The competition of screen technologies is of particular importance in the electronics world since they are used in almost any field of activity. Every year their development is more and more tangible, which makes it difficult to choose a device with the desired display. This article is about what is better – AMOLED vs IPS.
Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED) – this is how the acronym stands for. This technology originates in OLED-matrices, where liquid crystals have been replaced by organic LEDs that do not require highlighting. Receiving electric current, they emit light.
In this case, OLED is divided into two types: PMOLED (Passive Matrix) and AMOLED (Active Matrix). The first is practically not used in modern phones. So, in AMOLED thin film (TFT) resistors are operated to control the diodes.
A subtype (but not a separate type) of the AMOLED matrix is Super AMOLED (Samsung’s promotional move). Its peculiarity is that there is no interlayer with air between the layer of the sensor of the display and the matrix. In IPS, such a “chip” was called OGS (One Glass Solution). It is necessary to deal with the main advantages and disadvantages in order to compare the objectivity with the IPS.
AMOLED is a newer technology compared to IPS. But do not be confused by the fact that it is considered first since with the latter everything is not as easy as you might expect. The main advantages of AMOLED:
- Separate glow of pixels. In such displays, a single pixel acts as a light source and is controlled as a separate unit. To show black colors, it simply turns off, and when displaying mixed hues, it gives a high level of brightness. In view of this, excellent contrast is demonstrated and therefore black is better on AMOLED than on IPS.
- Instant response. The reaction of the pixels on the LED display is much faster than on the IPS. This allows you to display a dynamic picture with a high FPS, making it as smooth as possible. This is most noticeable in games and in interaction with virtual reality content.
- Energy saving with dark colors. Any pixel in the AMOLED-matrix works independently. The brightness of the pixel depends on the luminance of the color, and therefore the display of dark tones requires less energy relative to IPS. But when demonstrating a white AMOLED differs similar and even more power consumption.
- Small thickness. Due to the lack of a layer in the AMOLED matrix for scattering light from the backlight to liquid crystals, this screen has a small thickness. This is especially useful for phones that can be reduced in size without sacrificing battery capacity. It also allows you to create flexible displays. In IPS there is no such possibility.
Despite these advantages, there are some downsides:
- Blue or pulse width modulation. When choosing a phone with AMOLED-display, you have to prefer the adjustment of the PWM brightness or the blueness of light shades. The fact is that the blue subpixels glow continuously and are perceived better compared to the red and green. This fixes the PWM brightness control, but there is another problem. At the maximum brightness level of the PWM display is missing or the adjustment frequency is ~ 250 Hz. This indicator is at the limit of perception and has virtually no effect on vision. Lowering the backlight also reduces the PWM frequency, which is why the eyes get tired.
- Burnout blue. This problem also applies to blue diodes. Their term of work is less relative to green and red, which is why over time, the color rendition is distorted. The display starts to turn yellow, the white balance shifts to warm tones, the overall color transfer gets worse.
- Memory effect. Due to the fact that miniature LEDs can fade, some areas on the screen that showed a bright static image like a clock or a bright network indicator lose brightness after a certain time. At the same time, even the absence of such an element does not interfere with the display of his silhouette.
- PenTile. This layout of subpixels is not a fundamental disadvantage of all AMOLED panels, but it has this character for most of the representatives. In it, the matrix includes a different number of RGB-pixels (Samsung contain two times less, and LG – two times more). The key idea of operating PenTile is to compensate for the shortcomings of blue LEDs. But as a side effect of this choice is the reduction of image clarity, especially noticeable in VR devices.
The production and modernization of “ In Plane Switching” screens have been going on for 20 years. Again, this technology also has its own history and it goes to the technology TN + film, the essence of which was to twist the crystals into a spiral when it receives an electrical pulse. In IPS, they rotate perpendicular to their standard position.
IPS-matrix is considered the best with respect to all types of LCD-displays due to these advantages:
- Availability. During its history, technology has been mastered by many companies, which made the production of IPS-screens relatively cheap. So, the price of the matrix for a phone with Full HD resolution starts at $ 10, which makes them absolutely affordable;
color transfer. Good IPS screen calibration allows you to transfer color with extreme accuracy. In view of this, monitors for professionals working in the field of design, graphics and photography are made with IPS-matrices.
- Unambiguous energy consumption. LCD, which form the image on the display, consume current in small quantities. The main consumers are backlight diodes. Because of this, the displayed image does not affect the power consumption, but only the backlight level.
Durability. LCD almost never get old and do not wear out, which makes them much more reliable compared to AMOLED technology. LEDs for illumination are subject to degradation, but their lifespan is more than 5 years without noticeable loss of brightness.
Even with such time in store for various improvements, the IPS technology is not without flaws, including:
- Not pure black. In the LCD displaying black, there is no complete backlight blocking. But since it is one for the entire IPS matrix, its brightness level does not decrease, the panel continues to be highlighted, and the black color does not look deep enough;
- Little contrast. This indicator for LCD screens (about 1: 1000) is suitable for a comfortable perception of the image, but by this factor, IPS are inferior to AMOLED. Due to the fact that the black is not sufficiently deep, the difference between the maximally bright and extremely dark pixel of such displays is significantly insignificant compared to the LED.
- Long response. The response of the IPS-screen pixels is about 10 ms. This is enough for normal reading, viewing of images or video, but not for VR and more demanding processes.
Answering the question whether AMOLED or IPS is better, it should be understood that technologies are used for different tasks, where they show maximum efficiency. They also differ in the principle of operation, and they have their own advantages and disadvantages.