Predictably, several different alternatives have arisen, especially when it comes to high-end smartphones. As a result, it can be hard to know exactly what manufacturers are talking about when they boast about Super AMOLED screens or Super LCD screens.
It’s eminent that two of the best phones of 2015, the M9+ and the Galaxy S6, offers superior screens. In the Super LCD corner we have the new HTC One M9+ which sports a 5.2″ Super LCD3 screen with QHD resolution with ups the pixel density to 534ppi and in the Super AMOLED corner there’s the popular Samsung Galaxy S6 with boasts a 5.1″ Super AMOLED screen with QHD resolution with 577ppi.
Super AMOLED is Samsung’s term for an AMOLED display with an integrated digitizer, meaning that the layer that detects touch is integrated into the screen, rather than overlaid on top of it. The display technology itself is not changed. It is evolutionised from AMOLED so let’s take a look at what AMOLED is – Active-matrix organic light-emitting diode, or AMOLED for short, is a screen technology based on organic compounds that offers high image quality in exchange for potentially very low power usage. Unlike LCD screens, AMOLED displays don’t need a backlight – each pixel produces its own light – so phones using them can potentially be thinner. They also tend to have great contrast, as the light on the screen comes from each individual pixel rather than a backlight as discussed above; when it needs to create a black colour it simply dims or turns off the relevant pixels, for a true, deep black as opposed to Dark Grey some LCD screen produce. Other advantages of AMOLED screens are that they have wide viewing angles and can even be made transparent or flexible, which makes them ideal for the curved handsets which are starting to hit the market. On the other hand Super AMOLED screens are quite susceptible to image burn in and sometimes use a PenTile matrix with fewer subpixels than their LCD companions, which can give the screen an unnatural colour tint.
Just like the Super AMOLED, super LCD3 is an evolutionised version of the Regular LCD displays – it does not have an air gap between the outer glass and the display element. This produces less glare and makes the user feel “closer” to the display itself. Super LCD’s benefits also include lower power consumption and improved outdoor visibility. These screens are developed by S-LCD corporation which is a Samsung-Sony joint venture, owned by Samsung with 51% ownership. LCD uses liquid crystals which are manipulated via electrical charges to cover or not cover pixels as needed, thereby letting more or less light through, but it can never deliver true blacks as the backlight is always on. The power consumption of a Super LCD screen is particularly low when displaying lighter colours, which makes it ideal for web browsing for example as websites tend to have white backgrounds. The opposite is true with Super AMOLED, where blacks consume less power as the pixels don’t have to be lit. The LCDs are said to produce more natural colors as compared to over-saturated colors produced by AMOLEDs (though Super AMOLEDs are almost on par nowadays).