【R&D Department of Blaze Display】When the first laptops with OLED screens hit the shelves in 2016, a new age for laptop display-technology seemed close. In the direct comparison between OLED and IPS, we were impressed by the advantages of the OLED screen. Two years later, its clear that the revolution didn't happen and that it won't happen – or at least, its postponed.
Last weeks annual CES saw the release of many new laptops from the big manufacturers – but not a single of those new notebooks is going to be available with an OLED screen. Laptop models that were available with OLED before drop the option with the 2018 refresh.
One prominent example is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 3. The OLED option of its predecessor is replaced by a high-nit LTPS IPS screen with HDR support. Another manufacturer who used to offer OLED, HP, discontinued the OLED option for its Spectre x360 13 in mid 2017 already.
Digital Trends asked multiple manufacturers for the reason of this new OLED abstinence. Both Lenovo and HP told them that OLED consumes too much energy compared with LCD screens. Indeed, OLED screen to consume more energy, especially when brighter content is displayed – something that happens quite often on a PC. Another problem of OLED according to HP is the ghosting effect, which sometimes can happen with OLED panels.
Something the manufacturers did not mention: The price. That is curious, after all, the OLED panels are very expensive compared with normal LCDs.
Only one manufacturer says that he hasn't given up on OLED. Alienware, whose Alienware 13 R3was one of the first OLED PCs. Alienware says that they want to continue to use OLED in their laptops, but that they do have a problem: The panel-manufacturer of the original OLED panels for laptops has given up on this segment, which means Alienware has to look for a new OLED-source.
This original panel manufacturer was Samsung. One could speculate that the small-scale OLED production for laptops simply wasn't profitable enough, especially when compared with Smartphones.
Whatever the reason is: Seeing OLED go away from the laptop market is sad and we do hope that the technology will make a return at some point. As great as some LCDs can be in terms of quality, no LCD can reach the deep, perfect blacks of OLED.