IPS vs. VA displays: Which is best for your monitor or TV? | Digital Trends (2023)

There’s an almost overwhelming amount of options in the display market: OLED, MicroLED, and TN panel types just to name a few. But if you’re looking for a gaming monitor or simply don’t want to drain your bank account on a display, IPS and VA are generally the best choices. In-plane switching (or IPS) is an LCD-based technology that is used in just about every kind of display, whereas Vertical Alignment (or VA) is a more niche LCD technology used in gaming monitors, gaming TVs, and wide displays.

Contents

  • Color accuracy and coverage
  • Contrast ratio
  • Response time
  • Refresh rate
  • Which is better?

Although IPS is much more popular than VA and is often seen as the more premium option, both panel types have strengths and weaknesses that you should consider before you buy.

Color accuracy and coverage

IPS vs. VA displays: Which is best for your monitor or TV? | Digital Trends (1)

IPS panels have traditionally been used for making displays that have high color accuracy and large coverage of wide color gamuts like DCI-P3 or Adobe sRGB. Not only do IPS displays usually look good, but they also look good from wider angles, so you don’t need to look exactly head on at an IPS monitor to get accurate colors.

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Color accuracy and coverage can be good on VA displays (even at wide angles), but colors across VA displays aren’t always uniform. Depending on the viewing angle and the distance between the viewer and the display, the center of VA monitors often have more gamma than the edges of the screen, making colors less accurate.

Although IPS is generally better than VA when it comes to color accuracy and coverage, VA panels have perfectly fine color accuracy and coverage for the vast majority of users. Only professional photo and video editors could really be disappointed with a VA monitor that only covers 90% of the DCI-P3 color space, which is actually a very good amount of coverage for gamers and content consumers.

Contrast ratio

IPS vs. VA displays: Which is best for your monitor or TV? | Digital Trends (2)

Contrast ratio is a metric that measures how dark the color black is depicted on a display, measured as a ratio of x:1. The higher x is, the better. Although IPS is very good with color accuracy in general, it really struggles with making the color black, and even the best IPS monitors and TVs can only show a very dark grey rather than true black. Most IPS monitors are rated at a 1000:1 contrast ratio, which isn’t terrible but isn’t great either. Some monitors can get up to around 2000:1 however.

Despite VA’s general color accuracy issues, it’s actually amazing at depicting black as truly black. Even the worst VA displays can easily muster a 2000:1 contrast ratio, and some can even achieve higher than 5000:1. In fact, VA is second only to OLED when it comes to contrast ratio, and OLED actually delivers perfect contrast ratios of ∞:1. Because of this, a VA display can look better than an IPS counterpart in darker scenes.

Some displays can boost contrast ratio by using local dimming and HDR. By using a more complex backlight with multiple LEDs that can be turned on or off, local dimming helps IPS and VA displays look even darker when it matters. On the other end of the spectrum, HDR boosts brightness for colors that need it. With these two factors combined, some displays can boost the contrast ratio significantly. However, these features aren’t going to make an IPS display’s contrast ratio as good as the average VA display’s, and poorly implemented local dimming can backfire by creating more visual problems than it solves.

(Video) Ultimate Gaming Monitor Buying Guide | How To Choose the Best Monitor for You

Response time

IPS vs. VA displays: Which is best for your monitor or TV? | Digital Trends (3)

Response time is the amount of time it takes to fully refresh the display and show a new image. This is an area where both IPS and VA struggle, but nowadays very good IPS displays have overcome traditional issues with response times, and VA displays have not shown the same amount of progress. There is no standard that display manufacturers adhere to when it comes to measuring response time, but according to BenQ, which makes both IPS and VA monitors and TVs, IPS has a response time of 1-2ms whereas VA can only achieve 4-5ms. The specific values here aren’t important because this is a best-case scenario. What’s really important is that VA is much slower.

Very high response times can result in very animated scenes looking blurry and smeared. This issue is called ghosting, and it’s particularly annoying for discerning gamers playing fast-paced games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Both IPS and VA displays have solutions and workarounds to avoid ghosting, the most important being overdrive. Overdrive that’s too aggressive can cause reverse ghosting, which is when the display tries to change a pixel’s color so quickly that it accidentally overshoots and ends up with the wrong color for a few frames. Ghosting and reverse ghosting both cause smearing, so if overdrive is too weak or too strong, the end result is similar: It looks bad.

Although the best IPS panels beat the best VA panels when it comes to response time, there are plenty of IPS displays that have very bad response times. It’s also worth noting that response time only needs to be equal to the refresh rate of the monitor for there to be no smearing. On a 60Hz display, for instance, it takes 16.66ms to show a new image, so a response time of 1ms doesn’t really do much. Response time matters much more at higher refresh rates, and even at 144Hz a response time of around 7ms is sufficient to avoid ghosting.

Refresh rate

IPS is capable of significantly higher refresh rates than VA. IPS is capable of hitting 500Hzwhile VA caps out at 240Hz. However, the vast majority of VA displays are only capable of 144Hz or 165Hz; there are only a few VA monitors that can do 240Hz. For those wanting extremely high refresh rates, IPS is the clear winner.

Even if VA was capable of 360Hz however, it probably wouldn’t be very good because of its weakness in response times. A 360Hz display refreshes every 2.7ms, which is well below what VA is generally capable of.

Which is better?

While IPS displays are usually a safe recommendation for most people, sometimes there are very good reasons to buy VA monitors and TVs. VA has found its home in midrange gaming monitors, gaming TVs, and ultrawide displays, and many of the best gaming monitors use VA. If you’re shopping outside of these categories, however, you probably won’t have to worry about choosing between IPS and VA because VA is not very often used elsewhere.

(Video) The Monitor Buying Guide - What You Need to Know! | The Tech Chap

If you do have the choice between VA and IPS, you’re going to have to evaluate what you prefer in a display, and you should definitely read some monitor reviewsjust to make sure if VA or IPS is going to deliver what you want in your next display purchase. After all, even an IPS display can have bad color accuracy or bad response time, so don’t assume IPS means quality and that VA means budget.

IPS vs. VA displays: Which is best for your monitor or TV? | Digital Trends (4)

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FAQs

Is IPS better than VA for TV? ›

If in your case you are going to be viewing the TV from a fairly foreshortened angle, IPS panels are going to offer you a better angle than VA panels. The colors will maintain better saturation as well as the contrast will be maintained, making the picture look less washed out.

Is a VA panel good for a monitor? ›

VA panels do justice to essentially any game you throw at them. They're the ultimate jacks-of-all-trades so, if you're a gaming enthusiast with wide-ranging interests in different genres, a VA's for you. You'll get good performance and excellent image quality no matter what you play.

Which display type is best for monitor? ›

OLED Display is better

Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) display technology is much better as compared to the LCD display technology because of its excellent colour reproduction, faster response times, wider viewing angles, higher brightness and extremely light weight designs.

Is VA or IPS better for design? ›

IPS displays are the technology of choice for graphic design and professional use. VA monitors are cheaper than IPS displays but are not as widely available as IPS or TN displays. IPS and TN panels are much better for gaming than VA panels. TN panels have often been referred to as the “go-to” tech for gaming.

Which display is best for TV? ›

Features
  • QLED screens are last longer, larger, and not susceptible to burn-in.
  • The price difference between QLED and OLED is QLED are more affordable than OLED.
  • 50 to 100 times brighter than LCDs.
  • It is 2X energy-efficient than OLED TVs.

Which display panel is best for TV? ›

IPS (In-Plane Switching) panels are a common display type for both the best computer monitors and TVs.

Which panel is good for eyes VA or IPS? ›

IPS is the clear winner here, as the image remains accurate even at a wide angle. VA and TN monitors usually perform much worse. Color accuracy generally remains good on VA monitors, but TNs have a slight shift in color accuracy at moderate angles.

Is VA Panel good for watching movies? ›

VA panels have the highest contrast ratio, but it usually comes at a cost of slower response time, so they're excellent for watching movies, but not suitable for competitive gaming.

Is monitor display better than TV? ›

Monitors usually have a higher refresh rate, lower latency and accurate colours which make them the best pick for gaming, video editing, designing, etc. Here are a few features that compare the difference between a TV and a Monitor and help you decide which one suits your needs.

What is the highest quality display? ›

1080p. In total pixels, 1080p offers over twice that of 720p, therefore 1080p is sharper and clearer. Other factors aside, although both are considered to be a part of the HD standard, 1080p has been considered the industry standard for monitors for a while now.

Which display is strongest? ›

The best phone displays 2023
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV - top pixel density, high brightness and refresh rate, plus one of the best calibrations around.
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra - the brightest Android phone display with battery-life-friendly LTPO tech and granular 1Hz-120Hz refresh rate.
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Which display is best for 4k TV? ›

The 7 Best 4k TVs - Winter 2023 Reviews
  • Best 4k TV. Samsung S95B OLED. SEE PRICE. ...
  • Best 4k TV For Home Theaters. Sony A95K OLED. SEE PRICE. ...
  • Best Upper Mid-Range 4k TV. Samsung QN90B QLED. SEE PRICE. ...
  • Best Mid-Range 4k TV. LG C2 OLED. ...
  • Best Lower Mid-Range 4k TV. Hisense U8H. ...
  • Best Budget 4k TV. Hisense U6H. ...
  • Best Cheap 4k TV. Hisense A6H.
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Which TV brands use IPS panels? ›

1-16 of 56 results for "IPS LED TV"
  • Kanaha Gadgets 80 cm (32 inches) Android HD Ready Smart LED TV with IPS Display & Frameless. ...
  • LG 126 cm (50 Inches) 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV 50UQ8040PSB (Grey) (2022 Model) ...
  • LG 81.28 cm (32 Inches) HD Ready Smart LED TV 32LQ570BPSA (Black) (2022 Model)

Which panel is best for 4K monitor? ›

Display technology: Your 4K monitor's display should be IPS, not TN (or VA), because IPS panels provide far better viewing angles and color reproduction.

Is eyesight a problem for IPS? ›

Indian Police Service Eyesight Requirement

Distant Vision: For the better eye, the corrected vision should be 6/6 or 6/9. For the worse eye, the corrected vision should be 6/12 or 6/9.

Which is better IPS or VA monitor? ›

IPS is capable of hitting 500Hz while VA caps out at 240Hz. However, the vast majority of VA displays are only capable of 144Hz or 165Hz; there are only a few VA monitors that can do 240Hz. For those wanting extremely high refresh rates, IPS is the clear winner.

Is IPS display better for eyes? ›

All displays have similar functioning..they all are liquid crystal diplays.. only the pixel format and sharing n the backlight is different.....they are all soothing for eyes..

What are the downsides of a VA panel? ›

Disadvantages to VA panels

VA panels don't have as strong of colors as the IPS and are typically slower in response time than TN panels. VA monitors also don't have the best viewing angles, meaning there will be a big loss in image quality and accuracy when viewing from the side.

What is the main advantage of IPS panel on VA panel? ›

Traditionally IPS panels have been associated with – on high-end screens, at least – wider colour gamuts than VA panels can readily manage. They retain this colour gamut better, too, when viewing the screen from an angle. This is why many professional designers, for instance, have tended to prefer IPS technology to VA.

Do all VA monitors have ghosting? ›

Ghosting is more evident on VA panels because they have the most sluggish response time. Only the most pricey VA gaming monitors don't display prominent ghosting images. Inexpensive IPS monitors may also exhibit ghosting artefacts to a more diminutive size.

Is IPS or VA color better? ›

IPS is the clear winner here, as the image remains accurate even at a wide angle. VA and TN monitors usually perform much worse. Color accuracy generally remains good on VA monitors, but TNs have a slight shift in color accuracy at moderate angles.

Is IPS good for watching movies? ›

The IPS panel delivers excellent colour consistency and a strong viewing angle performance, keeping shades rich and evenly saturated throughout the screen.

Is IPS or VA better for HDR? ›

For contrast, IPS panels sit somewhere between TN and VA, meaning they do HDR content much better justice than TN. Combined with their wide color gamut, IPS displays arguably offer better HDR than VA, but the debate rages on.

What is VA and IPS panel in TV? ›

There are two popular types of LCD panels: In-Plane Switching (IPS) and Vertical Alignment (VA), and there are two main differences between each type. A VA panel usually has a high contrast ratio and narrow viewing angles. However, an IPS panel has low contrast and wide viewing angles.

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