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TN vs IPS vs OLED: Which screen tech should you pick?

If you’re a gamer and want the best screen performance, you’ve got a few display monitors to choose from. But which out of TV, IPS, and OLED should you choose? Decisions, decisions.

We’re hoping to make that choice clearer by explaining which each technology is, its advantages and disadvantages of each panel tech so you can figure out what the best option for you is.

So without delay, which display tech should you pick for gaming monitors?

What is TN?

TN stands for a twisted nematic display, which sounds like an odd name to give to a panel technology but bear with us.

TN is derived from the LED series of displays, and of the different types of panels listed, it’s the oldest one here. The advantages of a TN display is its speed, its very quick to render an image with a 1ms or faster pixel update possible. Refresh rates are high, so you can get a smooth rendered picture performance with minimal blurring or tearing. That can also help with low input lag. Everything about TN displays is about speed, and since they’ve been around for a long time, they’re also affordable.

What’s not so great about TN displays. Colour performance is not as good as other types of monitors, with TN displays only able to cover 100% of the standard RGB colour gamut. That sounds a lot, but there are other better displays for colour reproduction. Contrast is also not the best with these models, and viewing angles are week. Not as big a problem if you’re facing head on but if you shift about then colours can fade.

What is IPS?

Agon AG405UXC Min Height
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

IPS is another acronym, and it stands for in-plane switching. Where TN struggles with colour reproduction and viewing angles, that’s not an issue for IPS. If you;ve got multiple people watching your screen, they should all be able to get a good performance; and colour reproduction is better as they regularly hit 100% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut. Refresh rates and input has improved over the years, though they still lag behind TN.

Where IPS is weak is with its black levels, which are fine but often tend to “crush” detail in the darkest parts of an image, which is in effect a loss of detail.

What is OLED?

Asus ROG Swift OLED PG49WCD - Halo
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode, and it means that every pixel is self-illuminating – i.e. it can produce its own light.

This helps OLED be able to deliver the best black levels on any display because it can offer pin-point, pixel level dimming. Contrast is infinite, making for a lifelike image on screen, and colour reproduction is high too. From a visual point of view it’s hard to argue against OLED not delivering the best picture of the three. And as OLED can offer pixel level control over the image, refresh rates and input lag can be very low too.

The issues with OLED so far is that it’s not available in an abundance of screen sizes. They also command a high price, with some of the best models exceeding £1000 / $1000.

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