So if you’ve seen my TV setup tour already, you’ll know that I have an OLED display from LG which I’ve been using for the last 9 months or so. But today I wanted to compare it side by side with a QLED display from Samsung.
I wanted to see if I’d made the right choice, and whether the cheaper entry level QLED is as good, better or worse. I’m comparing a £900 2020 QLED to a 2019 £1,500 OLED. Do you get what you pay for?
So today we’re going to be taking a look at both an OLED and a QLED TV, LG versus Samsung. We’re going to take a look at what the pros and cons are to both, but not in a lab environment or in a warehouse, which isn’t relevant to you and me, but in a real living room.
Now if you’re a gamer, I know a lot of you game on a desk and monitor setup, but if you’re like me and you game on your TV, these two TVs could be the main two you’re interested in buying this year.
So if you’ve seen my TV setup tour, you’ll know that I’m using the LG C9 55” which is wall mounted. We’ll be comparing this to Samsung’s latest QLED display, the Q60T 55” model, which is sat on the floor in front.
First up, we’ve got to take a look at the awesome picture quality. And both of these TVs do not disappoint. Honestly, straight on with the exact same content being fed to them, they look incredible.
So they are both 4K and they both offer HDR, but that doesn’t mean they both look exactly the same, there are far more factors when it comes to getting the perfect TV. So first up, I’m going to show you what the PS4 looks like on both TVs. I’ll flick between a few different games, to give you an idea of what they look like.
So they are very similar, but the first thing you’ll notice when comparing them in this way, is how the Samsung looks a little washed out when compared to the LG. I’m not talking about the colours here, I’m talking about the overall vibrance and contrast of the TVs.
The blacks on the OLED are incredible, day and night the blacks are perfect, whereas the QLED, like most LCD and LED tvs, can’t compete when it comes to pure black.
So both TVs are 4K and HDR10 ready, this means you can watch Netflix in 4K or you can watch an Ultra HD bluray. Both will look incredible.
Now both TVs do look awesome, whether I’m throwing PS4 games at it, Netflix shows or movies, I’ve been really impressed with both. If I had to choose an overall winner on picture quality it would be the OLED. The deep blacks, the contrast and the overall picture quality is better than the QLED. However, that’s not the only reason, which I will cover more later.
And what are the viewing angles like? We know looking straight on looks great, but what if you’re seating position means you’re to the side, not every seat in your room will have the perfect position. Now this is probably one of the most overlooked points when getting a new TV.
And this is where the OLED is really impressive. It doesn’t matter at what angle you view the TV, you’ll still have a relatively clear picture. The colours look vibrant, the image doens’t look washed out or compromised at all. If you’ve owned a Plasma before you’ll know how good they were at viewing angles too.
Then moving onto the QLED, and although looking straight on is fine, as soon as you move off centre, almost immediately the colours start to fade and it looks cloudy and almost washed out. Then as you move further round and away from the centre it gets to the point it’s almost unwatchable and not enjoyable to view at all. This isn’t unique to this TV though, this is LCD and LEDs in general.
And when comparing the two side by side, you can really see the difference of the OLED on top versus the QLED on the bottom. It’s been a long time since I owned an LCD or LED TV, but when comparing like this, I honestly find the blurry and washed out look of the QLED just unwatchable from anywhere other than straight on.
So if you’re needing or wanting to view the TV from anywhere other than directly straight on, the OLED has the perfect picture throughout, with almost zero compromise.
Input Lag and Next Gen Gaming
Input lag is an important factor if you’re needing to use the TV for gaming, which I do every day. It’ll make no difference to watching movies or TV shows however. But both of these TVs have a very low input lag.
The lower the input lag, the lower the delay between what you’re seeing on the screen versus what is actually happening in the game. If you have a slow or high input lag, you’ll be dead in Call of Duty before you’ve even walked around a corner, and every game will be incredibly frustrating.
So the LG OLED is as low as 6.3 ms and the Samsung QLED is as low as 9.7 ms, both of these depend on the resolution you’re using and you need game mode enabled. So both very low for a TV, in fact very low even for a monitor unless you’re going for a high spec gaming monitor.
As I’ve said, I only game on my TV, and I’ve never experienced an issue with any games I’ve played. Whether that’s Call of Duty, Need for Speed, Rogue Company or anything else.
Talking of games, with the next gen consoles, the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X, coming out later this year, you may be interested in knowing whether these TVs are ready for them.
Well to make the most of next gen, you’ll want a 4K resolution, HDMI 2.1 and a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s not required, but if you’re looking for a TV that supports it, it’s worth checking the specs.
The good news is that both of these TVs support 4K too, so they’ll look awesome if you’re going to play any games from current or next gen.
However when it comes to HDMI 2.1 and 120Hz, the QLED supports neither while the OLED supports both. The QLED is capped at 60Hz while the OLED supports 120Hz. In fact at the time of receiving the LG it did not support this, but by an over the air update, LG unlocked this feature. This will make an incredible difference to games that support it.
This next gen spec is available on the 2019 and the 2020 OLEDs from LG, so it’s great to see them ahead of the curve with this.
But generally speaking, gaming looks awesome on both TVs.
User Interface and the Menus
When it comes to the UI or the operating system of both TVs, they both offer a very similar experience on paper. So they have the usual apps you’d expect and want to see, such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime and various other streaming services. If you’re in the UK that includes BBC, ITV, Channel 5 and so on.
Both use a different operating system which in my opinion makes a huge difference.
Samsung’s is called Tizen OS. And as you can see here as I flick through the app store on the TV, it looks great. It’s got everything you’d expect to see. Then the bar across the bottom, when you bring up the app launcher allows you to select any input, app or recent apps. It’s pretty clean.
And here’s the main settings for the TV, which gives you full control of the picture, audio and general settings.
Now taking a look at the LG OS, which uses WebOS. The app launcher on this is slightly different the way it displays your available apps which I prefer, but the app store itself where you download your new apps from, isn’t actually as nice and slick as the Samsung store. It looks quite dated, but still easy enough to use.
In the dashboard area you can view available devices and ports, but what I really like here is the way you control the settings. So bringing up the side bar will show you the picture, audio, network and other settings. Then you have full control over what you need to change.
So, when it comes to the user experience, I have to give it to LG and WebOS. During my time with the Samsung TV, it just felt sluggish and slow when compared to the LG which was very fast and snappy. Scrolling through apps or pages was a little laggy for me, it felt like an old OS and really took the enjoyment away from using the app sections. Obviously once you were using the apps and watching TV it was absolutely fine though.
But honestly, they both offer awesome apps and the UI is smart. But again I’d give it to LG for the overall look of the app store, the way the apps show at the bottom of the screen and the sleek design.
Depending on the layout of your room or how bright it is, reflections could be an issue when it comes to choosing a TV.
Both of these are very different, which could be a problem or benefit to you.
So the QLED is almost a matte finish, with a kind of flat look to it which prevents reflections. This will be ideal for bright rooms like a conservatory, or rooms with windows in the reflection, as you’re not going to be distracted or have as much trouble seeing what’s on the TV. The downside to this is the blacks aren’t quite as good unfortunately.
Looking at the LG, it’s almost mirror like. It is tinted, so it helps with the blacks and helps with reducing some reflections, but overall it is very reflective. This means if you’re using it in a bright room, or trying to watch a dark movie during the day, you might struggle. My room is quite bright during the day, and this is my second OLED, so I don’t mind it at all. But it’s worth bearing in mind.
As you can see here, the difference between the two when on a dark screen is very noticeable. Clearly the QLED is still reflective, but the OLED is a black mirror.
I don’t watch my TV at this angle, so it doesn’t reflect in this way under normal viewing, but if I did, it would be unwatchable.
Looking at the remotes that come with both TVs, they are very different. The Samsung comes with two remotes, you’ve got this traditional looking one, with your usual controls along with quick launch buttons for Netflix and Amazon Prime, pretty standard really. It also comes with a second remote, which is what I would use. This has a minimal look to it with only a few useful buttons. You’ve still got your Netflix and Amazon buttons, play, pause and your volume controls. This is actually really nice.
Then there’s the LG remote, which I’ve been using for the last 3 years or so on different TVs, it’s called the Magic remote.
So it obviously has all of the controls you’d expect, along with Netflix and Amazon launch buttons, but it also has a magic wand. Now this means that when you’re controlling the TV, you can literally point it and select the app or settings you need. This makes it a lot easier to navigate the TV and something I now couldn’t be without. You don’t need to use it though, just by tapping one of the directional buttons on the remote will turn it off.
The looks and the design might be the last thing you’d be interested in when it comes to choosing a TV, as let’s face it they all look the same. However, these two have some big differences.
First up, the actual thickness of the TV. The Samsung is pretty thick for a new TV, it’s 58mm thick without the stand. It’s practically made from plastic throughout, which means it’s pretty light, but looks cheaper.
Then the feet it sits on, if you’re not wall mounting it are small feet on either side, literally just slot into the bottom of the TV, no screws required.
Whereas the LG stand is a large plate that the TV sits on. I’ve put a picture on screen now, as I’m not using the stand on mine.
Then the thickness of the LG is insane, the top two thirds of it is paper thin, to the point you feel like you might break it if you’re not careful, then the bottom third is a little thicker.
Samsung have chosen to shown their branding on the front, while LG have actually removed their branding completely, which gives it a really nice no notch look. I much prefer this.
Both TVs support VESA mounting, so if you’re looking to mount it to your wall like I have, you can. The LG is 300 by 200 mm and the Samsung is 200 by 200 mm.
Risk of Burn-in?
I want to talk about burn in. When I did my TV Setup tour earlier this year, I had a lot of people commenting that OLED was a bad idea for gaming, as it suffers from burn in. Well they are right, kind of. Every TV can suffer from it if you miss-treat it. I mean if you’re leaving it on a static image or even a news channel with a logo in a corner, it’s going to cause image retention of burn in. But for most normal people, you’re not going to suffer from it if you don’t sit and watch the same channel or image for 10 hours a day every day.
Both TVs also have tools and settings to prevent these issues, such as pixel shift and screen savers. This is my second OLED and I’ve never had a problem.
Looking at the available ports on these TVs, the LG has 4 HDMIs while the Samsung as 3, probably more than enough for most people plugging in a couple of consoles and a streaming or Sky box. The LG also has 3 USB ports while the Samsung has 2, and they both have a LAN port for a wired internet connection too.
Google Home, Amazon and Apple AirPlay
Both TVs support multiple smart home features. So Alexa is supported on both, you can also AirPlay to both TVs too, which means you can share your iPhone, iPad or Macbook screen directly onto the TVs, which is a feature I use quite often.
Google assistant, which is what I use, is also available on both TVs, so you can group it and control it via your Google assistant app or speakers around your home. You can also use the remote itself to speak and command the TV too, so whether that be to play a show or to change the port, you can do. I’ll be honest though, other than using AirPlay to send photos to the TV I rarely use the other integrations.
Overall I’ve used both of these TVs for at least a week, the LG is my daily TV and the Samsung I used exclusively for over a week. During that time I found the Samsung was great, and other than the poor viewing angles if I wasn’t sat straight on to the TV, it didn’t fail to impress me. The colours were vibrant, the game mode was incredible and the minimalist remote was actually really nice.
The LG was awesome though, I mean other than the reflections during the day while watching dark scenes, this OLED just exceeds what I want from a TV. It’s vibrant, punchy, and super super clean. The viewing angles on this are just incredible though, I mean being able to literally view it at any angle without worrying if people can’t see the screen or what’s on it, that sells it for me.