Samsung is always at the forefront of OLED display technology — every flagship smartphone it launches sets new records in brightness, color accuracy, and more. Now, Samsung has announced a new generation of OLED panels that emit less blue light. Oh, they’re also optimized for 5G, whatever that means. And as near as we can tell, it means literally nothing.
We’ve been warned of the dangers of blue light from displays for years, but the research on that was always questionable at best. We’re now starting to hear that the “night modes” employed by most smartphones to improve sleep may actually be worse for you. Still, most smartphone makers are still in the “blue light bad” mindset, and Samsung says its new OLED panels emit 70 percent less blue light than the previous ones.
The new OLED panel technology emits just 6.5 percent blue light versus 7.5 percent in the last-gen models. That’s also about 70 percent less than current LCD panels, which emit more blue light as a consequence of their backlight technology. Samsung says the panel has earned a certification of “Eye Care Display” from SGS in Switzerland.
Samsung also says its new screens are “5G-optimized.” You’re probably thinking that OLEDs don’t have anything to do with 5G, and you’re right. The connection to 5G mobile networks is tenuous at best, but Samsung is doing everything in its power to shoehorn 5G into the discussion. Its angle is that these screens are better than others, and 5G can (theoretically) deliver higher-quality streaming media and games. That is technically true but also doesn’t matter on a phone-sized screen.
There is one element of these new displays that might actually improve your mobile experience. Samsung’s latest OLEDs will only require 1.3W of power compared with 1.5W for older versions. That’s a 15 percent reduction in power consumption, which could help to offset the added drain of high refresh rates, as seen on the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Samsung is still using the “old” OLEDs with more blue light in its new lineup of S20 smartphones, which will begin shipping next week. However, you can expect this new display technology to find its way into the company’s late 2020 launches, and we’ll probably hear more about the blue light improvements when that happens.
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