Choosing the Best LCD Display for your Product

Is the Best LCD Display an LED, Monochrome or OLED?

The word can refer to anything from a product display at a grocery store to a type of liquid crystal display used in a variety of technology. In the last few years the phrase ‘ best LCD display ’ has become overly broad as well. The word ‘display’ is very broad, almost nondescript in its ambiguity. LCD display technologies include all of the following and more: LED, OLED, TFT, Plasma, monochrome, and e paper (Amazon Kindle) . The following comparison takes the three most common types of display technology—LED display modules, Monochrome LCD displays, and Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLED)—and discusses which work best in response to light and temperature.

Disclaimer: It is important to note that technology changes at an incredible rate. That being said, the technical information presented below, while accurate now, will not be the same a year from now.

Overview of the Top 3 Best LCD Display


LED, or Light-Emitting Diode, is one of the oldest display technologies on the market. Even though it has been around for some time, it is still actively in use today and shows no signs of becoming obsolete. New technology advancements of LED’s have reduced their power consumption, increased brightness, and increased the lifetime of the product. These advances open up a host of new opportunities for the technology’s use.

Up to this point, LED displays have been available in a host of warm colors such as yellow/green, red, orange, amber and others. However, in the past few years, blue and white versions have been developed and are becoming very popular. A small drawback to these new colors is that blue and white LED’s tend to have a higher cost than any of the other colors.

Fortunately, the benefits outweigh the cost in that graphic LCD displays make use of an R/G/B tri-color LED. The Red/Green/Blue (RGB) combination allows the user to mix these three hues and produce any color of the rainbow for stunning effects.


Monochrome LCD Displays have also been in use for many years and are a seasoned technology. Similar to the LED display, they show no signs of being phased out. Monochrome, or single color, technology has improved over the years. Early versions contained a TN fluid, or Twisted Nematic fluid. A disadvantage of TN units has been the difficultly in reading the display if you weren’t looking directly at it.

After TN, came STN, a super TwistedNematic. This version allowed the display to be viewed at a wider viewing angle. The technology has continued improving with one further iteration, that being the FSTN, the Film Super Twist Neumatic. FSTN offers the widest viewing angle of monochrome displays at this time.


OLED’s are the newest of the three types of displays in this comparison. OLED’s provide a wide range of color options. One main advantage of the OLED is that it is ultra-thin. New developments have allowed the display to be flexible as well.

One major setback for OLED’s is the half-life of the blue color. At this time the half-life rating is between 14K to 17K hours. Fortunately, half-life doesn’t refer to when the color burns out; rather it refers to when it becomes half as bright as when it was first turned on.

Best LCD display for direct sunlight


An LED is an emissive display technology. That means it provides its own light source. As a general rule, when the display provides its own light it will be competing with the ambient light source. If the ambient light source is the dome light of a car you will have little to no trouble reading the display. If, on the other hand, the light source is the sun, this is a big problem.


Monochrome LCD units differ from LED’s in that their displays do not produce light. They reflect the ambient light. The stronger the ambient light, the easier to read the display. The best type of monochrome LCD display contains a reflective polarizer. That means 100% of the ambient light is reflected. Reflectiveness provides the sharpest contrast and readability.

The down side to monochrome LCD displays is the issue of what to do when you are in the dark? This problem is solved with a backlight. When making use of a backlight the display replaces the reflective polarizer with a Transflectivepolarizer. Transflective means that you can read the display with the backlight ON or OFF. Transflective displays do tend to lose some of their contrast compared to reflective but they are the best solution on the issues with low light thus far.


An OLED display is another emissive display technology, like the LED modules. They face the same challenges as the LED displays do in direct sunlight. Where they really “shine”, however, is in their performance in extreme temperatures.

Best LCD Display for Cold and Hot Temperatures


LED modules perform excellently at both high and low temperature ranges. They will continue to operate at – 40 °C to + 85 °C, or -40 °F to 185 °F.


While monochrome LCD modules have many advantages, they do suffer with performance issues at low and high temperatures. The standard operating temperature range for monochrome LCD’s—at -25 °C to 70 °C–is 30 degrees less than both LED and OLED displays. It is possible to achieve a slightly greater range of temperatures by making use of an extended temperature fluid . However, the increased cost and minimum order quantities of this fluid make it prohibitive for most customers.

A disadvantage of a monochrome LCD display is its performance in extreme temperatures. When the display’s temperature dips below -25 °C, the segments will begin to freeze up. Conversely, when the display’s temperature climbs above 70 °C, the display becomes dark and unreadable. Overall, extreme temperatures really are an issue for monochrome LCD units.


Like the LED units, the OLED modules perform excellently at both high and low temperature ranges. They will continue to operate at – 40 °C to + 85 °C.

In conclusion, when selecting the best LCD display, consider the environment the display will be used in; is light or temperature your greatest concern?