What Are Some Pros and Cons of IPS Displays?
Different types of LCD displays can perform different functions based on your specific technological, performance, and application requirements. Although twisted nematic (TN) LCD displays were once the reigning champions of the tech world, this technology was incapable of keeping up with the times and had far too many limitations.
Therefore, in the mid-1990s, a new type of LCD monitor was introduced, one that picked up the slack and offered far more advanced performance functionality than its predecessor. In-plane switching (IPS) displays have taken LCD monitors to a whole new level by expanding their applications into various mediums that were otherwise not possible.
Types of IPS LCD Technology
In a previous article, we discussed using IPS display technology for a variety of different applications and the most important factors that should be considered when choosing a display for your needs. IPS LCD panels and monitors use perfectly aligned liquid crystals that form a parallel pattern to produce bold colours and onscreen colour contrast.
Here’s a brief overview of the different types of IPS displays.
- Twisted nematic (TN) were the first IPS LCD monitors on the market in the early 1980s. They consist of nematic liquid crystals that are suspended between two plates of polarized glass.
- Vertical alignment (VA) LCD monitors have incredible colour contrast and image depth because their crystals are vertically aligned and move into a horizontal position to let light shine through.
- Organic light emitting diodes (OLED) are commonly used in computer screens, smartphones, handheld gaming devices, and television screens.
- In-plane switching (IPS) monitors are the most prevalent type of LCD display of all. IPS LCD display technology is capable of depicting excellent picture quality from all viewing angles along with superior colour contrast.
Of course, IPS displays aren’t completely perfect for every application. In fact, they’re primarily use for professional applications that require the utmost precision and pristine image quality. Their unmatched and expansive viewing angle capabilities include graphic design, video editing, photo editing, and CAD engineering to name a few.
Now let’s dive into the pros and cons of IPS displays, so that you can make an informed purchasing decision.
Pros of IPS Displays
Excellent Colour Reproduction
Featuring 8-bit RGB colour depth, IPS panels can reproduce over 16 million different colours, making it the ideal choice for professional applications that require detailed colour compositions.
Wide Viewing Angles
IPS displays also boast incredibly wide viewing angles to complement their excellent colour reproduction and composition capabilities. This is just one of many reasons that IPS screens are a major improvement on TN panels. IPS screens can be comfortably viewed from virtually any angle without limiting or compromising the image quality, whereas TN screens can only be viewed head-on.
Better Sunlight Visibility
IPS LCD displays also boast far superior sunlight visibility and readability than other displays. Even under extremely bright and harsh natural or artificial lighting conditions, IPS displays maintain clear visibility and readability without interruption. This is made possible by high-quality backlighting combined with superior colour reproduction and viewing angle capabilities that the other abovementioned screens lack. For instance, TN panels have limited colour depth and therefore poor visibility in direct sunlight and strong lighting conditions.
IPS displays generally have a longer lifespan than TN panels; however, the components of the latter are a lot easier and more cost-effective to reproduce in the long-term. The best option depends on the applications for which they’re being used and under what circumstances. TN panels tend to have a faster response time than IPS and VA displays combined, making them the ideal choice for gamers.
As mentioned, however, IPS panels are more commonly used for professional applications that demand the utmost image quality and convenience. Although they have a lower upfront cost, TN panels need to be replaced more frequently. IPS panels, on the other hand, are the better long-term investment for freelancers because they have a longer lifespan.
Cons of IPS Displays
Slower Response Times
TN displays have a much faster response time than IPS panels. This is the main reason that gamers typically prefer the former over the latter. Slow response times translate to a lot of lagging as well as increased motion blur which can be a major distraction and diminish the quality of the gaming experience.
Of course, the importance of the response times depends on the type of gamer you are. Shooter and fantasy games that rely on fast response times for pacing and to maintain the image quality of the game are better equipped with TN panels, but for other types of gaming IPS displays could suffice.
IPS displays have a much higher upfront cost compared to the other types of monitors mentioned here. However, the spectacular image quality, unparalleled viewing angles, and the longer lifespan are all pros that outweigh and even justify the upfront costs. Plus, since IPS displays last longer and don’t need to be replaced or repaired as often as the other screens, you could actually end up saving money in the long run.
Limited Contrast Ratio
Due to the fact that IPS LCD displays have a far better colour depth than TN panels, they also have a superior contrast ratio. However, IPS displays aren’t necessarily the crème de la crème in this regard. More accurately, they fall somewhere in the middle. If you’re looking for a screen with an excellent or the best contrast ratio, then VA displays are your best choice.
Inefficient Power Consumption
Another disadvantage of IPS displays is that they consume power inefficiently compared to their counterparts. On average, IPS displays need about 15% more battery power than TN panels, which are suitable for battery-operated low-power devices. Additionally, IPS panels require stronger backlighting to function at all times to maintain a standard level of display clarity, which can eat up more battery power.
Best Uses of IPS Displays
- Colour-critical professional applications
- Technology enthusiasts
- Higher level business and home use
- Gamers who value image quality over response time
Nauticomp Inc. is one of the leading designers, manufacturers, and distributors of custom industrial displays in North America, including IPS monitors that are ideal for a wide range of applications. Contact us today to learn more or to place an order.