OLED, AMOLED vs. LCD TFT : What is an OLED Screen ?

Gemma Gatbunton from Marikina emailed us this inquiry last night -
"Dear TechPinas, what is an OLED screen? Is it new? So many new types of screens are being released, I'm finding it hard to catch up! Thanks."

flexible oled

Hi Gemma! Thanks for the inquiry!

To answer your question, let's first turn to Wikipedia:

What is OLED?

An organic light emitting diode (OLED), also light emitting polymer (LEP) and organic electro luminescence (OEL), is any light emitting diode (LED) whose emissive electroluminescent layer is composed of a film of organic compounds. The layer usually contains a polymer substance that allows suitable organic compounds to be deposited. They are deposited in rows and columns onto a flat carrier by a simple "printing" process. The resulting matrix of pixels can emit light of different colors.

Such systems can be used in television screens, computer displays, small, portable system screens such as cell phones and PDAs, advertising, information and indication. OLEDs can also be used in light sources for general space illumination, and large-area light-emitting elements. OLEDs typically emit less light per area than inorganic solid-state based LEDs which are usually designed for use as point-light sources.

A significant benefit of OLED displays over traditional liquid crystal displays (LCDs) is that OLEDs do not require a backlight to function. Thus they draw far less power and, when powered from a battery, can operate longer on the same charge. Because there is no need for a backlight, an OLED display can be much thinner than an LCD panel. Degradation of OLED materials has limited their use so far.

Whoa! Quite techie-term loaded, right? :)

To put it simply: An OLED Screen is the brightest and thinnest screen you can in the market these days. Check this out:

N81 (with LCD - liquid crystal display (LCD) which uses thin-film transistor (TFT) - top) and the N85 (with OLED screen - bottom)

Big difference, don't you think?

TRIVIA: Nokia N85 is not the first Nokia phone to don an OLED screen. Nokia 8800 Arte, announced in November 2007, is first Nokia device to feature OLED.

The concept behind OLED is quite old but it's only recently that manufacturers really took its production seriously.

Here's a short OLED Screen demo by Sony:

What about AMOLED? What is AMOLED?

AMOLED is the acronym for Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode.

There are no substantial differences between the OLED and AMOLED. Active Matrix is simply method for controlling individual pixels and 'refining' image rendition.

OLED vs. LCD : Which one is better?

OLED is better, definitely. Aside from showing clearer, crisper images as shown in the comparison photo above, OLED screens are also known to...

1. be thinner and lighter than LCD screens
2. consume less energy because they don't require backlight (vs. LCD)
3. be more rugged and resistant to breakage than LCD's because they are bendable
4. have better color reproduction and higher contrast ratio; rendering richer colors and deeper blacks

Another demo video:

There you go.
So the next time you buy a cellphone or any gadget, for that matter, ask if its screen is OLED or just LCD -- because those two are totally different and you definitely get more with OLED.

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