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OLED screens on a smartphone: What we gain and lose?

In the high range, more and more smartphones have opted for OLED technology for their screens. We have clear examples in the LG V30, the Galaxy Note 8, the Pixel 2 XL and more recently, the iPhone X, the last to join this list.

Having an OLED screen allows you more eye-catching designs where the screen is clear protagonist. But are they all advantages? We talk about what we earn but also lose with OLED screens in our phones.

OLED

Image Source: Google Image

The advantages of OLED screens in a smartphone

We have all observed how spectacular it is to see an OLED screen on a smartphone. That is one of the reasons why more and more manufacturers are making the leap to that technology.

The image that an OLED screen offers, both in photo and in video, is very striking, with a high brightness and contrast that is not within reach of an LCD panel. Together with pure blacks, it leaves us a reproduction of much more impressive content than on an LCD screen.

At the design level, OLED technology allows manufacturers to get thinner, lighter phones with the entire front screen, even adopting curved shapes at the edges. In an LCD you have to leave some room to place elements such as the screen driver. In an OLED panel, when being able to bend, that controlled does not need space in the front.

Finally and also in general, an OLED screen consumes less energy than an LCD, and that, nowadays, is very positive for the autonomy of a telephone.

OLED

Image Source: Google Image

The drawbacks of OLED technology in mobile

Although in general we could say that a good OLED screen exceeds the LCD, this technology is not without its drawbacks.

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First, an OLED panel is more complex to manufacture than an LCD panel, and the control of the final quality (so that a panel is uniform and without failures) is more difficult. This means that there is currently a shortage of the most advanced and current panels, since they can not be manufactured with guarantees at the same rate as assemblers require them.

The big brands are making heavy investments to mitigate this problem, but today, the reality is that we fear Samsung as the main manufacturer of quality panels. But it can not cover its internal, high demand, and that of third parties, which means that only a few have them. This is the case of Apple for example.

Now, that an OLED screen manufactured by Samsung Mount Apple on an iPhone X does not mean that it will look the same. The result depends on the calibration that each manufacturer has decided to give the screen mounted on your device, and if you want more saturated colors or less.

OLED

Image Source: Google Image

Another problem associated with OLED technology is the durability of these panels. OLED screens suffer degradation faster than an LCD panel, especially using very bright white backgrounds and static images, so that over time annoying retention could appear, which in the worst case would result in the burning of certain areas of a OLED screen.

Finally we have the type of subpixel pattern that incorporates an OLED panel to compensate for the different performance of the RGB pixels of OLED technology. The most used pattern in the high range is the one that Samsung designed for its SuperAMOLED screens and is Pentile type. This mesh causes that if the screen does not have enough resolution, the loss of sharpness by this pattern can end up being appreciated with respect to a panel with the same resolution but LCD technology.

And we must not forget the most common and visible inconvenience, which is the change of tone more or less pronounced depending on the quality of the panel that occurs when changing the viewing angle of the screen, appreciable mainly in white backgrounds, something that does not happen with quality LCD screens.

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