Computers

Explaining OLED screens and Dark Mode

Why that screen fits in the dark

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Most of the applications you’re currently using must have rolled out their own version of dark mode by now. The smooth transition from a light to dark interface can be done through a push of a button, or by sending the moon emoji on Messenger. A lot of people also find dark mode quite sexy, and that’s probably because of the screen they’re looking at.

A lot of newly released smartphones now have OLED screens, and dark mode seems to work best on such displays! But why is that? How do OLED panels allow dark mode to flourish?

Better, blacker, affordable screens

Organic LED (light-emitting diode) or OLED is essentially a kind of display technology. In a nutshell, OLED panels allow for better and clearer images and colors.

Thin layers of carbon fiber make up OLED screens. Because of these lightweight fibers, screens show brighter and more vibrant colors. Apart from that, OLED screens show deeper blacks and reduce instances of motion blur when navigating. The best part is that OLED screens are becoming gradually cheaper to manufacture. That explains why more and more of today’s smartphones use this panel.

More colorful than the rest

In comparison to regular LED screens of the past, OLED promises more accurate colors by producing light from individual pixels, instead of relying on backlighting. Back then, LCD screens relied heavily on the backlight of the display to make colors pop. Although, such displays also make the colors seem washed, especially when compared to OLED.

Image credit: Denise Chan

However, OLED’s colors don’t always turn out better than on LED and LCD screens. One such case is when you turn your screen’s brightness to its maximum, especially under strong daylight conditions. LED and LCD screens are designed to perform relatively better in color accuracy when your screen’s brightness is set to max. OLED screens were not designed for maximum brightness, so colors at that point would be saturated.

Which OLED is best?

There are two types of OLED technologies that currently exist: AMOLED and PMOLED. A lot of people hear AMOLED tossed around a lot because lots of smartphones use it. Essentially, AMOLED uses a storage capacitor that controls how much light each individual pixel will give off. It’s the one responsible for projecting all sorts of vibrant colors on most OLED smartphone screens. Apart from that, AMOLED screens do support wider resolutions at a more affordable and efficient rate.

PMOLED, on the other hand, does not have a storage capacitor and instead relies on user control. Essentially, the user will control lighting settings, and the individual pixels will adjust accordingly. You can find PMOLED screens on smaller devices like older iPods and pocket Wi-Fi devices. Take note that these screens use more power to implement such color changes.

Joining the dark side

Ever since dark mode rolled out for different apps and interfaces, people have been contemplating on switching to it — and for good reason. On normal LED or LCD screens, the new feature does not bode well with the technology. The depth of the black their dark mode possesses is not reflected well, to the point that the blacks look more gray than actual black. This is much more obvious when the screen’s brightness is turned all the way up.

Image credit: Mike Enerio

Aesthetically, dark mode looks better on OLED screens because of the technology’s emphasis on deeper blacks. Most OLED screens have capacitors that control light passing through each pixel, which also works for blacks and whites. As such, dark mode shows up deeper and blacker, which is the intended look compared to regular modes. But, there’s actually more to just aesthetics for this mode.

It’s also been proven that dark mode on OLED helps save your battery life. Google confirmed this at its Android Dev Summit, citing that on max brightness, blacks consume less power than all other colors. Individual pixels need less electricity to show blacks on screen, which results in lower power consumption through time. Note that Google got these findings through tests on their original Pixel smartphones and their own apps like YouTube.

What’s left for OLED and dark mode

Apps and operating systems are now starting to embrace or consider incorporating dark mode into their software. While apps like Twitter and YouTube introduced such an option early on, others are beginning to take notice. Of course, you’re gonna need the right screen to fully immerse yourself.

Image credit: Simone Dalmeri

It has been proven: OLED and dark mode are indeed a perfect match. But, it is entirely up to you whether you want to stay in the light or switch to the dark side.

Computers

Lenovo unveils new Eyesafe-certified ThinkVision monitors

For those who wish to manage their screen time while working

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For those working from home, you often find yourselves glued to your screens for more than eight hours a day. Whether it’s your work laptop or your phone, you proceed to work on your tasks or scroll through social media through a screen. Of course, if you do it for too long, it has the potential to damage your eyesight in the long run. Now, Lenovo unveiled a new set of displays that might just help you address that.

The company has launched its latest ThinkVision monitors that are now Eyesafe-certified. In essence, both monitors come with technologies designed to ease off the harmful blue light emitted from the display. Furthermore, they received a TUV Rheinland Eye Comfort certification to ensure maximum eye comfort and protection.

Also, these two monitors — the ThinkVision T24i-2L and ThinkVision T27h-2L — come with color accurate displays and phone holders on the base.

For the ThinkVision T24i-2L, it comes with a 24-inch FHD display with flexible connectivity options for all kinds of devices. Meanwhile, the ThinkVision T27h-AL comes with a 27-inch QHD display for a much larger workspace.

These monitors are now available for the price of PhP 8,850 (ThinkVision T24i-2L) and PhP 15,499 (ThinkVision T27h-2L). You will find these through Lenovo’s authorized partner sellers.

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Computers

All new iMac with M1 chip, 4.5K Retina display now official

Long overdue update!

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The iMac has remained largely untouched for what felt like forever. Now, the curse appears to have been lifted as Apple finally introduces the new iMac that’s powered by the M1 chip and has a 4.5K Retina display.

What’s up with the M1 chip?

Well, it’s only Apple’s latest and greatest chip for their MacOS machines. It brings forth a leap in power, performance, and efficiency previously unheard of in MacBooks and iMacs of the past. Some performance improvements include a faster more fluid overall feel, no slowdown despite opening hundreds of tabs on Safari, smoother image editing, and a better Apple Arcade experience.

For a full breakdown of the performance improvement, watch this M1 MacBook Air review.

That display tho

24 inches. 4.5K Retina. 11.3 million pixels. P3 wide color gamut and over a billion colors. 500 nits of brightness. Put them all together and what you get is a computer display that will be a blessing to your eyes.

Apple is promising vivid and brilliant images with a color temperature that adjusts to your environment thanks to True Tone tech. Sweet.

OMG those colors

This one’s a nice callback to the iMacs of old that didn’t shy away from a splash of color. From a singular choice of Silver (which is still available, by the way), Apple is now also giving us the following color options: Green, Yellow, Orange, Pink, Purple, and Blue.

Could a PRODUCT (RED) option be in the horizon? We don’t know yet, but we also wouldn’t completely rule it out.

Cameras, mics, and speakers

You’ll likely attend a few more video conferences as we navigate this new normal setup most of us are in. You’ll be happy to know that the all new iMac now has a 1080p FaceTime HD Camera. FINALLY.

Supporting the brand spanking new HD camera is what Apple claims to be a studio-quality three-microphone array and six-speaker sound system with Dolby Atmos.

What else is here?

You get two Thunderbolt ports for fast data transfers and support for up to 6K displays. The 8-core iMac models have two more USB-C ports.

TouchID also comes to the iMac with the color-matching Magic Keyboard. The Magic Mouse and Magic TrackPad are also available in colors that match the iMac. You can also buy more than one and mix the colors up. You do you.

Price and availability

The new 24-inch iMac is available to order beginning Friday, April 30. It will begin arriving to customers and be available in select Apple Store locations and through Apple Authorized Resellers beginning in the second half of May.

Available on apple.com, apple.com/sg, and in the Apple Store app

iMac with 7-core GPU is available in green, pink, blue, and silver. It features an 8-core CPU, 8GB of unified memory, 256GB SSD, two Thunderbolt ports, Magic Keyboard, and Magic Mouse.

  • US: Starts at US$ 1,299 and US$1,249 for education
  • Singapore: Starts at SG$ 1,849 and SG$ 1,779 for education

iMac with 8-core GPU is available in green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, and silver. It features an 8-core CPU, 8GB of unified memory, 256GB SSD, two Thunderbolt ports, two additional USB 3 ports, Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, Magic Mouse, and Ethernet.

  • US: Starts at US$ 1,499 and US$1,399 for education
  • Singapore: Starts at SG$ 2,149 and SG$ 2,009 for education
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Computers

The global chip shortage could last till 2023

Put your plans for a PC build on hold!

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The Coronavirus pandemic prompted everybody to leave the “normal” behind and adopt a completely new lifestyle. With everyone moving to the work-from-home model, the demand for new computers, phones, and other gadgets skyrocketed, bringing another crisis to our doorstep — global chip shortage.

The world’s largest chipmaker TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company), announced its quarterly results this week, posting a profit of almost US$ 5 billion. This marks a 19 percent rise in profit when compared to the previous quarter. The announcement is good news for the investors, but it also highlights how long the shortage will continue.

TSMC CEO C.C. Wei said that the company hopes to offer more capacity and meet the demand by 2023. That’s two years away. And that’s after gearing up to spend a whopping US$ 100 billion in the next three years to ramp up production.

American chipmaker Intel has been plagued with production issues for the last few years and recently disclosed that it would spend US$ 20 billion to set up two new facilities in Arizona, US. However, these production sites take time to come up and can’t be just switched on in a few months.

Things aren’t looking good

Even Nvidia isn’t very optimistic about a recovery from the chip shortage anytime soon. “Overall demand remains very strong and continues to exceed supply while our channel inventories remain quite lean,” the company said in its press release. “We expect demand to continue to exceed supply for much of this year.”

Nvidia also has a brand new challenge — the demand for GPUs has skyrocketed ever since Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies started their bullish run in 2020. Cryptocurrency evangelists are constantly on the lookout for new gear, further amplifying the chip shortage.

The current state of component availability looks grim, affecting everything from the availability of new graphics cards to processors to next-gen PlayStations and Xboxes. The ripple effects of the shortage are being felt by every technology company, including giants like Apple.

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