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OLED and AMOLED Users: Beware of White Backgrounds

WP_000005We’ve all been told that OLED technology is more efficient and less power hungry than tradition LCDs. This is because OLED displays only emit light from the cells that require it, instead of a backlight consuming constant energy, regardless of what’s being displayed. This allows pixels to be turned off when displaying black colors, which saves power and allows for darker blacks when compared to their LCD counterparts.

Most of you may also be aware that OLEDs aren’t more efficient in every scenario, but for those who can’t differentiate a “geek” from a “nerd”, they’ aren’t.  For example, LCDs consume a constant amount of power, regardless of the colors being displayed on the screen, but when displaying white backgrounds, OLEDs typically consume more energy than LCDs, however the opposite is true for black colors.  Since I unlocked the Engineering Mode for my Venue Pro, I decided to use it to see the difference in power drain between having white and black backgrounds.

Both pictures were taken while the phone was in airplane mode to prevent extraneous downloads/updates from causing excess power usage. I repeated the tests a few times WP_000002 (2)to make sure these results were consistent, and they were.  As you can see, with the white background, the Venue Pro is consuming 537mA while the black background is sipping only 283mA.  That’s nearly double the power consumption of the black background! In addition I checked the values with airplane mode off, and the power levels did not rise in any significant amount.  Windows Phone users, like me, lack the simplicity of checking which aspects of their phone uses the most power(like Android can), but suffice it to say that the display is a big chunk of your power usage.  If you use your phone a lot, using a black background instead of a white one could significantly increase your battery life.