TCL’s new quantum dot Mini-LED TV embarrasses OLED TVs in one big way

 The TCL X955 Mini-LED TV on a wall.
The TCL X955 Mini-LED TV on a wall.

While companies like Samsung, LG and Sony are laser-focused on making the best  OLED TVs even better, TCL is taking Mini-LED to the next level with its newly unveiled X955 flagship TV.

The TV, which made its debut at IFA 2023, will offer an unfathomable 5,000 nits of brightness that will be held in check by 5,000+ local dimming zones. It’s all crammed into a 98-inch TV that TCL says will provide roughly 100,000 hours of screen time — though it’s likely that number could fluctuate depending on usage.

According to Tom's Guide's sister site What Hi-Fi?, TCL says the X955 will offer a “27.5% increase in brightness, 33% increase in viewing angles and a 210% increase in light control precision” compared to the company’s previous flagship TV.

Unfortunately, however, TCL didn’t provide us with the two most important details — price and release date. Because it was unveiled at IFA alongside its two siblings, the C955 and C805, it’s likely going to be a European exclusive model. That being said, it’s worth noting that cinephiles living in China are now able to order the 115-inch QD-Mini LED TV that TCL unveiled last month for 79,999 yuan (roughly $11,000), so Europe’s new 98-inch model is surprisingly, well, kind of a step down.

OLED vs QD-Mini LED: what’s the difference?

Don’t let its mashup of terminologies fool you, the QD-Mini LED is really just a regular Mini-LED TV with a quantum dot filter. It’s the same thing Samsung offers with its Neo QLED TVs and LG offers with its QNED TVs. That’s not the impressive part about the TCL X955.

What’s blowing folks away at IFA is that this is the first commercially available 5,000-nit TV with 5,000+ contrast control zones. It's akin to the prototype TV Sony had teased back in 2019 at CES with its unheard-of-at-the-time 10,000-nit display that it said would take a decade to produce on a large scale.

Fast-forward to five years later and TCL already has a 5,000-nit model ready to ship out to stores around Europe.

While OLED will likely never reach this level of brightness — QD-OLED and LG’s new META OLED panels peak at around 1,500 nits of brightness — you can still count on OLED delivering better black levels. Yes, 5,000+ contrast control zones are going to help drastically reduce blooming but nothing is going to beat the pixel-perfect light control that OLED offers.

Obviously neither OLED nor Mini-LED TVs are likely to disappear anytime in the near future, so this will be a fun rivalry to watch as manufacturers continue to try and top one another in terms of brightness, color saturation and, most importantly for us, price point.

Want a cheaper TCL TV that still offers oodles of brightness? Check out the recently released TCL QM8 that can be had for around $1,200.

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