When researching liquid-crystal display (LCD) technologies, you may come across passive matrix and active matrix. They both involve the use of liquid pixels, and they both require backlighting to illuminate their pixels. Passive matrix is an older LCD technology, however. While still available, many manufacturers have since switched to active matrix. Active-matrix LCDs offer several benefits over passive-matrix LCDs.

#1) Smaller Sizes

There’s a reason why so many tablets, hybrid laptops and other mobile devices use active-matrix LCD technology: it supports smaller sizes than passive-matrix LCD technology. In the past, mobile devices were limited to passive-matrix LCD technology. The advent of active-matrix LCD has opened the doors to smaller, lower-profile mobile devices that weigh less than their passive-matrix counterparts.

#2) Faster Response Times

Active-matrix LCDs offer faster response times than passive-matrix LCDs. The response time of an LCD is the time it takes to change the color of pixels. A fast response time means the LCD can quickly change the color of its pixels. Active-matrix LCDs typically offer faster response times because they use horizontal and vertical wires. The wires intersect while allowing for a separate transistor at each pixel. This allows for lightning-fast response times — even faster than those of passive-matrix LCDs.

#3) Wider Color Gamut

Not only do they offer faster response times, but active-matrix LCDs offer a wider color gamut as well. Color gamut is the range of colors an LCD — or any other display — can produce. Active-matrix LCDs can produce a wider range of colors than passive-matrix LCDs. Therefore, they offer a wider color gamut.

#4) Faster Refresh Rates

Another benefit of active-matrix LCD is faster refresh rates. All LCDs have a refresh rate. It represents the number of times a given LCD can change its frames per second. An LCD with a 144 Hz refresh rate can change its frames 144 times per second. Active-matrix LCDs offer faster refresh rates than passive-matrix LCDs. This manifests in the form of smoother, more fluid-like images. Refresh rate and response times are pretty much the same, as the terms are used interchangeably.

#5) Improved Brightness

You may notice that active-matrix LCDs are brighter than passive-matrix LCDs. Some of them can create up to 256 distinct levels of brightness per pixel. If you’re tired of looking at a dimly lit display, you may want to invest in an active-matrix LCD. Active-matrix LCDs essentially leverage thin-film transistors (TFTs), whereas passive-matrix LCDs use traditional circuits. Most active-matrix LCDs cost more than passive-matrix LCDs, but they offer a variety of benefits like smaller sizes, faster response times, wider color gamut, faster refresh rates and improved brightness.