When looking to buy a new television, you may have seen those two terms popping up a lot – QLED and QNED. Both refer to advanced TV display technologies from top brands like Samsung and LG. But what exactly do they mean and what‘s the difference?
Don‘t worry, I‘ve dug into the details as a tech geek so I can break it all down for you plainly here! By the end, you‘ll understand what sets QLED and QNED apart and be able to determine which is the superior choice.
Here‘s a quick rundown before we dive in:
- QLED stands for "quantum dot LED TV" – it was introduced by Samsung in 2017 to enhance color and brightness.
- QNED stands for "quantum nano-emitting diode" – launched by LG in 2021, it adds mini LED backlights for better contrast.
- QNED tends to beat QLED on picture quality thanks to those mini LED backlights that allow for finer local dimming control. But QLED remains a great mid-range option with vibrant quantum dot colors and competitive pricing.
Let‘s explore what exactly makes these TV technologies unique and see how they stack up!
Demystifying QNED TVs
QNED TVs represent LG‘s latest innovation for LCD displays. They first hit the scene in late 2020 and were positioned as the next evolution of LED TV picture quality.
The NanoEmitting Diode portion of the name refers to the quantum dots used in the panel (more on those shortly!)
But what really makes QNED stand out is the backlighting system:
Mini LED Backlights Offer Pinpoint Local Dimming
Instead of the hundreds of standard LEDs used in typical LCD backlights, QNED TVs employ tens of thousands of teeny tiny LEDs – we‘re talking just microns in size!
This mini LED backlight unlocks much more precise regional dimming control. The TV can selectively dim or boost the brightness in hundreds of specific areas of the screen independently.
This micro-level local dimming is a huge upgrade for contrast, black levels and HDR performance. Mini LED backlights first debuted in LCD TVs with the QNED.
Quantum Dots and NanoCell = Wide Colors and Pure Hues
On top of the advanced backlighting, QNED TVs also integrate quantum dot film and LG‘s NanoCell technology in the LCD panel itself:
- Quantum dots are teeny semiconductor particles that emit extremely accurate and vibrant colored light. This expands the overall color volume for rich, lively images.
- NanoCell is a layer of nanoparticles that act like a filter to remove color impurities and enhance purity. This minimizes color bleeding for top notch accuracy.
With both NanoCells and quantum dots working together, QNED TVs can produce over a billion color shades for stunning accuracy and realism.
What is QLED and How Does it Differ from QNED?
QLED stands for "quantum dot LED TV" and represents Samsung‘s alternative to OLED televisions. The QLED branding debuted in 2017 as the successor to Samsung‘s SUHD TVs.
The key distinction of QLED TVs is the integration of a quantum dot enhancement film over the traditional LED backlight array.
These quantum dots exponentially increase the color volume for more vibrant and precise colors. So in that regard, QLED and QNED are very similar.
The difference lies in the backlights. While QNED uses advanced mini LED backlights, QLED sticks with standard full array LED backlighting. This means QLED lacks the incredibly precise dimming zones of QNED, limiting its contrast capabilities.
But QLED TVs still provide excellent color and brightness within a more affordable price range. You‘ll see them marketed by Samsung, Hisense, Sony, TCL and other major brands.
QNED vs. QLED TV Comparison
|| QNED | QLED |
| Introduced by LG in 2021 | Introduced by Samsung in 2017 |
| Mini LED backlight | Standard LED backlight |
| Tens of thousands of dimming zones | Hundreds of dimming zones |
| Quantum dots + NanoCell layer | Quantum dot enhancement film |
| Starting price around $1500 | Starting price around $800 |
Now let‘s look at how the differences in backlighting and panel design impact real world picture performance.
QNED vs QLED Picture Quality Face-Off
Here is an in-depth comparison of how QNED and QLED TVs stack up in key areas of display performance:
Contrast and Black Levels
When it comes to contrast ratio and black level performance, QNED reigns supreme thanks to the capabilities of mini LED backlighting.
With thousands of tiny LEDs and dimming zones, QNED TVs can produce searing bright highlights up to 1800 nits while still achieving inky, near OLED-quality blacks.
This amount of control prevents black levels from appearing grayish or washed out. Check out this contrast ratio test:
QNED vs QLED Contrast Ratios
|LG QNED85 65"||150,000:1|
|Samsung Q60T QLED 65"||5000:1|
With 30 times higher contrast, QNED delivers stellar dynamic range and dimensionality. The only downside is occasional blooming around bright objects. But for LCD TVs, QNED represents a new tier of contrast performance.
Both QLED and QNED TVs leverage quantum dots to produce a wider color gamut and extremely accurate, saturated colors.
Quantum dots are like tiny prisms that emit colorful light. Based on their size, they can be precisely tuned to very specific color wavelengths.
This allows both technologies to easily achieve over 95% of the DCI-P3 color space for vibrant images with realistic tones. QNED may have a very slight edge due to its NanoCell layer for filtering, but color performance is excellently matched between the two.
QNED vs QLED Color Gamuts
|Model||% DCI-P3 Coverage|
|LG QNED90 65"||98%|
|Samsung Q80T QLED 65"||95%|
As you can see, both achieve near full DCI-P3 for phenomenal color reproduction.
Off-angle viewing is a known weakness of LCD panels. The liquid crystals start to distort and blacks appear washed out from wide sides.
QLED TVs definitely show degradation in color, contrast and brightness when viewed from off-center seats.
But QNED‘s NanoCell layer helps maintain better stability at wider angles. While there is still some darkness loss, it holds up better, making QNED the better choice for large living rooms where people are sitting all around.
For fast moving sports and action movies, both QLED and QNED displays feature top-notch motion performance:
- Up to 120Hz refresh rates cut down on blur
- Black frame insertion helps smooth out motion
- Variable refresh rate (VRR) matches the screen‘s refresh to the frame rate of content
- Backlight scanning flashes the backlight in sync with the screen‘s refresh
LG and Samsung also include customized processors in their TVs with dedicated motion processing. Ultimately, both achieve excellent motion resolution and clarity.
Smart TV Features
QLED TVs utilize Samsung‘s acclaimed Tizen smart TV platform while QNED TVs run webOS from LG. Both include:
- Access to all major streaming apps like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, etc.
- Built-in voice assistants like Bixby and Google Assistant
- Advanced recommendation engines to suggest new shows
- Screen mirroring and connectivity with phones and tablets
- Customizable menus with favorites
For smart features, it‘s a toss up between these two titans. Both Tizen and webOS provide awesome smart TV capabilities.
Gaming is one area where QNED holds a slight performance advantage over QLED.
With HDMI 2.1 ports, QNED supports 4K gaming at 120 fps, enabling super smooth motion clarity. Auto low latency mode (ALLM) also minimizes input lag for quicker response when gaming.
The mini LED backlighting also combats haloing or blooming effects around bright objects that can be distracting in games. And enhanced black levels boost cinematic appeal.
QLED displays still deliver excellent gaming experiences, but QNED takes it up a notch.
Verdict: QNED Wins Overall, But Evaluate Your Budget
Based on these comparison points, QNED comes out ahead as the superior television technology over QLED in most picture quality criteria.
The mini LED backlights with their thousands of local dimming zones enable QNED TVs to reach new heights in contrast and black levels. This achieves images with incredible depth and realism.
While QLED also produces rich quantum dot color, the lack of advanced local dimming gives QNED the edge for contrast and HDR performance. QNED also maintains its color and brightness at wider viewing angles.
However, QNED TVs cost a good $500 more on average than QLEDs of the same size. The mini LED backlights add expense.
So QLED remains an excellent mid-range choice for buyers wanting quantum-dot enhanced 4K TVs at affordable pricing.
I‘d say if your budget allows, go for QNED for the better overall picture. But if keeping costs down is key, QLED provides amazing colors and brightness at reasonable prices. Samsung and other brands also offer a wider range of QLED screen sizes.
Either way, both represent big leaps forward from standard LED TVs. Let me know if you have any other questions!
What‘s Next for QLED and QNED Display Technology?
As you can probably tell, I‘m passionate about display innovations! QLED and QNED definitely represent the bleeding edge in terms of LCD TV advancements. Television manufacturers are continuing to integrate new technologies to enhance these viewing experiences even further:
- Micro LED backlights shrink down LED sizes for superior local dimming capabilities and energy efficiency
- Quantum dot improvements allow expanded color volumes, higher peak brightness, and greater efficiencies
- ATSC 3.0 tuners enable next-gen 4K HDR and object-based audio from over-the-air broadcasts
- Faster processors with machine learning allow for even better upscaling, motion smoothing, and picture enhancements
- HDMI 2.1 brings gaming-friendly specs like 4K/120Hz, Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)
- Bezel-less designs maximize the screen area for more immersive viewing experiences
QLED and QNED manufacturers clearly have their sights set on matching (or even surpassing) OLED in the coming years when it comes to picture quality.
It will be exciting to see how these two technologies evolve and where they take LCD TV performance next. If I had to predict, I think we‘ll eventually see QLED/QNED TVs that add self-emissive quantum dots on top of LED backlights. This could combine the backlight control of LCD with the per-pixel luminance of OLED panels for the best of both worlds!
But for now, both QLED and QNED provide compelling options for high-end 4K TV enjoyment. I hope all this info helps explain what makes each one unique. Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to chat display tech.