Whenever you think about upgrading your smartphone to the latest ones, there are a few things you particularly look forward to: OS, design, camera, performance, a little bit of battery, and screen. Considering the commercialization of all the flagships from every big mobile tech company, these questions come up pretty frequently now.
AMOLED vs LCD comparison: Samsung is biggest proponent of AMOLED screen technology as the Korean company has been sticking to it for a while now. No doubt AMOLED is eye-catchy, lush and fancy, but they do exhibit lack of brightness and color imbalances. Compare it to a quality LCD and you'd notice the cons much clearly. With the launch of Galaxy Note 3 (AMOLED of course) and iPhone 5S (LCD), we are going to compare the screens of these and more flagships.
One of the biggest concerns about AMOLED screens is the relatively weak brightness output. Consider comparing Galaxy Note 3 with its max 310 nits when displaying white with iPhone 5S' 530+ nits. iPhone 5S' IPS LCD gives perfect visuals in daylight. Although Galaxy Note 3 has got improved screen technology when compared with Galaxy S4, it's still behind 5S or HTC's One and LG G2.
AMOLED vs LCD comparison - screen resolution:
HTC One owns this category with densest screen sporting 468 pixels per inch. The smartphone perfectly displays finest details with a 4.7" diagonal screen and 1080 x 1920 resolution. iPhone 5S carries on to the good old 640 x 1136 resolution and is dense enough to give a comfortable, crisp and seamless visual experience. However, if you stare too closely, you might notice individual pixels.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3's 5.7" diagonal screen makes its pixel density fall below 400 ppi, still managing to reach a wonderful 386 ppi. But unlike the iPhone 5S, you won't easily find any roughness in the pixels. Other flagships having the same 1080p also are leading in the resolution.
Having achieved quite a lot in getting good resolution, maintaining brightness and offering magnanimous screens, it is time to focus on color reproduction. Why are we still expected to have that bluish kind of color on top of all the other accents. When comparing the AMOLED and LCD screens, Galaxy Note 3 doesn't offer any substantial difference than what was utilized by the Samsung Galaxy S4. Standard modes on both these devices offer ridiculously imbalanced visuals. Use the "Professional Photo" mode to get somewhat better color reproduction. Pro photo mode offers decent balance but a bit of higher green.
On the other hand, iPhone 5S's LCD screen does offer better color reproduction. Average color temperature is better but still blue is slightly dominant hue. When you compare the AMOLED and LCD screens you will observe how whitish LCD appears in contrast to bluish or greenish AMOLED screens. Although, iPhone 5S has still to achieve a lot in terms of colors, overall, color tones are more realistic when you compare to Galaxy devices. Not as good as iPhone 5S, HTC One's IPS LCD display is a performer too.
When viewed at an angle, screens tend to get dimmer and suffer color degradation. AMOLED displays of Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 do not lose brightness so much, however, AMOLED panels' color exhibit some noticeable balance disturbance, giving bluish feels at smaller angles. This situation is not observed with the IPS LCD screens.
AMOLED vs LCD comparison - final verdict:
When you do an AMOLED vs LCD comparison, it is evident that Samsung has been constantly working to improve its AMOLED screens and has been successful in making some visible progress this year. However, it is not the same story with LCDs - Apple has been using same screens and we haven't seen any improvements in iPhone 5S after the wonderful IPS LCD used in iPhone 5. Overall, iPhone still leads the screen war but it needs to introduce improvements and offer even better visuals to its fans.