The rise of Mini LED and QD-OLED

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      Note: I originally posted this in another thread titled “Monitor with best HDR support“, which seemed an appropriate place. But I feel separating this out into its own individual thread for extra exposure might be useful. The monitors discussed here were all either ‘shown off’ or at least announced at CES 2022 and showcase technologies which we expect to see make their way into a broader range of models in the future.

      There are a few models using the same 32″ 160Hz+ ‘4K’ UHD IPS panel as the X32 FP, with 576-zone Quantum Dot Mini LED backlight and VESA DisplayHDR 1000 support. Panel manufacturer AUO refers to this as an AmLED (Adaptive Mini LED) backlight. There’s the Acer X32 and ASUS PG32UQXE which use the panel set to 160Hz, but offer G-SYNC Ultimate as well. Not all models have a specified colour gamut and what is specified can vary by manufacturer, but the backlight looks to achieve ~97% DCI-P3 and ~99% Adobe RGB coverage. The ASUS claims an HDMI 2.1 port, hopefully one with the sort of capabilities you’d expect from actual HDMI 2.1.

      For those preferring a VA alternative with 1000R curve, there’s a ~32″ 240Hz ‘4K’ UHD VA offering (CSOT panel, most likely) from Samsung with their S32BG85 (Neo G8). A 165Hz variant is also listed (S32BG75). The Neo G8 offers a Quantum Dot Mini LED (‘Quantum Matrix’) backlight with ~2000 dimming zones. The monitor has a ‘Quantum HDR 2000’ specification which relates to a claimed peak luminance of 2000 cd/m². Not to be confused with any VESA DisplayHDR certification level – the Neo G9 Super UltraWide touted a similar specification but sustained luminance levels and in most scenarios peak luminance fell some way short of VESA DisplayHDR 1000 requirements. The colour gamut likely can’t reach the already rather loose 95% DCI-P3 requirement for DisplayHDR 1000, either. It’s certainly not comparable to the sort of gamuts achieved by the other options mentioned in this thread. Hopefully the overall experience doesn’t end up marred by quality control and firmware issues, clear some clear flickering under VRR or ‘interlace pattern artifacts’ (scanlines) like the Neo G9. This model also brandishes 2 HDMI 2.1 ports, hopefully allowing games consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X to be put to their full potential.

      There were some models with a 27″ 300Hz WQHD IPS panel and G-SYNC Ultimate, which Nvidia classify as ‘Esports’ monitors. These have a 576-zone Mini LED backlight, with this panel technology something manufacturer Innolux refers to as InnoLED; the AOC AG274QGM, MSI MEG271Q and ViewSonic XG272G-2K. Here’s a quick promotional video for ‘InnoLED’ technology – it also mentions Quantum Dot and you can expect good coverage of not just DCI-P3 but also Adobe RGB. They mention ‘up to 124% NTSC’ in the video and 85% Rec. 2020 in the description – this is more or less what a display like the PG32UQX offers or potentially a bit wider.

      There are also some very interesting UltraWide models. The Dell Alienware AW3423DW adopts a 34″ 175Hz 3440 x 1440 Samsung panel with 1800R curve and QD-OLED technology, providing per-pixel illumination and a peak luminance of 1000 cd/m². The sustained luminance will be lower than this; it’s VESA True Black 400 certified so the main focus is on exceptional contrast under HDR with some pulses of very high brightness here and there for an impactful experience. QD-OLED uses a blue OLED light source and a layer of green and red quantum dots, yielding superior gamut performance (~100% DCI-P3 and good Adobe RGB expected) and stronger luminance efficiency compared to regular OLEDs. It also has a regular RGB subpixel layout without additional white subpixel required. Samsung has their own version of this monitor without G-SYNC Ultimate support, an Odyssey G8 model dubbed the ‘G8QNB’ – knowing Samsung that won’t be the full designation.

      Another model to keep an eye out for is the ViewSonic XG341C-2K, mentioned in this press release. This one features a 34″ 200Hz (overclocked) 3440 x 1440 panel with 1500R curve and 1152-zone Mini LED backlight with 1400 cd/m² peak luminance. As I understand it, this model adopts a CSOT VA panel and whilst it may not be as exciting on paper as the QD-OLED panel, I’d expect it to comfortably undercut the price of models using that. It also claims to feature HDMI 2.1, which is frankly a bit of a curious addition for a 3440 x 1440 monitor. Perhaps it accepts a 3840 x 2160 @120Hz signal with a downsampling mode. HDMI 2.0 can provide 2560 x 1440 @120Hz for games consoles (with HDR), anyway.


        Sure hope AUO has brought response times to modern level from their half dozen years old left over tech of previous 32″ 4K panels.
        Though panel of PG32UQX had some kind A-TW polarizer type filter to minimize IPS glow and hopefully they keep that.
        (TFTCentral’s test shows immediately if there’s such filter or no)

        Having used 30″ 2560×1600 Dell U3014 for 8 years only thing which wouldn’t be downgrade in some area is 32″ 3840×2160.
        Ironically LG who made that basically AdobeRGB+DCI-P3 gamut covering panel is nowadays unable to get over DCI-P3.

        And having grown up with good CRTs, self emissive pixel tech’s real contrast would be naturally that final goal.
        Self emissive pixels are also solution to sluggish response times of liquid crystals.
        But of course Samsung’s marketing sabotaged that by putting tech into low screen hogging lots of desk space for little vertical image size…
        And with marketing’s fat arse also bending panel double to make sure image geometry is more distorted than even in the worst “bottle bottom” CRT.
        Such extreme image plane curvature would simply have to be taken into account in renderer.


          Welcome EsaT,

          The new 32″ AUO panel will be faster than that used in models like the PG32UQX and PG32UQ, there’s no doubt about that. Some of my contacts have confirmed that Acer haven’t released a model using the same panel as either of these yet because they weren’t satisfied with pixel responsiveness. Their upcoming XB323K (not Mini LED) will be using a faster panel, which they waited for. I expect the new Mini LED panel discussed in my initial post (M320QAN02.8) to be good in this respect as well – better than the ‘old panel’ of the PG32UQ(X). Note that a 1ms grey to grey response time is specified for models using the ‘new panels’, at least for the Acer models where that specification is currently given. In contrast, models using the ‘old panel’ only had 3-4ms grey to grey or 1ms MPRT specified regardless of manufacturer. I often tell people not to pay too much attention to specified response times, but they can still be quite telling sometimes. Where you’ve got high refresh rate monitors and a manufacturer is unable to specify 1ms grey to grey even with their cherry-picked transitions and using an extreme overdrive setting.


            Interested to see three things from Samsung with QD-OLED in 2022:

            27″ 16:9 cutdown version (ideally without the curve) that pushes the refresh rate a bit harder (240Hz?)
            If these have a BFI solution, and what input delay is present when it’s operating
            If the price is reasonable when LG OLED offerings, miniOLED offerings and 300Hz+ LCD panels should be attacking it from all sides

            I’m sure everyone’s expecting this to settle at a price of $2000 shortly after launch, perhaps even more because it’s first gen tech and seemingly in limited production, but I don’t think Samsung can afford to be that careful. WOLED may not look great side-by-side, but with OLED Evo/OLED.EX, LG are still plenty impressive, and seem set to price aggressively.


              I’m eagerly awaiting more detailed reviews of the OLED offerings listed here. I’m looking to replace a 34″ Monoprice Dark Matter UltraWide in that I use for work and play. The pixel response times and per pixel illumination are a powerful combination in my opinion. I’m not terribly concerned about peak brightness, as even at 120 nits, I find it too bright in the evenings.


                Would you be looking for a model of the same size and resolution? If so the likes of the AW3423DW could indeed be very appealing. I’d like to test this one out as well. Hopefully a sample can be made available, if not I’m not entirely against the idea of purchasing it for myself and seeing what it’s all about. 🙂

                Also agree with Jasswolf that it will be nice to see these QD-OLED panels in various different sizes, resolutions and refresh rates. And it’s only a matter of time before we do, I have no doubt. The fact Samsung has now transitioned entirely away from LCD panel production into technologies like this is very telling in my opinion. They’re fully invested in the technology – quite literally.


                  The AW3423DW is definitely on my radar. I enjoy the pixel density of 1440p ultrawides, but I find that I do miss the vertical space of 16:9. This is where a 38″ 21:9 or 42″ 16:9 would be potential candidates. I’m also very interested in an above average HDR experience.


                    Self emissive pixels would be easily fast enough for black frame insertion to minimize eye’s sample and hold effect.
                    But it goes badly/would be very challenging to implement with variable display refresh rate:

                    If showing image for fixed length of time before black frame, brightness during that pulse would have to be adjusted basing on how long interval to next frame is to avoid framerate “PWM:ing” perceived image brightness.
                    (CRTs scanned screen at fixed refresh rate avoiding the issue)
                    And if you modulate pulse brightness to counter that, framerate would still have to always stay high enough to avoid CRT like flickering from black/no image period being long enough for it to be perceived.
                    So would be hard to avoid problems from it without major input lag causing buffering.

                    And would expect very high price for first QD-OLEDs:
                    It’s new and superior tech to current monitors and without real competition: LCDs can’t compete and only OLED PC monitors are 60Hz ones and those cost arm and both legs.
                    It’s also flagship product.
                    Gaming product adds to price.
                    And add ultra low screen aspect ratio price extra.

                    Probably takes couple years before prices are at sensible level.
                    At least unless LG finally starts making OLED panels for monitors.


                      Here’s a video via Nanosys with Samsung Display’s Chirag Shah providing more insight into QD-OLED technology. It covers areas such as the makeup of QD-OLED and their subpixels – with multiple blue OLED layers excited by red and green QDs (via phospholuminescenece) – plus lifetime expectations and performance characteristics.


                        Thanks for that video, really interesting, informative and great.

                        Apparently the Dell AW3423DW will come in at $1 300… This is surprisingly much less than I was expecting. I wonder how much the Samsung G8 will cost given that it doesn’t have a G-Sync module.

                        On the other hand, the age-old wisdom of “If it’s too good to be true……” holds. I wonder if there are going to be some rough edges with these panels.


                          Honestly, if that’s true it’s significantly less than I was expecting, too. Heck I’d actually be tempted to ‘take one for the team’ and buy it myself at that price. That would also allow me to assess any potential issues with ‘burn-in’ or other issues that crop up longer term. This bodes well for wider implementation of the technology in different screen sizes and formats, so I really hope there aren’t any unexpected surprises here and that pricing information is accurate. Apparently this was official information provided by regional Alienware PR reps (Twitter thread), so fingers crossed.


                            Good that they’re recognising it’s a highly competitive market place, and that years of deliberately deceptive marketing has left them in a bad spot to ask for a price premium.

                            What I’m not seeing out of the current information is if:

                            – Will the monitor implementations have BFI (presumably so), and what input latency that would add (hopefully none)?
                            – What is near-black and haloing performance like with this more diffuse distribution of light?


                              I’d hope to see pixel strobing as well (presumably ULMB on the AW3423DW as it’s a G-SYNC model), given it could be such a good candidate for that. I’d assume it would come with minimal latency penalty as ULMB usually does and particularly in this case (or even for the Samsung if it has its own strobe implementation) it should be rather simple to implement. I’m not sure what you mean by ‘more diffuse distribution of light’. Compared to what? The monitor has a glossy screen with anti-reflective treatment and per-pixel illumination, so I don’t think that should be a point of concern.

                              Edit: ULMB is not included on the AW3423DW.


                                The simplified diagrams Samsung are showing off suggest the viewing angle is increased by the design letting each sub-pixel spread light out to a wider angle, which has me worried that while the final layers prevent this somewhat, there will be issues with near-black performance and some forms of haloing due to a mild ‘glow’. Interested to see how it performs in that kind of testing alongside modern VA and the updated WOLED.

                                With respect to input latency, WOLED TVs currently have a 1 frame delay in BFI mode, so I’m hoping that’s ironed out for the Samsung model (and hopefully for OLED TVs) as one of the best use cases for BFI is competitive gaming.


                                  I very much doubt the tiny difference there that creates a very slightly wider spread of light per subpixel is enough to impact such areas. In the above video Chirag Shah of Samsung certainly touts the advantages of the technology in terms of lack of ‘haloing’ and how it naturally compares favourably to LCDs with FALD solutions. That is echoed by those who have seen early demonstrations of the technology at CES. Some of whom I know and whose opinion I trust – they’re also well-versed with OLED TVs so will have that comparison in mind as well. 🙂 The per-pixel illumination is far more important here than a very small increase in how widely dispersed light is at the subpixel level. Furthermore, when it comes to near-black performance WRGB OLED has been criticised for having a bit of ‘black crush’. Not to the extent you’d see centrally on VA models, but the white subpixel has a dilutive effect which translates to loss of colour detail at low luminance levels. As explained in the above video, QLED doesn’t have this issue (here onwards).


                                    Some more pricing news.

                                    I am not sure what to think, honestly. Samsung Display wants a higher price for the panels compared to what was offered by Samsung Electronics, and Samsung Electronics disagree, but this doesn’t really line up with seeing the Alienware pricing (it even has the expensive $500 FPGA G-Sync Ultimate module baked into the $1300 price tag) as well as the pricing for Sony’s TV offerings. Of course, I am assuming here that Samsung Display sells for a lower price to Samsung Electronics compared to Dell and Sony. Could it be that Samsung Electronics is just looking for higher margins?

                                    At the same time, I feel that the G8 puts Samsung Electronics in a bit of a predicament. Assuming a $800 – $1000 price range, it basically puts to shame their high-end offerings for a cheaper price (G9 series) or nearly equal price (G7 series). They also can’t really price it higher than the AW3423DW since it’s inferior. The same goes for their current TVs compared to the QD-OLED TV range, I think (but I don’t really follow that market so I may be very wrong here).


                                      It is indeed an interesting situation and I’ve had the same thoughts about pricing for Samsung’s 34″ Odyssey G8 UltraWide (‘G8QNB’). If I recall correctly there was speculation of a price tag closer to $3000 USD+ for the initial QD-OLED TVs (55″ and 65″), but that was just speculation and it’s clear the situation is still rather fluid. I must admit I don’t follow the TV market in the same way I do the monitor market, either.


                                        Jasswolf, BFI basically needs buffering of at least one frame to really work with variable refresh rate without artefacts like fps dependant brightness variation.
                                        In CRTs that “black frame” didn’t cause extra complications (besides possible flicker) because of fixed refresh rate.
                                        With variable refresh rate it’s automatic PWM of brightness.


                                          BFI basically needs buffering of at least one frame to really work with variable refresh rate without artefacts like fps dependant brightness variation.

                                          This I understand, but that’s not what has occurred with LG’s implementation: it’s fixed refresh rate.

                                          I’ve no real interest in VRR + BFI because of that processing delay, but I’m yet to see confirmation of an OLED implementation that is able to do fixed refresh rate BFI without adding a frame of latency.


                                            Seems the AW3423DW is available for order in China!

                                            Although the price is a bit closer to $2 000 than $1 300 😀

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