LG's OLED vs Samsung's Super AMOLED: what are the technical differences?


The LG V30 is coming out pretty soon — first in South Korea, and later in the rest of the world — and from all we've seen so far, there's a lot to like in it. But its biggest feature is also the one that most sets it apart from its V series predecessors: the FullVision OLED display.

And just like many other choices LG made with the V30, the shift to organics is a direct jab at Samsung, which has been putting AMOLED (or Super AMOLED, as it likes to call them) displays in its flagships for many years now. But this raises the question: on a purely technical level, what are the differences between LG's OLED and Samsung's AMOLED tech?


That is, AMOLED is just the name of one specific implementation of OLED technology. The 'AM' part in the name refers to Active Matrix, which means that unlike its more primitive counterpart — Passive Matrix — each pixel is addressed individually when refreshing the screen, rather than as a part of a group of pixels. This is considerably more power efficient, and is thus used in pretty much all modern displays, both OLED and LCD.

And while LG itself seems to abstain from using the term, you may occasionally see P-OLED (or POLED) also get thrown around in regards to the V30's display. This stands for plastic OLED, and refers to the substrate upon which the display is built — and as it happens, both LG and Samsung use plastic for their panels. This is what allows for the curved edges on their respective flagships (as well as on those fancy curved TVs).

So with the technology being pretty much identical, why doesn't LG just call its displays AMOLED, too? We don't have a concrete answer to this question, but we'd wager the fault lies in Samsung. The company has been very publicly advertising its devices' displays as Super AMOLED (which is a Samsung trademark), so even if LG were to cut the 'Super,' it would still be a point of confusion for consumers who have been conditioned to associate the term AMOLED with Samsung.

But with that said, having the same core ideas doesn't necessarily mean that the panels themselves will be the same: different components (like the type of individual RGB pixels, for example) will undoubtedly deliver different results. Moreover, while Samsung's PenTile arrangement calls for twice the amount of green pixels, LG has decided to double the amount of blue ones on the V30's display instead.

Whether this will result in worse display quality is yet to be seen (we'll have to get our hands on a production unit of the V30 before we can scrutinize its display), but given how LG has considerably less experience with small form factor displays than its competitor, we imagine we'll be seeing some growing pains — the last LG phone with an OLED panel wasn't exactly known for its image quality.

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60 Comments

1. bobby84

Posts: 595; Member since: May 13, 2016

When are y'all going to update the note8 nits? You have it rate at 518 when it should be 1240

2. NoAllegiance unregistered

That's on automatic brightness, not maximum on manual.

16. ph00ny

Posts: 2030; Member since: May 26, 2011

Even on manual maximum, displaymate showed 700+ nits

36. avalon2105

Posts: 352; Member since: Jul 12, 2014

BS. On manual it got 423 for Adaptive Mode while other 3 modes have brightness of 405 nits. There is no way Auto Brightness is going to push it over 700.

3. Medoogalaxy

Posts: 232; Member since: May 25, 2017

It's iphonearena

6. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3106; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

They're not going to update anything. Deal with it.

10. maherk

Posts: 6873; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

You're asking for the impossible.

12. fyahking

Posts: 1146; Member since: Jan 28, 2015

"Ipossible!"

15. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

They lose all credibility if they don't. Surely someone is on the task. If not they still need to explain their conclusions.

4. Medoogalaxy

Posts: 232; Member since: May 25, 2017

Samsung do the best screen on planet (SuperAmoled)

35. Romantico3pe

Posts: 179; Member since: Sep 14, 2015

They all burn in so its not the best

53. iushnt

Posts: 3097; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

Actually no!!

58. Trex95

Posts: 2381; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Unfortunately it's.

5. haruken

Posts: 306; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

It's not completely the same considering that one was named best screen on the market (displaymate) and the other one wasn't.

48. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

Right, article above just like saying $3 chinese Crocs is almost the same as $50 crocs, because both have exact same design, and both use rubbery material..

7. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3106; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Poled > amoled. LG got the best display tech.

9. maherk

Posts: 6873; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

17. TechGirl90 unregistered

I won't hold that Article as a credible source, what some of these Bloggers (especially that Ron McNickpick Amadeo) fail to realize is that the LG V30 is a pre-production Unit, it is both non-Final Hardware and Software (as LG clearly stated to Reviewers), The PocketNow Editors (specifically Juan Carlos Bagnell and Jaime Rivera) don't have this issue that that stupid ass website has! Juan has an accelerometer issue with his Prototype and Jaime has a Radio issue with his Prototype, that Nickpicking Weasel has an Uniformity OLED Issue with his Prototype, this is a batched variation issue with the prototypes of the LG V30s. Ars Technica has a knack for jumping to conclusions, and this is no exception, it's best if we all wait until the Retail Unit is available and see if this BATCHED issue is a wide issue.

20. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3106; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

It is stated in the article that the device they have is a pre production unit so their point is moot.

18. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3106; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Good read and thanks for sharing. This happens to all first batch devices so this is nothing new. New batches will fix everything.

22. maherk

Posts: 6873; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

This is an issue that was widely known with the Flex 2 and even their TVs. You can keep digging your head in the sand and claim that they have the best OLED technology basing your claim on nothing but fanboyism, or read more about the issues that has plugged POLED panels manufactured by LG.

27. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3106; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

The flex 2 was an abysmal phone. These issues happens to all manufacturers no exception. You remember the red tint issue that plagued the galaxy S8 when it was first introduced and Samsung fixed it so no fanboyism needed here.

29. maherk

Posts: 6873; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Red tint issues are found on every OLED panel, even LG ones, and all you need to do is calibrate your screen. It's not a hardware issue that can't be fixed, like the issues that are found with LG's POLED. And I wasn't talking about the Flex 2 as a whole, I'm talking about the screen technology. As these issues have been found on the Flex 1 and 2, as well as in LG's OLED TVs.

25. maherk

Posts: 6873; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

https://www.google.com.lb/search?q=lg+oled+uniformity&safe=off&client=ms-android-samsung&source=android-browser&dcr=0&prmd=inv&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjP9KD45pXWAhWBoBQKHYL6CLgQ_AUICSgB&biw=412&bih=774 Here you can see the same problem with their top of the line OLED TVs. Again, you can ignore all the facts, but at the end of the day, the problem will still be there. Not just the V30 still has this issue, but it also suffers from colors shifting whem tilting thr phone.

28. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3106; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Color shifting happens to all oled panels. Samsung was known to have color shifting since they first introduced amoled panels in their phones. Even I have color shifting in my one plus 5 and I enjoy using it. Issues happens all the time.

30. maherk

Posts: 6873; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Then how does LG's OLED come on top of Samsung's if it comes with issues that was found on Samsung phones 7 years ago? All you're doing is deflecting and more deflecting, Samsung's OLED technology is far superior to anything else and that's what EVERY tech reviewer will tell you. There is a reason why Apple ended up going with Samsung's screens for this year's iPhone 8.

37. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3106; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

No one is saying Samsung's screen technology is bad but judging from what LG has in the their oled TVs it looks great. You can't say that Samsung's oled technology is superior to anything else and we haven't seen any oled TVs from Samsung yet.

31. maherk

Posts: 6873; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

And color shifting isn't the main problem in here, you said that this is a preproduction unit, thus why the screen has the gray uniformity issues. The link I posted proves that the DSE problem that effected the Flex 1 and 2, is still found on recent LG OLED TVs, and that LG is yet to find a fix for it.

34. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Trolls don't listen or read facts when ist comes to tehir own brand. You see how TechGirl is acting? Her LG Stain is perfect to her no matter what you say, but she came here and dogged the Note 8 out and its cost, when the Lg G6 was pricey with its year old hardware and terrible 2nd lens. You can already buy the phone for $300. LG has always had bad displays. Not with color, but with power usage. Their LCD's are high drainers and so are their OLED. The quality between the 2 is very noticeable. All one has to do is go to Sam's or Costco and look at LG side by side next to Samsung, even at Best Buy. Samsung displays on any product are the creme of the crop. Amazing how much people hate how great Samsung is. If they weren't, why is Apple using their displays? Surely Apple could have went to LG first. In fact earlier iPhone al; use LG and Sharp. Foxconn and bought Sharp Display, so Apple surely will help them get them better, because they will reverse engineer Samsung's displays and see what they do and try to match without being obvious.

21. ph00ny

Posts: 2030; Member since: May 26, 2011

Not sure how they managed to have LCD backlight bleeding issue like symptoms on a display without backlight

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