Broadly speaking, modern mobile phones today use two types of display: LCD or OLED. Both display technologies have their peculiar features that distinguish them. What do these technologies mean? How does one differ from the other? LCD vs. OLED, which is actually better? We provide answers to those questions in this blog.
LCD vs. OLED: What do they stand for?
LCD is an acronym for liquid-crystal display. It is the most common type of display you’ll find on mobile devices such as phones and tablets. For LCD displays, a backlight serves as the only light source to make the image visible. Since there’s technically no individual white light wavelength, most LCDs use a blue LED backlight filtered through a yellow phosphor coating to produce a pseudo-white backlight to work.
OLED stands for organic light-emitting diodes, an offshoot of LED technology. As the name implies, OLED displays use organic films of luminescent materials placed between two conductors in each LED to produce light when current is applied. Traditional LEDs use silicon and other materials to produce light. In OLED screens, there’s no need for a backlight, and pixels can autonomously be turned on or off.
Although innovations are moving towards the OLED technology, but it still isn’t as common as LCD devices yet. Most phone manufacturers still use LED screens in their devices, especially in the cheaper models, but reserve the OLED screens for their flagship phones. In fact, flexible OLED technology is one major driving force behind the proliferation of curved edge displays and the contemporary foldable smartphones (such as Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, Huawei Mate XS, and Motorola Razr.).
LCD vs. OLED: Pros and cons
When it comes to answering the big question of which technology wins the LCD vs. OLED duel, there’s really no particular answer. Each technology has its own merits and flaws when compared to the other. Let’s examine some of those features.
Brightness and High Contrast: Since OLED screens have a single-pixel luminescence feature, the display is comparatively brighter than in LCD screens. OLED displays also provide better black levels and cleaner, more vibrant viewing angles than LCD screens.
Power Efficiency: OLED’s trademark single-pixel luminescence feature also means it will be more power-economical than LCD screens. Since OLED devices eradicates the need for a backlight, they are expected to last longer than their LCD counterparts.
Size: Since OLED displays do not require backlights and liquid crystals, it frees up space. Essentially, OLED displays are relatively thinner than LCD screens.
Cost: This is possibly the only place where LCD wins the showdown. The manufacturing cost of LCD screens is noticeably lower than its OLED rival. However, as manufacturers work towards mass-producing the new OLED displays, the cost margin between LCD vs. OLED is expected to drop over time.
LCD vs. OLED: Who wins?
Although LCDs still remain in active use, majorly because of its affordability, it is expected that OLED displays will catch up soon as production costs fall. Bigwigs in display manufacturing – like LG and Samsung, are seeking to expand the OLED technology market for the future, and investing in additional production facilities.