OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs represent the pinnacle of display technology, offering unrivaled picture quality thanks to their ability to turn each pixel on and off independently. This results in perfect blacks, vibrant colors, wide viewing angles, and an ultra-thin form factor. Samsung and LG are the two dominant players in the OLED TV space, using slightly different technologies to deliver this elite viewing experience. In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore the key differences between Samsung OLED and LG OLED TVs, compare their specs and features, highlight the pros and cons of each brand, and help you determine which is better for your needs.
A Brief History of OLED Technology
Before diving into the Samsung vs LG comparison, it‘s helpful to understand what makes OLED TVs so special in the first place. The origins of OLED date back to the 1980s when researchers at Kodak developed the first working OLED device. The technology didn‘t make its way to mass market consumer devices until the 2000s, when OLED screens started appearing on cellphones, digital cameras and other gadgets.
The big breakthrough came in 2010 when LG introduced the first OLED TV, a 15-inch model. OLED TVs work completely differently than standard LED/LCD TVs. They have a panel of organic (carbon-based) materials that light up individually when electricity passes through them. This gives each pixel its own light source, allowing for perfect black levels when the pixel is off. OLED also enables wider viewing angles, faster response times, and high brightness for HDR content.
After dominating the early OLED TV market, LG now faces serious competition from Samsung. Let‘s examine how the two manufacturers stack up.
Samsung QD-OLED vs. LG WOLED Panels
The most obvious difference between Samsung and LG‘s OLED TVs lies in the panel technology:
- Samsung uses QD-OLED – Stands for "quantum dot OLED." Here, a layer of quantum dots (nanocrystals) is added to enhance brightness and color.
- LG uses WOLED – Stands for "white OLED." Uses a white OLED subpixel alongside red, green and blue OLED pixels to improve brightness.
On paper, QD-OLED appears to have an edge, as Samsung claims higher peak brightness levels up to 1000-1500 nits compared to LG‘s 600-900 nits. However, both deliver stellar picture quality with dazzling colors, deep blacks and wide viewing angles that far surpass standard LED/LCD technology.
One clear advantage LG has is the breadth of OLED TV sizes available:
- LG OLED TVs: 42", 48", 55", 65", 77", 83"
- Samsung QD-OLED TVs: 55", 65"
LG gives you more flexibility to choose the ideal screen size for your room. Samsung launched QD-OLED in 2022 with just two models aimed at the premium end of the market. It remains to be seen how quickly they diversify their OLED lineup.
Design & Build Quality
Both brands offer exceptionally slim, wall-mount friendly OLED TV designs:
- Samsung QD-OLED: 1.5" thin with slim 0.31" bezels
- LG WOLED: 1.8" thin with slim 0.2" bezels
Samsung‘s models edge out LG in thinness while LG has slightly smaller bezels surrounding the display. Overall, the build quality is stellar across both brands‘ OLED lineups.
Picture & Sound Quality
Given how new Samsung‘s QD-OLED TVs are, there isn‘t a clear winner yet in terms of picture quality. On paper, Samsung‘s use of quantum dots should enable slightly better brightness, color and HDR performance. However, LG‘s WOLED panels have been refined over many years to provide outstanding picture quality that can go toe-to-toe with any consumer display on the market.
Both support Dolby Vision HDR for excellent dynamic range. LG supports Dolby Atmos audio while Samsung uses its proprietary Object Tracking Sound. Ultimately, real-world tests will show if Samsung‘s QD-OLED tech gives it an edge over LG‘s proven WOLED panels. But you‘re unlikely to be disappointed with either.
For gamers, both Samsung and LG OLED TVs are excellent options thanks to their rapid response times. LG has been catering specifically to gamers by adding features like:
- Nvidia G-Sync
- AMD FreeSync
- 4K gaming at 120Hz
- Auto low latency mode
Samsung includes Auto Game Mode and Variable Refresh Rate but overall LG seems a step ahead when it comes to features tailored for gaming.
Smart TV & Features
Both Samsung and LG run their own proprietary smart TV software platforms:
- Samsung Tizen OS – Very intuitive and robust ecosystem with support for Bixby and Alexa voice assistants. Seamless compatibility with Samsung Galaxy phones.
- LG webOS – Also very user-friendly, paired with LG‘s Magic Remote. Works with Google Assistant, Alexa, Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit.
It‘s hard to pick a clear winner, as both platforms give you access to all the most popular streaming apps and smart home integrations. WebOS may have a slight edge in voice controls. But Tizen offers better phone integration if you have a Samsung Galaxy device.
As you‘d expect from premium OLED TVs, neither brand comes cheap. Here‘s a look at current pricing:
- 55" Samsung QD-OLED 4K TV – $2,200
- 65" Samsung QD-OLED 4K TV – $3,500
- 55" LG C2 WOLED 4K TV – $1,300
- 65" LG C2 WOLED 4K TV – $2,000
For now, LG WOLED sets are considerably more affordable than Samsung QD-OLED at equivalent sizes. Of course, prices fluctuate and Samsung may expand the QD-OLED range down the line. But LG remains highly competitive on pricing for a top-tier OLED 4K TV.
Verdict: LG WOLED Offers Better Value
When comparing Samsung vs LG OLED TV technologies, Samsung QD-OLED currently maintains an edge in technical specs like peak brightness and color volume. However, LG WOLED TVs come in a wider range of sizes, they cost significantly less than Samsung‘s offerings, and they provide an exceptional viewing experience that can compete with any high-end set on the market.
Unless having the absolute best peak HDR brightness is a must for you, an LG C-Series OLED TV gives you stellar performance and picture quality at a more affordable price point. For this reason, LG OLED TVs are a better value purchase for most consumers. Of course, it‘s still early days for Samsung‘s QD-OLED tech – but for now, LG remains the smart money‘s choice for premium OLED TVs.