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    What is Super-AMOLED (S-AMOLED)?

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    Pau Monfort
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    Definition of Super AMOLED. S-AMOLED (Superactive Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) is a marketing term that refers to a display technology used by a variety of electronic devices. The "super" in its name distinguishes it from its older and less advanced versions (OLED and AMOLED).


    S-AMOLED could also be called super-amorphous organic light-emitting diode, or super-amorphous OLED, because it uses amorphous silicon technology.


    A few words about OLED and AMOLED

    Displays that use organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) incorporate organic materials that glow on contact with electricity. The active matrix appearance of AMOLED sets it apart from OLED. AMOLED, therefore, is a type of display technology that includes not only a way to display light, but also a method to detect touch (the “active matrix” part). While it is true that this method is also part of AMOLED displays, super AMOLEDs are slightly different.


    Here is a quick rundown of some pros and cons of AMOLED displays.


    Banco Pro

    • Wide viewing angles
    • Support for a wide range of colors
    • Long battery life if using darker colors

    Cons

    • Images too saturated
    • Reduced battery life when displaying vivid colors

    AMOLED displays are known for being able to render a deep black color when needed, a huge plus on any display, and something you'll immediately notice when you compare it to your standard IPS (airplane switching) LCD (liquid crystal display). The advantage is evident when watching a movie or watching an image that should contain "true" black.



    AMOLED technology includes a layer behind the OLED panel that gives light to each pixel instead of using a backlight like LCD displays do. Since each pixel can be colored as needed, the pixels can be dimmed or turned off to create true black instead of pixels being blocked from receiving light (as with LCD).

    This also means that AMOLED screens are perfect for displaying a wide range of colors; the contrast against whites is infinite (because blacks are absolute blacks). On the other hand, this amazing ability makes it easier to over-saturate images.


    Super AMOLED vs. AMOLED

    AMOLED is similar to Super-AMOLED not only in name but also in function. In reality, Super-AMOLED is identical to AMOLED in all but one sense, but it is that but one that makes the difference.

    The two technologies are the same in that the devices that use them can incorporate light and touch sensors so that the screen can be read and manipulated. The touch-sensing layer (called a digitizer or capacitive touchscreen), however, is embedded directly into the screen in Super-AMOLED displays, while it is a completely separate layer at the top of the screen in AMOLED displays.

    This might not seem like a big difference, but Super-AMOLED displays offer many advantages over AMOLED displays due to the way these layers are designed:


    • The device may be thinner because the display and touch technologies are on the same level.
    • Higher contrast, plus the lack of a gap between the digitizer and the actual screen, produces a sharper and more vivid display.
    • Less power needs to be supplied to a Super AMOLED screen because it doesn't generate as much heat as older screen technologies. This is partly due to the fact that the pixels are actually turned off and therefore do not emit light / use energy when viewing black.
    • The screen is more sensitive to touch.
    • Light reflection is reduced because there aren't as many layers, which makes reading outdoors in bright light easier.
    • A higher refresh rate helps speed up response times.

    However, manufacturing the technology behind Super-AMOLED displays is more expensive. Like most technology, this is likely to change as more manufacturers incorporate AMOLED into their TVs, smartphones, and other devices.



    Here are some other disadvantages of AMOLED technology:

    • Organic materials eventually die, so AMOLED displays degrade faster than LEDs and LCDs. Even worse, the materials used to create the individual colors have varying lifetimes, causing a noticeable difference in overall uniformity when colors fade (for example, blue OLED films don't last as long as red or green).
    • Screen burn-in is a risk with AMOLED due to uneven use of pixels. This effect is compounded when the blue colors die out and leave the red and green colors to resume the game, leaving an imprint over time. That said, this issue doesn't affect displays with a large number of pixels per inch.

    Super AMOLED display types

    Some manufacturers have additional conditions for Super-AMOLED displays with specific features in their devices.


    For example, HD Super-AMOLED is Samsung's description of a Super-AMOLED display with a high definition resolution of 1280x720 or higher. Another is Motorola's Super-AMOLED Advanced, which refers to brighter, higher resolution displays than Super-AMOLED screens.

    These displays use a technology called PenTile to sharpen the pixels. Others include Super-AMOLED Plus, HD Super-AMOLED Plus, Full HD Super-AMOLED, and Quad HD Super-AMOLED.


    OLED or QLED: What is the best screen technology for 4K Smart TVs?

    Further Reading:

    • Super AMOLED vs Super LCD, what are the differences?
    • Plasma vs. OLED, we find the differences
    • What is the difference between Amoled and LCD display?
    • LED vs LCD TV, which one to choose
    • The new Samsung Galaxy A20 is official: Super AMOLED screen and 4.000 mAh battery for less than 200 euros
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