I lived with LG’s QNED TV tech and it cemented my loyalty to OLED – here’s why

I’ve been lucky to have LG’s flagship G3 OLED TV – probably the greatest OLED TVs of 2023 – sitting fairly in my lounge for the most effective a part of six months. In that point, I’ve not solely observed how a lot it has improved my gaming expertise, however how it additionally comfortably fended off a lot pricier competitors. Simply put, nothing comes shut to the image served up by the G3 OLED in my opinion. But I’m a person who at all times likes to attempt every little thing as soon as, and so when LG provided me the possibility to go eyes on with one in every of its QNED TVs, I figured, “what’s the hurt?”.Ultimately, there was no hurt. The LG QNED I lived with for a couple of weeks is a high-quality TV. But I’m nonetheless an OLED fanboy – here’s why. What is QNED?QNED is a proprietary LG know-how that mixes quantum dots, mini LEDs (in some, not all fashions) and LG’s personal NanoCell layer. The first two options talked about additionally seem in QLED – discovered on Samsung TVs – however it’s LG’s NanoCell layer that’s the differentiator right here – and the supply of the ‘N’ in QNED. Interestingly, when LG first launched QNED tech in 2021, the acronym stood for “Quantum Nano-Emitting Diode” and was discovered on TVs that had been lit solely by mini LEDs. That’s now not the case, and now the NanoCell layer utilized to QNED screens is designed to higher direct the sunshine that comes by means of the quantum dot layer, with the supposed consequence being improved distinction and brightness. David vs Goliath(Image credit score: Future)While LG does nonetheless produce mini LED-toting QNED screens, the mannequin I lived with is an edge-lit model. This clearly places it at a drawback in contrast to OLED due to its much less superior lighting tech, however the QNED81 (UK/AU) / QNED80 (US) prices $2,000 / £2,000 / AU$3,000 lower than the G3 OLED, making it instantly a extra compelling choice for these with restricted budgets. Couple this with the actual fact the QNED81 comes from one of many world’s most profitable TV producers and there’s a lot to get enthusiastic about. On paper, at the very least. I say this, as a result of it is feasible to decide up a technically extra technologically succesful TV for a similar, related and even lower than the QNED81’s asking worth. The Hisense U8K is a chief instance, retailing for across the identical because the LG QNED, but using superior mini LED backlighting know-how and larger help for HDR, comparable to Dolby Vision (the QNED81 doesn’t help Dolby Vision, however does help HDR10 and HLG). A constructive beginBut, this doesn’t imply you must instantly disregard the LG QNED81, as it might supply every little thing you in the end need from a TV. And, kicking issues off positively, I did discover its colour replica to be spectacular. I seen it side-by-side with the G3 OLED, and discovered the QNED81 produced a picture that was far nearer to the extent of its OLED cousin than its enormous worth hole would initially recommend… at the very least when it comes to colours.I began by watching Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget on Netflix, utilizing the built-in Netflix app on each TVs. I instantly observed the QNED81 was a vibrant performer, with the assorted browns, reds and beige colours of the chickens’ feathers (should you can name modeling clay feathers anyway) popping from the display. I’m inclined to use the phrase saturated too, however not in a destructive manner. It was an pleasurable watch. The identical will be stated of just about some other colourful, animated film. I observed related results with The Incredibles and The Super Mario Bros. Movie.What the QNED81 didn’t fairly handle nevertheless, was delivering pretty much as good a way of depth in a picture. This, I anticipate, is due to the way in which each TVs mild the picture on display. Because an OLED TV lights from the again of the display – and it in fact is able to creating true black – the stream of Chicken Run appeared to be extra 3D-like on the G3, as distinction ranges had been far superior. Highlights a low pointUnfortunately it’s not all excellent news for the QNED81 although. I was ready to establish areas the place the mid-range QNED display fell foul to the prevalence of OLED throughout an HD stream of Top Gun: Maverick. In the opening scene, as Tom Cruise’s ‘Maverick’ rides on his bike to the Air Force base, the sky above him was extra of a shiny white than something resembling blue. The identical scene seen on the G3 OLED revealed there may be certainly meant to be blue sky there. This was attention-grabbing, since I anticipated the NanoCell layer on the QNED display would have prevented this from occurring, as it’s designed to higher management the sunshine. However, as a result of it is edge lit, it in the end has a lot much less management over what that mild does. LG says the QNED81 has native dimming, however in some ways that is redundant on an edge-lit display. Local dimming refers to a TV’s backlight being able to adjusting the brightness in particular areas of the display so as to enhance distinction. But for the reason that QNED81 is lit from the perimeters, it will want to be ‘on’ just about on a regular basis so you may really watch something, and it definitely received’t have a lot management over what occurs within the heart of the display – which is the place the sky within the Top Gun stream occurred to be. Bleedin’ hellAnd, as is the case for just about all edge lit TVs, when there are darker areas in direction of the perimeters, there may be a considerable amount of mild bleed. Again, if a TV is lit from the again, that is going to be managed much better, as the sunshine on the edges will be turned off (on an OLED) or dimmed significantly (relying on the capabilities of the display). But as a result of an edge-lit LCD nonetheless wants to present mild to what’s occurring in direction of the middle of the show, you’re going to see stated mild on the sides. This was particularly noticeable within the opening scenes of the primary episode of Stranger Things. The present begins with a shot of a starry night time sky, however whereas the G3 OLED is in a position to individually mild every star and every star solely, the QNED81 wants to mild the sky from its edges. And once you’ve acquired a pitch black sky, it makes the LEDs across the perimeter of the display a lot extra noticeable. Plenty of time for reflection(Image credit score: Future)What I additionally observed in regards to the LG QNED81 TV was simply how reflective its entrance floor was. You can see within the picture above that the couch in my lounge is extra noticeable than what’s really enjoying on the display. I do not encounter fairly the identical concern with the G3 OLED. Yes, there may be some reflection in the course of the daytime, however it would not trigger anyplace close to the extent of viewing points as I encountered with the QNED81. The TV was positioned close to home windows which let in loads of daylight in the course of the day, however I additionally observed related reflective points at night time and with a ground lamp turned on. Turn every little thing off and take away daylight and issues positively do enhance, however in the end, the QNED81 is not a TV you’d need to put in a shiny room. Mini LED may make a mighty improvementOf course, these discrepancies are solely relevant to the QNED81 I lived with and – I suspect – the lesser-spec QNED75 (one of many main shortcomings to this sequence is a step down to 60Hz refresh price, in contrast to the QNED81’s 120Hz). All this will have you ever asking the query “why even evaluate the QNED81 with the G3 OLED?” and it can be a good query. My primary intention with this comparability was to see what the additional premium wanted to purchase the OLED will get you, and subsequently what you’d successfully be lacking out on by saving your money. If the very best picture high quality is prime of your wishlist when shopping for a brand new TV, then the QNED81 isn’t for you. If, nevertheless, your wishlist has tick containers for affordability and 4K 120Hz help for gaming, for instance, then the QNED81 is at the very least price an audition. What you might have considered trying to additionally contemplate if spending as little as doable is most necessary to you, is a mini LED TV. LG’s QNED86 sequence makes use of mini LED backlighting, which ought to inherently ship a picture with little to no mild bleeding and a lot larger management over how every body is lit. I can solely say ‘ought to’ on this occasion, as a result of I haven’t seen the QNED86 with my personal eyes, however can as a substitute draw upon the expertise of seeing different mini LED screens. The LG QNED86 has an MSRP of £1,699 / AU$3,499 – I can’t discover an equal itemizing of this TV on the US retailer – in contrast to the QNED81’s asking worth of £1,499 / AU$2,299. This is a way more absorbable price improve, and may characterize a way more achievable route to near-OLED high quality. I guess I’ll have to placed on my finest pet canine eyes to ask LG for a mortgage unit of that one to decide the place you must actually spend your cash. For now although, I’m staying loyal to OLED. Today’s finest LG QNED81 and LG G3 OLED offers


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