Samsung threw a wrench in the worlds with QLED. Before that, we had a good grasp on TV technology acronyms. We all basically know what LED, LCD, OLED, and IPS means. QLED, however, is purely a Samsung technology. There is no doubt that they made the brand to compete with OLED panels. Q looks like an O, first of all. That means QLED and OLED must be similar, right? Well, not really, no. The two technologies are actually vastly different. Let’s go over what each tech is and how it differs from its competitor.
Let’s talk QLED first!
Okay, let’s discuss QLED. QLED is a TV panel type by Samsung. The letters stand for Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode or, basically, Quantum Dot LED You can only find it in Samsung TVs. Additionally, it represents the highest quality products in their lineup. In other words, they are the most expensive TVs with the most features.
The technology is actually fairly fascinating. Samsung uses tiny dots that vary in size from two nanometers to ten nanometers. The different sizes allow the dots to produce different colors. The LED light shoots through these dots and they create the colors as needed by the TV.
It sounds a little complicated but it’s really not. Standard LED TVs use colored filters. The light from the TV shoots through these filters and creates the various colors as seen on your TV. However, the technology is old, imprecise, and inefficient. QLED panels remove the filters and instead use these quantum size dots to produce color. The result is a more saturated and precise color that more efficiently uses the lighting from the TV. That’s probably why they look better and are more expensive than normal LED TVs.
At its, core, though, this is just a really fancy LED TV. QLED panels are edge-lit. That means the lights come from the sides of the TV panel rather than from the back. The only real difference between this and your standard LED TV is the use of these quantum dots over colored filters. They otherwise operate the same way by shooting light through things to produce colors.
Now, let’s talk about OLED
OLED panels are almost nothing like your normal LED TV. The letters stand for Organic Light Emitting Diode. Each pixel on an OLED panel is independently lit. Thus, there is no edge or back lighting, no filters, and no dots. Each pixel simply lights up as the TV demands. This allows for precise color, perfect blacks, and above average motion blur control.
OLED TVs have more in common with plasma TVs than they do with LED or QLED TVs. Most OLEDs have several layers. Electricity hits those layers and the difference in power produces a different color. The use of organic materials with electricity to produce light is why they call it organic LEDs. Still, its main thing is that each pixel lights up by itself instead of light passing through a filter or a layer of dots.
OLEDs are also fairly rare. There are only a few manufacturers that make TVs with this type of display. There are also mobile devices, like Samsung’s Galaxy Note series, that use OLED panels (stylized as AMOLED or Active-Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode). They also tend to be fairly expensive thanks to their manufacturing process.
QLED vs OLED, what’s the difference?
Okay so you should probably know the differences by now. It’s really about how the TVs produce light and color. However, we’ll summarize the differences in a quick bullet point list below:
- QLED shoots light through a quantum dot layer to produce saturated, accurate, precise colors. These dots measure between two and ten nanometers. The sizes determine the color they produce.
- OLED has a layer of self-lighting pixels that produce colors from electricity. This allows for pinpoint accuracy, good color reproduction, and perfect blacks.
- OLED uses organic materials whereas QLED uses a super high tech filter like its LED brethren.
- OLED TVs generally have worse brightness than QLEDs. Additionally, OLED is more prone to screen retention and burn in than QLED.
- QLED TVs generally suffer from heat issues, have less effective local dimming features, and poor viewing angles compared to OLED.
- OLED TVs generally excel at producing perfect blacks, pinpoint accurate images, above average color, and outstanding viewing angles.
- QLED TVs are generally bright, super colorful, have excellent uniformity, and accurate, precise color.
Which one is better?
Well, there is a lot of opinion and preference with this kind of stuff. OLED is the better technology. The perfect blacks are impossible for any other modern TV technology to replicate. However, many people prefer saturated colors, bright TVs, and cool looking designs. Thus, we can’t just write off the QLED technology either. They are both at the top of their respective industries.
So, here’s a helpful list of fun facts to help you determine the best decision for you.
Go with an OLED if you:
- Want a perfect contrast ratio. OLEDs produce perfect blacks.
- Prefer accurate color over saturated color.
- Require a wide viewing angle for your living room setup.
- Want a cooler TV in terms of temperature. OLEDs run cooler than QLEDs.
- Want a TV with nearly perfect motion blur, response time, and no flicker. OLED doesn’t require the usual tricks to make images move smoothly across the screen.
Go with a QLED if you:
- Want more saturated colors. The color volume of QLED panels is exceptionally good.
- Need a brighter TV for your brightly lit living room.
- If you don’t mind not having an OLED panel.
Both TVs are good for a lot of the same content:
- QLED and OLED both excel at movies, TV shows, gaming, and sports content.
- Both TVs have super thin options that are perfect for wall mounting.
- Usually, manufacturers include modern features like 4K, HDR, smart TV options, and other modern niceties in their TVs. QLED and OLED represent the best of the best and those TVs usually come with all of the ports and technologies you want.
- Typically, both OLED and QLED get bright enough for HDR.
The technologies behind the TVs are vastly different. However, day-to-day use isn’t all that different. QLED and OLED are both at the top of their industries. They both work fine for all kinds of content. You get all the modern niceties. Aside from small things like screen brightness (and we’re talking a difference of a couple of hundred nits at the most), the only real difference between OLED and QLED is the OLED’s perfect blacks versus the QLED’s outstanding colors.
However, at the end of the day, we would recommend OLED over QLED. QLED is a different take on an old method while OLED is a newer technology with a lot more potential. Plus, perfect blacks have been hard to find since plasma TVs died out years ago. Of course, feel more than free to tell us what you think in the comments!