More often than not, the screen determines the overall experience of using a smartphone. Though you may not know it, cell phone screens are not the same. They vary from brand to brand and from model to model. So, it may be wise first to familiarize yourself with the most typical display types when planning to buy a new handset or replacing your damaged screen.
Just knowing the name of the display is not enough. You have to dig deeper to understand what makes it different from others, and if it is what you want. To help you have a smooth start, here are the displays employed in the latest smartphones:
1. Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)
LCD is the most popular smartphone display on the market, and it is widespread among mid-tier brands. Generally, LCD possesses two essential attributes; Anisotropy and fluidity. Anisotropy refers to the ability to be directionally-dependent, while fluidity refers to free-flowing potential.
LCDs come in the following five categories:
Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LCD: Price-wise, TFTs are the cheapest LCD type on the market today. The LCD is made of individual pixels that are attached to a transistor and a capacitor. The materials used in the construction are generally low-cost, and this translates to budget TFT phones.
The problem with TFT screens, however, is that they have a narrow-angle of view and suffer poor visibility under direct light. Additionally, TFTs are high power consumers. You may need to charge your phone often. Overall, you are likely to find TFTs in most entry-level smartphones.
In-Place Switching (IPS) LCD: IPS LCDs are considered the best LCDs in the market today because they are a direct contrast of TFTs. The LCDs come with a broad viewing angle, and their visibility is not affected by direct light.
The materials used to make IPS LCD are usually costly, and this makes IPS LCD phones to be expensive. You are likely to find this display on mid-tier phones and above. For example, Apple uses the display on most of its products.
Super LCD (SLCD) | Super LCD is a proprietary product of S-LCD Corporation. The display is popular with HTC phones, and it shows some obvious dissimilarity with the IPS LCD. One notable difference is in the glass structure. Unlike the IPS LCD, there are no gaps between the touch sensor and the external glass. The construction reduces the lens flare.
Resistive LCD | Though most smartphones don’t come with a resistive LCD because it has been overtaken by time, it is essential to know a few things about it. For starters, the display features two sensitive glass sheets. Between them is a gap that encourages resistance, thus the name resistive LCD. Upon touching the screen, the two glass layers come into contact to complete a circuit.
Capacitive LCD | Like resistive LCD, capacitive LCD is another old LCD design. It features a glass a surface coated with indium tin oxide or any other transparent conductor. Upon touching the display, a magnetic field is sent and detected by the LCD’s operating system to trigger an effect. Capacitive LCDs are generally more sensitive than resistive LCDs.
2. Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED)
OLED is a display technology that is not just widespread in smartphones but smart monitors too. Here, carbon-based organic material is placed between two conductors, and the unit is, in turn, sandwiched between two glass sheets. OLEDs are often confused with LCDs due to their vibrant colors, blazing response, and broader viewing angle.
They exist in the following two types:
Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode (AMOLED): AMOLED technology is a top consideration in the smartphone screen manufacturing sector. The display enjoys attractive attributes like better brightness, image sharpness, and vibrant color.
It saves on battery power, thus great for some who is always on the phone. AMOLED screens are generally lightweight, and you can find them in the latest Nokia, LG, and Motorola devices. The major criticism, however, is that AMOLED comes oversaturated with colors.
Super AMOLED: Super AMOLED display is popular with Samsung smartphones. You can get it on Galaxy S9 and other recent releases from the giant smartphone manufacturer. Super AMOLED screens usually are touch-sensitive, and they are also the thinnest on the market.
3. Micro LED (MLED)
Micro LED is a new display technology that is likely to dominate the smartphone screen manufacturing sector in the next decade. Here, each pixel that makes up the display has its own LED attachment to promote self-illumination. So, a backlit is not necessary. There are suggestions that Apple is considering MLED for its future releases, and we have to wait to see.
4. Retina Display
Retina Display is commonly identified with Apple devices. It is called Retina Display mainly because naked eyes cannot identify the individual pixels. It is generally a high-resolution display that comes with backlit. Apple markets this display as Retina 4K/5K, Liquid Retina HD, and Super Retina HD, depending on the phone model.
5. Tactile/ Haptic Display
The tactile technology is common in the latest Nokia and Blackberry smartphones. The screen works on a touch-basis, hence the name tactile. Upon touching the display, you receive an immediate response. Tactile technology improves the device’s accuracy, typing speed, and user performance. So, if you are the texting type, you should consider going for a haptic display.
6. Gorilla Glass
Gorilla glass refers to a tough alkaline aluminosilicate glass screen. The screen can resist scratches, drops, and day-to-day bumps. You can find this type of display on some Samsung, Nokia, and Motorola devices. If you are looking for peace of mind and would want to protect your new smartphone, going for a gorilla glass display is a sensible thing to do.
The next time you want to buy a new smartphone, or to replace the screen of your old device, ensure you know what display type to invest. You’ll find the above guide very useful in this regard. You can use it to determine what display suits your individual needs.