Even though they’re not usually the main specification phone manufacturers like to showcase, smartphone displays play a large part in the quality of user experience. There are heaps of display types used in smartphones today- all of which seem to go by confusing acronyms like TFT-LCD and Super-AMOLED. So, what does it all mean?
LCD, short for Liquid Crystal Display, is a display panel where a layer of liquid crystals is illuminated by a backlight. These panels are a popular choice because they’re relatively cheap and perform well in direct sunlight. However, they’re not the best at colour representation, especially in comparison to other panel types which are not illuminated by a backlight- but more on that later.
The LCD displays in smartphones are either TFT or IPS liquid crystal displays. TFT (Thin Film Transistor) is a little more complex than a basic LCD, with each pixel being attached to a transistor and capacitor individually. When each pixel has its own transistor and capacitor, it’s referred to as an Active Matrix. TFTs are cheap to produce and have enhanced contrast compared to standard LCD displays. However, they chew through battery power due to being constantly illuminated by a backlight, and still fall behind other alternatives in showing color and contrast.
IPS (In-Plane Switching) LCDs is the next step up from TFT panels, with improved color representation and viewing angles, made possible with the use of two transistors per pixel and a stronger backlight. The downside is IPS LCDs also consume a fair bit of power like other LCD panels.
Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode displays, otherwise known as AMOLED displays (thank goodness), sound a lot more complicated than they really are. Active Matrix refers to each individual pixel having its own transistor and capacitor, which we’ve seen before in some LCD panels, whereas “OLED” is just a different approach to thin-film display tech. OLED (or Organic Light-Emitting Diode) refers to an organic material that emits light when a current is passed through it. This means that there is no need for a backlight (unlike LCDs), which has several benefits. For example, it lowers energy consumption and enhances contrast and colour representation because black pixels are technically “off”. AMOLED displays also have faster refresh rates and better viewing angles. However, they’re not as good as LCDs when it comes to visibility in direct sunlight.
Samsung is notably one the largest manufacturers and users of AMOLED displays in their smartphones and devices, including popular flagship handsets like the Galaxy series, and it shows in display repair prices. Samsung phones and other AMOLED devices are typically a lot more expensive than LCD devices (like the iPhone) to repair. Some tech repair stores are even known for replacing broken AMOLED screens with duller, less efficient LCD displays because they’re cheaper to source. However, if you damage your Samsung screen, Technology Traders offers genuine Samsung AMOLED display repairs at an even lower cost, ensuring those deeper blacks, vibrant colour, and authentic AMOLED experience.
In short, AMOLEDs are pretty much the next step up from LCD displays in all regards except performance in direct sunlight and, being newer technology, cost- and if you damage your AMOLED display, get it repaired at your nearest Technology Traders to ensure you’re getting the real deal.