A Samsung Display executive doesn’t believe OLED screens are good enough for augmented reality glasses, which could be bad news for Apple if rumors that it’s working on AR glasses are accurate.
At a recent industry event, Samsung Display Group Leader Kim Min-woo explained that the best VR headsets (like the Oculus Quest 2) and AR glasses like the Apple Glasses require different displays to suit their specific applications. (via the electronics (opens in new tab)).
As AR devices allow the user to interact with the real world around them, their screens need to be brighter. OLED pixels are not backlit, so they are darker than LED pixels, because of this, users wearing the glasses will not be able to see the HUD (heads-up display) of their glasses in bright conditions.
In addition to being brighter, as OLED screens would need extra protective layers to ensure that water and other particles don’t spoil their organic parts, they would have to be thicker and heavier than LED panels made from inorganic components.
Min-woo’s allegations may be news to Apple, however. While Apple hasn’t confirmed that it’s working on AR glasses, leaks indicate that not only are Apple’s glasses – or as they come to be called – in development, but that the iPhone’s longtime chip partner TSMC is making displays. thin OLEDs. for the device.
The reasoning behind Apple’s alleged decision to use OLED displays is that they are more energy efficient than other displays. That would mean your AR glasses could be equipped with a lighter (and smaller) battery without sacrificing much in terms of battery life.
All leaks and rumors should be taken with a pinch of salt, but if Apple really plans to use OLED screens in its glasses, they may already have some flaws in the eyes of Samsung Display execs.
Review: OLED vs QLED, which is better?
The main strength of an OLED screen (and the best OLED TVs) is its impressive contrast. These displays do not have a backlight, and this allows the pixels to achieve a darker black than the pixels on LED or QLED displays; therefore, your TV has access to a wider range of dark tones, which means it can render dark scenes in TV shows and movies more clearly.
LED or QLED displays focus on colors. If you want your shows, movies and games to come to life with a brilliant picture that can dazzle you with all the colors of the rainbow, then one of the best QLED TVs is what you need.
Still in their early stages as a consumer option, QD-OLED panels – which combine the best of QLED and OLED – could be the solution that AR and VR devices need. These types of screens are probably too thick and too expensive to be produced in a small size at scale right now, but their features would make them an excellent choice.
When we tested Meta’s Starburst VR headset prototype, we saw how immersive displays with incredible contrast could be; and as devices like the Meta Quest Pro spark an industry-wide push towards mixed reality – a blend of AR and VR – every new headset may need to faithfully recreate the real world in all its glorious colors.
We’ll have to wait and see which screens become the preferred option for AR and VR headsets – we can only hope that manufacturers like Apple haven’t put all their eggs in the wrong basket.
Weighing mixed reality against virtual reality? Check out our Meta Quest Pro vs Oculus Quest 2 comparison guide.