IPS vs VA vs TN Monitors: What’s The Difference?

IPS vs VA vs TN Monitors, Monitors have many different features. In fact, I believe there are too many features out there to describe since every brand comes with its own set of special traits.

However, after doing extensive research on monitor panels alone, I had to narrow down the most important changes that people look for when purchasing a new monitor.

Best Color Reproduction Good Color Reproduction Worst Color Reproduction
Best Viewing Angles Decent Viewing Angles Worst Viewing Angles
Great Response Times Worst Response Times Best Response Times
Best Refresh Rates Decent Refresh Rates Best Refresh Rates
Most Expensive Mid-Range Expensive Least Expensive
Worst Contrast Ratio Best Contrast Ratio Worst Contrast Ratio

Now, let’s break down what these terms mean and see what advantages each type has to offer.

IPS vs. VA vs. TN Comparison

TN Monitor Panel (Twisted Nematic)

Starting with the cheapest, highest in terms of performance speed we have the TN panel. IPS vs VA vs TN Monitors There isn’t any easy way to explain how this works, but this is a short look at how TN Panel crystals work.

TN panels have Twisted Nematic liquid crystals. These crystals are cells filled with molecules that can be twisted and untwisted by electrical energy.

An electrical charge will pull the molecules together so that they are closer together and thus, physically thicker. These distorted molecules will twist light as it passes through them which can result in color distortions.

The voltage applied causes the electrons to move through the monitor and excites the atoms within it. The molecules occupy different positions and allow light to move through.

TN panels are good at providing a basic picture, but they are also known to lack quality in terms of color reproductions.

Meanwhile, they tend to have a substantially reduced number of viewing angles when compared with their IPS counterparts.

Depending on which angle you are viewing your monitor from, the pixel composition will look different.

The quality of the TN panel will depend on the viewing angle. When viewing from below, colors will appear washed out and distorted. On the other hand, when viewing from above (upside down) colors will look cloudy or hazy.

TN panels have a contrast ratio at 0.08:1 which is lower than the other types of monitor panels. Contrast ratio is the difference between the blackest black and whitest white, measured by a ratio of x:1.

For most TN and IPS displays, they will have a contrast ratio that’s closer to 1000:1. However, VA-based monitors may have an improved ratio closer to 3000:1

In darker scenes, a 1000:1 ratio will look more washed out and that is due to the minimal difference between lighter and darker colors.

TN panels, typically found in TVs and monitors have much faster speeds than alternative display technologies, including IPS.

TN panels are still commonly used for 240-hertz monitors, but more companies are now using IPS panels at higher refresh rates.

The rise of 240-hertz monitors has greatly benefited those with less expensive hardware, because 120Hz screens were simply incapable of keeping in sync with that many frames.

TN panels are still able to boast a swift response time, but they’re no longer the only speed demon.

You can find plenty of immaculate, pristinely-styled 1ms monitors out there in IPS and VA panels.

In terms of 1ms response times, you really only need one model, either a 32” UHD with HDR10 or a 24” 1080p bezel-less monitor to have an exceptional experience.

IPS panels are often found with refresh rates as low as 1ms response times.

Although other panel types are catching up in terms of performance, TN panels maintain the budget price advantage.

If you’re looking for more accurate color accuracy, IPS monitors are better than TN panels. However, they tend to be slower and cost more too.

If money’s no object, I’d get an IPS-panel screen with a high refresh rate and low response time.

If you are on a budget, your color quality will be poor, but you can enjoy high refresh rates and lower response times. And by the way, TN monitors have a comparatively low price point compared to an alternative.

Pros Cons
Good Pricing Poor Viewing Angles
High Refresh Rates Worst Color Quality
Low Response Time Worst Contrast Ratio

VA Monitor Panels (Vertical Alignment)

A VA panel is the best of both worlds: not too expensive yet with good color reproduction and speeds that aren’t too fast or slow.

Getting into the technology and construction behind a LCD screen. You have two stacks of crystals that are arranged in parallel when not given a voltage and are blocking light in their off state.

When a voltage (or electric current) is supplied to liquid crystals, they will rotate and line up so that the light can pass through it.

VA panels have better refresh rates than TN panels. IPS vs VA vs TN Monitors They also have greater color gamut, which means they can reproduce more colors with greater accuracy than TN panels.

VA panels may be better than IPS and TN panels because they have good contrast ratios. Some VA panels can achieve up to 3000:1 contrast ratio, which is nearly three times that of many TN and IPS panels.

You can expect it to be 3 times as clear as the standard model. Its superior contrast will enable better color quality in deeper tones, making the blacks look darker while still keeping the bright lights on a much higher plane.

The lights are brighter when placed against a darker background rather than alongside brighter colors.

It’s a cool feature to have in video games like Cyberpunk 2077, Metro Exodus and Red Dead Redemption 2.

VA panels are fairly responsive and can prove to be a good choice, but they usually have lower contrast ratios than IPS panels and they tend not to fare very well in darker areas of the screen.

If you need consistency and don’t want an overly heavy screen, then a TN panel is certainly your best bet.

Although the colors and contrast ratio may not be as deep or rich with this panel, it is still a solid unit due to its speed and excellent balance of all together.

Given that it is also priced much more affordably than many of the other VA units in the same price range I would consider this to be a great option for most gamers looking to upgrade their panels.

Pros Cons
Best Contrast Ratios Response Time
Good Refresh Rates Not The Best In Color Or Performance
Good Prices

IPS Monitor Panels (In-Plane Switching)

Our premium product scores top marks when it comes to its color accuracy, response time and quality.

First, let’s talk about how IPS monitors work.

IPS (In-Plane Switching) panels allow users to see accurate, vibrant colors regardless of their viewing angle.

IPS panels have much better viewing angles which can come in handy if and when the user of your monitor moves about the room or changes his or her position.

Developers who are experiencing frustrations with their vertical monitor rotation may want to try rotating the monitor’s stand instead.

Though they’ll have to check with a reputable mount company to acquire such a device and an accurate assessment of any prospective fix.

Monitors that lean back in a vertical position tend to have better viewing angles than flat panels.

This makes them easier to see from a variety of positions, which may make them more usable when they are placed against walls instead of set on desks.

Vertical monitors can be very useful and will increase their value to the user if the viewing angle is great.

If images appear to have lost some of their color when viewed from an angle other than straight on, then that is an indication of bad viewing angles.

One benefit of IPS panels is that they render greyscale almost perfectly.

They have a higher color depth, which is about 8-10 bits as opposed to 6 bits, which is used in many TN monitors.

Color accuracy is also better in IPS panels. Research has shown that users prefer this to the contrast ratios that TN panels provide, especially when it comes to text.

IPS Monitors and TN panels are racing neck-and-neck to create the fastest response times.

This monitor type is becoming more and more diverse, as many now offer a 1ms response time – making them quite comparable, although TN monitors still retain top billing in terms of speed.

IPS monitors are the king of refresh rates. Their highest rate, currently at around 500 hertz in 2018, can go as high as any gaming monitor, and even higher.

144 Hz and 240 Hz monitor options would also be the clear winner in my book when it comes to refresh rates.

Recently, there have been some impressive monitors that have gone above and beyond what people thought was possible. There is an IPS monitor on the market today which has a refresh rate of 1000Hz!

IPS panels are steadily rallying to take top spot as the best monitor technologies in the world. However, their users commonly complain about issues with contrast ratios, price and IPS glow.

IPS glow refers to the radiance one will see in the corners of their screen when viewing images or videos on an IPS monitor.

Poorly-lit environments allow for them to be more noticeable, but if you’re gaming in well-lit spaces, it shouldn’t be nearly as obvious.

However, if you play games in the dark, you’ll find that IPS glows like a beacon and will show the backlight to its fullest extent – pretty annoying.

Backlight bleeding may look similar to IPS glow, but it generally occurs around the edges of a backlit display (instead of near the corners) and is most visible in dark scenes.

Netflix and Google now want to battle screen burn-in by adding a setting that allows you to dim your screen after you’re done watching something.

On the other hand, many LCD monitor designs do have something called a contrast ratio. But an IPS monitor’s display is still not quite to par with them. The best IPS monitors have about 800:1, but the average is about 300:1 for most panels.

The ratio between the amount of white and black is great, so people can easily watch their favorite movies and shows without having to strain their eyes from a lack in contrast.

Lastly, IPS monitors are the most expensive type of monitors. IPS vs VA vs TN Monitors Their performance and picture quality is without question superb, but before you invest in purchasing one.

It’s something you should be aware of – as it is something to consider when making your decision on which monitor to buy.

IPS panels deliver outstanding results and if you’re able to invest in one, it is a good idea. The boost in color quality is tremendous if compare to other panel types and you will maintain quick speeds at all times.

If you’re still on a budget, then an IPS monitor may not be the best choice for you. It’s worth considering that VA panels provide better color rendition and contrast ratio at an affordable price.

Pros Cons
Best Color Depth And Accuracy Expensive
Great Refresh Rate And Response Times Poor Contrast Ratio
Fantastic Viewing Angles

What Is LED Backlighting?

Many people think that an LED is the same as a monitor or another type of panel, but in reality it’s something completely different.

Every LCD monitor needs light to display pictures since LCD monitors cannot display light on their own. Instead, they rely on backlighting produced by different types of LEDs.

LED backlighting is a bunch of small lights inside of your monitor, about the same weight as a couple of feathers.

It’s really cool when it comes to display images because there are other ways to light displays (like LCD for example) but the difference here is that One is much more versatile since it can be placed virtually anywhere (unlike others).

Edge-lit screens will have only lights placed around the edges of the screen. In order to create a uniform, brighter image across the center of the monitor, use a light diffuser layer in between layers of glass that are used for creating these edge-lit displays.

Direct-lit displays will use a full array of light-emitting diodes across the whole display, providing an image with less ghosting.

For gamers, the E-LED, or edge-lit monitor, is the way to go. They are actually more expensive than their D-LED counterparts, but no serious gamer would hesitate for a minute before dropping extra cash for a faster refresh rate and reduced motion blur.

Many gaming monitors are edge-lit. This can be a deal breaker if you prefer physical buttons and not having cables running out the back of your monitor, which is going to be a challenge to manage.

Here are some factors that could change your experience with the monitor and what else to look out for.

The main difference between PWM and DC is that PWM operates via a flickering light whereas DC features voltage-controlled dimming which, unlike PWM, does not always flicker.

Actually, looking for a screen that isn’t PWM is a better idea because some people can experience an increase in eye-strain when exposed to more regular monitors that produce pulses with ‘flicker’.

Depending on the person, flickering monitors can be more recognizable or not. To check whether your current monitor is PWM (the flickering kind), turn on your phone camera and point it at your monitor.

Test the LEDs on the monitor you wish to buy by taking a picture of it with your smartphone camera. If the image looks like its flickering, the display is probably PWM.

Another great way is to wave your hand in front of your monitor. If you notice a faint hazy quality to your wave, that is another sign your monitor is PWM (the constant flickering kind).

Which Monitor Panel Is Best For Competitive Gaming?

TN panels have always been the panel of choice for competitive gamers since they offer fast response times, low input lag and high refresh rates.

To enhance your gaming experience, it’s imperative you have a PC at least 144-hertz. Although, now there are 240 and 360-hertz variations available.

Keep in mind that whatever refresh rate you choose needs to be achievable with your graphics card if you want to see the full benefit.

So unless you have a beast of a computer, going with a 1080p resolution will be the better choice since it has significantly less pixels to fill for your GPU and will allow you to reach higher frame rates with what you have.

Response time up to about 1ms is what people like about the sites they use. IPS vs VA vs TN Monitors Fast response times are appreciated, but I wouldn’t pay a lot more for it because the difference isn’t noticeable enough below 1ms to spend the extra money.

If you feel like getting a great panel monitor, IPS panels aren’t all that much more expensive than they used to be. They can give you much better color and viewing angle when compared to other technology of similar quality.

IPS monitors offer a higher gamut of colors, so for web designers this is important because of how much color matters when it comes to displaying quality content that’s pleasing to viewers.

For bit depth, a native bit depth of 8- or 10-bits is better than 6 or 8+FRC. “FRC” means Frame Rate Control, and it’s basically a fake way to achieve higher quality. FRC can look close, but going for native bit depth is much better because it is even closer in appearance.

For competitive gamers with a larger budget, the IPS monitor is a good choice. With its outstanding color quality and speed, it is wonderful for rendering games where fast reactions are essential.

Competitive gamers on a budget should find TN panels best for their kind of gaming. These panels give users the high refresh rate and response time necessary for improving player performance without emptying their wallets.

Which Monitor Panel Is Best For Single-Player Gaming? gaming-setup-with-ultrawide-monitor-2 1

Color calibration is not as easy as one might think. IPS monitors offer high color accuracy for sure, but VA panels have three times the contrast ratio and don’t suffer from IPS-glow.

Also, VA panels can get very close to the color gamut and bit-depth of IPS panels. A VA monitor with 100% sRGB color gamut score and 8-bit colors is on par with the average IPS monitor.

Also, this monitor has an exceptionally high contrast ratio, allowing for a much clearer image quality than any other type of LCD monitor.

It should be mentioned that not all VA panels will have a 3000:1 contrast ratio. You can make sure of this by looking at the spec sheet on the sales page, look for the static contrast ratio.

I wouldn’t take a dynamic contrast ratio seriously as it hasn’t been as clearly defined as static contrast ratio. It’s sometimes under the best monitors that you use to measure it and comparing it between monitors is pointless since they all work differently.

In other words, the dynamic contrast ratio is nothing more than a marketing gimmick to make you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth.

VA panels aren’t typically as good at playing fast-paced games as either of the two aforementioned kinds of panels (IPS or TN).

Though if you know where to look and can afford it, you’ll find a respectable class of VA displays that have 1ms response times.

There are plenty of monitors with a refresh rate of 60hz, 144hz, or 165hz. IPS vs VA vs TN Monitors Anything above 165hz is not common for VA panel monitors. For 240 or 360 hertz you will have to go for either IPS or TN.

Price-wise, these monitors will fall into the middle ground that is cheaper than IPS monitors and more expensive than TN monitors.

Although VA panels don’t provide the pixel-perfect clarity of an IPS display, images still look great when they are viewed from a distance.

When the scene needs to be a little brighter you can use vibrant and accurate colors and when there is a need for more drama in the shot, the black vs white contrast will give off an eerie effect that feels very movie-like.

In addition, you won’t be able to see the IPS glow in the corners of your screen. Although, you may still experience some light bleeding at the borders of your monitor, depending on its construction. IPS glow is an inherent feature of this type of panel.

You can pick up some speed in response time and refresh rate- usually to a point. For newer games, you will likely be closer to 60 FPS with high graphics settings.

But there are certain factors that affect this – for example, if you have older hardware or just aren’t skilled enough with your PC configuration.

All in all, the most ideal monitor choices are those with good color reproduction and high refresh rates.

On the other hand though, a cheaper alternative to IPS aesthetic qualities would be VA panels which don’t retain backlight bleeding and are on the other hand more suited for gaming.

Which Monitor Is Best For Photo And Video Editing?

Choosing an adequate monitor can be difficult, however, you want to make sure that the screen stays true to life and color. For this reason, I would recommend selecting a monitor that uses IPS technology.

TN monitors are the least likely to make you happy with this task, because they have the lowest bit depth and color gamut.

A monitor could also have its functionality limited if you choose one that doesn’t score highly on it’s gamut rating at a time when the technology is so advanced.

You would also want a monitor with an 8-bit color. IPS vs VA vs TN Monitors If it happens to have FRC, it can give you more value and help you simulate your bit depth closer to 10-bit.

Although it is true that only 10-bit monitors exist, if you truly want to go with a 10-bit monitor, you will have to go with an IPS monitor at the moment.

When it comes to displays, the word “bit-depth” can be particularly misleading; manufacturers usually use this term to describe the millions of colors a display is capable of generating.

The more bit depths we use in our cameras, the more colors that are available to us in post processing, making for much more vibrant and colorful photos.

Finally, when it comes to professional color accuracy, bit depth, and clarity for photo and video editing; what really you need is the best IPS panel monitor.

Which Is The Best Monitor Panel On A Budget?

As far as pricing goes, you can get nearly any panel for a budget price. You only have to choose how much you are willing to spend.

The cheapest monitor panel is usually the TN panel. It can offer high-quality graphics at great refresh rates and response times for a good cost.

For less than $150, you can get a TN panel monitor with a 144-hertz refresh rate and 1ms response time at a 1080p resolution.

You can get the best of both worlds with an IPS Monitor. It offers vibrant colors and crisp image quality without sacrificing on affordability.

The IPS monitor will only feature 4ms response time and a 1080p resolution, but it will have much better color accuracy and bit depth.

IPS monitors are similar to TN panels, with the only difference being that IPS displays are capable of handling a wider color range.

IPS color gamut will be low when compared to other IPS panels on the market in this price range.  However, it will still be far above average and closer to what TN monitors are capable of displaying which is about 30%.

You also get a higher bit depth, going from 6-bit to 8-bit. For a slight up-charge, you get a monitor with significantly better picture quality.

Do Monitor Panels Affect Input Lag? gaming-setup-with-ultrawide-monitor-1 2

Monitor panels do not contribute to input lag. Input lag is technically the time it takes for the player’s button press to register on the screen.

Monitor panels won’t directly impact that, however, IPS vs VA vs TN Monitors things like refresh rate, response time and your PC components will.

A panel is the display that sits behind your monitor, whether it’s a phone or a monitor or a laptop. It determines what colors you see on the screen, but also different things like refresh rate and response time which we will cover later.

While increasing your FPS is a good way to decrease input lag, you may also experience tearing if your monitor doesn’t have a faster refresh rate.

Make sure you brain is at its best by taking frequent breaks throughout your day whether through relaxing with friends or taking walks outdoors to decompress.

When your FPS is at 60 and your refresh rate at 60hz, you average an input lag of .289 Ms. A lower number is better than a higher number, so .289 MS is better than .539, for example.

By decreasing input lag, you can greatly improve your multiplayer gaming experience, which makes that split-second difference.


As this debate continues, it’s still hard to crown a definitive winner when it comes to monitor panels, even if there have been recent improvements in technology that could potentially deliver the solution you’re looking for.

VA panels reach IPS colors, IPS panels have become faster, and TN panels give you faster speeds at a budget price! Choosing a monitor panel is getting more difficult.

TN panels can be described as the best value for your money in monitors. IPS vs VA vs TN Monitors They might have color problems and a low contrast ratio, but they still offer speed and response times that are hard to beat at what you’re getting.

Getting a 144Hz monitor at less than $150 used to be something unheard of, until the technology first started appearing on the scene not so long ago.

Imagine if you could visit a webpage and get the exact same result in 240Hz quality only for $150 while now, visiting the same site would cost you around $400.

The best of both worlds is a closed all-around that has, on the face of it, some advantages. There’s little to separate VA from IPS panels, but this panel can reflect more shades. It does not stare at blue in the dark.

Some people always grow irritated by the glow on VA panel monitors.

While IPS panels do not have this specific issue of glow, they often have a “IPS glow” of sorts in that the picture produced is not as lifelike or realistic as an accurate color display would be.

To sum up, the IPS Panel offers both high color accuracy and good images but might cost you on your wallet.

When you need strong performance and superb pricing but color quality is an afterthought, ask about TN panels for your monitors.

Finally, for the best contrast ratio, good color reproduction, bit depth and decent performance, check out the VA panel.

A quick tip before you go, IPS vs VA vs TN Monitors don’t buy into the belief that purchasing an IPS monitor will automatically give your display good color gamut or bit depth.

Before buying an IPS monitor to use for your project, ensure that it is capable of at least displaying 16.7 million colors as that is what helps make an image/creation come alive.

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