What’s the difference between LED, OLED and Mini LED

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I’m looking to get the newest iPad pro, and I was wondering what the difference was between the mini LEDs for the latest generation, the LEDs of the previous generation, and the OLEDs of the iPhone, since it’s become such a huge selling point.

In: Technology

OLED is a way to make tiny LEDs smaller than a pixel, so each pixel is its own LED and you get the best possible contrast and real deep black

The problem is that these LEDs are made from organic materials that decompose and deteriorate if they are used too much and they can’t be calibrated as well as LCD

LCD screens traditionally were just lit by regular fluorescent lights, but once we figured out LEDs well enough, we started using those instead for better efficiency and since they are easily dimmable we can now selectively dim dark areas of the screen to increase contrast, it’s not as good as OLED, but still pretty good

Now we have mini LED which is just an LCD panel again, but the backlight has a lot more small LEDs so that you can have even more local dimming zones and even better contrast, again not as good as OLED, but still better

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. It’s a piece of semiconductor that emits light when you put voltage across it. The red things in a digital clock display are these.

To make a screen for a tablet, you need to make them really small. People have been getting better at making them smaller, so if a new generation of LED displays comes out that’s smaller, the marketing guys can call it Mini LED. Making them smaller is good because the pictures the display makes can be sharper, with smaller features of the pictures represented accurately and not being able to see the individual pixels. That last bit is what Apple calls “retina display” – meaning that the receptors on your retina are limiting the image quality and not the pixels on the tablet.

The O in OLED stands for “organic” – instead of traditional semiconductors like silicon or gallium arsenide, it uses carbon-based materials that still light up when you give them voltage.

The difference in composition makes for huge changes in how you build them and make devices out of them. A traditional semiconductor device takes a multi-billion dollar fab plant, an OLED device can be made using an inkjet printer.

In addition, OLEDs allow you to make color pixels that glow with their own light very easily, whereas most LED/LCD displays still use a basic LED light source with a color filter on top (the LCD). This allows the OLED displays to have better color representation as well as a “true black” by turning pixels off instead of trying to block a backlight.

The trade is that OLEDs are much less stable over time than semiconductors. Their brightness drops the more you use them, and the harder you drive the electricity to them the faster they degrade. Lots of orogress has been made on this so for most devices (even TVs) that aren’t on 24/7 they’ll do just fine for the expected device lifetime.