On-cell Screens for iPhone, Try or Wait?


Aiming at cost-effective market, iPhone On-cell aftermarket screen has launched. It tries to gain some market share from in-cell and out-cell CMR screens. According to the market feedback, although intrigued by the fancy AD words, the fear of “too-good-to-be-true” keeps down customers’ desire to try the on-cell samples. So, is the worry necessary?

The following content will discuss the 3 CMR screens with different technology solutions from the brief technology introduction to screen comparison.

Brief Introduction for In-cell, Out-cell and On-cell

Image Source: Internet

The functional structure of the iPhone assembly screen can be divided into three parts, protective glass, a touch sensor layer, and a liquid crystal display. The in-cell technology integrated touch sensor layer into the LCD cell; and the on-cell technology equipped the touch sensor on the upper glass substrate of the liquid crystal panel; the out-cell are designed with a separate sensor layer which is also known as the “Add-on Type”.


(Add-on Type)

In-cell On-cell
Sensor Layer Embedding Integrated to film/glass substrate/cover glass Inside LCD cell Between top color filter and polarizer of LCD
Glass Substrate (Pieces) 3 or 4 3 3

Out-cell < On-cell < In-cell

Application CMR Screen HO3 Screen, OEM Screen (iP5 and Above) CMR Screen

CMR Screen Comparison

Out-cell CMR In-cell CMR

(HO3 Exclusive)

On-cell CMR
IC Compatible IC Solution TDDI IC Solution Compatible IC Solution
Thickness Out-cell CMR < On-cell CMR < In-cell CMR
Advantages Low cost High installation fitness

Great display

Superb touch

Low cost

High installation fitness

Disadvantages Inferior transmittance

High power consuming

Poor touch stability

Medium cost (40% OEM)

Viewing angle problem

Pressure marks

Poor touch stability

In-cell Screen (HO3 Exclusive) provides the customer the closest Original screen experience. In-cell technology equipped with TDDI IC solution makes the HO3 In-cell screen a qualified OEM alternative. On-cell iPhone screen is expected to have better performance than Out-cell screen because of thin overall thickness and high installation fitness.

The in-cell and out-cell technologies are quite mature solutions for producing aftermarket iPhone screens. But the On-cell solution for iPhone screen is recently developed and released to the market. The level of maturity of the other application is still low at a stage.

According to the market feedback, the listed are the most notable problems:

  • The screen shows notable color shifts when tilting the phone at a certain angle. 
  • Pressure marks.
  • Poor touch stability on four corners: Touch function fails or too sensitive resulting in “ghost touch” phenomenon and fine dust, sweat, moisture can trigger the “mis operation”.

At the end of 2018, some suppliers tried to sell on-cell iPhone screens as a fake in-cell screen to gain more market. Here is the comparison testing video for HO3 in-cell screen and on-cell screen.

In general, in-cell will be the fisrt choice for better quality and stability, while On-cell and Out-cell have price advantages. So, stick to In-cell and Out-cell solutions or tend to try out the new On-cell screen?

Extended Discussion

Do you have other expectations for iPhone CMR screen industry? Is it possible to use OLEDs on mobile phones of LCD screen series in the future? Comment below if you have any ideas.


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