The development of advanced display technologies produced some of the best screens that deliver incredible visuals unlike ever seen before. AMOLED and LCD are two display technologies that helped the advancement of the industry in general. While the former is more advanced, the latter can be considered as the pedestal that fast-tracked the innovation of screens; but if you assess each technology more thoroughly, which between AMOLED vs LCD will come on top?

Discussing AMOLED Displays

If you want to compare AMOLED vs LCD better, go into the components of each technology and what makes them useful in the industry. Diving deep into what AMOLED is and what the technology offers users can give you is a great start. 

What Are AMOLED Displays?

AMOLED vs LCD - AMOLED
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AMOLED literally means “Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode.” It is the display technology used on majority of the modern devices today, including smartphones, tablets, and TV screens.

AMOLED screens can be considered the latest innovation and top development of display technology as of the present. Many manufacturers have sung praises about these devices, especially in terms of the following:

  • Accurate color reproduction
  • Faster response time
  • Better contrast ratios

Types of AMOLED Displays

AMOLEDs, like any other display, come in different forms. All these types of AMOLED screens have been used in the market in several ways. To know which one can work to your advantage and meet your demands and requirements, take into account what specific type to use. 

Before comparing AMOLED vs LCD display, let’s first check out all types of screens under AMOLED. Here are some of the types to consider:

Curved AMOLED

This refers to the type of AMOLED that has a slight concave to its display. This little curve on the edges adds an entirely new but interesting viewing experience for users. 

Folded AMOLED

These types of AMOLED screens offer flexibility like no other since you can basically manipulate them to be folded or expanded, whatever you deem is necessary to operate it to your advantage. In short, you can customize the size of your display without paying extra for it. 

Dynamic AMOLED

Dynamic AMOLEDs are named as such due to their emphasis on HDR or High Dynamic Range. This type of AMOLED display ensures better color accuracy, which means that the screen shows vibrant and vivid images and videos compared to other types. It also often comes with a high refresh rate that produces smooth images even action-packed videos. 

Quantum Dot AMOLED

This AMOLED screen is the result of the fusion between quantum dot technology and AMOLED technology. With this combination, a more immersive visual show is produced. With better range and color accuracy, viewers can enjoy whatever is displayed on the screen. 

AMOLED 2x/3x/4x Display

This type of AMOLED display refers to the different versions of the screen based on the pixel pitch. This means that AMOLED 2x refers to an AMOLED screen that has two times the standard pixel pitch. This goes the same way for AMOLED 3x and AMOLED 4x.

Super AMOLED

Super AMOLED is a specific type of screen that was first introduced to the market by the giant tech firm Samsung. The company added a touch sensor into the screen’s layers and built everything into one impressive display. Compared to the standard AMOLED display, this new version:

  • Takes out the glare
  • Optimizes visibility when used outdoors
  • Improves overall capability

Super AMOLED Plus

This type of AMOLED screen adds to Samsung’s Super AMOLED device. The screen works on the subpixel arrangement in order to improve the following aspects of the display:

Components of AMOLED Screens

To have good data when comparing AMOLED vs LED, you need to understand better how the AMOLED technology works. And in doing so, we need to look at its components. Two basic components allow AMOLED screens to function as they are include the following:

Active Matrix (the AM from AMOLED) 

This refers to the method where the device uses each pixel to produce better visuals. It uses a TFT or thin-film transistor to effectively control and manage every pixel installed on the LED panel. Using the transistor improves the display’s performance and elevates the functionality into more than just a standard LED display. 

OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes)

This is the component responsible for producing light when energy surges through the device. AMOLED screens use OLEDs to directly emit heat and product light and colors necessary to mimic realistic images. 

How Do AMOLED Displays Function?

AMOLED vs LCD - AMOLED Composition
Image Credit: AMOLED.png: Pedro Spoladore – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

To better compare AMOLED vs LCD, let’s look closer at the function of AMOLED display and how the technology works. It operates by using materials, including energy, organic compounds, and independent pixels. We can better understand the operation of this screen by starting with its physical composition. 

Physical Composition of AMOLED Display

The physical composition of an AMOLED display consists of three elements, including pixel structure, thin-film transistor, and organic layers. Here are some of the things you need to know about each element:

Pixel Structure

This refers to the general structure of the AMOLED display that includes a pixel, the power source, and then the subpixel that completes the structure. Each may produce different colors for your display. 

TFT or Thin-Film Transistor

This composition can be found in each pixel and serves as a little controller that can be switched on when the pixel is needed to function right then and there. This part helps to control each pixel accurately to show precisely what needs to be displayed. 

Organic Layers

These layers refer to organic compounds that are found in the subpixels. These are the organic layers you’ll find in AMOLED screens:

  • Conductive layers – enable energy to flow through the pixel
  • Emissive layer – where organic electroluminescent materials are responsible for emitting light 
  • ETL or Electronic Transport Layer – manages electrons to transfer towards the emissive layer from a cathode
  • HTL or Hole Transport Layer – manages the movement toward the emissive layer from the anodes

Processes In AMOLED Operation

Besides the physical compositions of AMOLED screens, you also need to know about the processes used in the display’s operation. These are the ones that happen inside this advanced screen:

  • Color Emission – involves the production of a wide color spectrum when the energy is adjusted to the subpixel. Because of this, light intensity may easily be controlled and managed. 
  • Electron-Hole Recombination – electrons combine with holes once they reach the emissive layer. From there, the photons are emitted and colors are produced depending on the organic compound in the pixel structure. 
  • Light Emission – involves the passing of light across several transparent layers in the panel until it reaches the surface and visibility is shown on the screen. 
  • Pixel Activation – refers to when energy hits the TFT resulting in the pixel producing light and initiating and flow of electricity across the organic layers of AMOLED. 

Pros and Cons of AMOLED Screens

Between AMOLED vs LCD, it’s a good option to look into the advantages and disadvantages of using the display. 

AMOLED Display Advantages 

Here are some of the pros when using AMOLED technology you can benefit from:

  • Energy efficiency – Besides the basic energy efficiency of LED screens, AMOLED improves this by being more energy-efficient when showing dark content. 
  • High Black Levels and Contrast Ratios – AMOLED screens can easily and accurately switch off the individual pixels, helping you achieve true black once they are turned off. This then produces images with high contrast ratios.  
  • Vivid and Realistic Colors – The display used vivid and more accurate colors due to light emission. 
  • Quick Response Time – This advanced display features a fast response time that games and action movie fanatics will love. 
  • Thin and Lightweight Structure – AMOLED screens are structured to be thin since they are made of fewer layers compared to other displays. 
  • Awesome Flexibility – These displays show excellent flexibility you won’t see in normal LEDs since there are types you can actually fold whenever you need or want to.  

AMOLED Display Disadvantages 

To look at the other side of the coin, here are some of the disadvantages you need to prepare for:

  • Issues with Durability – AMOLED screens have issues with durability since they are prone to image retention and burn-in. 
  • Expensive Cost – Considering it uses one of the most advanced display technologies, it is not surprising that these AMOLED displays are expensive. 
  • Degrading Pixels – These AMOLED displays are also prone to pixel degradation, especially when it comes to specific colors. Blue is one of those colors. 
  • Vulnerability to Weathering Elements – Since durability is easily this device’s weakness, it is also susceptible to weather elements like the heat of the sunlight. In fact, these displays may have their pixels degraded when constantly exposed to direct sunlight. 

All about LCD Displays

AMOLED vs LCD - LCD Display
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To further assess the comparison of AMOLED vs LCDs, looking deeper into LCD technology is the next step.

What Are LCDs?

LCD means “Liquid Crystal Display”, which is a powerful technology that introduced flat panels. The technology has been applied in a variety of devices on top of the basic screens, including computer monitors and mobile phones.

LCDs started out in wristwatches and calculators, after which the technology was expanded and used in televisions and mobile phones. Later, manufacturers used the technology to improve upon it and introduce more advanced display technology with better functions and operations. 

How Do LCD Screen Work?

AMOLED vs LCD - LCD Operation
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Looking at the technical aspect of the LCD technology will provide further insight on the comparison of AMOLED vs LCD. To simplify how LCD works, let’s start with its components.  

Components in LCD Technology

A standard LCD screen features the following components to operate at optimal state effectively:

  • Liquid Crystal Layer – This refers to one of the primary components of the LCD technology that includes liquid crystals trapped between two glass layers. It is the layer where power surges through the crystals and lights up the display. 
  • Light Source – This refers to the fluorescent tubes used by the liquid crystal layers as a backlight to produce light and colors.   
  • Polarizing Filter – These are components that enable light waves to pass through. There are often two polarizing filters used in LCD. 
  • Subpixel Arrangement – This refers to the pixel bundle, which includes red, green, and blue or RGB subpixels. They are responsible for the color spectrum that can be used in the display. 

Processes in LCD Technology

Besides the basic components of the LCD screen, you should also be familiar with the processes that happen inside the device. Taking into account AMOLED vs LCD, which one had more complex processes? Here are the ones used in LCD screens:

  • Polarization – This refers to the process of filtering the light that passes through the different layers in the LCD panel. After the first polarization, it also gets to a second one placed perpendicularly. The amount of light might lessen as it reaches the second filter. 
  • Liquid Crystals Twisting – It involves the changing in the angle and alignment of the liquid crystals as they pass through the polarizing filter 
  • Pixel Control and Modulation – This pertains to the capability of users to control the transmission of light on the pixels when power passes through the liquid crystals.  
  • Color Creation – It is the process of reducing or increasing the amount of light that passes through the layers. 
  • Color Mixing – This refers to the use of red, green, and blue subpixels when producing other colors. 

LCD Displays Pros and Cons

Identifying the pros and cons of LCDs can help decide between AMOLED vs LCD. 

LCD Advantages

LCD may the older technology compared to AMOLED but it undoubtedly has advantages to offer its users, including the following:

  • Better Outdoor Performance – LCD displays perform excellently outside even under sunlight exposure. 
  • Low Initial Costs – Being the older technology, LCD technology uses a simpler production process, resulting in less cost. 
  • Less Prone to Image Retention – Unlike AMOLED, LCDs are not susceptible to burn-in cases and so can accommodate static images without worrying about this issue. 
  • Longer Pixel Lifespan – LCDs have a longer lifespan for their pixels compared to AMOLEDs which are prone to pixel degradation. 

LCD Disadvantages

After the advantages you can benefit from, let’s take a look at the possible disadvantages you need to expect from this technology. Some of these are the following:

  • Slow Response Time – LCD screens have a slower response time compared to the more advanced AMOLED. 
  • Viewing Angle Issues – When you look at LCD screens from an angle not optimal or recommended, you will notice some issues like color shifts and brightness reduction. 
  • Inferior Black Levels and Contrast Ratios – LCD displays have inferior black levels and contrast ratios when pitted against AMOLED screens. 

Face Off: AMOLED vs LCDs

AMOLED vs LCD, which between these two would you most likely use? Admittedly, there are so many aspects you take into account to assess which of these two incredible display technologies can bring out the best in you. 

AMOLED vs LCD Displays: Visual Quality

Display technologies are very particular in the visual value that the screens deliver. In general, a display that provides high visual quality is a product of several elements working together. To give you a look at the differences between AMOLED vs LCD in terms of visual quality, this table is ready for you. 

Element for ComparisonAMOLEDLCD
Contrast RatioImpressiveMay have light leaks
Color AccuracyRich and accurateLess vivid
Response TimeIncredibly fastFast enough
Viewing AnglesOutstandingNeeds improvements

To explore more thoroughly the differences between these two screens in terms of visual quality, let’s discuss them one by one. 

Contrast Ratio

Comparing AMOLED vs LCD in terms of contrast ratio, there’s a significant gap between these two technologies and displays. Since AMOLED technology is the newer and more advanced of the two, it has an impressive contrast ratio because of how the screen operates in the first place. Since each pixel can be controlled and accurately managed, turning on and off each pixel at will is possible. This makes it possible to produce true levels of black you won’t see in LCDs.  

In the case of LCDs, the technology uses a combination of liquid crystal and backlights to produce colors and images. It needs to rely on the backlight just to produce the colors and light leaking through the layers became a common occurrence, affecting the contrast ratio of the screens. 

Color Accuracy

Let’s compare the color accuracy of AMOLED vs LCD to get a more detailed look at their differences. AMOLEDs produce very accurate colors that look realistic to viewers. Because the technology can provide true black, it is able to mimic images and their colors more consistently than LCDs. Since LCD technology uses backlighting, there are cases of light leaking through the layers resulting in inconsistent colors. 

Response Time

Response time is also a relevant factor to compare AMOLED vs LCD. AMOLED displays are structured to have a faster response time compared to LCD screens. This means that there won’t be lags and blurs even if you play fast-moving elements on the screen. It is also one of the reasons why this display is preferred by gamers and action movie aficionados. 

Viewing Angles

When assessing the viewing angles of AMOLED vs LCD, the former provides better performance than the latter. With AMOLED screens, you can enjoy your viewing experience without having to consider the angle from which you’re looking. They are designed to have optimized viewing angles but this is not the case with LCD screens. 

When using LCDs, you won’t enjoy a seamless viewing experience compared to AMOLEDs. In some angles, your LCD screen may look a bit distorted with its brightness lessened and the colors somehow fading. 

AMOLED vs LCD Displays: Energy Efficiency

In the energy efficiency battle of AMOLED vs LCD, we can say that both are energy-efficient compared to traditional displays. However, the more advanced display performs better and can be labeled as more energy-efficient. 

When displaying dark content, AMOLED can fully turn the pixels off in order to produce true black. This means that the pixels are turned off and do not consume electricity. For LCDs, they don’t have that option. They just lower the light to mimic the darkness but the backlight is still consuming power. This means that LCDs tend to consume more power compared to AMOLEDs since the backlight will always be turned on. 

AMOLED vs LCD Displays: Durability & Lifespan

For the durability and lifespan of AMOLED vs LCD, there seems to be a clear winner. To understand what this means, here is a summary of the aspects that affect a display’s durability and lifespan. 

Element for ComparisonAMOLEDLCD
Pixel LifespanProne to pixel degradationLonger
Overall LifespanCan last long (Depends on Usage) Longer
Burn-in & Image RetentionProne to burn-ins and image retentionNot an issue
Exposure to Weather ElementsSensitive to sunlight and heatResistant to sunlight and heat
Maintenance ChallengingStraightforward

Let’s dive deeper into the different elements that contribute to the durability and lifespan of these two types of displays. Here are the specific factors that affect the performance of each screen:

Pixel Lifespan

When you compare AMOLED vs LCD, pixel lifespan is a major consideration. AMOLEDs, while using a more advanced technology, are prone to pixel degradation. After some time, the screen’s brightness will fade and the colors will be inconsistent. This is something you won’t have to worry about with LCD screens. The life of the pixels in LCDs is longer and they won’t degrade over time. However, you might need to replace your backlights too after some time. 

Overall Lifespan

When pitting AMOLED vs LCD together, which came out better? The truth is that AMOLEDs can also last longer, depending on the frequency of use and regular maintenance. However, if you compare it with LCDs, the older scenes are guaranteed to have longer lifespans without the worry of so many issues that can lead to the screen’s end. 

Burn-in & Image Retention

Possible screen issues and problems need to be considered when assessing AMOLED vs LCD. Burn-in and image retention are two problems you might encounter with your display and AMOLEDs are pretty prone to them. While they have great response times that make it possible to play fast-paced scenes with ease, static images are a completely different thing. In short, if you’re planning to display static images, just choose an LCD screen. If you choose AMOLED, you’ll just be destroying that screen in the end. 

Exposure to Weather Elements

The durability of AMOLED vs LCD is evident through its performance under exposure to weather elements. AMOLED screens are weak to weather elements, especially heat and sunlight exposure. If you’re looking for a screen to use outdoors, you might need to use LCDs instead if you don’t want your investment to just go up in smokes. 

Since AMOLEDs are more susceptible to burn-in and image retention, you wouldn’t really want to expose them to elements that can trigger these issues like high temperature and sunlight exposure. 

Maintenance

Comparing AMOLED vs LCD, they are the same in the way that they need regular cleaning and maintenance. However, since they have very different parts and technologies, AMOLEDs are made from more expensive pieces, and replacing parts will cost more than when you’re dealing with LCDs, which is significantly more affordable and straightforward in process. 

AMOLED vs LCD Displays: Costs

Let’s talk about money through expenses and costs. How did AMOLED vs LCD screens perform in terms of monetary value? AMOLEDs vs LCDs are similar in the way that they are manufactured and that they will cost something. However, they have very different costs, which are influenced by several elements, including the complexity of the manufacturing process, the economic scale, and the display sizes. 

Here is a clear summary of the differences between AMOLED vs LCD based on these elements. 

Element for ComparisonAMOLEDLCD
Manufacturing ProcessComplexStraightforward
Initial Production CostsHigherLower
Display SizesGetting BiggerSame Variation with AMOLED

Now that you had a look at their differences, let’s be more detailed on how these elements affect the costs of each screen and why you would need to pay more for the other. 

Manufacturing Process

First, let’s compare the manufacturing process of AMOLED vs LCD. Since it uses newer and more advanced technology, AMOLEDs are still new and the manufacturers have not yet reached the level of expertise that LCD makes have. The manufacturing process is also more complex, which further adds to the cost of the display

The complex manufacturing process of AMOLEDs involves the following:

  • Building organic layers
  • Installing TFTs
  • Adding precautionary elements to organic layers

There’s actually more to that process and the longer it is, the more expensive it gets. This is not the case with LCDs and their straightforward and simpler manufacturing process. 

Initial Production Costs

What is the initial product costs of AMOLED vs LCD? LCDs have significantly cheaper initial product costs compared to AMOLEDs. Materials for LCDs are more common and unlike the ones used in AMOLEDs, which require a bit of touch and go in the manufacturing process. 

Display Sizes

When you compare AMOLED vs LCD mobile displays, the element of screen size comes into play. AMOLEDs were introduced through the smaller devices, which are the same as LCDs. Today, more advanced technology is being integrated into larger screens like smart televisions and LED walls. It may be very expensive now but once everyone gets the hang of it, the prices will lessen in the same way that the prices of LCDs lessened. 

AMOLED vs LCD Displays: Eye Strain

Assessing the comparison of AMOLED vs LCD eye strain Reddit users can comment on. If you’re a Reddit user, which between the two screens would be the better fit for you as you look at the screen for a long time? 

It’s not new that too much screen time can cause eye strain. And truthfully, some screens can cause more havoc than others. In the case of which is better AMOLED vs LCD for eyes, the former is the better option. These are the features of AMOLED screens that help deal with eye strain:

  • Blue light emission reduction
  • Deep true black
  • More vivid color contrast

However, once pixel degradation starts, make sure to ease the use to avoid uneven colors and brightness that can cause eye strain. 

On the other hand, LCDs feature high levels of glare that are unhealthy for your eyes. Spending too much time looking at LCD screens can cause eye problems. Avoid playing fast-paced elements on your LCDs since with its slow response time, lags and blurs can worsen your eye strain. 

In this battle of AMOLED vs LCD regarding eye strain, you can make the decision yourself on which is the healthier option for your eyes.

AMOLED vs LCD Displays: Best of the Best

We’re in the final leg of the AMOLED vs LCD race and now that we’ve collected all the tidbits about the two screens, we can create an evaluation on which is better. Here is a table to summarize the performance of each display on specific aspects of comparison.

AMOLEDLCD
Color Contrast: True black and vibrant colorsCost: A simpler manufacturing process results in cheaper initial cost
Fast Response Time: Smooth panel transitions for fast-paced elementsPixel Lifespan: Lasts longer and operates without the danger of pixel degradation
Thin & Lightweight: Structured to be thinner and lighter in construction to be compatible with mobile devicesOutdoor Performance: Operates well even outdoors with exposure to intense sunlight
Flexibility: Designed to be easily physically manipulated, whether you bend or fold it
Energy Efficiency: Has better energy efficiency especially when displaying dark content

Conclusion

Comparing AMOLED vs LCD demands a meticulous assessment of all the factors that can affect their screen performances. This goes the same way if you’re going to compare AMOLED vs LCD vs LED. It is best to focus on what you need and where you’re using the screen, as well as the factors you prioritize in your decision.

If you’re a gamer and you value seamless movement on the screen, you are bound to choose AMOLEDs more than LCDs. However, if you have a tight budget, and you don’t need the highest specifications for your screen, LCDs may be the ideal option for you. In such cases, it’s all about meeting your needs and circumstances with what’s available for you. Comparing AMOLED vs LCD is only possible if you take into account your own situation.

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