It should be a relatively easy task to upgrade your TV set, but these days there’s a whole list of industry jargon to comprehend. LED, Mini LED, QLED, OLED… basically, they’re all different technologies responsible for lighting up your display.
While OLED is often seen as the source of the best screen quality, Mini LED and QLED are both fairly recent developments and are not to be ignored. Come with us as we explore Mini LED vs QLED, their major differences, and which one is the best choice for you.
Mini LED vs QLED: Side-by-Side Comparison
|LED technology||Non-organic backlit LED||Quantum dot LED|
|Peak brightness||4,000 nits||2,000 nits|
|Color||Excellent||Excellent, superior to Mini LED|
|Viewing angles||Better than LCD, worse than QLED and OLED||20-40°|
|Durability||Good durability, will not suffer burn-in||Good durability, will not suffer burn-in|
Mini LED vs QLED: What’s the Difference?
While OLED TVs rely on self-emissive LEDs, those that produce their own light in response to an electric current, both mini LED and QLED displays are essentially subtypes of LED TVs. These use LEDs to provide a backlight as a light source.
The brightness of these models is determined mostly by how many LEDs you can fit into the backlight and by the LCD matrix and color filters. Mini LEDs are much smaller than traditional LEDs, so naturally more can be squeezed into the matrix.
Technically, they’re not exclusive, as you can have a QLED display backlit with mini LEDs, and this combination of technology is becoming more common. QLEDs differ from mini LEDs in that QLEDs use specially designed nanoparticles, called quantum dots, to create a fuller spectrum of colors.
By layering green and red quantum dots on top of a blue LED backlight, white light is emitted. It is then used to enhance the image that you see. Mini LED models can take advantage of individually controlled zones of LEDs, known as full-array local dimming (FALD).
They often produce blooming effects; this is where light appears to “leak” from the bright part of the screen into the darkest parts due to the contrast. QLED models somewhat mitigate this through the way that they work. In simple terms, mini LEDs shrink the backlight technology, while QLEDs help to shrink the size of the display technology.
Generally, the more LEDs you can fit behind the pixels, the brighter the image. While mini LEDs have come a long way, QLEDs tend to provide greater brightness. Both technologies are brighter than OLED displays.
A peak brightness of 4,000 nits is possible with premium mini LED panels, while a peak brightness of 2,000 nits is common with QLED displays. Compared to the average 1,000 nits of an OLED model, we can see that mini LED and QLED are superior when it comes to watching high-definition content or viewing in a very bright space.
This also means that these technologies are the better choice for mobile devices, where brightness is usually important as you move through different environments. Both mini LEDs and QLEDs provide greater brightness than OLEDs. This is particularly nice when it comes to gaming and streaming movies in a room with strong natural or artificial light.
While OLEDs can retain their color and contrast even at extreme viewing angles, you’re going to get restrictions on your viewing with both mini LEDs and QLEDs, but potentially more so with mini LEDs. This is due to the backlight having to pass light through the various TV components, instead of the display layer providing its own illumination.
You’re still going to get a brighter display and more vibrant colors with mini LED and QLED, so there are definite advantages over OLED models. The viewing angle of mini LEDs tends to be better than QLEDs, but still not as good as OLEDs.
Color and Contrast
Because mini LEDs have even smaller backlight technology than QLED models, the LEDs can be almost as small as a pixel. Both options will give better color than OLED models. However, contrast is inferior.
OLED displays offer the best possible contrast, due to each pixel being able to be switched on and off, giving true and infinite black levels. In most settings, this may not be that noticeable with mini LEDs, since the small LEDs are almost at the pixel level, but the difference is there.
Contrast is always going to be technically superior with OLEDs, so movies and games that rely more on contrast (think horror games, movies set in space, etc) are going to look marginally better with OLEDs.
Where both mini LEDs and QLEDs shine is when it comes to performance and durability. Both technologies have a longer lifespan than OLED displays, due to their elimination of the ‘burn-in’ effect. Where images are frequently displayed or static, they can cause irreversible damage to the TV’s screen so that they’re displayed permanently.
OLEDs cannot avoid this due to their self-lit displays, but mini LEDs and QLEDs are both essentially immune to this effect. This makes them more budget-friendly in the long run compared to OLEDs, and possibly even in the short term as OLEDs tend to command a more premium price.
While no TV incorporating these technologies is going to be extremely budget-friendly, QLEDs do tend to be more so than mini LEDs. Both are often found together and are significantly cheaper than their OLED counterparts. OLEDs are up to two or three times more expensive than mini LEDs and QLEDs, so whichever model you go for, you’ll appreciate the lower cost.
Mini LED vs QLED: 5 Must-Know Facts
- Mini LED and QLED TVs tend to be priced at a premium, but less so than OLED TVs.
- While the technologies are distinct, many models use both mini LED and QLED to produce better results.
- Where OLED TVs suffer from burn-in effects, mini LED and QLED are resistant. This increases their lifespan.
- Both give excellent color reproduction and contrast, but mini LEDs tend to be slightly better.
- Displays using mini LEDs tend to have a higher peak brightness than those using QLEDs.
Mini LED vs QLED: Which One Is Better?
Determining the better choice is complicated, especially due to the fact that many modern TVs will take advantage of both technologies in tandem. Generally, for most cases, mini LEDs and QLEDs will be suitable for your needs, but mini LEDs tend to have a higher peak brightness and contrast.
In an ideal world, TVs that make use of both mini LED and QLED technology will be the best choice. Both have restrictions on the viewing angle, but also are resistant to burn-in, so are more durable long-term.
If you’re looking for maximum performance, you should make mini LEDs your priority, but if a wider viewing angle and the best possible contrast are important to you, you may want to consider going with an OLED model instead.
Mini LED vs QLED: Further Reading
If you want to explore the difference between LEDs and TV panels in more detail, check out the links below.
- Mini LED vs OLED: Key Differences and Full Comparison – Delve deeper into what makes OLED different here.
- Mini LED vs. Micro LED: 3 Key Differences, Main Features, and Full Comparison – Curious about how micro LEDs stack up against the older mini LEDs? Click the link for more.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Mr.Mikla/Shutterstock.com.