Choosing a smartphone that will delight you is not an easy task. We have already written about some of the nuances of such a choice. Today we will focus on such an important feature of any gadget as its screen.
Most modern smartphones on the market use IPS or AMOLED screens. These are radically different technologies, each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages. Which one to choose? Let’s figure it out.
Differences between IPS and AMOLED
IPS technology has evolved into a subset of the much larger LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) family. Any IPS display consists of many pixels – dots that form the image on the screen. These dots, in turn, consist of three sub-pixels – red, blue and green, which are responsible for what color you see.
But such pixels are useless by themselves. They need lighting to work. It forms a stream of light that passes through the pixels and the polarization layer of liquid crystals behind them. The result of this is the picture that you see on the screen.
The fundamental difference between AMOLED, Super AMOLED, P-OLED and any other OLED technology is that it uses not ordinary pixels, but organic light-emitting diodes. Such a display does not require a separate backlight – each pixel itself emits light when a current passes.
Always On-Display and Power Consumption
Smartphones with OLED displays support the Always On-Display mode (always on screen), which allows you to display data even when the screen is off. Most often, it displays the time, notifications and the remaining battery charge. But depending on the manufacturer, this list may vary.
All thanks to the very ability of organic light emitting diodes to emit light on their own. Each such pixel can be “turned on” separately, leaving other pixels “off”. And this dramatically reduces the power consumption of the screen, and almost does not affect the battery charge.
With IPS, such a “trick” will not work. IPS screens use a single backlight unit for all pixels. And this means that even if we display only the clock on the screen, its backlight will work in full, quickly “eating” a completely unlimited battery charge.
In addition, this feature of OLED allows you to reduce the power consumption of your smartphone by simply activating the dark theme. After all, the black color on such a screen is a turned off pixel that consumes absolutely nothing.
deep black color
About the features of the OLED display to demonstrate deep black color, every marketer repeats. And this is one of those cases where you can’t argue with him. You remember that the black color of a pixel in an OLED screen is a turned off pixel. And what could be blacker than a point that does not emit light at all?
If we talk about IPS-displays, then they glow constantly, including when they show a black tint. From a certain angle, such a color may indeed appear black, but if you change the angle of view a little, it will brighten. In other words, it is simply impossible to achieve really deep blacks on IPS matrices due to their work characteristics.
How is the backlight of any IPS screen arranged? In the vast majority of cases, it uses a row of LEDs at the bottom of the screen. From them, the light spreads over the entire display area using a special light-conducting film.
But no matter how hard manufacturers try, such illumination cannot be completely uniform. If you turn off the lights and display a black image on the screen, you will almost certainly notice small light areas on it, which usually cluster in the corners of the display and in its lower part – where the LEDs are closest to the screen.
OLED panels cannot even theoretically have such a problem precisely because they simply do not have a common backlight.
This is a key problem with all OLED displays, and the main reason why some users choose smartphones with IPS screens. The thing is that organic LEDs have only two states – on and off. The brightness of such a display is regulated by the flickering speed of the pixels: the greater the brightness, the faster they pulsate, the smaller, the lower the flickering speed.
You’ve probably been in rooms with bad fluorescent lamps, haven’t you? They cause fatigue, pain in the eyes and headache. Approximately the same effect occurs from the operation of the OLED screen at low brightness. True, not all users are susceptible to PWM. But, if you are one of them, you have a direct road to the IPS screens camp. Their brightness is regulated directly by changing the backlight intensity. Therefore, problems with PWM are excluded here.
Another issue is that the flickering effect can be smoothed out using DC Dimming technology. It cannot completely get rid of ripples, but it smooths out their amplitude. Minus technology in the deterioration of color reproduction. Perhaps that is why not all smartphones with OLED panels have it.
The first generations of OLED displays were highly prone to burn-in – when a contrasting static image was turned on for a long time, the picture “froze” forever on the screen and was visible whenever it was turned on. Now OLED screens have become much more perfect, and their burn-in during normal use of a smartphone, if not excluded, is minimized. But it would still be wrong not to mention this problem.
OLED screens are much more expensive than their IPS counterparts. Of course, in recent years, the gap between them has narrowed, and OLED screens have begun to appear not only in flagship, but also in quite affordable mid-range smartphones. But the difference in price is still quite noticeable, affecting the retail price of the smartphone. By the way, the same applies to the cost of replacing the screen in case of damage.
Before making a final choice in favor of a particular technology, try working with a smartphone with an OLED display at a brightness below 50%. If after a couple of hours of use, you don’t want to smash your smartphone against the wall, you should probably opt for OLED.
The main reason why users choose IPS is the lack of PWM. But if your eyes are insensitive to flicker, the OLED screen will give you only one pleasure. It outperforms IPS in terms of backlight uniformity, can display really deep blacks, offers excellent energy efficiency and the Always On-Display function, which is useful in all respects. As for display burn-in, it almost never occurs in modern OLEDs.
- Always On Display: why this technology consumes so little power
- What is PWM and is this technology really dangerous for the eyes?