OLED vs MicroLED: What’s the Big Deal?
You might have heard about the latest in LED technology, MicroLED, which is just starting to hit the commercial market. As the name suggests, it’s sort of a compressed version of an everyday OLED display, except with the ‘O’.
Let’s have a look at the difference between OLED and MicroLED and see what all the excitement is about.
What is OLED?
OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. With an OLED display, there is a film of organic (typically polymers or smaller molecules) compound that reacts to electricity, allowing the display to emit light.
It’s essentially a layer of transparent material that reacts to electrical current in a way that allows it to be used to display images accurately. This is significantly better than basic LCD technology since the diodes produce light individually. This allows for excellent black levels, since only part of the screen needs to be lit in certain images.
The viewing angles are also quite good with OLED. The trouble is that the organic compounds are relatively expensive. Organic compounds can also be burned over time, or by instances of extreme output. So, although OLED is a great technology, it has room for improvement.
Head of Product at Zero-In, Zach Collier, says
“MicroLED is an exciting technology that will revolutionize the display industry much like OLED and Plasma before it. We are just now seeing major tech manufacturers like Apple, LG, and Samsung release consumer products using Mini LED tech which will be a bridge into our MicroLED future. “
What is MicroLED?
MicroLED uses microscopic LEDs to collectively create an individual pixel. This technology allows for smaller, thinner, and more sleek displays. It’s ideal for small screens like watches. It’s also very good for medium and even large screens like video walls.
Probably its greatest advantage is the lack of organic compounds, which as mentioned are expensive to manufacture and are prone to burn-in.
MicroLED is generally considered superior to OLED, but the technology is still in its early stages.
Is MicroLED Actually Better than OLED?
Right now, MicroLED is probably too expensive for it to be worth the difference in price against the cheaper and widely available OLED option. Most manufacturers are still quite a few years away from defaulting to MicroLED or another technology to replace OLED as the top dog.
As for whether MicroLED is truly better than OLED, the simple answer is yes. Since MicroLED lacks the need for sensitive and pricey organic compounds, it is a superior technology. However, viewing an OLED and MicroLED side by side probably wouldn’t prove a lot. The difference would be slight if apparent at all to the untrained eye.
MicroLED is simply going to be a better technology moving into the future since it promises a longer lasting, more durable display, has a more compact design, and will eventually be less expensive to manufacture.
When Can I Buy a MicroLED Display?
There are a few companies that are currently producing MicroLED displays, but they are quite expensive. Those that do offer large form versions, like video walls. It wouldn’t make sense to upgrade right now for simple consumer use, but for commercial displays, it is currently on available from Samsung and a handful of other manufacturers.
Even for businesses, the technology is prohibitively expensive. However, the price of this tech will come down over the next several years as more and more manufacturers adopt it.
OLED and MicroLED are actually quite similar and have a lot in common. They both offer emissive displays that provide excellent black levels and impressive viewing angles—especially compared to standard LCD displays.
The most significant difference is that MicroLEDs don’t use organic materials. MicroLED’s microscopic light-emitting diodes are tiny enough to make up the individual pixels on a screen. It’s a more advanced way to display an image and will likely be the standard technology for most digital displays several years from now.
While MicroLED is super cool and exciting, it’s still too early in its development for the average person to get their hands on.