LG Begins Manufacturing 13-Inch Tandem OLED Displays for Laptops

OLED panels offer numerous advantages, such as deep blacks, fast response times, and energy efficiency; many of these benefits stem from their lack of backlighting. However, they also have certain drawbacks. For instance, attempting to make them as bright as high-tier LCDs can quickly degrade the organic material they use. Over the past couple of decades, researchers have been working on prolonging the lifespans of OLED materials. Recently, LG introduced an innovative (though somewhat forceful) solution: halve the work by doubling the number of pixels. This approach forms the basis of the company’s new tandem OLED technology, which has recently entered mass production.

The Tandem OLED technology developed by LG Display features two stacks of red, green, and blue (RGB) organic light-emitting layers, which are layered on top of each other. This method essentially reduces how bright each layer needs to be individually in order to achieve a specific cumulative brightness. By combining multiple OLED pixels running at a lower brightness, tandem OLED displays are designed to offer higher brightness and durability compared to traditional single-panel OLED displays. This reduces the wear on the organic materials under normal conditions, allowing the panels to reach brightness levels well beyond what a single panel could sustain without overheating. LG claims that tandem panels can achieve over three times the brightness of standard OLED panels.

The switch to tandem panels also brings energy efficiency benefits, as the power consumption of OLED pixels is not linear with output brightness. According to LG, their tandem panels consume up to 40% less power. More interestingly from a manufacturing perspective, LG’s tandem panel stack is 40% thinner and 28% lighter than existing OLED laptop screens, despite accommodating an additional layer of pixels.

In terms of specifications, the 13-inch tandem OLED panel features a WQXGA+ (2880×1800) resolution and covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. The panel is also certified to meet VESA’s Display HDR True Black 500 requirements, which among other things, stipulate that it must reach 500 nits of brightness. Given that this technology is intended for tablets and laptops, it is no surprise that the display panel is also touch-sensitive.

“We will continue to strengthen the competitiveness of OLED products for IT applications and offer differentiated customer value based on the distinctive strengths of Tandem OLED, such as long life, high brightness, and low power consumption,” said Jae-Won Jang, Vice President and Head of the Medium Display Product Planning Division at LG Display.

Undoubtedly, LG’s Tandem OLED display panel appears impressive. The company is relying on its success in the high-end laptop and tablet markets, where manufacturers have been somewhat reluctant to adopt OLED displays due to power concerns. The technology has already been adopted by Apple for their most recent iPad Pro tablets, and now LG is making it available to a broader group of OEMs.

What remains to be seen is the cost of the technology. Computer-grade OLED panels are already a more expensive option, and this one increases the stakes with two layers of OLED pixels. Thus, it is not a question of whether it will be reserved for premium, high-margin devices, but rather how much it will add to the final price tag.

For now, LG Display has not disclosed which PC OEMs are set to use its 13-inch Tandem OLED panel. However, given that the company supplies virtually all PC OEMs, it is likely that this technology will soon appear in multiple laptops.

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