The world’s largest OLED manufacturer emphasizes several OLED portable screens. A press release from Samsung Display states that the company makes “very large quantities of 1
Typically, screens with faster refresh rates are rich in portable gaming games, where you can get anything from 90Hz to a lightning-fast 300Hz (it sounds like too much), but all of these are LCD screens. Thanks almost entirely to Samsung, OLEDs have completely taken over smartphones, with the company supplying panels to Apple, Google, its own Galaxy line, OnePlus, and pretty much everyone else. On many Android phones, these are 90Hz or 120Hz screens, and now it sounds like Samsung is ready to scale up to laptops.
OLED screens are a grid of organic, light-emitting material (this electrified pickle video is a good explanation) and are usually thinner and less complicated than LCD screens. LCD monitors need lots of layers – a backlight to illuminate the screen, different layers of polarizers and diffusers, the name of the liquid crystal layer to turn pixels on and off, and a color filter. An LCD’s only light source for the entire screen (sometimes “zones” with dimming) means that the LCD screens cannot match the high contrast of the OLED, where each pixel is also its own light source. OLEDs can turn off pixel light sources individually, so that “black” can be really black, and the screen does not give any light.
However, OLED has some issues. They have lower power consumption while showing darker colors (great for lawyers in dark mode), but the total power consumption of early OLED screens has been quite high. Samsung’s OLED Chromebook is notorious for its terrible battery life. However, Samsung has licked this issue on smaller phone panels, so give the company some time.
Another potential problem is burn-in, to which OLED panels are exposed over time. Windows laptops are not expected to have the constant movement that OLED TVs have, with things like the taskbar, icons and browser tabs all staying in one place day after day. A 2018 study of smartphone OLED screens showed burn-in effects that occurred already in 17 hours. Although it would be crazy to have a smartphone app open for so long, I have tabs older than 17 hours open right now on my laptop. The Windows start button is likely to clock thousands of hours on the screen in a year or two, which is a real problem given the longer replacement cycle for laptops compared to smartphones.
There are some 60Hz OLED laptops out there today, but not many. Samsung’s last major attempt was with the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook in 2020, which had an eye-catching 4K OLED screen in a $ 1000 Chrome OS laptop. A year later, the company decided that such an expensive Chromebook was not a good idea and switched back to an LCD screen, and a lower price, in this year’s version. Smaller 12-inch OLED screens also appear regularly on Samsung’s tablet line.
At CES 2021, Samsung released a promotional video about the company’s OLED laptop screens, promising cameras below the screen, 50 percent thinner panels compared to an LCD screen, a weight reduction of 30 percent and thinner frames.