I wonder why the major criteria of comparison of IPS/OLED displays is how reflective they are, but e-paper seems just to "enjoy" direct incoming light without that side effect.

I've tried web search and as I understood it is glass-like (e.g. matte displays are not literal glass covered AFAIK) cover that gives reflections. The question is then why do IPS/OLED need to be protected by a glass-like cover, but e-paper does not?

I recall how LEDs in a lamp look - not reflective. I wonder how an OLED panel looks like without he glass cover. How would the absence of a cover affect its life span, could it be cleaned, etc.


I do not own a microscope and not very good in physics. Here is what I've done now: looked again at LEDS in a forehead lamp - they do not look reflective. Looked at the window glass - slightly reflective, added paper outside to the glass - very reflective, looked at just the paper - not reflective. So from all that I reason displays (at least OLEDs, though lamp featured not OLEDs) are reflective due to a coating on top of the LDs. Displays are not produced without coating because it would make the surface much more prone to damage and there is no commercially viable technology to fill-in gaps between LEDs (to produce a flat surface to enable easy cleaning) without adding coating on top of leds.

I want to try to use the trick from Remove LCD/LED display anti-glare coating (from matte to glossy screen) to try to remove outer coating from display (not working now anyway.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you know there are multiple types of LCDs displays? The ones you are used on smartphones and computer monitors are transmissive. The ones on scientific calculators and digital watches are reflective. Transflective displays also exist which are a combination of the two and are much rarer bit work in sunlight and in the dark, but make compromises to do so. They have less vivid colours and contrast than transmissive but aren't as clear in sunlight as reflective. I have one but have yet to fire it up. Not sure how it looks like in person. \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Oct 23, 2021 at 4:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DKNguyen, yep, ips / oled are transmissive AFAIK \$\endgroup\$ Oct 23, 2021 at 4:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Correct, but my understanding is that they don't necessarily have to be. Well, maybe OLED does. \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Oct 23, 2021 at 4:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DKNguyen, I've recently read about transreflective Do they have negative effect of reflections on picture? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 23, 2021 at 4:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ What do you mean? The difference between transmissive and reflective is that transmissive has its own backlight and reflective reflects ambient lighting for use as the backlight. You could make a reflective colour LCD, but no one does. Transflective is more readable in daylight than transmissive is, but not as much as reflective displays. So I guess the answer to your question is they shouldn't have as much glare that makes them unreadable in sunlight as transmissive displays. Maybe your question is really why do transmissive displays have such a shiny glass cover but not reflective displays? \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Oct 23, 2021 at 4:27


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