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The 10 Best Reasons to Upgrade to a Mini LED TV in 2023

Are you considering purchasing a new television but feeling overwhelmed by the various display technologies available today? From traditional LED LCD to cutting-edge OLED and advanced projection systems, the options can seem endless. However, one display type that has been generating significant buzz lately is mini LED. But what exactly is mini LED, and why might it be the ideal choice for your next TV?

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll dive deep into the world of mini LED TVs, exploring the key advantages that make them such a compelling option for home theater enthusiasts and casual viewers. We‘ll examine how mini LED backlighting technology works, look at some of the best mini LED TVs you can buy today, and ultimately help you determine whether a mini LED set is right for your needs and preferences.

What Is a Mini LED TV?

Before we begin extolling the virtues of mini LED TVs, let‘s first establish what we mean by "mini LED." Essentially, mini LED is a type of LCD TV that utilizes a highly sophisticated full-array local dimming (FALD) backlight. While all modern LCD TVs use LED backlights, mini LED sets take this approach to the extreme by employing thousands of very small LED lights behind the LCD panel.

The term "mini" refers to the size of the LEDs themselves. While a conventional LED LCD TV might use hundreds of regular-sized LEDs, a mini LED set packs in thousands of much smaller lights, typically 0.2mm or less. This allows manufacturers to create a denser backlight array with a significantly higher number of dimmable zones.

For example, the 2021 Samsung QN90A mini LED TV boasts over 1,500 local dimming zones, while the flagship 8K QN900A features a whopping 2,500+ zones. In comparison, even high-end regular LED LCDs typically max out at around 500 zones, while budget models may have fewer than 100.

By enabling such precise control over the backlight, mini LED technology can dramatically enhance contrast, reduce blooming around bright objects, and improve overall picture quality compared to standard LED LCDs. It‘s an attempt to bring LCD closer to the pixel-level luminance control of self-emissive displays like OLED while retaining the brightness and color volume advantages of transmissive LCD technology.

Advantages of Mini LED TVs

Now that we understand the basics of how mini LED backlights work, let‘s take a closer look at the specific benefits this technology delivers:

1. Incredible Brightness

One of mini LED‘s most impressive strengths is its ability to achieve extremely high peak brightness levels. While even the best OLED TVs currently top out around 700-800 nits, the top mini LED TVs can exceed 2,000 nits in small highlight areas. This is especially advantageous for viewing in well-lit environments and enjoying impactful high dynamic range (HDR) content.

TV Model Peak Brightness (10% Window)
Samsung QN90A 1,500+ nits
LG QNED90 1,400+ nits
TCL 8-Series 1,300+ nits

Sources:, HDTV Test, HDTVPolska,

2. Precise Local Dimming

Mini LED‘s huge number of local dimming zones is arguably its biggest asset. The dense array of dimmable LED lights allows the TV to illuminate bright areas of the picture while keeping adjacent dark areas dim for superior contrast.

Having thousands of zones to work with enables mini LED TVs to minimize blooming and light bleed around stand-out objects for a cleaner, more refined presentation. It also helps preserve shadow details in dark scenes that may be crushed to black on LED LCDs with fewer dimming zones.

TV Model Local Dimming Zones
Samsung QN90A (65") 1,500+
LG QNED90 (65") 1,000+
TCL 6-Series R646 (65") 240

Sources: Manufacturer specifications, FlatpanelsHD, PCMag

3. Excellent Contrast

By combining prodigious peak brightness with precise local dimming, mini LED TVs can deliver outstanding contrast ratios that approach the quality of self-emissive displays. While exact figures vary depending on specific measurement methods and display settings, the best mini LED TVs routinely achieve native contrast between 15,000:1 and 30,000:1, with dynamic contrast often calculated in the millions.

While mini LED technically can‘t match the perfect, infinite contrast of OLED, which can completely switch off individual pixels, it gets extremely close while simultaneously delivering much higher peak luminance. This makes for dazzling, dynamic HDR with both brilliant highlights and convincing depth to black levels.

4. Wide Color Gamut Coverage

Another key strength of mini LED technology is its ability to produce rich, vibrant colors across a very wide gamut. Most of the major mini LED TVs on the market today can cover 90-95%+ of the DCI-P3 color space used for mastering HDR content like 4K Blu-rays, approaching the full extent of the Rec. 2020 specification.

By comparison, many traditional LED LCDs struggle to extend far beyond the smaller Rec. 709 space, while OLED can cover a very wide gamut but lacks the sheer luminance to hit the brightest, most saturated color points at higher stimulus levels. Quantum dot film enhancement layers have helped LED LCDs extend their gamut in recent years, but mini LED takes color performance a step further.

TV Model DCI-P3 Color Gamut Coverage
Samsung QN90A 94.2% (xy) / 90.5% (uv)
LG QNED90 93.6% (xy) / 89.8% (uv)
TCL 8-Series 95.7% (xy) / 93.1% (uv)

Sources:,, AVSForum

5. Leading Processing and Smart TV Platforms

The top-tier mini LED TV offerings from leading brands like Samsung, LG, and TCL not only incorporate cutting-edge mini LED hardware but also feature the companies‘ most advanced video processing and smart TV software.

For example, Samsung‘s Neo QLED mini LED models use the powerful Neo Quantum processor with advanced AI upscaling, Quantum HDR enhancements, and object tracking sound. LG‘s QNED series mini LED sets feature the a9 Gen 4 processor with AI Picture Pro, as well as the intuitive webOS smart platform with ThinQ voice control. TCL‘s premium mini LED offerings include the AiPQ Engine processor with Dolby Vision IQ and hands-free voice control through Google TV or Roku TV.

These advanced processing suites help mini LED TVs make the most of their hardware capabilities, optimizing picture quality for each individual piece of content. Combined with robust selections of built-in apps, smart assistants, and user personalization features, they make for highly versatile, future-proof TV platforms.

6. Advanced Gaming Features

The latest mini LED TVs are also some of the most capable gaming displays available today, with a range of advanced features tailored for next-gen console and PC gaming. Models like the Samsung QN90A, LG QNED90, and TCL 6-Series R646 support HDMI 2.1 inputs with 4K 120Hz, variable refresh rate (VRR), and auto low latency mode (ALLM) for smooth, responsive gameplay.

Native refresh rates up to 120Hz provide excellent motion clarity for fast-paced content, while input lag as low as ~6-10ms ensures your actions are translated to the screen with virtually no delay. VRR technologies like AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and Nvidia G-Sync help eliminate screen tearing and stuttering across a wide refresh rate range, typically 20-120Hz.

Some mini LED TVs also feature special gaming dashboard interfaces for quick access to relevant settings and signal information. For example, Samsung‘s Game Bar provides real-time display of input lag, frame rate, VRR status, and HDR metadata, while LG‘s Game Optimizer allows easy adjustment of black and white stabilizers, response time, and VRR on the fly.

The Future of Mini LED and Competing Display Technologies

As impressive as the current crop of mini LED TVs are, there‘s still plenty of room for the technology to grow and evolve in the coming years. Leading brands continue to experiment with new backlight structures, dimming algorithms, and power delivery methods to push mini LED even further.

For example, Chinese TV brands Hisense and TCL have showcased "dual-layer" LCD prototypes that place two LCD panels on top of each other, with the rear layer acting as a dynamic backlight with pixel-level luminance control. This approach, which TCL calls "OD Zero" technology, allows for greater light blocking and an ultra-thin panel structure. We may see these techniques integrated into more mainstream mini LED sets in the near future.

Another area of intense development is even smaller "micro LED" technology. As the name suggests, micro LED utilizes microscopic LEDs, typically under 0.1mm in size, to create a self-emissive display with no separate backlight. This enables perfect black levels, wide viewing angles, and virtually infinite contrast like OLED, while allowing much higher brightness and more saturated colors.

However, micro LED remains extremely expensive and difficult to manufacture at scale, especially for smaller screen sizes suitable for mainstream living room use. It will likely be several more years before micro LED TVs are readily available to general consumers at remotely affordable prices.

For now, mini LED represents an exciting middle ground between traditional LCD and the ultimate endgame of self-emissive display technologies. By massively expanding the number of local dimming zones and pushing the boundaries of LED brightness and granularity, it provides a tantalizing taste of what‘s to come.

Expert Reviews and Testimonials

But you don‘t have to take our word for it – here‘s what some of the web‘s most respected display technology experts have to say about mini LED TVs:

"The Samsung QN90A is the best 4K LCD-based TV we‘ve ever tested. It uses Mini LED tech for precision backlighting, and combines that with the brightness and color made possible by quantum dots. In almost every way it‘s a bigger, better OLED — except it can‘t match that tech‘s perfect black levels. But movies, TV shows, sports and games all look amazing." – David Katzmaier, CNET

"The TCL 8-Series is a showcase for what Mini-LED technology is capable of at its best, setting a high bar for SDR and HDR performance that‘s, in most regards, the best we‘ve measured among LCD TVs to date." – John Higgins, Tom‘s Guide

"LG‘s QNED99 is a true flagship 8K TV in every sense, packing the company‘s absolutely top-end image technology into a beautifully slim design. Mini LED backlight control joins LG‘s already impressive AI-assisted picture quality, plus webOS improvements and next-gen HDMI support for good measure." – Caleb Denison, Digital Trends


As we‘ve seen, mini LED TVs offer a compelling blend of traditional LCD and cutting-edge self-emissive display technologies, delivering exceptional brightness, contrast, color performance, and gaming capabilities. While they still command a premium over standard LED LCDs, they provide a substantial step up in overall picture quality that videophiles and discerning viewers will certainly appreciate.

If you‘re in the market for a new high-end TV and want the best possible HDR experience for both movies and gaming, a mini LED set is definitely worth strong consideration. With models available from all the major TV brands at various sizes and price points, there‘s never been a better time to invest in this exciting display technology.

Of course, your ultimate buying decision will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. If you primarily watch TV in a light-controlled room and value the pixel-level luminance control of self-emissive tech, an OLED may still be the better choice. Viewers who mainly consume SDR content or who simply want the largest possible screen for their money may also find better value in a more affordable LED LCD or laser projection setup.

But for most mainstream premium TV shoppers, it‘s hard to go wrong with a mini LED model from a reputable brand. With their combination of powerful hardware, advanced processing, and user-friendly smart TV platforms, they represent some of the most well-rounded, versatile displays on the market today.

As mini LED continues to evolve and eventually gives way to even more sophisticated backlight and self-emissive technologies in the years ahead, one thing is certain: the future of television is looking brighter than ever.