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Different Display Panel Types Explained- IPS vs TN vs VGA

Confused between VA, TN, IPS panels? This article will cover all three panels. They all have their pros and cons see which fits your need the most.

Wiki dell lcd
This pixel layout is found in S-IPS LCDs. A chevron shape is used to widen the viewing cone.

IPS (in-plane switching) is a screen technology for liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). It was designed to solve the main limitations of the twisted nematic field effect (TN) matrix LCDs which were prevalent in the late 1980s. These limitations included strong viewing angle dependence and low-quality color reproduction. In-plane switching involves arranging and switching the orientation of the molecules of the liquid crystal (LC) layer between the glass substrates. This is done, essentially, parallel to these glass plates.

Vertical-alignment (VA) displays are a form of LCDs in which the liquid crystals naturally align vertically to the glass substrates. When no voltage is applied, the liquid crystals remain perpendicular to the substrate, creating a black display between crossed polarizers. When voltage is applied, the liquid crystals shift to a tilted position, allowing light to pass through and create a gray-scale display depending on the amount of tilt generated by the electric field. It has a deeper-black background, a higher contrast ratio, a wider viewing angle, and better image quality at extreme temperatures than traditional twisted-nematic displays.

VA display under a microscope
TN display under a microscope
TN display under a microscope

The relatively inexpensive Twisted Nematic (TN) display is the most common consumer display type. The pixel response time on modern TN panels is sufficiently fast to avoid the shadow-trail and ghosting artifacts of earlier production. The more recent use of RTC (Response Time Compensation / Overdrive) technologies has allowed manufacturers to significantly reduce grey-to-grey (G2G) transitions, without significantly increasing the ISO response time. Response times are now quoted in G2G figures, with 4ms and 2ms now being commonplace for TN-based models.






Viewing Angles

IPS have best viewing angles with 178/178 viewing angle. No much shift in color and contrast is seen from any angle.

VA are better than TN panels but not as good as an IPS panel.

TN have the weakest viewing angles,with significant shift to color and contrast in both the horizontal and especially vertical directions.

Brightness & Contrast

IPS panel tend to have a contrast ratio of around 1000:1 mark. IPS have a larger range.

VA panels start with a contrast ratio of 2000:1, with the best exceeding 4500:1.

TN panels also tend to have the contrast ratio of around 1000:1, but the entry level panel sitting somewhere between 700:1 and 900:1

Color Quality

IPS panels have an entry level of 6-bit to native true 10-bit.

VA panels have an entry level of 6-bit to 8-bit. Some VA panels can do it, but they are rare. Most displays you purchase that claim to be 10-bit, are actually 8-bit+FRC

TN panels have an entry level of 6-bit and some of them can use FRC or dithering to achieve standard 8-bit output.

Color Gamut

IPS dominates this category. They have the largest variation, entry-level IPS displays tend to offer 95% sRGB coverage or less.

VA panels typically start with full sRGB coverage as a minimum. They fall between 85% to 90% sRGB coverage. Expect some Samsung’s which offer 125% sRGB coverage.

TN panels tend to be limited to sRGB, some of the worst entry-level panels don’t even cover the entirely of sRGB gamut.

Refresh Rates

IPS panels tend to have a low refresh rate, generally ranging from 60Hz to 144Hz. Some high-end IPS panels do top out at 160Hz and a 240Hz 1080p option by LG.

VA panels top out at 200Hz for ultrawide displays, but bost 16:9 models are limited to 165Hz. 

TN panels are the fastest with the only panel type to hit 240Hz mark, at 1080p and 1440p.

Response Times

IPS panels generally have the response time between 5 to 7ms. The entry-level have closer to 10ms range and the high-end panels can have somewhere 4ms.

VA panels are the slowest of three types. The absolute fastest is somewhere close to 5ms. While more typical panels have between 8 and 10ms.

TN panels have the fastest response time of the three with the rated transition time of 1ms. TN panels tend to be in the range of 2-3ms.


  • IPS panels are best for someone who is into video editing, photo editing stuff as they have the largest Colour Gamut and have excellent Viewing Angles with some great colour reproduction. They are not suitable for Fast-paced gaming.
  • VA panels lie somewhere between IPS and TN panels, they are for those who want to have a good Refresh Rates and better than average Response Times. 
  • TN panels are for those who play Competitive Games. They have the worst colour reproduction but they have the fastest response time and the refresh rates are just amazing. You won’t see any ghosting.

Every type has its pros and cons, it’s up-to-the user how he wants to use his monitor.

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