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

What is the difference between IPS, TN and VA panels, and which one is most suited for YOU? Let's find out.


You should choose between different panel types according to what you’ll mostly be using the monitor for — gaming, color-critical work, or watching movies and other everyday activities.

VA panels have the highest contrast ratio, but it usually comes at the cost of slower response time, so they’re excellent for watching movies, but not suitable for competitive gaming. TN panels have the highest refresh rates and fastest response times, but have inferior image quality and viewing angles.

IPS panels offer the most consistent colors and a quick pixel response time speed as well as the widest viewing angles, but they don’t have as high contrast ratio as VA panels, and they are usually more expensive.

Apart from the screen resolution, the display’s panel type will have the most significant impact on the overall image quality.

All three panel technologies have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s vital to choose the one that’s perfect for you.

TN (Twisted Nematic) Panel

ASUS ROG Swift Pro PG248QP

We’ll start off with TN panels, which are nowadays mostly found in gaming monitors as they have the quickest response time speed.

All newer TN monitors will offer a rapid ~1ms response time (gray to gray pixel transition or ‘GtG’ for short), which eliminates ghosting/trailing behind fast-moving objects.

When paired with a high refresh rate, TN panel gaming monitors provide a buttery-smooth gaming experience at an affordable price, which is why they are usually the first choice of many professional FPS gamers.

But it’s not all good news:

TN monitors have the worst color reproduction and narrow viewing angles (170° horizontally, 160° vertically), which causes the image to shift in color, contrast and brightness when it’s looked at skewed angles.

The viewing angles aren’t an issue as long as you’re sitting in front of the monitor, apart from some gamma/saturation shifts, so if you’ve got a limited budget and care more about performance than pretty colors, a TN panel monitor is for you.

They can be quite bright, and more expensive models will have more vibrant colors, but not as good as that of IPS or VA panel alternatives.

The ASUS PG248QP offers the highest 540Hz refresh rate available at the moment, along with exceptional MBR implementation, rapid response time and even decent image quality thanks to its wide color gamut.

IPS (In-Plane Switching) Panel


IPS panels provide the most accurate and consistent colors as well as wide 178° viewing angles, meaning that you can look at the screen from basically any angle without the image shifting in color and contrast.

If you’re a designer or a photographer, an IPS monitor is definitely for you.

Nowadays, most IPS monitors have just as fast pixel response time speed as TN panels (~1ms), though there are still some slower IPS variants with 4 to 5ms.

For a lot of gamers, even these slower IPS panel monitors will provide a satisfactory fast-paced gaming experience as ghosting is barely noticeable.

The main downside of IPS monitors is ‘IPS glow.’

If you’re watching particularly dark content in a dark room, you will be able to notice light ‘glowing’ around the corners of the screen. This is an expected side effect caused by the excess light passing through the panel.

It’s rather tolerable as it’s only mildly bothersome in certain scenarios i.e., watching dark scenes of a movie/game in a dim-lit room with high brightness setting. In some rare cases, mainly due to poor quality control, IPS glow can be distracting, in which case you should RMA the monitor.

Now, another thing to keep in mind is that IPS panels don’t have as high contrast as VA panels. A standard IPS monitor has a static contrast ratio of around 1,000:1, whereas a VA alternative has around 3,000:1, or even higher.

So, blacks will be noticeably deeper on VA monitors, but this technology has disadvantages of its own, which we’ll get into later on.

In 2022, LG Display developed the first IPS Black panel, which increases the static contrast ratio to around 2,000:1. However, there aren’t many high refresh rate models with this technology yet. You can check out all IPS Black monitors here.

LG is also bringing back the A-TW polarizer on some of their models, such as the LG 32GQ950. This helps reduce IPS glow at the cost of introducing a minor purple glow at extreme angles.

Further, through the use of localized dimming, the contrast ratio can be significantly improved on LED-backlit monitors. However, unless an expensive full-array local dimming solution is used, there’s basically no meaningful improvement.


In the past, IPS monitors were more expensive than TN models with the same specs. Nowadays, some IPS monitors are only slightly (if at all) more costly than their TN counterparts.

Keep in mind that there are several variations of IPS panels depending on the manufacturer, and you will also find them named differently. These are the most current versions you should know:

  • PLS (Plane to Line Switching) by Samsung
  • AHVA (Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angles) by AU Optronics
  • AAS (Azimuthal Anchoring Switch) by InnoLux
  • ADS (Advanced Super Dimension Switch) by BOE
  • IPS, AH-IPS, Nano IPS, IPS Black by LG

All of these panels imply wide viewing angles, consistent colors and good pixel response time, but naturally, some are better than others.

Some manufacturers also use different marketing terms for their IPS monitors, such as SS IPS, Rapid IPS, Agile-Splendor IPS, etc.

VA (Vertical Alignment) Panel

va vs tn vs ips

Last but not least, we have VA panels that boast a superior static contrast ratio.

While IPS and TN panels usually have a contrast ratio of around 1,000:1, most VA panels have a contrast ratio between 2,500:1 and 4,000:1, with more expensive models offering even higher contrast.

This allows them to display deeper blacks and an overall more pronounced relation between the darkest and the brightest tones.

However, this also means that pixels take longer to change from such deep blacks to lighter shades.

Even though their specified response time speed may be the same as that of an average IPS display (4-5ms), they actually have a lot slower black to white pixel transition.

Consequently, in dark scenes, you get noticeable black smearing behind fast-moving objects, which can be distracting for competitive gaming.

That’s why hardcore FPS players avoid VA panels and opt for IPS or TN panels instead.

Not everyone is equally sensitive to this issue, and many gamers don’t mind a bit of smearing as they get a higher contrast ratio.

Some newer VA panels, such as those used in the Odyssey G7 and the KTC M27T20, are actually just as fast as some IPS models with 1ms GtG response time!

Related:Samsung C32G75T/Odyssey G7 Review: 1440p 240Hz 1ms FreeSync HDR Curved Gaming Monitor

Therefore, these monitors offer the most balanced image quality and performance with deep blacks and fast pixel transitions, but they are also more expensive and have some other flaws, as explained in the reviews.

Moving on, some VA panel monitors also support a wide color gamut.

In fact, there are VA panels that have just as good or better colors than certain IPS monitors, but the colors on those VA displays won’t be as consistent as that of the IPS technology due to the narrower viewing angles (even though both IPS and VA monitors usually specify 178° viewing angles).

In other words, a certain shade of red, for instance, might not look the same at the top of the image and at the center of a VA panel monitor from the same viewing position due to gamma shifts.

Generally, these minor consistency issues aren’t really noticeable in everyday use, but they are bothersome when it comes to color-critical work, which is the main reason designers opt for IPS monitors.

Thanks to their high contrast and lack of IPS glow, VA panel displays are particularly great for watching movies in a dark room where details in the shadows of the picture really stand out, which is why most LED TVs use VA panels, not IPS.

Depending on the panel manufacturer, you may also see VA panels marketed as:

  • MVA (Multidomain Vertical Alignment)
  • P-MVA, S-MVA
  • AMVA (Advanced MVA) – not to be confused with AHVA (IPS by AUO)
  • HVA / PSVA (Polymer Stabilized Vertical Alignment) by TCL / CSOT

OLED Panels


OLED panels are different from IPS, TN and VA panels because they don’t rely on a backlight to produce an image – instead, each pixel produces its own light. This allows OLED displays to produce true blacks as pixels can completely turn off.

They also offer instantaneous pixel response time speed and don’t suffer from backlight bleeding, IPS/VA glow, blooming or similar visual artifacts.

However, OLED panels are susceptible to permanent image burn-in and temporary image retention, and they cannot get as bright as some LED-backlit panels.

To rival the excellent image quality of OLED displays made possible by their basically infinite contrast ratio, some IPS and VA panel monitors are equipped with quantum dots for a wider color gamut and mini LED full-array local dimming (FALD) backlights.

These displays have a certain number of dimming zones (for instance, 1152) spread across the panel that can dim areas of the screen that are supposed to be dark without greatly affecting areas that are supposed to remain bright, thus further increasing the contrast ratio.

In demanding scenes, this can lead to blooming as even 1152 dimming zones on a 27″ sized display can’t compare to essentially over 8 million dimming zones of a 4K OLED display.

Still, since mini LED FALD TVs and monitors can get a lot brighter than OLED displays and don’t have the risk of burn-in, some users prefer them despite slower response times and blooming artifacts.

Due to their higher native contrast ratio, VA panels have less noticeable blooming than IPS panels (provided that both monitors have the same number of dimming zones).


That’s it! Hopefully, we’ve helped you pick the perfect panel type for you, but there are many other things to consider when buying a new monitor, such as screen size, resolution and refresh rate.

You can find more information in our comprehensive gaming monitor buyer’s guide or one of the other guides on our website — depending on whether you need a monitor for photo-editing, office work, etc.

All in all, even if you’re a competitive gamer and don’t care much about image quality, a modern IPS monitor is the way to go as you get just as fast response times as that of old TN displays, but better image quality and viewing angles too.

For professional FPS gaming, a high refresh rate TN monitor is preferred.

For color-critical work, we highly recommend IPS monitors, but you can also use VA displays for basic content creation where color accuracy isn’t crucial.

When it comes to VA vs IPS, there’s no obvious ‘better’ or ‘wrong’ option here.

Some users prefer the higher contrast of VA panels, while others would rather have more consistent colors, so it’s up to what you personally prefer.

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Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.