QLED Displays: Advantages and Disadvantages

QLED Displays: Advantages and Disadvantages

Samsung Electronics was one of the first few companies that commercialize the production of quantum dot display technology through the introduction of its QLED brand of smart television sets and monitors for personal computers in 2017.

Most existing QLED products from Samsung still fall under the general LCD category but the company has also incorporated newer technologies such as the Mini-LED backlighting scheme used in its Neo QLED sub-brand while also working on upcoming technologies that include using quantum dot color converters to produce QD-OLED panels.

The principle behind a quantum dot display centers on the use of ultra-fine semiconductor nanocrystals called quantum dots to produce pure monochromatic RGB colors. These materials glow to a particular color when exposed to light. Each dot produces a particular color depending on its size. Smaller ones emit blues and larger ones emit reds.

Nonetheless, based on the optical and other advantageous properties of quantum dots, and the mechanism behind quantum dot display technology, QLED displays have notable advantages over AMOLED panels and traditional LCD technologies.

Pros: Notable Advantages of QLED Displays

1. Competent Color Accuracy

One of the advantages of QLED displays is the production of more vibrant and accurate colors. These displays have better color reproduction and color accuracy than conventional LCD panels. Remember that quantum dots glow to a particular color depending on their size. These dots can be fine-tuned to produce precise colors under a specific spectrum of light.

It is worth mentioning that conventional LCD panels have a limited color gamut than OLED panels. A specific LCD panel made of quantum dots can compete head-on with OLED panels because it has 40 to 50 percent higher color gamut than conventional LCD panels

A QLED display also outcompetes an OLED panel in terms of color reproduction. OLED manufacturers tend to oversaturate color reproduction to make the resulting images appear more vibrant. The precise color reproduction of QLED makes it more suitable for color-critical applications such as photo editing, graphics design, and video editing.

2. Higher Peak Brightness

It is important to reiterate the fact that the specific QLED products of Samsung are still technically LCD panels that use quantum dots for color reproduction. High-end LCD panels such as premium IPS panels or the Liquid Retina displays of Apple have better brightness and outdoor visibility than OLED display panels due to the use of backlighting.

The use of quantum dots can improve brightness further. These nanocrystalline materials in have better optical properties and can produce up to 30 percent brighter colors within the visible spectrum than the larger crystalline used in conventional and LCD panels.

Nevertheless, based on the aforementioned, QLED displays essentially outcompete OLED panels in terms of brightness level. The addition of backlighting can make colors even brighter and more vibrant without losing saturation. This is the reason why QLED quantum dot displays have become the standard for ultra-high definition viewing experience.

3. Improved Contrast Ratio

OLED technology remains unparalleled when it comes to having a better contrast ratio because of its ability to produce deeper and more natural blacks and bright whites. Take note that the blacks in a particular OLED display panel are not artificially produced unlike in LCD and premium IPS LCD panels because they essentially represent the absence of light.

It is worth mentioning that QLED displays also have a better contrast ratio than conventional LCD panels. Quantum dot display technology involves native control over the active state of each quantum dot. This results in the production of deeper and more natural blacks.

Some lower-end QLED displays can exhibit some degree of light leakage from the backlighting. This has been addressed in newer improvements which include the use of an anti-reflective layer and better backlighting schemes to improve the contrast ratio. The specific Neo QLED uses Mini-LED for better localized dimming that can match OLED panels.

4. Thinner and Lighter Panels

LCD panels based on quantum dots have physical profiles that are thinner and lighter than conventional LCD panels. Take note that a conventional IPS LCD panel tends to be thicker and bulkier because it is made of a layer of larger liquid crystalline materials, in addition to the layers of the backlighting system, color filter, and several layers of polarizing film.

Take note that Samsung has been producing QLED smart TV sets and PC monitors with large flat panels and even curved panels featuring a thinner physical profile, lighter weight, and slimmer bezels.  These are somewhat comparable to OLED panels.

OLED panels based on plastic OLED or those made from flexible OLED still have the upper hand when it comes to designing and producing display panels with novel form factors. QLED displays can range from 3 mm to 10 mm in thickness while displays based on OLED can range from 1 mm to 5 mm in thickness depending on the size and resolution.

5. Notable Power Efficiency

Another advantage of QLED displays is power efficiency. A specific display consumes 20 percent less power than a conventional LCD panel. Remember that quantum dots produce as much as 30 percent brighter color than the larger crystalline used in conventional LCD panels. This translates to 30 percent to 50 percent less power consumption.

The precise color production of quantum dots means that only the necessary colors of a given image are produced for a given time and within a particular area. Conventional LCD panels can consume more power when combining and balancing different colors.

It is still important to highlight the fact that OLED panels are still more energy-efficient because of the absence of backlighting. However, as evident from the Neo QLED display products of Samsung, the use of Mini-LED has improved further the energy efficiency of these displays because of precise backlighting and enhanced local dimming control.

Cons: Main Disadvantages of QLED Displays

1. Comparison With OLED

One of the notable disadvantages of QLED displays is that they still cannot achieve a contrast ratio similar to or superior to OLED panels. This is noticeable in low-end to mid-range products that use older backlighting schemes that make them prone to producing light leakage or bleeding and prevent them from producing natural blacks and darker tones of colors.

The viewing angle of these displays is better than conventional LCD panels but even the most affordable OLED products still have a wider and even negligible viewing angle than QLED displays within the low-range to mid-range price brackets.

It is also worth mentioning that these displays tend to produce blue colors with low purity and somewhat poor dynamic range when compared to the blues produced in OLED panels and LCD panels based on in-plane switching. The blue-emitting quantum dots require precise timing and control during the reaction or activation because of their small size.

2. Slow Native Pixel Response

An LCD panel based on quantum dot display technology tends to have a slower pixel response time. The response time of a particular panel refers to the amount of time it takes for pixels to change from one color to the next. This is essential in fast-paced video gaming or in watching movies with fast-moving images or fast-paced changes in sceneries.

The specific response time of a particular QLED is around 1 to 2 milliseconds. OLED panels have a pixel response time of below 0.2 milliseconds. This drawback of QLED comes from the fact that each pixel is controlled individually.

Hence, to solve the aforementioned inherent limitation, QLED displays are equipped with a dedicated processor for hardware calibration and image or video processing using upscaling and artificial intelligence. This helps in improving the pixel response time of a particular QLED display and improving other qualities of the viewing experience.

3. Expensive Display Technology

Another notable disadvantage of QLED displays is their price which makes them premium consumer electronic devices aimed at the high-end market. The most affordable ones retail for more than 1000.00 U.S. dollars and the higher-end ones can go as high as more than 8000.00 U.S. dollars. The high price tag comes from the underlying quantum dot technology.

Producing quantum dots is more expensive than conventional liquid crystalline materials and even organic light-emitting diodes. This cost comes from the complex production processes. Larger displays are more expensive because they require more quantum dots.

The addition of complementary technologies such as Mini-LED backlighting and a dedicated image and video processing chip further increases the cost of producing QLED displays. Conventional LED-backlit IPS LCD remains the more affordable ones while OLED panels are still expensive but their prices have gone down as the technology matures.

Conclusion: Pros and Cons of QLED Displays

The notable advantages of QLED displays include color accuracy, peak brightness, improved contrast ratio, and physical design. Furthermore, because the fundamental quantum dots can be fine-tuned for precise colors, coupled with their high peak brightness from LED backlighting, these displays are positioned as a strong contender against OLED panels.

However, when compared to the unrivaled strengths of OLED technology, the disadvantages of QLED displays become glaring. Low-end and mid-range products still struggle to achieve a similar or superior contrast ratio as most OLED panels. Issues like light leakage, blue color impurities, and a slower pixel response time contribute to their limitations.

The pros and cons of QLED displays make them one of the most notable electronic display products in the market. Their specific features have earned them a place alongside other premium consumer electronic devices. The price points are their biggest drawbacks. Conventional LCD remains the best choice for budget-conscious consumers.