What are LTPO displays?

If you have been keeping an eye out on Flagship phones recently, then a shiny new term may have caught your eye. LTPO displays. What are LTPO displays?

What are LTPO displays?

For starters, LTPO is not a type of display the way LCDs or OLEDs or even AMOLEDs are. I have noticed that a lot of people sometimes make this mistake. That’s the very first thing to note.

LTPO stands for low temperature Polycrystalline Oxide. It is a type of backplane technology that you can find on OLED and AMOLED displays. So you can think of LTPO as a kind of enhancement or augmentation to the already existing display technology.

What does LTPO do and why do we add them to OLED and AMOLED displays?

First and foremost, the display on your smartphone actually competes with your SoC for the battery vampire awards. In fact, in most cases, the display consumes the most battery, especially when your SoC is cool and doing nothing.

This is especially worse when you are using a display with very high refresh rates.

Secondly, with most ordinary displays, the GPU and the CPUs may have to dedicate resources to manage the display, especially those with really high refresh rates.

This is where the LTPO technology comes in. LTPO technology brings three huge benefits to smartphone displays:

  1. Variable refresh rates
  2. Reduced CPU/GPU overhead
  3. Reduced battery consumption

Variable refresh rates

LTPO allows OLEDs and AMOLEDs to have variable refresh rates. Now let me explain. Most Midrangers and old flagships allow you to turn a phone from 60Hz to 90Hz or 120Hz and vice versa. You usually have to do this by going to settings and manually setting the refresh rates yourself. The lowest that most phones would allow is 60Hz.

LTPO allows your screen to go all the way down to 1Hz and the best part is that you the user do not have to do anything. The LTPO monitors the apps that you are using and sets the refresh rate to match the activity.

If you are staring at a static page, it drops the refresh rate to 1Hz, if you’re scrolling, maybe 60-90Hz, if you are gaming, 90-120Hz depending on the max refresh rate on the device.

Reduced CPU/GPU overhead

It can manage your display without the input of the GPU most of the time so the GPU can either save battery or dedicate that processing power to something else.

Reduced battery consumption

Finally it reduces the overall battery consumption of the display. That way companies can put QHD+ displays with 120Hz on a phone and the 4000mAh battery would not die in 1 hour and 30 mins.

Types of LTPO technology

LTPO technology was invented by Apple but so far they have refused to use it on their phones as they have not joined the high refresh rates craze yet. We expect them to make their debuts soon though.

As a result, Samsung basically reverse engineered and did a knockoff known as HOP. That’s what you find on Samsung’s high-end LTPO AMOLEDs.

Why is LTPO technology not available on LCDs?

The answer is simple. LCDs are the past to be honest. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with LCDs but to these companies, LCDs are for the lower end devices to be used by most of the masses. On the other hand, LTPO displays are sold at a premium for those who can stump up the cash. It’s all business and money speaks loudly.

So they cannot put futuristic LTPO tech on a dying LCD tech. It would be a waste of time and money, especially as they’re pushing the sales of the more expensive OLED and AMOLED displays.

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