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What is an AMOLED Display?

What is an AMOLED Display?

Zach Cabading
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Smartphones, computers, and television are as popular as ever, so it’s no wonder why there have been so many amazing developments in display technology over the last decade. AMOLED is one of the newest breakthroughs.
What exactly is an AMOLED display, and why should you get one? Let’s answer your questions. An AMOLED display is a modified version of an OLED display, which begs the question: what is an OLED display?

What’s an OLED display?

OLED stands for “organic light-emitting diode.” Here’s how an OLED display works. Each pixel is composed of three things: a tiny light, a liquid crystal, and a color filter.
A liquid crystal is a chemical substance that contains properties of both a liquid and a solid. When the liquid crystals assume their liquid form, they block light from passing through. But light can pass through a liquid crystal when it’s in a solid form because the solid is less dense.
Liquid pixels basically work as an aperture. When a pixel needs to display a certain color, an electric current is applied to the liquid crystal, which changes it from a liquid to a solid. The light passes through the liquid crystal and gets tinted by the color filter to appear red, blue, or green.
Thousands of these little pixels form the images on your display.

What’s an AMOLED display?

AMOLED stands for “active-matrix organic light-emitting diodes.” The main difference between AMOLED and OLED is that an AMOLED display contains thin strips of thin-film transistors (TFT) behind each pixel.
These transistors are like super-highways for electricity that help the electric current move more quickly across the entire display. With the presence of TFT, each pixel can be activated faster because electricity can reach the pixels faster.
AMOLED is commonly used in very large displays. In large displays, it’s more difficult to transfer energy across the entire length of the screen. With TFT, energy can be transferred quickly across a very wide display so you can maintain a fast refresh rate from edge to edge [1].

What are the advantages of AMOLED?

There are a couple of great advantages to AMOLED displays. First, AMOLED displays typically have a faster refresh rate than other types of displays. Refresh rate refers to how quickly your monitor can refresh the screen image in a single second. When you have a faster refresh rate, you’ll have smoother and more lifelike graphics, especially when you’re gaming or watching movies. AMOLED displays have better refresh rates because the pixels can be activated more quickly.
Second, AMOLED displays have great viewing angles - just another way of saying you can clearly view the screen from a wide variety of angles. Because of the TFT, each pixel emits a greater amount of light, which enhances the overall visibility of the image being displayed.

What are the disadvantages of AMOLED?

There are some disadvantages to AMOLED displays, too:
  • They wear down faster
  • They’re less energy-efficient
  • They’re more prone to screen burn-in
  • They’re costly
  • Their visibility suffers when exposed to direct sunlight
AMOLED displays wear down faster than the standard LED displays. The large amount of energy that’s transferred in an AMOLED display takes a toll on its hardware. The large energy transfer also means that AMOLED displays aren’t very energy efficient - and when you’re gaming, they can be real energy-guzzlers. You’re also more likely to suffer screen burn-in with AMOLED displays because of the greater amount of light that’s emitted through each pixel.
AMOLED displays are also more costly than the standard LED. That’s because of the presence of TFT layers and capacitors, which increase the manufacturing cost. And while the TFT layers help produce a better-quality image, the additional layers make the screen harder to see when exposed to direct sunlight. It’s harder to view an AMOLED display when you’re outdoors on a sunny day or when your screen is exposed to a ray of sunlight.

What is Super AMOLED?

Super AMOLED is an AMOLED display that has an integrated touch screen function. Super AMOLED is a relatively new development that’s been popularly used in Samsung smartphones.
AMOLED displays can be built with touch screen functionality, too, but on AMOLED displays the touch-sensitive layer is placed on top of the screen. On Super AMOLED displays, the touch-sensitive layer is built into the screen itself. The removal of the extra layer makes it easier to view Super AMOLED displays in direct sunlight - and that’s obviously a desirable quality in a smartphone [2].
Like AMOLED displays, Super AMOLED displays also are more prone to screen burn-in after a period of time.

What’s better: AMOLED vs. OLED vs. LCD?

You might see AMOLED displays compared to OLED and LCD displays. Which one is the best?
Know that all 3 displays use the same kind of technology - they all make use of liquid crystals. But AMOLED and OLED displays have different kinds of lights than LCD displays do. In AMOLED and OLED displays, each pixel has its own miniature LED light source. In an LCD there’s a whole panel of fluorescent lamps that line the backside of the display. The LED lights in AMOLED and OLED displays are far superior to LCD fluorescent lamps, so you’ll get better image quality from AMOLED and OLED.
AMOLED offers sharper picture quality than OLED due to the better energy architecture within the monitor. However, if you’re trying to buy a monitor that’ll last you for a longer amount of time, you might want to opt for an OLED display because it won’t wear down as quickly.

What are the best AMOLED displays?

HP Spectre x360 Laptop
Believe it or not, you’ll find the most stunning AMOLED display on a laptop. You can purchase the HP Spectre x360 laptop 15t touch with a 4K AMOLED display’s that’s absolutely jaw-dropping in its color accuracy, sharpness, and refresh rate. This particular HP Spectre laptop is equipped with an 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor and Intel® Iris® Xᵉ graphics card, so you’re able to play the most graphically demanding PC games at high graphics settings, and you’ll also have a reliable display on which to do creative work.
The AMOLED display is good for your eyes, too, because it emits a smaller amount of blue light than other laptop displays do.
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About the Author

Zach Cabading is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Zach is a content creation specialist based in Southern California, and creates a variety of content for the tech industry.

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