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Mobile screens-Here are 10 mainstream technologies behind smartphone displays.

The screen defines your smartphone. This is why its size and the quality of image it reproduces determines, to a large extent, your overall experience of using a smartphone. 

No wonder mobile phone makers are investing a fortune in screen technologies. But what makes one screen better than the other? Here are 10 mainstream technologies behind smartphone displays.


LCD, or Liquid Crystal Display, is the most common flat panel display. It uses a combination of layers of liquid crystals and a backlight to produce an image. This type of display renders excellent colours on the screen but falls short of the competitors when it comes to contrast ratio. 

Therefore, it is unable to match the darkness levels of other some screens like Super AMOLED and the colours seem washed out in sunlight


TFT or Thin Film Transistor is used to improve readability of LCD panels and has fewer number of electrodes per pixel. Transistors are embedded within the panel itself, reducing crosstalk between pixels and improving image stability. Used mainly in entry-level handsets with colour screens, TFT displays boast of better image quality than LCDs.

Introduced by Apple, this type of LCD panels uses pixels smaller than the human retina can perceive. The pixel density of Retina displays is such that the human eye is unable to distinguish between individual pixels, contributing to a more enjoyable viewing experience

This type of display technology is found in iPhone 4S/5C/5S, iPad Air, second-generation iPad Mini, fifth generation iPod touch and 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro.


OLED or Organic Light Emitting Diodes, produce their own light rather than relying on a backlight, thus saving battery and rendering dark colours more effectively. It offers a brighter, more vivid picture with a higher contrast ratio on lower power consumption and is thinner and lighter than LCDs

AMOLED or Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diodes display panel is a spin-off of the OLED screens, wherein the all pixels are connected to tansistors and capacitors, which actively maintain pixel state at all times. This type of screen is cheaper to manufacture and consumes less power than standard OLED screens.

Super AMOLED is just Samsung’s way of marketing the OLED screens it manufactures, not a technical term when it comes to display panels. However, the manufacturing process differs from the method followed in developing standard AMOLED panels, as the touch-detecting layer is embedded in the screen itself, rather than being put on top of it. 

Samsung claims that Super AMOLED Screens reduce the amount of sunlight reflected by five times. The company develops Super AMOLED, Super AMOLED Plus, and HD Super AMOLED, differing upon the number of sub-pixels.


Super LCD or S-LCD is a display panel manufactured by a subsidiary of Samsung, which was partly owned by Sony till recently. S-LCD panels use technology that brings quality and contrast levels to near-AMLED standards, but at a lower price. 

Essentially, this display technology fares better than AMOLEDs in terms of colour definition but loses out by a whisker when it comes to vividness of images.


The strength of Nokia’s ClearBlack display technology is its ability to block incoming light in order to reduce reflections and make the improve image quality, especially under sunlight. This display panel boasts of deeper blacks and better viewing angles than most of its competitors and is used in Nokia’s Lumia phones.

E-Ink displays had been confined to e-readers like Kindle and Kobo till now, even though Motorola and Samsung had experimented with them earlier. But a Russian manufacturer has launched YotaPhone, the world’s first smartphone with an E-Ink display on the back and a LCD panel in front.

E-Ink panels do not display colours and are best known for not hurting the eyes even if you stare at them for long hours. This makes them perfect for reading e-books. They consume very less power and devices with E-Ink panels can operate for days on a single charge.

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