May 14, 2017

QLED and OLED: How different are they?

You might have heard of QLED and OLED through the grapevine, and think they’re probably the same thing, only one is just slightly better than the other. Well, my friends, let us burst that bubble right there.

What is QLED?

Samsung coined and trademarked the term QLED. They recently released a line of high-end TVs labeled QLED TVs in light of its top competitor, LG, continuing to sell OLED TVs successfully. When asked about the QLED TVs, Samsung responded:

“QLED stands for Quantum Dot LED TV. There are and will be many different types of quantum dot based display technologies today. Some new architectures are likely to arise in the future as well. QLED encompasses all of these variations of architecture just as the term OLED encompasses a variety of different architectures.”

Is QLED something Samsung made up to compete with the ultra-reliable and critically acclaimed OLED TVs? Why does this matter? Companies copy each other all the time in an attempt to undermine their competitors’ efforts.


So let’s break it down. A QLED TV is a Quantum dot LED TV. What are quantum dots? Quantum dots are microscopic molecules that, when hit by light, emit their own, differently colored light.

It’s a variation of LED LCD, where quantum dots are spread on a piece of film. They that act as a filter within an LED TV panel since quantum dots do not directly emit colors, adding a quantum dot film to the LCD “sandwich.” Like the LCD in its current form, it is “transmissive” and relies on an LED backlight. LED backlights beam through the quantum dot film, where the light is refined to an ideal color temperature, significantly enhancing brightness and color.

Technically, QLEDs are just LED TVs that utilize quantum dots to enhance their performanc in some key aspects. Quantum dots act like a filter that produces purer light than what LEDs can provide. To meet the Ultra HD Alliance’s standards for an Ultra HD Premium TV, most LED TVs must use quantum dots in some form or another. Because these quantum dots are used in a lot of premium TVs nowadays, Samsung thought that it wuold be best to put all of these TVs under one umbrella term: QLED TV. This is to distinguish them from LED TVs and compete with OLEDs.


Meanwhile, OLED means Organic Light Emitting Diode. It’s fundamentally a different type of technology from LCD, the main type of TV today. OLED is “emissive” meaning the pixels emit their own light. OLEDs work because of organic compounds that light when you apply electricity to them.

A single OLED is the size of one pixel. One OLED TV requires millions of OLEDs turning on and off independently to fill a TV screen. When an OLED TV’s pixels are turned off, they turn completely dark. And tough QLED TVs can be made very thin, OLED TVs can be made even thinner and even flexible.

How they differ

As we’ve mentioned before, having deeper blacks in a display is a big deal. It allows for higher contrast, richer colors, and more realistic images. QLED TVs have better black level performance than an LED display, but they are still reliant on backlights behind an LCD panel.

Whenever it shows something black, the light from the backlight bleeds into the dark sections, making their blacks less dark than its OLED counterpart. Since OLEDs turn pixels on and off so there’s absolutely no light and no color, their darks are deeper.

However, QLEDs beat OLEDs in terms of brightness since quantum dots allow for brighter light. This lets QLEDs to have superior color volume, meaning they can make all of the colors in the visible spectrum without losing saturation.

OLEDs are energy efficient compared to QLEDs as they require no backlights, so that means less power, less parts, and less weight.

In terms of viewing angle, QLEDs have the disadvantage of having the center as its best viewing angle. OLED screens do not have this disadvantage, as they can be viewed with no luminance degradation in off-angles. Though QLEDs have improved somwhat, the OLEDs still have a considerable advantage.

OLEDs are more energy efficient versus QLEDs as they require no backlights. That means less power, less parts, and less weight. Overall, OLEDs are still better than QLEDs in different aspects, but QLEDs still have time to grow and improve upon its technology. In spite of OLEDs being the better of the two, they both have their advantages and disadvantages. It would do you well to check which advantages you’d rather have and which disadvantages you’d rather not deal with when choosing between the two.