When Samsung revealed and introduced the Galaxy Tab S last week, the biggest point of focus was that screen, the Super AMOLED panel that is, and should be, the main selling point of a tablet like the Galaxy Tab S. But what exactly did Samsung do, why AMOLED, and what puts the Galaxy Tab S (and its screen) in a class all its own in a sea of high-resolution tablets.
Samsung is known for their use of AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) screens/display panels on their mobile devices, but they do occasionally use LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technologies for certain devices that would benefit from them based on target audience and use cases. The AMOLED panel is famous for showing saturated, rich colors, deep, ‘true’ blacks, and more-pure whites. The LCD, on the other hand, is known for its high-brightness capabilities and ‘realistic’ representation of colors on-screen.
The technology behind an AMOLED screen is what makes it more appealing to Samsung, as well as the technology’s benefits and output, obviously. An AMOLED panel is made up of a layer of glass, a layer of organic materials including the pixels (which vary in sub-arrangement, which subsequently produces slightly different screen tendencies), topped by a second glass panel, and finally finished off with the polarizer. The two glass layers are for rigidity and for keeping the screen material in, and the unwanted particles out, and the polarizer angles light from the display to hit or miss the human eye (same basic concept as polarized lenses for glasses or sunglasses, just the polarizer is nearer to the light source than your eye) in certain ways.
The LCD, on the other side of this screen coin, has more parts to it. It is made up of (from bottom to top/back to front) a backlight, a backlight, polarizer, glass panel, the liquid crystal layer, color filter(s), second glass sheet, and finally a second polarizer. The backlight is what allows the LCD to be seen better in sunlight or outdoor environments better than AMOLED, but the fact that the screen relies on color filters as pixels, instead of organic material for pixels as in AMOLED, the colors are less vibrant, and leaves blacks looking grey, and often (and classically) bluish in hue.
One of advantage of utilizing AMOLED over LCD is the panel itself can be thinner, since there are fewer layer components compared to LCD panels. Another benefit, and Samsung’s main reason for choosing AMOLED for their latest tablet, is that it has the widest color gamut, or array and variety of colors that the screen can produce/reproduce, giving it its signature saturation and bright, punchy greens and blues. Something specific to Samsung’s more recent AMOLED panels is their ‘adaptive display’ abilities, changing the gamma, contrast, brightness, and sharpness of the display automatically when it enters some seven different environmental settings in the world.
One of the biggest reasons for the adaptability is the Galaxy Tab S’s intended appeal and audience. It is meant to appeal to book readers, people that haven’t wanted to get the Kindle or Nook, but instead want a full tablet experience, which can provide an excellent reading experience as well, so it just makes sense for the pages of a book on a tablet to be smart enough to make themselves easy to read in almost any lighting condition.