Two display technologies currently dominate the consumer electronics market. These are organic light-emitting diode or OLED displays and in-plane switching liquid crystal display or IPS LCD.
As a backgrounder, an OLED uses organic compounds that emit light in response to an electric current. On the other hand, an IPS is a specific type of LCD that also competes with other LCD technologies such as twisted-nematic or TN LCD and virtual alignment or VA LCD.
Both OLED display and IPS LCD have dominated the market simply because of their wider color and better color reproduction. However, between these two, which one is better? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
A Comparison of OLED and IPS LCD
1. Quality of Display
As mentioned, both OLED and IPS LCD have wider color gamut that in turn, translates to better color reproduction and more accurate images or videos. But each display technology has unique characteristics that make one better than the other.
OLED has a better contrast ratio because it produces deeper blacks than IPS LCD. Also, it also has a wider viewing angle. On an IPS LCD, images or videos with black or black tones appear grayish. When viewed from a different angle, these images or videos appear less vibrant.
Note that an OLED has a higher contrast ratio because its blacks are produced by the absence of light while in an IPS LCD, the blacks are generally based on the blockage of light.
The wide viewing angle of an OLED display comes from the fact that its individual organic diode or pixel produces both light and color. In an LCD technology, although color comes from individual pixels, light comes from backlighting.
2. Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency is another notable point of comparison between OLED and IPS LCD is. Between the two, OLED has the advantage.
Remember that each diode within an OLED panel produces its own color and light. The entire panel does not need backlighting to make the colors visible. Meanwhile, IPS LCD needs backlighting that in turn, translates to additional energy consumption.
An OLED panel also emits light without generating too much heat. Energy consumption is relatively uneven across the panel because only active diodes as represented by visible colors draw power from a source. Darker images consume less power while blacks do not consume any power at all.
In the case of an IPS LCD, energy consumption is almost always even while it is under operation. Remember that the backlighting requires continuously drawing power from an energy source.
3. Form Factor
Another advantage of OLED displays over IPS LCDs is that it is thinner. The organic plastic later of an OLED panel has the thinness of 100 to 500 nanometers. Some layers are 200 times thinner than the single strand of human hair.
Collectively, an entire OLED panel is not only thin but also flexible. With this physical property, devices can be made thinner using OLED than using IPS LCD. Newer form factors have also been introduced to include devices with foldable and flexible display screens.
An LCD panel is inherently thicker than OLED because it has more complex layers. In addition, it cannot be flexible because of its rigid crystalline structure.
The length of life and susceptibility to damages are two of the drawbacks of OLED displays. On the other hand, longer lifespan and durability are the advantages of IPS LCD over OLEDs.
Each of the organic diode in an OLED panel is susceptible to water damage from immersion, as well as exposure to a humid environment. A diode exposed to water would be damaged beyond repair.
OLEDs are also notoriously known for producing burn-ins, eventual, uneven color reproduction, and dead pixels. This stems from the fact that blue diodes degrade faster than red and green ones. Over time, a user would notice permanent imprints of overused static images on their OLED display screens.
Flexible OLED panels are also prone to wear and tear. There is a limited number of times a plastic substrate can be folded and unfolded. Folding and unfolding, as well as bending and unbending subject the material under physical stress.
5. Other Display Quality
There are also other factors to consider when comparing the display quality of OLED display and IPS LCD. Outdoor visibility is one. Note that between the two, an IPS LCD is more visible under direct light or when used outdoors because it uses its own backlighting.
An OLED display is naturally harder to view under a bright light or when used outside. The light collectively emitted by the organic diodes is not bright enough to against harsher ambient light such as sunlight.
While both displays have wide color gamut, more often than note, IPS LCDs produce more accurate colors. Most OLED displays produce highly saturated image characterized by colors with high contrasts.
However, when it comes to refresh rate, IPS LCD is slower than OLED. It is worth stressing the fact that a low refresh rate is a notable disadvantage of IPS LCD. These facts affect consumption of videos with high frame rates or when playing fast-paced computer games.
Conclusion: OLED Display versus IPS LCD
It is tough to judge which is better between an organic light-emitting diode and OLED display or an in-plane switching or IPS LCD. From the facts stated above, OLEDs have more advantages than IPS LCDs.
However, IPS LCD has strengths over OLED displays. The better lifespan and durability are noteworthy advantages because they translate to the longevity and better usability of devices fitted with this particular type of LCD technology.