Android Central

Some of us are self-professed hardware junkies, some of us aren't.  But everybody has to do one thing to use their device, and that's look at the display.  Everybody's eyes are different, but one thing is definite, the better the display the better the overall experience.

This one goes back and forth, and the discussion gets heated at times, but we want to know, do you prefer an AMOLED display or LCD display on your device?


Reader comments

Late Night Poll: LCD or AMOLED in your device?


Definitely AMOLED. My brother has a nexus S 4G and I have an Evo, his screen looks way better than mine! The color on those things and the blacks are just outstanding!

Do not compare the galaxy Nexus with an Original EVO. Not fair. Try the HTC Rezound for example as they belong to the same generation.

yeah under a microscope...the difference in every day use is not going to be nearly as noticable.
give me true blacks, and saturated colors over a slightly crisper picture any day....especially on a mobile device. if we were talking about a TV, then it is a different story.

I find the inaccurate colors on AMOLED to be annoying, but the real deal-breaker is the resolution of the displays. The best (non-PenTile) resolution anyone has managed is WVGA at 4.3" on the GSII, which is low compared to the qHD and 720p LCD screens that started appearing last year. All AMOLED screens that are qHD or better are PenTile, and HUGE. Personally, I don't want to carry around a giant phone, just because Samsung can't figure out how to make smaller sub-pixels. Meanwhile, every PenTile screen I've ever seen (including the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Note) just ends up looking like a fuzzy grid of pixels to me.

I absolutely LOVE the deep blacks of AMOLED displays, but I can't help but notice the pixels... and it does not take a microscope.

It doesn't take a microscope. I held a One X next to a G-Nex yesterday and you can easily tell. Even the person who owned the G-Nex said the One X clearly had a better display.

Exactly. This whole poll proves people vote only for what they have in their pocket, not for the better technology. Any one who has seen the HTC One X side by side with another technology and still preferred the other isn't a serious person.

Isn't a serious person? Really, you're going to end your comment like that? Those people are the ones that prefer true blacks and vivid colour surely. And if you notice whenever someone says LCD is better than AMOLED they ALWAYS say just "PUT IT SIDE BY SIDE". Now if you think about it not many people put their phone side by side with another phone all day long. When you have an AMOLED device you look at that device and nothing else; which means your brain does not have a reference point to compare to. When you look at AMOLED and only AMOLED it looks good and your brain probably ignores the so called "ghastly pentile pixels" but of course when you put it beside a non-pentile LCD it is going to determine the difference. So some people like AMOLED more than LCD in spite of the slightly (and for the average consumer negligible) pixel sharpness difference.

And what about battery life? Do LCDs still have a full on back-light? Doesn't AMOLED use less power when the pixels are black? I always use black for everything I can. I have a black background, and if the app I'm using has a black UI option, I use that too. I'm not sure how much it really helps but I'll try anything that might help my battery last longer.

This isn't a fair poll, no one has seen the LCD 2 on one x, that screen is amazing. Everyone is using outdated LCD tech :p

Well, we do know a couple of things:
1. The contrast ratio is much lower on the One X vs the GS III. This is important for video, or if you like to read white text on black at night or to save power.

2. OLED panels are thinner allowing for thinner phones (or larger batteries).

Outside of those two points, I like the color quality of the best LCDs and the superior readability in sunlight.

I'm purposefully avoiding RGBG vs RGBW matrix comparisons as well as stripe arrays vs PenTile since both can be accomplished with LCD and OLED.

Contrast ratio is effectively infinity on an OLED display, since for black the pixel just turns off.  The fair comparison would be the brightness (typically measured as the whitest a display can get) which is where LCD wins.  OLED just can't get as bright as LCD, in any situation.

I own a SAMOLED (no +) and a SLCD (1) and I still kind of prefer the SAMOLED, although the screen on this Sensation is nothing to sneeze at.

This is new to me. But I guess it's because I haven't been to your forum lately. I just happen to find this link on your FB page. Until I find out more about this new display, I have to vote for "Don't care as long as it looks good"

I'm voting for something similar.
I don't care as long as it is better than my previous phone which already looks good to me.

I've got the galaxy nexus and looove my screen, however, I just recently bought my girlfriend the HTC one X, and that screen is absolutely stunning, it's an LCD. If all LCDs looked as good as the HTC one X's I would definitely consider LCDs over amoled but for now my super amoled is still great.

Little point nit picking about quality, they are all good.

AMOLED allows you to reduce power consumption with black/dark themes etc although you do have to worry some about possible burn in.

It really does come down to personal taste. If it is amoled + vs lcd 2, I choose lcd 2. If it is amoled vs lcd, amoled is better imho.

I really like the PPI of the lcd 2 screen. It's all about the clarity and ability to read text to me.

Say the amoled is HD Super Amoled + I would choose the amoled over the Super LCD 2. Just because I like the the 'eye popping' colors and the deep as blacks. But this does not mean the LCD is in no mean bad. The SLCD 2 Is bloody amazing! But SAMOLED + for personal preference

I currently prefer OLED screens because of the black levels. I love the way the black on the screen blends in with the entire front of the device. Other than that though, I really don't care. If LCDs ever get OLED black levels, then that would be great. Super LCD and IPS are getting closer, but they are still not there yet. I also like the way colors pop on OLED screens, even if they are over-saturated.

On the topic of pentile -- well, I really don't care. It doesn't bother me to look at pentile on low-res screens like on my Nexus S. I see no jagged text or pixelation or whatever unless I hold the phone extremely close to my face. So yeah, pentile is ok in my book.

Personally, I don't care as long as it looks & I can see it under the sun

For some reason, the SuperAMOLED + in the SGSII hurts my eyes alot ... like the old Dell Inspiron laptops

As long as it's not PENTILE....

pentile basically just cuts cost and allows a fake higher spec, where the typical buyer in the store won't know they're getting ripped.

If you can't tell the difference or if you feel it is good enough, i don't think you're getting ripped off.

Unless AMOLED screens dies faster than LCD which probably isn't a concern.

Well, I own an HTC Legend, it's old I know, but it's AMOLED screen is still amazing even with the low resolution that it has. Great colors, good contrast, amazing blacks and viewing angles. This phone is more than 2 years old and still beats the shit out of many modern phones I see around in screen quality.
In the future I'd like to change to something IPS but the only one I've seen recently is the HTC One X, but these new phones are huuuuuuge!

I love my Gnex display. I loved my inc2 display also. It was the display on the inc2 that drew me away from my keyboarded blackberry. That and how comfortable it sits in the hand.

AMOLED all the way, I own a Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch and the Super AMOLED + display is just beautiful. Now if its the Super LCD on the HTC One X then thats a close call.

You don't have super amoled + you just have the amoled. If it was plus you wouldn't have a pentile screen. Just to let you know

Just to let you know, ALL Galaxy S2 phones ditched pentile and went to SAMOLED +, that's how they look as good as they do with such low PPI.

Haven't any of AMOLED fanboys noticed that the tonality of the display is just extremely unnatural? I have Htc Desire s which has a good lcd display. At least the pixel density is very high and colors look somewhat natural. For a week I used a amoled samsung and though the blacks do look incredible, whites and other colors are off balance. White colors look blueish green on every amoled display and it really bothers cause you can't see the colors as they really are. So until they don't fix the color balance issue with amoled, I still prefer lcd. My next phone will anyway be one x.

So people are "Fanboys" becasue they were asked which type of screen they prefer, and answered? I'm sorry, but reading through the thread, I must have missed all of the "AMOLED rulz!!" posts. Can't people just have a preference?

+++++++1. I would have just voted your comment up but that feature is not currently available. Why do so many feel the need to label others as fanboys when it is simple preference?

Some people rank things differently. I have a photographer friend who can't stand amoled because it is too saturated. For him, color reproduction is most important. However, for me, the most standout feature of a display is the deep blacks. Second for me is the closeness to the glass... the iPhone is awesome here. Third is text readability and fourth is color reproduction. He and I simply agree that we have different tastes.

"If two of us are the same, one of us is unnecessary"

Give me natural colors on my TV for sure...but on a phone...where everything is basically a cartoon, give me blown out colors and pure blacks. the off whites dont bother me unless i put it next to an LCD display (which is never) and pictures look fantastic on the phone....albeit slightly too saturated.
i have owned an AMOLED screen back in the day, then went to LCD's for 3 phones....the only thing i didn't like about the new phones were the screens....even with higher resolution, i as still missing my OLED screen. now i am back with an AMOLED screen, and there is nothing i would change about this phone...even after laying eyes on a OneX

This poll is silly. LCD is too broad. You might say that for AMOLED, but that technology has stayed roughly the same. It wasn't until the HTC One X that LCD really surprised me... and now there isn't a single phone display I'd rather have. The One X kills everything.

Of course, until the One X, I'd swear by Super Amoled. I did like the screen on my Samsung Epic for almost 2 years. But I've moved on to better things :)

If done right SAMOLED is a nice display, SAMOLED Plus is even better but not HD. Screen for example on Galaxy S-1 and Galaxy Nexus are HORRIBLE compared to any LCD. and currently SLCD-2 is the best display on the market.....another note: SAMOLED HD on Nexus and SAMOLED qHD on One S are 2 worlds apart.....One S being better (or every single Nexus I've seen was defective which I dont rule out because its crazy whats going on with Nexus SAMOLED and quality control)

" But everybody has to do one thing to use their device, and that's look at the display."

Not if you are visually impaired and use TalkBack or some other screen reader to use your Android device.

Seriously, with the limited eyesight I have, I can't even fake that I care about the SLCD, AMOLED, Pentile / No Pentile debates.

I don't care what anyone says....there is no way that a cell phone manufacturing company can have and beat a company that produces the BEST HDTV sets in the world with their screens. Just my 2 cents!

When I was looking to replace my AMOLED DROID Incredible, I went to the Verizon store and compared the Motorola DROID RAZR, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, HTC Rezound, and LG Spectrum. I couldn't stand the PenTile displays of the first two. The difference was noticeable without a microscope; everything was fuzzy.

I will NEVER own a PenTile screen.

Wow.. what a totally unbiased pole?

Seriously... Why would you even run a pole showing 2 images, one which looks crappy and one which looks good demonstrating the difference between low-resolution off-set pixels and one showing in-line pixels?

The image you gave is totally irrelevant to the pole and will totally bias the decision.

The definitive answer? It really doesn't matter.

LCD = Backlight
LED = Frontlight

Neither LCD or LED technology will provide a better picture. it's all about how the manufacturer implements their technologies. Pixel density, alignment, lamination, and any other technology used.

With all of that aside, personally, I'd rather have a AMOLED screen because it is brighter and easier to read in the sun.

I think you are confusing AMOLED with an LED-edge-lit LCD. Not the same thing at all. AMOLED used OLED (Organic light-emitting diode) technology, which is self-lighting. Old versions of AMOLED were actually awful in the sun, but the elimination of glass layers on Super AMOLED displays has improved that dramatically by eliminating glare.

Really dude? If you read their one x review, you would know that the above image is a photograph comparing the Galaxy Nexus -- currently the best AMOLED display, and the HTC One X -- currently the best LCD display.

Maybe it's because I'm older, but I have to look pretty closely to tell the difference and that's not how I use my phone. As long as it looks decent in normal use, doesn't suck battery life and I can see it in direct sunlight, I'm fine with whatever the screen technology is.

I don't know much about display technology. All I know is that I longed to get the Razr Maxx so bad. Then when I finally got it, I could not stand the oversaturated colors that don't look natural. I tried to ignore that but then I took a picture one day and, on the spot, decided to return that device. I got a Rezound instead and now I can tell from my experience that I like LCD screens better than Amoled. I also remember, when I had my EVO 4G and my co-worker had a galaxy Mesmerize, she looked at my screen and said mine looked better than hers. Even though this was her very first smartphone and the colors on her, she could tell the difference between a natural color colors and colors that have been overpainted to make them look like there were nicer.

I always think that AMOLEDs look over saturated. Sure, the bright colors look nice on the floor display, but day-to-day, I prefer the more realistic color tones of LCD. Of course, I'm also a guy that creates a custom color profile on my TV in order to turn color saturation down, not up. It's all preference, but to me, AMOLED=perpetual "dynamic" picture mode.


my TV (plasma, naturally) is set with all the fancy-schmanzy image enhancing bullsh*t to off or minimum to get the most natural colours and non-eye-burning contrast.

sure, these "shop mode" displays give the phones "kerb appeal" when people are comparing, but I don't want to have to live with it!

All this AMOLEDs are over saturated stuff is BS. The Galaxy S2 has different modes, and the movie mode is no more saturated than the LCD2 in the One X. Movie mode also has less blue whites.

For me its all about the blacks. The OneX cant compete with the awesome jet black of the S2. The S2 screen looks almost freakishly deep and 3D compared to the OneX, its fantastic.

Sure the S2 has a lower resolution, but to me it really doesnt matter or compensate for the inherent greyness of an LCD.

The S3 is not better as such than the S2, but is sharper and therefore beats the OneX as well. It also beats the Retina.

This isn't a good poll. All else equal, I'll take AMOLED over LCD. But that is rarely the case. You have to consider DPI and PenTile vs RGB. RGB is WAY better than PenTile and higher DPI is better than lower DPI. Which screen is better is a combination of these three variables.

I much prefer amoled. I guess my vision is not good enough (anymore) to resolve individual pixels or pentile on normal viewing distance but my eyes do see and appreciate the deep blacks and almost infinite contrast of amoled.

iPhone like lcd. Htc has crappy lcd screens hopefully the new ones dont suck. Amoled looks nice if it is hi-res but if its low res like it was on the htc incredible then i will get lcd

It really boils down to colors look correct (natural), ideal resolution and pixel density for quality, and low energy cost efficiency. in other words everything looks super fantastic and then some and uses very little battery to make that happen. Which ever gives the best of both I'd the one we should all want. After all this is significantly different than file storage formats like hdDVD vs bluray. In the end we get the same thing regardless. But with displays the "format" so to speak may mean the difference between superb visual quality or something that looks like a monochrome CRT from 40 years ago.