MicroLED vs. OLED: which screen is better?
October 26, 2023

MicroLED vs. OLED: which screen is better?

In terms of aspects such as color, brightness, viewing angles and reliability in the battle between microLED and OLED screens, it seems as if the first one is threatening to dethrone the second one forever. Although quality OLED technology has recently become relatively affordable, so much so that it has even become a basic feature on slightly cheaper phones, technological progress always brings something even better. Precisely microLED screens, which actually only eliminate OLED’s shortcomings, bring something that could definitely change the display market.

However, you still won’t easily find microLED screens on the market, this technology has a lot to offer compared to OLED. Whether that is enough to defeat him is best determined through a comparative analysis of mutual characteristics.

One such, which includes aspects such as color, brightness, viewing angles and reliability, was also prepared by the AndroidAuthority portal, which we transmit below.

What is OLED?

OLED is an acronym for the English words Organic Light Emitting Diode, which suggests the presence of organic compounds in this type of display, namely carbon-based ones. Simply put, these organic compounds emit light when connected to a power source. Thus, each pixel on an OLED screen is actually its own light source, which means that we can individually control their brightness and color. This kind of fine-tuning isn’t possible with traditional LCD screens because they use a bunch of large LED backlights instead.

However, organic materials also have some disadvantages. The biggest concern in this regard is actually how long they can last. These compounds tend to darken over time. Extended static content will also cause certain colored “subpixels” to wear out more than others. This further leads to the so-called burning of the screen (burn-in), i.e. to a permanent change in its colors or the image freezes.

While some of the major OLED screen manufacturers like Samsung and LG Display have recently done a good job of preventing burn-in, it’s still potentially problematic if you use your screen heavily.

What is microLED?

MicroLED is a newer display technology that also uses millions of tiny microscopic light sources. Since each pixel independently emits its own light, the characteristics of the result obtained on the screen are very similar to classic OLED technology. However, best of all, this technology does not rely on organic materials, so this makes it far more durable as it can reach higher levels of brightness without fear of quality degradation.

However, microLED screens have not become nearly as affordable. LG, Samsung and a few other brands have some larger models of these screens on sale, but the fact is that we are years away from seeing a smartphone-sized microLED screen.

MicroLED vs. OLED: Who Wins the Battle?

With pixel-level control, both OLED and microLED technologies offer excellent black levels because they can simply turn off certain areas of the screen. However, there are other features to compare.

Brightness and color

Large OLED screens like those used in TVs and computer monitors have always struggled to get brighter. This is because a higher level of brightness requires more energy, which is then converted into heat. Over time, this heat can cause organic materials to decompose and darken. Because of this, some alternative display technologies such as mini-LED have taken the lead in brightness in recent years.

Given that microLED panels have no organic component, they achieve a higher level of brightness than their older OLED rivals.

We still haven’t seen any microLEDs designed for home use, but rumors indicate that some manufacturers state that their brightness could reach up to five thousand nits. That’s more than double what we’d get from even the best OLED TVs on the market today.

Viewing angles

OLED displays offer some of the best viewing angles on the market, with very little color shift or loss of brightness as you move from side to side. However, this does not necessarily mean that they are ideal. Samsung Quantum Dot OLED panels, for example, offer better viewing angles than LG’s conventional OLED screens. The reason for this is the quantum dot layer which helps the light spread equally in all directions.

MicroLED has a similar advantage in that it relies on three subpixels to produce bright red, green, and blue colors (the RGB spectrum). Nevertheless, in this respect and in the fight between microLED and OLED, it is still too early to declare victory for the former, until it is more present on the market.

Color palette

The film industry has been pushing for the adoption of a wider range of colors in recent years, especially Rec. The 2020 standard which includes ultra high definition television (UHDTV) covering various image parameters. These include resolution, frame rate, bit depth and color gamut.

However, most displays lack the ability to reach full coverage of this huge color gamut. In support of this, it is telling that the latest Samsung panels such as QD-OLED have only managed to come close to covering this color range at about 90 percent, while conventional OLED displays still hover around 75 percent of this spectrum.

MicroLED displays could outperform traditional OLED panels, achieving approximately 90% Rec. 2020 color range. Manufacturers will thus have to experiment with different types of inorganic materials to find one that can emit pure and saturated colors. Since several years ago, researchers have used perovskite, a calcium titanium oxide mineral, and quantum dots to achieve 95% coverage of Rec. 2020. However, it is still unclear whether microLED panels will conform to this standard.

Reliability and durability

OLED has come a long way in terms of durability. Early OLED smartphones, for example, showed clear signs of burn-in within months. In recent times, however, you’d have to play hours and hours of static content continuously for months to end up with any permanent color change. This is a drawback, however, and makes an OLED screen a poor choice for productive use cases where you may have static elements such as web browser tabs or search bars.

MicroLED should score a big win in this regard because it simply doesn’t suffer from permanent image retention or the same kind of color shift. However, we still don’t have commercial microLED releases to definitively confirm this.

MicroLED vs. OLED: cenovna (un)dostupnost

Although with its appearance, OLED technology left many impressions, it actually brought much more expensive devices compared to traditional LCD screens.

However, as time passes, the new way of producing OLED panels can change that, and you can already buy a solid OLED television or monitor for around one hundred thousand dinars.

Slightly more advanced OLED TVs with quantum dots are still sold at higher prices, but it is still around 200,000 dinars for a 65-inch diagonal panel. This is a big improvement compared to 2015, when, for example, the LG OLED TV cost around 3300 euros (slightly less than 400 thousand dinars) with a diagonal length of 55 inches.

When it comes to microLED, on the other hand, Samsung and LG offer modular installations intended for businesses, but their prices amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars or euros. One such example is the “most luxurious TV ever” that costs an incredible $233,000. Accordingly, the more affordable and mature OLED technology may be the better choice at the moment compared to the still young and expensive microLED.