AMOLED vs LCD: A Detailed Comparison & All You Need To Know

The evolution of displays over the past few years has been impressive to see. Today, customers have different options to choose from, and manufacturers themselves are tasked with understanding which display variants that can meet their audiences’ needs. 

Among the popular options you have are AMOLED displays and LCD displays. And as you’d expect, understanding how both work will be beyond critical. 

This article looks into the AMOLED vs LCD comparison, explaining how they differ and which options will be better for you overall.  

Understanding AMOLED Technology

Before we head into the LCD vs AMOLED comparison, it is important to know what both are and how they can work: 

What is AMOLED Technology?

AMOLED is an acronym for “Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode.” Here, you have a display technology variant that has found application in different industries and devices – tablets, smartphones, TV screens, and much more. 

Over the  years, AMOLED displays have been seen as being especially advantageous over traditional display formats. Manufacturers and users especially love its impressive color accuracy, quicker response times, and better contrast ratios. 

Generally, an AMOLED display comes with some of the following components: 

Active Matrix: The “active matrix” part of the AMOLED acronym describes the display’s method of controlling each pixel. For AMOLED displays, every pixel is manipulated and controlled by a thin-film transistor (TFT)

The transistor’s job here is to ensure more independent and accurate control of a pixel’s characteristics. Of course, this standard differs from older display technologies, where you get a row or column of pixels being controlled at the same time and by the same component.

Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs): An OLED is an organic compound that displays light when it comes in contact with electric current. AMOLED displays have each pixel being made up of an OLED, thus emitting light directly when a current is applied to the pixel. 

With the use of OLEDs, AMOLED displays are able to achieve higher levels of energy efficiency.

Flexibility: AMOLED technology is also notable for its ability to create foldable, flexible displays. This has led to impressive innovations in smartphone designs, including and not limited to curved screens and foldable displays. 

Color Accuracy and Vibrancy: AMOLED displays are also known for their ability to offer vibrant, rich colors. Since each pixel emits its own light, you get more accurate colors compared to other display options. 

Burn-In Risk: That said, another characteristic of AMOLED displays is the risk of “burn-in.” Essentially, this occurs due to pixel degradation over time, where certain status images or elements leave a small “ghost” impression on the display screen. 

While several manufacturers have developed ways to address this, it remains a risk you want to keep in mind.

How AMOLED display works

As explained earlier, the AMOLED display technology operates by combining organic compounds that emit light upon contact with electric current and individual pixels. 

This operating approach emits the need for a specific backlight, which is needed for more traditional display options. So, how does the AMOLED display work? Let’s check it out: 

  • Pixel Structure: An AMOLED display is made up of different individual pixels, each serving as a light source. There are also subpixels in each pixel, emitting different colors across the board. 
  • Thin-Film Transistor (TFT) Array: An array of TFT is available behind each pixel, serving as a switch. The TFT is part of the active matrix part of the display, enabling precise pixel control.
  • Organic Layers: Every subpixel in an AMOLED display comes with different organic layers. These materials contain carbon-based compounds, which show light when a current is applied. In general, those layers in question include the following: 
  • Emissive Layer: This is a layer with the organic compounds that emit light when they’re stimulated. They’re called organic electroluminescent materials, and their job is to emit photons when holes and electrons are combined within their material. 
  • Conductive Layers: A conductive layer is a layer of conductive, organic materials that allow current to flow directly through a pixel.
  • Electron Transport Layer (ETL): The overall objective of this layer is to facilitate electron movement from a cathode to an emissive layer. 
  • Hole Transport Layer (HTL): This layer makes it possible for holes to move from anodes to the emissive layers themselves. 
  • Color Emission: AMOLED displays also adjust the voltage applied to every subpixel, making it possible to control the intensity of light emitted. This emission combination creates a broad spectrum of colors. 
  • Pixel Activation: When the time comes for a specific pixel to emit light, a voltage is immediately applied to the corresponding TFT. Once the TFT is activated, electrical current is allowed to flow through the pixel’s organic layers.
  • Electron-Hole Recombination: The introduction of electrical current also means that holes and electrons move within the organic layers. When there’s a combination of electrons and holes in the emissive layer, photons are emitted, with the light color depending on the type of organic material being used in the subpixel. 
  • Light Emission: Every emitted light is made to pass through different transparent material layers. It eventually reaches the display surface, where viewers will be able to see it. 

All in all, an AMOLED display uses the same properties of organic compounds to emit light upon the application of an electrical current. This intricate combination of TFTs and organic layers in each pixel ensures accurate control over pixels, resulting in the characteristics of the displays that you see.

AMOLED Display Variants

One interesting fact about the “AMOLED” term is that it tends to be encompassing. While it is broad, you have different variants under this umbrella that should be given some recognition as well. 

  • Super AMOLED: The Super AMOLED variant was initially built and launched by Samsung. Here, you have a display that integrates touch sensor and display layers into a singular unit, thus taking out the need for a distinct touch-sensitive later.  With the Super AMOLED design, you’re able to cut out on glare, optimize outdoor visibility, and improve the device’s overall footprint.
  • Super AMOLED Plus: This display improves on the traditional Super AMOLED technology, offering higher pixel densities and optimal power efficiency across the board. And, the display option is able to achieve this by rearranging subpixels to improve color accuracy and sharpness.
  • Dynamic AMOLED: The major focus for Dynamic AMOLED is to improve color accuracy and support High Dynamic Range (HDR). The Dynamic AMOLED display usually incorporates features like a variable refresh rate to improve visual smoothness and cut out power consumption. 
  • AMOLED 2X/3X/4X: Most of these designations tend to indicate a rise in pixel density. For instance, when you see AMOLED 2X, it essentially means a display that comes with twice the pixel density of a regular AMOLED display. In general, the distinctions are used for mostly marketing operations. 
  • Foldable AMOLED: Growth in foldable technology has also led to the development of foldable AMOLED. These devices can be expanded or folded, making it possible for them to improve their screen size when needed.
  • Curved AMOLED: A curved AMOLED screen comes with slight curves across its edges. The display is mostly used in smartphones, optimizing user experience across the board. 
  • Quantum Dot AMOLED: This display variant combines traditional AMOLED with quantum dot technology, optimizing color accuracy and providing a more immersive visual experience across the board. With quantum dots improving a display’s efficiency and range, you have a lot to benefit from these displays. 

It is worth noting that these are just a few examples of the various types of AMOLED displays available. And, manufacturers like NSE LED Cloud have been known to innovate around this space to find even more reliable and effective applications of the traditional AMOLED variant.

Understanding LCD Technology

“LCD” is an acronym for “Liquid Crystal Display.” This display technology is flat-panel, and it is used mostly in different devices like smartphones and computer screens as well. 

The LCD variant has been one of the most popular display formats out there – and, it’s been decades in the making. 

The earliest conceptions of LCD technology were made by Richard Williams back in 1962. A researcher, Richard came up with the liquid crystal property of twisted nematic compounds. Six years later, a fellow researcher named George Heilmeier and his team proposed the concept of scattering mode for displays. 

Practical LCDs came to be in the 70s, thanks to the work of men like James Fergason and companies like the Brown Boveri Corporation. By the 80s, these displays were commercialized, being put into calculators, wristwatches, and more. 

Once the 90s rolled around, LCDs were placed in televisions, mobile phones, and personal digital assistants (PDAs). Since then, it’s been a race to develop better and more reliable display formats. 

From the 2000s forward, developers have continued to improve the scope of what we have, providing thinner and more compact devices while also improving on display quality across the board.

Technical Details of How LCD Technology Works

In general, the LCD display works by controlling light passage through liquid crystals, thus creating the vibrant visuals and images you see. A traditional LCD option will work with several key characteristics – some of them including: 

  • Liquid Crystal Layer: The primary feature of every LCD variant is the liquid crystal layer. Here, you have a layer of liquid crystals that is placed between two other layers of glass – although plastic might also work in some cases. These crystals act as unique molecules that offer the characteristics of both solids and liquids. When electric current passes through them, their molecular alignment eventually switches. 
  • Subpixel Arrangement: In every LCD, each individual pixel comes with three subpixels – a reg, a green, and a blue option. By working together, the subpixels create a broad range of colors that can be used to form your display. 
  • Polarization: You can also find polarizing filters on the external surfaces of glass layers. These filters make it possible for light waves oscillating at a specific frequency to pass through. 
  • Light Source: Of course, there’s also a backlight source playing behind a liquid crystal layer. The source can emit light from fluorescent tubes, although LEDs have become the more popular light source recently.  
  • Twisting the Liquid Crystals: The application of an electric current to a pixel’s liquid crystal layer means that the alignment of the crystals themselves will change. This twisting changes the orientation of the polarized light passing through. 
  • Second Polarizing Filter: Once the light passes through the liquid crystal layer, it eventually reaches a separate polarizing filter. This filter has an orientation that’;s perpendicular to the first one, although you also want to keep an eye on the liquid crystals’ angle as it determines the amount of light be allowed to go through the second filter. 
  • Color Creation: This process is done by adjusting the amount of light that goes through each subpixel. 
  • Pixel Control: As you’d expect, you can control each pixel’s light transmission based on your application of electric current to the liquid crystals themselves. Proper current modulation means that the pixel can display a range of colors and brightness levels across the board. 
  • Color Mixing: Thanks to the combination of the RGB subpixels at different intensities, you can create a broad spectrum of colors for the display’s use.

AMOLED vs LCD: Differences In Visual Quality

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Now, let’s get to the main crux of the AMOLED display vs LCD comparison. 

When it comes to display comparisons, visual quality is one of the major areas where you want to keep an eye on. And, when making the AMOLED screen vs IPS LCD comparison, there is no doubt that this is one aspect to always have in mind. 

To understand how the AMOLED screen vs LCD tends to play out for visual quality, here are some major points of comparison: 

Contrast Ratio:

In general, AMOLED displays are known to come with impressive contrast ratios across the board. Each pixel is allowed to emit its own light, so the overall display can achieve true black levels once individual pixels are turned off in the major dark aspects of the image. 

LCDs, on the other hand, work with backlights that shine through liquid crystals. These backlights create images, although it is always possible for light to leak through and cause suboptimal black levels. 

All in all, when it comes to the AMOLED vs LCD black light comparison, AMOLED takes the prize here. 

Color Accuracy and Vibrancy:

Color accuracy is the next point where we draw the line in the AMOLED vs LCD screen comparison. 

As we know, AMOLED screens are among the most vibrant in the market. Their colors are rich, thanks to the organic compounds that are used to create every individual pixel. And, with pixel individuality, you can achieve accurate control over the color and brightness of every subpixel. 

For LCD, there is a considerable reliance on backlighting and color filters. In many situations, this can lead to less vivid colors compared to the AMOLED display. Advancements in quantum dot technology have led to improvements on this front, but when you compare an IPS LCD vs AMOLED for color accuracy, the latter comes out on top once again. 

Response Time:

When you compare the AMOLED vs IPS LCD based on response time, it should come as no surprise that AMOLED displays come out on top here. AMOLEDs handle fast-moving content much better (games, specific videos, etc.), with content appearing smoother with less motion blur. 

Viewing Angles:

The viewing angle, compared with the pixel pitch, can play a significant role in helping you to find out how best to optimize the viewing experience. and , now that we understand how the AMOLED black vs LCD black comparison works, you should also know how both displays compare when it comes to optimizing the viewing angle. 

Generally, AMOLED displays have impeccable viewing angles. You can enjoy consistent colors and brightness with them, regardless of where you’re viewing them from. 

Improvements have been made with LCDs, but they still don’t match AMOLEDs here 

Power Efficiency:

Finally, we should also compare the AMOLED vs LCD power consumption metrics. AMOLEDs tend to be more energy-efficient, especially when displaying darker content. Each individual pixel can be turned off completely, so it;s easier for you to save energy across the board. 

With their reliance on backlights to illuminate screens, LCDs tend to consume more power – especially when displaying darker images. 

AMOLED vs LCD: Differences In Energy Efficiency

Next, you want to consider the LCD vs AMOLED power consumption metric to understand how both options work in terms of energy efficiency. 

In general, AMOLED displays are significantly more energy-efficient than LCD screens. They can achieve true black levels since you can turn off each individual pixel entirely. And once you do, the pixels don’t emit light, so they don’t consume any energy. 

LCDs’ reliance on backlights means that they remain active even when they display black content. So, energy consumption is always high. 

The optimal energy consumption that you get with AMOLED screens also extends to displaying mixed content. These forms of content combine bright and dark areas, but with AMOLED displays, the inclusion of dark pixels means that little energy is consumed across the board. 

Finally, the benefit of energy consumption in AMOLED screens is also extended to tasks that involve prolonged status images. From viewing static images to reading and more, AMOLED screens maintain their energy efficiency across the board. 

For LCDs, the consistent need for a backlight means that you will always need optimal energy to operate the display. 

AMOLED vs LCD: Differences In Durability and Longevity

Regardless of what you select, you want a display variant that’s able to last long and stand the test of time. So, when you’re working out the AMOLED vs ips lcd durability comparison, which one works best for you? 

Burn-In and Image Retention

One of the biggest factors in the AMOLED vs LCD battery life comparison is the burn-in factor.

As we explained earlier, AMOLED displays are more prone to burn-in – the phenomenon where prolonged display to UI elements or status images leads to the images themselves being etched on the screen. This isn’t much of an issue when you consider LCD screens because of their use of liquid crystals and backlights. 

Pixel Lifespan

Over time, it’s possible for AMOLED displays to degrade. If this happens, brightness will be cut, and you tend to experience color shifts in the affected pixels. 

Once again, LCD variants tend to be better on this front. Their lifespan is longer for individual pixels, although it is also possible for the backlights to degrade over time and affect general display performance. 

Overall Lifespan

All in all, this is a bit of a tricky one. AMOLEDs can actually last long, although the general lifespan will depend on your usage patterns and the quality of the display. This is why you want to get your screens from a reliable company like NSE LED Cloud. Our AMOLED screens can last several years without giving you any issues across the board. 

For LCDs, you usually get longer lifespans. Since they’re less prone to burn-in and pixel degradation, you shouldn’t have much of an issue. 

Impact of Heat and Sunlight

Heat and sunlight sensitivity are two areas where you want to be careful with when considering AMOLED displays. When taken to a considerable level, both could easily cause higher levels of pixel degradation and make burn-in challenges much worse. 

On the other hand, LCDs display an impressive level of resistance to sunlight and heat, meaning that they can last longer regardless of where you place them. 

Long-Term Uniformity

When you ask “amoled vs ips lcd which is better” on the durability front, you will find that LCD variants are also much better when you’re considering long-term aging and uniformity. Inconsistencies with the backlight might affect overall performance, but you still enjoy consistency across the board. Sadly, the same can’t be said for AMOLED displays. 

Repair and Replacement

You might find it a bit more challenging to repair an AMOLED screen. The process of manufacturing these screens is complex enough, so any changes in components will need to be done thoroughly and carefully. 

For LCDs, the repair processes are mostly straightforward. And, with replacement parts also being more readily available, you don’t have much to worry about. 

AMOLED vs LCD: Differences In Cost and Availability

Eventually, any option you choose needs to be affordable. At NSE LED Cloud, we understand the need for people to optimize every dollar and make sure that they can keep costs as minimal as possible. 

So, how does an AMOLED vs LCD phone screen compare in terms of cost?  

Manufacturing Complexity

A major factor in determining the cost of these screens is the charge incurred in manufacturing them in the first palace. 

For AMOLED screens, we already covered the fact that manufacturing can be complex. The process usually involves creating organic layers, placing the TFTs, and conveying the organic layers to ensure that degradation doesn’t occur. With such a complex manufacturing process, it’s no wonder that these screens tend to cost more. 

LCD screens, on the other hand, are simpler to produce. And, with the screens being available for much longer, there have been improvements in costing to ensure that people can access them for far cheaper prices. 

Initial Production Costs

Thanks to the complexity of the overall production process and the materials being used, the cost of producing an AMOLED screen is significantly higher than that of the LCD screen. 

Economies of Scale

Interestingly, we’ve also seen a reduction of costs in AMOLED screens thanks to expanding economies of scale. Essentially, the increased demand for these screens has meant that economies of scale have driven down costs. 

The same thing can be said for LCD screens. However, going forward, we expect to see these economies of scale weigh more on the prices of AMOLED screens. 

Display Sizes

When they were first developed, AMOLED screens were used in smaller devices such as smartphones. Thanks to advancements in technology, we’ve now seen AMOLED screens become bigger and more feasible in a broad range of applications. 

LCD screens have the same variation in display sizes, so both options are quite even on this front as well. 

Market Demand and Competition

This is another area where the AMOLED vs PLS LCD debate has kind of stalled. AMOLED screens faced limited competition initially, but the rise in demand has meant that these screens are more readily available. 

As for LCDs, the fact that they’ve been available for longer means that they’ve also been widely adopted across different devices. They’re more versatile and cost-effective, and the competition in the market for these products has driven down prices considerably.

Availability by Manufacturer

As you would expect, the fact that both display variants are in high demand means that they’re more readily available across the board. Different manufacturers have their production standards, so you can easily browse among your options to find one that works for you. 

Nevertheless, it is important to remember that an option isn’t necessari;y better because it’s cheaper. Quality is the name of the game when it comes to displays, and this is where we at MSE LED Cloud come in. 

Whether you’re looking for an AMOLED display or an LCD, rest assured that we’ll be there to provide the perfect option for you. 

AMOLED vs LCD: Pros and Cons Of Each 

AMOLED Pros

  • Superior Contrast and Black Levels: The fact that AMOLED displays make it easy for you to turn off individual pixels means that they can achieve true black levels, thus resulting in higher contrast ratios. 
  • Vibrant Colors: An AMOLED display is also capable of providing saturated, vibrant colors since it can directly emit light.
  • Faster Response Time: Compared to LCDs, AMOLED displays offer quicker response times across the board. 
  • Flexible and Curved Displays: Flexibility is the name of the game with AMOLED displays – so, you can incorporate these displays into things like foldable screens and more. 
  • Energy Efficiency in Dark Content: In a world where energy efficiency is more than important, AMOLED displays easily shine. 
  • Thin and Light Designs: You don’t need as many layers in AMOLED displays as you’d need with LCDs. So, devices built with this display can be lighter and thinner.

AMOLED Cons

  • Burn-In and Image Retention: In general, durability might not be the strongest suit of an AMOLED display – since things like burn-in and image retention aren’t so optimal. 
  • Potentially Higher Cost: Since the manufacturing processes for this display are so complex, costs can be on the higher side. 
  • Pixel Degradation: Over time, you can notice a degradation of certain colors – such as blue.
  • Susceptibility to Sunlight and Heat: AMOLED displays tend to exhibit higher sensitivity to high temperature and direct sunlight – and, this can hasten the pixel degradation process.

LCD Pros

  • Lower Initial Cost: With a simpler manufacturing process, LKCDs tend to cost less across the board. 
  • Longer Lifespan of Pixels: The pixels in an LCD display also usually last longer.
  • Better Performance in Bright Environments: For outdoor displays, you will find that LCDs are much better.  
  • Reduced Risk of Image Retention: Their reduced susceptibility to burn-in means that LCDs are better for display tasks that involve static images.

LCD Cons

  • Limited Contrast and Black Levels: LCD displays rely on a backlight, and this can lead to suboptimal black levels and contrast ratios. 
  • Limited Viewing Angles: When viewed from specific off-angles, you might notice that LCDs experience reduced brightness and color shifting. 
  • Slower Response Time: Compared to AMOLEDs, the response time for LCDs is significantly slower. 

All in all, both display variants come with their pros and cons. And, your choice of each will generally depend on what you’re looking to achieve here. If you need a consultation, rest assured that we at NSE LED Cloud are here for you.

AMOLED vs LCD: Which Is Better For Your Eyes?

Excessive exposure to screens can be detrimental to your visual acuity. And, if you’re really looking to optimize the health of your eyes, you want a display format that easily caters to that. 

So, if you’re asking, “amoled vs ips lcd which is better for eyes,” this is a good guideline to help you out:

AMOLED Displays

In general, AMOLED displays are great for your eyes because they reduce blue light emission and can provide deeper blacks and a more refined contrast. As such, eye strain can be reduced – especially when you’re viewing content with different brightness levels. 

On the other hand, these displays’ susceptibility to burn-in, as well as the potential for pixel degradation, means that you also have to deal with uneven brightness levels. 

LCD Displays

LCD displays essentially flip the switch. They reduce the risk of burn-in, while also ensuring optimal color stability and allowing you to control brightness. 

Still, the use of backlights means that you get higher levels of glare, which can contribute to eye discomfort. Combine this with the possibility of experiencing motion blue and slower response times, and you’ll find that this display option might not be the best for fast-moving content. 

AMOLED vs LCD: Which One Is Better?

As you would imagine, making a decision in the AMOLED vs LCD debate can be challenging. But, if you’re really keen on deciding, here’s a breakdown that might help you:

Where AMOLED Shines

  • Vibrant Colors and Deep Blacks: If you really want saturated, vibrant colors, then AMOLED displays are perfect for you.
  • Fast Response Time: The AMOLED display also improved response time, cutting down on motion blue and providing overall smoother visuals.
  • Thin and Light Devices: With its build, the AMOLED display ensures that you can get lighter and thinner device designs. 
  • Flexible and Curved Displays: AMOLED displays also make it easier for you to get intricate display features like folds and curves. 
  • Energy Efficiency in Dark Content: With energy efficiency being a major stipulation among display consumers, AMOLEDs easily shine. 

Where LCD Shines

  • Budget-Friendliness: Compared with AMOLEDs, LCDs are much more affordable. 
  • Longer Pixel Lifespan: LCDs also work better if you’re looking to reduce pixel degradation and optimize display longevity. 
  • Better Performance in Bright Environments: LCDs tend to perform better in bright outdoor environments due to their higher maximum brightness levels.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, your choice here will depend on what you’re looking to achieve across the board. AMOLEDs and LCDs are pretty solid display options, but you need to make sure that you’re optimizing your view for what you hope to achieve. 

At NSE LED Cloud, we have the perfect display options for you based on what you need. And, if you require a consultation, feel free to reach out to us as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Dynamic AMOLED? 

Dynamic AMOLED is a display technology that essentially improves on the traditional AMOLED variant. The display is mostly found in smartphones and other electronic devices, and it incorporates features such as HRD support, even higher brightness levels, and greater flexibility.

What is Super AMOLED?

Like Dynamic AMOLED, Super AMOLED also builds on the traditional AMOLED technology. Also used in electronic devices, Super AMOLED is especially notable for its thinner design and overall enhanced visibility. Brightness here is also improved, with both contrast and color vibrance being optimized.

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