Is an OLED TV Worth It? OLED vs LCD Comparison
OLED TVs are making the rounds as the de-facto choice for anyone looking for a modern-day TV. However, as smart consumers, we aren’t just going to buy into the craze. OLED TVs aren’t cheap, and the name seems to imply that it isn’t any different to standard LED TVs, so what gives?
Well, if you’re confused and want a straight answer, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll be walking you through the pros and cons of OLED TVs. Most importantly, we’ll help you determine whether an OLED TV is for you, and provide out top picks for the best OLED TVs out there.
What are OLEDs?
OLEDs aren't just clones of the typical LED lights you'll find all around you. While typical LED lights use a single backlight that illuminates the entirety of your screen, OLEDs allow for much finer control. On LED TVs, each pixel has its own individual light source, allowing for richer contrast, greater color accuracy, and darker blacks.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first.
The most obvious downside to OLED TVs is the price tag. You’re paying nearly 20% more from the outset when compared to LED and LCD TVs of similar specs, and that’s no small sum when you consider that larger TV’s can cost thousands of dollars.
Another downside is the minor risk of image burn-in, as well as the potential of ‘dead pixels’ forming on your screen, which can never recover barring expensive repairs. It should be emphasized that the risk is minimal, especially with modern advancements in technology.
Finally, OLED TVs are slightly darker when compared to LED and backlit-LCD screens, often clocking in at 1000nits as a standard. Again, this is a very minor point, as the screen visuals are still perfectly usable during the day. However, it’s worth considering, especially if you’re somehow intending to use the screen under daylight.
Now let’s get into the positives.
The best thing that justifies the high asking price is the visuals. OLED screens produce spectacular images thanks to their ability to produce so-called ‘true-blacks’, which enhances the screen’s contrast ratio. Normal TV’s reproduce the blacks of images by dimming the pixels or regions, which still gives off a slightly greyish tint that is semi-visible. OLED TVs don’t cheat, and can deactivate pixels on-the-fly to produce true-blacks. In terms of benefits, this makes horror and sci-fi films way more immersive.
Also, OLED screens are naturally slim, as there’s no need for a backlight and complex panel triggers. This enables OLED screen designs to be far thinner than the competition. This also makes OLED screens ideal for smartphones, which are becoming more and more commonplace.
Finally, OLED screens just look good. OLED screens are capable of up to 0.001ms refresh rates, resulting in reduced screen judder and blurring. The screens are also subjectively better at colour reproduction (though some people aren’t fans of the deeper saturation curves featured as a default).
As a bonus, OLED panels are environmentally friendly! Nitrogen Trifluoride is used in the production of LCD panels, and OLED panels save the planet by completely removing the chemical from the equation.
Should you get an OLED TV?
I’m going to give a resounding yes. OLED TVs are the future, and there’s no reason to skimp on quality unless you’re budget conscious. LED TVs are probably your best bet if you want to save some dough, and both share enough qualities that you aren’t losing too much.
However, if you’re going for the best of the best when it comes to image quality, OLED TVs are the way to go. Here are our top picks for OLED TVs you can buy right now.
Best Overall OLED TV - LG C9 OLED
LG holds the most patents related to OLED technology, and it’s no surprise that it tops the chart. The LG C9 delivers HDR-certified 4K visuals effortlessly, and also includes built-in image interpolation software that reduces stuttering and blur even further. The lightning-fast refresh rate also makes this ideal for gamers.
The 95% metascore says it all, this is easily one of the best TVs out there. As a bonus, it’s also affordable when compared with the competition!
Best OLED TV for Visuals - Sony A9F
Sony comes in at a solid 2nd place on our list for it’s great visuals. While LG owns the tech, Sony does an extra bit of image processing behind the scenes to produce images that just look straight up better when it comes to movies and video. Sony’s Pixel Contrast Booster gets nearly unanimous praise for its ability to produce near-perfect blacks too.
The main downside here is the reduced refresh rate and tendency to flicker on fast-moving images, making this a worse choice for gamers. Regardless, the 90% metascore easily proves that the A9F is well-deserving of all the praise.
Best Budget OLED TV – LG B8 OLED
You might think we’re cheating by including yet another LG TV in the list, but we can’t help it. The pioneers of the technology know it best, and the 93% metascore comes so close to achieving the LG C9’s greatness.
So, what are you losing compared to its bigger brother? You’re sacrificing the higher quality HDR and software enhancements, but you’re still getting certified HDR support and 4K resolution. A lower refresh rate also means gamers might be disappointed, especially with reports of thin vertical streaks in dark scenes.
Regardless, value-wise, the LG B8 is a safe buy, and will serve you well for years to come.
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