters that shone on the screen to reproduce white light used in smartphones.

The O section of AMOLED technology stands for organic. This means a small film positioned carefully between various LED conductors. The films produce light when current is illuminated through them.

The AM part of the AMOLED technology means the Active Matrix Unlike in a passive matrix, the complex grid system that controls each pixel has been performing sub-optimally because of slow speed and imprecision. However, the Active Matrix in the AMOLED system utilizes thin transistors and special capacitors that make access to every pixel more effective. It can also retain more charge between refreshing cycles that enhances precision and control.

The main benefits of OLED include the ability to exert higher control levels on each pixel. Besides, since you can control every pixel, it is easy to apply high contrast ratio to help save power. Besides, AMOLED display does not have layers included in the surface. This means that optimal light can hit the surface so that images and videos are clearer from every angle. 

The LCD technology in smartphones

LCD means liquid crystal display that operates very differently compared to the AMOLED model. As opposed to utilizing individual light emitting components, LED uses backlighting. Though some can use multiple backlights, to reduce power consumption, the model only applies to larger screens such as television.

From a scientific view point, there is no white light wavelength. To get white light, you must shine other different colours in the energy spectrum. This means that the LCD backlights must generate pseudo white light that is filtered into different colours using the liquid crystal elements (yellow phosphor coating).

The process gets really complicated because the crystal can be twisted at varying degrees based on the applied voltage to polarize light. The light is further passed through a filter set at 90 degrees that attenuate the light on the final stage before applying green, blue, and red filaments for adjustment.

When the entire process is put together, the amount of Red, Green, and Blue hitting the screen is culled from the back light. This is different from the AMOLED model that generates the light from every pixel. Note that just like the AMOLED technology; the LED display can be either active or passive matrix system.

Which is better between LCD and AMOLED display?

The effectiveness of the LCD or AMOLED displays depends on the profound user experience. Because the AMOLED display generates a wider range of colours compared to LCD, smartphones using it have vibrant looking images.

LED displays are preferred by manufacturers that want to emphasize the blue and green saturations. Because these are the most powerful colours and very limited green light to generate light, there is overcompensation that subdues the green. This means that LCDs have a close match to the standard FBG colour gamut. However, some images can look unnatural.

Because of lack of backlight and layers of filtration, OLED wins slightly over LCD. Led displays also demonstrate poorer contrast because you cannot switch individual pixels. It is because of this focus that most of the latest smartphones mainly feature AMOLED displays.

One major disadvantage of AMOLED display is that it is very short lived. Over time, the AMOLED display colour balance can drift and alter the appearance of the images and videos. However, the single backlight on LCD means it can remain consistent and maintain colour balance for long.