When did buying a nice TV become such a hassle? Maybe it’s our recency bias showing, but it seems like it’s a whole lot harder to tell the difference between TV types today than it used to be. All those different letters and abbreviations and snappy tech jargon… How is a person supposed to tell what TV is actually best? Look at QNED vs. QLED, for instance. What distinguishes these two types of TVs, and which of the two is the superior option? Thankfully, this guide will serve as your navigator as you traverse the QNED vs. QLED debate.
QNED vs. QLED: Side-By-Side Comparison
|Backlight||Mini LEDs (light emitting diodes)||Blue LEDs (light emitting diodes)|
|Type(s)||Full array||Full array|
|Brand(s)||LG||Samsung, Vizio, TCL, and Hisense|
|Panel||NanoCell Quantum Dot LCD||Quantum dot LCD|
QNED vs. QLED: Key Differences
Even with these particular specifications laid out above, it’s still not exactly clear what sets apart a QNED vs QLED television. For this reason, let’s take some time to dig deeper into several of the most notable distinctions between the two. These three factors make up the key differences among QNED vs. QLED TVs.
Firstly, there’s the obvious variation in backlight technology between the QNED vs. QLED technologies. The slight distinction in names spells it out for us. QNED TVs use a full array backlight with mini LEDs — as a matter of fact, QNED TVs were the very first to do so. QLED TVs, by comparison, do not use mini LEDs. They put their trust in a full array of full-sized blue LEDS. Not only are these blue LEDs bigger than the QNED’s mini LEDs, they also shine blue instead of white. This is supposedly done to help create more natural, vibrant colors in combination with the panel.
Secondly, we have a big distinction in the branding between the QNED vs. QLED lineups. Because QNED is exclusive to LG, you probably won’t encounter any rival brands with the QNED TV name on them. Conversely, you likely won’t see LG adopting the QLED name over the QNED name any time soon. This QLED name is a product of Samsung, but it has also shown up on televisions from Vizio, TCL, and Hisense, as well. As a matter of fact, Samsung, Hisense, and TCL make up the QLED Alliance. LG wasn’t invited, apparently.
Thirdly, there’s the difference in panels among QNED vs. QLED. This is another major consideration and defining distinction between these two rival TV types. QNED TVs rely on a couple of panels: the NanoCell panel and the quantum dot panel (plus the LCD panel, of course). This NanoCell panel works to better filter the display’s colors and block out any impurities or unwanted blemishes. The QD panel — which is the only one the QLED TV has apart form the LCD panel — works to sharpen and enhance the colors of the display, increasing the overall color gamut.
5 Must-Know Facts About TVs
- In 2023, the best type of television on the market is widely considered to be the OLED. Utilizing organic LEDs instead of traditional LEDs, OLED panels don’t need backlights in order to light their displays. An OLED’s diodes serve as their own light source when electricity passes through them, making them thinner, lighter, and overall shaper in image quality than any other TV type on the market today.
- LG was the very first TV brand to utilize mini LED technology. The QNED TV was the first television to be equipped with mini LEDs. These mini LEDs have since become a very popular trend in television manufacturing and development.
- Though numerous 8K televisions have started to emerge on the marketplace today — including the 8K QNED TVs from LG — many TV experts advise against investing in one just yet, as no streaming services, physical discs, or television broadcasters will be utilizing 8K technology anytime soon.
- Today, there are just two main types of panels for any given TV: An LCD panel and an OLED panel. LCD panels need backlights and can add other panels in between to better the image quality, but OLEDs do not need any LED backlight. They can still be equipped with additional panels for improved picture quality, however.
- OLED TVs have become so popular for their ability to create brighter and more vibrant colors as well as achieve true black — the term used to describe absolute darkness in a television display. Any LCD with an LED behind it will be incapable of true blacks, because even a dim LED is still creating light. OLEDs, by comparison, can go completely dark without their need for a backlight.
What Is QNED?
If you can’t keep all these different TV terms straight, you’re not to blame. The “QNED” branding joins a long list of confusingly similar-sounding names and brands from all sorts of TV manufacturers. Whether it be QNED or OLED, QLED or ULED, these brands make it pretty tricky for the average consumer to walk into their local box store’s tech department and walk out with a nice TV headache-free. Thankfully, getting a firm grasp on the history and origin of QNED helps to make everything look a whole lot clearer.
LG first debuted their newfangled QNED technology a few days shy of the end of 2020. In their press release on December 29th of that year, LG referred to this forthcoming QNED TV as the greatest offering in their popular lineup of premium LCDs. It was at this time that the QNED vs QLED rivalry was officially spawned. (More on that below.) LG boasted that their QNED technology served as a tremendous advancement in LCD (i.e. liquid crystal display) technology. They weren’t wrong to say so, either. They were the first to combine mini LEDs with NanoCells and quantum dots (QD).
Before things get any more confusing with all of these abbreviations and unfamiliar terms, let’s set some of these things straight. Quantum dot technology is a fancy way of saying “a thin layer of semi-conductive nanocrystals.” This layer is placed over the QNED’s mini LED backlight to create a wider range of colors. NanoCell technology serves as another step up, adding yet another layer over the mini LEDs — this time, it’s comprised of color-filtering, impurity-blocking nanoparticles. LG’s QNED TVs officially hit shelves in July 2021. They came in 4K and 8K resolutions.
How QLED Differs
Whereas QNED first hit the shelves in 2021, Samsung’s quantum dot (QD) technology has actually existed since 2015 at the earliest. The popular TV manufacturer officially rebranded their preexisting SUHD TVs — i.e. Super Ultra HD TVs — back in 2017, coining “QLED” as the new name of their quantum dot-enhanced LED LCD TVs. The rest, as they so often say, was history. That same year, Samsung collaborated with Hisense and TCL to form the QLED Alliance: a coalition of brands committed to quantum dot-enhanced LED LCDs.
But wait: Doesn’t QNED also use QD technology for its panels? While the answer is yes, QLED is nevertheless distinct from QNED (no matter how confusingly close in name they prove to be). As we know, QNED TVs use a full array backlight of mini LEDs combined with a quantum dot layer and a NanoCell layer. QLEDs, as we noted above, use a full array of blue LEDs (normal-sized ones, at that) combined with a later of quantum dots and no NanoCells. This is what the QNED vs QLED debate all boils down to, really: the size of the LEDs and the role of NanoCells.
Interestingly enough, within the last couple of years, there has emerged a QLED TV that implements mini LEDs. This specific QLED TV variant is called a Neo QLED TV. First unveiled by Samsung in the early days of 2022, Neo QLED swaps the blue LEDs of your standard QLED TV with a full array of mini LEDs instead. Even with the use of mini LEDs in conjunction with quantum dots, the Neo QLED still falls short of the QNED and its layer of NanoCells. LG wasn’t exaggerating when they said QNED is the next-best thing to OLED (which is widely considered the best TV type on the market today).
- QUANTUM MATRIX WITH MINI LEDs: Brilliant details shine even in daylight; Powered by a huge grid of Samsung’s ultra precise Quantum Mini LEDs, it takes exact control of the individual zones of light...
- NEO QUANTUM PROCESSOR WITH 4K UPSCALING*: See all you enjoy upscaled to spectacular 4K resolution; The Neo Quantum Processor 4K uses AI based deep learning to analyze your content and optimize it to...
- QUANTUM HDR 24X: Enjoy the dynamic contrast that has vivid colors jumping off the screen; Quantum HDR 24X enables the details in your movies and shows to come alive through a rich spectrum of hues
- DOLBY ATMOS & OBJECT TRACKING SOUND: Enjoy rich, vibrant 3D sound that moves with the action happening on screen. From a series of strategically placed speakers, the audio follows the movement for a...
- MOTION XCELERATOR TURBO+: Action movies, sports and gaming look smooth and crisp up to 4K at 120Hz; With Motion Xcelerator Turbo+ enhancements, you’ll virtually eliminate your lag and lessen blur to...
QNED vs. QLED: Pros and Cons
|Pros of QNED||Cons of QNED|
|Revolutionized mini LED technology||No other brand but LG is making QNED TVs|
|Implements NanoCell panel tech||QNED TVs are less exceptional than OLED TVs|
|Includes a layer of quantum dots||QNED TVs cannot achieve true black|
|Features next-level local dimming||The technology is relatively young with some bugs to iron out|
|Pros of QLED||Cons of QLED|
|Uses blue LEDs for more lifelike colors||Falls short of the quality of QNED|
|Uses a full array backlight||Several steps below an OLED TV|
|Equipped with quantum dot technology||Basic QLED technology faces the threat of becoming outdated in coming years|
|Typically more affordable than a QNED TV||Seen as a less impressive version of Neo QLED|
QNED and QLED: What’s new?
Technology for QNED and QLED is steadily moving forward. Here are some updates these TVs have received since February 2023:
- Mini LED backlights: Mini LED backlights are becoming increasingly popular because they create a more precise and uniform light source. This improves the contrast and black levels of the TV.
- Quantum dot technology: Quantum dot technology has improved and are now smaller and more efficient, which can produce more accurate colors.
- High frame rate (HFR): HFR is the ability to display content at a higher frame rate, making motion look smoother and more realistic. Some QNED and QLED TVs now support HFR content up to 120 fps.
QNED and QLED: What’s next?
A few of the technological advances that we can possibly expect for QNED and QLED TVs in the next six to 18 months are:
- Micro LED backlights: Micro LED backlights offer even better contrast and black levels.
- Neural processing: Neural processing is a type of artificial intelligence. It can be used to sharpen images, reduce noise, and improve color accuracy.
- Wide color gamut: Wide color gamut TVs can display a wider range of colors and make images appear more vibrant and realistic.
- HDR10+: HDR10+ is a new HDR format. It provides better color accuracy and contrast.
QNED vs. QLED: Which Is Better?
If the question is which is better between a QNED vs. QLED television, then the answer has to be QNED. Not only does it add a layer of NanoCell technology on top of its quantum dot layer, it also comes equipped with mini LEDs for its backlight. This puts it not only leagues ahead of QLED TVs but also far above standard LED TVs that come unequipped quantum dot technology. Some of these debates end up being close calls, but this one is hardly that. In this showdown, it’s QNED over QLED by a landslide.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Proxima Studio/Shutterstock.com.