An OLED screen: advantages and disadvantages

OLED is the display technology of the future. We are already seeing it make its way into the mainstream by showing up on wearable electronic devices.

For example, while older Zune models had LCD screens, the Zune HD uses OLED technology. The Creative Zen V MP3 player also uses OLED (however, the iPod Touch and iPhone still use LCD technology). Over time, we will see OLED HDTVs become more common than LCD HDTVs.

What exactly is an OLED screen and how does it compare to LCD screen technology?

What is OLED?

OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. An OLED is a more advanced form of LED (light emitting diode), which is nothing more than a semiconductor that generates light when an electrical current passes through it. But while LEDs are made of crystalline materials (glass), OLEDs are made of organic material like plastic.

OLED advantages

  • An LCD screen uses backlight and blocks certain areas of the screen to produce images. In contrast, an OLED screen does not require a backlight to produce images. Therefore, it is more energy efficient. This is especially significant in battery-powered portable devices, as it results in longer battery life.
  • An OLED screen can produce sharper colors than an LCD screen. For example, an LCD screen cannot produce a pure black color. As a result, images look brighter and colors more vibrant on an OLED screen.
  • An OLED screen can be viewed at wide angles (almost 170 degrees). In contrast, an LCD screen must be viewed from the front to avoid image degradation.
  • Because it uses plastic instead of glass, an OLED screen is thinner, lighter, and more flexible than an LCD screen.

Disadvantages of OLED

  • Water can easily damage an OLED screen.
  • The cost of production is still high. An OLED screen costs more than a similarly sized LCD screen. This is more of a problem for large screen HDTVs than for portable devices that have smaller screens.
  • OLED screens are difficult to see in sunlight compared to an LCD screen. This is significant in the case of portable electronic devices such as the Zune HD or iPod Touch.

In short, OLED is the display technology of the future. As manufacturing processes improve and production costs get cheaper, more and more LCD screens will be replaced by OLED screens. Maybe we’ll see the iPhone switch to OLED too!

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