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

This 34” LG UltraWide monitor disrupted my workflow

In the best way possible

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I’ve been working on a laptop almost exclusively for the better part of the last decade. It’s been so long that I had forgotten the benefits of working with a bigger screen — a benefit that was shoved into my face when I used the LG UltraWide 34” Curved monitor. 

Easy setup 

Putting it together was relatively easy. I didn’t need any special tools or anything of the sort. Everything just fit into place seamlessly.

Here are all the ports on its back. That’s two (2) HDMI ports, one (1) Display port, two (2) USB downstream ports, one (1) USB upstream port, and one (1) headphone out port.

It also comes with a cable organizer that you kind of clamp to the stand so your setup can look clean.

Once everything is plugged, you only need to use this button at the bottom center of the display to make any changes in the settings or switch between inputs should that be necessary.

My regular workflow

At any given day I can be doing anything from writing an article, a script, coordinating with the team and external partners, copy-editing articles, and video editing among others.

This means I toggle between screens A LOT. Other than that, my posture while working is mostly crouched down since I’m looking at the laptop screen.

However, that all changed when the fire nation attacked. No, I mean, it was definitely shaken up when I started using the LG UltraWide 34” Curved Monitor.

I didn’t really have a proper setup with it owing to the tiny space I live in but in the brief week that I used it, I started craving a better work from home setup.

How the LG UltraWide monitor disrupted my workflow

The first thing I noticed was how I was now looking up instead of looking down. It might not be that big a deal for younger people, but when you reach a certain age, even the smallest improvements to your posture can make a huge difference.

The extra space is invaluable. At one glance I can look at Slack and Tweetdeck. This means I can quickly look up if there’s anything new that needs to be edited while also monitoring any potential news that we should run on the website.

Bonus: I can also have a floating tab with a playlist of my favorite girls TWICE cheering me up as I slog through another work day.

This works in other instances too. I can pull up a press release for reference on one side of the screen and have Google Docs on another. This means I no longer have to quickly press Alt+Tab every time I need to double check details.

Just the overall convenience of seeing more at a glance is already a major upgrade to the workflow I’ve grown accustomed to.

Video editing

I no longer video edit as much as I used to due to changing roles and all. But here, the benefit of having a larger, wider monitor is even more pronounced.

Having a wide workspace means I didn’t have to hide certain tools while editing. They’re just there, easily and immediately accessible when I need them. It was honestly tough going back to the smaller screen especially for this task.

Taking less steps to complete your everyday tasks is a godsend. Every small thing adds up to a faster, smoother, and generally better working experience.

Should you upgrade to the LG Ultrawide 34” Monitor?

There are plenty of things to consider. For people like myself who have mostly worked on laptops, we’re pretty set in our ways. Plus there are a few other peripherals I might need to get so it’s not an easy yes or no decision.

You also need to consider your workspace. As I mentioned, I live in a rather tiny place with very little space to accommodate a fully desktop setup.

But this is me. If you’re still working on a more traditional 16×9 monitor, I guarantee the difference, while jarring at first, can be truly beneficial in the long run.

The LG Ultrawide 34” Curved Monitor retails for PhP 45,999 (around US$ 937). If you’re ready to splurge to up your productivity, this isn’t a bad place to start.

LG has other monitors you can check out. The UltraWide line of monitors start at PhP 12,699 for the 25”, PhP 14,799 for the 29”, PhP 29,499 for the 34”, and PhP 45,999 for the curved 34” version.

LG’s UltraGear gaming monitor line on the other hand starts at PhP 12,599 for the 24”, PhP 22,199 for the 27”, and PhP 23,999 for the 32”.

SEE ALSO: LG UltraGear 24” Gaming Monitor review: Enough to get you started

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Computers

LG UltraGear 24” Gaming Monitor review: Enough to get you started

Comes with key features for your first gaming PC build

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I’ve seen a ton of people purchase full gaming PC setups since the pandemic took center stage in our lives. I’m pretty sure a lot of these people spent the past few months saving every peso they could for it. Of course, I also did it with all the money I saved up and planned every purchase very carefully.

In getting your gaming PC build, one of the more important peripherals to consider is your monitor. Most people will tell you that any monitor is okay, but experts will say that you shouldn’t just get any monitor. Apart from color accurate and bright displays, your monitor should have a high enough refresh rate to keep up.

It’s exactly what the LG UltraGear 24” Gaming Monitor brings to the table, at least on paper. But is this worth checking out, especially for first time PC setup builders? Here’s a rundown of the specs:

It has a 23.6-inch TN FHD panel, with a 144Hz refresh rate

It comes with two HDMI ports and one DisplayPort

The design, on its own, is nothing spectacular

The LG UltraGear 24” Gaming Monitor comes in a package you normally expect from most lightweight gaming monitors. A hardened-plastic enclosure covers the display, and the monitor even comes with a metal stand in gray and red accents. Upon unboxing, I found it relatively easy to set up and position alongside my PC setup.

Immediately, the first and only thing I noticed was the thick bezel surrounding the display. To be honest, it’s a relatively minor issue for me ever since other brands started reducing theirs. Although I would have appreciated a little more screen space, especially while playing games.

A display that meets expectations for the most part

Most gaming monitors come with high refresh rates to keep up during pressure situations. Fortunately, the LG UltraGear Gaming Monitor comes with a 144Hz panel which is more than enough. Also, it even sports a 1ms response rate so you’re able to stay at the top of your game. 

Most games I tried with this monitor performed with relative ease and no visible sign of image tearing. FPS games like CS:GO and Valorant, in my opinion, work best with this setup given that you can run these games on low-end setups.

Also, it’s quite bright and color accurate which is great for content creators. Although, in some cases, I felt that it didn’t handle dark color areas well. I tried to compensate by simply adjusting the brightness, but it didn’t do anything significantly different. At least it’s an anti-glare TN panel, so you don’t have to worry about the sun.

Comes with features that works depending on the other hardware

This monitor supports AMD’s FreeSync technology which further improves gameplay experience. Honestly, I felt this should be a standard for most gaming monitors — including those that support NVIDIA GSync. Also, there are other optimizations like Dynamic Action Sync (DAS) and motion blur reduction.

However, this monitor actually benefits you only if you’re currently rocking an AMD Radeon graphics card. Ideally, it would still work pretty well when you plug it to an NVIDIA card but expect some image tearing. It wasn’t a big issue for me since I could still apply the reduced motion blur and DAS.

Port selection for this monitor is more than enough for a normal PC setup. Two HDMI ports are available at your disposal, which is great if you want to use it for your consoles. The added DisplayPort provides more connectivity, especially since most graphics cards support it. Keep in mind though: if you plan to plug your console, don’t expect the 144Hz refresh rate.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For PhP 12,599 (US$ 257), the LG UltraGear 24” Gaming Monitor ticks all the necessary boxes. What you have is a high refresh rate monitor with good color accuracy, and fully optimized for gaming. Combined with a great selection of ports, this monitor is a great option for your first PC build.

However, if you have strict preferences for your monitor, this might not be what you’re looking for. If you’re not a fan of thick bezels or you’re more conservative with your money, I wouldn’t practically recommend this. Also, you wouldn’t be able to fully maximize its potential if you don’t own an AMD graphics card.

All things considered, it’s enough to get you started on your gaming PC setup. Even with cheaper alternatives out there, I still recommend you give this a shot.

LG has other monitors you can check out. The UltraGear gaming monitor line on the other hand starts at PhP 12,599 for the 24”, PhP 22,199 for the 27”, and PhP 23,999 for the 32”.

Meanwhile, the UltraWide line of monitors start at PhP 12,699 for the 25”, PhP 14,799 for the 29”, PhP 29,499 for the 34”, and PhP 45,999 for the curved 34” version.

SEE ALSO: This 34” LG UltraWide monitor disrupted my workflow

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Computers

Apple’s macOS Big Sur Public Beta is now available for download

It can still run on your old 2013 MacBooks and iMacs

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Good news for MacBook and iMac users, you can now start testing out the Public Beta release of Apple’s macOS Big Sur.

Here’s a list of supported devices:

  • MacBook (2015 and later)
  • MacBook Air (2013 and later)
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2013 and later)
  • Mac mini (2014 and later)
  • iMac (2014 and later)
  • iMac Pro (all models)
  • Mac Pro (2013 and later)

If your Mac is supported, you can head over to Apple’s Beta Program Website to enroll your device for download.

Just a refresher, Big Sur is the latest macOS update that was announced during Apple’s WWDC 2020 event together with iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and watchOS 7. Other than performance improvements, you also get a revised look with a simpler and more seamless UI compared to older versions of California-touting macOS versions including  Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, and Sierra.

Another addition to Apple’s continuous Mac improvements are the newest 27-inch iMac with Intel’s latest Core i9 chipsets, before they ditch Intel-based architecture and completely rely on their in-house ARM chipsets — starting with the upcoming Apple Silicon-powered MacBook that should be available in the market as early as 2021.

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