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16 May 2021

Cheap TVs fight it out: LG's cheapest OLED and Samsung's cheapest QLED compared

These two high-end screen technologies get cheaper every year, so which one looks best on paper?
LG OLED55A16LA and Samsung QE55Q60A side by side

While TV brands LG, Panasonic and Sony choose OLED displays for their high-end sets, Samsung still thinks its backlit QLED sets are the way forward. With both technologies being used in cheaper TVs more than ever in 2021, we thought we'd have a good old-fashioned face-off to see if the LG OLED55A16LA or Samsung QE55Q60A has a better chance of doing well in our tests.

As these TVS have only just been released, we haven't yet been able to put them through our full lab test, but we will be in the coming months. Here we'll be taking a close look at the technology in the TVs to see if one has the edge over the other.

From picture quality, to which will be best for gaming - we've used our years of experience at lab testing TVs to analyse their tech specs so we can give you our verdict.

However, we don't recommend buying either yet. Despite being each brand's 'cheapest' OLED and QLED respectively, both are expensive. For now, at least. We predict they will have a more palatable price towards the end of the year. But make sure you read our full lab test verdicts before you buy, to see whether they're worth your money.

Our top TV deals will help you narrow your search for a decent TV at a good price.

What's the difference between OLED and QLED?

  • What is OLED TV? - They don't have backlights, instead each pixel in the display creates its own light. This means OLEDs tend to have superb contrast depth, and are good at avoiding bright parts of the picture bleeding into darker parts.
  • What is QLED TV? - A backlight illuminates a layer of quantum dots to create the picture. The quantum dots are designed to boost the vibrancy of colours. QLEDs tend to be brighter than OLEDs.

LG OLED55A16LA vs Samsung QE55Q60A

Both TVs are available in a number of sizes, but we'll be focusing on the 55-inch models for the purposes of price comparison.

As you'll see from our table below, the basic elements of the TVs are broadly the same.

Both are 4K, have the same number of inputs, support HDMI eARC (an input designed to easily connect sound bars and home cinema systems, support the latest audio signals) and have 60Hz refresh rates. The refresh rate is how many times the TV refreshes the image on screen every second.

But there are differences that go beyond these specs, plus there's a big £500 price difference. Keep reading to find out more.

LG OLED55A16LASamsung QE55Q60A
Screen typeOLEDQLED
Screen sizes (inches)48, 55, 65, 7743, 50, 55, 65, 75, 85
Screen resolution4K4K
Screen refresh rate60Hz60Hz
HDR formats supportedHDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, Dolby Vision IQHDR10, HLG, HDR10+
Total HDMI inputs33


Which will have the best picture?

This is probably the most difficult thing to determine based on specs alone. LG and Samsung are more than capable of turning out a stunning TV, particularly those from their OLED and QLED ranges.

OLEDs are more consistently high quality, but this is partly due to how expensive they are. There are far more QLED than OLED ranges and more variety of price as a result.

That's evident here. The OLED is £500 more than the QLED. This is down to extra cost involved in manufacturing OLED displays, but the OLED does have some extra gaming features, too (scroll down to find out more).

OLEDs are widely considered to have the best contrast and motion of any TV type and we'd expect the OLED55A16LA to be the better looking TV of the two. And, let's be honest, since you need to spend £500 more to get it, it should be.

We reckon the OLED picture will be better, but whether that's enough to justify such a gulf in price remains to be seen. There's also the issue of sound quality and it's difficult to even speculate on that based on specs alone. We'll be testing both of these TVs soon though, so the quality of these TVs won't be such a mystery for long.

Need a TV right now? Use our TV reviews to find the best for your budget.

Which will be best for HDR?

HDR is designed to boost contrast; pushing the range of darkest and brightest parts of the picture.

HDR10 and HLG are the basic formats and they are supported by just about every 4K TV released in the last few years. But with these formats, the contrast adjustment isn't dynamic - that boost is fixed regardless of the scene or light level in your room.

Dolby Vision and HDR10+ are advanced formats that can adjust contrast on the fly and this helps avoid situations where the HDR picture looks too dark or bright. It's something of a format tussle, since different broadcasters and streaming services favour different ones.

  • Netflix uses Dolby Vision rather than HDR10+. Don't worry if you have a Samsung TV though, Netflix also supports HDR10.
  • Amazon Prime Video works with HDR10 and HDR10+, so if that's your go to streaming service then a Samsung TV will give you that dynamic contrast and LG models won't.

Dolby Vision IQ is an evolution of Dolby Vision, since it can adjust contrast based on the ambient light in your room. Samsung announced in late 2020 that its 2021 QLED ranges would be able to do this with HDR10+, too.

So despite both TVs supporting different HDR formats, they are both equally capable in this area, it's just that you'll only see the benefits of the advanced formats on certain streaming services.

Samsung QE55Q60A 4K QLED TV
Samsung QE55Q60A

Which TV will be best for gaming?

The gaming industry makes more money than the film and TV industry combined, so it makes sense that manufacturers are vying to make their sets the best option for playing video games.

That said, you'll need to spend more for a QLED that has advanced features for gaming.

The OLED55A16LA has FreeSync, which is a technology created by graphics card manufacturer, AMD. It's designed to smooth out the gaming experience by reducing screen-tearing and latency, so the TV should react more quickly to button presses on the controller.

The other key factor is VRR, which stands for variable refresh rate. Video games run at a specific frame rate, usually 30 or 60fps (frames per second) but when a console struggles to render them the game can appear to stutter and drag. VRR goes someway to rectifying this by duplicating older frames to take the place of the missing ones and create a smoother experience.

So the OLED is likely the better choice for gamers, but that's not to say the QLED is devoid of gaming features. GameView is particularly interesting.

GameView changes the aspect ratio of the picture to either 21:9 or 32:9 (films are displayed in 16:9) to create an ultrawide view. It shrinks the picture vertically, as the black bars above and below get thicker, but grants a far wider field of view.

This means you can see more of what's going on around you - ideal for spotting enemies in competitive online first-person shooters.

You can read more about gaming-specific features and see our recommended models in our best TVs for gaming.

What do you get if you pay more?

LG OLED evo G1
The LG OLED evo G1

Spend more on an LG OLED and you'll get a better processor, such as the Gen 4 Alpha 9 that's in the C1 and G1 OLED ranges. TVs powered by this chip should have sharper picture and more vibrant colours.

You'll get a 120Hz screen, too, rather than a 60Hz one. Gamers benefit most from this since some titles on Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X support these super-high frame rates and look stunningly smooth as a result.

LG'S G1 range is a new type of OLED display entirely. Known as OLED evo, it's brighter than traditional OLEDs, which is one of the few places they struggle compared to backlit sets.

Samsung Neo QLED TV
Samsung Neo QLED TV

If you spend more for a Samsung QLED then you get an evolution of the display. It's called Neo QLED and these TVs have smaller, thinner LEDs in their backlights, which should lead to better contrast and more control over what parts of the screen are lit. This could close the gap between QLED and OLED picture quality.

More expensive QLEDs have more gaming focused features, too, such as 120Hz displays and FreeSync support.

See our expert pick of the top five TVs for 2021.