LG QNED vs Samsung Neo QLED

At CES 2021, LG and Samsung advertised their latest TVs with flagship technology, LG QNED, and Samsung’s NEO QLED.

If you’re planning to buy a new TV, you might be wondering which one is better.

Is there a significant difference in image quality between QNED and QLED? Or are they simply marketing gimmicks?

If you never heard of these terms before, continue reading this article. I’ll give you a crash course on both the QNED and Neo QLED technologies.

QNED vs NEO QLED Which is Better?

When comparing the LG QNED to NEO QLED lineups, the NEO QLED takes the lead with better contrast, black uniformity, anti-glare, and local dimming features.

If you have to choose between these two TV models, I recommend going with the new NEO QLED.

As for the on-paper specifications, LG QNED and NEO QLED both have very similar features.

LG QNED and NEO QLED both support 4K, HDR, local dimming, variable refresh rate, and 120 Hz variable refresh rate.

Having said that, if you’re not a pixel peeper, and you find a good deal on an LG QNED, it could be worth grabbing one.

What You Need to Know:

Every TV company has abbreviations for the technology used in their displays, which is why there are so many confusing terms out there.

What you need to know is both QNED and QLED are quite similar, as they use the same technology (Mini LED) to achieve the same goal.

LG QNED is LGs technology that uses Quantum Dots in combination with Nano Cell technology and Mini-LEDs.

NEO QLED is an upgraded version of Samsung’s QLED TVs that also use Quantum Dots, also with Mini-LEDs.

LG QNED TV vs NEO QLED

Quick Comparison:

  • LG QNED uses an IPS panel, QLED uses VA
  • NEO QLED has better black uniformity than QNED
  • NEO QLED has a higher peak brightness
  • NEO QLED has better anti-glare features
  • NEO QLED has much better local dimming
  • LG QNED has noticeable light bleed and blooming

Panel Type

Another important distinction is LG QNED TVs use IPS panels while NEO QLEDs use VA panels.

IPS panels are known for colour consistency (more colour coverage), high refresh rates, minimal ghosting issues, and good viewing angles.

VA panels are known for having high contrast (deeper blacks), subpar viewing angles, and more ghosting.

The downsides are IPS panels can have light bleed and they’re more expensive, which in turn makes LG QNED TVs more expensive.

Having said that, the IPS and VA panel technology has come a long way, and it really depends on the quality of the specific panel you choose.

There are really junky IPS panels, and really good VA panels, it all comes down to the quality.

In the case of these specific TVs, the quality of the IPS panel used in the QNED TV lineup is not very good.

Black Uniformity

The black uniformity on the LG QNED is significantly worse than on the QLED.

Black uniformity is the consistency of the black colour on the display. TVs with bad black uniformity have very noticeable areas of the screen that are brighter than others.

Naturally, the black uniformity is much more noticeable in dark scenes and dark rooms.

Brightness

The Samsung QLED has a much higher peak brightness than the LG QNED.

For a quick example, the Real Scene Peak Brightness of the QLED is 1,088 cd/m2 while the QNED is only 529 cd/m2.

In other words, QLED is significantly brighter than QNED.

Reflections

Once again, the QLED has a glossy screen finish that provides decent anti-glare and anti-reflection protection.

The QNED has a much more reflective display so reflections are much more noticeable.

Local Dimming

Local dimming is a feature that adjusts the contrast and backlight brightness based on dimming zones.

Samsung’s QLED takes the lead with a much better implementation of local dimming than the QNED.

When local dimming is active on QNED TVs, there is a very noticeable bloom around objects, particularly white objects.

Having said that, both of these TV models support full array local dimming.

HDR

While both NEO QNED and Neo QLED support HDR 10, the NEO QLED supports HDR 10+, and it has a much higher peak HDR brightness.

Colours

As for colours, surprisingly both NEO QNED and NEO QLED have almost identical colour gamut coverage.

However, the NEO-QLED has better colour volume and the extra brightness makes the colours appear more vivid.

Backlight Bleed and Blooming

QNED TVS struggle with backlight bleed and blooming issues.

A backlight bleed occurs when the panel does not evenly block out the backlight, usually on the corners or edges of the screen. It’s most noticeable when a blank black colour is on the screen.

The end result is a screen that has an uneven distribution of light, which can be very noticeable.

Blooming is a faint glow around on-screen objects; it’s pretty noticeable on subtitles.

Why Not Go With OLED?

Looking for the best of the best?

I suggest going with an OLED TV because OLED displays have an infinite contrast ratio and better viewing angles.

You can buy an OLED TV for about the same price as LG’s QNED and Samsung’s QLED and the image quality on the OLED is much better.

It’s worth spending a bit more money buying an OLED TV.

I recommend the OLED C1 – a fantastic TV.

What is LG QNED?

LG QNED is a new display technology designed by LG that expands on their Quantum Dot displays by using Mini LEDs as the backlight.

The abbreviation is a little controversial because QNED was already coined and it’s meant to stand for Quantum Nano Emitting Diodes.

The QNED technology is supposed to use Nanorod LEDs that are self-emissive and similar to OLED.

The problem is LG’s new QNED TVs DO NOT use Quantum Nano Emitting Diodes.

In fact, it’s unclear what the abbreviation stands for, other than the Q is for Quantum Dots.

Typically most LG displays are built with NanoCells, and QNED is a combination of NanoCell, Quantum Dot, and Mini LED technology.

Q-NED is another confusing term designed by TV manufacturers for marketing purposes.

What is Samsung NEO QLED?

Samsung’s new NEO QLED also uses Quantum Dots and Mini LEDs, an improved version of their QLED technology.

Samsung claims NEO QLED TVs use Mini LEDs that are 1/40th the size of previous models.

Samsung’s NEO QLED TVs are coming to the market in 2021 and are a direct competitor to OLED displays.

What is Mini LED?

Before I get into the comparisons, let’s take a quick look at the Mini LED technology.

The Mini LED technology is not exactly new, it’s been around for a while, and a wide variety of devices use them.

However, TVs manufacturers are taking it to the next level by decreasing the size of the LEDs while also increasing the number.

Mini LEDs are about 0.008 inches (0.2 mm) large and there are usually tens of thousands of them bunched together to create a backlight for displays. These tiny LEDs are often grouped into zones with the brightness being adjusted depending on the image.

For example, if you’re watching a movie where one side of the screen is bright, and the other is dark, the backlight can dynamically change on either side of the screen, so the colours appear much more vivid. The term is called “Local Dimming” and most modern TVs have some variation of it.

However, the new Mini LEDs are 1/40th the size of the usual LEDs and can create even more dimming zones.

Is Mini LED the Same as OLED?

You might think Mini LED sounds similar to OLED but they’re very different technologies.

With OLED, every pixel is its own light source, each one can turn on or off completely, which is the reason OLED’s darks are the deepest.

OLED TVs do not have a backlight. Mini LED TVs use tens of thousands of tiny LED lights as the backlight, and the brightness can dynamically change with thousands of dimming zones.

However,  OLED displays can provide more detail because each pixel is a light source. To put that into perspective, a 4K TV has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 which is a total of 8,294,400 pixels.

OLED TVs can control the brightness and colour of each individual pixel, while Mini LED TVs are limited by the number of Mini LEDs (usually 30,000 or so).

Currently, displays with Mini LED tech offer a good contrast ratio and deep blacks, but the colour details on OLED are much better. On the other hand, TVs that use Mini LED are usually brighter than OLED TVs.

What is MicroLED?

Mini LED and Micro LED are not the same. Micro LED is microscopic LEDs, measuring about 0.002 inches (0.05 mm)across.

Micro LEDs are much smaller than Mini LEDs and are primarily used in small devices such as smartwatches and other gadgets.

Currently, there are no TVs that use Micro LED displays, although that may change in the near future.

To summarize, QNED and NEO QLED are both next-gen displays and sit right below OLED on the best-picture charts.

The Bottom Line:

To summarize, when comparing LG QNED to NEO QLED, the winner goes to NEO QLED.

However, unless the price of NEO QLEDs comes down (or you find a good deal) you could buy an OLED TV which has a much better image quality.

While LG QNEDs are not horrible TVs, there are much better options out there.

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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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