QD-OLED vs. WOLED: The Ultimate Technical Comparison of Leading TV Display Innovations
If you‘re searching for a new high-end TV, chances are you‘ve encountered the terms "QD-OLED" and "WOLED" – referring to quantum dot OLED and white OLED display technologies pursued by Samsung and LG respectively. You may be wondering: what exactly is the difference between these fancy acronyms and which is better for picture quality? Buckle up, because we‘re going to dive into a comprehensive side-by-side analysis, looking deeply at how these rival OLED technologies compare across a range of specifications and real-world performance factors. Let‘s dig in!
First, a little history lesson is in order. Where did QD-OLED and WOLED originate?
WOLED dates back to Kodak‘s early research into white OLED materials in the late 1990s and 2000s. LG later acquired this technology and spent years perfecting it for TVs. The company remains the exclusive producer of WOLED panels to this day. All LG branded OLED TVs contain WOLED displays, as do many Sony and other third party OLED sets.
Samsung, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer to the world of OLED TVs. After resisting OLED for years, Samsung finally jumped into the market in 2022 with their QD-OLED (quantum dot OLED) technology. This promises to shake up the industry through an innovative RGB-structured panel design.
So how do these rival OLED technologies work at a molecular level?
WOLED panels start with a base later of white OLED material composed of a mix of blue OLED and yellow phosphors. Color filters are then added to convert the white light into red, green and blue subpixels. Critically, LG also utilizes a fourth white subpixel to boost luminance.
By contrast, QD-OLED relies entirely on a layer of blue OLED material to generate light. Red and green quantum dots arranged in a film then convert some of this blue into pure red and green light. The remaining blue light passes through a dedicated blue subpixel. No white subpixels are required.
The resulting RG-blue pixel structure in QD-OLED allows for more precise control and wider color range, especially in brighter content. But WOLED‘s extra white pixel helps it achieve higher peak brightness.
Speaking of brightness, let‘s examine how QD-OLED and WOLED compare in terms of maximum luminance:
In 2022 models, QD-OLED held a clear peak brightness advantage of 1250 nits for the S95B versus around 800-850 nits on LG G2. However, LG has narrowed this gap for 2023 through their new "META" brightness boosting technology.
META (Micro Lens Array) applies a micro-scale lens film over WOLED pixels to concentrate light output. As a result, LG claims peak brightness on their G3 has jumped by 60% to an impressive 2100 nits in Vivid mode, and 1800 nits in other presets.
Not to be outdone, Samsung has also elevated QD-OLED peak brightness for 2023 through panel improvements and neural network mapping. The S95C is rated for 2000 nits thanks to a 30% boost. Impressively, QD-OLED exceeds this in real scene highlights, whereas WOLED‘s peak is fleeting.
When it comes to color reproduction, measurements unequivocally demonstrate QD-OLED‘s wider gamut capabilities versus WOLED:
- DCI-P3 coverage: QD-OLED – 97% / WOLED – 85%
- Rec 2020 coverage: QD-OLED – 77% / WOLED – 61%
This massive 30-40% advantage in cinema and UHDTV color spaces is enabled by QD-OLED‘s precision RGB pixel control, versus the filtering required on WOLED. Vibrant reds and greens especially stand out. QD-OLED also leads significantly in volume, producing many more colors at higher luminance levels.
However, WOLED panel technology still bests QD-OLED when it comes to off-center viewing angles. Based on instrument testing, WOLED maintains faithful color and contrast when viewed 35+ degrees off-axis. QD-OLED begins to exhibit minor desaturation and crushing at wider angles beyond 30 degrees. Those with expansive seating arrangements should weigh this benefit of WOLED.
Another metric where QD-OLED pulls ahead is motion clarity. Thanks to faster response times and higher native refresh rates, QD-OLED delivers pristine motion resolution for sports, video games and fast camera pans. Specifically:
- QD-OLED response time: 0.1 ms
- WOLED response time: 0.5 ms
- QD-OLED refresh rate: 144 Hz
- WOLED refresh rate: 120 Hz
The numbers speak for themselves – QD-OLED has a true performance advantage here. Blur in quickly moving images is less detectable compared to WOLED.
Glare and reflections have long been an Achilles heel for OLED TVs. But QD-OLED essentially eliminates this issue through precision optical filtering and anti-reflective coatings. Based on extensive lab measurements, QD-OLED models reflect 5-10x less ambient light versus WOLED competitors. Real-world performance lives up to these findings. QD-OLED excels in bright rooms.
Gaming has become integral to the TV experience. Both Samsung and LG promote gaming features like 4K/120Hz HDMI 2.1 ports, VRR and ultra-low input lag. QD-OLED differentiates through support for 144Hz at 4K versus 120Hz on WOLED. But WOLED counters with Dolby Vision gaming. Overall, both technologies satisfy next-gen gamers.
When it comes to risk of permanent burn-in, WOLED‘s white subpixel requires constant compensation to avoid uneven aging. QD-OLED‘s direct RGB pixel control and inorganic materials essentially eliminate burn-in risk under normal conditions based on current data. This could prove a determining factor for heavy gamers and PC desktop users.
For smart TV software, Samsung Tizen goes toe-to-toe with LG webOS in offering polished interfaces, vast app selection and speedy navigation. Both support the major streaming services. Preference comes down to layout and certain exclusives. webOS offers simpler menus while Tizen enables tighter ecosystem integration.
Last but not least, how do QD-OLED and WOLED compare in terms of pricing? Simply put, WOLED provides excellent performance at lower price points. The gap has closed slightly as QD-OLED drops in cost, but remains significant:
- 55-inch QD-OLED: $2000+
- 55-inch WOLED: $1300+
- 65-inch QD-OLED: $3000+
- 65-inch WOLED: $1800+
As this technology clash demonstrates, QD-OLED excels in color vibrancy, brightness in content, motion clarity and reflection handling. WOLED counters with wider viewing angles, Dolby Vision dynamic HDR, and more affordability. In the end, they stand as two amazing OLED options that redefine television through self-emissive pixel technology. We hope this detailed engineering comparison helps you pick the perfect premium TV for your needs and delivers the insight you crave as a discerning home theater fan. Enjoy the future of immersive entertainment!