You might be tempted by a 4K TV now they're more affordable, but which type of 4K screen is best: OLED or SUHD? LG offers OLED Ultra HD televisions while Samsung has gone the SUHD route, and here's the differences, advantages and disadvantages of these TV screen technologies.
Before you shell out for a new 4K TV, let's compare the two offerings of LG’s OLED and Samsung SUHD technology. Remember that 4K is just a pixel density, which many televisions now offer. The true differential when it comes to picture quality is the design and build of the screen itself. That's why there's a significant difference between OLED and SUHD panels.
LG OLED vs Samsung SUHD: What is OLED and what is SUHD?
The technology behind OLED has been around for some years now, but has only recently begun to become affordable. The reason for this, and partly why Samsung has decided to go its own way, is because OLED screens are difficult to produce en masse without errors, making it costly.
Just because OLED screens are tricky to manufacture doesn’t mean they're not a great choice, though. OLED tech is stunning, which is part of the reason why it’s still in production despite those challenges. The tech works using Organic Light Emitting Diodes, which light up in varying colours based on the electrical current passed through them. The advantage here is that each individual section can be lit as appropriate, without that pesky light bleed that traditional LCD panels suffer from.
As a result, OLED screens boast true blacks, amazing contrast ratios, stunning colours and super fast refresh rates. Despite all that, they’re also low on power consumption.
Samsung claims to have reached OLED levels of quality using traditional LCD screen panel tech in its SUHD displays. These use quantum dot tech, which Samsung terms Nano-crystal technology. Essentially it means a layer of crystals over the usual LED display which are able to change the blue backlight to pure white. The result is brighter screens with a wider colour gamut.
LG OLED vs Samsung SUHD: Which is brighter?
Here it’s the range of brightness which is key. The latest LG OLED displays now are able to reach a 1,000 nits brightness, the same as SUHD Quantum Dot manages. The key is that thanks to those deep blacks and the stunning contrast ratio, the OLED has a wider range and ultimately offers a more immersive experience.
HDR is the term that’s leading the latest tech jump in TVs, aka High Dynamic Range. It’s this contrast between bright and dark that’s important which is why OLED is still impressive, even in the face of brighter screens.
LG OLED vs Samsung SUHD: Which has better colours?
The LG Signature OLED screens are now able to produce 99 percent of the DCI-P3 colour space. In normal speak that’s a hell of a lot and more than meets the standards of the UHD Premium stamp. This is both HDR10 and Dolby Vision ready too.
Both the Samsung SUHD TVs and the LG OLEDs offer 10-bit colour which, once again plays nice with HDR content, pushing it above some 8-bit television limits.
Once again it comes back to range. Both screen have lots of colours but it’s that range which really shows off the colour on its best, most life-like scale.
One other factor is viewing angles where an OLED can be seen in full colour at 160-degrees some LCD screens can top out at 100-degrees.
LG OLED vs Samsung SUHD: Which is faster?
The refresh rates on OLED screens have been legendary for some time. But new SUHD panels are now able to offer impressive processing that also packs great high-speed responsiveness.
An OLED panel is capable of a refresh rate of 0.001ms which is about one thousand times faster than some LCD screens can manage. The result is smooth high-speed action, making it ideal for movies and sports.
Of course, processing is a factor here too but since the latest screens are all packing top processors and software, ghosting and the like shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Another speed related issue is based on access to content via the software. Samsung’s SUHD runs Tizen while LG’s OLED runs on webOS. Both are fast, clear, filled with apps and run well so this really comes down to a matter of taste.
LG OLED vs Samsung SUHD: Pricing
One decisive point that has pushed OLED back despite its superiority over previous LCD efforts is the asking price.
LG now offers OLED screens from £1,099 for its 55-inch EG910V model, but a top-end latest W7 with wallpaper-thin screen at that top end brightness is a whopping £8,000.
Samsung’s SUHD TVs start at £1,299 for Quantum Dot and go as high as £4,499.
So OLED is still the most expensive television medium out there, but for some it will also be the best. That really depends on how you perceive colour range and if you prefer brighter, more punchy images.
If the price difference isn’t a massive issue for you and you still can’t decide, we recommend heading into a shop and comparing the two by eye. Personal preference will always win out and either way, you’re in for a real treat.
Read next: How can I watch 4K movies and TV shows?