Perhaps you weren't aware but there are several screen technologies currently in use today, and each smartphone manufacturer has its own tastes and preferences for their devices. The OLED display has an advantage that places it above the rest, especially when it comes to its main competitor: LCD. Let's take a look at exactly what makes OLED superior.
Before looking at the benefits of the OLED screen, perhaps we should explain the concept a bit first. Admittedly, the explanation is in the name itself, as it is in fact an acronym: Organic Light-Emitting Diode. As the name suggests, these screens are composed of diodes that generate their own light. This way of operating has both pros and cons, which we've taken the liberty of examining in detail.
The OLED evokes an idea of purity in its colors...
The more conventional LCD screen uses crystals (hence the name LCD: Liquid Crystal Display) and a backlight system. OLED screens work in a different way thanks to electroluminescence, where light is auto-generated by the close proximity of the diodes’ pixels.
As a result of this, OLED screens offer more vivid colors as they aren’t powered by backlighting. That said, it's especially important to highlight the advantages OLED has in displaying black. While an LCD screen will display the actual color black, an OLED screen displays absolutely nothing at all, i.e. it displays "pure" black. This of course has its advantages when it comes to battery life, as using this screen takes up less energy.
...but in practice, it’s a relative concept
Let's take a look at the concept of contrast, meaning the difference between a very bright screen and a very dark screen. As we've already seen, colors are purer on OLED screens, including white and black (which are not actually colors): the black cannot be more black and the very bright white gives a perfect contrast, sometimes called infinity. This is a very important element in a TV due to the size of the devices, but less so for a smartphone.
In short, with regard to the levels of colors, OLED is better and it enables the battery to last longer. That said, this concept of "purity" in colors is relative and each smartphone manufacturer is able to customize this, sometimes favoring certain trends. Moreover, LCD technology has now developed to be able to offer us decent results.
More pleasant to use
A good screen isn’t just judged by how well it displays content. Other elements worth considering include brightness, viewing angles... IPS panels generally provide good results both in terms of color and viewing angles, which explains why a majority of smartphones are IPS LCD type (which are not synonymous terms, as some manufacturers might have you believe) and OLED (or in the case of Samung, AMOLED).
In general, OLED displays offer better viewing angles and light management, despite them having lower lighting levels. This is especially true for widescreen TVs. Smartphones have kept to this trend, but it obviously depends on the type of phone and the manufacturer behind the device.
Of course, all these benefits come at a price because OLED technology is much more expensive to produce than LCD technology. As a result, some manufacturers are risk averse when it comes to the idea of switching to this type of screen, whereas other big fish (such as Apple with its next iPhone) have already decided to clear this hurdle. It's important to note that both Samsung and LG are currently setting the standard for manufacturing these screens, and as a result, they are the ones providing this technology to their competitors.
Now its time to draw on your own experiences. Which one do you consider to be the best: OLED or LCD screens? Does it make much difference to you in your experience? Let us know in the comments below.