Since technology is advancing day by day, there are numerous LCD panel technologies used in the manufacture of LCD monitors. They range from low-cost TN panels to high-end professional IPS and VA panels.
The average consumer is typically unaware of the LCD panel technology used in their LCD. Usually, they are all based on liquid crystal technology, but not all displays are the same. There are several LCD panels to choose from.
The technology used in LCD monitors is panel type. Different types of panels provide various features and benefits. TN panels, VA panels, and IPS panels are the most common types of panels.
We are discussing the most common display panel technologies, their perks & drawbacks, and the most common and effective ways to use them.
TN (Twisted Nematic) Monitor Panel
TN (Twisted Nematic) panels are the most commonly used panel type in producing low-cost LCD monitors. TN panels are generally less expensive and have fast response times, making them ideal for fast-paced gaming. Current TN panels have response times as low as 1ms.
In comparison, even the most rapid IPS panels struggle to average less than 5ms. Unfortunately, TN panels have the worst color reproduction, viewing angles, and contrast ratios of any modern LCD panel technology.
The TN panel is one of the most common panel types used to replace CRT televisions. It outperforms CRT televisions but has some drawbacks. As an example, consider viewing angles. When viewed from an extreme angle, the colors in a TN panel are entirely inverted.
TN panels cannot display 24-bit actual color and must rely on interpolation for color shade stimulation. Compared to IPS or VA panels, this results in a low contrast ratio.
However, TN panels are still popular. It’s because these panels are inexpensive. If you don’t need a lot of colors or wide viewing angles, TN panels can save you a lot of money.
TN panels can also support refresh rates of 240Hz without issue. It is useful when playing multiplayer games. If you want an LCD with the least latency, look for a TN panel.
- Affordably priced and easily accessible
- Improved response time, which is beneficial for multiplayer gaming
- Improved refresh rate support. A refresh rate of 120Hz, 144Hz, or even 240Hz is possible.
- It’s not worth it from the viewing angle.
- The brightness, contrast, and color reproduction of the screen are affected when viewed from the side.
IPS (In-Plane Switching) Monitor Panel
In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels are widely regarded as the best overall LCD technology in terms of image quality, color accuracy, and viewing angles. They are ideal for graphic design and other applications that require precise and consistent color reproduction. With viewing angles of up to 178 degrees, IPS panels have the best viewing angles of any current LCD technology.
All of these advantages drive up the price of IPS monitors in comparison to VA and exceptionally affordable TN panel LCDs. With modern IPS technology, the response time is adequate, averaging around 4ms to 8ms. This is only marginally faster than TN panels.
Gamers, on the other hand, should keep this in mind. With IPS panels with response times more significant than 8ms, fast-paced games may suffer from motion blur or ghosting.
When viewed from a wide angle, S-IPS panels are distinguished by a slight purple hue on blacks. S-IPS panels are currently used by fewer manufacturers than other panel types, limiting options and frequently carrying a premium price tag.
H-IPS is a newer variation of S-IPS with a different pixel structure that improves contrast ratios and decreases pixel pitch to enhance picture quality. New IPS panel types, such as H-IPS, introduced an issue known as “IPS glow.”
- When compared to VA or TN panels, IPS panels are the best.
- IPS panels are recommended for anyone who requires better color accuracy, reproduction, and wider viewing angles.
- IPS screens require more backlighting, which results in backlight bleed.
- It has a relatively slow response time.
- The best quality IPS panel monitors are pretty expensive and not for everyone.
Further Types of IPS Panels
There are many different iterations of IPS panels, with new and improved versions being released over time. Some examples of these iterations include S-IPS, H-IPS, e-IPS, P-IPS, AH-IPS, AHVA, and Nano IPS. IPS panels are referred to as in-plane switching panels.
Although H-IPS displays have a slightly different pixel structure than S-IPS displays, and the vast majority of e-IPS panels only offer a 6-bit color depth, all of these display technologies are relatively comparable in terms of the technology they use. IPS LCD monitors are an appropriate display technology to use as a stopgap measure.
VA (Vertical Alignment) Monitor Panel
All S-PVA/MVA LCD panels use VA (Vertical Alignment) technology. They have better color reproduction and wider viewing angles than TN panels but have slower response times.
On paper, they look a lot like S-IPS. They also have large viewing angles and sound color reproduction, though not as well as IPS panels. Response times are generally slower than on TN or IPS panels, and there have been reports of a few VA panels suffering from input lag, so VA technology is not the best choice for fast-paced gaming.
VA panels have higher contrast ratios than other panel types, resulting in better black levels. The most significant disadvantage of VA-based panels is color shifting. Color shifting occurs when an image viewed from one angle changes or “shifts” when viewed from a slightly different angle, resulting in uneven brightness levels across the display.
Many users are so bothered by the color shifting that they will not even consider purchasing a VA-based panel, whereas others do not notice or are not bothered by it. When viewed directly from the center, color shifts also result in a loss of shadow detail in dark scenes.
VA panels are much easier to find than IPS panels because many manufacturers use them for LCD monitors and other displays, such as large HDTVs. They provide better image quality than TN panels at a lower price than IPS ones.
They have now surpassed VA monitors in terms of availability and cost. However, because of the higher contrast ratios and better black levels offered by VA panels, most TV manufacturers continue to use them.
- Better picture quality and viewing angles compared to TN panels.
- superior to TN and even IPS panels in terms of contrast ratio
- The response time is quite long.
Another display technology that is gaining traction is OLED. OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, differs significantly from the conventional LCD technology discussed above. OLED panels are electro-emissive, which means that when an electric signal is received, each pixel emits its light, eliminating the need for a backlight.
OLED panels have deep, inky blacks with no blooming around bright objects because they can turn off individual pixels. They also have extensive viewing angles, a near-instantaneous response time, and good gray uniformity.
However, OLED panels are not without flaws. There is a risk of permanent burn-in, especially when many static elements are on screen, such as a PC’s UI elements. There aren’t many OLED monitors either, but they’ve begun to gain popularity as laptop screens and high-end monitors; they’re costly and difficult to find.
They’re also not always very bright, especially when large bright areas are visible on the screen. The technology is still in its early stages, but advancements in OLED technology, such as Samsung’s highly anticipated QD-OLED technology, are promising.
Some Facts About All LCD Panel Types
All LCD panels have some form of latency when compared to CRT monitors. This was a significant issue when TN panels first became available, and it has plagued IPS and VA monitors for many years. However, technology has advanced, and while many of these problems have been addressed, they have not been eliminated.
Another issue with all panel types is uneven backlighting. This is frequently due to overall build quality—cheaper models skimp on quality control to save money on production costs. So, if you’re looking for a low-cost monitor, expect uneven backlighting. However, it is most noticeable on solid or extremely dark backgrounds.
LCD panels are prone to dead or stuck pixels as well. Different manufacturers and jurisdictions have other dead-pixel policies and consumer laws. Check the manufacturer’s dead-pixel policy before purchasing if you’re a perfectionist. Some companies will replace a monitor with a single dead pixel for free, while others charge a fee.
Featured Comparison of Panel Types (TN vs. VA vs. IPS)
When we compare the panel’s image quality (brightness, contrast, color gamut), color representation with TN panels is poorer than on other screens. The viewing angle is also narrower than on different types of gaming panels.
A VA display is a good compromise between IPS and TN displays. The color range is comparable to that of an IPS panel, and the viewing angle is slightly narrower than that of an IPS screen but broader than that of a TN monitor.
VA gaming monitors excel in contrast ratio in particular. On this type of screen, the difference between light and dark is noticeable.
IPS panels have the widest color gamut of any other type of panel. It ensures that the graphics in your games are displayed on these screens in the most accurate and lifelike manner.
An IPS screen combines this feature with wide viewing angles, which enables you to see images that are crisp even if you aren’t sitting directly in front of your gaming monitor. Take, for example, the scenario in which you are playing a game with multiple people simultaneously.
The low response speed of TN gaming monitors is well known. This type of screen typically has a response time of 1ms. As a result, with a TN panel, you never have to worry about blurred lines. Not even in the most frantic games.
By default, VA screens with a VA panel have the fastest response time, around five milliseconds. This means that motion blur is the most noticeable on these monitors.
Development is also in full swing here, and as a result, VA screens now have much faster panels. These are equivalent to TN panels in the most expensive price range. Although IPS screens are not known for their quick response times, most IPS gaming monitors have a response time of 4ms.
TN displays with refresh rate of 144Hz, or higher are no exception. As a result, most games run smoothly, and there are no stuttering images. If you connect the high refresh rate to G-Sync or FreeSync, the number of Hz increases and decreases with the number of frames per second. This property’s VA monitors are also on average.
Although many VA panels have a refresh rate of 60Hz, this type of screen can also have a refresh rate of 120Hz or higher. You can play all your games smoothly, even with a VA screen. IPS displays typically have the lowest refresh rate.
A refresh rate greater than 75Hz is unusual for this type of display. This means you can’t play games with a high frame rate as quickly as you can on other types of screens.
Analysis of Panel Types for Common Tasks
Office Work & Education
VA screens are ideal for almost all applications and have superior viewing angles, though TN screens can also be used. Given a fast refresh rate, you can get a cheap model, and super-low latency isn’t critical, though excellent additions.
When you move your cursor on a 60Hz screen and then on a 144Hz display, you’ll notice a difference in fluidity. However, these top business picks should cover you.
Because of their wide color gamut, IPS panels are the best. Although some VA panels display 125 percent sRGB and more than 90 percent DCI-P3), they frequently exhibit more motion blur in fast action than IPS screens.
TN panels are popular among programmers, but they aren’t always the best option. Vertical axis viewing angles on TN panels are unpleasant. When using a TN panel, mounting your monitor perpendicularly aligned, as many developers and programmers do, will result in the least impressive viewing angles.
An IPS display gives you better viewing angles, essential for easing programming in such a setup. We also looked at the best vertical monitors for this situation.
ESports players favor TN panels. Even the most affordable TN monitors have fast refresh rates and response times. If you need a 1080p TN monitor, a 24-inch monitor will suffice.
You can still get 1440p and a 27-inch monitor for a reasonable price. Another option is to get an IPS panel, which has less lag and will likely cost more.
High-End PC Gaming
A VA panel has a higher contrast ratio than other panel types, resulting in more immersive and vibrant images. VA displays provide deep blacks and sharp contrast.
If you don’t mind the lower difference, IPS is still a viable option. Unless you play advanced competitive and multiplayer games, TN displays are unnecessary.
Which is the Best Panel Type for Competitive Gaming?
VA panels can handle almost any game you throw at them. They’re the ultimate choice for all work types. So if you’re a gamer with diverse interests in various genres, a VA is for you. Whatever you play, you’ll get good performance and excellent image quality. Competitive players whose sole goal is to win are an exception.
However, IPS gaming monitors are also the best choice, with fast, responsive specifications, wider viewing angles, and brilliant color reproduction. TN once held the crown for gamers who required high responsiveness, but that is no longer the case. You can still get a fast TN panel for a fraction of the price of the alternatives.
Related FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q.1 Is a VA Panel preferable to an IPS & TN panel?
Both panels have advantages and disadvantages, and your preferred features determine your best option. TN has higher refresh rates, faster response times, and more affordable pricing. VA, on the other hand, has superior image quality and is suitable for almost all applications. The IPS panel is considered the best but at a higher price.
Q.2 What exactly is Super PLS?
Super PLS is similar to the IPS panel technology developed by Samsung. Compared to previously available IPS panels, the manufacturer claims to produce better and broader angles. Furthermore, they claim to have about 10% more brightness than standard IPS displays.
Q.3 What exactly is AHVA?
AHVA panels are also known for being similar to IPS panels in appearance and performance. The AHVA is an acronym that stands for Advanced Hyper Viewing Angle. This panel type, as the name implies, provides a better and broader viewing angle.
Q.4 Which of the VA, IPS, and TN panels is the best?
In short, choose VA if you need a jack of all trades. Except for contrast ratios, IPS displays are excellent in all aspects. If you don’t mind this, you can expect a quick response time, excellent color coverage, and good blacks. TN should suit you well in terms of affordability, refresh rates, and response times.
Q.5 What exactly is Nano IPS?
LG’s latest iteration of the panel type, Nano IPS, offers a wider color gamut (135% sRGB). This panel type is also capable of faster response times (typically 1ms) and higher refresh rates.