TN panel vs IPS vs VA: which is better? Learn all about these 3 types of panels and their advantages

Different types of dashboards are important for different functions and different purposes. Understand which is best for you

Do you want a new gaming monitor and have you made up your mind on all the fundamentals? Screen size, resolution and of course price range. But just when you think it's okay to click "buy," you remember that monitors have divergent panel types, and you remember that different manufacturing processes are supposed to make a big difference. What do you need? TN vs VA vs IPS. Which one is the best?

All modern displays use TFT LCD (Thin Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Display) as their core technology. TFT LCDs have been around since the 1950s and have improved dramatically over time. There are three main types of panel: the oldest, twisted nematic (TN), vertical alignment (VA) and in-plane switching (IPS).

Each crafting process tends to be more suited to specific gaming habits and, in some cases, genres. If you especially care about a specific variety of games, or just want to enjoy all types, you can greatly benefit from opting for one type of dashboard over another.

When buying a computer monitor, you should think about and choose between TN vs IPS vs VA technologies. The best one for you depends on the purpose, location and what you are going to use it for. And if you're a gamer, different panel technologies are ideal for certain types of games. But what is the best panel? Let's talk about it and explain the difference between these different models. If you have any doubts, just leave a comment.

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Tn vs ips vs va
Three types of dashboard and lots of information

Panel types: TN vs IPS vs VA

As mentioned above, you will find the following three types of panels when purchasing a monitor:

  • Twisted nematic (TN): The oldest type of LCD panel.
  • In-Plane Switching (IPS): this term was coined by LG. Samsung refers to a similar technology as “plane-to-line switching” (PLS), while AU Optronics uses “advanced hypervision angle” (AHVA). All are comparable.
  • Vertical alignment (VA): Also known as “Super Vertical Alignment” (SVA) by Samsung and “Advanced Vertical Multi-Domain Alignment” (AMVA) by AU Optronics. All share similar characteristics.

The names relate to the alignment of molecules within the LCD (liquid crystal display) and how they change when voltage is applied. All LCD monitors change the alignment of these molecules to work, but how they do it can dramatically affect the image and response time.

Each type of panel has advantages and disadvantages. The easiest way to choose between them is to decide which attributes are most important to you. That depends a lot on what you use your computer for and how much you spend, relative to TN vs IPS vs VA.

If you use your computer for many things, such as office work, programming, video and photo editing, or playing games, making a decision between TN vs IPS vs VA can be a little more difficult.

TN panels – good speed and black level, bad colors and angles

TN panels were the first mass-produced flat panel monitors. They helped make bulky cathode ray tubes (CRTs), tube monitors, a thing of the past and are still produced in large quantities today.

Although newer panels are always better than their predecessors, TN screen technology still suffers from some notable drawbacks. One is its limited viewing angles, especially on the vertical axis. It is not uncommon for the colors of a TN panel to completely reverse when you view it from an extreme angle.

Its color reproduction is not that strong either. Most TN panels are unable to display true 24-bit colors and instead rely on interpolation to simulate correct tones. This can result in visible color bands and lower contrast ratios when comparing TN vs IPS vs VA.

tn panel
Good speed and black level

Color gamut (the range of colors a monitor can display) is another area where TN panels tend to lie flat. Only high-end TNs can be considered wide-range, meaning they display the entire sRGB spectrum. Many fall short of that goal, however, making them unsuitable for photo editing, color grading, or any other application for which color accuracy is critical.

So why would anyone buy a TN panel? For starters, they are cheap. They don't cost much to produce, so they are often used in the most economical options. If you don't value color reproduction or need excellent viewing angles, a TN panel might be suitable for your office or office compared to TN vs IPS vs VA.

TN panels also have the smallest entry delay – typically around one millisecond. They can also handle high refresh rates of up to 240 Hz. This makes them an attractive option for competitive multiplayer games – especially eSports, where every split second counts.

If you prefer low latency over color reproduction or viewing angles, a TN panel might be all you need. We recommend LG's 20MK400H-B 19.5” LED HD Monitor, which has 2ms response time. It will definitely be a great option if your goals are those. There are also options with longer and shorter response times. If you intend to play competitively, we recommend Samsung's 1ms. If your budget is tight and you don't care too much about the response time, Bluecase's 5ms will solve the problem.

LG Widescreen Monitor 24MK430H - 23.8" LED, Full HD IPS, HDMI
  • The 24MK430H features IPS technology for better color reproduction and wider viewing angle, combined with Full HD resolution (1920x1080) for better definition.
  • OnScreen Control allows you to change monitor settings, customize the screen in up to 14 modes, with Screen Split 2.0.
  • Install according to your need, on the table with tilt adjustment for better vision or on the wall for better use of your workspace.
  • Equipped with Dynamic Action Sync, an advanced feature for strategy games, where it makes the response time more responsive.
  • Wall Ready (VESA)
LG 19.5'' LED HD Monitor - HDMI, 2ms, Tilt Adjustment, Reader Mode, 4-Screen Split, - 20MK400H-B
  • 19,5" HD screen
  • Maximum and recommended resolution: 1366 x 768 at 60 Hz with NTSC 72% color gamut
  • HDMI and VGA port
  • OnScreen Control lets you change monitor settings and customize the screen in up to 14 modes with Screen Split 2.0. (Software download required to enable)
  • Wall Ready (VESA)

VA panels – the best contrast, but not the fastest

VA panels are a kind of mix between TN and IPS. They offer the best contrast ratios, which is why TV manufacturers use them extensively. While an IPS monitor typically has a 1000:1 contrast ratio, it's not uncommon to see 3000:1 or 6000:1 on a comparable VA panel.

In terms of viewing angles, VAs cannot match the performance of IPS panels. The screen brightness, in particular, may vary based on the viewing angle, but you won't get “IPS brightness”.

VAs have slower response times than newer TNs and Nano IPS panels with their one millisecond response rates. You can find VA monitors with high refresh rates (240 Hz), but latency can result in more ghosting and motion blur. For this reason, competitive players should avoid the VA.

panel go
better contrast

Compared to TNs, VA panels offer much better color reproduction and typically achieve the full sRGB spectrum, even in low-end models. If you're willing to spend a little more, Samsung's Quantum Dot SVA panels can achieve 125 percent sRGB coverage.

For these reasons, VA panels are seen as the jack of all trades. They are ideal for general use, but match or fall short in most other areas except contrast ratio. VAs are good for gamers who enjoy a gamer or casual experience and Redragon's 1800R Mirror 24, 144Hz monitor is made just for you, the gamer.

PHILIPS Monitor 21.5" VA with HDMI - 221V8L, Black, small
  • Ultra Thin Edges
  • anti-reflective
  • Adaptive-Sync
  • Low Blue Mode

Media professionals, however, generally prefer IPS panels over VAs because they display a wider gamut of colors.

IPS panels – better colors and viewing angles, slower speeds and black level

IPS technology was developed to improve the limitations of TN panels – most notably, poor color reproduction and limited viewing angles and it is the most advanced technology among the three. As a result, IPS panels are much better than TNs in both areas.

In particular, IPS panels have much higher viewing angles than TNs. This means you can view IPS panels from extreme angles and still get accurate color reproduction. Unlike TNs, you will notice very little change in color when viewing one from a less-than-ideal perspective.

IPS panels are also known for their relatively good black reproduction, which helps eliminate the “washed-out” look you get with TN panels. However, IPS panels fall short of the excellent contrast ratios you will find in VAs.

ips panel
Better colors and viewing angles

While high refresh rates were normally reserved for TNs, more manufacturers are producing IPS panels with refresh rates of 240 Hz. For example, the excellent monitor ACER The 270 inch XZ1080 X 27p uses an IPS panel and supports 240Hz. However, there are many 144Hz options on the market and the AOC 24 HERO 24G2 is one of the most interesting models in terms of 144hz gamer monitor with a “friendly” price. There are still the 75Hz IPS monitors. They are, of course, cheaper and the Philips Series V8 242V8A is the most suitable in this regard.

PHILIPS Monitor 23,8" LED IPS HDMI Ultra Thin Edges 242V8A, BLACK, LARGE
  • With a 16:9 aspect ratio, the 23,8” monitor gives you a wide view of your content thanks to the stunning ultra-thin edges.
  • The amazing Super Slim Design enhances any decor with its sophisticated finish.
  • IPS Technology: Provides colors more faithful to the originals even when viewed from different viewing angles.
  • The V8 line monitors feature the powerful Adaptive Sync, a technology that provides a perfect display of your images and videos.
  • HDMI input and VESA hole pattern.

Previously, TNs exhibited less input delay than any other panel, but IPS technology has finally caught up. In June 2019, LG announced its new Nano IPS UltraGear monitors with a response time of one millisecond.

Even though the gap has been closed, you will still pay more for an IPS panel with such a low response time than you would pay for a TN with similar specifications. If you're on a budget, expect a response time of about four milliseconds for a good IPS monitor.

One last thing to be aware of about IPS panels is a phenomenon called “IPS glare”. That's when you see the screen's backlight shining through it at the most extreme viewing angles. It's not a big issue unless you look at the panel from the side, but it's something to keep in mind when thinking about TN vs IPS vs VA.

All LCD Panels Share Common Disadvantages

When compared to CRT monitors, all LCD panels suffer from some kind of latency issue. This was a real problem when TN panels first appeared, and it has plagued IPS and VA monitors for years. But technology has advanced, and while many of these problems have been improved, they haven't been completely eliminated.

Uneven backlighting is another problem you'll encounter with all panel types. This often comes down to overall build quality – cheaper models lose quality control to save production costs. So if you're looking for an inexpensive monitor, be prepared for uneven backlighting. However, you will only notice this on solid or very dark backgrounds.

Also check out: 11 Best Wireless And Wired Gamer Mouses In 2021

LCD panels are also susceptible to dead or stuck pixels. Different manufacturers and jurisdictions have different consumer policies and laws covering dead pixels. If you are a perfectionist, check the manufacturer's dead pixel policy before purchasing. Some will replace a monitor with a single dead pixel for free, while others require a minimum number.

Which type of panel is right for you?

Now, you probably have a pretty good idea what kind of panel to get, relative to TN vs IPS vs VA. As usual, the more you spend, the more you earn.

Our recommendations for specific purposes are below:

  • Office or study use: your budget should be your main concern here. VA is the do-it-all panel with higher viewing angles than TN, but either would do. You can save some money because you don't need high refresh rates or ultra-low latency. They're still cool, though. You'll see a noticeable difference in smoothness just when moving the Windows cursor on a monitor with a 144 vs. 60 Hz refresh rate.
  • Photo and video editors/digital artists: IPS panels are still generally preferred for their ability to display a wide range of colors. It's not uncommon to find VA panels that also cover a wide range (125 percent sRGB and more than 90 percent DCI-P3), but they tend to exhibit more motion blur during fast-paced action than IPS panels. If you are serious about color accuracy, you will need to correctly calibrate your monitor.
  • Programmers who mount monitors vertically: you might find TN panels great for programmers, but that's not necessarily the case. TN panels have particularly poor viewing angles on the vertical axis. If you mount your monitor in portrait mode (as many mobile programmers and developers do), you'll get the worst possible viewing angles from a TN panel. To get the best possible viewing angles in this scenario, invest in an IPS screen.
  • Competitive online players: there's no doubt that TN panels are still favorites in the eSports world. Even the cheapest models have fast response times and support for high refresh rates. For 1080p gaming, a 24-inch model is sufficient, or you can opt for a 1440p and 27-inch model without spending too much money. You might want to go for an IPS panel as more low-latency models hit the market, but expect to pay more.
  • Next Generation Uncompetitive PC Gamers: for a rich, immersive image that stands out, a VA panel will provide a higher contrast ratio than IPS or TN. For deep blacks and a sharp, contrasting image, VA is the winner. If you have no problem sacrificing some contrast, you can go the IPS route. However, we recommend avoiding TN completely unless you play competitively.
  • Best all-rounder: VA is the winner here, but IPS is better in all areas except contrast ratio. If you can sacrifice contrast, an IPS panel will provide reasonably low latency, decent blacks, and decent color coverage.

Below, you can check a comparison table with all the technical characteristics and use of the types of panels.

ValueR $ 400,00 - R $ 950,00R $ 600,00 - R $ 1600,00R $ 850,00 - R $ 6000,00
Input Lag (average)0,5ms-5ms2ms-5ms5ms
Recommended forCompetitive multiplayer game gamers (FPS, MOBA); less demanding users looking for cost-effectivenessCasual gamers (depending on response time); Designers who make art simpler (with less color accuracy); Editing photos with high contrast or dark tonesNon-competitive gamers such as open world RPG games; Designers; Photo editing; Editing videos
Not recommended forGraphic design; Photo editing; Editing videos; Watch movies and seriesEditing photos with lots of color; Video edition; Users who want to be able to see the screen without loss of colorcompetitive game gamers; Users who are going to make basic use and are looking for a cheap product

Try before you buy

As you probably know, you can usually get a monitor cheaper online than at a physical store. Unfortunately, shopping online also often means buying blindly. And with a TV or monitor, this can lead to disappointment, even more so when deciding between TN vs IPS vs VA.

If you can, personally check the monitor you are interested in before purchasing it, also in relation to TN vs IPS vs VA. You can perform some simple ghost and motion blur tests by grabbing a window with your mouse and quickly moving it around the screen. You can also test the brightness, watch some videos and play with the screen to get an idea.

Quick FAQ

Are VA or IPS better for gaming?

IPS panels are ideal for local multiplayer gaming with their wide viewing angles, but this comes at the cost of good contrast ratios and potential backlight bleed. If you only plan on playing in a dark environment, a VA might be more suited to your needs.

Are VA panels better than TN panels?

A VA screen is a good average between IPS and TN. The color gamut is close to that of an IPS panel and the viewing angle is slightly smaller than that of an IPS screen, but larger than that of a TN monitor. VA gaming monitors especially excel in contrast ratio.

Is the VA panel better than the IPS panel?

IPS panels are significantly better than VA panels in terms of viewing angle and slightly better than VA panels in terms of color. VA panels, however, almost always offer deeper black levels and better overall contrast.

Which panel has the highest refresh rate?

If you want to have a higher refresh rate, you have to be willing to spend more. VA panels have a maximum refresh rate of 240Hz. The winner is the IPS panel because of its high 360Hz refresh rate.

Now, leave it in the comments: what monitor do you use? TN? GO? IPS? Do you have any recommendations for a good gaming monitor? Talk to us in the comments and tell us if you liked this news and take the opportunity to read more about hardware on our website.

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Paulo Fabris is a journalist, writer, RPG player, gamer, cosplayer, nerd and fan of anime since the time of TV Manchete.