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QLED vs. OLED: Which TV type is superior in 2024?

TV with "QLED vs. OLED" text displayed on the screen
Kam Idris | Unsplash and Howbigg

Written by

Jacek Obst

12 min read
Quick answer
  • QLED is cheaper, brighter, has better colors and lower input lag
  • OLED is more expensive, has perfect black levels, wider viewing angles, higher refresh rates and less motion blur

Are you in the market for a new TV and wondering what the difference is between QLED and OLED? You're not alone. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one.

QLED and OLED are both types of LED TVs, but they use different technologies. QLED TVs use quantum dot LED technology, while OLED screens use organic LED technology. Samsung is a major manufacturer of QLED TVs, while LG produces standard OLED TVs.

Recently, Samsung introduced Neo QLED, which uses mini-LEDs for improved contrast and brightness. On the other hand, LG has been working on perfecting its standard OLED technology for years.

While both QLED and OLED have their own advantages and disadvantages, ultimately the choice comes down to personal preference and budget. Some people prefer the deeper blacks of an OLED screen, while others appreciate the brighter colors of a QLED TV.

So whether you're interested in QLED TVs or OLED TVs or simply want to know more about QD-OLED or Neo QLED sets, keep reading!

1. QLED vs. OLED: The Case for Quantum Dots

What Are Quantum Dots?

Quantum dots are tiny particles that emit light when excited by an external source such as electricity or light. In QLED TVs (Quantum Dot LED), these particles are used to enhance the performance of LED backlighting by producing brighter and more accurate colors.

Why Choose QLED?

One major advantage of QLED technology is its ability to produce brighter and more vibrant colors than traditional LED-backlit LCDs. This is because quantum dots emit pure colors, resulting in a wider color gamut and more accurate color reproduction.

QLED displays also tend to be less susceptible to image retention or burn-in than OLED displays, making them a better choice for users who watch a lot of static content such as news channels or sports broadcasts.

Another advantage of QLED displays is their lower cost compared to OLED displays. Because they use traditional LED backlighting technology with added quantum dots, they are less expensive to manufacture and can be produced in larger sizes.

Disadvantages of QLED

However, there are some disadvantages to using QLED technology. One major concern is its reliance on LED backlighting, which can result in blooming (halos around bright objects) and limited contrast ratios compared to OLED displays.

QLED displays also tend to have narrower viewing angles than OLED displays due to the use of traditional LCD panels. This means that colors and brightness may shift when viewed from an angle.

2. OLED vs. QLED: The Case for Organic LED

What is OLED?

OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. It is a display technology that uses organic materials to emit light. Unlike traditional LCDs (Liquid Crystal Displays), OLED displays do not require a backlight as each pixel emits its own light. This allows for deeper blacks and higher contrast ratios, resulting in more vivid and lifelike images.

Why Choose OLED?

One of the biggest advantages of OLED technology is its emissive nature, which means that it can turn off individual pixels completely, resulting in perfect black levels. This makes it an excellent choice for watching movies or playing video games with dark scenes.

Another advantage of OLED displays is their wide viewing angles. Because each pixel emits its own light, there are no issues with color shift or brightness loss when viewed from an angle.

OLED displays also have faster response times than traditional LCDs, making them ideal for gaming and fast-paced content.

Disadvantages of OLED

However, there are some disadvantages to using OLED technology. One major concern is image retention or burn-in. If static images are displayed on the screen for extended periods of time, they can cause permanent damage to the pixels, resulting in ghosting or image retention.

OLED displays also tend to be more expensive than other types of displays due to their manufacturing process and limited production capacity.

3. Black Levels and Contrast in QLED vs. OLED

Black and white stripes Jason Leung | Unsplash

QLED Uses LED Backlight for Bright Colors, While OLED Produces Perfect Blacks and Infinite Contrast Without Backlights

The main difference between QLED and OLED lies in their backlighting technology. QLED uses a traditional LED backlight to produce bright and vivid colors, while OLED produces perfect blacks and infinite contrast without the need for backlights.

The reason why OLED can produce perfect blacks is that each pixel on an OLED screen can turn off individually. This means that when a pixel displays black, it is completely turned off, resulting in no light emission from that particular pixel. This ability to turn off individual pixels results in infinite contrast ratios and deeper blacks.

On the other hand, QLED's backlighting technology means that even when displaying black colors, there will always be some light emitted from the screen. However, this doesn't mean that QLED has poor black levels or contrast. In fact, Samsung has implemented local dimming technology in its high-end QLED TVs to improve its black levels and overall contrast ratio.

Local Dimming Improves Black Levels and Contrast Ratio in QLEDs But Still Falls Short Compared to OLED's Ability to Turn Off Individual Pixels

Local dimming is a technique used by many manufacturers of LED-backlit LCD TVs including Samsung's QLED line-up. The idea behind local dimming is simple: adjust the brightness of different areas of the screen independently so that darker areas are darker while brighter areas remain bright.

While local dimming does help improve black levels and overall contrast ratio on a QLED TV compared to one without it, it still falls short compared to OLED's ability to turn off individual pixels for true blacks. The problem with local dimming is that it cannot achieve true blacks as there will always be some light leakage from adjacent lit-up zones.

That being said, Samsung has made significant strides in local dimming technology, especially in its flagship QLED models. The company uses a full-array local dimming system that divides the screen into hundreds of independent zones and adjusts the brightness of each zone accordingly.

OLED's Peak Brightness May Not Be as High as QLED's, but It Is More Suitable for Dark Room Viewing Due to Its Superior Black Levels and Contrast

One area where QLEDs generally outperform OLEDs is peak brightness. Because of their LED backlighting technology, QLEDs can achieve higher peak brightness levels than OLEDs. This makes them ideal for bright rooms with lots of ambient light.

However, OLED is the clear winner due to its superior black levels and contrast. When watching content in a dark room, any light emitted from the screen can be distracting and ruin the overall viewing experience. This is where OLED's ability to turn off individual pixels comes in handy.

Furthermore, while QLED's blue light emission is minimal compared to traditional LCD screens, it still emits some blue light which can disrupt sleep patterns at night. On the other hand, because OLED doesn't require a backlight at all, it emits no blue light whatsoever.

4. Pixel Response Time, Input Lag, and Refresh Rate in QLED vs. OLED

OLED's Faster Pixel Response Time Results in Less Motion Blur

OLED has a clear advantage over QLED. This is because each pixel in an OLED display can turn on and off independently, resulting in faster response times and less motion blur. In contrast, QLED displays rely on liquid crystal technology that takes longer to change the state of each pixel.

The difference in pixel response time between the two technologies is most noticeable when watching fast-moving content like sports or action movies. With an OLED display, you'll notice smoother transitions between frames and less blurring around moving objects. This makes for a more immersive viewing experience overall.

QLED's Lower Input Lag Makes It More Responsive for Gaming

While OLED may have the edge, QLED has a lower input lag than its counterpart. Input lag refers to the delay between when you press a button on your controller or keyboard and when that action is displayed on-screen.

For gamers, input lag can be a critical factor that affects their ability to react quickly in fast-paced games. With a lower input lag, QLED displays are generally more responsive than OLED displays.

OLED's Higher Refresh Rate Results in Smoother Motion

Another area where OLED outperforms QLED is the refresh rate. The refresh rate refers to how many times per second the screen updates with new information. A higher refresh rate means smoother motion and less stuttering during fast-paced scenes.

OLED displays typically have higher refresh rates than QLED displays due to their faster pixel response times. This means that even though they may not have as low of an input lag as QLEDs, they still provide an excellent gaming experience due to their smooth motion.

Both Technologies Can Experience Image Retention or Burn-In

One issue that both QLED and OLED displays can experience is image retention or burn-in. This occurs when static images are displayed on the screen for long periods, causing some pixels to become permanently discolored.

However, OLEDs are more susceptible to this issue than QLEDs due to their individual pixel lighting. If you plan on using your display for extended periods with static content like news tickers or video game HUDs, it's essential to take precautions to prevent image retention or burn-in.

5. Gaming on QLED vs. OLED TVs

PlayStation 4 controller Caspar Camille Rubin | Unsplash

Brightness vs Response Time: Which is Better for Gaming?

Choosing the right TV can make all the difference in your experience. Two of the most popular options on the market are QLED and OLED TVs. While both offer excellent picture quality, there are some differences that gamers should consider before making a purchase.

QLED TVs: Better for Bright Rooms

QLED TVs use LED backlighting with quantum dot technology to produce brighter images than OLED TVs. This makes them a better choice for gaming in brightly lit rooms or during daylight hours when natural light may be streaming in. The higher brightness level also helps to enhance colors and contrast, making games more vivid and immersive.

In addition to their brightness, QLED TVs also have excellent video processing capabilities. They can upscale lower-resolution content to near-4K quality, which means even older games will look great on these screens. And because they don't suffer from burn-in issues like OLEDs do, you won't have to worry about static images leaving permanent marks on your screen.

OLED TVs: Faster Response Times

OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode - these types of televisions use self-emitting pixels that turn on and off individually. This allows for true blacks and infinite contrast ratios that simply can't be matched by LED or LCD screens.

But what does this mean for gaming? Well, because each pixel can turn off completely when displaying black or dark colors, OLEDs have faster response times than QLEDs. This makes them ideal for fast-paced games with quick movements like first-person shooters or racing games.

Another benefit of OLEDs is their wide viewing angles. Unlike traditional LED/LCD screens that lose color accuracy when viewed from an angle, OLEDs maintain their color saturation no matter where you're sitting in relation to the TV.

Final Thoughts: Which Should You Choose For Gaming?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer. It really depends on your individual needs and preferences.

If you typically game in a bright room or during daylight hours, a QLED TV is likely your best bet. They offer brighter images and better color accuracy in these situations.

On the other hand, if you're into fast-paced games with lots of movement or want true blacks and infinite contrast ratios, an OLED TV is the way to go. Just be aware that they can suffer from burn-in issues if static images are displayed for extended periods of time.

Ultimately, both QLED and OLED TVs offer excellent video processing capabilities and crisp, clear images

6. Alternatives to Consider Besides QLED and OLED

LCD Panels: A Popular Alternative to QLED and OLED Displays

Two of the most popular technologies are QLED and OLED. However, these displays can be quite expensive, which is why many consumers are turning to LCD panels as a more affordable alternative.

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technology has been around for decades and is widely used in TVs, computer monitors, smartphones, and other devices. Unlike OLED displays that emit their own light from each pixel, LCDs use a backlight to illuminate the screen. This backlighting technology is typically LED-based (Light Emitting Diode), which enhances brightness and contrast.

One of the main advantages of LCD panels over QLED or OLED displays is their affordability. They are widely available in various sizes and resolutions at much lower prices than their high-end counterparts. They offer excellent color reproduction and viewing angles that make them ideal for everyday use.

LCD TVs: Widely Available Option for Consumers

If you're in the market for a new TV but don't want to break the bank on a QLED or OLED display, an LCD TV might be just what you need. These TVs are widely available from numerous manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, Sony, TCL etc., offering consumers plenty of resolution, features, and price points.

While some may argue that an LCD TV doesn't offer the same level of picture quality as a QLED or OLED display does due to its backlighting technology limitations in terms of black levels and contrast ratio performance; however with modern advancements in LED backlighting technology such as local dimming zones/Full-Array Local Dimming (FALD) – where LEDs behind the screen can be individually controlled - this gap has significantly narrowed down making them more competitive than ever before.

Display Technologies: IPS and VA Panels Offer Different Viewing Experiences for Consumers

There are two main types of panels: IPS (In-Plane Switching) and VA (Vertical Alignment). Both offer different viewing experiences that cater to different needs.

IPS panels are known for their excellent color accuracy, wide viewing angles, and fast response times. They are ideal for tasks that require accurate color reproduction such as photo editing, graphic design, or video production. They offer wider viewing angles than VA panels which makes them perfect for group watching.

On the other hand, VA panels have better contrast ratios than IPS displays but suffer from narrow viewing angles. This means that if you're sitting off-center from the TV, you may experience a loss in picture quality. However, if you're looking for a display with deep blacks and high contrast ratio performance - making them ideal for dark room environments such as home theater rooms- then the VA panel is your go-to choice.

7. QLED vs. OLED: Which is Better?

Samsung QLED TVs

Samsung's QLED TVs use quantum dot technology to produce brighter and more vibrant colors than standard LED TVs. The quantum dots in these televisions are tiny particles that emit light when hit by a photon. This allows for a wider color gamut and better color accuracy.

One of the main advantages of Samsung's QLED technology is its brightness. These TVs can get very bright, making them ideal for well-lit rooms or spaces with lots of windows.


QD OLEDs, like those produced by LG, combine the best of both worlds by using quantum dots to enhance the picture quality of OLED panels. OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays offer superior black levels and viewing angles compared to traditional LED/LCD displays.

By adding quantum dots to an OLED panel, manufacturers can improve color accuracy and brightness while maintaining the excellent black levels and viewing angles that make OLED so popular among TV enthusiasts.

Neo QLED Technology

Samsung's Neo QLED technology takes things one step further by offering improved contrast and brightness compared to traditional QLED TVs. The company achieves this by using miniaturized LEDs as backlighting instead of a single large LED.

This approach allows for more precise control over individual areas of the screen, resulting in better contrast and less blooming (where bright objects bleed into dark areas). These sets are also extremely thin, making them perfect for wall-mounting or placing on a sleek stand.

Sony's OLED TVs

Sony's OLED TVs are often considered some of the best on the market. Their models offer excellent picture quality, with deep blacks and accurate colors. They also feature Sony's X1 Ultimate processor, which enhances picture quality by analyzing and optimizing each frame.

However, these sets can be more expensive than comparable QLED models from Samsung or LG. If you're looking for a top-of-the-line TV and don't mind paying a premium price, Sony's OLEDs are definitely worth considering.


Is OLED better than QLED?

It depends on your needs. If you prioritize deep blacks and high contrast ratios for movie-watching or gaming, then OLED is likely the better choice for you. However, if you want brighter images with more accurate colors for sports or other vibrant content, then QLED might be a better fit.

Are there any alternatives to consider besides OLED and QLED?

Yes! There are several other display technologies available on the market today. These include LCD (liquid crystal display), LED (light-emitting diode), and micro-LEDs.

Which is better for gaming - OLED or QLED?

OLED displays generally offer faster pixel response times, which can be beneficial for gaming. However, QLEDs typically have lower input lag and higher refresh rates, which are also important factors to consider when choosing a TV for gaming.

Can OLED or QLED TVs cause eye strain?

All types of displays emit blue light, which can contribute to eye strain over time. However, many newer models of both OLED and QLED TVs include features like blue light filters or automatic brightness adjustments that can help reduce eye strain.

Are OLED or QLED TVs more expensive?

Generally speaking, OLEDs tend to be more expensive than QLEDs due to the manufacturing process involved in creating organic LEDs. However, prices vary depending on the specific model and manufacturer.

How long do OLED and QLED TVs typically last?

Both technologies are designed to last several years with normal use. However, as with any electronic device, there is always a chance of malfunction or failure over time. It's important to choose a reputable brand and model with good reviews from other users to maximize your TV's lifespan.

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