What are the main differences between OLEDs and LCDs?

If you’re designing a display application or deciding what type of TV to get, you’ll probably have to choose between an OLED or LCD as your display type. OLEDs and LCDs have different strengths and weaknesses you’ll need to consider when choosing the right one for your particular application.

OLED or LCD: Which Display Is Right For Your Application?

Not sure which one will be best for you? Don’t worry! We’re here to help you figure out the right display for your project or application. In this post we’ll break down the pros and cons of these display types so you can decide which one is right for you.

Things to consider before choosing an OLED or an LCD

Everything from the environment your display will be used in, your budget, to the lighting conditions and the required durability will play a part in this decision.

You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of each display type to determine which one is right for your application.


Contrast refers to the difference between the lightest and darkest parts of an image. High contrast will produce sharper images and more easily readable text. It’s a crucial quality for high fidelity graphics​ and images or to make sure that a message on a display is very visible.

By design, most LCDs will have a built-in backlight to make their graphics and images visible. This is the reason you’re still able to see light coming through on images that are meant to be dark on an LCD monitor, display, or television.

OLED displays by comparison, deliver a drastically higher contrast by dynamically managing their individual pixels. When an image on an OLED display uses the color black, the pixel shuts off completely and renders a much higher contrast than that of LCDs.


One of the primary differences between OLEDs and LCDs is that LCDs contain an LED backlight, and OLEDs do not.

OLEDs are self-illuminating, so they have no backlight. This means LCDs are able to produce brighter images due to their powerful backlights.

Viewing Angles

Have you ever looked at a screen from an angle and noticed that the images became washed out or shadowy? The further away you get from the “front and center” view, the worse the image appears to be. This is an example of viewing angles in action – the wider the viewing angle, the better the images on screen will appear as you view them from different vantage points.

Having a wide viewing angle is important for displays that you don’t always view straight on. Wide viewing angles allow the images on screen to stay consistent and retain their quality no matter where the viewer is looking at them from.

Like we mentioned in the previous section, PMOLED displays have no backlight. This means the display is much thinner than LCD displays and their pixels are much closer to the surface of the display, giving them an inherently wider viewing angle.

Images on OLED displays maintain their quality and readability from nearly any angle. The most common type of LCDs don’t.

You’ll often notice images becoming distorted or losing their colors when tilting an LCD or when you view it from different angles. However, many LCDs now include technology to compensate for this – specifically In-Plane Switching (IPS).

LCDs with IPS are significantly brighter than standard LCDs and offer viewing angles that are on-par with OLEDs.

Use LCDs For:

We recommend LCDs for larger display applications and projects that require the most cost-effective solution.

Use OLEDs For:

For a display application requiring the best colors, contrast, and viewing angles – especially for small and lightweight wearable devices – we would suggest an OLED display.



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