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Unmeasurable Contrast

Sprint Product Ambassador

In the beginning, there was the Cathode Ray Tube display (CRT). It was bulky, the images weren't as sharp as they be, but colors looked great and blacks looked mostly black. This made pictures and videos possitively pop.


Then came LCD's. They were great. They were thin, the images were sharp, and they could be made to fit into portables, which was great.

Due to how LCD's work, however, I have always been disappointed with LCD's in how blacks, in general, look. They look gray to me.

In layman's terms, LCD's have a bright light generated by a back-light behind the LCD panel. To generate colors, an LCD pixel uses a series of filters to filter out different colors of light to ultimately allow only the desired color to come through. For blacks, the filter merely attempts to block off all colors. Notice that I said attempts... The issue is that there is still light coming from behind that pixel and that light slighly bleeds through the filters as the filters can't block light 100%. 

For an illustration look at the following:


Image Source:


Enter OLED technology. OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode. In OLED technology, each pixel emits its own light source in response to an electrical current. So if you want a black pixel, you simply don't apply any electrical current to that pixel. This means that there is no back light to bleed through the pixel and thus a black pixel in an OLED display is just that, a black pixel. This also has the side effect of saving on power usage when the screen is black as the black pixels aren't using any power. What does this translate to? A beautiful contrast which makes images and videos that have black absolutely pop.


So, how much of a difference does it make? Here's a video showing off two LCD phones next to the Samsung Galaxy S8. Notice the S8 has a bar currently on the right that I use for shotcuts. If it wasn't for that bar, I bet you wouldn't be able ot tell that the S8 was even there.

All they are doing in this video is displaying a black image with nothing. The only time the one on the left gets kind of dark is when the display goes to sleep temporarily until I touch it. Keep in mind that I have those phones set to maximum brightness. You can tell by how blinding the S8 becomes when I exit the black image. lol

The S8 has what is called a Super AMOLED, or Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode. AMOLED is just one of the two primary types of OLED technologies, the other being POLED (P for Passive). AMOLED, among other things, tend to have higher refresh rates than POLED, lower response times, and tend to consume significantly less power (the last of which is very important on phones.) The Super part of the name refers to the fact that the display has an integrated digitizer (which is the layer of the screen that detects touch). By integrating the digitizer, there is less space between the digitizer and the display and thus there is less space for screen reflections to form. This significantly cuts down on the overall reflections from the sun on the screen.


So, ultimately, does any of this really matter to most people? I don't know. Either way, you can't deny one thing. The screen on the S8 looks absolutely drop dead gorgeous and, for me, its not just because of its size, lack of bezels, or curved edges. It's because of its ability to make words and images pop right off the screen and for that, I have AMOLED to thank.

 Disclaimer: The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee