The Difference between LCD and OLED
Before answering the difference between LCD and OLED, let’s have a brief introduction. What is LCD and what is OLED
In daily life, the most common screens we use are televisions and mobile phones. Whether it’s full-screen LCD panels, curved OLED panels, or foldable screens, consumers are interested in screens, but often don’t understand the differences between them. What are the differences between OLED and LCD screens? And how do phones and TVs made with them differ? Currently, LCD and OLED are the most common display technologies in the TV and smartphone markets, each with their own market share. Before understanding the differences between LCD and OLED, let’s take a look at their basic principles
The difference between LCD and OLED
LCD is a type of display technology that works by controlling light-emitting diodes (LEDs) within a semiconductor. Typically, these LEDs are made up of multiple red lights.
In contrast, OLED screens work by applying a stable voltage to the screen. Holes and electrons are injected from the anode and cathode into the hole-transport layer and electron-transport layer, respectively. They then move to the emitting layer, where they meet and create excitons. These excitons activate the light-emitting molecules in the emitting layer, causing visible light to be emitted.
LCD :The working principle of LCD display involves placing liquid crystals between two conductive glass plates. By applying an electric field between two electrodes, the electric field effect causes the liquid crystal molecules to twist and align with the direction of the electric field, allowing the LCD to control the light source’s transmission or shading function. This generates brightness and darkness, creating an image that is displayed when the power is turned on or off. Adding a color filter to the LCD display enables it to display color images.
OLED:OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, is a display technology that consists of a layer of light-emitting material between two electrodes. When a voltage is applied, the current flows through the organic layer, and electrons and holes recombine to release excess energy as light pulses, which can be seen through one of the transparent electrodes typically made of indium tin oxide (ITO).
OLED displays can be categorized into two types of driving modes: PMOLED (passive-matrix OLED) and AMOLED (active-matrix OLED). AMOLED, originated from Samsung, features a thin-film transistor (TFT) with a switch for each pixel, allowing for higher brightness, resolution, color performance, and lower power consumption. This type of panel is widely used in consumer electronic products.
PMOLED, originated from LG, has a simple structure and an easy manufacturing process, which reduces production costs and offers fast response time. PMOLED has great potential for development in micro devices with simple displays. However, PMOLED suffers from high power consumption and reduced lifespan, and the product size is limited to about 5 inches.
Currently, most mainstream OLED displays on the market use AMOLED technology.
LCD：LCD displays require a backlight, and when displaying black, the light is blocked by polarizing crystals. However, it is impossible to completely block all light, and the color gamut of an LCD screen is typically between 72% to 92%, which means that black on an LCD display appears more like gray.
OLED:It’s different for OLED displays. OLED displays don’t have a backlight source, and each pixel emits light on its own. The color gamut of OLED displays is over 118%, so they can display an infinite number of colors and are not affected by backlighting. When displaying a completely black image, the pixels can be turned off, so OLED screens can display pure black.
3.Visual Angle aspect
LCD:The viewing angle of an LCD monitor is generally narrow. When viewed from an oblique angle, color deviation and contrast reduction issues may arise. This is because the display principle of LCD screens is based on the electric field effect of twisting liquid crystal molecules to control the transmission or shading of light. When the viewing angle deviates from the front, the twisting angle changes, which affects the amount of light transmission and consequently the display effect.
OLED：The viewing angle of an OLED display is much wider than that of an LCD display, and it can be viewed without color distortion from almost any angle. This is because each pixel in an OLED screen emits light independently, and when the viewing angle changes, the emission particles are not affected by the twisting of liquid crystals, so there is little to no color distortion and contrast reduction.
When the color difference value Δuv is less than 0.02, the human eye can hardly distinguish color changes. Using this as a benchmark for measurement, in an ideal laboratory professional measurement environment, the color gamut viewing angle of OLED self-luminous screens is 120 degrees, and the brightness half-angle is 135 degrees, much larger than high-end LCD screens. In practical daily use environments, OLED is almost without dead angles for viewing, and the picture quality remains consistently excellent. This means that when moving halfway around an OLED self-luminous TV screen, the displayed picture is unlikely to change significantly.
LCD：The LCD liquid crystal layer cannot be completely closed. When the LCD panel displays black, some light will pass through the color layer. The black seen by the user on the LCD screen is actually a mixture of white and black, just like when a white light flashlight shines on a black film, the black seen from the other side of the film is actually a gray color with a large decrease in brightness, not pure black.
OLED：The OLED screen has better performance in contrast and black representation. Contrast refers to the ratio of white to black, and the higher the contrast, the richer the color of the picture. LCD screens have a backlight layer, so black is not pure black when displayed. On the other hand, OLED screens can directly turn off the pixels in the black area without emitting light, making the black display effect more pure.
5.Service life aspect
LCD：Translation: LCD has an advantage in terms of the lifespan that consumers are concerned about. Why is this? Just take a look at the problems of burn-in and screen flashing, and you will understand. You may say that it is already 2023, and OLED phones will not have this problem anymore, right? However, the fact is that from the media and user exposure of information, the phenomenon of burn-in on phones still exists, but the technology has been improving, and the probability of burn-in has greatly decreased.
OLED：Due to the “light” and “thin” characteristics of OLED, it makes it possible to have curved screens. However, since OLED is made of organic materials, it ages much faster than LCD and may experience burn-in and other issues, resulting in a shorter lifespan.
So, even the latest products from top companies like Apple can encounter such problems with a large user base. At present, burn-in and ghosting problems with OLED screens are almost unavoidable, but as technology gradually matures, the probability is also decreasing.
Here are a few ways to avoid it by the way, just a few habits in use, but very effective
Reduce screen brightness and use dark mode when possible.
Avoid displaying static images or leaving the screen on for long periods of time.
Use screensavers or enable the auto-sleep function to turn off the screen when it’s not in use.
Rotate the screen regularly to distribute pixel usage more evenly.
Use apps specifically designed to prevent screen burn-in
Keep the device in a cool, dry environment to prevent overheating and damage to the screen.
6.Corresponding velocity aspect
LCD may have a delay (known as motion blur) due to the response time not keeping up. This can be noticeable when watching sports or playing games.
On average, the response time of an LCD is 10ms, while OLED can achieve 0.001ms. This means that there will be no trailing or motion blur when watching sports or playing games on an OLED TV or OLED phone. It can also better synchronize audio and video, providing consumers with a better viewing and gaming experience. Although OLED has a relatively faster response time, the difference may not be noticeable in daily use based on personal experience.
Blue light problem：In fact, both LCD screens and OLED screens emit blue light. Due to the self-luminous nature of OLED screens, they are more harmful to the eyes in low light conditions, while LCD screens have better display effects in low light conditions, and therefore cause relatively less harm to the eyes.
LCD：In earlier years, LCD display hardware also had obvious screen flicker problems. Under the influence of relevant policies and consumer demand, manufacturers began to promote “non-flicker” displays. For heavy users of phones and TVs, the screen flicker of OLED displays can cause serious eye fatigue and even headaches.
OLED：The flickering issue is due to the fact that OLED often uses PWM dimming to adjust the screen brightness by quickly turning the screen’s light source on and off. Although it is imperceptible to the human eye, the screen is flickering at a fixed frequency when viewed in slow motion, which is particularly harmful at low frequencies. The flicker can cause significant eye irritation to users, and coupled with OLED’s high contrast, the impact of OLED screens on vision is significant, especially for heavy users who frequently use their OLED devices at night.
Overall, LCD screens are considered more eye-friendly than OLED screens. LCD has an advantage in that it uses direct current (DC) dimming to adjust screen brightness by changing the current/voltage, while OLED uses pulse-width modulation (PWM) dimming, which is based on alternating current (AC) and turns the screen on and off rapidly to adjust brightness. Although the flickering is too fast for the human eye to detect, it can be seen clearly when recording a video with a phone.
8.Light leakage aspect
LCD：LCD panels rely on a backlight unit (BLU) to provide illumination for the display. The BLU is typically located at the back of the panel and uses a series of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to provide uniform illumination across the screen. However, due to the nature of LCD technology, light leakage can occur, leading to areas of the screen appearing brighter or lighter than the rest of the image. This is particularly noticeable in dark scenes, where the uneven illumination can be distracting.
OLED：OLED screens have the self-luminous feature, where each pixel acts as an independent light source and only the necessary pixels are turned on, so there is almost no backlight leakage in OLED screens.
9.in terms of price
LCD： LCD technology has been around for many years and has become very mature in terms of manufacturing processes, resulting in a significant reduction in production costs over time. This has made LCD displays more affordable and accessible to consumers.
OLED：OLED display technology is still in the developmental stage with complex manufacturing processes and immature manufacturing maturity, leading to high production costs. As an industry insider, I often discuss the development of OLED screens and under current market conditions, OLED manufacturing costs are at least twice as expensive as LCD panels. LCD panels have already been widely used in display devices, while OLED screens are mostly used in high-end televisions, flagship smartphones, and other products with a much higher price point compared to LCD products.
LCD：LCD on means the entire backlight layer is on, it’s either all on or all off
OLED :Each pixel in OLED is independent and can light up some pixels individually, which allows for a screen-like display that drastically reduces the number of times the screen is lit up.
Summary LCD and OLED screen differences
|brief description||LCD vs OLED|
|OLED color is much better than LCD, OLED black is more pure, LCD black is dark gray||OLED|
|Visual Angle aspect||OLED is self-luminous, so the color gamut Angle is wider, LCD when viewed from the side will be affected||OLED|
|Contrast ratio||Oleds have a wider color gamut and are purer and more flamboyant. LCD color difference is more obvious||OLED|
|Service life aspect||LCD inorganic materials, OLED pixels work independently, there will be screen burning (the essence of screen burning is uneven aging), so the service life of OLED is not as good as LCD||LCD|
|Corresponding velocity aspect||OLED screens are almost drag-free and responsive, but in actual use it’s hard to tell the difference||OLED|
|Eye protection||OLED screen adopts PWM dimming, low brightness viewing, ststrobe will make light sensitive people feel uncomfortable||LCD|
|Light leakage aspect||There is no light leakage in OLED, but light leakage is certain to occur in LCD due to the limitation of the display principle that uses backlight unit to emit light||OLED|
|in terms of price|
OLED is almost twice as expensive as LCD
OLED screens use less power than LCD screens, are thinner and can be substantially bent
LCD phone screen and OLED phone screen how to choose
Based on the previous description, it is believed that you have a basic understanding of LCD and OLED. In the field of mobile phones, OLED screens are widely used, including screen fingerprint, under-screen camera, and folding phones. However, there are also many phone brands that use LCD screens, which have their own positioning and development plans. By considering issues such as screen quality, lifespan, power consumption, and price that consumers are concerned about, you may find the answers. Currently, both LCD and OLED have their necessary markets, and it is best to choose based on your own or local customer needs.
LCD and OLED screens each have their own advantages, and it’s not difficult to make a decision when it comes to hardware selection. If you are sensitive to light, don’t require high-quality black colors, and have a limited budget, then an LCD screen is more suitable for you. But if you are not sensitive to light, pursue fashion and artistic sense, have no budget constraints, and want to experience the latest technology (currently, most flagship smartphones use OLED screens), then an OLED screen can meet your needs.
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