Apple uses all sorts of proprietary names for standardized technologies that can make comparing products difficult. One example is the company’s Liquid Retina XDR display found in the latest iPad and Mac models.
Apple High Dynamic Range LCD
The Liquid Retina XDR display is an evolution of Apple’s existing Liquid Retina panels. It’s an LCD screen that uses IPS (in-plane switching) technology, with the nickname “Retina” referring to the high pixel density that makes it virtually impossible to identify individual pixels at normal operating distances.
What differs on the newer XDR models is the lighting method. While a standard Liquid Retina display uses a panel of LEDs that stay lit regardless of the content being displayed on the screen, the XDR variant uses many more smaller LEDs that are grouped into zones and dimmed individually.
This allows the Liquid Retina XDR display to achieve a better contrast ratio than its predecessor. The XDR display can also be brighter than previous models, allowing for a more impressive HDR (high dynamic range) video presentation. By turning off groups of LEDs, dark colors and blacks appear deeper increasing the perceived contrast ratio.
RELATED: What is pixel density and how does it affect image quality?
Also known as mini LED display
The Liquid Retina XDR display is essentially Apple’s brand name for what many call mini-LED technology. These displays have an improved contrast ratio and maximum brightness compared to older edge and backlit LCDs, but are based on the same fundamental technology.
This contrasts sharply with OLED, which uses organic compounds to generate light without the need for a backlight. There are some compelling use cases for both technologies, as OLED is still susceptible to burn-in and doesn’t achieve the same brightness levels as comparable LCD panels.
In contrast, an LCD panel can exhibit ghosting (a visible glow around the edge of a dimmable LED zone) and a lower contrast ratio than OLED, while being immune to burn-in and much brighter for crowded viewing environments. light. Apple’s own version of OLED is known as Super Retina (XDR) and is found on higher-end iOS and iPadOS models.
Another Apple marketing term
Apple products are of high quality and are preferred by many, but try not to pay too much attention to marketing terms. If you’re trying to compare one Apple product to another, stripping out marketing terms like ProMotion and Super Retina can help you make a better decision.
RELATED: What is an Apple ProMotion display?