What is OLED; If you are thinking of buying a new TV or phone, you have probably come across the name OLED many times to describe the technology used in the product display. But what exactly is OLED technology, what are its advantages and disadvantages, and why should you choose it over other display technologies?
What is OLED?
OLED stands for Organic Nordsill Diode. To produce light or create an image, an OLED display must pass electrical current through organic electroluminescence materials. Displays that can produce light without the need to use a backlight panel are called “self-reflecting” displays.
Self-irradiation means that the organic matter used in the display can produce light without the need for a backlight panel. However, all kinds of LCD monitors must use the light panel located in the background to create light. Of course, the details of all OLED monitors are not the same, but they all use organic materials to create light.
What products is the OLED display used for?
The most common place to find OLED technology is on TV screens and smartphones. Companies such as LG, Sony, and Panasonic have been making OLED TVs for about 10 years, and during this time they have been able to significantly reduce production costs.
In recent years, some companies have used this technology to display their flagship phones, and for example, among the new phones based on the OLED screen, we can mention the iPhone 12 series and the Galaxy S21. OLED displays are also used for some smartwatches such as the Apple Watch and the Samsung Galaxy Watch.
Although some laptops and monitors are based on OLED technology, their number is very low due to manufacturing costs and other factors. Because the materials used for the OLED display are very thin, this technology is used for innovative products such as LG roller TVs, clamshell phones, and fully transparent screens.
What are the benefits of this technology for TVs?
Overall, OLED technology offers a wide range of advantages over LCD monitors. OLED panels offer a more attractive image than LCD panels thanks to their much better contrast ratio. Since each pixel on the OLED display turns on and off separately, this leads to the creation of so-called pure black.
Contrast ratio is simply the ratio between the brightest and darkest points that a panel can display, and is generally one of the most important parameters for discussing image quality on a monitor. In LCD monitors, the backlight must pass through the TFT (thin-film transistor) layer to create an image. When black is displayed, this layer should block light transmission as much as possible, a process that often results in dark grays instead of true black.
Some LCD TVs use algorithms to split the background panel to improve contrast levels to display better levels of black. Although this works to some extent, a kind of halo is displayed around the bright parts, and on the other hand, a lot of detail is lost for images that are not bright enough.
Another reason for the popularity of OLED panels, especially for gamers, is the low latency of the pixels to display different content. This low latency, along with optimizations from companies like LG, has made OLED Monitors a huge fan base among gamers. Of course, it should be noted that to use the full power of the new generation of consoles such as the Xbox Series and PlayStation 5, you must use the HDMI 2.1 port, but some monitors do not have such a port.
Finally, as we have said, the materials used for the OLED display are very thin, so the OLED TVs are generally thinner and have a more attractive and modern look.
What are the benefits of this technology for smartphones and watches?
An increasing number of manufacturers of smartphones and watches are turning to OLED technology, and one of the most important reasons for this is the issue of energy consumption. Under the same conditions, an OLED monitor consumes less energy than an LCD monitor due to its self-reflecting nature.
In this context, we must say that if you use a dark theme or image for a smartphone or watch with an OLED display, less energy will be consumed than a light theme or colorful images. Overall, the brighter the pixels, the more energy is used.
As OLED panels take up less space in gadgets, this allows manufacturers to use narrower gadgets or use the space created to accommodate more components. In addition, gadgets with this type of display have more to say in terms of contrast ratio and overall image quality. Unfortunately, OLED panels are still more expensive than LCDs and are therefore mainly used in high-end phones and watches.
What are the disadvantages of OLED screens?
None of the technologies are perfect, and OLED technology is no exception. The biggest concern about OLED panels is known as “Screen Burn-in”.
Of course, the term “burn” is a bit misleading, as it has nothing to do with actual burning or heat. This term is used when a part or parts of the screen are permanently discolored. This problem can manifest itself in the form of text or a photo frame, the disappearance of colors in a section, and the variety of shapes and patterns.
In the latest panels used, this phenomenon appears after displaying hundreds (and possibly thousands) of hours of a still image. In this regard, various tests are performed to ensure that the durability of the OLED display is desired before the purchase. As we have said, OLED displays use organic materials and these materials also deteriorate over time. LG says that the useful life of the company’s OLED panels now reaches one hundred thousand hours, while the useful life of the first generation of OLED LG panels was only 36 thousand hours.
Different companies have taken different approaches to reduce the risk of screen burn. To combat this trend, for example, LG has changed the pixel structure of its OLED displays. Although the risk of screen burn is significantly lower in the new panels, this risk still exists.
In addition, we can refer to solutions based on software algorithms. For example, on most OLED TVs, if a still image is displayed on a part of the screen for a long time, these algorithms reduce the brightness of the part. This reduces the rate of depletion of organic compounds.
Another disadvantage of OLED displays is that their maximum brightness does not reach that of LCDs based on the LED back panel. That’s why OLED TVs are better for dark environments because, in such environments, the details of the image are better seen.
Finally, we must mention the price debate. Because OLED monitors require a more complex manufacturing process, these monitors are more expensive to manufacture than LCD panels. For this reason, many users, for example, prefer to buy a 65-inch LCD TV with more features instead of buying an OLED 55-inch TV.
Is the OLED panel right for you?
If picture quality is more important to you than anything else, then at least you should consider buying an OLED TV. To buy a TV, you have to ask yourself a lot of questions, for example, we can mention this piece;
- How much budget do you have?
- How bright is the place where the TV is placed?
- What kind of content do you watch the most?
- Are gaming capabilities like VRR important to you?
- Will you use Sandisk for TV?
As we explained in this article, for example, if your TV is supposed to be in a bright place and on the other hand you are mostly watching the news, in such a situation, buying an OLED TV is not very wise. But if you want to create a kind of home theater or use the TV for game consoles, OLED panels can appeal to you.
About smartphones, you can also set your own criteria to see which one can best meet your needs in front of the OLED panel and LCD. Of course, refresh rate is also an important feature in this regard, which is another matter.