SHORT ANSWER – Overall there’s no simple answer as to which panel is the best between IPS vs TN vs VA, as they all have strengths and weaknesses. In summary, TN Panels offer the best performance, IPS Panels offer the best visuals and VA Panels are somewhere in-between the two. Therefore your decision should be based on a combination of your primary use case and budget. Furthermore, continue reading the article to find out more.
*Update November 2019 – In late 2019 the world’s first 240Hz IPS Monitors were released offering 1ms response times. This significantly closes the performance gap between TN and IPS panel monitors. Whilst we expect TN panels to maintain a slight edge in performance, some competitive gamers may want to consider the new generation of IPS monitors for their better colors and viewing angles.
What does IPS vs TN vs VA Mean?
The different LCD panel technologies (IPS vs TN vs VA) have very different characteristics, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
TN is the oldest of the three LCD technologies and TN gaming monitors are the most common and least expensive option. They have the worst viewing angles meaning that if you look at them from any angle (other than straight on) the colors and details appear washed out. Note that you can achieve some very good color accuracy with the premium models but it still does not compete with IPS panels. However, TN panels have the fastest response times (1ms response time and below) and are the best choice for fast-paced and competitive gamers. Because of this they have been made the standard for all esports players and competitions. Note that historically TN panels were the go-to if you wanted 240Hz refresh rates but since 2019 you can achieve 240Hz with all three-panel types.
- Fastest Performance (sub 1ms response time)
- Poor viewing angles
- Low-quality color reproduction
IPS are premium panels best suited for video editing professionals and graphic designers. They are frequently used in mobile phones and tablets because of their superior viewing angles and color accuracy. The main drawback is that they tend to be slower in terms of response time than TN panels. However, it should be noted that there are high-performance IPS panels available in 2019 (1ms response time) making your decision between IPS vs TN more difficult.
- Best Color Accuracy
- Best Viewing Angles
- Poorer response times (Very Expensive for the 1ms response time models)
- Not budget-friendly
VA panels are the least common of the three and are a good choice for entry-level gamers. They are significantly better than TN panels in terms of color reproduction and viewing angles, but not as good as IPS panels. VA Panels have the highest contrast of the three and look great in a dark environment so often favored by people who watch lots of movies on their monitor. Therefore they are a good middle ground between TN vs IPS. However, common complaints that they are prone to ghosting and motion trail issues in fast-paced games although this is less of an issue in the more premium models.
- Good Color Accuracy
- Good Viewing Angles
- High Contrast
- Low-cost models prone to Ghosting and Motion Blur issues
There is no simple answer to which is the best panel, it really depends on what you’re using it for.
- If you are an entry-level gamer, we would recommend a VA panel monitor as they offer a good middle ground between performance and color accuracy and they offer the highest contrast for a more immersive experience.
- If you are a professional video or photo editor and want the most accurate colors possible then we recommend IPS panel monitor.
- Lastly, if you play fast-paced competitive games we would recommend a TN panel monitor or the highest end IPS panels.