OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) displays have been available for many years across multiple devices such as TVs, Cell phones and Tablets, but 2016 brings us our first look at OLED screens for laptops to the consumer market. The first of which are the HP Spectre x360 13-inch, the Alienware 13, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga and the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S. So what are OLED screens exactly, what makes them different.

The major difference between OLED when compared to standard LCD screens is the display type. In short LCD’s (Liquid Crystal Display) for laptops are made up of sub pixels (red, green and blue) that work like shutters that will open and close when electrical current is applied. However this is will only determine what your displayed images will look like, and will require backlighting to illuminate your screen (CCFL or LED). The pixels of OLED screens are made up of LED’s only, not liquid crystals and do not require a backlight as they are capable of producing their own light. This type of technology comes with great benefits.

Some of these benefits are;

Better Contrast and picture – Since LCD’s require a backlight, this means the entire back of your screen is illuminated while it is on, even if the area is black. Therefore LCD’s are not capable of producing true black colors. Since OLEDs produce their own light they are able to present deeper blacks for darker images by simply turning off the individual pixels in the dark parts of the image.

Wider viewing angles – Although some LCD’s can have wider viewing angles with the help of IPS technology, all OLED screens will naturally have wider viewing angles.

Made of Less layers – Current LCD’s can be made up of 10 or more separate layers to make up the screen, OLED screens require half as many. This makes the screen much thinner and more flexible.

If OLED’s are so much better than LCD’s why are they not the standard now?

OLED screens have been more expensive to produce than LCD’s and has only recently reached the point of being the same cost or even cheaper now. As well there have been initial issues with blue color fading much faster than red and green over time. As well not having a backlight means they had issues producing a true white color. These initial drawbacks for OLED screens however have been fixed or improved with advances in technology and will soon have zero drawbacks when compared to the current LCD alternative. However not every laptop will need to have an OLED screen. Laptops geared towards a business aspect will see no benefit to having an OLED display, it is only the entertainment based models for gaming, multimedia or photo editing that would really benefit from these types of screens. Also not all screen manufacturers today are capable of producing OLED, and only time will tell if OLED will become the new industry standard.

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