In gaming monitors, choosing between the TN (Twisted Nematic) and IPS (In-plane switching) panels remains a crucial decision for gamers seeking the ultimate visual experience. These two-panel technologies have distinct advantages and disadvantages among gaming enthusiasts, about which one is supreme. The availability of different panels might confuse users when shopping for a gaming monitor.
Before buying a monitor, users mainly check their screen size, resolution, and price range, but the vital thing to consider is its panel type, which makes a big difference. The three main panel types, i.e. TN, VA, and IPS, are each manufacturing process best suited to gaming habits and genres. If you play various games or want to enjoy every kind, you could benefit significantly from going with one panel type over another.
This blog will explore the differences between TN and IPS panels, including colour accuracy, response time, viewing angles, etc. Whether you’re a competitive esports player seeking lightning-fast responsiveness or a casual gamer yearning for vibrant visuals, understanding the characteristics of these panels is essential in making an informed decision.
So, let’s get started.
Understanding the Basic Difference between TN Panel and IPS Panel
The essential difference between these two panels lies in underlying technologies and the resulting characteristics. These two terms refer to the types of LCD panels used in modern screens. TN panels are known for their fast response times and higher refresh rates, making them popular among gaming enthusiasts. However, it might fall short in colour accuracy and wider viewing angles.
On the other hand, the IPS panel offers superior colour accuracy and wide viewing angles but typically lacks response time and refresh rates. This makes them suitable for tasks that require accurate colour representation, like graphic designing and photo editing.
TN – Fast Response Times, Poor Colour, Good Black Levels
TN monitors are usually the oldest, most original, and most affordable panels. Their most significant advantage is the high refresh rate and response time.
TN panels could deliver pixel update responses of 1 ms or faster, positioning them as the best choice for gaming enthusiasts demanding fast performance. These monitors have a high refresh rate of 120Hz, unmatched by other panel types until recent developments.
These monitors have minimised motion blur, smearing, and ghosting in fast-paced gaming scenarios, which is crucial for a competitive gaming experience. Slow monitor response times can lead to degraded image quality and increased input latency. Still, TN panels have consistently delivered superior performance, making them the preferred choice for gamers prioritising rapid pixel updates.
TN panels are also renowned for rendering accurate black levels and detailing in darker areas, contributing to enhanced visual experiences, particularly in gaming and watching multimedia content.
However, TN panels come with a set of limitations. They typically cover only 100% of the standard RGB colour gamut, offering more minor colour space than other advanced panels. This limitation can impact the overall visual display, especially for users engaged in tasks that demand precise colour representation. TN panels often struggle to match a contrast ratio of 1000:1, further constraining their visual capabilities.
However, the most notable drawback of TN panels is their limited viewing angles, which can be as narrow as 170/160 degrees. TN panels may exhibit considerable colour shifts and slight image fade when viewed from wide angles.
IPS – Finest Colours, Viewing Angles, Low Speed & Black Level Details
IPS monitors are acclaimed for their remarkable colour accuracy, often delivering 95% or even 100% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut utilised in digital cinema. Even basic IPS panels outshine the fanciest TN displays, offering 20%-30% more colour space. This makes IPS monitors the preferred choice for tasks demanding precise colour representation, such as content creation and graphic design.
While many users may not immediately see a significant difference, colour enthusiasts and professionals appreciate the superior colour performance, especially when compared to Vertical Alignment (VA) panels.
However, one of the drawbacks of IPS panels is their tendency to showcase black levels to their extreme, potentially diminishing details in darker scenes.
IPS panels have wide 178/178 viewing angles, ensuring clear views from almost any angle. This characteristic makes IPS monitors the go-to choice for shared viewing experiences. Whether enjoying multiplayer gaming or needing a screen visible from various angles, an IPS monitor provides an unmatched viewing experience.
Recent advancements have significantly improved response and refresh rates on IPS monitors, bringing them on par with VA and even TN speeds. IPS monitors offer competitive speeds, while TN panels still lead the pack in the fastest response times.
IPS panels fall between TN and VA, making them well-suited for handling High Dynamic Range (HDR) content. Their wide colour gamut further enhances the HDR experience.
Comparison Between TN & IPS Displays
|Limited colour reproduction; poorer viewing angles
|Superior colour accuracy; better viewing angles
|Generally faster response times (1ms or less)
|Slightly slower response times (4ms and above)
|Narrow viewing angles; colour distortion at extreme angles
|Wider viewing angles; consistent colours across angles
|Lower contrast ratios; blacks may appear less deep
|Higher contrast ratios; better representation of dark scenes
|Generally, higher brightness levels
|Typically, lower brightness levels
|Generally, more affordable
|Often more expensive, especially for high-end models
|Typically, lower input lag
|Slightly higher input lag, though improvements are made
|Thinner and lighter design
|Bulkier design, relatively thicker panels
|Adaptive Sync Support
|Frequent support for adaptive sync technologies (e.g., FreeSync, G-Sync)
|Increasing support for adaptive sync, but historically less common
|Best Suitable For
|Popular for competitive gaming due to fast response times
|Preferred for content creation, professional use, and immersive gaming experiences
Which Panel Type is Suitable for Gaming?
Choosing between a TN and IPS panel for gaming involves considering various factors, and it mostly depends on individual preferences, gaming priorities, and budget considerations. TN Panels stand out as the unmatched choice for gamers involved in multiplayer and fast gaming, where every split-second decision makes all the difference. If you are primarily engaged in shooters or fighting games that require the highest frame rates, they will benefit from the high speed and responsiveness of the TN panels.
Admittedly, there might be compromises in colour accuracy and image quality. Still, the assurance of fast response times and high panel refresh rates makes TN the definitive choice for the competitive edge.
On the flip side, IPS monitors present an enticing proposition for gamers who are involved in enjoying the visuals of their virtual worlds. IPS is preferable if your gaming preferences lean towards role-playing, open-world exploration, or narrative adventures in the first or third person.
IPS panels take the lead regarding local co-op or shared viewing experiences, leaving TN behind in the dust. For those moments when you want to share your gaming with friends, IPS ensures consistent wide-angle performance, outclassing every panel type.
In conclusion, it’s essential to remember that these panels have a common origin, and the improvements in manufacturing are continuous. However, the disparities between these panels are less pronounced than in some articles. Technological advancements have narrowed the gap, and now there is a subtle difference between these panel types. There is no wrong panel type; selecting the one doesn’t detract you from the overall experience.
However, it’s worth noting that these differences can contribute to making your gaming experience much better. Whether you prioritise speed, precision, and a competitive edge or lean towards rich visuals, accurate colours, and a cinematic gaming experience, there’s a monitor tailored to your needs.
Visit Laptop Outlet for an array of high-end monitors at excellent prices. Their collection features cutting-edge TN and IPS panels, ensuring you can find the perfect balance between speed and visual brilliance.
So, choose a monitor that aligns more closely with your preferences and gaming priorities.