The Samsung Galaxy S 4 Super AMOLED Screen - dummies

The Samsung Galaxy S 4 Super AMOLED Screen

By Bill Hughes

All Samsung Galaxy S 4 phones have a Super AMOLED screen. Here is what makes this so good — and what makes you so smart for having bought this Samsung Galaxy S 4 phone.

To start, think about a typical LCD screen, like what your TV or PC might have. LCDs are great, but they work best indoors where it’s not too bright. LCDs need a backlight (fluorescent, commonly), and the backlight draws a fair amount of power, although much less power than a CRT.

When used on a phone, an LCD screen is the largest single user of battery life, using more power than the radios or the processor. Also, because of the backlight on an LCD screen, these screens display black as kinda washed-out, not a true black.

The next step has been to use light emitting diodes (LEDs), which convert energy to light more efficiently. Monochrome LEDs have been used for decades. They are also used in the mongo-screens in sports arenas. Until recently, getting the colors right was a struggle. (Blue was a big problem.) That problem was solved by using organic materials (organic as in carbon-based, as opposed to being grown with no pesticides) for LEDs.

The first organic LEDs (OLEDs) looked good, drew less power, and offered really dark blacks — but still had two problems. They really stunk in bright light, even worse than did LCD screens. Also there was a problem with crosstalk, where the individual pixels would get confused over time whether they were to be on or off. You would see green or red pixels remain, even if it the area around it was clearly supposed to be dark. It was very distracting.

The solution to the pixel’s confusion is called Active Matrix, which tells the pixels more frequently whether they are to be on or off. When you have Active Matrix technology, you have an Active Matrix Organic LED, or AMOLED. This technology still stinks in bright light, however.

Enter the Super AMOLED technology, made by Samsung. When compared with the first AMOLED screens, Super AMOLED screens are 20 percent brighter, use 20 percent less power, and cut sunlight reflection by 80 percent. This is really super!

This screen still uses a significant share of battery life, but less than with earlier technologies. With Super AMOLED, you even save more power if you use darker backgrounds where possible.