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What is an IPS monitor?

If you’ve ever been on the hunt for a new monitor, laptop or all-in-one desktop computer, you’ve likely come a cross the term ‘IPS’. But what is an IPS monitor and why is it important to know?

We’ve assembled this guide to explain what an IPS monitor is, and how it differs from other available options. So without further ado, here’s everything you need to know.

What is an IPS monitor?

IPS is a type of monitor panel used for LCD displays. There are three main panels types available, including IPS (in-plane switching), TN (twisted nematic) and VA (vertical alignment).

Each panel type has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, IPS monitors are renowned for having superb colour accuracy and wide viewing angles. This makes an IPS panel a superb choice for content creators who need to make sure their on-screen work looks as accurate as possible.

IPS displays have also been widely adopted by laptops, as the vivid colours makes it a good option for watching video, or even scrolling through photos on social media. However, IPS panels are expensive to make and so are not always available on cheap laptops.

The one area that IPS monitors have really struggled is performance, traditionally seeing lower response times than TN monitors, which has made them a poor choice for gamers. That said, IPS monitors have improved a lot in this area in recent years, with gaming laptop and monitor manufacturers opting to go with IPS panels in order to boost colour accuracy without seeing a significant compromise to performance.

The Samsung Odyssey G9 features a VA panel to ensure a speedy response time for gaming

Another drawback for IPS monitors is the contrast ratio. While by no means poor, an IPS monitor usually has a lower contrast than a VA panel. A VA panel will typically have a contrast ratio between 3000:1 to 6000:1, while the contrast of an IPS panel generally sits around 1000:1.

Our tests have found that a 1000:1 contrast ratio is more than adequate for a laptop, but a higher figure will of course improve the picture quality.

With all things considered, IPS panels aren’t technically better than TN or VA displays, as it just excels in different areas. IPS displays are the best choice if you want to prioritise colour accuracy and viewing angles, but a TN or VA panel may well be more ideal if you prefer a quick response times or high contrast.

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