When it comes to choosing a computer monitor or a TV, one of the most important factors to consider is the type of panel technology it uses. There are three main types of panel technology: IPS, TN, and VA. Here’s a breakdown of each panel type and its pros and cons:
IPS (In-Plane Switching) Panels:
- Pros: IPS panels offer the best color accuracy and viewing angles, making them ideal for content creation, photo and video editing, and gaming.
- Cons: IPS panels typically have slower response times and higher input lag than TN panels, which can make them less ideal for fast-paced gaming.
TN (Twisted Nematic) Panels:
- Pros: TN panels have the fastest response times and lowest input lag of any panel type, making them ideal for fast-paced gaming.
- Cons: TN panels have poorer color accuracy and viewing angles than IPS and VA panels, which can make them less ideal for content creation, photo and video editing, and watching movies or TV shows from off-center angles.
VA (Vertical Alignment) Panels:
- Pros: VA panels offer the best contrast ratios and black levels of any panel type, making them ideal for watching movies or TV shows with dark scenes.
- Cons: VA panels typically have slower response times and higher input lag than TN panels, which can make them less ideal for fast-paced gaming. They can also have color shifting when viewed from off-center angles.
So, which panel type should you choose? It ultimately depends on your needs and priorities. If you prioritize color accuracy and viewing angles for content creation, photo, and video editing, or gaming, then an IPS panel may be the best choice. If you prioritize fast response times and low input lag for fast-paced gaming, then a TN panel may be the best choice. If you prioritize contrast ratios and black levels for watching movies or TV shows, then a VA panel may be the best choice.
Related: Best Gaming Monitor: The Top 6 Displays in 2023
Table Of Contents
- 1 TN (Twisted Nematic) Panels
- 2 IPS (In-Plane Switching) Panels
- 3 VA (Vertical Alignment) Panels
- 4 IPS vs TN vs VA: Which Panel Is Right for You?
- 5 Conclusion
TN (Twisted Nematic) Panels
These were the first flat-screen monitors, sending the bulky CRT monitors into retirement. Because they are the older versions of LCD panels, they are not as advanced. This includes the limited viewing angle, specifically on the vertical axis. Looking from an extreme angle, you will see the colors inverted.
Compared to other panels, the color reproduction is weaker, as they cannot display the 24-bit true color. To simulate the colors, they rely on interpolation and result in visible color banding and lower-quality contrast ratios.
These panels are also inferior in color gamut (or the range of colors they can display). While high-end TNs display the whole spectrum, most models do not. TN displays are not the best choice for photo editing and other work requiring color accuracy.
While it has a list of disadvantages, it is popular because it is the cheapest. They are not expensive to manufacture, so you can be sure to get what you pay for. Still, it should be enough for daily use if you are not very particular about color reproduction or viewing at all angles.
Do you like playing games? TN panels have the lowest input lag of just 1 millisecond. They can handle higher refresh rates (up to 240Hz), so it is an excellent option for competitive games and eSports.
IPS (In-Plane Switching) Panels
IPS was manufactured to improve the weak points of TN panels. Thus, the IPS monitors have better color reproduction and better (much better) viewing angles. Therefore, you can view the panels from extreme angles without compromising accurate color reproduction.
Another improvement is the excellent black reproduction of IPS panels, which is tons better than the washed-out look of TN panels. Despite this, it is no match for the spectacular contrast ratio of VA panels.
IPS panels are catching up to TNs regarding their refresh rate. They can match the 240Hz of TNs, but they can also handle up to 280Hz. While TNs used to have minor input lag, IPS technology has caught up, with some models matching the 1 millisecond response time.
While some IPS monitors can match the response time of TN monitors, you will need to shell out much more money. More affordable versions will still have about 4 millisecond response time. One other disadvantage of IPS panels is the IPS glow, which means you see the backlight shining through when viewing at extreme angles. Still, it only happens when you view it from the side.
VA (Vertical Alignment) Panels
It is that sweet spot between TN and IPS monitors regarding VA panels. For example, they have excellent contrast ratios like IPS monitors, even going beyond the usual 1000:1 of IPS panels up to 3000:1 or 6000:1.
Viewing angles are better than TN, though not as good as IPS panels. However, you will no longer experience the so-called IPS glow.
Regarding response times, they cannot compete with TNs and the newer IPS panels with 1-millisecond response rates. VA panels may be found with 240Hz refresh rates, but because of latency, you will notice some motion blurring and ghosting. It is not entirely the best for gamers who love multiplayer and fast-paced games, but it is enough for single-player games.
Do you use your computer for photo or video editing work? Then the VA panel is a perfect choice, with its superior color reproduction and full sRGB spectrum found even in the cheaper models. But if you want to splurge on the best, some panels offer 125% sRGB coverage.
In general, VA panels are considered to be the most well-rounded. They are appropriate for some gaming but compensate for it by offering a better contrast ratio and color reproduction.
IPS vs TN vs VA: Which Panel Is Right for You?
In most cases, computers are used for several purposes, especially if the family shares them. So, you need to ask yourself, “what is the most common use of your computer?“ and start from there.
1. You Use It For Work Or Studying
In this case, you might not need to invest much money in features you do not need or will not use. VA or TN panels are the best bet because of their superior viewing angles, especially the former.
2. You Are A Digital Artist Or Photo/Video Editor
VA panels boast up to 125% sRGB, but they have higher chances of motion blur when you are playing or viewing fast-paced action (unsuitable for video editing). Thus, IPS panels are the go-to monitors of artists.
3. You Are A Programmer
Because of the bad viewing angles of TN panels, you might not want to get one, especially if you mount the monitor vertically. Instead, you might find an IPS monitor better.
4. You Are An Online Gamer
TN panels are hands down the best for you, thanks to the quick response time and high refresh rate. If you want to shell out more, then an IPS display with low latency is another good choice.
If you play non-competitive games, though, meaning without that fast action, a VA Panel is suitable.
Would you prefer an all-rounder, or do you usually use your computer for a specific purpose? Once you figure this out, you will know what to buy. VA is the winner, followed closely by IPS in terms of well-roundedness. For other purposes, there is always the best monitor for you.