Super AMOLED pitted against LCD in direct sunlight

Samsung's Super AMOLED screen was supposed to be the savior of AMOLED screen technology.

AMOLED (Active Matrix OLED) is a technology that takes the advantage of OLED over LCD, namely the power efficiency gained by not requiring a back light, and beefing up the refresh rate and color quality to rival the best that traditional LCD screens have to offer. AMOLED delivers on its promise to provide low-power, high-quality competition to the LCD screen, but the advantages only manifest when viewed indoors. Once an AMOLED is viewed in direct sunlight, it's all but invisible. This alone is causing many to doubt the strengths of AMOLED technology, and it isn't snuffing out the LCD screen by any means.

When Samsung introduced Super AMOLED screens, it's primary raison d'être was to quell the criticisms of sunlight bound smartphone users. The Samsung Galaxy S is the first phone to sport Super AMOLED screen technology, and TechBlog wants to show the world if Samsung has indeed delivered the outdoor goods this time.

Video credit: TechBlog

While it definitely fares better than its regular AMOLED cousin, the HTC Desire, the verdict is still out regarding its sunlight dominance over the LCD contender, Sony Ericsson's XPERIA X10. While it's close, Super AMOLED certainly can't claim certain victory yet over LCD screens in outdoor lighting situations. It is, however, a big step in the right direction.

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31 Comments

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dosnt realy matter, all the phones will be soo hot they frie, and you can stake a egg on them before you cant use them at all

The real question is... how often you use your mobile device in direct sunlight? The truth is that 95% of the time you use a mobile device is somewhere indoor or in a car or in public transportation &c. and the remaining 5% of the time there is not so much direct sunlight either unless you are in a desert or on a beach. So I would say it is a smart decision to trade a little bit of worse visibility outdoor for a much better visibility and power consumption &c. indoor. So it is a no-brainer, I would go for an AMOLED any day. That is the future anyway.

aludanyi said,
The real question is... how often you use your mobile device in direct sunlight? The truth is that 95% of the time you use a mobile device is somewhere indoor or in a car or in public transportation &c. and the remaining 5% of the time there is not so much direct sunlight either unless you are in a desert or on a beach. So I would say it is a smart decision to trade a little bit of worse visibility outdoor for a much better visibility and power consumption &c. indoor. So it is a no-brainer, I would go for an AMOLED any day. That is the future anyway.

And when the X10 LCD looks at least as good in all those situations, AND looks better those 5% you're outdoors ? and doesn't use significantly more power, or may in fact use less depending on cirumstances.

If they want a display that works in direct sunlight, they should look into displays in which the pixel just changes what frequency of light is blocked. That way, it would be a display that at even two feet would be hard to tell from a printed photo or whatever.

The sun can get in the way. I keep my iPhone mounted on my dashboard when I drive. At either dusk or dawn, the sun can be hitting it directly making it unreadable for a second or two before re thing brightens up due to the light sensor. The sun can be a pain in the ass. While I agree that a screen with a matte finish would be way more resistant, it just wouldn't look as nice.

people might want to try viewing that video on a high quality screen, there's hardly any difference between those three phones ... they are all almost equally inflicted with poor visibily.

ya, if you're out in the full sunlight, and trying to focus on the phone... you're missing out on what's called Life. That or find some shade

What's next? Phones that don't operate in lava?

Seriously I can't think of a more useless comparison - it's not real life use in any way and besides that, my wife has a htc desire and it's nowhere near as dim or reflective as that is... my iphone is worse under normal conditions. (ie: not being a durbrain and using it angled to the sun)

Silly test at best.

SoupDragon said,
What's next? Phones that don't operate in lava?

Seriously I can't think of a more useless comparison - it's not real life use in any way and besides that, my wife has a htc desire and it's nowhere near as dim or reflective as that is... my iphone is worse under normal conditions. (ie: not being a durbrain and using it angled to the sun)

Silly test at best.

Couldn't have said it better.

Skullpture said,
I'd sacrifice some visibility in direct sunlight for longer battery life and clearer display (especially indoors) any day.

Yeah, especially if the difference is that minimal... I would be happy with a longer battery life definitely.

Nightburn said,
getting rid of the damn glossy finish on screens would help a lot too!
ohhh look it's shiny, must have!!!..

Yeah, I thought the same thing. I'd be really curious to see what a difference that would make...

Nightburn said,
getting rid of the damn glossy finish on screens would help a lot too!
ohhh look it's shiny, must have!!!..

I honestly believe that although everyone whines about glossy screens, displays just wouldn't "pop" as much they do now as far as vibrance goes.

Honestly, how often are you planning on running out into direct sunlight without even turning your back against the sun, and trying to use your phone?

M_Lyons10 said,

Yeah, I thought the same thing. I'd be really curious to see what a difference that would make...


I think the difference is more "smeared out" reflections in a matte display, and in a glossy, reflections are more intense where they happen, but less so where they don't (compared to matte).

Nightburn said,
getting rid of the damn glossy finish on screens would help a lot too!
ohhh look it's shiny, must have!!!..

Mqking them matte however would make the light spread/diffuse more across the surface, so instead of havign a display that's hard to see in sunlight at a direct angle, you'll get a display that's hard to see in sunlight at all angles. and you'd have much less vibrant colors and contrast for the same reason.