TN vs IPS vs VA – Which Panel Type Should You Choose?

If you didn’t know, there are several different display panels. But most popular are TN, IPS and VA panels. As you can assume they all differ in something, so let’s find out what is the difference between them and which panel is best for the personal needs of a user.

If you want to find a quick answer to which display panel is the best, I must disappoint you because there is no correct answer to this particular question.

I can only tell you that you should choose a panel display type that fits your needs the best. So for example, if you’re going to be gaming in general, then TN is your way to go, because of its fast response time. IPS panels have the best colors and much better viewing angles, while VA panels have a better contrast ratio than the two above.

TN vs IPS vs VA Display panels

Before you can decide what kind of a monitor you’re going to buy, you need to ask yourself these two questions:

How much are you willing to spend?

It’s a huge difference if you have $150 or less to spend on your monitor or if you have around $500 to spend. If the case is that you have $150 or less to spend, then you’re most likely limited to TN monitors only. But that still doesn’t mean you don’t have to buy a TN monitor if you have much more money than that to spend. That means if you have a higher budget you will have more options to choose from. 

A second important question would be…

What are you going to use your monitor for?

Answer to this question will play a big role in your decision in which panel type you’re going to decide to buy. 

If you are a gamer, and will only use your monitor for competitive gaming, then a TN panel is the perfect choice for you, because it has a high refresh rate and low response time.

On the other side, if you’re going to be gaming just casually here and there, or if you’re planning to do some graphic design work or something along those lines, you might consider checking out IPS or VA. They don’t have a high refresh rate or a low response time, but their image quality is better and they also cost a lot more for the same refresh rate as a TN monitor. 


TN vs IPS vs VA…


TN (Twisted Nematic) Display

TN vs IPS vs VA

It is one of the most used types of LCD monitors in the market right now. Most of the LCD monitors you will come across today have a TN panel in them. 

It is the cheapest panel and is widely available. 

If you’re checking out a monitor and there isn’t displayed which kind of panel it is, then it’s safe to say that it’s a TN panel for sure. What this means is, when a monitor has VA or IPS panel, it’s gonna be displayed so by the manufacturer. 

Many TN panels are being produced because of their cheaper price and you will easily find a TN display monitor with a high refresh and response rate than an IPS or a VA one. 

There are also some bad sides in the Twisted Nematic Displays, one of them is poor image quality. Or at least bad when it’s compared to IPS or VA displays. 

Even though a good TN monitor can give a really good image quality, the viewing angle of it will still be really bad. The viewing angles on TN panel monitors are 160 degrees vertical and 170 degrees horizontal, which is much lower than its competitor panels. 

A color shade might look different to your eyes, depending on what angle you are looking at the screen from.

One more important thing is that 144 Hz IPS displays are going to be much more expensive than TN ones. Also, only TN monitors can achieve a 240 Hz response rate. In other words, they are perfect for gaming.


IPS (In-Plane Switching) Display

It was produced to give a better image than TN panels for a higher price, of course. 

The biggest advantage of IPS displays is their wide viewing angle and their accurate color displaying compared to other display panels. 

Each pixel remains the same no matter which angle you are looking at it from. Those characteristics make this type of display a good fit for anyone that is doing video editing, image editing, content creation and gamers who do not care about response and refresh rates, but their image quality and details. 

A downside to IPS displays is that the image glow isn’t so great when you’re viewing some dark content in a wide-angle position. 


VA (Vertical Alignment) Display

VA is similar to TN panel but it has some improved visual quality and a higher contrast ratio. It’s designed to share characteristics of both panels mentioned above and be something in the middle of them. 

This type of panel is great if you like to watch movies on your screen. It will provide you a great watching experience.

The biggest advantage of VA display is its ability to prevent extra light from the backlight when it isn’t needed. This results in a deeper black color that is a few times better than in the other display panels. 

VA’s disadvantage is it’s longer response time and disability to have a higher refresh rate. It could overall cause some blurring during gaming. 

Their price is on the same ratio as IPS panels and they’re more expensive than TN panels. 


Response time

TN panels are incredibly fast at response time and they can reach 1ms response time. That makes them a perfect fit for gamers that care about every split-second action in their fast-paced games. 

IPS, in comparison, is slower with response time but they are improving their abilities each new generation of the displays that come out. 


Viewing angle

This is where IPS panels come to their superiority. The colors aren’t washing out when you’re looking at the screen from a different angle, which is a classic problem with TN displays that have washed out colors, especially when you’re looking from a vertical position. Sometimes the colors will even invert at a certain angle. 


Contrast

VA panels finally drawback their losses when we’re talking about contrast. Contrast is one of the most important things when we are talking about image quality and VA beats IPS and TN panels in it. 

When there are dark surroundings, IPS will have grey color on black images, which sometimes ruins the whole experience. 

VA contrast ratio is 3000:1 to 6000:1 while IPS has only 1000:1 ratios.


Best Monitor Display For Eyes Strain

If your eyes are hurting from staring at the monitor nearly all day long because you’re either working or gaming, you should perhaps consider getting a curved screen monitor.

Curved monitors let you see the whole picture without your eyes having to focus so much to see the entire picture. They decrease tiredness and redness of your eyes, but it comes with a significant cost of course. The price of curved monitors is higher than non-curved monitors but it’s not that big of a difference. You can easily find even a 144 Hz curved monitor for around $150.

In terms of panel type, our advice would be to look at either an IPS or a VA panel if you’re having eye strain. They tend to have a significantly finer effect on your eyes, which automatically means your eyes aren’t going to focus as much. 

The best solution to decrease eye redness and headache from looking at the monitor all day would be to limit your screen time. However, that is not exactly possible for millions of people who have to spend a lot of their time staring at the screen for work purposes.

So for the kind of people who tend to have a problem with eye strain, it is highly suggested to try the 20-20-20 rule, which says that you should take a break every 20 minutes and look at something that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds.


How To Check Which Display Panel Do You Own?

Well, there are a few tests that you can do to check which display panel do you have. 

TN panel

The first test is really simple. If colors invert when you looking at the screen from extreme vertical angles, then it’s TN panel. If not, then you have an IPS or VA panel.

TN panel colors invert

IPS or VA

After you figure out that you don’t have a TN panel, you need to determine is your display panel IPS or VA. To find out this you need to do a stress test.

Note – Be careful with this next test. 

The easiest way to see which panel do you have is to gently but with little force hit the screen with your fingertips.

IPS vs VA

You will be able to recognize the VA panel by how it flickers brightly when you touch it. Also, VA panels have very high image retention resulting in inaccurate and unstable images. 

On the other hand, the IPS panel maintains a stable image even if you hit it with a considerable amount of force.


Which one should you buy in the end?

Like we said there is no correct answer. All three display panels have their pros and cons and you will be the one that has to determine what you’re looking for in a monitor. 

Your choice will be determined by features and aspects that the monitors serve for the best experience. 

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money or you’re a serious gamer then a TN panel will probably be your option, because it performs the best in a competitive case. 

If you like video editing or some graphic design, then IPS panel is that what you are looking for.

You should choose the VA panel if you like to watch movies because it will provide the best contrast ratio.


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