TN vs IPS vs VA: Which Panel Is Best for You

TN vs IPS vs VA: Which Panel Is Best for You

Are you in the market for a new laptop? Here’s a tip: when considering the best display, look beyond screen size and resolution.

LCDs are flat-panel displays that rely on a backlight and are controlled by liquid crystals to produce the desired colors. Currently, there are three panel types: TN (Twisted Nematic), IPS (In-Plane Switching), and VA (Vertical Alignment).

Image quality, response time, and overall performance vary based on the alignment of molecules within the display. Each has its strengths and weaknesses for different use cases.

Join us as we explore the differences between TN vs IPS vs VA to help you make informed decisions.

TN (Twisted Nematic) Panels

TN (Twisted Nematic) Panels

Here’s everything you need to know about the most widely used panel type:

What Is a TN Panel?

Twisted Nematic (TN) panels are the oldest, most-produced LCD screens that replaced old, bulky, energy-eating CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors with poor image quality.

In a TN panel, the liquid crystals are sandwiched between two substrate panes of glass aligned in parallel. When voltage runs through them, they can twist and untwist to change the amount of light that rotates and passes through to display different colors.

At zero brightness, TN panels can turn the subpixels “off.”

What Is the Benefit of a TN Panel?

TN panels have relatively low response times of 1 ms and can display a new frame up to 144 times per second. Factor in motor clarity without ghosting, and it is the best choice for fast-paced motion games.

Moreover, they’re simple and don’t cost a lot to produce, which is great for the budget-conscious.

What Are the Limitations of TN Panels?

There are two notable drawbacks to choosing TN panels. It only covers 100% of the RGB color gamut with a poor contrast ratio of 600:1 to 1200:1. So, it’s not a top contender for editing photos or videos.

It also has limited viewing angles—as low as 170° horizontally and 160° vertically. The molecules are sensitive to polarization, so if you view the screen from an extreme angle, the image will appear distorted.

IPS (In-Plane Switching) Panels

IPS (In-Plane Switching) Panels

Here’s what to know about the most common panel type for graphics:

What Is an IPS Panel?

In-plane switching panels is a technology developed by Hitachi in the mid-1990s to improve the colors and viewing angles of thin-film-transistor (TFT) displays.

Liquid crystal molecules are positioned parallel to the glass substrate. But unlike TN screens, they rely on a rotating mechanism to let light pass through. It results in excellent picture quality and has become the standard choice for personal computers, wearable devices, and many other gadgets.

What Is the Benefit of an IPS Panel?

IPS delivers accurate and consistent color accuracy with a higher bit depth. It provides 95% or 100% of DCI-P3, which covers a wide color gamut deemed perfect for digital cinema. In addition, it looks good at up to 178/178 viewing angles.

So, even if you’re looking at the screen from a less-than-ideal perspective, you’ll still have a good viewing experience.

What Are the Limitations of IPS Panels?

IPS screens low response times, averaging 4ms. However, new variants can deliver 1ms, like the LG 24GN600-B UltraGear Gaming Monitor.

In addition, IPS suffers from blacklight bleeding and IPS glow.

VA (Vertical Alignment) Panels

VA (Vertical Alignment) Panels

Here’s what you need to know about the panel used for flat-screen TVs:

What Is a VA Panel?

VA (Vertical Alignment) panels were popularized by the Japanese company Fujitsu. They are widely considered to be the sweet spot between IPS and TN.

VA panels have crystal molecules aligned vertically and perpendicular to the glass substrate, which tilt to let the light pass through. It provides decent picture quality.

What Is the Benefit of a VA Panel?

VA monitors are great at blocking out backlight, ensuring better uniformity in contrast ratios and black levels. It sits somewhere between 2500:1 and 6000:1, much better than the 700:1 to 1500:1 of IPS or 600:1 to 1,200:1 of TN panels.

Color reproduction exceeds the standard RGB. It also has a good response time of 2 to 3 ms with a 178-degree viewing angle, similar to IPS technology.

What Are the Limitations of VA Panels?

VA panels have slower response times compared to IPS and TN. They also have slow pixel transitions, and this latency results in blurred trails in fast-movement visuals, causing visible ghosting. As such, it’s not a good choice for competitive gaming.

Comparative Analysis: TN vs IPS vs VA

Geminos stacked monitor with dual IPS panelsGeminos stacked monitor with dual IPS panels

No two panels are created equal, and there is no clear winner, as each excels in different categories.

These factors will help you determine the best option for your unique needs:

Speed and Refresh Rate

Refresh rate is measured by the number of times an image is updated on the screen per second. For example, if the monitor has a 60 Hz refresh rate, it refreshes one image 60 times each second to produce a smoother-looking motion.

Here’s how the three compare in terms of speed:

  • TN Panels: TN panels have the fastest response times at just 1 ms. They are best for competitive gaming with minimal ghosting or trailing.
  • IPS Panels:Most IPS panels have response times of 4ms. But high-end models can go as low as 1ms, sometimes even 0.5ms.
  • VA Panels:VA panels have the slowest response times around 4 to 5ms. They’re susceptible to motion blur.

Note that while a higher refresh rate is great for gaming, it uses more power to keep up to speed.

Color Accuracy

The human eye can see about 1 million hues—which no LCD tech has been able to emulate quite yet. But if you choose the right panel between TN vs IPS vs VA, you’ll see a wide range of colors for a highly immersive experience.

Here’s what you need to know about the options available:

  • TN Panels:They have the poorest color accuracy and contrast ratio. Colors may shift or distort when viewed from extreme angles. It’s not the best choice for graphic designers, photographers, or other professionals who need accurate color reproduction.
  • IPS Panels: IPS panels display highly accurate and consistent colors.
  • VA Panels:VA panels display a wider range of colors compared to TN panels. They also excel in contrast ratio, making colors appear more vibrant—suitable for media consumption and gaming.

Viewing Angles

Viewing angles refers to the range of angles at which a user can view the screen with acceptable visual quality. Most people don’t realize—or even consider—this element because they almost always view screens from head-on. But if you look at the screen from the top or the sides, it affects how good a picture looks.

Here’s how the three panels compare in this regard:

  • TN Panels: TN panels have the most limited viewing angles, as low as 170/160 degrees. So, colors can become washed out when viewed from the side or from above or below. But this is not an issue for those who sit directly in front of their monitors.
  • IPS Panels:IPS panels have wide viewing angles of up to 178 degrees, which means they maintain color accuracy and contrast consistency from almost any angle.
  • VA Panels: VA panels provide better viewing angles than TN, but picture quality still degrades if viewed from extreme angles. You can expect some color shift and contrast loss, though the effect is less severe than TN panels.


If you’re a budget-conscious shopper, you don’t have to buy the cheapest of the lot—not when there are panels that can provide fantastic value for money.

Here’s a rough estimate of what you can expect for each:

  • TN Panels: TN panels are generally the most affordable of the three. They provide fast response times and high refresh rates, making them a cost-effective choice for anyone who values speed over color accuracy or viewing angles.
  • IPS Panels:IPS panels are usually more expensive than TN and VA panels. They offer excellent color accuracy and wide viewing angles, making them a good choice for professional work in design, photography, and video editing.
  • VA Panels:VA panels are priced between TN and IPS panels. They offer better color reproduction and viewing angles than TN panels and have superior contrast ratios, perfect for multimedia consumption and gaming.

So, do your due diligence as you shop for your next monitor.

TN vs IPS vs VA: Which Panel Is Best for Gaming

TN vs IPS vs VA: Which Panel Is Best for GamingDuex Max portable monitor with IPS panel

TN panels have quick response times—sometimes as low as 1 millisecond. They also support higher refresh rates, which means the screen can display more frames per second. You can also expect less motion blur and ghosting and minimal latency.

These characteristics make it the best choice for a competitive gamer who enjoys fast-paced games.

To learn more about which setup is best, here’s what to look for in a gaming monitor.

TN vs IPS vs VA: Which Panel Is Best for Graphic Design/Professional Use

IPS Panel Is Best for Graphic Design

IPS panels are widely favored by professionals who perform graphics-intensive work daily. This is because they cover a wide color gamut and offer superior color accuracy and consistency—which can be further improved upon with calibration.

As a cherry on top, IPS panels provide wide viewing angles.

TN vs IPS vs VA: Which Panel Is Best for General Media Consumption

Do you spend a lot of time browsing the web or watching movies? Invest in an IPS panel that provides color accuracy from a wide range of viewing angles, top-notch contrast, minimal color shifts, and practically no image distortion.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the differences between TN vs IPS vs VA panels, you must know that IPS reigns supreme in every category. At MP monitors, we offer a wide range of tech essentials that use this technology to deliver power-packed results.

Visit our website to find your holy grails!

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