VA panels have the best contrast and offer a good balance between visuals and performance, but their response times tend to be higher. In contrast, IPS panels offer the best color accuracy and the best viewing angles.
While shopping for a monitor, there are many features to think about.
The monitor’s panel type has an effect on all of these aspects.
If you know exactly what to expect from each panel type, finding the perfect gaming monitor will be a breeze.
In this tutorial, we will go over the fundamentals of the three most common panel types (as alluded to in the title) and highlight the benefits and drawbacks of each.
If you want to make sure you buy the right monitor for your needs, reading on is the first step.
Different Monitors for Different Needs
Furthermore, you should be aware that it is extremely tough, if not impossible, to find a monitor that is the optimal choice for everyone.
Different kinds of screens are better suited to graphic design and gaming respectively. Those who play video games for the experience rather than the competition may benefit from one set of monitor panels, while those who play video games for competition may benefit from a different set.
To help you decide which panel type is best suited to your needs, we have broken down the various panel types, explained their key features, and compared them to one another.
- Excellent visuals
- Optimal vantage points
- superior color accuracy
- The majority of these devices have response times of 4ms or better.
- Expenses for high-refresh-rate panels are more common.
The acronym IPS refers to the increasingly common “in-plane switching” panel found in many modern electronics. Its primary advantages are its high picture quality, accurate colors, and wide viewing angle.
Though VA panels typically have a higher contrast ratio, TN panels are preferable in this regard. There are currently models available that can achieve response times as low as 1ms, but the vast majority of IPS panels have response times of 4ms or more.
When it comes to drawbacks, it’s important to note that IPS panels frequently experience backlight bleed issues like the dreaded “IPS glow.” You’ll need to spend more money if you want an IPS monitor with a high refresh rate, as 144Hz monitors have a higher base price than their TN and VA counterparts.
- The Quickest Panel Possible
- Speeds of 1 millisecond
- Low-quality hues
- Bad viewpoints
The “twisted-nematic” (TN) panel has the highest refresh rate support and the quickest response time.
Also, TN monitors with a refresh rate of 144 Hz are typically less expensive than their IPS-equipped counterparts, and only TN panels can reach a maximum refresh rate of 240 Hz.
In addition, while they are not the only panel capable of 1ms response times, they remain the most cost-effective option for gamers who are primarily concerned with performance.
However, as was previously stated, TN panels don’t provide the best picture quality. Not appealing to users who place a premium on aesthetics over performance due to dull colors and limited viewing angles.
Furthermore, it should be mentioned that only a small percentage of TN panels actually support HDR, and even fewer of those actually have sufficient contrast to make good use of it.
- As accurate a color reproduction as IPS
- highest possible contrast
- Good trade-off between cost and quality
- is characterized by slower reaction times than average
- Possible issues with ghosting and backlight bleed
Finally, vertical alignment (VA) panels are a compromise between in-plane switching (IPS) and transverse-polarization (TN) panels. VA panels can generally match or exceed the color reproduction and viewing angle capabilities of IPS panels. While this is true, VA panels also boast better contrast.
On the downside, these panels are typically the slowest of the three and can experience ghosting issues, which is especially noticeable in dark scenes or fast-paced games.
Further, depending on the panel’s quality, some VA displays may suffer from clouding and backlight bleed.
IPS vs TN: Overall Picture Quality versus Overall Performance
When comparing TN and IPS LCD monitors, it’s difficult to declare a clear winner. This is because there are pros and cons to both TN LCD and IPS LCD displays.
Below, we’ll compare and contrast the two screens in a number of key areas:
TN panels can achieve response times as low as 1ms, making them ideal for applications requiring instantaneous feedback.
If you’re a competitive gamer who needs every millisecond to your advantage, TN panels are a good choice for you. (Although this is hotly debated, since some estimate that the human brain can only process 25 frames per second.) Only the most expensive and exceptional TN panels have a response time below 5ms. Due to their fast response time, TN Panels are highly regarded by gamers.
Conversely, IPS panels’ response time is significantly slower than that of TN panels’. But there is good news: IPS technology is getting better with each new generation of displays.
Popularity of IPS Panels can be attributed to their wide viewing angles. Another advantage is that they don’t suffer from the color washout that plagues conventional TN panels when viewed from an angle.
The viewing angles of TN panels are particularly poor when viewed from above. If you look at something out of the proper perpendicular, the colors will likely look different. After a certain viewing angle, colors on TN displays will shift to the point where they appear inverted when viewed from a vertical position.
IPS panels are preferable to TN panels if a high resolution is a priority.
The reason for this is that if you’re going to spend a lot of money on a high-end monitor, you might as well get the panel that’s best suited for displaying those kinds of images.
In any case, if you’re trying to strike a balance between higher resolutions and lower response rates, you might be better off going with a TN panel to get a monitor with a better response rate and sacrificing a little bit of visual quality.
IPS vs VA: Overall Picture Quality versus Balanced Offering
At present, LED-backlit TVs typically use either VA or IPS panels. Despite the fact that they are both LCDs, the two technologies are very different in how they function. Some of the areas where there is variation are in contrast, viewing angle, response time, and the consistency of black.
When it comes to viewing-angle performance, IPS panels are unrivaled. As has been discussed, IPS panels allow for a wide viewing angle without any discernible degradation in monitor display.
However, at an angle of 20 degrees or so, VA panels will experience a significant degradation that is interpreted as a drastic loss of saturation.
When it comes to contrast, VA panels make up for their shortcomings. You probably already know that contrast is a major factor in how well an image turns out. When comparing VA and IPS panels, VA displays have superior contrast.
Black images or shades will look gray on an IPS panel when viewed in a dark room, which significantly detracts from the experience. While the typical contrast ratio for a VA display is between 3,000 and 6,000, the average contrast ratio for an IPS display is only about 1,000:1.
VA panels emerge victorious from this comparison.
In terms of response time, neither VA panels nor IPS panels are recommended. The response time of VA panels, however, is slightly better than that of IPS panels.
TN vs VA: Overall Performance versus Balanced Offering
When it comes to speed of response, TN panels are unrivaled.
In contrast, VA panels were developed to fix the problems that plagued both TN panels and IPS panels. Their response time is intermediate between that of IPS panels and TN panels, being slightly faster than the former and much slower than the latter.
VA panels, on the other hand, have marginally better and more expansive viewing angles than TN panels.
There have been enhancements to TN panels that make them better suited for color-critical work like photo editing, but even with these changes, TN panels are still not ideal for such tasks.
Graphics and Visuals
VA panels are superior to TN panels visually because they have a wider viewing angle and support an 8-bit color depth. They have higher contrast ratios and more uniform black levels than TN panels.
But in my opinion, picking an IPS panel if you’re mostly into competitive gaming and a VA panel if you want better visuals is similar to picking a TN panel or an IPS panel.
Which Should You Choose?
Before making a purchase, it’s important to decide whether aesthetics or functionality are more important to you when it comes to your panel. Second, there’s the issue of cost.
What are Refresh Rates?
The refresh rate of a display is the maximum number of frames per second it can show, expressed in Hertz (Hz). While the standard refresh rate for monitors is 60 Hz, many gaming displays can refresh at much higher rates.
In terms of gaming monitors, 144 Hz is by far the most popular. Other common refresh rates include 75 Hz, 120 Hz, 144 Hz, 200 Hz, and 240 Hz. What’s the deal with refresh rates, anyway?
Above, we established that a higher framerate is displayed on a monitor with a faster refresh rate. Therefore, a 144 Hz monitor can display 144 frames per second, while a 60 Hz monitor can only display 60 FPS.
A higher framerate not only makes the game feel more fluid and responsive, but it can also give you an edge in competitive play.
Keep in mind that the most demanding AAA games will require a GPU capable of pushing such high framerates. Thankfully, the requirements of eSports games are low, allowing for triple-digit refresh rates to be achieved even with less powerful GPUs.
What Are Response Times?
The amount of time it takes for a pixel to go from white to black or from one shade of grey to another is called its “pixel response time,” and it is measured in milliseconds (ms).
The responsiveness of a display can be affected by both the refresh rate and the response time. However, “ghosting,” or motion blur and trails, can become an issue at very high response times.
It’s important to remember that some people care less about (or hardly even notice) the several millisecond difference between 1ms and 4ms.
You won’t find a gaming monitor with a response time that high, but keep in mind that most people only find a high response time problematic if it’s over 10ms.
Experiencing the service for yourself is the best way to find out if the response time is critical to you. If you haven’t had the chance to play on a 1ms monitor, you probably won’t mind using a 4ms monitor.
All LCD Panels Share Common Drawbacks
All LCD panels have some kind of latency issue compared to CRT monitors. This was a major issue with the introduction of TN panels and has persisted as a problem for many years with IPS and VA displays. In spite of technological advancements, many of these problems still persist.
Additionally, all panels suffer from uneven backlighting. The general quality of the construction is often the deciding factor; in order to reduce manufacturing costs, cheaper models often skimp on other areas of quality assurance. You should expect some backlight inconsistency if you buy a cheap monitor. In most cases, though, it’s only noticeable against completely black backgrounds.
Dead or stuck pixels can also occur in LCD screens. There is no universal policy or set of consumer protection laws regarding dead pixels, as this problem is handled differently by different companies and jurisdictions. If you’re a stickler for detail, be sure to research the company’s stance on dead pixels before making a purchase. Some companies will replace a monitor at no cost if it has a single malfunctioning pixel, while others have replacement quotas for more than one.
Which Panel Type Is Right for You?
You should have a good idea of which panel type to get at this point. The rule of thumb is that you can expect better results the more money you put into something.
Our top picks for various applications are listed below:
- Whether for the office or the dorm room, price should be your primary consideration. Compared to TN panels, VA displays have wider viewing angles and are more versatile. In this case, you don’t have to spend as much money on a high refresh rate or ultra-low latency because you don’t need them. But even so, they manage to be affable. Even when using only the Windows cursor, the difference between a monitor with a refresh rate of 144 Hz and one with a refresh rate of 60 Hz is immediately apparent.
- Photographic editors and Motion Picture Artists: In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels are still widely used because of their impressive color reproduction. In addition to IPS panels, VA panels that cover a wide gamut (125 percent sRGB and over 90 percent DCI-P3) are not uncommon, but VA panels typically have more motion blur during fast-paced action. Calibrating your monitor is a must if you care about how colors look on your screen.
- One might assume that TN panels would be ideal for programmers who prefer to place their screens at an angle, but this is not always the case. Vertical viewing angles on TN panels are especially poor. The worst viewing angles from a TN panel can be expected if you mount your monitor in portrait mode (as many programmers and mobile developers do). In this case, an IPS display is your best bet for optimal visibility from any angle.
- There is no doubt that TN panels are still the preferred choice of competitive online gamers. The cheapest models still support high refresh rates and have fast response times. A 24 inch model is adequate for 1080p gaming, while a 27 inch model with 1440p resolution is affordable. As more low-latency models become available, you may want to consider purchasing an IPS panel, but do so at your own expense.
- High-end PC players who don’t compete: A VA panel’s higher contrast ratio compared to IPS or TN’s will produce a more vivid, lifelike picture. Virginia has the best contrast and black levels. You can opt for IPS if you don’t mind a slight reduction in contrast. Unless you’re a serious competitor, though, you should probably stay away from TN.
- Overall best performer: In this case, VA triumphs, but IPS is superior in all respects save contrast. A low latency, decent black level, and good color gamut can be had from an IPS panel at the expense of contrast.
1. How much do you have to spend?
This should be your first line of inquiry. Because if you want a good monitor but can only spend around $150 on it, you won’t have nearly as many options as someone with a budget of $500 or more.
For example, if you have a budget of $150 or less, a TN panel is probably your only option. If you have a larger budget, you will have more options, but that doesn’t mean you should rule out a TN panel display.
2. What will you be using the monitor for? Gaming? Graphic design?
Depending on the answer, you’ll be able to narrow down your options for the type of panel you can get for your monitor. Monitors with a TN panel, high refresh rate, and low response time are ideal for competitive gaming like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, Call of Duty, Dota 2, and other similar games.
However, a VA panel or an IPS panel may be more your speed if you are more of a casual gamer or if you intend to do a lot of graphic design work on your monitor. To achieve the same refresh rate as a TN panel, these panels are much more expensive and have lower performance. In contrast to TN panels, however, their picture quality is superior, making them ideal for use in the graphics design industry.
3. Are you a competitive gamer or a casual gamer?
This is related to the previous inquiry, but deserves its own consideration. As I mentioned before, a better performing monitor may be more important than better visuals if you are a serious gamer and you play competitive games where every millisecond counts.
For this purpose, a TN panel is preferable to an IPS or VA panel because it has faster refresh rates at a lower response rate.
However, if you’re not playing games at a competitive level and you care more about the visual experience than winning, a VA or IPS panel is the way to go because of the superior technology it uses to display more vibrant and detailed images.
After all is said and done, there is no one best solution. There are benefits and drawbacks to each of the three technologies.
Because they are the most rapid and inexpensive type of panel on the market, TNs are a great option if you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck.
If you care more about how something looks than how well it performs, IPS is the way to go. However, if you’re willing to spend a little more money, a 144 Hz IPS monitor offers the best of both worlds, as mentioned in the article.
In conclusion, VA panels are the best option for the budget-conscious shopper who values both good looks and solid performance. It’s important to keep in mind that a VA panel can’t quite match the color reproduction of an IPS panel or the responsiveness of a TN panel because it tries to do too much.
That being said, your needs and preferences are the best guides in determining which panel is ideal for you.