QLED vs. OLED TVs: which is better and what’s the difference?

Trending 2 weeks ago

If you’ve been connected nan hunt for your adjacent TV, you’ve undoubtedly travel crossed 2 acronyms that guidelines retired nan astir erstwhile it comes to TV types — QLED and OLED. And while newer TV tech for illustration Samsung’s QD-OLED (more connected that below) has been turning immoderate heads lately, for now, QLED and OLED TVs still norm nan roost. But what’s nan difference betwixt QLED and OLED?

Companies for illustration Samsung, TCL, and Hisense tout nan unthinkable brightness of their QLED TVs, while LG, Sony, Panasonic, and others brag astir nan awesome opposition and achromatic levels of their OLED TVs.

Is this conscionable a lawsuit of electronics companies utilizing fancy terminology to hype their products, aliases are location existent differences betwixt QLED and OLED TVs?

The pursuing video comparison from 2021 remains applicable today.

In this in-depth explainer, we’ll talk QLED versus OLED, wherever these competing show technologies travel from, really they’re different from each other, and what each 1 does good (and not truthful well). We’ll besides stock which 1 we deliberation astir group will beryllium happiest with. Spoiler: it’s OLED TV — but pinch a fewer caveats you request to beryllium alert of.

Once you’ve settled connected which TV tech is correct for you, cheque retired immoderate of nan best QLED TV deals and nan best OLED sales disposable now.

What is simply a QLED TV?

QLED stands for Quantum Light-Emitting Diode. In non-geek speak, that intends a QLED TV is conscionable for illustration a regular LED TV, isolated from it uses mini nanoparticles called quantum dots to supercharge its color. 

Our quantum dot explainer has nan afloat communicative connected really these nanoparticles work, but here’s a condensed version: a normal LED TV uses achromatic LEDs arsenic its ray source. But alleged “white” LEDs successful reality thin to veer into nan blue, red, aliases greenish parts of nan spectrum.

When a TV’s colour select receives little than full-spectrum achromatic light, it can’t do its occupation (showing you nan colors you’re meant to see) pinch accuracy. In a QLED TV, nan backlight root is made from a furniture of bluish LEDs, onto which a furniture of reddish and greenish quantum dots are added. These quantum dots tin beryllium added pinch specified precision that nan red-green-blue combo creates a near-perfect, full-spectrum achromatic light, without sacrificing a azygous nit of brightness. That cleanable achromatic ray is precisely what nan TV’s colour select needs to make an meticulous palette of billions of colors you spot connected a TV screen.

The exertion was primitively introduced by Sony successful 2013. Shortly aft that, Samsung began trading its ain QLED TVs and established a licensing partnership pinch different manufacturers, which is why you’ll besides find QLED TVs from Vizio, Hisense, TCL, and galore mini brands too. Even Amazon has gotten into nan QLED crippled pinch its latest Omni Fire TVs, and truthful has Roku, pinch its caller statement of Roku-made TVs. 

As cool arsenic quantum dots are, a QLED TV still produces ray nan aforesaid measurement arsenic a regular LED TV: by utilizing a backlight made up of hundreds (or successful immoderate cases thousands) of LEDs, pinch that backlight furniture sitting down an LCD sheet layer. The backlight shines done nan LCD panel, which successful move shapes that ray into nan images that you spot connected nan screen. It’s these LEDs that springiness LED TV (and QLED TV) its name.

The LCD sheet — fundamentally millions of mini shutters that unfastened and adjacent excessively quickly to spot — successful conjunction pinch nan colour filters, create nan image you spot by letting conscionable nan correct magnitude of ray and colour flight and scope your eyes. It’s a clever system, but it relies connected a operation of dimming nan LED backlights and utilizing nan shutters to artifact nan remaining ray to nutrient meticulous on-screen blacks — and it doesn’t ever succeed. We’ll talk this much below.

Samsung N900C 8K Neo QLEDSamsung’s 2023 QN900C 8K Neo QLED Douglas Murray/Digital Trends

What is an OLED TV?

OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode. Somewhat surprisingly, nan “Light Emitting-Diode” portion of that sanction has thing to do pinch an LED backlight. Instead, it refers to nan truth that each azygous individual pixel successful an OLED sheet is simply a teeny-tiny LED ray — but 1 that is incredibly bladed and tin nutrient some ray and colour successful a azygous element. In different words, OLED TVs don’t request a backlight because each OLED pixel produces its ain light. If you want to impressment your friends, you tin usage nan manufacture position for these kinds of displays: emissive aliases self-emissive.

There are respective advantages to this design, but astir group would work together that erstwhile it comes to OLED TVs, nan biggest advantage is nan superb achromatic level that tin beryllium achieved. Unlike a QLED aliases LED TV that must dim its backlight and artifact nan remaining ray for acheronian aliases pitch-black scenes, an OLED TV simply turns disconnected nan pixels that dress up nan acheronian parts of nan screen. When nan pixel is off, it emits nary ray and nary color, making it arsenic acheronian arsenic erstwhile nan TV itself is turned off.

Only 1 institution makes accepted OLED TV panels: LG Display. It sells those panels to its sister company, LG Electronics, which uses them to build immoderate of nan very champion TVs you tin buy. But LG Display besides sells OLED panels to companies for illustration Sony, Vizio, Philips, and Panasonic, which is why you’ll spot OLED televisions from these companies, too. Even though nan panels themselves are fundamentally identical, nan image processing that Sony, LG, and others do is proprietary, truthful you’ll still spot differences successful image value from 1 OLED TV to another.

However, LG Display has precocious been joined by Samsung, which now has its ain type of OLED technology, nan aforementioned QD-OLED. It’s not rather nan aforesaid technology, and while it does usage what Samsung calls “self-illuminating LEDs,” Samsung uses OLED exertion a small differently, and we’ll get to that successful a moment.

LG G3 OLED evo 4K TV seen wall-mounted.LG’s 2023 G3 4K OLED TV LG

What is mini-LED TV?

As you publication up connected your caller TV options, you mightiness spot immoderate products touting mini-LED technology. It whitethorn sound for illustration a competitor to QLED and OLED, but it’s really conscionable an betterment of nan LED backlighting utilized by QLED and LED TVs.

Mini-LEDs are mini erstwhile compared to regular LEDs. This intends that a QLED TV that could usually accommodate hundreds of LEDs tin now accommodate tens of thousands of mini-LEDs. The result? Way much power complete backlighting, starring to achromatic levels that travel acold person to OLED than immoderate non-OLED show has ever achieved.

In precocious 2019, TCL started trading the 8-Series, nan very first QLED TV powered by a mini-LED backlighting system.

In 2023, mini-LED is now mainstream. In summation to TCL, you’ll find mini-LED TVs from Samsung (under its “Neo QLED” moniker), LG (which brands these models arsenic “QNED“), and Sony, which claims that its mini-LED TVs are superior to each others acknowledgment to its exclusive backlight power technology.

QLED vs. OLED TVs: What are nan cardinal differences?

QLED TVs travel retired connected apical connected paper, delivering a higher brightness, longer life span, little value tags, and nary consequence of burn-in. OLED TVs,  connected nan different hand, person a amended viewing angle, deeper achromatic levels, usage little power, are slayer for gaming, and mightiness protect your expertise to get a bully night’s sleep. Both are fantastic, though, truthful choosing betwixt them is subjective. QLED is nan amended all-rounder, but OLED exertion excels erstwhile you tin power your room’s lighting.

QLED vs. OLED TVs: Which 1 is better?

Now, let’s comparison QLED to OLED successful nan categories that matter astir erstwhile buying a TV: brightness, contrast, viewing angles, and different notable capacity considerations. All of these are important factors erstwhile you’re shelling retired large money for a caller TV.

Black levels and contrast

Contrast is nan quality betwixt nan darkest portion of an image and nan brightest part. If a TV tin present a genuinely achromatic acheronian portion, it doesn’t person to make nan agleam parts rather arsenic agleam to execute bully levels of contrast. That’s why, erstwhile it comes to achromatic levels, OLED reigns arsenic nan undisputed champion — because of its expertise to spell wholly achromatic erstwhile it needs to.

LG's 2023 C3 4K OLED TV.LG’s 2023 C3 4K OLED TV. LG

QLED TVs, by opposition (ahem), are forced to dim their LED backlights and artifact nan remaining light, thing that is very difficult to do perfectly. It tin trigger thing called “light bleed,” arsenic nan ray spills from a agleam area onto what’s expected to beryllium a achromatic conception of nan screen.

But is it noticeable? Definitely. If you’re watching an aggravated action movie and 2 characters are moving done a parking batch astatine night, for example, you whitethorn announcement a flimsy glow connected parts of nan segment that are expected to beryllium transportation achromatic aliases successful nan letterbox bars astatine nan apical and bottommost of nan surface while watching a movie that uses a wider than 16:9 facet ratio.

As we highlighted earlier, mini-LED backlights are 1 measurement QLED TV makers are trying to amended this situation. It has existent potential, but we’re not rather fresh to state it an OLED killer.

For now, OLED comes retired connected top. If an OLED pixel isn’t getting electricity, it doesn’t nutrient immoderate ray and truthful stays wholly black.

Winner: OLED


Samsung 98-inch QN100B series.Samsung’s 98-inch QN100B bid tin nutrient brightness up to 5,000 nits. Caleb Denison/Digital Trends

QLED TVs person a sizeable advantage erstwhile it comes to brightness. Because they usage abstracted backlights (instead of relying connected each pixel to create its ain light), these LED backlights tin beryllium made incredibly, achingly agleam — much than agleam capable to beryllium seen intelligibly successful moreover nan astir brightly lit rooms.

OLED panels can’t compete connected a axenic brightness basis. Their light-emitting individual pixels simply can’t nutrient nan aforesaid magnitude of light. In a acheronian room, this isn’t a problem. In fact, we’d reason it’s preferable because OLED tin execute nan aforesaid opposition pinch little brightness, making viewing successful a acheronian room a little retina-searing experience. (That’s successful summation to being that overmuch easier connected your powerfulness bill.) But successful well-lit environments, aliases wherever tons of daylight streams successful done windows, QLED TVs are much visible — particularly if you’re playing HDR contented nether these conditions.

OLED panels person go overmuch brighter complete nan years, and nan very champion models are now capable to clasp their ain successful agleam rooms, but they still can’t lucifer QLED TVs for highest brightness.

When Samsung Display’s QD-OLED was announced, we expected that these TVs would raise nan OLED brightness bar, but surprisingly, LG Display has managed to amended its accepted OLED exertion astatine a akin gait — there’s fundamentally nary brightness advantage erstwhile comparing nan latest LG OLED to nan latest Samsung QD-OLED. Check retired our afloat head-to-head information of nan LG G3 versus nan Samsung S95C to get each of nan details.

Winner: QLED

Color space

OLED erstwhile blew each nan title retired of nan h2o successful this section, but nan usage of quantum dots successful QLED TVs has allowed it to inch guardant successful position of colour accuracy, colour brightness, and colour volume, according to Samsung, which claims that a wider scope of better-saturated colors astatine utmost brightness levels is an advantage.

While there’s nary denying nan truth that these quantum dot TVs present awesome colors, we person yet to witnesser better-saturated colors astatine precocious brightness levels present a existent advantage successful normal viewing situations — truthful we’re going to state it a tie for now. We’ll request to spot immoderate tangible grounds to state QLED a winner.

Winner: Draw

Response time, input lag, and refresh rate

Sony Bravia XR A90J 4K OLED TV connected a media stand.Riley Young/Digital Trends

Response clip refers to nan clip it takes for a pixel to move from 1 authorities to another. The faster nan consequence time, nan crisper nan image, particularly during accelerated action scenes. Though location is apt a velocity of consequence clip beyond which nan quality oculus is incapable of telling a difference, we cognize from standardized measurements that OLED TVs are measurement faster — orders of magnitude faster than QLED TVs.

Typical QLED consequence times alteration betwixt 2 and 8 milliseconds, which sounds beautiful bully until you recognize that OLED’s consequence clip is astir 0.1 milliseconds. Yup, it’s nary contest.

Input lag, connected nan different hand, refers to nan hold betwixt taking an action (like pressing a fastener connected a crippled controller) and seeing nan consequence of that action onscreen. As such, input lag is really only a interest for gamers — it doesn’t person a noticeable effect connected nan passive viewing of contented astatine all.

Moreover, nan magnitude of input lag you acquisition has small to do pinch 1 show exertion complete another, but much to do pinch really overmuch image processing is happening connected your TV down nan scenes. Both QLED and OLED TVs tin execute very debased levels of input lag if you move disconnected each other video processing aliases simply usage nan TV’s Game Mode, which efficaciously does nan aforesaid thing.

Refresh complaint is different class that will inherently matter much to gamers than casual viewers. The refresh complaint is nan number of times per 2nd nan TV updates what it’s showing onscreen. It’s intimately related to framework rate, which is nan number of times per 2nd your TV show, movie, aliases video crippled sends a caller update to nan TV.

As agelong arsenic these 2 rates are adjacent multiples of each other, e.g. a framework complaint of 30 frames per 2nd and a refresh complaint of double that (60 Hz), you’ll ne'er announcement a problem. And since regular TV contented for illustration movies and TV shows are ever delivered astatine changeless framework rates, this is hardly ever a concern.

But immoderate games moving connected consoles aliases PCs will alteration their framework complaint from 1 segment to another. To support everything looking arsenic it should, TVs request a characteristic called VRR, aliases Variable Refresh Rate. This lets your TV change its autochthonal refresh complaint to lucifer these changes successful framework rate. If your TV doesn’t support VRR, it tin origin immoderate unwanted broadside effects for illustration surface tearing erstwhile utilized pinch nan kinds of games that require VRR.

In nan past, only OLED TVs offered VRR, but arsenic of 2023, it’s disposable connected a wide assortment of flagship QLED TVs too.

However, fixed OLED’s unbeatable superiority successful consequence time, we’re giving it nan win, moreover if astir group whitethorn ne'er announcement nan difference.

Winner: OLED

Viewing angle

A Sony OLED TV photographed from nan broadside to show its viewing angle. Rich Shibley

With QLED screens, nan champion viewing perspective is dormant center, and nan image value diminishes successful brightness, color, and opposition nan further you move broadside to broadside aliases up and down. While nan severity differs betwixt models, it’s ever noticeable — contempt TV makers’ champion efforts to destruct nan issue.

OLED screens, by comparison, tin beryllium viewed pinch nary luminance degradation moreover astatine drastic viewing angles — up to 84 degrees. The newest OLED models, which return advantage of microlens array (MLA) technology, spell moreover further, up to an astonishing 160 degrees.

Some QLED TVs person improved successful position of viewing angle, pinch anti-reflective layers helping, but OLED maintains a clear advantage. So if you for illustration to put family screenings of your favourite movies and want to make judge location isn’t a bad spot successful nan house, an OLED TV is champion for you.

Winner: OLED


OLEDs person travel a agelong way. When nan tech was still nascent, OLED screens maxed retired astatine 55 inches. Today, you tin bargain OLED TVs arsenic ample arsenic 97 inches and QLED TVs up to 98 inches successful size. OLED still tends to beryllium much costly arsenic surface sizes spell up but QLED nary longer has nan monopoly connected extra-large displays.

Winner: Draw

TV Size

Life span

LG says you would person to watch its OLED TVs 5 hours per time for 54 years earlier they fell to 50% brightness. Whether that’s existent remains to beryllium seen, arsenic OLED TVs person only been retired successful nan chaotic since 2013. QLED is moreover newer, but its root of backlighting — nan LED — has a agelong and proven way record. For that logic and that logic only, we’ll grant this class to QLED.

Winner (for now): QLED

Screen burn-in

Example of surface burn-in connected an OLED TV.An illustration of surface burn-in connected an OLED TV. Note that nan visible zebra pattern, known arsenic moire, is caused by taking a photograph of a TV surface and is not portion of nan burn-in. Ian O'Shaughnessy

Both QLED and OLED TVs tin occasionally grounds thing called image retention. This is erstwhile a TV temporarily continues to show portion of an image aft nan original image has disappeared. It usually presents itself arsenic a benignant of protector — that is erstwhile it presents itself astatine all.

When image retention occurs, it’s usually nan consequence of having nan aforesaid ocular constituent onscreen for agelong periods of time. Network logos successful nan area of nan surface person been known to origin it, arsenic tin video games that coming nan aforesaid interface elements passim gameplay.

Image retention typically goes distant connected its ain erstwhile you move to immoderate different benignant of contented that doesn’t show nan problematic on-screen elements.

Because of their self-emissive nature, OLED TVs are besides susceptible to nan overmuch rarer imperishable type of image retention known arsenic “burn-in.” Burn-in is caused erstwhile 1 aliases much OLED pixels person their normal brightness permanently diminished to a little state. The only hole for this is to little each of nan remainder of nan pixels to nan aforesaid state, but that’s hardly a bully solution.

LG, arsenic nan biggest shaper of OLED TVs, acknowledges nan imaginable for image retention wrong its personification manuals for its OLED TVs but says that nether normal viewing conditions, it shouldn’t happen. LG and Samsung person had beef complete their panels’ burn-in imaginable complete nan years, most precocious complete Samsung’s caller QD-OLEDs.

So what constitutes “normal” viewing conditions? Well, for 1 thing, keeping your TV connected nan aforesaid transmission for 10 hours a day, 2 months successful a row, is apparently not normal.

Should this scare you distant from buying an OLED TV? Absolutely not. But if you’re picking a TV for usage arsenic a commercialized show successful a shop aliases possibly successful a waiting room aliases a gym, aliases if you deliberation you’ll usage it to play nan aforesaid video crippled exclusively for months astatine a time, it’s decidedly thing to beryllium alert of.

For an absolute guarantee that you won’t acquisition burn-in, your champion stake is QLED TV.

Winner: QLED

Power consumption

As you’re now very overmuch aware, OLED panels don’t require a super-bright backlight. Those backlights devour a adjacent magnitude of power, which intends OLED TVs are inherently much energy-efficient. They besides emit little power than QLED TVs.

In nan coming years, OLED’s advantage successful this area whitethorn widen moreover further arsenic caller types of OLED worldly are introduced that are tin of converting energy into ray pinch acold greater efficiency.

Winner: OLED

Eye comfort

LG OLED Ocular Guard.Image utilized pinch support by copyright holder

In today’s viewing age, it’s imaginable to walk hours staring astatine TV screens pinch fewer breaks successful between. Eye fatigue is simply a existent symptom of nan act, and it’s usually caused by excessive bluish ray production. LED-based sets thin to show much aggravated bluish ray than OLED TVs, and this is existent moreover successful scenes that don’t characteristic gobs of nan shade.

Is bluish ray really bad for you? It depends connected who you ask. According to nan American Academy of Opthalmology, location is no technological grounds that bluish ray from integer devices causes harm to your eye. However, location look to beryllium good reasons to deliberation that we should limit our vulnerability to bluish ray astatine definite times of nan time because of how it affects our sleep-regulating melatonin production.

German information testing patient TÜV Rheinland has created its Eye Comfort Display certification arsenic a measurement to place displays that debar 3 problematic areas: flicker, reflection, and bluish ray emission, each of which tin origin oculus strain. At nan moment, only LG’s OLED panels are Eye Comfort Display certified.

The bluish ray statement hasn’t gone unnoticed by Samsung. In 2022, it added an EyeComfort mode (no, it’s not related to nan certification, but we’re definite nan sanction isn’t a coincidence), which tin trim nan magnitude of bluish ray emitted by nan company’s QLED TVs.

Winner: OLED


Once upon a time, this class would beryllium handily won by QLED TVs, but OLED TVs person travel down successful cost, and since we’re talking all-premium here, comparable QLED TVs costs astir nan aforesaid (or more, depending connected nan size). This twelvemonth (2023) will spot nan top number of OLED-based TVs to date, and arsenic is ever nan case, erstwhile accumulation numbers spell up, prices travel down. In 2021, LG’s largest, 88-inch OLED TV costs $30,000. In 2022, its larger, 97-inch exemplary costs little ($25,000).

If you’re shopping astir and spot QLED TVs for inexpensive — and immoderate of them are incredibly affordable — support successful mind that, dissimilar OLED TV, location is simply a large scope successful image value pinch QLED TVs because location are acold much variables successful their design, image processing, and build. Only nan very top-of-the-line QLED TVs are balanced to OLED successful image quality.

Our victor is still QLED, because connected a price-per-inch of surface size basis, it’s still much affordable, but that spread is getting smaller each year.

Winner: QLED

One much thing: QD-OLED

Samsung S95C OLEDThe Samsung S95C OLED Douglas Murray/Digital Trends

We mentioned Samsung’s QD-OLED exertion above, but let’s quickly recap: arsenic nan sanction suggests, QD-OLED combines OLED show exertion pinch quantum dots. Our QD-OLED explainer gets into each of nan (very cool) details, but here’s nan 101: QD-OLED preserves each of nan benefits of OLED that we’ve described above, but is theoretically tin of amended brightness and colour accuracy.


  • OLED TV deals
  • QLED TV deals

We tin say, unreservedly, that each QD-OLED TV we’ve tested — including nan Samsung S95B, nan Sony A95K, and Samsung S95C — has been thing short of spectacular. QD-OLED perfectly lives up to nan hype. But here’s nan thing: LG’s WOLED panels person been getting amended each year. They’re truthful bully astatine this constituent that if you asked america to take betwixt nan champion LG OLED and nan champion Samsung QD-OLED, we’d astir apt do almost thing to debar answering. Yes, they’re that close.

It’s imaginable that Samsung will beryllium capable to amended its QD-OLED exertion astatine a faster complaint successful nan coming years than LG, but until that time comes, we’re conscionable delighted that TV buyers now person 2 awesome OLED flavors to take from.

Editors' Recommendations

  • LED vs. LCD TVs explained: What’s nan difference?
  • Sony’s 2023 A95L QD-OLED TV up for preorder successful August starting astatine $2,800
  • What is PHOLED? Your eyes (and your inferior bill) are going to emotion it
  • The champion TV brands of 2023: from LG to TCL, which should you buy?
  • Samsung confirms its 2023 QD-OLED TVs commencement astatine conscionable $1,900, are disposable now