The Mini-LED vs OLED debate has never been more valid than it is this year due to the exciting developments we are getting. OLED monitors are flooding the market, and both gamers and professionals cannot get enough of them. Mini-LED, on the other hand, has matured to the point where we are seeing cheaper variants compared to the first few that were three grand or so.
The competition between the two comes down to HDR performance and general image quality. Both are drastically better than regular LED or LCD panels, but each one has advantages over the other. The lines have been blurred, but knowing the pros and cons will help you buy the right one.
Mini-LED vs OLED Pros and Cons
Mini-LED’s biggest advantage now is its continuously dropping price tags. TVs were the first to become affordable, but monitors are closely following as the months progress. The tech was previously locked behind high-end models, which tremendously increased their price points, so cracking the piggy bank was essential for many. We now see offerings that are priced below a thousand, as opposed to the first few, which were three to four grand.
The main premise of mini-LED backlighting is to enhance contrast and highlight elements in the image, such as the glow of a campfire in the night sky. The LEDs independently glow and dim, giving the screen more control over what it shows. They are also brighter than your average edge-lit display, so they are more suitable for living room or office and studio use.
However, even the models with a thousand small light diodes behind the screen cannot match an OLED panel in contrast and lighting accuracy. Each local dimming LED is still larger than a pixel on an OLED; light blooming is still a common issue. They are also typically heavier due to special frames and necessary cooling solutions to help cool them down.
OLED monitors and TVs, on the other hand, have near-infinite contrast ratios, which make them better for HDR and night scenes. The first few advertising captions brands used for them were infinite or true blacks since their natural advantage makes them capable of that. Night scenes are substantially more convincing, and contrasting scenes like the campfire sample we mentioned above will look better and more realistic.
OLEDs achieve this marvelous advantage by not needing a backlight due to their individually dimming pixels. There is less room for common defects like light blooms or backlight leaks, so images look more balanced all throughout the panel. Their pixel response times are also instantaneous since there is no backlight, so there is less blurring and persistence.
The absence of a backlight also enables OLED monitors to be thinner, but they are more expensive per diagonal inch. The smallest ones can cost over a thousand dollars, while some that are tuned for professional use can go even higher. The category also has had some limitations, like lower max refresh rates and resolutions, but the coming wave of new models will fix that.
OLEDs are also prone to burn-in or image retention, which is basically considered damage to the panel. Burn-in happens when a static image is left on the screen for too long, and it marks the screen. It can be permanent so that extra care will be necessary.
So, the bottom line between the two will come down to price and your expectation of what you get in return for your hard-earned cash. Saving a bit of money and working with limited contrast and a higher brightness output gets you mini-LED monitors, while going all out gives you OLED and its dimmer yet unbeatable contrast and overall image quality.
There are more pros and cons, but in our eyes, OLED takes the cake every time, even if it’s priced higher. It basically cures the complaints most have with LED monitors, such as blurring or slower pixel response times. The technology is still maturing, but it’s at a point where it’s already an excellent investment.
Our Mini-LED Monitor Picks
If Mini-LED still tickles your fancy, then these are the choices we recommend:
The AOC AG274QZM is a 240Hz 1440p gaming monitor with a mini-LED IPS panel instead of the more common QD-OLEDs. It boasts superb color, brightness, and speed, making it a viable alternative for those who are skeptical of OLED and its accompanying weaknesses.
The Acer PG32QXR is priced higher than a regular 4K 144Hz monitor, but it is still cheaper than the original variant. The difference between the two is the lower FALD zone count, but it is still capable of fantastic imagery and functionality.
Acer Nitro XV275K P3
The Acer Nitro XV275K P3 recently captured our Editor’s Choice rating for its fantastic all-around performance. It’s the cheapest model among the three, so it’s the best min-LED option right now.
Our OLED Monitor Picks
Pick here if you want infinite contrast, instant response times, and amazing image quality.
Asus ROG Swift OLED PG27AQDM
The Asus PG27AQDM is arguably the best pick since it has a higher brightness output than its competitors. It boasts amazing agility and image quality, making it seem like it was a prosumer monitor during testing.
The Alienware AW3423DW is one of the first mainstream QD-OLEDs, but it is still widely available and popular. It features a high-refresh ultrawide QD-OLED panel, which doubles down on immersive gaming performance.
The Alienware AW3225QF is the endgame monitor we all crave, thanks to its chart-topping specs. It’s a 4K 240Hz OLED monitor with unmatched colors and contrast, so it’s well worth the investment.
About the Author: Paolo has been a gaming veteran since the golden days of Doom and Warcraft and has been building gaming systems for family, friends, and colleagues since junior high. High-performance monitors are one of his fixations; he believes that every citizen’s right to enjoy one. He has gone through several pieces of hardware in pursuit of every bit of performance gain, much to the dismay of his wallet. He now works with Monitornerds to scrutinize the latest gear to create reviews that accentuate the seldom explained aspects of a PC monitor.