My first Android smartphone was Samsung Galaxy 3, which came out as an earlier attempt of Samsung in Android arena. The device had TFT display, which performed ‘ok’ at that time. Then I had shifted to Galaxy S2 smartphone, which was a pretty expensive smartphone at that time that packed Super AMOLED display. I was surprised at the first glance of the display; the colors were punchier even at lowest brightness and blacks were deepest at its best. Later, I switched to One M7, which came with Super LCD 3 display and surprisingly, I loved it as the color saturation and viewing angles were as close as to iPhone 5’s display. I liked the sunlight visibility of LCD panels over AMOLEDs but why would I like to switch back to AMOLEDs after liking LCDs for years? The same question inspired me to write this article.
Overview of both technologies:
There are fundamental differences between the AMOLED and LCD panels. The AMOLEDs utilizes the LEDs to light up each pixel individually, and LCD (liquid crystal display) panels use sunglasses trick to switch its colored pixels on or off. The back of the screen light up to shine the display, which further contains sub-pixels to control the various colors. There are own advantages and disadvantages with both of the technologies. The most common LCD technology has been improvised with the new sub technology called In-Plane Switching (IPS), which is widely using LCD technology at current times to produce top class colors and to improve the longevity of the display. The majority of the smartphones including iPhones are utilizing this technology. However, Samsung has chosen to go with AMOLED technology called “Super AMOLED” for their Galaxy S and Galaxy Note line of devices.
As a tech follower since last six years both the technologies have evolved significantly by adding cool new tricks to improve the display quality with each generation so, this is the perfect time to look back and decide the best performing technology, and I have decided to go with AMOLED panel for my smartphone. Here are the reasons behind this conclusion.
Reasons to choose AMOLED over popular IPS panels:
The AMOLED panels used to be the poor performers under the direct sunlight, but the things are changed a lot in recent years especially after the Samsung’s tremendous work with its Super AMOLED panels, which set the benchmark for AMOLEDs with its accurate color saturation, high brightness levels as well as signature deep blacks. I feel that these three features are the primary things for any display to crack the user base. I have to admit that the viewing angles also being considered but in my opinion, all the current displays are coming with 178-degree viewing angles so; I least bother about the viewing angles.
To give you an example, I’m considering Galaxy Note 5’s display as it has the best smartphone display ever shipped. The device comes with the options to adjust the color saturation, which will allow you to turn on either punchier ones or the natural looking colors for better viewing experience. Surprisingly, the natural looking colors are dead close to the sRGB standard and almost equal to the IPS screens. As you guys know, we always prefer IPS panels for natural looking colors, but the Super AMOLED in Note 5 is equal to the IPS panel found in iPhones when you set the option for Basic. The second category is the brightness, which has shown impressive growth in AMOLED panels as IPS panels are brighter since the beginning but not the competitor one. However, the Note 5’s display can go as high as 760 nits of brightness that is again super high for the flagship smartphone with AMOLED display. It easily beats the other high-end phones to secure the first place as the brightest smartphone display.
We have discussed hardware related things so far, but there is an edge for AMOLED screens on software side also since it is using the LEDs to light up the display. The smartphone makers are employing new tricks like “Always-on” display on smartwatches, Glance screen to see all the notifications at once without even turning on the complete display. Let’s talk about the Always On display mode, which is useful for SmartWatches to see the Steps count while Walking, Kilometers you ran while running and Calories you burnt during workouts, all the things you can do without turning on entire display. The Always On displays usually show the information on the screen in black & white by lighting up only the required pixels on the screen that saves pretty major battery life especially the SmartWatches are tiny to fit larger batteries where each mAh counts. The Glance screen works in a similar way, but it will work on when the user picks the phone from an idle state. The display will show all the notifications at a glance by calculating the proximity sensor & Gyroscope data.
Again, the smartphone makers are taking advantages of the AMOLED panels and lighting up only the required pixels; you can find this feature in last gen Nokia Lumia phones. The OnePlus X also utilized its AMOLED panel smartly by shipping the OS with the dark mode, which turns the Android UI with dark shades pretty much everywhere. The feature has experimented in Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but OnePlus has baked it in Oxygen OS 2.x. There are numerous advantages with the AMOLED panels across the various devices, no matter whether it is a smartphone or SmartWatches or fitness bands.
Wrap up my statement:
Now, it is the time to wrap up my statement. The above mentioned reasons played a critical role in choosing the AMOLED display for my next smartphone instead of IPS panel. It might not be big for few people but as per the current situations, AMOLEDs are going to be the future. Even, Apple is reportedly in talks with Samsung to use AMOLED panels for iPhones. To let you know, Apple is already using AMOLED panels for its Apple Watch. Google also recognized the benefits of these pitch black displays and employed it in high-end Nexus 6P and also baked Glance screen feature into core Android operating system.
The OnePlus 2 with IPS display is great regarding color contrast and blacks, but it is incomparable with AMOLED panel so, to narrow down my options based on my choice, I may join in Samsung’s club again with the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge. Here you go folks, what do you think about my decision, drop your opinion in the comment section below.