So you’re shopping for a new TV and narrowed down your choices to two models: Crystal UHD and QLED. Which one is better? Today I’ll be comparing Crystal UHD to QLED and I’ll explain which one is better in the long run.
Choosing the right TV can be tough because there are so many features, panels types, marketing gimmicks, technologies, and specifications to consider. Not to mention budget.
Understanding the differences between Crystal UHD and QLED can save you from making an expensive mistake. These two terms are designed by Samsung and found on most Samsung TVs, other TV manufacturers have their own marketing terms for similar features and technologies.
First things first, while Crystal UHD and QLED are often advertised as specific features, they’re actually very different. One is a feature while the other is technology. It can be confusing because manufacturers will advertise these terms (often with other equally confusing labels) as standalone features.
The end result is a lot of confusion, which I will do my best to clear up in this article. Which one is a marketing gimmick? Which one is a real feature? Continue reading to find out. Let’s start with Crystal UHD, then QLED, and finally explain which one is better.
What is Crystal UHD?
Crystal UHD stands for Ultra-High Definition, also referred to as “Ultra HD” or simply “UHD”. In other words, Crystal UHD TVs are standard LCD displays but at 4K or higher resolutions. What that means is the screen has 3840×2160 pixels. Crystal UHD is more of a description of the resolution capabilities than a standalone feature. Basically, it means the TV is 4K compatible.
Samsung often markets their Crystal UHD TVs as having a “Crystal” 4K image processor that beautifully upscales all media to 4K. Most Crystal UHDs have no such processor, except for the TU8000 series, but most smart TVs already have processors that can upscale media to 4K. In other words, you shouldn’t worry about whether or not your TV has a 4K-Crystal processor as it doesn’t make that much of a difference.
To clarify, the term Crystal UHD is a TV that’s capable of Ultra High Definition and may or may not use a 4K-Crystal processor to upscale media to 4K. You can think of Crystal UHD TVs as improved LCD TVs with support for higher resolutions. It’s the same as HD (720P) or FHD (1080P).
Remember, Crystal UHD is not a panel technology. Crystal UHD TVs use LCD technology with LED backlights. In my opinion, you shouldn’t worry too much about the whole “Crystal UHD” gimmick and focus on more important features.
Don’t get the wrong idea. UHD TVs are by no means bad. Almost any display that supports 4K will look good. The problem is UHD is not a special feature, panel, or technology, it simply means the TV is 4K compatible. On that note, UHD TVs are cheaper too.
What is QLED?
QLED is different because it is a type of display panel. QLED stands for Quantum-Dot Light-Emitting Diode, essentially a display that uses the Quantum dot technology. The exact technology is very complicated but you can take a look at the Quantum Dot Wikipedia page for more information.
An easy way to visualise the tech is the Quantum Dot technology adds an additional colour filter to the display which increases brightness and contrast levels. Normally, a TV uses an LED for backlight and to shine on the LCD panel which creates the colours.
QLED TVs are based on the same design, the quantum dot filter is added between the LCD panel and the LED backlight. The filter improves the range of colours too, although it’s not very noticeable in day to day use. As for picture quality, QLED offers great visuals with very vivid colours, especially at 4K.
A couple of points worth talking about here. For one, QLED is often confused with OLED because the terms look similar on paper. What you need to know is QLED and OLED are very different technologies.
I won’t be comparing the two in detail here, but the short version is QLED acts as an enhanced LCD TV. On OLED TVs, the panel lights up individual pixels based on the scene, and it doesn’t have a backlight, so the contrast levels and blacks are extremely deep. OLED is always preferred over QLED because the colours are much more immersive.
Most modern QLED TVs can support 4K. Combine the high resolution with the enhanced colour and brightness and QLED TVs offer great visuals.
- Extra Brightness, Good for Daytime Use
- Good Colour Coverage
- Long Lifespan, No Burn-in
Crystal UHD vs QLED Which is Better?
If you had to choose between Crystal UHD or QLED 4K, I would choose QLED 4K because it will be much brighter and have better colour coverage than plain UHD. The only exception would be if the UHD TV has other special features that are not available on QLED models. Most people who buy QLED 4K are happy with their purchase.
However, if you’re looking for the absolute best quality TV out there, I would choose an OLED TV. OLEDs are more expensive and not as bright, but they offer the most vivid colours with the darkest blacks. Every discussion regarding TV panel types always concludes with OLED being the winner. Not to mention all the best-rated TVs are OLEDs too.
Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with choosing a QLED TV, it’s up to what kind of budget you have. Ultimately most modern TVs are good, especially ones that support 4K. Moving from a 1080P TV to 4K will seem like a night and day difference.
A user on Reddit summarized this comparison quite nicely,
“OLED is superior in colour, refresh rates, contrast, blacks, off-angle viewing. QLED is a marketing term, it’s still an LCD screen and suffers worse off-angle viewing and darkroom performance.”
In short, if you have the budget, an OLED TV is the best choice. If you can’t afford OLED, a QLED should be sufficient. Crystal UHD is not much more than a statement about the 4K capabilities of the screen. Hopefully, that clears up some of the confusion around these terms and you’re more prepared to make a decision.