Screen parade: AMOLED, LCD, Retina and Infinity Display

Based on materials Android Authority

The screen of your smartphone is by far its most important feature and

main element, as it isdevice interaction tool. A bad screen means that the user experience will not satisfy you. As is the case with all other characteristics, it is easy to identify outsiders in this parameter, but it is much more difficult to determine and feel the difference between a good screen and a very good screen.

In general, in modern smartphonesTwo main types of screens are used: LCD and LED. When these two basic technologies were perfected, AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) and IPS LCD (In-Plane Switching Liquid Crystal Display) appeared.

The difference in names was naturally taken toarming marketers who were not satisfied with the good old AMOLED or conventional IPS LCD. Instead, the user is lured into their networks by Super AMOLED, Dynamic AMOLED, Super LCD, Super Retina OLED, Super Retina XDR, Infinity Display and so on. But what does all this really mean?


LED in AMOLED stands for Light EmittingDiode is a light emitting diode. This is the same technology that you will find in many home appliances. There, a small red light indicates to you that the power is on. The LED screen uses the same principle, only the size of the diode is reduced, and the LEDs are placed in red, green and blue clusters to form each individual pixel.

The letter O in AMOLED means organic (organic).This is because several thin films of organic material are placed between two conductors in each LED. They emit light when current is applied.

Finally, the AM part in AMOLED means active matrix(active matrix) as opposed to passive matrix technology. In a passive matrix, a complex grid-like system is used to drive individual pixels, where integrated circuits control the charge transferred over each column or row. But this is quite slow and cannot provide high accuracy. In active matrix systems, a thin film transistor (TFT) and a capacitor are connected to each sub-pixel (i.e., red, green, or blue) LED. As a result, when the row and column are enabled, the capacitor in the pixel can retain its charge between refresh cycles, resulting in faster and more precise control.

The image above shows the deviceAMOLED screen Samsung Galaxy S8. The RGB triangle is clearly visible. At the bottom of the image, the green and red LEDs are off and the blue LEDs are lit dimly. For this reason, AMOLED screens have deep blacks and good contrast.


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Pros and cons of AMOLED technology


  • The plastic backing is thin and light.
  • The plastic backing is more impact resistant and less likely to be damaged.
  • Excellent viewing angles.
  • Potentially very wide range of colors.
  • Deep blacks and excellent contrast, thanks to the fact that individual pixels can be turned off, are great for HDR.
  • Good energy efficiency and more economical battery consumption.


  • More complex and expensive production (curved screens), an economic sub-optimality that affects the availability of the technology.
  • Blue LEDs degrade faster than red and green LEDs, which shortens the life of the screen, and colors begin to deteriorate faster.
  • A burn-in issue related to the fact that pixels can degrade at different rates when the same static image is constantly shown on the screen.

What is Super AMOLED, Dynamic AMOLED and Infinity Display?

Super AMOLED is a marketing term thatused by Samsung. It refers to a technology in which the capacitive touch panel is integrated directly into the screen, rather than being a separate layer on top of the screen. This allows you to make the screen thinner.

Dynamic AMOLED is another marketing term fromSamsung. It stands for the next generation Samsung AMOLED screen, which is HDR10+ certified. According to Samsung, Dynamic AMOLED also reduces the amount of harmful blue light emitted from the screen, which helps to reduce eye strain and cope with sleep disturbances caused by using the smartphone at night.

As for Infinity Display (or Infinity-ODisplay) is also an example of a marketing term from Samsung. The term means “a near bezel-less, full-frontal, edge-to-edge” screen. However, it is essentially the same Super AMOLED screen.


In LCD screens, the backlight passes through a series ofpolarizing filters, a crystal matrix and several color filters. Liquid crystals have the property of changing the orientation of the plane of polarization when an electrical charge is applied to them, which affects the frequency of the light that can pass through them. Since the crystals can rotate to varying degrees depending on the applied voltage, it is possible to make a screen that uses them as panels with polarizing filters. It uses a grid of integrated circuits to control each pixel, directing the charge to a specific row or column. Colors are created using red, green, and blue filters known as subpixels, which are then blended to produce different colors.

The image above shows a Huawei Mate 8 LCD. Note that the pixels are made up of equally sized sub-pixels, one for each of the colors red, green, and blue.

Pros and cons of LCD


  • Natural and very accurate color reproduction.
  • No risk of burnout.
  • Well-established production technology, which means greater availability.


  • Viewing angles are limited depending on the number of layers.
  • Contrast and black depth are not ideal because black is always highlighted.
  • Backlight unevenness can be a disadvantage of cheap screens
  • Pixels can be placed at a lowerdensity at higher resolutions because transistors cannot be further reduced in size, reducing peak brightness and wasting power.
  • There may be a short-term afterimage.

What is Super LCD?

Like Super AMOLED, the Super LCD screen also includes a touch layer. There is no air gap between the outer glass and the screen, which means it has the same benefits as Super AMOLED.

Retina, Super Retina and Super Retina XDR screens

Not only Samsung uses screen names inmarketing purposes. So, Apple came up with the term Retina for their screens. It was first used with the release of the iPhone 4, as its screen offered significantly higher pixel density (over 300 pixels per inch) compared to the iPhone 3GS. Later, the term Retina HD appeared in relation to an iPhone with a screen resolution of at least 720p.

All Retina and Retina HD displays on iPhone areIPS LCD screens. However, with the release of the iPhone X, things have changed a little since it is equipped with an AMOLED screen. The latter received the name Super Retina, although, in fact, it is still the same AMOLED display, just with superfluous adjectives. With the release of the iPhone 11 Pro, Apple coined the term Super Retina XDR. XDR stands for Extended Dynamic Range (extended dynamic range), because such screens have better contrast and higher peak brightness.

Not all Retina displays use the technologyOLED. So, the MacBook Pro is advertised as having a Retina screen, but as you can see in the zoomed image above, it has a regular LCD, as much as Apple would like to emphasize its latest hardware.


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Color accuracy and screen resolution

Both technologies can be used to create720p, 1080p, Quad HD and 4K screens. Companies are launching HDR10 capable smartphones using both LCD and AMOLED screens. So from this point of view, there is not much difference between them.

When it comes to color reproduction, AMOLED screens are known to have deeper blacks and higher contrast. But in general, color accuracy can be good on both types of screens.

Burn-in and afterimage

One of the main disadvantages of AMOLED screensis the possibility of burnout. This is a problem where the display suffers from discoloration of individual parts. This may appear as an outline of text or an image, fading of individual colors, or highly visible blemishes or patterns. The screen works as usual, but there is a noticeable ghost image or faded areas. This is due to the different lifetimes of the red, green, and blue subpixels used in OLED panels.

Blue LEDs have a significantly lowerlight output than red or green pixels, which means that they must receive a higher current. Higher currents cause faster pixel degradation. Consequently, the color reproduction of an OLED screen degrades unevenly, so it will eventually lean towards a red-green tint (unless the blue sub-pixel is increased, as in the first image in this article). If any part of the screen displays blue or white for a long time, the blue pixels in that area will degrade faster than others.

Theoretical lifetime of an AMOLED screenis several years even when used for 12 hours a day. However, according to unofficial data, some screens burn out faster than others. Screens that show signs of burn-in after just a few months can be considered defective, a situation far from normal.

Owners of devices with LCD screensthose prone to burn-in are more fortunate, but they may experience a problem called “image retention”. Liquid crystals tend to stay in the same position when the same voltage is applied to them for a long time. Fortunately, this phenomenon is usually temporary and can be reversed by allowing the liquid crystals to return to their resting state.


It is difficult to choose a smartphone based only onthe type of screen it contains. For example, if you are an AMOLED fan, would you consider buying a device with more memory and a good chipset, but with an LCD screen? The same argument works in reverse for LCD lovers.

Top models are usually equipped with AMOLED screens, andLCDs are more commonly used in mid-range/budget devices. But this is not a hard and fast rule, since there are many high-end devices with LCD screens. Since the production of OLED screens has become much more economical in recent years, more and more budget models will be equipped with OLED screens in the future.

Companies such as LG and Samsung feltthis trend and are rapidly expanding the production of OLED screens (including flexible OLED). In turn, the future of LCD may be more related to TVs and other devices with large screens. For now, it looks like mobile devices will increasingly be dominated by OLED screens.

What do you think? What do you prefer, AMOLED or LCD? Have you ever fallen for marketing terms like Retina and Infinity Display?