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Everything you need to know for choosing Mobile Display ( Part one )

Choosing Mobile Display is overwhelming today, because of many marketing terms and technology improvements. But, this is not as hard as you think. I will discuss all things you need to know about mobile display as a user. After reading this article, you will be able to select your favorite display yourself.

Smartphone Displays


When talking about Mobile Display, we concentrate on four things :

  • Display type ( LCD, AMOLED, Retina, etc ).
  • diagonal measurement of the screen ( Physical Dimension ).
  • Definitions ( HD, Full HD, Ultra HD, etc ).
  • Display Resolution ( Pixel Density ).

Let’s start one by one.


Display type:

When we check detail specifications of a mobile device; on Display type, generally we see terms like TFT LCD, IPS LCD, AMOLED, Super AMOLED. Sometimes we fail to understand those terms.
In this section I will try to explain those terms in better approach.
Basically there are two display Technologies : LCD and LED. Above terms are revealed by extending these technologies ( CRT is very old technology and not in use for Mobile Phone Display )



LCD means Liquid Crystal Display. As you can probably figure out, LCD is made up of an array of liquid crystals that get illuminated by a back-light. LCDs don’t require much energy to power a screen, the technology is very popular in portable devices.

LCDs also tend to perform quite well in direct sunlight, as the entire display is illuminated from behind, so they are ideal for smartphones. However, this back-lighting means that blacks tend to appear gray and LCDs therefore have less contrast than some other display technologies.

There are two types of LCD generally used in Mobile Phone: TFT and IPS.


TFT stands of Thin Film Transistor. This is the advanced version of LCD that uses Active Matrix. Active matrix means that each pixel is attached to a transistor and capacitor individually.

The main advantages of TFT is relatively low production cost. But, there are two major disadvantages that’s fall this technology behind. First one is Excessive power consumption and other is narrow viewing angle.


IPS stands for In-Plane Switching and it is a further improvement on TFT LCDs. To summarize very roughly: the way the crystals are electrically excited is different and the orientation of the crystal array is rotated.

This orientation change improves viewing angles, contrast ratio and color reproduction. Energy consumption is also reduced compared to TFT LCDs. Because IPS LCDs tend to be better than TFT LCDs, they are also more expensive when put on a smartphone.

LCD screens power consumption is not affected by on-screen color. So, you can use dark or bright theme without worrying about battery life.
IPS LCDs also has wide brightness levels related to others, and typically last longer than AMOLED screens.



AMOLED is stands for Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diod.
AM stands for Active Matrix ( same technology used in TFT )
OLED is an organic material that, like the name implies, emits light when a current is passed through it. Different from LCD, LCD has back-lit. OLED displays are ‘always off’ unless the individual pixels are electrified.

AMOLED displays have much purer blacks and consume less energy when black or darker colors are displayed on-screen. AMOLED screens are also more expensive to produce than LCD.

AMOLED Displays have a very fast refresh rate too, but on the down side are, it’s not as visible in direct sunlight as IPS LCDs. Screen burn-in and diode degradation are other factors to consider.

On positive side of AMOLED is it is made thinner thand LCD and aloso possible to make flexible, this means bendable display is possible by AMOLED.


Super AMOLED is better version of AMOLED introduced by Samsung, its integrated with touch response layer. It is more thinner than IPS LCD.

Super AMOLED Displays handle sunlight better than AMOLED and consumes less power related to AMOLED.


Retina Displays is introduced by Apple and first used in iPhone 4. It is not an another display technology. its means those types of display has sufficient resolution that the human eye can’t discern pixels at a normal viewing distance. As iPhone 4, which had a 960 x 640 pixel resolution on a 3.5-inch IPS LCD screen, resulting in 330 pixels per square inch (ppi).
For being retina Display more than 300 ppi is needed. In this notion, Now a days there are lots of Smart Phone have retina display, not only iPhones or iPads.

Apple uses this as marketing terms.



What’s next

I am concluding 1st part of my article now.
In next part, I will discuss about screen resolutions, Definitions, and Physical screen size.
Next part of this article.

About MD Maruf Billah

Co-Founder and CEO at IT Segment. Studying Computers and Information at Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt.

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