What is an IPS panel monitor? Answered

Color accuracy at a cost.

Image via LG

If you’re in the market for a monitor, chances are the name in-plane switching (IPS) has popped up. IPS panels are becoming more popular compared to their twisted nematic (TN) and vertical alignment (VA) peers. This is largely thanks to the high color quality and wide viewing angles of IPS panels.

What is an IPS monitor?

Developed in the mid-1990s, IPS monitors are some of the most common panels and smartphones on the market. If a display has super-wide viewing angles and produces vibrant colors, chances are it’s an IPS panel. That’s because IPS monitors produce some of the most accurate color reproduction and offer ultra-wide viewing angles. In short, all of this translates into superior image quality, especially when compared to the other main types of displays.

How do IPS monitors work?

IPS technology was introduced to combat the strong viewing angle dependence and low-quality color reproduction of TN panels. Essentially, IPS panels contain liquid crystals that manipulate themselves in a parallel fashion to produce vibrant colors. The liquid crystals’ ability to shift horizontally is how they create better viewing angles. No matter the angle an IPS monitor is viewed, colors stay relatively consistent—unlike TN monitors. IPS panels use a distinct crystal orientation system, where the crystals are parallel to the glass substrates, whereas TN panels twist their crystals, limiting viewing accuracy.

Why choose an IPS monitor?

IPS monitors are ideal for users who prioritize professional color-critical usage, like graphic design, photography, video editing, or general content creation, due to their top-of-the-line image quality.

In the past, mediocre response times and refresh rates were the shortcomings of IPS technology. Nowadays, IPS monitors are more than capable of satisfying in these areas. Sporting refresh rates up to 360Hz with one-millisecond response times has IPS panels rising in popularity among casual gamers and many competitive players. 

As far as additional drawbacks go, IPS panels tend to have below-average static contrast ratios, potential white glow in lower-end models, and motion blur occurrences. Additionally, IPS monitors can get pricey, with some hovering around a $1,000 price tag.

IPS monitors deliver ultra-wide vertical and horizontal viewing angles, and most users will thoroughly appreciate the color benefits these panels offer. Improved refresh rate, response time, contrast, and resolution mean that IPS monitors are more attractive than ever for general desktop users, professionals, along with casual and competitive gamers. The IPS panel is a sure-bet for users with deep pockets who value image quality.