Samsung S95BA OLED, first impressions: QD-OLED technology is here, we have tried it, and it has impressed us
We have been keeping a close eye on QD-OLED technology for almost three years. In 2019 two very reliable South Korean media, The Korea Herald and BusinessKorea revealed that Samsung was developing its OLED technology for large-format panels to compete in a market currently undisputedly led by LG.
These publications predicted that the first Samsung QD-OLED televisions would land in stores in 2020. Still, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic arrived, and with it, the forecasts of many companies had to be rewritten from top to bottom.
We have had to arm ourselves with patience, but, finally, the first Samsung television with a QD-OLED panel is about to reach Spanish stores. And we have already had the opportunity to see it in action with the necessary calm to get an accurate idea about its image quality. Here’s a little appetizer to whet your appetite: it will be complicated for other technologies to overcome what these organic panels offer us.
QD-OLED panel technology explained
The most relevant quality that OLED panels have is their ability to emit light without resorting to an external lighting source, something that LCD panels must do. This is possible because they use organic diodes and semiconductor electronic components that allow and control the passage of electric current in only one direction.
The OLED panels manufactured by LG Display are of the W-OLED (‘White OLED’) type.
Unlike conventional diodes, those that use organic material can react to electrical stimulation by emitting light, which is why OLED technology is self-emitting.
So far, there is no difference between the OLED panels that LG manufactures and those that Samsung is already producing. However, if we stick to the strategy they use to reproduce the colour, the first significant difference between the two technologies appears. The OLED panels manufactured by LG Display are of the W-OLED (White OLED) type, so the light emitted by each of the panel’s self-emissive cells is white.
In theory, removing the RGB filter should allow the panel to deliver a superior brightness delivery capacity when measuring the average value and the peaks. And in addition, the nanocrystals should be able to reproduce a significantly more expansive colour space than the RGB colour filter.
Nanocrystals have the peculiar ability to modify the wavelength of light.
However, the changes that Samsung proposes in the face of W-OLED technology do not end here. Unlike LG Display’s OLED panels, which use white pixels, Samsung’s use blue pixels, so the nanocrystals will be responsible for acting on blue light to generate the other two primary colours (red and green).
This transformation is possible thanks to a fascinating property of nanocrystals: their structure allows them to modify the wavelength of light, which is why they manage to manipulate blue light to generate red and green light from it.
Samsung’s first TV with a QD-OLED panel, in combat
The opportunity to try first-hand Samsung’s new QD-OLED television, the S95BA OLED model, was presented during a very exclusive event held this week by the South Korean company in London. Very few European publications had access.
The demo went on long enough to give us an idea of what features will help QD-OLED TVs stand out.
This first contact is not enough to reach definitive conclusions about the performance of this television because we could not intervene in the content that was reproduced or in the environmental conditions in which the test was carried out.
As you are about to see, the demonstration lasted long enough to allow us to draw several exciting conclusions and intuit what features will help TVs with a QD-OLED panel stand out from the models that bet on a matrix W-OLED manufactured by LG.
On the other hand, the QD-OLED panel resolves colour with a compelling colour richness and saturation level. Human skin is tough to restore, and in this section, he passed with flying colours. Samsung assures that the colourimetry of this television has been certified by PANTONE, but beyond this data, what is essential is that it is capable of delivering a substantial volume of colour that, during this first test, did not seem to me to degrade when reaching high brightness peaks.
Samsung Oled 4
The last photograph that we propose accurately reflects what makes this TV’s QD-OLED panel when we ask it to deal with the most aggressive frames. And it is that it manages to give us a large number of very bright points scattered throughout the panel while preserving an extremely dark background. This test confirms what I mentioned a few paragraphs above: it keeps the residual light under control even in unfavourable circumstances.