Neo QLED vs. OLED: What's the Difference?

Both TV panels offer great picture quality, but there are differences

When buying the latest high-end TV, your main two choices are to either buy a Neo QLED or OLED TV. Both offer great features and picture quality, so you can't really go wrong with either choice. However, both offer different pros and cons so it's important to know what you're getting.

We've taken a look at what you need to know, and broken things down accordingly.



Overall Findings

  • Superior brightness levels

  • Uses Mini-LED backlighting 

  • 8K models available 

  • Good viewing angles

  • Best true blacks even in places with very little light

  • Superior viewing angles

  • Best suited for using in dark rooms

  • Infinite contrast ratio

Both Neo QLED and OLED TVs offer significant improvements over previous TVs. They offer better brightness and viewing angles and are so good, that you'll see the benefits even over a 4K TV. And if you are upgrading from HDTV you might not believe your eyes.

However, both offer different pros and cons. For instance, Neo QLED is often regarded as the best for gamers thanks to it offering a higher level of brightness than OLED and no risk of burn-in, as is the case with OLED. However, if you watch many movies with dark scenes or you watch TV in a darkened room, OLED is a better experience, more able to deal with low light conditions. 

Which TV panel is best for you mostly comes down to how you plan on using it. 

Picture Quality: Neo QLED Is Best for Bright Rooms

  • Mini-LED backlight

  • Peak brightness of around 2,000 nits

  • Higher contrast ratio for more color control

  • Up to 8K resolution

  • Exceptional color reproduction when viewing content

  • Peak brightness of around 700 nits

  • Better viewing angles than Neo QLED

Whatever your plans are for your TV, both Neo QLED and OLED are going to look great. Neo QLED is generally best when used in a brightly lit room. Thanks to its Mini-LED backlight and its ability to produce a higher level of brightness, it's great for a light and airy TV room setup.

In contrast, OLED is best for darker environments but it provides viewers with better color reproduction when doing so. It also has superior viewing angles although this is unlikely to be a major issue unless you're sitting at an awkward angle from your TV.

For future proofing, there are 8K Neo QLED models out there from Samsung, although don't count on there being much source material to test out just yet.

Movies and Gaming: Similar Experiences With Some Pros and Cons

  • Response times of between 2 and 8ms

  • Ideal brightness for gaming

  • Highly accurate lighting zones

  • Response time of around 0.1ms

  • Burn-in risk when used extensively

  • Self-lit pixels deal well with fast-moving imagery

Playing games or watching a movie tends to require more of a TV and showcases how good (or poor) the panel may be. Both Neo QLED and OLED look great, but there are some fundamental differences. 

Neo QLED offers highly accurate lighting zones so it's great if you play a vibrant and colorful game like Fortnite. In contrast, OLED is best suited to darker-looking games like Elden Ring, or movies such as The Batman with its many dark scenes. 

Fast-moving scenes are best served by OLED thanks to its near non-existent response times. That's not to imply Neo QLED are bad at gaming/movies, but, of the two, QLED is better.

In the past, OLED panels suffered from burn-in which meant if you left your TV on the same scene or menu for many hours, it could be permanently imprinted on the screen. This is much less of an issue than it once was, but some people may still be concerned depending on how they use their TV.

Price: Neo QLED Is Slightly More Affordable

  • Generally cheaper price per inch

  • Varies depending on region

  • Most expensive models are more affordable than the Neo QLED equivalent

  • Varies depending on region

Pricing changes by the day for both Neo QLED and OLED with sales events changing the cost of new TVs further still. Generally, Neo QLED is cheaper on a price-per-inch basis, but when it comes to the highest-end options, OLED works out to be more affordable.

In either case, these aren't impulse-buy TVs, but the price is steadily coming down on both types of technology.

Final Verdict: OLED for Gamers, Neo QLED for 8K

Whichever you go for, you won't lose. OLED offers a better visual experience but mostly when in a darkened room. In a lighter room, Neo QLED will have the edge. Similarly, if you're looking for something with wide viewing angles, OLED is best but Neo QLED will look great when viewed from straight ahead.

For gamers, OLED is the best choice thanks to non-existent response times but they may worry about leaving their game on the same screen for too long, potentially causing image retention. Neo QLED circumvents that issue while also looking great when playing particularly vibrant games. 

8K is Neo QLED's biggest asset right now, but that's slowly changing as OLED is enhanced. Ultimately, whichever you choose, you'll get a superior picture over conventional 4K.

  • What is Neo QLED?

    Neo QLED is a newer type of QLED TV. It stands for Neo Quantum Dot LED. Neo QLED TVs use a quantum dot filter to increase the picture's contrast and color vibrancy. Neo QLED is the superior form of QLED technology.

  • What is the difference between Neo QLED and QLED?

    Neo QLED TVs improve on QLED TVs. They offer a Mini LED backlight and a Quantum Matrix layer to control the brightness of the LED and the Neo Quantum AI processor. Neo QLED also offers superior viewing angles, maintaining colors and contrast even at wider angles. 

  • What is OLED?

    OLED is an advanced form of LED. It stands for organic light-emitting diode. While LED uses a backlight to provide light to pixels, OLED uses an organic material made of hydrocarbon chains to emit light when in contact with electricity.

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