Mobiles Tips and advice

Background: Mobile Phone Display


More and more people value the quality of the screen more and more. But what is a display, and what are the differences between AMOLED and LCD screens? The answers to these questions can be found in this article!

The history of mobile phones and their screens

In the past 20 years, telephones have evolved from simple devices purely aimed at making calls to full-fledged computers in pocket size (pocket computers). Of course, as phones have evolved, screens couldn’t stay behind.

The first smartphone was launched in 1992. It featured a black and white LCD touchscreen. Nokia released the first smartphone in 2001, with a color screen that consumers could change from gray to light blue. That same year, Sony and Mitsubishi released phones with a 256-color screen. It wasn’t until 6 years later that the first iPhone was launched. This was the first phone with a responsive touchscreen and touch interface. This caused the standard QWERTY keyboard (known as Blackberry) to be replaced. In the years that followed, more phone manufacturers adopted the Apple idea, and the development of phone screens gained momentum.

What are display specifications, and what do they mean

Smartphones nowadays come in all different colors and sizes, so there are many different screens on the market. The choice of screen size mainly depends on what you will be using the phone for. But the terms such as LCD, OLED, AMOLED, IPS-LCD are still flying around.

Screens are divided into LCD and AMOLED screens, and there are differences. There are also phones on the market with OLED screens, which have the same technology as AMOLED on board. The iPhones and Samsung phones are equipped with the new AMOLED technology. In addition to these established names, newcomer OPPO has adopted this technology.

LCD Display

LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. A display that is equipped with LCD colors is very different than AMOLED. The LCD screen has a light source inside the phone, and the screen in front of it contains many pixels that can change color.

That is why LCD screens will never be completely black, but the advantage is that the screen’s brightness is much higher. Due to the high brightness, more energy is consumed than with an AMOLED screen. Do you mainly use your phone to check emails, call or WhatsApp? Then a phone with an LCD screen is perfect.

Advantages of LCD screensDisadvantages LCD screens
LCD offers a good viewing angleBlack cannot be shown as true black
The screen is very brightThe color contrasts are not as great as with an AMOLED screen
The colors are very naturalLCD screens consume more energy

AMOLED – screen

The biggest difference between an LCD screen and an AMOLED screen is that with an AMOLED screen, the pixels in the screen themselves emit light. This means there is no separate light source at the back of the screen, which is the case with an LCD screen.

This AMOLED technology allows displaying deep black tones and high contrasts. This is great if you enjoy watching a movie and want it to play in the highest possible quality. In addition, an AMOLED screen is very suitable for photo and video editing because you can see this in the color quality, and consume less power.

Smartphones with AMOLED screens are generally thinner and can often handle touchscreen technology better. AMOLED is, unfortunately, a bit more expensive.

Apple also extensively uses AMOLED screens because AMOLED also includes Super Retina XDR. As a result, it has a high pixel density, making the images razor-sharp.

Advantages AMOLED screensDisadvantages AMOLED screens
Very energy efficientThe colors are not as natural as with an LCD screen
Great color contrastsThe brightness is not as high as with an LCD screen
Saturated and rich colors
Much thinner than an LCD screen

From AMOLED to super AMOLED

The super AMOLED screens are the improved version of the AMOLED screens. The main difference between an AMOLED screen and a super AMOLED screen is that the touchscreen of the latter screen is incorporated into the screen. With an ordinary AMOLED screen, the touchscreen is placed low in the screen.

Sports watches with an AMOLED screen

All top phones at the moment are therefore equipped with an AMOLED screen; in addition to the phones, this also applies to the most famous smartwatches. For example, the smartwatches from Apple, Samsung, and Garmin are equipped with an AMOLED screen. Unlike your phone, a smartwatch is constantly exposed to everything. 

What is POLED?

Early OLED screens placed all the organic materials on a glass substrate. However, glass is rigid, so a flexible plastic substrate was needed to create foldable display screens, leading to POLED screens.

POLED (polymer organic light-emitting diode) offers advantages in terms of durability and versatility. The replacement of glass substrates with plastic makes them more shock-resistant. Another unique advantage is in the implementation. Designers can reduce the bezel size by folding the electronics underneath an edge of the display instead of placing it on the same plane. POLED displays are also thinner than OLED displays with glass substrates.

What is QLED?

Despite what the name may suggest, QLED isn’t related to OLED displays, but it’s often slated as a competitor to OLED and aims to replace the technology by targeting both OLED’s successes and failures. QLED stands for Quantum Dot Light-Emitting Diode. The core principle of QLED technology is closer to LCD than OLED. A QLED screen passes a backlight through red, green, and blue subpixel layers to generate an image. However, the backlight isn’t one large, uniformly-lit layer. Instead, QLED displays use an array of tiny individually-controlled LEDs to supply the backlight. Using individually-controlled LEDs means the display can produce a more accurate image with higher contrast.

Generally speaking, QLED displays have similar benefits to OLED displays: high peak brightness, high contrast, perfect blacks, and good saturation. Still, they lack some OLED advantages, like image retention and reduced overall and sustained brightness.

QLED are often found in TVs and large computer monitors. OLED displays in phones are small enough, bright enough, and cheap enough that QLED can’t compete or offer any practical benefit to the end user.

But how do you choose the best display for you?

Currently, AMOLED is the latest technology and has the best quality. The latest models of all top brands use this technology.

You often see the number of Hertz in the specifications of smartphones. This indicates the refresh rate of the display. The refresh rate is the number of times per second that all pixels are refreshed. Most phones currently have 60 or 120 Hertz. Working with a high refresh rate is nice because it makes videos and other moving images smoother. In addition to videos, you also notice the number of Hertz when scrolling on websites or in the menu of your phone.

In summary, do you want to use your phone to watch entire films or series or sometimes show a website to a customer? Then a 120 Hertz screen is very nice. The only drawback is that this screen is currently only used on high-end phones, which are, unfortunately a bit more expensive to purchase. But it won’t be long before the ‘affordable’ smartphones will also have this. So always look carefully at the screen’s specifications; it is not always about the screen size.

How can I best protect my phone screen?

Perhaps just as important as the screen choice, how do you keep the screen intact? You are very happy with your new phone, so take good care of it. Nowadays, many cases are on the market because of many different phone designs. But beware, one cover is not the other. For example, a Book Case provides all-around protection, including the screen. On the other hand, you can also opt for a Back Cover. The name says enough; it only protects the back of the phone. It is, therefore, smart to purchase a screen protector at the same time as the back cover.

Most people are currently well-established with screen protectors for phones. But nowadays, there are even more protectors on the market, such as camera protectors and protectors for smartwatches. 

Then we come to the last and perhaps the most important tip. Make sure you simultaneously have the case and screen protector in with or in front of your phone. This way, you can protect it immediately after unpacking!