Tech News

Our Tested LCDs are a Budget Option for iPhone X, XS, and XS Max Screens

iPhone X, opened up for screen replacement

The big, bright, edge-to-edge screen on an iPhone X, XS, or XS Max is the best thing about it. Until you drop your phone and look up a replacement screen—then it’s the worst.

A new original screen for your iPhone X, XS, or XS Max can be is-this-worth-it expensive. Researching other options, you’ll find a thicket of letters: LCD, hard OLED, soft OLED, TFT, and more. You just want your phone to look normal again—what should you do?

Until recently, we’ve kept it simple for people wanting to fix their X-model iPhones by offering screens that are as close as possible to Apple’s originals: soft OLED screens that we’ve sourced and tested. They cost $150-$180 for X and XS phones, which is a notable savings from Apple’s $280 non-AppleCare price. But that’s still a lot for a single (if important) part. And it’s probably not clear what’s different about those other acronym options.

The budget option

iFixit screen replacement kit for iPhone X/XS/Max

So, let’s try to clear that up: we’re now offering an LCD screen option for the iPhone X, XS, and XS Max. These LCDs (and their Fix Kits) are less than half the price of the OLED models we sell. They’re a little darker (about 50 nits worth), the resolution is a little lower, and the colors and contrast ratio won’t be quite the same. But you might remember that, until a couple years ago, most phones had LCD displays, including phones you probably loved. Apple notably stuck with LCD displays while Samsung was experimenting with early OLED, and Apple still uses LCDs in its iPhone 8 and XR models.

An iPhone X with a soft OLED screen, on the left, and our replacement LCD screen, on the right.

As with all our replacement screens, these LCD replacements are hand-tested in the USA to our rigorous quality standards, and we back them up with a lifetime warranty. iFixit picked these in-cell LCD replacements from a wide field of options, looking for thin but durable screens that best fit each iPhone model, with the most responsive digitizers, said Daniel Demeter, quality control specialist at iFixit.

LCD versus OLED screens: What’s out there

The many screen offerings for an iPhone X.

Here’s a quick rundown on your other options (the options we are not selling, testing, or guaranteeing).

“TFT” generally means an LCD screen—though quite possibly a lower-quality LCD than the in-cell models we’re offering.

“Soft OLED” is essentially an aftermarket remake of the original style of display inside the iPhone X line.

“OLED” in many cases refers to “Hard OLED,” which, like it sounds, is a single, inflexible panel. Hard OLEDs are usually more expensive than LCDs, but less expensive than soft OLEDs. Hard OLEDs have a more limited viewable area, are thicker than soft OLED, and can’t extend all the way to the edge of a screen. Some hard OLED panels try to make up for their viewing-angle and flexibility limits by expanding the bezels around the display or widening the corners—you’ll notice the difference. They’re also more likely to be damaged by a drop or during repair and replacement, due to their hard glass backing.

We’re offering what we think is a reasonable budget option for those with broken screens but working iPhones. Call it a throwback screen, or tell your friends you’re using “Classic Mode”— we’re happy we could help you avoid a far more expensive new phone.