There are a lot of buzzwords when it comes to TVs, and now there’s a brand new one: OLED evo. What is OLED evo, and what does it mean when you’re buying a new TV?
Luke Hopewell is a gadget veteran of over 10 years. He’s reviewed over 100 TVs in his time, and been to the magic factory where they’re all made.
Got a question for the author? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
OLED evo sees LG insert new colour layers into an OLED panel to display more vivid colours than regular OLED. It’s only available on one model in 2021, and LG is the only company making it.
Let’s go into some detail
What is OLED?
Put simply, OLED is the king of the TV world. And very few companies make OLED because it’s just so hard to build at scale.
LG has been building great OLED panels for years. In this reviewer’s opinion, they’re the best out there. So much so that I bought one at full price with my own money.
LED TVs produce an image, and shine a series of tiny LED lights through the image to make it bright and vibrant. OLED differs by producing an image by lighting individual pixels as opposed to the whole screen at once.
The colour reproduction of OLED is incredible, but what’s more impressive is the black performance. Black performance refers to how well the TV can show the colour black. On traditional LED TVs, manufacturers try a lot of different tricks to replicate the colour black. But because LED is based on backlit technology, you’ll never get to 100% black reproduction.
LED will always display “black” as some form of grey, simply because a while light is being shone through the panel to produce brightness.
Manufacturers are trying to increase the number of backlights with MiniLED panels, while boosting the performance with better dimming of areas that are black to replicate OLED. But even in 2021, nothing beats the black performance of OLED.
When an OLED pixel produces a colour, it’s switched on, and powered to produce that particular colour as part of the image. When OLED is told to produce black, the pixel stays dark. That means it’s true black, and it’s a game changer.
What is OLED evo?
In recent years, TV manufacturers across the board have been trying to replicate the best parts of OLED in lower-cost LED TVs. That is: incredibly vibrant colour reproduction, and great black performance.
These TVs take a bunch of different names. LG has Nanocell and QNED. Samsung has NeoQLED. And Sony has Full Array LED. Each of these technologies evolves LED to produce better colour while attempting to replicated OLED black.
A lot of LED models do this by adding different layers into their TVs to boost colour reproduction.
OLED evo takes what these TVs did for LED and builds something similar.
First of all, OLED evo boosts the brightness of your TV. LG says that an OLED evo panel will be 20 per cent brighter on a full white image compared to the average OLED panel.
OLED typically doesn’t perform well in brightly-lit environments. That’s why OLED evo partly exists. If you’ve got a bright living room or bedroom and want to watch OLED content, OLED evo panels is what you’d pick.
Second of all, OLED evo takes the ideas from Nanocell and QNED to make the picture more colourful and vibrant overall.
You see, OLED evo inserts a new red and green colour layer into the TV for more vibrant colour. It’s similar technology that boosts the colour performance on LG’s LED Nanocell and QNED TVs.
LG says that green in particular is the one the human eye can see the easiest. By producing better colours on both the green and red wavelengths, LG can create a “better” image experience overall.
But that’s not to say that OLED is a slouch.
OLED vs OLED evo: which is better?
As with most things, which technology is better depends on how you’re going to use it.
If you’re planning on using your new OLED TV in an incredibly bright and naturally-lit room, OLED evo is probably something you want to look out for.
It’s brighter overall and gives you a colour boost, which will work great in a well-lit room.
This isn’t to say that OLED is bad in this department, however. I use my OLED in a well-lit room about half the time, and it’s still incredibly bright and vibrant.
The existence of OLED evo doesn’t mean that OLED as a technology is flawed. It’s still the best TV tech around. OLED evo just gives you that little bit more.
If you want OLED evo, however, your options are limited, and you’ll have to pay a little more for it.
OLED evo is only available on LG’s new Gallery model TV: the G1. It’s the only model that gives you the new image layers as well as the built-in hardware to take advantage of it.
Weirdly, LG builds a lot of its 2021 OLED TVs as evo-capable panels. That is, many of them have the red and green image layers built in from the factory. Unfortunately, the TV can only take advantage of the new evo technology with the right internal hardware, which is only given to the LG G1 Gallery TV.9
OLED evo does for OLED what Nanocell did for standard LED TVs. By inserting a green and red layer with the right hardware, you get a brighter image pushing more vibrant colours.