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Is OLED Technology better than IPS/LCD?

LCD – IPS – OLED Display

Today’s OLED display is, so to speak, the last link in a chain. Therefore, first of all, a look into the past and the technical development steps.

TFT Display

At the beginning was actually the TFT screen. TFT stands for Thin-Film-Transistor. This screen consists of 9 layers. The light from the LEDs (light-emitting diodes) of the backlight must penetrate these layers. Each visible point consists of a red, blue, and green transistor.

As with other displays, the image quality depends on the density of the pixels, i.e. the image resolution. The higher the resolution, the better the image quality. The current highest resolution for monitors is 8K (5120 x 2880 pixels = 14.7 million pixels). On the other hand, few smartphones such as Sony, currently achieve “only” Ultra-HD (3840 x 2160 pixels), which is coined with enormous energy consumption.

LCD Display

LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. A liquid crystal layer is illuminated by the backlight. Depending on the orientation of the crystals, only light of a certain wavelength passes through at a time. In addition, individual subpixels in red, green and blue can be controlled separately. This creates the mixed color that you eventually see. LCD displays are still installed in smartphones from various manufacturers.

There are also some enhancements like S LCD and Super LCD 5, which you can find on some HTC devices. This manufacturer has not yet jumped on the “OLED Display – Zug”. HTC IPSLCD displays are also installed on the new models.


IPS in-plane switching is a sub-type of LCD technology. Because the crystals align in one plane, the contrasts are better. In addition, this technique also increases the viewing angle stability. One drawback may be a slight increase in battery consumption. Among other things, you can find IPS displays on Sony and LG devices. The latter is one of the largest manufacturers of these displays.


Apple goes one step further. Because Retina displays are technically IPSLCD displays that have been adapted by Apple (LED-backlit IPSLCD).

OLED Display

There is a different technical approach behind this. Thus, transistors control organic light-emitting diodes, called active matrix in their entirety. Hence the name AMOLED.

Since the OLEDs themselves glow in red, green and blue, a backlight is no longer necessary. This is because the brightness depends on the amount of electricity that arrives at a light-emitting diode. Thus, the color impression depends on the control. Accordingly, an OLED display on manufacturer A smartphones can give a completely different overall impression than one from manufacturer B.

The largest producer of these displays is Samsung. In addition to Samsung’s cooking, smartphones from other smartphone providers, such as Google’s Pixel 2, also have an AMOLED or OLED display. In addition, there is also a further development here – Super AMOLED. The touch receptor layer is no longer separated by air cushions, but is extremely thin on the display.

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Polymer OLED Display

Since small molecules are cast into glass in a conventional OLED display, it is not possible to produce truly shatterproof or even flexible screens. As soon as the glass breaks, “Touch” stops working. This is why LG is working on a technique to integrate large molecules (polymers) into shatter-proof plastics. In addition, a foldable screen could be realized with a P-OLED display.

Both the color rendering and brightness are worse with P-OLED than with other displays. In addition, the plastic screens tend to burn-in. After turning off the display, previously active pixels can be seen as ghost images. It is true that this phenomenon is also known by others. However, p-OLED often occurs after just a few days of use.

If smartphone users were asked whether they prefer an LCD/IPS or (AM) OLED display, they would probably get similar subjective answers to the question of the better operating system. The average owner of a smartphone will hardly bother with the display technology as such. Consequently, the respective preference is based on what he/she sees and has become accustomed to. The answer is thus literally in the eye of the beholder.

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