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Samsung’s new OLED laptop screens look to blow away the competition

Published Jan 5th, 2021 3:43PM EST

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  • Samsung Display is teasing an exciting upgrade for 2021 laptops: OLED panels.
  • The company presented the advantages of OLED screens over LED displays in a teaser video ahead of its The First Look 2021 display event scheduled for January 6th.
  • It’s unclear what laptops will make use of Samsung’s new OLED screen technology for notebooks.

More people than ever bought devices to help them work and study from home in 2020. And the current state of the novel coronavirus pandemic proves it’ll be a while longer until normal life returns. People who are lucky/unlucky enough to work from home will keep using their home office for several months until vaccines actually start working. Some hardware upgrade will be in order, and many PC and tablet makers are about to unveil new toys.

CES 2021 might be virtual, but there will still be plenty of announcements, starting with Samsung’s display-centric event scheduled for January 6th. The First Look 2021 will feature a variety of TVs, monitors, tablets, and laptops. And Samsung is already teasing one reveal, which could be a great upgrade for 2021 laptops.

Samsung Display published a teaser video for its new OLED panels that will be used in some laptops going forward. These displays are used on the newest iPhone and Galaxy devices — the list includes the iPhone 12 and the upcoming Galaxy S21 phones. Samsung’s OLED achievements aren’t as noteworthy in the big-screen TV business, where LG’s OLED panels dominate the market. Samsung pushes its QLED TVs as high-end screens in that industry, although QLED isn’t OLED. The acronym just looks a lot like OLED.

But Samsung is preparing to show off OLED panels for notebooks, which sounds like it could be a huge upgrade for laptops. The short, 90-second video above highlights some of the advantages of an OLED panel compared to a traditional LCD screen. It brings a higher contrast ratio (1,000,000:1) and darker blacks (0.0005 nits). The company also says the panels will support 120% DCI-P3 color gamut and 85% HDR coverage. The OLED panels would also work better in direct sunlight, so you can use them outside without having to worry as much about glare.

While that sounds great, it’s unclear which 2021 laptop models would be equipped with these panels. The notebook demoed in this video certainly looks appealing. It’s ultra-thin and features a screen with almost imperceptible bezels. But it’s unclear whether any players in the notebook business can make such a machine. Also, Samsung is pitching these screens to laptop makers, which means they might not be featured on a Samsung laptop.

We’ve seen the occasional OLED laptop in the past, but the number of such notebooks is still limited. The price of OLED laptops might be the biggest concern. Screen durability, including burn-in risks, might be another. Samsung will likely address these matters during its upcoming display-centric press conference.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.