An OLED Screen – Advantages and Disadvantages

OLED is the screen technology of the future. We’re already seeing it make it’s way into the mainstream by showing up in portable electronic devices.

For example, while older Zune models had LCD displays, the Zune HD makes uses OLED technology. The Creative Zen V MP3 player utilizes OLED too (however, the iPod Touch and iPhone still use LCD technology). Eventually we’ll see OLED HDTVs become more common than LCD HDTVs.

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

What is OLED?

OLED stands for organic light emitting diode. An OLED is a more advanced form of an LED (light emitting diode), which is nothing but a semi-conductor that generates light when an electric 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 display utilizes backlighting and blocks certain areas of the screen to produce images. In contrast an OLED display does not require backlighting to produce images. Thus it is more energy efficient. This is especially significant in battery powered portable devices since it results in a longer battery life.
  • An OLED display can generate sharper colors than an LCD screen. For example, and LCD screen cannot generate a pure black color. As a result pictures look brighter and colors more vibrant on an OLED screen.
  • An OLED display can be viewed at wide angles (almost 170 degrees). In contrast, an LCD display must be viewed head-on to avoid any picture degradation.
  • Because it uses plastic instead of glass, an OLED screen is thinner, lighter and more flexible than an LCD screen.

OLED Disadvantages

  • Water can easily damage an OLED screen.
  • Cost of production is still high. An OLED screen costs more than an LCD screen of similar size. This is more an issue for large screen HDTVs than for portable devices that have smaller screens.
  • OLED screens are difficult to view in bright sunlight as compared to an LCD screen. This is significant in the case of portable electronic devices like a Zune HD or iPod Touch.

In summary, OLED is the screen technology of the future. As manufacturing processes improve and production cost becomes cheaper more and more LCD displays with be replaced with OLED displays. Maybe we’ll see the iPhone switch to OLED too!