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Which of the two is more energy efficient on a OLED Display?

  • White text on a black background
  • Black text on a white background

Links to OLED vs LCD, efficiency wise, would also be appreciated.

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Why are you asking? White text on a black background is generally a bad idea from a usability/readability standpoint. I'm hunting around for the research that shows this, I'll post it if I find it. – Matthew Pirocchi Jan 16 '10 at 18:25
@Matthew: I'm asking because I prefer white text on a black background. I work in a low lit environment when at home, and a bright environment when outside. Currently I use a Symbian Phone with LCD which I have set for White on Black; it's drawback is that it is battery sapping. – Ande Jan 17 '10 at 1:28
Of course it's completely up to you what you do in your own work environment. But please read this before you ever consider inflicting this style on others: – Matthew Pirocchi Jan 17 '10 at 17:13
@Matthew: There are plenty of "light" on dark themes that work, with the black site theme of Ars Technica being a prime example of a website that is much easier for me to read than a white equivalent. Android tends to favor white on black as well for the sake of it's display life. – Will Eddins Mar 29 '10 at 13:52

OLED displays only emit light on each pixel if it is needed, so a black background would require minimal energy. However, at least one person has reported that his Samsung TFT monitor draws 40W whether it is on or off, which he believes is due to the power transformer that it uses. So energy saving might not occur due to device limitations.

The article OLED TV vs. LCD TV compares the two in great detail and does a very good job of explaining why one technology is better on multiple aspects. This is what it says about energy:


Because LCDs use florescent backlighting to produce images, they require substantially less power to operate than plasmas do. However, OLED TVs require only a fraction of that amount due to the absence of a lighting source. OLED displays are the lowest power consumption displays in the world.

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might be true, but i'm not sure an article from "" is what you'd call an unbiased source ... :) – quack quixote Jan 16 '10 at 9:46
Skeptics, skeptics ... :) – harrymc Jan 16 '10 at 13:02
marketing, marketing ... :) – quack quixote Jan 16 '10 at 17:38

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