There are many different mobile display types/touchscreens available across the range of smartphones and it is important that we know about them before buying one. Over last one-year smartphones with large smartphone displays and touchscreens have really become popular. In this post, we explain different types of displays and touchscreens and their pros and cons.
TFT stands for Thin Film Transistor technology. TFT LCDs are the most common type of display units used across mobile phones. TFT LCD offers better image quality and higher resolutions compared to earlier generation LCD displays but their limitation lies in narrow viewing angles and poor visibility in direct light or sunlight.
Large TFT displays consume more power and hence are not battery friendly. But since these are cheaper to manufacture these are found on budget phones, feature phones, and lower-end smartphones.
IPS stands for In-Place Switching. If you compare TFT vs IPS, then IPS LCDs are superior to normal TFT LCD displays with wider viewing angles and lower power consumption which leads to much-improved battery life. IPS-LCDs are costlier than normal TFT LCD and hence are found only on higher-end smartphones. A higher resolution (640 x 960 pixels) version of IPS LCD is used in Apple iPhone 4 and is called Retina Display because of its brilliant picture quality.
Resistive Touchscreen LCD
Touchscreen LCD displays are of two types – Resistive and Capacitive. Resistive touchscreens contain two-layer of conductive material with a very small gap between them which acts as a resistance. When the resistive touchscreen is touched with a finger (or stylus) the two layers meet at the point of touch thus making a circuit at the point of touch. This information is recognized by the mobile’s processor/chip and passed on to the mobile’s OS thereby triggering and event/action at the point of touch.
Resistive Touchscreens are not as responsive as capacitive touchscreens and often require a stylus to identify the point of touch accurately. These are used only in lower-end smartphones and feature touch phones.
Capacitive Touchscreen LCD
Capacitive touchscreen technology consists of a layer of glass coated with a transparent conductor (like indium tin oxide). When a capacitive touchscreen is touched by the human body (finger), an interruption is created in the screens electrostatic field (which is measurable as a change in capacitance) which is detected by phone’s processor or chip and which in turn instructs phone’s operating system to trigger an event or action accordingly.
Capacitive touchscreens are much better and responsive to human touch when compared to resistive touchscreens and hence the user experience for touch is much better with capacitive touchscreens. Capacitive Touchscreens are used in most of the higher-end smartphones.
See this video to see differences between LCD vs AMOLED.
OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode and is a newer technology for the type of displays of mobiles and monitors. In OLED technology a layer of organic material (carbon-based) is sandwiched between two conducting sheets (an anode and a cathode), which in turn are sandwiched between a glass top plate (seal) and a glass-bottom plate (substrate). When the electric pulse is applied to the two conducting sheets, electro-luminescent light is produced directly from the organic material sandwiched between. Brightness and color can vary depending on the electric pulse.
OLEDs are much better compared to LCDs because of their exceptional color reproduction, blazing-fast response times, wider viewing angles, higher brightness, and extremely lightweight designs.
AMOLED full form stands for Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode. So what is the AMOLED display? AMOLED displays are a type of OLED displays for mobiles and are rapidly gaining popularity in the top-end smartphone segment. AMOLED screens have all the attributes of an OLED display like brilliant color reproduction, lightweight, better battery life, higher brightness and sharpness, and lightweight designs.
AMOLED displays are now getting into mainstream and most of the latest higher-end smartphones like Nokia N8 are now coming with AMOLED displays. If you can shell out a little extra, our suggestion is to go with AMOLEDs over TFT LCDs.
Super AMOLED Display
So which is better – AMOLED vs Super AMOLED? Super AMOLED displays are an even advanced version of AMOLED displays developed by Samsung. Super AMOLED display is built with touch sensors on the display itself, as opposed to creating a separate touch-sensitive layer (as in capacitive touchscreen). This makes it the thinnest display technology on the market.
Super AMOLED displays are also much more responsive than other AMOLED displays. Samsung’s recent top of the line smartphone Samsung Galaxy S I9000 comes with Super AMOLED.
See this video to see differences between AMOLED, Super AMOLED, and Super AMOLED Plus.
Retina Display is a term used by Apple for its high resolution (640 x 960 pixels) IPS LCD (with backlit LED) used by them in iPhone4. They call it the Retina display because its pixels cannot be individually identified by the human eye, thus making the display super sharp and brilliant. Apple now markets devices with various displays like Retina display, Retina HD Display, Liquid Retina HD Display, Super Retina HD Display, or Retina 4K/5K Display!
Haptic / Tactile touchscreen
Haptic technology has been used by Blackberry and Nokia for their touchscreen smartphones targeted towards the enterprise market. This technology provides tactile feedback on a touch action on the screen thus providing an immediate and unmistakable confirmation to the user. Haptic technology has been found to significantly improve user performance, accuracy and satisfaction while typing on a touchscreen.
Gorilla Glass is a special alkali-aluminosilicate glass shield with exceptional damage resistance that helps protect mobile displays from scratches, drops, and bumps of everyday use. Most phone companies like Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, and Nokia are now using Gorilla Glass to make their mobile displays more durable and reliable. It is always better to go for a smartphone with Gorilla Glass for that added protection and peace of mind.
The latest version is Corning Gorilla Glass 6, which claims to be the best cover glass for protecting your mobile device when drops happen.
So next time someone asks you about their TFT vs IPS capacitive touchscreen, or ask you for advice about mobile display types, you are now more informed.
First version written by guest author Sulakshan is a Co-Founder of MySmartPrice.com, the easiest way to get the best price for Mobiles and Books in India.