LG’s OLED phone screens are bad, but its TVs are top-notch—what gives?

Enlarge (credit: Mark Walton)

Are LG’s OLED screens terrible, or are they the best in the business? Reading tech reviews, you’ll see both of those statements. That’s because you’ll get two wildly different stories about OLED depending on whether you’re reading a TV or phone review.

Phone critics say LG OLED panels have quality issues. Meanwhile, TV critics say the opposite—that LG’s OLED panels are marvelous. It’s confusing for the consumer, so let’s clarify right now. The critics aren’t contradicting each other, because LG makes industry-leading, amazing OLED TV panels, and, at the same time, the same company makes highly problematic OLED phone panels. That’s not to say that LG’s OLED TVs are perfect—every technology has tradeoffs, like very minor color banding in this case. But at a minimum, they’re up there with the best consumer TVs the market has yet seen.

So why did the Pixel 2 and LG V30 have bad phone displays, when LG clearly can make a good OLED screen for TVs? And why do the Galaxy S8+ and iPhone X have better OLED screens than the Pixel 2 or the LG V30, but still not as good as LG’s TVs?

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