If you‘re shopping for a new premium TV, you‘re probably considering an OLED TV or one of the new QNED models from LG. But what exactly is QNED and how does it stack up against acclaimed OLED TVs? In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll compare QNED and OLED displays across all the key factors from black levels and brightness to gaming performance and pricing. I‘ll also provide some background on how each technology works so you can better understand the advantages and disadvantages of each. Let‘s dive in!
OLED TVs have been considered the gold standard in picture quality over the last few years, with their perfect black levels, wide viewing angles, and ultra-thin designs. However, LG recently introduced QNED TVs as their latest premium LCD LED/LCD TVs that aim to rival OLED.
QNED stands for Quantum Nanocrystal Light Emitting Diode. The key innovations are the use of quantum dots for better color and mini-LED backlights with local dimming for improved contrast and brightness.
OLED TVs use pixels that can turn off completely to achieve perfect blacks. This gives OLED advantages especially with contrast and viewing angles. But QNED TVs can get much brighter than OLED and are less susceptible to burn-in issues.
In summary, OLED is better for black levels, contrast and viewing angles while QNED wins on peak brightness and screen uniformity. But they both deliver amazing picture quality – OLED remains the enthusiast‘s choice but QNED provides elite performance for hundreds less.
Below we‘ll explore these differences in more detail across a variety of categories.
Black Levels and Contrast
Black level and contrast performance is where OLED really shines. Because each pixel emits its own light, OLED can turn pixels completely off to achieve truly infinite black levels. This enables a near infinite contrast ratio and unprecedented dynamic range. Shadow details are visible even in scenes with brightly lit elements.
QNED still uses LED backlights so cannot match this level of blacks and pixel-level contrast control. Even with advanced local dimming, the LED backlight limits the black depth they can achieve. The mini-LED backlights have thousands of dimming zones and help QNED significantly improve black levels and contrast over older LCD TVs. But OLED remains in a league of its own in this area.
OLED‘s per-pixel lighting control allows it to achieve perfect, infinite blacks when pixels are turned off. This results in superior contrast with intense dynamic range between true blacks and peak brightness.
When it comes to maximum light output, QNED TVs edge out OLED – sometimes by a significant margin. The latest generation QNED TVs can reach peak brightness up to 1800 nits compared to OLED which tops out at around 800-900 nits.
This brighter peak light output gives QNED an advantage particularly when viewing HDR content. With 2-3x higher peak brightness, the most intense highlights really stand out with a luminous, eye-catching brilliance compared to OLED‘s more subdued approach. This helps QNED deliver a truly dynamic and punchy HDR viewing experience.
The latest QNED TVs can reach higher levels of peak brightness than OLED, hitting around 1800 nits compared to OLED‘s 800-900 nit range. Brighter highlights make for a more vibrant and eye-catching HDR picture in brighter viewing environments.
When it comes to color reproduction, both QNED and OLED TVs are capable of excellent, highly accurate color performance.
They both support wide color gamuts exceeding 95% of DCI-P3 which is the key HDR color standard. Premium models also support 10-bit color for over 1 billion colors and can display these colors at high brightness levels.
After professional calibration both technologies can achieve a color accuracy delta E under 2.0 which is imperceptible to the human eye. Excellent color volume and management ensure colors stay vivid and true to life even in HDR content.
The quantum dots in QNED give it an edge in terms of color volume it can produce. But OLED‘s per-pixel lighting control means it handles color gradation smoother with no issues of backlight blooming. Overall color performance is fantastic on both technologies.
Both QNED and OLED can deliver wide color gamuts exceeding 95% of DCI-P3, 10-bit gradient handling, and highly accurate colors after calibration. Quantum dots give QNED an edge with color volume, but OLED‘s per-pixel control offers better color gradation.
One area where QNED loses out to OLED is on off-angle viewing. OLED TVs maintain their image quality with little loss of contrast, color, or brightness even when viewed from the side at extreme angles off-center.
Because each pixel emits its own light, the OLED image stays consistent regardless of viewing angle. This makes OLED monitors and TVs ideal for wider viewing positions such as at an office desk or in a living room with seating on the sides.
On the other hand, QNED and LCD TVs suffer from color, contrast, and brightness shifts when viewed at an angle like most LED/LCD televisions. The image will start to look darker and lose vibrancy when viewed at 30+ degree angles off center.
So OLED definitely provides a better experience for off-angle viewing situations. QNED/LCD is best for head-on viewing positions.
OLED maintains its image quality with little loss of contrast, color, or brightness even when viewed from the side at extreme angles off-center.
When displaying fast motion video like sports, OLED TVs have a clear advantage in keeping the image looking smoothly crisp. OLED‘s instantaneous pixel response time enables clear rendering of fast motion with no noticeable blur trails behind moving objects.
QNED TVs have very fast response times by LCD standards, reaching down to 2-3 milliseconds on high-end models. The latest QNED sets also support 120Hz refresh rates for better image processing and frame insertion.
But ultimately the sample-and-hold nature of LCD pixels cannot quite match the exceptional sharpness and clarity of fast motion video on OLED TVs. So while QNED performs very well, OLED pulls ahead when it comes to motion resolution.
OLED‘s instant pixel response time enables exceptionally smooth and clear motion with no noticeable blur. QNED TVs have improved to 120Hz refresh rates but still can‘t quite match OLED‘s motion clarity.
Brightness consistency across the entire screen is an area where QNED and LCD TVs have an advantage over OLED. Full array local dimming on QNED models helps improve backlight uniformity across the screen compared to basic edge-lit LED TVs.
OLED panels can sometimes exhibit slight brightness variations in very dark scenes with near black colors. Some dark scenes have a faint mottling or banding effect at times. This OLED uniformity issue has improved over the years but still persists on some sets.
On the other hand QNED TVs illuminated by mini-LED backlights tend to display outstanding screen uniformity without any hotspots or dim spots across the display. So for those sensitive to screen uniformity problems, QNED is the safer choice over OLED.
Full array local dimming on QNED TVs helps improve backlight uniformity across the screen compared to basic edge-lit LED TVs. OLED can occasionally exhibit slight brightness variations in very dark scenes.
Permanent image retention, commonly called burn-in, is an inherent weakness of OLED as a technology. The organic materials that make up OLED pixels slowly degrade over time. Static screen elements displayed repeatedly can leave a permanent ghost image visible no matter what content plays.
For this reason, OLED TVs require special screensaver precautions and pixel shifting to minimize the chances of burn-in. However it remains a risk of OLED panels, especially for users that frequently display static content like video game HUDs and channel logos.
QNED and LCD TVs have no risk of screen burn-in. The backlit LEDs illuminate liquid crystal pixels which change completely with each new frame of video. So you never have to worry about burn-in on a QNED or LCD television under normal viewing conditions.
OLED pixels slowly degrade over time leading to permanent image retention and burn-in issues from static content. QNED TVs have no risk of screen burn-in over the lifespan of the TV.
The final category where QNED pulls ahead of OLED is definitely on pricing. Due to the high cost of producing OLED panels, OLED TVs command a significant price premium over LCD/LED models of equivalent sizes.
For mainstream sizes of 55-inches to 65-inches, you can expect OLED models to cost $300-1000 more than QNED TVs of the same size. As you go up to very large screen sizes like 75-inches and above, the price gap widens even more:
|Screen Size||QNED Price Range||OLED Price Range|
|65 inches||$1200 – $2000||$1800 – $3000|
|75 inches||$1800 – $3000||$3000 – $4000|
|83 inches||$3500 – $5000||$5000+|
Of course there are budget OLED models available, but they cut corners on picture quality. When comparing flagship QNED and OLED sets, there is a clear price advantage to QNED – often $1000 or more. For buyers who want excellent quality without breaking the bank, QNED provides amazing performance per dollar.
For mainstream and especially larger screen sizes, QNED TVs are significantly less expensive than OLED TVs. A 75-inch 8K QNED sells for around $2,500 compared to a 77-inch 4K OLED at over $3,000.
Both QNED and OLED TVs are excellent options for gaming with features like 4K 120Hz resolution, variable refresh rate (VRR), auto low latency mode (ALLM), and fast response times. However, there are some advantages that each technology offers for gamers:
OLED Gaming Advantages
- Nearly instantaneous pixel response time for crystal clear motion resolution
- Wide viewing angles allow co-op gaming without image degradation
QNED Gaming Advantages
- Higher peak brightness makes HDR highlights truly stand out
- No risk of OLED burn-in from static screen elements like HUDs
For the most responsive and immersive gaming experience, OLED is hard to beat especially at desk distances where the pixel-perfect image truly shines. But QNED still provides an excellent high-performance big screen gaming display at a more affordable cost.
QNED vs. OLED: Which Is Better for You?
When it comes to picture quality, both OLED and QNED represent the pinnacle of display technology. Each has their relative strengths and weaknesses:
OLED continues to hold key advantages in areas like black level, contrast ratio, viewing angles, and motion resolution that contribute to an intensely immersive viewing experience. It remains the choice for enthusiasts seeking the absolute best image quality in dark home theater settings.
QNED TVs offer elite performance that rivals and even surpasses OLED in color and brightness. With precise backlight control, quantum dot color, and advanced panel design, QNED delivers amazing picture quality that approached OLED – at a more affordable price point.
Looking at the future, QNED will likely improve to narrow the gaps with OLED in areas like off-angle viewing and motion handling through continued innovation. OLED will aim to increase peak brightness and combat burn-in issues. As the technologies leapfrog each other, premium buyers will benefit from having two outstanding but differently balanced display technologies to choose from.
For 2022/2023 model year TVs, OLED remains the pinnacle of image quality while QNED offers a more affordable alternative with superb performance especially in bright viewing environments. Hopefully this detailed side-by-side guide helps shed light on which technology better matches your viewing preferences, room conditions, and budget!