QLED vs. OLED: Which TV technology is best?

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Written By Muhammad Abdullah

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QLED and OLED are the two display technologies dominating the contemporary TV display market. Although companies like LG, Sony, Panasonic, and others boast about their OLED TVs’ excellent contrast and dark depths, Samsung, TCL, and Hisense extol the great brightness of their QLED Televisions.

Are the distinctions between QLED and OLED Televisions genuine, or are they merely marketing gimmicks employed by the electronics industry?

The origins of these rival display technologies, how they vary from one another, and what each one excels at will all be covered in this in-depth overview. QLED vs. OLED (and not so well). We’ll also say which one we believe will make most people happiest. Spoiler alert: it’s an OLED TV, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Also Read: Best laptop deals: Save on Apple, Dell, HP, and Lenovo

What is QLED?

What is QLED

Quantum Light-Emitting Diode is known as QLED. It means a QLED TV is similar to a standard LED TV except that it employs small nanoparticles known as quantum dots to boost its brightness and color.

The complete explanation of how these nanoparticles function can be found in our quantum dot explainer, but here is a summary: a typical LED TV gets its light from white LEDs. Yet in actuality, purportedly “white” LEDs frequently stray into the blue, red, or green portions of the spectrum.

A TV’s color filter can’t accurately execute its job of displaying the colors you’re expected to see when it doesn’t get full-spectrum white light. A layer of blue LEDs in a QLED TV serves as the backlight source, which is then covered by layers of red and green quantum dots. With such accuracy, these quantum dots may be combined to produce a nearly flawless, full-spectrum white light without losing a single nit of brightness. To accurately produce the billions of colors you see on a TV screen, the TV’s color filter needs that precise white light.

Sony initially unveiled the technology in 2013. Soon after, Samsung started selling its QLED TVs and formed a license agreement with other producers, which is why you can also purchase QLED TVs from Vizio, Hisense, TCL, and several other minor companies. With its newest Omni Fire TVs, even Amazon is playing the QLED game.

Despite the coolness of quantum dots, a QLED TV nevertheless emits light in the same manner as a standard LED TV: by employing a backlight composed of hundreds (or even thousands) of LEDs that are positioned below an LCD screen layer. The LCD panel receives light from the backlight, which bends that light into the pictures you see on the screen. The term “LED TV” (sometimes known as “QLED TV”) refers to these LEDs.

Sony initially unveiled the technology in 2013. Soon after, Samsung started selling its QLED TVs and formed a license agreement with other producers, which is why you can also purchase QLED TVs from Vizio, Hisense, TCL, and several other minor companies. With its newest Omni Fire TVs, even Amazon is playing the QLED game.

Strangely, the 2019 spat between LG and Samsung was sparked by the usage of the marketing name “QLED.” LG said in a complaint to South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) that Samsung’s allegedly QLED Televisions aren’t even genuine QLED TVs. This is so that a real QLED TV would not employ Samsung’s quantum-dot film over an LED backlight, but rather quantum-dot LEDs that emit their light, as claimed by LG.

In retaliation, Samsung informed the FTC that it disapproved of all the commercials LG had been airing that targeted Samsung’s QLED Televisions.

In the end, the FTC sided with Samsung, but with a condition: going forward, Samsung must make it explicit in its marketing that their QLED Televisions have a backlight. Details, please.

What is OLED?

Organic Light-Emitting Diode is the official name. Unexpectedly, the name’s “Light Emitting-Diode” component has nothing to do with an LED backlight. Instead, it describes how every single pixel on an OLED screen is an exceedingly thin, teeny-tiny LED light that is capable of producing both light and color in a single element. In other words, since each OLED pixel generates its own light, OLED Televisions do not require a backlight. You might refer to these kinds of presentations as emissive or self-emissive to impress your peers.

There are several benefits to this design, but most people would concur that the outstanding black level that is possible with OLED Televisions is the main benefit. An OLED TV simply shuts off the pixels that make up the dark areas of the screen, as opposed to a QLED or LED TV which must decrease its backlight and block the residual light for gloomy or completely black situations. When a pixel is off, it doesn’t produce any light or color, thus the area is as black as when the TV is off.

OLED TV panels are only produced by LG Display. It sells such panels to LG Electronics, a sibling business, which utilizes them to create some of the greatest Televisions available today. You will also find OLED televisions from Sony, Vizio, Philips, and Panasonic since LG Display also supplies OLED panels to these businesses. The image processing done by Sony, LG, and others is proprietary, so even while the panels themselves are largely equal, you’ll still notice variations in picture quality among OLED TVs.

You should buy an OLED TV if…

1. You want a wide viewing experience

You should be able to see what’s happening regardless of where you are seated concerning an OLED TV screen. OLED TVs have broad viewing angles and distinctive features, like the Samsung S95B (our 55-inch selection of the best OLED Televisions). For instance, the Samsung OLED system features around 8.3 million self-illuminating pixels that can be dimmed or turned off entirely to produce rich colors and theatrical contrast. A CPU driven by AI in the S95B creates better scenes, pixel by pixel.

2. You want to game

Forget the pricey monitor; the 65-inch LG C2 OLED TV and other OLED TVs of a similar size are multipurpose and can support your gaming demands as well. For tear- and stutter-free gaming, FreeSync Premium, a refresh rate that automatically delivers video frames as quickly as possible, and a Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), a refresh rate that delivers video frames as quickly as possible, are all features of the LG C2, which also has a game optimizer mode. You can connect it to everything you need thanks to its plenty of interfaces, including four HDMI 2.1 ports that enable Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync Premium VRR, three USB ports, and an Ethernet port.

3. You want the most contrast

OLED Televisions display their rich contrast capabilities best in dimly light spaces. OLED is the way to go if you’re searching for a TV for a home theatre or particularly for nighttime viewing. Darker backgrounds will be easier to see, and overall image quality will be improved.

Image retention or burn-in is the sole issue with OLED picture quality to take into account. Because its pixels are constantly being used, the TV thus has an afterimage that persists or is permanent. Turn your TV off sometimes to experience the OLED contrast and visual quality without burning in. Keep in mind that manufacturers have included safety features in more current OLED Televisions, including the LG G1, and that reputable businesses are dedicated to dependability. If you decide to buy an OLED TV, be sure to get one from the current generation.

You should buy a QLED TV if…

1. You intend to place the TV in a bright setting

While QLED TVs seem particularly nice in sunny spaces or next to windows, OLED TVs look fantastic in gloomy environments or home theatres where the contrast stands out. A QLED TV features high brightness levels so you may watch your preferred program whenever you want, like the $380 50-inch TCL 5-series QLED TV.

2. You want a cheaper TV

Some people don’t value television as much as others do. A QLED TV will serve your needs better than an OLED TV if you’re looking for a less expensive TV owing to a limited budget or the fact that you won’t be using it frequently. The 97-inch LG G2 TV, which costs $25,000, is our top big-screen OLED TV option. OLED models may be expensive. The comparable 85-inch Samsung QLED TV costs $1,800 in comparison. QLED Televisions are available for less than $300; for instance, the Insignia 55-inch QLED TV is now on sale at Best Buy for $275.

3. You want a TV that blends seamlessly into your home

Choose a QLED TV that appears like a picture frame and blends in with the rest of your room’s decor if the look of a regular TV doesn’t go well with it. It rotates between images of your loved ones, friends, or pieces of art when you turn them off. For some of us, that alone is sufficient justification for choosing a QLED TV over an OLED TV, as demonstrated by Samsung’s well-liked The Frame QLED TV. The TV is more picturesquely realistic in the 2022 version of The Frame thanks to its matte finish and anti-reflection coating. From a 32-inch for $599 to an 85-inch for $3,499, you have a range of options.

What is Mini-LED?

You may come across various brands promoting Mini-LED technology while you research your new TV alternatives. It could appear to be a rival to QLED and OLED, but in reality, it’s only an upgrade to the LED backlighting seen in QLED and LED Televisions.

Comparatively speaking to standard LEDs, mini-LEDs are small. As a result, a QLED TV that previously could only fit a few hundred LEDs can now hold tens of thousands of Mini-LEDs. The outcome? More backlighting control than ever before, resulting in the closest black levels to OLED that any non-OLED display has ever attained.

TCL began offering the 8-Series, the first QLED TV with a Mini-LED backlighting technology, in the latter part of 2019.

Mini-LED is widely used in 2022. Besides TCL, other manufacturers of Mini-LED TVs include Samsung (under the “Neo QLED” name), LG (under the “QNED” moniker), and Sony, which asserts that its Mini-LED TVs are better than all others due to its proprietary backlight control technology.

QLED versus OLED: Which technology is better?

Now that you are aware of what each of those letters in display technology stands for, let’s compare QLED vs OLED in the areas that are most important when choosing a TV: brightness, contrast, viewing angles, and other significant performance factors. Each of these matters when you’re spending a lot of money on a new TV.

Black levels and contrast

The distinction between a scene’s darkest and brightest areas is known as a contrast. To obtain strong levels of contrast, a TV doesn’t need to make the brilliant areas too bright if it can give a genuinely black dark area. Because of its capacity to become entirely black when necessary, OLED reigns as the clear champion when it comes to black levels.

Contrarily (oops), QLED Televisions are compelled to decrease their LED backlights and block the remaining light, which is incredibly challenging to achieve flawlessly. When light leaks from a bright spot onto what should be a black portion of the screen, it might cause a phenomenon known as “light bleed.”

But can you see it? Definitely. If you’re viewing a movie with a wider aspect ratio than 16:9 and two actors are sprinting through a parking lot at night, for instance, you can detect a small glow on sections of the picture that are meant to be completely dark or in the letterbox bars at the top and bottom of the screen.

Mini-LED backlights are one strategy used by QLED TV manufacturers to address this issue, as we previously mentioned. Although we’re not quite ready to call it an OLED killer, it has genuine promise.

Right now, OLED is the winner. A non-powered OLED pixel remains completely dark and incapable of producing any light.


The brightness of QLED Televisions is a significant benefit. These LED backlights can be made exceedingly, painfully brilliant — more than bright enough to be seen clearly in even the brightest lighted environments — because they employ independent backlights (instead of depending on each pixel to provide its light).

Based on pure brightness, OLED screens are incomparable. Simply put, each light-emitting pixel can’t generate the same quantity of light. This is not an issue in a dark space. We’d say it’s better since OLED can provide the same contrast with less brightness, which makes viewing in a dark room less jarring to the retina. (That’s in addition to the fact that your electricity bill will be considerably simpler.) Yet, QLED Televisions are more noticeable in well-lit areas or when a lot of daylight enters via windows – especially if HDR material is being played in these settings.

OLED panels have improved in brightness over the years, but they still fall short of QLED Televisions in brightness.

Color space

The use of quantum dots in QLED TVs has reportedly allowed it to edge ahead in terms of color accuracy, color brightness, and color volume, according to Samsung, which asserts that a wider range of better-saturated colors at extreme brightness levels is an advantage. OLED previously blew all the competition in this category out of the water.

It’s undeniable that these quantum dot TVs produce amazing colors, but for now, we’re going to call it a draw because we haven’t seen better-saturated colors at high brightness levels provide a genuine benefit in everyday viewing settings. To deem QLED the winner, we’ll need to see some observable proof.

Response time, input lag, and refresh rate

The amount of time it takes for a pixel to change from one state to another is referred to as response time. The sharper the visual, particularly in scenes of rapid-fire action, the faster the response time. OLED TVs are orders of magnitude quicker than QLED TVs, even though there may be a speed of reaction time beyond which the human eye cannot distinguish between differences.

As compared to OLED’s reaction time of roughly 0.1 milliseconds, which is typically 2 to 8 milliseconds, typical QLED response times seem very excellent. Indeed, there is no contest.

The difference between performing an action (such as pushing a button on a gaming controller) and seeing the outcome onscreen is known as input lag. As a result, input latency is primarily a problem for games; it has no discernible impact on passively watching information.

Also, the degree of input lag you encounter has less to do with the type of display technology used than it does with how much picture processing is taking on your TV in the background. If you disable all further visual processing or only utilize the TV’s Game Mode, which accomplishes the same thing, both QLED and OLED Televisions may achieve very low levels of input latency.

Another category that will naturally matter more to gamers than to non-gamers is the refresh rate. The refresh rate is the frequency at which a television changes what is displayed on the screen. It is closely connected to frame rate, which refers to how frequently your TV program, movie, or video game updates the TV.

You won’t experience any issues as long as these two rates are near multiples of one another, such as a frame rate of 30 frames per second and a refresh rate of twice that (60 Hz). This is seldom ever a worry because ordinary TV material, such as movies and TV series, is always transmitted at stable frame rates.

Yet, certain PC and console games will alter their frame rate from one scene to the next. TVs require a function known as VRR, or variable refresh rate, to maintain everything appearing as it should. This enables your TV to adjust its native refresh rate to keep up with these frame rate fluctuations. When utilized with the sorts of games that need VRR, a TV that doesn’t support VRR may have certain undesirable side effects, such as screen tearing.

VRR was previously exclusively available on OLED TVs, but as of 2022, it is now also accessible on some QLED Televisions, demonstrating how fiercely this competition is still being fought.

Even though most people would never notice the difference, we’re awarding the victory to OLED because of its unrivaled supremacy in reaction speed.

Viewing angle

The ideal viewing angle for QLED panels is dead center, and as you go further side to side or up and down, the picture quality declines in brightness, color, and contrast. Despite the TV manufacturers’ best attempts to fix the problem, it is always apparent, even if the intensity varies between models.

OLED panels, in contrast, may be viewed at extreme viewing angles (up to 84 degrees) without any brightness reduction. Anti-reflective coatings have helped certain QLED Televisions’ viewing angles, but OLED still has a distinct edge. So, an OLED TV is excellent for you if you like to organize family screenings of your favorite movies and want to ensure that there isn’t a terrible seat in the house.


OLEDs have advanced considerably. OLED panels may be as large as 55 inches while the technology was in its infancy. Currently, you can get QLED TVs up to 98 inches in size and OLED TVs up to 97 inches. Although OLED prices continue to rise as panel sizes increase, QLED is no longer the only option for really big screens.

Life span

For LG’s OLED Televisions to lose 50% of their brightness, you would have to watch them five hours a day for 54 years. It remains to be seen if it is accurate given that OLED Televisions have just been widely available since 2013. Although though QLED is a more recent technology, its backlighting source, LED, has a long and successful history. We will give this category to QLED for that reason and only for that reason.

Screen burn-in

Image retention is a phenomenon that occasionally appears on QLED and OLED Televisions. This occurs when a TV briefly keeps showing a portion of a picture after the original image has vanished. When it manifests itself at all, it typically takes the form of a shadow.

When a picture is retained, it generally happens as a result of prolonged exposure to the same visual component. Video games that employ the same interface components repeatedly during gameplay as well as network logos in the bottom-right corner of the screen have both been reported to create it.

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