Are OLED Displays Worth the Cost?
Have you considered OLED as a viable option if you are in the market for a new monitor? If you want to know whether or not you should get an OLED monitor, read this article.
OLED displays often feature faster pixel reaction times and more excellent contrast ratios, even tho their exorbitant costs making less reachable than standard LCD panels.
As a result, we do not advise purchasing an OLED display just yet because a high-quality LCD panel can provide a satisfying experience at a much cheaper price point.
Even though OLED technology has been around for quite some time, only recently has it begun to make inroads into the mainstream TV and monitor sectors.
Despite this, a limited number of displays still use this technology, and more importantly, these screens are rather pricey!
Why are OLED displays so much more expensive than conventional LCD monitors, and how do their benefits and drawbacks compare to those of standard LCD monitors?
Let’s get straight into the guide, shall we?
Technologies of Display
When you see a display advertised as a “LED” monitor or TV, what the seller most often means by this is that it is an LED LCD. However, to provide more detail, the display in question uses an LED backlight and an LCD panel.
On the other hand, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology does not use any active backlight. Instead, each pixel is responsible for its illumination and acts as its light source.
Now, this has a variety of ramifications for the quality and performance of a display, so how about we investigate that together, shall we?
Smartphones have had screens made using OLED technology for quite some time now. Samsung’s very first Galaxy S phone used OLED, even though the technology was a great deal less developed back then. LCD users have debated OLED users for years, and everything that can be stated about the benefits of their respective screens applies equally to more extensive panels.
OLED displays can display pure black by simply turning off pixels, which enables them to attain far higher contrast than other types of shows. On the other hand, any show that utilizes an active backlight is incapable of completely blocking out the light. Hence the color “black” will appear as a shade of dark gray on the screen. Even if specific panels (such as VA) are better than others at showing blacks, LCDs and LEDs still can’t compete with OLEDs in this regard.
Backlight bleeding is a typical problem that occurs with LED LCD panels. This problem arises when the backlights are discussed. When this happens, light “bleeds” onto the screen, which causes the blacks to be uneven throughout the display. This can manifest as irregular white patches (also known as “clouding”) or as significantly brighter spots in the corners or edges of the screen. It is also possible for this to occur around the borders of the screen.
Because OLED displays do not use an active backlight, they do not have this issue. Therefore, in this particular category, OLED emerges victorious by a wide margin.
The viewing angles of a display indicate the maximum angle from which it can be viewed without the colors becoming distorted. When considering a presentation at an angle other than the one suggested by the manufacturer, the previously described color distortion becomes apparent. The show will typically seem to have a lower brightness level.
OLED displays offer great viewing angles, mainly because there isn’t much room behind the screen for the light to scatter into different directions.
The problem is a little more challenging with LCDs because are determined mainly by the sort of panel that is being in the display. So, for instance, a good IPS panel can have viewing angles comparable to those of an OLED, whereas a TN panel would not even be able to come close to matching those of an IPS panel.
The Reproduction of Color
The capacity of a display to mesmerize viewers with its vivid and accurate color reproduction is frequently considered to be its most impressive and marketable feature.
Displays that use OLED and LCD technology are, for the most part, comparable in this respect. On the other hand, the color accuracy of an LCD is mainly determined by the panel being utilized, just as it is with viewing angles. As a result, the colors generated by quality IPS and VA panels often have excellent color reproduction. In contrast, the colors produced by TN panels typically seem pretty flat and washed out.
WINNER: IT’S A TIE
The goal of the display technology known as high dynamic range is straightforward: to make the image shown look as authentic as is physically feasible. Contrast, bright light, and color depth are tools to do this.
As we have already established, OLED displays unquestionably have the upper hand in contrast. On the other hand, LCD screens have a stronger backlight, allowing them to compete successfully. In addition, both of these technologies are capable of creating high dynamic range (HDR); thus, it’s a tie.
WINNER: IT’S A TIE
Performance, Measured in Terms of Refresh Rates and Response Times
The question “do I need a 144/240Hz monitor?” frequently arises in the gaming community.
First, I’m sure it will be a relief to learn that OLED displays are perfectly capable of reaching such high refresh rates, at least on paper. This is something that will make you very happy. Unfortunately, even though their theoretical restrictions are far beyond what is possible with current LCDs, we have not yet seen an example of one that reaches (and exceeds) the figures that have been provided.
Regarding pixel reaction speeds, OLEDs are head and shoulders above LCDs since they may have response times as low as 0.1 milliseconds (ms). However, the fastest TN panels can only achieve a 1 ms response time at most.
However, even though OLEDs have the potential to outperform LCDs in all aspects significantly, this has not yet been observed in actual use. And while currently available OLED displays do feature response times that are quick, most people will agree that refresh rates are considerably more significant; as a result, this round will have to go to an LCD panel for the time being.
And now, we get to the most critical question: does an OLED display provide a decent value?
It should be no surprise that OLED displays are rather pricey, and that trend will not likely change in the foreseeable future. But, more significantly, it’s not simply that they are expensive; they present value that may be debated as well. Their sole real and palpable benefit is the better contrast between themselves and the background, but beyond that, pointing out any other advantages would be like nitpicking.
Having said all of that, we will have to award this victory to LCDs. This is because a competent LCD monitor will be more than capable of matching the visual quality and performance of an OLED one, all while arriving at a fraction of the latter’s expense.
In conclusion, we do not recommend purchasing an OLED monitor or TV. It takes some time for (relatively) new technology to become fully developed and established on the market, as is typical for such situations. Do you remember when the first 4K TVs started hitting the market and how much they cost? You can now acquire a TV with a resolution of 4K for less than $300—a television with a 4K resolution but not very high quality, a 4K TV.
The same thing will occur with OLED screens over the next few years. The manufacturing methods will improve, the technology will continue to evolve, and the pricing will decrease to more manageable triple-digit amounts.
Check out our buyer’s guide to the top monitors of 2020 if you’re in the market for a new display and don’t want to hold off until OLEDs become more affordable. Perhaps you’ll come upon something just right for you!