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Understanding Smartphone Screen Terms

Have you ever been to a mobile phone store lately? You’ll be surprised at the vast array of mobile phone deals to choose from, from the simplest mobile phone to the latest edition of the industry’s top brands.

It’s no wonder a lot of people upgrade their phones within months after they purchased it – there are just too many innovations in the mobile phone units these days that to be left with an old model is simply not a good idea for many.

One of the most common factors that mobile phone users now look into is the display technology, or the quality of the screen. Most users prefer mobile phones with vibrant or bright displays but which also allows minimal power consumption.

However, just like many shoppers, you probably have also experienced feeling lost and confused as you come across the alien terms used to differentiate one mobile phone from another or the terms used to describe the technology used in a particular mobile phone.

To help you get a little acquainted with these terms, here’s a list of the most used and latest terms in display technology within the mobile phone industry.

Terms and Their Meanings

Today’s mobile phone displays are much like the same as those used in tablets and notebooks. They are all based on LCD or Liquid Crystal Display technologies.

According to, LCD displays make use of two sheets of polarizing material with a liquid crystal solution between them. An electric current passed through the liquid causes the crystals to align so that light cannot pass through them. Each crystal, therefore, is like a shutter, either allowing light to pass through or blocking the light. LCD has a fast refresh rate, which makes it great for mobile technologies that require bright displays with low power consumption.

TFT LCD or Thin Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Displays is most commonly used in the majority of the smartphones in the market today. TFT LCD’s are also commonly used in notebook displays.

AMOLED or Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode is expected to soon take over TFT in terms of popularity in display technologies. Used by SAMSUNG, Nokia, HTC, and Dell, AMOLED is preferred by the majority of new users because of its very bright and colorful display. It also promises low powers consumption, allowing the mobile phone’s battery to operate for a much longer period of time.

Super AMOLED combines a touch panel and another top layer of glass, creating a much more vibrant display than the past AMOLED screens. This technology was created by Samsung.

Super LCD or SLCD is the much improved and enhanced version of LCD. Super LCD offers superior contrast and warmer colors than older LCD’s. However, the downside to the SLCD is it drains more power than AMOLED displays.

IPS or In Plane Switching smartphone screens offer more vibrant colors and outstanding off-axis viewing angles, which simply means one can clearly see from any angle. Apple very recently used IPS technology in the LCD of their iPad and iPhone 4. LG will be following soon in joining Apple iPhone in producing smartphones with IPS screens.

Typically, IPS screens are more expensive; but for many users, the additional cost is not much of a concern considering the value they’re getting in return.

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