ULED vs QLED: What You Need to Know

Learn the differences between these two kinds of TVs

When you're shopping for a new, high-definition TV, you'll run into a lot of abbreviations, including LCD, LED, UHD, 4K, HDMI, and more. These shorthands refer to inputs, resolutions, and screen types, and two of the newer options are ULED and QLED.

It's a lot to keep track of, but we've examined both technologies to pick out the difference and help you pick the right screen for you. Here's what you need to know about ULED and QLED TVs.



Overall Findings

  • Proprietary technology from Hisense, and only available from that manufacturer.

  • Refers to a system of hardware and software working together to control brightness, color, and more (but may also include quantum dots).

  • Available in 4K resolution.

  • Screen sizes between 50 and 75 inches.

  • More affordable options.

  • Samsung tech that is more widely available.

  • Refers to quantum-dot displays that use microscopic crystals to display colors.

  • Available in 4K and 8K resolutions.

  • Wider variety of screen sizes, from 32 up to 98 inches.

  • Generally more expensive.

Since "QLED" refers primarily to a specific kind of display, you don't necessarily have to choose between these two features. In fact, some ULED TVs have the same types of quantum-dot displays that QLEDs use. ULED describes a specific kind of set that Hisense makes, enhancing and controlling the picture using software.

Generally, however, a QLED TV will be more expensive than a non-quantum display. And since you're tied in to a specific brand (Hisense) with ULED, your screen size options will be smaller.

Resolution: Both Are Ultra, but QLED Is Ultra-er

  • 4K resolution

  • 4K or 8K

Both ULED and QLED TVs are available in ultra-high definition, but ULEDs are currently only available in 4K (2160p). You can find a QLED set in 4K or the more-pixeled 8K (4320p) resolution.

This difference shouldn't affect your decision either way unless you're shopping specifically for an 8K TV. In that case, you'll want to look for a premium offering from Samsung. And, of course, you'll pay for the extra resolution.

Technology: Some Overlap, but ULED Wins

  • Uses both hardware and software to optimize the picture.

  • Hardware may have quantum dots.

  • Quantum-dot technology produces bright, saturated images.

Depending on which specific TVs you're looking at, you may not see much of a difference between ULED and QLED. In fact, some ULED sets use the same quantum-dot technology as a QLED; while Samsung created this display type, other manufacturers can use it for their products. For this reason, QLEDs are generally more available than ULEDs because more companies are making and selling them.

ULEDs are unique in how Hisense combines existing displays with proprietary software that adjusts lighting, colors, and motion to produce the best picture. It should be more flexible than the QLEDs alone, in sets that both have them.

Size and Price: 'QLED' Means Expensive

  • Screens between 50 and 75 inches.

  • Generally run cheaper.

  • Displays from 32 inches to 85 (and up).

  • More expensive.

Since some ULED TVs have QLED screens, it's hard to make a direct price comparison between the two. A ULED without a quantum-dot display will cost less because that technology is more expensive than a standard LED screen. If you want to save money, you can get a non-quantum ULED.

Size is the other major factor most people consider when picking out a TV. In this case, QLEDs have the edge. Because only one company makes ULED sets, they're available in fewer sizes. Hisense sells sizes between 50 and 75 inches. Three companies—Samsung, TCL, and Hisense—produce QLED TVs, so a wider range is available. You can find ones as small as 32 inches or as huge as 85 inches (and up).

With more screen comes a higher price, of course. While ULED offerings run between several hundred and just over $1,000, the larger QLEDs can cost over $10,000, especially if you spring for that 8K screen.

Final Verdict

In this case, you can have it both ways: Since ULED encompasses the display's entire system and software that goes into creating a picture on the screen, you can find several TVs that use both ULED and QLED.

But if you aren't intent on quantum dots or 8K resolution, you can save money with a set that only uses Hisense's ULED technology. You'll have fewer choices in size, however, but the available offerings might your needs.

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