For a lot of people, hearing the specifications about their phone screen is a lot like buying a TV - overwhelming amounts of information that have no meaning. All the while, nodding to the very kind employee who has somehow commit all this information to memory. Much like TVs, the more bells and whistles associated with the it, the more expensive a screen is (and oftentimes, the more expensive the repair will be). But what exactly are these technologies? We'll be talking about the main types, with some rapid-fire less common types.
LCD Panel LCDs are the white bread of phone screens - they're reliable, they're cheap, and they're everywhere. Standing for Liquid Crystal Display, a backlight unit is affixed to the back of the LCD, shining light through semi-transparent cells to give you your image.
iPhones have been using this technology up until the iPhone 8/iPhone SE 2020, whereas Samsung had moved over to OLED panels by the Galaxy s7. Pros Cheap and almost always works (even when damaged) Cons Color difference is often not very vivid. Because the backlight is always running, blacks appears more dark grey.
OLED Panels OLED panels are becoming especially common in flagship devices and budget phones alike. Standing for Organic Light Emitting Diode, these screens are impressive in that each pixel (the individual unit that gives you a color) is individually controlled and creates light itself - no backlight required. This not only allows for the panel to give great control over the image, but the parts that are black are truly vividly dark, since the pixel in charge of that is actually turned off instead of being in a low-power state. Apple began using OLED panels in the iPhone X, whereas Samsung has been using them since the Samsung s7. Unfortunately, these panels are much more expensive to make, and Samsung is the main creator of these panels (much to the chagrin of Apple), limiting the market. They also tend to fail more completely when damaged, there is very little partial functionality to OLED panels. Pros A high quality visual experience with brighter brights and darker darks. They also tend to use less power than traditional LCDs Cons Very often 5-10 times the cost of their equivalent panel in LCD
The Weirdos - AMOLED, ePaper, QLED Active-Matrix Organic Light Emitting diodes, could be considered a precursor technology to the OLED we know today. They are more rigid in structure and thus more prone to damage, but are still oftentimes used in screens, especially smart watched. Another drawback is that they tend to suffer from "burn in", caused from age of the organic component of the AMOLED. ePaper is strangely a more recent invention than LCD and OLED, and is most commonly referenced with the older Kindle products which became famous for this. They are extraordinarily low power, as they arrange their screen via "magnetic ink" to show an image. Essentially, every page viewed with ePaper is essentially a newly printed page that quickly is erased before moving to the next one. While efficient, there is no ability to add color and the refresh rate is often very low in comparison to other screens. Quantum Light Emitting Diodes are the forefront of Samsung's current work into display technology. Mostly located in TVs currently, they utilize quantum dots to not only make very high resolution panels, but also create color that is purely the color. Whereas organic products have the potential to be tinted or otherwise affected by the environment, quantum technology only has the one option for color - there is very little variance. Let us know if you have any questions about these various technologies, or would like to hear more about display technology!