Samsung’s Crystal UHD vs LG’s NanoCell:

Samsung Crystal UHD or LG’s NanoCell? Which one is better? It’s challenging to decide. As it turns out, it’s not an easy comparison because these are very different features.

Nevertheless, if you’re hearing about LG’s NanoCell technology for the first time, this article is for you. I’ll do my best to explain the differences with you in this article, and you’ll be one step closer to buying the right TV for you.

Samsung Crystal UHD vs LG’s NanoCell:

When comparing Samsung Crystal UHD to LG’s NanoCell without considering any other features, LG’s NanoCell TVs are usually the better option because of the improved colours and viewing angles.

Generally, Samsung Crystal UHD TVs are entry-level 4K TVs, while NanoCells are mid-range and cheaper than QLEDS and OLEDs.

However certain Crystal UHD TVs have lots of great features, so it’s better to compare specific TV models to one another, instead of standalone features.

Here’s the thing:

Both these TVs are mid-range, with mixed reviews. If you have the money, the absolute best type of TV that you can buy is an LG OLED.

If you don’t have the budget for an OLED TV, a Samsung QLED is the next best choice.

I personally wouldn’t choose a NanoCell TV because QLED costs about the same, it’s brighter, and the image is generally better.

What is Samsung Crystal UHD?

Samsung Crystal UHD means the TV has a Crystal processor and is capable of Ultra High Definition 4K resolution. In some cases, the “UHD” is removed, so it’s often called “Crystal 4K” for short.

The updated version is called Samsung Crystal UHD Pro, which is often found in mid-range Samsung TVs.

Crystal UHD is more of a description of the resolution capabilities than anything else. Crystal UHD TVs are entry-level LED-LCD displays. Most Crystal UHD TVs use VA panels, which offer good contrast ratios but with poor viewing angles.

While Samsung Crystal UHD TVs are good budget-friendly options, they don’t have any special visual features. For example, most of Samsung Crystal UHD TVs do not have any type of dimming options.

VA panels can also reach higher refresh rates than other panel types, but most TVs that use VA panels don’t go higher than 120 Hz. However, most gaming monitors that have 240 Hz or more use VA panels.

What is LG NanoCell?

In simple terms, NanoCell TVs include a colour filtering layer that filters out unwanted wavelengths of light, at a nano-particle level. The technology improves colour accuracy and reduces colour bleed, making them much more vibrant and pure.

For starters, NanoCell TVs use the standard LED-LCD displays with a backlight. The only difference is the added filter between the LCD to improve colours.

NanoCell TVs also use IPS panels which are known for good viewing angles, colour coverage, and the image doesn’t warp when pressure is applied.

LG’s NanoCell is often compared to Samsung’s QLED technology because they achieve similar results, albeit with very different methods. It’s often recommended as a budget alternative to a Samsung QLED model.

However, when comparing LG’s NanoCell TVs to Samsung QLEDs,  the QLEDS almost always win. Comparing Crystal UHD to QLED is not a fair comparison.

For a full comparison of TV technologies, check out our NanoCell vs OLED vs QLED article.

Spoiler: The winner is OLED, hands down.

LG NanoCell Pros:

  1. Good viewing angles
  2. Vibrant and accurate colours
  3. Cheaper than QLEDs or OLEDs

LG NanoCell Downsides:

  1. Lower peak brightness when compared to QLEDS
  2. Low contrast ratio (improved with FALD)
  3. Average black uniformity

Samsung Crystal UHD vs LG´s NanoCell: Local Dimming:

Samsung Crystal UHD Local Dimming:

Most Samsung Crystal UHD TVs do not have any type of local dimming because they’re entry-level products.

Local dimming features are reserved for mid-range to high-end TVs, and it’s not found on budget-friendly models.

These budget TV models are limited to global dimming or other dimming options that simply lower the total backlight brightness level.

However, there are plenty of Samsung TVs that do use full-array local dimming but those are usually QLEDS. There are some good budget-friendly QLEDS with full-array local dimming at 4K.

For example, the Samsung QE55Q80A is a good option.

NanoCell Local Dimming:

The mid-range to high-end NanoCell TVs have full-array local dimming (FALD) that significantly improves contrast ratios.

The main issue with NanoCell TVs is with the IPS display panel, it doesn’t have a great colour contrast ratio. To combat that downside, most modern NanoCell TVs will include some dimming options.

Bear in mind, not all NanoCell TVs support local dimming and some don’t support any at all. Generally, the very budget-friendly NanoCell TVs won’t have any dimming options.

As a fresher, full-array local dimming means the TV can control the lighting on specific zones of the backlight, making certain areas appear darker or brighter, depending on the visual scene. The more dimming zones on the backlight, the more detailed the image is.

Read more about local dimming technology here.

In most cases, LG won’t reveal the exact number of dimming zones on their TVs. Nevertheless, as long as the TV supports FALD, the contrast ratio should be great.

Remember, the way a TV implements FALD is going to vary too, and it’s affected by many factors, the number of dimming zones being the most important.

Some TVs with FALD implement it poorly, and the visual quality isn’t much better than TVs without it.

In other words, it’s best to research specific TV models, instead of only basing your decision on one feature.

Samsung Crystal UHD or NanoCell for Gaming?

Most Samsung Crystal UHD TVs do not have HDMI 2.1 ports, so they can’t take full advantage of next-gen consoles.

However, most people agree that Crystal UHD TVs are better for gaming because the VA panels are better at tracking motion. Most Crystal UHD TVs are limited to 60 Hz, which is good enough for casual gamers.

Most NanoCell TVs have at least one HDMI 2.1 port for future proof purposes, as well as higher refresh rates, such as 120 Hz.

On the other hand, IPS panels are prone to ghosting and other issues during fast-paced motion scenes. NanoCell TVs also are not very bright, so that’s another thing to consider.

HDR Support:

The exact HDR support will depend on the TV model. Generally, Samsung Crystal UHD TVs support the basic HDR formats such as HDR10, HLG, and HDR 10+.

NanoCells TVs support HDR10 and other formats such as HDR 10 Pro and HLG Pro. In most cases, the HDR on Samsung TVs is implemented better.


To summarize, both of these TVs are entry-level and have mixed reviews. The NanoCells, particularly the latest models, have more features and better viewing angles.

Nevertheless, I wouldn’t narrow down the choice to these two features. Instead, I recommend buying either an LG OLED or a Samsung QLED.

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About Tim Gagnon

Timothy Gagnon is a tech blogger and writer. When he's not dissembling computers, he's researching the latest tech gadgets and trends.

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