Most modern computer monitors, and even televisions, have an edge-lit LCD display that’s fundamentally similar to the first such displays sold decades ago, but that’s not where the future is headed.
Which will win, and where is the future headed?
Mini-LED scores an undisputed and significant win in brightness.
Brightness and HDR
Modern OLED displays rarely exceed 1,000 nits of brightness, and when they do, are incapable of sustaining it.
Mini-LED displays like Apple’s Liquid Retina XDR, Samsung’s Odyssey Neo G9, and Samsung’s QN90A television can hit peak brightness well above 1,000 nits and sustain at least 600 nits.
The best HDR standards call for up to 10,000 nits of brightness.
And Micro-LED, which uses individual LEDs as per-pixel lighting elements, can reach even greater heights.
Such brightness is not necessary for computer monitors or home televisions and instead targets demanding niche components, such as avionics displays.
OLED’s greatest strength is the opposite of Mini-LED’s incredible brightness.
Contrast and dark levels
The advantages of OLED add up to superior contrast and depth.
Modern Mini-LED displays often claim to rival OLED.
In reality, Mini-LED still noticeably lags the contrast performance of OLED because it can’t light pixels individually.
Mini-LED improves on traditional edge-lit LCD displays by improving the backlight.
Viewing angles and motion performance
Display quality can shift significantly depending on viewing angle, and significant blur will be visible when displaying fast motion.
The liquid crystals do not block light uniformly, so the image looks different from different angles, and require a few milliseconds to respond to a charge, causing blur or ghosting in rapidly changing images.
OLED is different from LCD technology.
Each pixel is an organic element that creates its own light when a charge is applied.
No matter how you look at it, this is another quick win for OLED.
The last few points—contrast, black levels, viewing angles, and response times—highlight the strengths of OLED technology.
Indeed, exposure to light itself (and blue light in particular) wears down OLED, reducing the light produced by pixels over time.
This problem is most often discussed in the context of burn-in or image retention.
OLED manufacturers downplay this issue.
The company’s current OLED reliability page says that “reasonable, responsible usage” should not result in burn-in.
You might decide the risk is worth the reward.
Monitor pricing remains a sore point for PC enthusiasts.
“OLEDs are less costly than MiniLEDs in tablets and notebooks if comparing them to Apple’s iPad Pro and MacBook Pro”
OLED panels are available at reasonable prices in notebooks like the Dell XPS 13 and Samsung Galaxy Book Pro.
Mini-LED is also expensive, but more affordable than OLED.
Asus’ 32-inch ROG Swift PG32UQX retails for as little as $2,899.99 and Samsung’s super-ultrawide Odyssey Neo G9 is $2,499.99.
The current OLED vs. Mini-LED battle is give-and-take.
OLED wins in contrast, black levels, viewing angles, and motion performance.
OLED’s big break may come with the introduction of new fabs.