HDTV Battle: Samsung’s Neo QLED TV vs. OLED TVs (Which Is Better?)

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March 5, 2021 Topic: NEO QLED vs. OLED Region: World Blog Brand: Techland Tags: TVsConsumer ElectronicsOLED TVQLED TVNeo QLED TV

HDTV Battle: Samsung’s Neo QLED TV vs. OLED TVs (Which Is Better?)

Both TVs are good, but there are important differences in price and quality.

Samsung recently announced its plans to roll out its 2021 TV lineup, and that includes what the company calls the Neo QLED line. The line, which is powered by Quantum Mini LEDs and the Neo Quantum Processor, will come in 4K and 8K versions.

Of the Neo QLED TVs, when hit comes to pricing, the QN85A starts at $1,599.99. The QN90A starts at $1,799.99. As for the 8Ks, the QN800A line starts at $3,499.99 while the QN900A starts at $4,999.99. 

“At just 1/40th the size of conventional LEDs, Quantum Mini LEDs allow for ultra-fine light control,” the company said when it announced the availably of the Neo QLED line. “With deep blacks, bright lights, and upscaling technology smarter than any Samsung TV has ever offered, Samsung Neo QLED delivers an ultra-realistic picture—whether you are watching a football game, or playing one on your gaming console.”

So how does the Neo QLED line compare to the OLED TVs that continue to be offered as a high-end option by most of Samsung’s rivals?

Tom’s Guide describes the Neo QLED lineup as “Samsung’s OLED killer.” And GQ also laid out the differences between the two technologies.

“Enter Mini LED technology, which promises contrast levels that are almost comparable to what you’ll find on an OLED. How? A backlighting array of tens of thousands of LEDs that offer a whole new level of finesse over local dimming (AKA, how bright or how dim parts of the screen can get)… Why not spring for the existing OLED tech anyway? You have to consider OLED’s sole flaw: brightness. Most of us have regular living rooms with windows and lights all shining across our TVs, challenging their imagery to stand out. Since Mini LED TVs iterate on LCD tech, they promise the best of all worlds. Sounds like a win-win to us. Especially since Samsung’s premium TVs tend to undercut their rivals by the order of a few hundred pounds.”

Meanwhile, What Hi-FI this week published one of the first full reviews of the Neo QLED lineup, of the QE65QN95A model specifically, calling it “a force to be reckoned with.”

The review called the TV “superbly bright, punchy and sharp,” while also praising the design and the feature set. Its cons included the lack of Dolby Vision, “artificial boost to dark detail” and “reticence with extreme contrast.”

It also compared the TV to the top OLEDs that will come up against it.

“This is the model that Samsung is pitching against LG’s incredibly popular C-class OLED, the 2021 version of which (the C1) we have yet to review. When it does appear, the C1 is going to have its work cut out because the Samsung QN95A is the best QLED there’s ever been, and that makes it a serious challenger to even the best OLEDs.”

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters.