What is Mini LED?

Image of a TV mounted on a wall with blue and green circles on the display.
Credit: Philips

Image of a TV mounted on a wall with blue and green circles on the display.
Credit: Philips

Mini LED is one of the latest technologies in the world of displays, quickly becoming the gold standard for high-end TVs. Combining the best of LED and OLED technologies, mini LED offers deep blacks, bright whites, and wide viewing angles.

Beyond that, Mini LED TVs can also get brighter than traditional LED TVs, which is ideal for watching HDR content. Some major TV manufacturers, including Samsung, TCL, and LG, have already adopted it.

Mini LED TVs are expected to become more affordable and widely available as the technology continues to mature in some of the best TVs around. So what makes Mini LEDs a must-have?

How does Mini LED work?

Mini LED displays comprise two main components: the LED backlight and the LCD panel:

  • The LED backlight consists of thousands of small LEDs arranged in a grid behind the LCD panel.
  • The LCD panel comprises millions of tiny liquid crystal molecules that can be controlled to create images.
Image of a screen with a blue and pink pattern on it with multicoloured mini LEDs behind it.
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Credit: TCL

Here's the kicker - when the TV is turned on, the LEDs are illuminated, which creates the light that is used to create the image. The TV controller can then alter each LED's brightness individually, allowing for precise control of the backlight. This produces better contrast and image quality.

What are the benefits of Mini LED?

There are several key advantages of using Mini LED technology over any other. These include:

  • Deeper blacks: Mini LED TVs can produce much deeper blacks than traditional LED TVs because of the ability to control the backlight more precisely. This is especially important for dark scenes, such as movies and TV shows.
  • Brighter whites: Mini LED TVs can also produce brighter whites than traditional LED TVs, thanks to the larger number of LEDs. This is important for scenes with a lot of light, such as those in sports broadcasts.
  • Enhanced brightness: Mini LED TVs can also be much brighter than traditional LCD TVs. This is because the small LEDs can produce more light. This can be useful for watching HDR content or in brightly lit rooms.
  • Wider viewing angles: Mini LED TVs have wider viewing angles than traditional LED TVs because of the light distribution. This means you can still see a good image from the sides and corners of the room.
  • Improved contrast: Mini LED TVs can achieve much deeper blacks than traditional LCD TVs. This is because the small LEDs can be turned off completely, creating areas of pure black on the screen.

Is Mini LED better than LED or OLED?

Image of two TVs with a blue butterfly at a pink flower, one with an OLED display, the other with a Mini LED.
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Credit: LG

Mini LED is a newer technology that uses many tiny LEDs to backlight an LCD panel. This allows for better control of local dimming, which can improve contrast and black levels. Mini LED TVs can also be brighter than OLED, making them a better choice for HDR content. Although most modern OLED displays feature preventatives to protect from screen burn-in, where an image becomes permanently stuck on the display, it’s still a possibility, whereas Mini LED avoids this entirely.

However, Mini LED TVs can still suffer from blooming, a halo effect that can appear around bright objects in dark scenes. OLED is a self-emissive technology that produces its light. This means that OLED TVs can achieve perfect blacks and infinite contrast. OLED TVs also have wide viewing angles and fast response times, making them a good choice for gaming and watching sports.

LED is an older technology that uses a backlight to illuminate an LCD panel. LED TVs are not as bright as OLED TVs and do not have perfect blacks. However, LED TVs are less expensive than OLED TVs and less susceptible to burn-in.

Mini LED
Black levels
Viewing angle
Response times
Very High

In conclusion, OLED TVs are better than Mini-LED TVs and LEDs. They produce the best picture quality because they generate light by themselves. Although Mini LEDs are not as good as OLEDs, they are an upgrade from LEDs. So the order is OLEDs, Mini LEDs and LEDs.

Should you buy a Mini LED TV?

A black TV featuring a pink, white, and yellow flower is placed on top of a black cabinet.
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Credit: TCL

Should you invest in a Mini LED TV? What factors should you consider?

  • Picture Quality: Mini LED technology offers improved contrast, colour accuracy, and local dimming capabilities compared to traditional LCDs. If you prioritise these aspects and desire a high-quality visual experience, a Mini LED TV can be a good choice.
  • Budget: Mini LED TVs are more expensive than standard LCDs. If budget concerns you, it's worth considering if the additional cost of a Mini LED TV is justified by its improved picture quality.
  • Viewing Environment: Consider the lighting conditions in the room where you plan to use the TV. Mini LED displays perform well in brighter rooms due to their higher brightness levels. A Mini LED TV can be a good option if your room has a lot of natural light or you prefer watching TV during the day.
  • Content Consumption: Determine the types of content you typically watch. Suppose you frequently enjoy movies, TV shows, or gaming with high dynamic range (HDR) content. In that case, a Mini LED TV's superior local dimming and HDR performance can provide a more immersive viewing experience.
  • Alternative Technologies: While Mini LED offers advantages over traditional LCDs, comparing it to other technologies is important. OLED displays, for example, offer perfect blacks, infinite contrast, and individual pixel control. However, they can be more expensive and have potential concerns like burn-in. Consider your preferences and research which technology aligns best with your needs.
  • Future-Proofing: If you're looking for a TV that will remain relevant for years to come, Mini LED technology is a relatively new advancement that offers competitive picture quality to OLED displays without some of their potential drawbacks, such as burn-in. Investing in a Mini LED TV could future-proof your purchase to a certain extent.

Consider your budget, viewing preferences, and long-term expectations to determine if the benefits of Mini LED technology align with your needs.

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