Anyone paying attention to the new 2021 Samsung TVs will notice a new terminology being released: Neo QLED.
Yes, there are enough acronyms on the television market already and you may be feeling exasperated from constantly having to learn new words and terms. However, Neo QLED marks a significant change in Samsung TV technology, and if you want to keep up with the latest and greatest TVs, you'll want to get it right.
It is not the same as QLED, which has been Samsung's high-end TV technology for a few years.
So what is Neo QLED, what distinguishes it from normal QLEDs, and what TVs does it apply to? This is what you need to know.
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What is Neo QLED?
Neo QLED is an evolution of Samsung's existing QLED technology, which stands for 'Quantum Dot LED'. This is because QLED televisions use a "quantum dot" filter to increase contrast and color intensity.
Samsung has ensured that all of its high-end TVs have been using QLED technology since 2017, when it renamed its SUHD (Super UHD) line, at least in part to invite comparison with "OLED" TVs that now they dominate the market.
The impact of a QLED panel will vary based on several factors, including but not limited to the processor used, as well as the efficiency of the backlight behind the panel.
Lower-end QLED TVs are happy with an edge lighting system that, as the name suggests, illuminates the panel on both sides, rather than directly behind. This keeps the TV a little thin, but it means that the light is distributed inconsistently across the screen and will not give the best picture.
High-end QLED TVs will use Direct Full Array backlighting, which illuminates the panel from behind and provides more precise brightness control and consistency (allowing for better contrast between bright and dark areas). Screen size, which is crucial for effective HDR reflections and overall image excellence).
Even these televisions vary in the quality of the backlight, however, depending on the maximum brightness available (1000 nits, 2000 nits, etc.) and the number of "dimmable zones", the level of brightness can vary. More areas means more control over small, specific areas of the screen, which is why you want as much as is technically possible.
Neo QLED changes things a bit. The direct matrix is replaced with a Mini LED backlight, which uses tens of thousands of tiny LEDs for much more precise brightness control. It's not quite on the OLED level, with its individual pixel control, but it's certainly a step up for LCD displays.
What difference does it make?
If implemented effectively, the Mini LED backlight should allow LCD panels to get much closer to OLED performance levels than before. These theoretical advantages are quite convincing.
And of course, that's without the perceived problems of OLED: LED / LCD technology has never been the subject of terrifying stories about screen wear, nor is it in the grip of the possible but inevitable downfall. the "organic" OLED element.
Of course, the success of the Mini LED will depend on how the technology is implemented. There are many variations in performance from similarly priced, similarly specified LED-backlit LCD displays; just take a quick look at our many TV reviews to see them. And if some TVs fall short when it comes to controlling a few dozen areas of backlight dimming, can we really expect them to be better at controlling what could be thousands?
Read more: What is the Mini LED?
What are Neo QLED TVs?
2021 will be the first year that Neo QLED TVs enter the market. All of Samsung's new 8K TVs will be Neo QLED, continuing Samsung's tradition of bringing together the most advanced TV specs at the top of its line.
This means that QN900 8K QLED, QN800 8K QLED and QN700 8K QLED have Mini LED backlight.
The QN95A, QN90A and QN85A models are also Neo QLED 4K TVs; the easiest way to find out is if the product name starts with "QN" instead of just "Q" like on the Q80A that sits just below those other 4K sets.
How much does Neo QLED cost?
The cheapest Neo QLED, the QN85A, starts at € 1,299 (about € 900 / AU € 1,650) for a 55-inch size, but the larger 85-inch size of the QN900 8K QLED will cost you € 8,999 (about € 6,500). 11.700). / AU € XNUMX). So that's the price range for this year's Neo QLED TVs.
What other mini LED TVs are there?
However, Samsung is not the only TV manufacturer to use Mini LED technology. LG is also introducing a 'QNED' line that uses Mini LED backlighting, while Philips is doing the same for some of its high-end LCD gear. TCL was also one of the biggest Mini LED cheerleaders, but you can learn more about each manufacturer's TV lines at the links below.
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