In this guide you’ll learn everything you need to know about IPS display.
- What it is.
- How it works.
- Its advantages and disadvantages.
- Compare TN, VA, IPS and OLED displays.
- Introduce Some new improved IPS technologies.
Let’s dive right in.
What is IPS display?
IPS (In-Plane Switching) display is a type of liquid crystal display (LCD) technology. It was developed to overcome the limitations of earlier display panel technology: TN (twisted nematic).
Thanks to its liquid crystal arrangement technology, an IPS panel has wider viewing angles and better color reproduction.
IPS displays can show images without distorting colors or contrast at any viewing angle. That is ideal for group viewing.
Additionally, they work well in graphic design, photo editing, and video production because they accurately reproduce colors.
Furthermore, IPS screen used to have slower response times, but newer versions are now comparable to TN.
All these characteristics make IPS displays the most popular LCD type in smartphones, tablets, computer monitors, and TVs.
How IPS Displays Work
First of all, before learning how an IPS display works, we must know how an LCD works. LCD uses:
- backlight source to supply light
- liquid crystal technology to control each light valve of pixels,
- polarizers to filter the light,
- color filters to produce colors.
LCDs typically use LEDs (light-emitting diode) as the backlight source. And the liquid crystal layer filters light from the backlight.
When the voltage is applied to each TFT to create an electric field. The liquid crystal molecules will orient to block or allow light to pass through. By varying degrees, an LCD can show you the images on the screen.
The main difference in IPS, TN, and VA panels is the liquid crystals arrangement.
IPS panel arranges two electrodes on the same plane (in-plane). In contrast, other LCD types (TN or VA) set electrodes placed on the top and bottom layers. This technology can create a parallel electric field. Thus, liquid crystal molecules can remain parallel to glass substrate surfaces after applying a voltage to reorient them.
That is the key technology of IPS. This ability can shift horizontally, creating better viewing angles.
Additionally, when pressure is applied, the molecules sink slightly and become horizontal. This hard-screen liquid crystal molecular structure is more robust and stable than the soft screen in VA or TN. That ensures no image distortion or color change and maximum screen protection.
Advantages of IPS Display
IPS displays have several advantages over TN and VA LCDs. :
Better color accuracy
IPS displays reproduce colors more accurately than TN and VA displays. Therefore, you can use them in graphic design, photo editing, and video production.
Wide viewing angles
Wide viewing angle is the biggest advantage of IPS displays. Users can see images without distorting colors or contrast from any direction.
Consistent image quality
IPS displays have a uniform color, brightness, and contrast across the entire screen. So, manufacturers never have to set any color shifts or brightness or contrast ratio changes.
Better contrast ratio
IPS displays have a higher contrast ratio than TN. They can show deeper blacks and brighter whites. But, VA LCD panels have the best performance in contrast.
Better gaming experience
They have better color accuracy and wider viewing angles than TN displays, so IPS displays make gaming smoother and more immersive. This is especially important for games with rich and detailed graphics.
Better User experience
IPS displays have more accurate colors and wider viewing angles than VA displays.
The advantages above make IPS displays the most popular LCD screen compared to TN or VA LCDs. And become more common in industrial devices, medical machines, home applications, smartphones, tablets, monitors, televisions, and more.
Disadvantages of IPS Display
While IPS displays offer several advantages, they also have some disadvantages. Some of them include the following:
IPS displays cost more than TN LCDs. This will raise your total product price.
Slower response times
Though new IPS technologies have a better response time, they are still slower than TN panels. So, you may consider using TN displays for your game console devices.
Lower contrast ratio
IPS displays have a higher contrast ratio than TN but a lower contrast ratio than VA displays. Thus, consider using VA displays for special applications, like TVs or portable video player devices.
This is a disadvantage for all LCDs, not only for IPS. This effect will result in uneven screen brightness.
Despite these limitations, IPS displays are popular due to their superior color accuracy and wide viewing angles. Engineers will likely improve IPS technology for more new uses as technology improves.
IPS vs TN vs VA vs OLED
Here is a comparison of TN, VA, IPS, and OLED displays:
IPS displays have 178-degree viewing angles. Graphic designers, photographers, and video editors will like them. Many IPS technologies have improved speed, contrast, resolution, and color.
IPS displays are more attractive than ever for their overall performance. If you are looking for an LCD working well in all aspects, you’ve probably used an IPS panel.
TN displays are the oldest TFT LCD type known for their fast response times and low production costs. However, they have poorer color accuracy and narrower viewing angles than the other 2 types.
Vertical alignment (VA) panel technology improves upon the disadvantage of TN. Modern LCDs using VA technology have better contrast than TN displays. Meanwhile, the colors are more precise and the viewing angles are wider. You may see advanced VA displays like P-MVA, S-MVA, and AMVA(Advanced MVA).
VA displays can produce a much darker black color and a much higher static contrast ratio compared to other LCD technologies. This allows VA monitors with high contrast ratios to produce deeper blacks and richer colors.
OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) Displays
OLED displays offer superior contrast ratios, color accuracy, and viewing angles compared to all LCD technologies. However, they are more expensive and easily result in image retention and burn-in issues.
In general, IPS displays are the best choice for applications that require accurate color reproduction and wide viewing angles. Such applications can include graphic design and outdoor devices.
TN displays are best for fast-paced gaming and applications requiring fast response times.
And VA displays are best for high-contrast applications like movie viewing devices and TVs.
OLED displays are best for applications requiring superior image quality, such as professional photography and high-end home theater systems.
Overall, the choice depends on the user’s specific needs and the intended application.
Improved IPS panel Technologies
There are some improved IPS panel technologies that enhance the visual user experience. These advanced IPS technologies include:
S-IPS displays achieve wide viewing angles and color accuracy with a single electrode layer and a complex liquid crystal arrangement.
Horizontal IPS (H-IPS)
H-IPS is a variant that improves the contrast ratio by twisting the electrode plane layout. This simpler electrode design reduces production costs. Additionally, it offers an optional Advanced True White polarizing film to enhance the white look. Professional and photography LCDs use this technology.
Enhanced IPS (E-IPS)
E-IPS uses a wider aperture for light transmission, enabling lower power and more affordable backlights. It also improved the diagonal viewing angle and further reduced the response time to 5 milliseconds. Meanwhile, it minimizes production costs while still providing wide viewing angles and good color accuracy.
Professional IPS (P-IPS)
P-IPS offers 1.07 billion colors with a 30-bit depth. It also produces a better true color depth with more possible orientations per sub-pixel (1024 instead of 256).
Advanced High-Performance IPS (AH-IPS)
AH-IPS improves other IPS technologies’ color accuracy, resolution, and pixel density. It also provides greater light transmission for lower power consumption.
IPS displays have a big market share in smartphones, tablets, computer monitors, and other display applications. Graphic design, photo editing, and video-playing devices benefit from color accuracy, wide viewing angles, and consistent image quality. IPS displays surpass TN and VA LCDs in many aspects. However, they also have some disadvantages to improve.
IPS displays’ visual performance makes them popular despite their drawbacks. There are several advanced IPS technologies that enhance user experiences. These include S-IPS, H-IPS, E-IPS, P-IPS, and AH-IPS.
IPS, TN, VA, and OLED displays depend on user needs and applications. IPS displays are best for accurate color reproduction and wide viewing angles. In contrast, TN displays are best for fast-paced gaming and fast response times. VA displays are best for high-contrast applications, and OLED displays are for high-end image applications.