Samsung TVs are some of the most in-demand electronic items on the market today, and so are their display panels used by other TV, monitor, and smartphone manufacturers.
The outstanding picture quality, sleek design, and ease of use of their TVs have made them extremely desirable for all kinds of people – from hardcore tech heads in search of the finest picture quality available, to the average consumer looking to improve their evening TV viewing.
But there are a lot of different options available, and knowing exactly what all the specifications actually mean in real terms can be a little overwhelming, especially when it comes to two often-compared lines, Crystal UHD and QLED.
In this article, we’ll take a look at exactly what those terms mean, and the differences between a Crystal UHD and a QLED TV. Is one better than the other? Is one better for movies, and one for gaming? Read on to learn more!
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Crystal UHD vs QLED – What Does It All Mean?
Even just understanding the terminology can be overwhelming for those looking to upgrade their current TV, let alone first-time buyers, so we’ll start off by simplifying what these terms mean.
UHD, as you may have guessed, stands for Ultra High-Definition. It’s a technology that offers 4K resolution, the second-highest available after 8K, which isn’t that common (yet).
UHD TVs have the same resolution as Crystal UHD, but the Crystal prefix denotes that Samsung’s Dynamic Crystal Color tech is present in the TV, which offers a wider spectrum of crisp, clear colors, and heightened contrast.
This means that all aspects of whatever scene is showing on the screen will ‘pop,’ so to speak, offering the viewer a brighter, more dynamic, and clearer image with enhanced details.
LED TVs are not new, and there are various LED models on the market that cost much less than QLED or UHD. But the ‘Q’ is the important part here – it stands for ‘Quantum Dot LED’ or ‘Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode,’ to use the full name.
So, what the hell is a quantum dot, I hear you ask? Well, to put it simply, it is a filter layer of nanocrystal semiconductors placed between the LED backlight and LCD screen. When the TV is turned on, the LED backlight produces light, as in any other TV, but instead of that image going straight to the LCD screen, the quantum dot layer processes the color and brightness of the picture and adjusts accordingly to ensure the clearest image is projected.
The quantum processors in QLED TVs use machine learning and AI to constantly adjust and upscale lower-resolution images, giving the viewing a better resolution and greater luminosity.
Crystal UHD vs. QLED – Which is Better?
So, now we know the main differences between the two, it’s time to start deciding which TV comes out on top. Of course, you might instantly assume that the QLED is better – it comes with a heftier price tag, too, leading many to think that more money = better product.
But it’s not always that simple! Depending on what you want to use your TV for, how long you plan on keeping it, and how much you can afford to spend, the answer isn’t always so clear.
In this section, we’ll look at Crystal UHD and QLED TVs in terms of how they fare for different use cases, and their strengths and weaknesses in other, less obvious areas.
As you might have guessed, the QLED is the winner when it comes to overall image quality. That layer of nanocrystal semiconductors and quantum processors gives an edge when it comes to standard viewing, even without the AI technology that constantly recalibrates to provide the highest quality image possible, even when streaming older or poorer quality formats and resolutions.
That’s not to say that the Crystal UHD is poor, however. It’s much more affordable and still offers outstanding picture quality, with only minor noticeable differences in true black, contrast, and vibrancy.
Crystal UHD actually does edge out in front when comparing indirect viewing, too. That means that you don’t need to sit directly in front of the TV for the best viewing experience, which is something worth bearing in mind if you are considering a QLED.
Due to quantum dot technology, QLED TVs are better when viewed from an angle of 50° or less, so if you’ve got a large, wide living room, a QLED may not actually be the best option if you’re obsessive about picture quality.
Gaming – Refresh Rate & Input Lag
These days, TVs are not just used for watching television programs. It would be remiss if we didn’t consider how video games will appear on a brand-new Samsung big screen.
When it comes to gaming, the most important features are the screen’s refresh rate and the measure of input lag.
The input lag score dictates how fast you’ll see a response on the screen from the time you press a button on your controller. It’s crucial for the rating number to be as low as possible, as it relates directly to response time.
Luckily, both Crystal UHD and QLED TVs have an input lag classification of ‘excellent,’ with response times of 10 – 11 milliseconds for both panels. So, on this front, either TV seems like a good option for gaming.
However, seasoned gamers would be left disappointed, since 5ms response times have been pretty common across the most basic IPS LCD monitors for years. And these days, most gaming monitors offer 1ms response time. For this reason, if you’d also like to game on your TV, consider getting an OLED panel or something else that offers at least a 5ms response time (or faster).
Additionally, when analyzing refresh rates, Crystal UHD and QLED are not equal. As a quick explanation for those not in the know, the refresh rate of a TV is simply how quickly the frame changes. The faster the refresh rate, the smoother images appear on the screen.
Crystal UHD TVs have a refresh rate of 60Hz, which is pretty standard on most new televisions. A 60Hz refresh rate means the screen will refresh 60 times per second. This should be more than adequate for casual gamers, but if you’re into high-stakes competitive online multiplayer games, or simply spoiled by your existing high FPS gaming monitor, you might want something a little faster.
QLED TV refresh rates will vary depending on the model, but at the higher end of the range, you’ll find refresh rates of up to 120Hz, which makes for an incredibly smooth gaming experience, and also makes sports look better.
As you might have guessed, Crystal UHD and QLED models are in very different price ranges.
Now, exact prices will depend on the model and the retailer, but generally speaking, you can expect to pick up a Crystal UHD model for under $300. While the picture quality might not be the absolute best currently available, it’s still very good and will no doubt be an improvement on other lesser-known brands.
QLED models are definitely on the expensive side, with most models starting at around $500, with large screen options reaching close to $1,000. Although that is a lot of money, you are getting some of the most advanced technology currently available, and therefore you’ll be watching TV and movies in better quality than most.
Figuring out how much this matters to you is the main question you need to ask yourself when comparing these two TV lines.
As Crystal UHD and QLED are both Samsung models, they both come with Samsung’s Tizen operating system installed as standard.
Tizen is considered to be a worthwhile operating system as far as modern TVs go, and it comes with a fully stocked app store and a whole range of settings allowing for user customization.
Settings include a game mode, to further improve frame rate and motion smoothing, and various different configurations of brightness, contrast, and color for dynamic movie modes.
When it comes to deciding on technology, you’ve got to accept that you’ll need to do a fair amount of research to truly figure out which TV is right for you. How much do you value picture quality over price? How important is the frame rate? Are you a serious console gamer, or are you just looking for a bigger, better screen for your gaming room?
In my opinion, the main differences between the Crystal UHD and the QLED that are worth considering are the picture quality and the price. You can pay (quite a bit) more for quantum processor technology, or get the second-best thing for a much smaller price tag.
Once again, this comes down to your specific needs. It’s clear which TV is better in terms of tech and quality, but if you don’t need all that, then you might as well save the money!
If you’re after the absolute best offering, then none of these would satisfy you. You must choose OLED in that case!