What is Mini-LED display technology and why is everyone talking about it?

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CES 2021 hasn’t even officially started, but we already know of a tech trend that will dominate the tech conference. No, it’s not 5G or autonomous driving technology, but mini-LED screens that will be seen on chic TVs this year. From LG to TCL, every major TV maker plans to showcase new TVs with a mini LED display at this year’s all-digital CES. While many see the mini-LED as an emerging TV technology, some believe that mini-LED technology will eventually hit laptops, tablets, and even consumer smartphones. But what is the brand new mini-LED technology and why do companies want to replace OLED displays with this futuristic display technology?

What is Mini-LED display technology?

Let’s get right to the point. The micro-LED display is an upgraded version of LCD technology. Most modern LCD televisions use LEDs or light emitting diodes for their backlighting. The mini LED, sometimes referred to as a submillimeter light emitting diode, is a better version of the traditional LCD screen.

Mini LEDs work the same as LEDs used in LED TVs or QLED TVs, but are much smaller. At about 200 microns or 0.008 inches in diameter, mini LEDs are about one-fifth the size of standard LEDs used in LCD panels. Since they are smaller in size, they can be packed more into a display. In fact, they offer much better backlight control, which leads to better picture quality.

But what makes mini-LED display technology so interesting is that you get the same level of contrast and brightness as the OLED. Having a backlit medium, Mini LED compatible TVs can offer greater brightness and deeper blacks but at a much lower price. Think of mini-LED technology as an affordable version of OLED, with no screen-retention issues.

MSI’s Creator 17 is the only Mini LED laptop you can buy on the market. (Image credit: MSI)

Advantages of mini-LEDs over OLEDs

* Higher contrast and improved black levels compared to OLEDs.

* TV manufacturers have more control over the dimming areas, which means how far bright or dark parts of the screen can go.

* Cheaper to manufacture than OLEDs.

* Mini LED technology is better for displaying HDR content.

Mini LED technology offers similar benefits to OLED, such as deeper blacks and higher contrast. (Image credit: TCL)

Which TV brands are planning to launch Mini-LED TVs?

Since last year, TCL has been selling Mini-LED TVs in the market. In fact, TCL was the first major TV maker to launch mini LED TVs. At CES 2021, the Chinese company announced plans to launch a new line of TVs featuring next-generation Mini-LED technology. LG, meanwhile, says its QNED televisions will use Mini-LED backlighting technology and that the new line will be presented for the first time at the tech fair. Samsung has yet to announce mini LED TVs, but we expect the South Korean major to be a big supporter of this display technology in the future.

Several Apple products will feature mini-LED screens this year

But while mini-LEDs on TVs or laptops have yet to explode, the technology could get a big boost once Apple starts adopting this display technology. TF International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes several Apple products will launch with mini-LED display technology in 2021. Kou says mini-LED displays could arrive on the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro high end this year. In fact, Apple is said to be working on up to six devices with the new display technology. What does this mean for people who buy the new iPad Pro or MacBook Pro? Well, first we have to wait for Apple to release these products.

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