The new technology favoured in mobile touchscreens today, including Samsung phones is OLED or Organic Light Emitting Diode. There are two types; hard OLED and soft OLED, both with their own pros and cons. The first phone to be released with the new OLED technology was the iPhone X in April 2017 followed by the Samsung S8 and Note 8 in November 2017. The release of the OLED screen has also greatly affected the aftermarket of phone screens and phone parts.
Older Technology - LCD vs OLED
The difference between the older LCD technology previously favoured in phone screens and the OLED comes down to how the displays work.
Organic Light Emitting Diode or OLED doesn’t use backlight like LCD (Liquid Crystal Display). Each pixel produces its own light and brightness can be controlled with each pixel individually. This means that OLED screens have more contrast than LCD and images are more vibrant. The blacks appear darker and the whites brighter. The OLED display also has a quicker response time and consumes less power than LCD.
OLED vs AMOLED – What’s the Difference?
AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) is better to use in larger displays such as TVs. They consist of a thin film transistor (TFT) over the OLED screen, which allows the pixels to change state rapidly. This allows them to turn on and off much more quickly than OLED. The AMOLED screen isn’t currently used by phone manufacturers.
Hard OLED vs Soft OLED
There are 2 types of OLED screens, soft OLED and hard OLED. They both have pros and cons to weigh up when choosing an aftermarket repair.
Soft OLED was first used in a phone screen in 2017. Samsung OLED uses soft in models from the S8 and Note 8 to now. iPhone OLED uses soft in models iPhone X to now.
Soft OLED Screens
Soft OLEDs are built using a flexible plastic substrate, which makes them more resilient to shocks and slight deformations. This is especially good for people who frequently drop their phone. Their softness allows for curved screens and also allows them to fit right to edge of a phone frame.
As they are made with plastic, they have a shorter lifespan than a hard OLED. They also have a greater risk of long-term burn-in. This is where, pixels can get permanently damaged and start to show ‘ghost’ images on the screen.
Hard OLED Screens
Hard OLED screens are manufactured using a glass substrate, instead of plastic. Hard OLED is cheaper to manufacture, making it a cheaper option than soft OLED.
As the hard OLED is made of glass, it will crack much easier and is very unforgiving when it comes to dropping and breakages or improper installation. The hard OLED also won’t curve at all so this means there is a slight, almost unnoticeable gap at the edge of the phone frame to allow for this.
The hard OLED also has a higher screen brightness. Although this sounds only like a benefit, in practice, it may be harsher to look at.
Aftermarket OLED Screens
The aftermarket for phone screens includes parts that are not necessarily the same manufacturer as the original screen. The term used for this is OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). The aftermarket screens and parts are usually inferior in quality to the original. After the release of the iPhone X and the soft OLED screen, aftermarket phone screens began to become better quality than their earlier counterparts. By replacing an older LCD screen on a mobile phone with a OLED (hard or soft), you could notice a rather large difference in quality.
Samsung makes the majority of the OLED screens currently used for new mobile phones, including Apple iPhones. It is important to note that when compared side by side, the aftermarket OLED screens made by other manufacturers are usually still inferior to the original OEM parts by Samsung. Ensuring OEM parts are used when getting phone screens repaired means consumers will be getting the highest quality of OLED screen currently on the market for their device.
Soft OLED Favoured by Manufacturers
Soft OLED is definitely favoured by manufacturers now over hard OLED. The extra brightness and cheaper price tag is not enough to overcome the benefit of curved screens and extra durability when it comes to breakages. There are still older models currently being used by the population as well as aftermarket repairs that use hard OLED.