Comparing Garmin's AMOLED Watch Screens vs. Sunlight-Visible MIP Screens

Comparing Garmin's AMOLED Watch Screens vs. Sunlight-Visible MIP Screens

by Darren Round on Jun 19, 2023


In the world of smartwatches, Garmin has established itself as a prominent player with a range of innovative features and cutting-edge technology. When it comes to display screens, Garmin offers two primary options: AMOLED screens and sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) screens. Both screen technologies have their unique advantages and are designed to enhance the user experience.

In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of these two display technologies, comparing their characteristics, functionality, and overall performance. By the end, you'll have a clearer understanding of the strengths and limitations of Garmin's AMOLED and MIP screens, enabling you to make an informed decision when selecting your next Garmin smartwatch.

Understanding AMOLED Screens

1.1 Overview of AMOLED Technology

AMOLED stands for Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode. It is a display technology that offers self-emitting pixels, delivering vibrant colors, high contrast ratios, and deep blacks. This type of screen is commonly used in Smartphones. Televisions and Tablets. Garmin incorporates AMOLED screens in some of their smartwatches, including the Garmin Tactix 7 Pro AMOLEDGarmin Epix 2 Pro, Forerunner 965, Forerunner 265 and Venu 3.

1.2 Display Quality and Colour Reproduction

AMOLED screens provide excellent display quality with vibrant colours and high pixel density, resulting in sharp and crisp visuals. Smartwatches equipped with AMOLED screens offer vivid and lifelike colour reproduction, enhancing your overall viewing experience.

1.3 Contrast Ratio and Black Levels

One of the key advantages of AMOLED screens is their ability to achieve infinite contrast ratios, as each pixel can be individually turned off, producing true blacks. This feature enhances image quality and readability, making it ideal for displaying detailed maps, data, and multimedia content.

1.4 Power Consumption and Battery Life

Generally speaking the AMOLED screens consume a little more power when it comes to battery life. So to increase battery life and the longevity of the screen the default setting on AMOLED watches is usually to turn the screen off when in smartwatch and activity modes. Raising your wrist, double tapping the screen or pressing a button will turn it on.  You can change this setting to Always On but it will decrease the battery life. 

1.5 Customization and User Experience

Garmin's AMOLED smartwatches offer extensive customization options, allowing users to personalize watch faces, widgets, and data fields. The vibrant colours and high contrast of AMOLED screens enhance the visibility of customizable elements, creating an immersive and user-friendly experience.

Exploring Sunlight-Visible MIP Screens

2.1 Introduction to MIP Screen Technology

MIP stands for Memory-In-Pixel, a display technology designed specifically for optimal visibility under bright sunlight. Garmin incorporates MIP screens in their smartwatches, including the Fenix 7 Pro, Forerunner 955, and Forerunner 255.

2.2 Enhanced Outdoor Visibility

MIP screens utilise transflective technology, allowing ambient light to pass through the display and reflect off a mirrored layer back to the viewer's eyes. This results in improved visibility even in direct sunlight, making them ideal for outdoor activities.

2.3 Transflective Technology and Power Efficiency

The MIP screens' transflective technology reduces reliance on backlighting, resulting in lower power consumption compared to AMOLED screens. This power efficiency ensures that the Fenix 7 Pro, Forerunner 955, and Forerunner 255 can provide extended battery life, crucial for long-duration outdoor adventures particularly when matched with a Solar Charging screen

2.4 Durability and Reliability

Whether you're engaging in intense workouts, trail running, or outdoor adventures, the MIP screens on these Garmin devices are built to withstand the demands of your active lifestyle, offering peace of mind and long-lasting performance particularly when paired with a Sapphire watch face..

2.5 Limitations of MIP Screens

While MIP screens excel in outdoor visibility, they generally offer lower pixel density and color reproduction compared to AMOLED screens. The trade-off for enhanced sunlight visibility is a compromise in displaying vibrant and detailed visuals.

Comparing AMOLED and MIP Screens

3.1 Outdoor Performance: Sunlight Visibility

AMOLED screens provide excellent indoor and low light visibility, in contrast, MIP screens,  are designed to offer exceptional visibility under bright outdoor conditions, making them ideal for activities like hiking, running, and cycling. Having said that the AMOLED screens also perform very well in bright conditions. 

3.2 Indoor Performance: Colour Reproduction and Contrast

AMOLED screens excel in indoor environments, offering vibrant colours, high contrast ratios, and deep blacks. This enhances the visual experience when viewing multimedia content and detailed maps. MIP screens, while optimized for outdoor visibility, may not offer the same level of colour richness and contrast as AMOLED screens.

3.3 Power Consumption and Battery Life

AMOLED screens consume more power when displaying brighter content, while MIP screens are more power-efficient, especially in outdoor scenarios. Consequently, devices with MIP screens typically have longer battery life, ensuring extended usage during extended outdoor activities.

3.4 Customization and User Interface

AMOLED screens allow for more extensive customization options with vibrant colours and high contrast, enhancing the overall user interface and personalization capabilities. However, MIP screens still offer good customisation features, ensuring an excellent user experience tailored to outdoor activities.

3.5 Durability and Resistance

Both AMOLED and MIP screens are designed to withstand rugged conditions and when paired with a sturdy outdoor watch and a sapphire watch face they are durable and resistant to outdoor elements. 

3.6 Price Considerations

AMOLED screens, with their superior colour reproduction and customization options, often come at a higher price point compared to MIP screens for similar features. 

Choosing the Right Screen Technology

4.1 Factors to Consider: Use Case and Personal Preferences

Consider your primary use case and personal preferences when choosing between AMOLED and MIP screens. If you prioritize indoor use, low light conditions, vibrant visuals, and customization options, AMOLED screens are an excellent choice. Conversely, if you engage in outdoor activities and require superior sunlight visibility, power efficiency, and durability, MIP screens would be more suitable.

4.2 Fitness and Health Tracking Considerations

Garmin's smartwatches, regardless of the screen technology, offer advanced fitness and health tracking features. Ensure that the chosen device aligns with your specific activity tracking requirements, such as GPS accuracy, heart rate monitoring, and specialized sports metrics.

4.3 User Interface and App Compatibility

Evaluate the user interface and app compatibility of the smartwatch models you are considering. Both AMOLED and MIP screens offer intuitive interfaces, but AMOLED screens may provide a more visually appealing and customizable experience.

4.4 Aesthetics and Design

Consider the design aesthetics and form factor of the smartwatches. Garmin offers a range of designs and sizes for different models, ensuring that you find a watch that suits your style and comfort preferences.

4.5 Budgetary Considerations

AMOLED screens are generally associated with a higher price than MIP screens. Set a budget and explore the available options within that range, considering the features and screen technology that best meet your requirements.


Garmin's AMOLED and MIP screens offer distinct advantages and cater to different user preferences. AMOLED screens excel in low light environments, providing vibrant colours, high contrast ratios, and extensive customization options. On the other hand, MIP screens prioritize outdoor visibility, offering enhanced sunlight readability, power efficiency, and durability.

When selecting a Garmin smartwatch, consider your usage patterns, personal preferences, budget, and specific requirements related to activities, fitness tracking, and user interface. By understanding the strengths and limitations of both AMOLED and MIP screens, you can choose a Garmin smartwatch that provides an optimal user experience, whether you prioritize visual quality or outdoor visibility.

With Garmin's commitment to innovation, both screen technologies deliver high-quality displays, ensuring an exceptional smartwatch experience tailored to your needs.

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