PLS vs IPS – Which Panel Type Should I Choose?

by Lisa Hayden

Not sure which panel type to choose between PLS vs IPS? We're here to help...

Have you ever needed to decide which panel type to buy for your monitor? If you have, then you probably got surprised by how many different types of panel there are. Back then, it was much simpler: buy an LCD screen and then you’re good to go. Of course, today, that doesn’t apply unless you really don’t care about the monitor’s quality or price. 

If you’ve been monitoring shopping, you might have come across with PLS or IPS (or TN, VA, OLED, etc). These are pretty technical acronyms that might get you intimidated at the store. But don’t worry, here you’ll know more about the PLS and the IPS so that you can decide which one to buy. 

IPS Panel

IPS Panel

First up is the IPS panel. The IPS panel is one of three more common (and older) types of panels. It stands for in-plane switching. It’s often compared to the VA or the TN panels, too. In a nutshell, the IPS panel is a better version of the VA panel, but it’s not better than the TN panel in terms of speed. What do TN and VA mean? These two are the other types of LCD panels and it’s important you are familiar with them so you can better understand how the IPS is right for you. 

Among the three, the TN is the panel with the fastest response time. It’s used for gaming purposes because the screen basically has a response time of 1 millisecond. The second fastest panel is the IPS. It has a response time of 4 milliseconds. Although it’s slower, gamers don’t usually notice this speed difference unless they’re playing fast-paced combat games

When it comes to quality, the IPS tops the other two. Why? It’s because the IPS has a high contrast ratio and it provides a consistent and accurate color to your image. If you’re a graphic designer and your focus is on color, then the IPS is right for you. The best part about the IPS is that you have a 178-degree viewing angle. This means that you can see the same color quantity even when you’re watching from the side. 

PLS Panel

PLS Panel

Second on the list is the PLS panel. This stands for plane to line switching. The important thing to know about this panel is that it’s made by Samsung. Yes, you won’t find any other brand making a PLS panel because this is Samsung’s own invention. 

What’s the difference between the PLS panel to the others? For starters, the PLS panel is meant to be 10% better in terms of brightness and contrast compared to the IPS. It’s also said to use less energy. Samsung also claims that it is cheaper to produce. However, because PLS panel is solely manufactured by Samsung, it’s hard to tell whether it’s cheap or not. 

How to Choose Between an IPS Panel and a PLS Panel

So what should you get? Is it the IPS or then PLS? While the PLS does have a few advantages over the IPS, is it automatically the better one? 

Before you get to answer that for yourself, you have to go over certain factors for you to know which one is better for you. When picking monitors, it’s really about your preference and what you’re looking for in a monitor. To help you out, here are some factors you should look at and which monitor wins in those factors. 

  1. Contrast and Brightness

The most common concern of people who buy monitors is the quality of the image. Even if you’re a gamer, you wouldn’t want a terrible image display. 

When it comes to contrast, the IPS has a more consistent image display. It’s also the best LCD panel to buy if your focus is on the color quality and brightness. However, this is still topped by the PLS panel. Even a low tier PLS panel can be better than a mid-tier IPS monitor. 

  1. Viewing Angles

Viewing angles are important if you plan to use your monitor in a large room. If you’ll be using your monitor to watch movies with your friends or family, then it’s better to look for a monitor that has a wider viewing angle. Fortunately, this is what Samsung’s PLS panels offer. Although the IPS panels are not so bad themselves, the PLS panels have better viewing angles. Coupled with its higher contrast and brightness, you get a much better viewing experience. 

  1. Response Time
pls vs ips response time how to choose

Another factor to consider is response time. Response time refers to the amount of time it takes for the pixels to change from one shade of gray to another. A fast response time is important for those who play fast-paced games and those who play competitively and professionally. 

For response times, the PLS and IPS fare about the same way with around milliseconds for each panel. If you want the LCD panel with the fastest response time, the TN panel is right for you with just 1 millisecond for its response time.

  1. Price

Because the PLS is said to be made cheaper than IPS panels, the former is definitely the more affordable among the two. Of course, these two panels’ prices are way more expensive than your typical TN panel, but for their quality, they’re not so bad. 

However, take note that if you’re buying a high-grade PLS panel, this can still be more expensive than an IPS panel. The same goes for the opposite. Remember that prices are functions of the brand, type, model, and added features so make sure that you take these all into account. 

In the end, both the IPS and the PLS are great monitors. If you’re not a fan of Samsung, you might want to go for an IPS panel which is available from most brands. However, if you love Samsung and what the PLS offers, then you might be more drawn to buy the PLS. It really comes down to your priorities and what you’re looking for in an LCD monitor

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