Smartwatch Display Types: Pros and Cons, Which is Best?

Smartwatch Display Types

When you plan to buy a new smartphone, you always check whether the smartphone has LCD, TFT, AMOLED, pOLED, or OLED display but when it comes to smartwatches, most users don’t bother to check display panels.

Here, we’re going to explore the display panels on smartwatches along with their Pros and Cons, so that next time you buy a new smartwatch, you have an idea whether the watch has a better display or not.

Types of Smartwatches Display

Just like a smartphone, a smartwatch manufacturer uses display types according to the budget.

If the smartwatch is worth more than Rs 10,000 then it will have a great AMOLED display whereas, if the smartwatch is priced at Rs 3,000 then it will likely have a TFT display.

1. AMOLED Display in Smartwatches

Amazfit GTR 3
Amazfit GTR 3

A display type that everyone wishes to buy but because of the budget, they end to LCD display.

AMOLED stands for active-matrix organic light-emitting diodes, it doesn’t need separately backlit, and it’s a more flexible panel. It produces deep black colors because when needed, it has the ability to turn off the individual pixels.

Now, most smartwatch manufacturers try to saturate the AMOLED display because we user loves the vivid colors.

That’s the main reason why budget smartphone tries to oversaturate the camera sensor which we have seen on Vivo, RealMe, and even Redmi phones.

As I have said, the AMOLED display has the ability to turn off individual pixels and because of that, AMOLED panels are more battery efficient. It also has features like, Always on Display.

AMOLED displays are also a bit expensive compared to TFT or LED which is the reason why we don’t see AMOLED displays on budget smartwatches.

Pros of AMOLED Display

  • Flexible and Thin
  • Saturated Colors
  • Faster Touch Response
  • Battery Efficient
  • Always on Display Supported

Cons of AMOLED Display

  • Expansive

2. LCD Display in Smartwatches

RealMe Techlife SZ100
RealMe Techlife SZ100

One of the common display panels found on budget smartwatches, mainly brands like boAt, Noise, Fireboltt, RealMe, and Redmi uses LCD display on their smartwatches.

LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display, it’s powered by backlit to project elements on the screen.

For example, some of the keyboards come with RGB lights, the lights are behind the keys and when you turn on the RGB lights, you will see the alphabet in a dark environment, the same way, an LCD display has a backlit behind the screen and it projects the elements on the screen.

Related: Reality Of Made In India Smartwatches

The LCD display is way chapter compared to AMOLED and that’s the reason, why we have smartwatches under Rs 2000.

Now, it depends on the smartwatch manufacturers, and how they use the LCD display because we have seen the worst LCDs and great LCDs under Rs 3000 smartwatches, in the end, it depends on the brand and how much they have paid.

LCD displays consume more battery because they use the backlit and that’s the main reason why we don’t see the Always on Display on LCD smartwatches, also, LCD doesn’t have the ability to turn off the individual pixels.

Pros of LCD Display

  • Cheaper to Produce
  • Brighter Outdoors

Cons of LCD Display

  • Doesn’t look good, Visually
  • No Always on Display
  • Consumes more Battery

3. TFT LCD in Smartwatches

Noise ColorFit Pulse 2 Review
Noise ColorFit Pulse 2

Another more commonly used display on budget smartwatches is TFT LCD because it’s Cheaper to Produce even compared to an LCD display.

TFT is a type of LCD display that stands for Thin Film Transistor.

TFT as an Active Matrix LCD means each pixel is individually embedded in the transistors and capacitors. Now, this allows it to control the working of pixels individually according to the projection.

Simply means, if the smartwatch has a TFT LCD display then the smartwatch will provide longer battery life.

Also, the TFT display is kind of old, so it’s Cheaper to Produce and if the brand can get a display at a cheaper price then they can also launch the smartwatch at a cheaper price.

This is the main reason why we have smartwatches from Rs 1000 to even Rs 5000 with Bluetooth calling.

We have a newer version of the TFT display which is an LCD display.

Pros of TFT LCD Display

  • Extremely Cheap

Cons of TFT LCD Display

  • Low Viewing Angles
  • Inaccurate Colors
  • Less Clarity

4. Transflective LCD in Smartwatches

Amazfit Bip S Image 01
Amazfit Bip S

The Transflective LCD uses a backlight as in the transmissive panel but also uses the reflective panel to pass through the light on the screen.

Let’s say, you’re wearing a smartwatch with a Transflective LCD and you go outside, so because of Sun, the environment will be bright, so in this case, the screen will become brighter whereas if you’re outdoors then the screen won’t be that visible.

Related: 20 Sensors Present in Smartwatch: How They Work

It depends on how much light is reflecting the display, the more is better.

Also, when when you use this kind of display outside, the colors will be off. This means that a Transflective LCD is not the best option for indoors or for home usage.

Pros of Transflective LCD Display

  • Great Visibility Under Direct Sun
  • Power Efficient
  • Always-ON
  • Cheaper

Cons of Transflective LCD Display

  • Doesn’t produce good Colors

5. E-Ink Display in Smartwatches

Sony FES E ink Smartwatch
Sony FES E ink Smartwatch

If you have used a smartwatch with E-Ink Display then you’re a rare human being.

It uses the ambient light reflected from the surface of the display to project the image. It also adjusts the brightness according to the amount of light reflecting on it.

Till 2016, we didn’t have a colored E-Ink display but now that has changed. E Ink Corporation announced Advanced Color ePaper (ACEP), which can display colors.

The tech is still new and it will take some time to adapt but whenever that happens, it will be for good.

By the way, the E-ink display consumes less power compared to any other display type and that’s the reason why Amazon uses the E-Ink display on their Kindle lineup.

Pros of E-In Display

  • Cheaper to Produce
  • Good For the Eyes
  • Clear Text
  • Longer Battery Life

Cons of E-In Display

  • Only Black and White Colors
  • Slow Touch Response

Which smartwatch display type is best for you?

Now that you are aware of the different types of smartwatch displays, the question remains, what type of smartwatch display is best?  

If you want the best experience then there is no better display than AMOLED in a smartwatch, it will give you vibrant colors, Always on Display, and longer battery life and it looks great compared to any other display type.

Now, if you don’t want to spend more than Rs 5000 and still wanted a good quality display then you can also consider the LCD display, it won’t give you the Always on Display feature but still, you will get a good experience at a good price.

Still, if you feel, I don’t want to spend more than Rs 2000 on a smartwatch then you can consider the TFT LCD display, it’s the same as the LCD display but it uses old tech.

However, you can get the TFC LCD display at the chapter price and still, have all the good features.

The Transflective LCD is kind of rare these days and if you can ignore them.

Lastly, The E-Ink Display has a long way to go, so if you’re considering E-Ink Display then wait for a couple of years. For Starting, experience the E-Ink Display on Amazon’s Kindle lineup


That was it, these are some of the Displays used on smartwatches. So next time whenever you buy a new smartwatch, first of all, check out the display type because it’s the most important part of any smartwatch.

If you ask me, I would any day pick an AMOLED panel over LCD or even TFT.

Now if your budget is under Rs 5000 then still, you can get some good smartwatches with AMOLED display but you will have to sacrifice features like Bluetooth calling.

I have recently seen that when a budget smartwatch has an AMOLED display then it won’t have Bluetooth calling and if the watch has a TFT panel then the watch will have Bluetooth calling feature.

In short, to get something, you will have to sacrifice something.

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