What is Samsung Neo QLED?: Advantages and disadvantages

When buying a new TV, there are a lot of acronyms and names that mislead buyers. In this article, we want to explain what Samsung’s Neo QLED technology is and what it consists of. We will talk about everything you need to know about Neo QLED TVs so that you can make an informed decision.

What is Neo QLED?

Neo QLED is an evolution of Samsung’s existing QLED displays based on quantum dot technology. The main difference between Neo QLED and QLED is that the latter uses a traditional LED backlight, while Neo QLED uses a mini LED backlight. As the name suggests, mini LEDs are much smaller than conventional LEDs, about 40 times smaller, which means they can accommodate more and cluster into many more dimming zones.

Mini LED backlighting on Samsung Neo QLED TVsMini LED Backlight on Samsung Neo QLED TV

With a greater number of LED diodes and dimming zones, Neo QLED TVs have much finer and more precise light control. This results in a better contrast ratio across the entire screen. There is less of a halo effect around a bright object on a dark background, a common problem with Edge LED and Direct LED TVs.

In addition, the 2022 and 2023 Neo QLED models offer a better transition of dark tones by using a 14-bit luminance scale. This means that there are up to 16384 steps between the deepest blacks and the deepest whites, helping to preserve more detail in shadows.

Luminance scale of 14-bits in Samsung Neo QLED
Luminance scale of 14-bits in Samsung Neo QLED

The Neo QLED 2023 series from Samsung consists of models with both 4K and 8K resolution. The 4K series consists of three series: QN85C, QN90C and QN95C. The 8K series also consists of three series: QN700C, QN800C y QN900C. Therefore, we are talking about a wide range of models using this Mini LED and Quantum Dots backlight system.

Which is better Neo QLED or OLED?

When comparing whether a Neo QLED or OLED TV is better, you need to take into account a number of elements, and most importantly, how you will be using the TV.

Let’s start with the main selling point of Neo QLED TVs. Thanks to the Mini LED backlight, you can now get higher contrast than on Samsung’s QLED line. For example, when viewing content with black bands, blacks are closer to true black and the halo around on-screen content is minimal.

On the other hand, OLED displays do not rely on backlighting and individual pixels can turn on and off by themselves. Because OLED pixels emit no light when they are off, the contrast ratio is infinite and black colors are truly black. This is what sets OLED displays apart from any other technology.

The new Neo QLED TVs offer much better black levels than the QLED models, but it’s still not as good as the true black you get on an OLED display. However, thanks to the Mini LED backlight, the difference between the two is now smaller than ever.

OLED TVs also have room for improvement. For example, Neo QLED displays are unmatched in terms of brightness, with peak brightness reaching up to 4000 nits in the most premium models. Conventional OLED displays, by comparison, can only reach a peak brightness of close to 1000 nits in the most premium models, although it is true that this year you will see WOLED models with numbers around 2000 nits, such as the new META OLED panels that we will see in more premium models from LG, Philips and Panasonic. So if you plan to use your next TV in a very bright room, Neo QLED is the most recommended option and where it will perform best.

Since last year, Samsung has returned to working with OLED technology, launching new QD OLED panels. These panels use an OLED panel, but with an RGB matrix instead of WRGB, i.e. a white subpixel is not used, but the structure is the usual one with red, green and blue pixels. This white subpixel is used to increase the brightness, but it has the disadvantage that it does not increase the brightness of the colors above a certain level, so in scenes with high brightness the colors lose a little saturation.

Samsung QD-OLED technology
Samsung QD-OLED technology

But the big difference with QD OLED panels is that they also use quantum dot technology. The difference is that these quantum dots are not added in a layer as in QLED and Neo QLED TVs, but are printed directly into the subpixels. Conventional WOLED TVs use a color filter to convert white light into red, green, and blue. The quantum dot system is a better method of generating light and achieves spectacular brightness not only in white, but in all primary colors.

Advantages and disadvantages of Neo QLED TVs

Advantages
  • Superb brightness levels
  • Remarkable color gamut
  • Better black levels than conventional LED TVs
  • Wide viewing angle (excluding QN90 Series 43″ and 50″ models)
  • Slim design
  • They do not suffer from screen burn-in like OLED TVs (extremely difficult)
Disadvantages
  • Good black level but still below compared to OLED TVs
  • OLED offers even better viewing angles

Are Samsung’s Neo QLED TVs worth the money?

Samsung Neo QLED TVs: Are they worth it?Samsung Neo QLED TVs: Are they worth it?

Samsung’s Neo QLED TVs offer high picture quality, more than acceptable built-in sound, and a very elegant design with good finishes, making them highly recommended TVs in our opinion. There is an important difference when compared to QLED models. From the cheapest series the QN85C already shows a jump in color and brightness that the lower QLED models can’t match.

They are TVs that perform well in brightly lit environments thanks to the high brightness they achieve, but also in dark rooms as they display fairly deep blacks. It is true that in very dark wings OLED is able to show a totally pure black and in Mini LED TVs like these Neo QLED, some light always escapes and a minimum of blooming can be seen, but the truth is that it is less and less and more this year that the brand has improved the backlight algorithms.

It is true that the new S95C QD-OLED that the brand has released is our favorite and seems to be the best option because it offers the best picture performance. But the new Neo QLED models, as we have seen, are also a very interesting option.

We recommend the QN85C series as your first step with this technology, as it offers a good balance between price and quality. It is well equipped with HDMI 2.1, 120 Hz refresh rate as well as a bright panel that reaches up to 1500 nits.

Then the Q800C series is also very interesting if you want better contrast and brightness, better sound and you are interested in the one that comes with the Slim One Connect box. This is an 8K model that integrates a more advanced backlight system with a greater number of local dimming zones and the Premium panel with anti-glare filter, and the processor is the Neural Quantum, which uses neural networks to make an excellent rescaling with content below 8K and reduce artifacts and image noise more effectively.

Recommended Neo QLED TVs

SAMSUNG 65-Inch Class Neo QLED 4K QN90C Series

Neo Quantum HDR+, Dolby Atmos, Object Tracking Sound+
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SAMSUNG 85-Inch Class Neo QLED 8K QN900B Series

Mini LED Quantum HDR 64x, Infinity Screen, Dolby Atmos
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Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between QLED and Neo QLED?

The main difference between QLED and Neo QLED TVs is the backlighting system. The QLED models use Edge LED or Direct Full Array backlighting, while the Neo QLED models all use Mini LED backlighting.

The size of the Mini LED bulbs is 40 times smaller, which increases the density of bulbs used and also eliminates the lens covering the LED diode and replaces it with a micro-coating that helps to better distribute the light.

In addition, Mini LED TVs use an independent light control system with many more adjustment zones. Also, being high-end TVs, they have better sound, more powerful image processors among other additional extras.

Is Samsung Neo QLED worth it?

In our opinion, Samsung’s Neo QLED TVs are a great alternative to OLED TVs. They can deliver a high level of brightness, reaching up to 4000 nits in the most premium models, as well as excellent color reproduction.

It is true that in dark rooms and night scenes, they are not able to deliver as pure black as OLED TVs, but they do come close, as well as having good detail in the shadows.

If your main use is to watch movies always in the dark, you may be more interested in an OLED TV like the Samsung S95C.

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