Nano IPS vs. IPS Displays: What’s the Difference?

People watching a TV monitor

Nano IPS vs. IPS Displays: What’s the Difference?

5 Must-Know Facts

  • Nano IPS and IPS displays are both LG technologies, with Nano IPS being a new concept released in 2019.
  • IPS displays are a kind of LCD panel technology, alongside VA and TN panels.
  • Nano IPS builds off of typical IPS technology and only changes the backlight.
  • Nano IPS has an incredibly wide color gamut and low response times, which are the only two improvements.
  • Nano IPS isn’t always a better version of IPS technology; although there are low response times, the wide color gamut can make colors too saturated.
Nano IPS from LG is a popular choice for creatives who need high-quality images.


The electronics company, LG, has a long history of making improvements to display technology: Nano IPS and IPS displays are easy examples of LG’s inventions.

In-plane switching (IPS) was first introduced decades ago in 1996. LG and Hitachi created IPS as an alternative to other types of monitor displays, and it continues to be a strong contender today.

IPS is a type of liquid crystal display (LCD) panel. All LCD panels use liquid crystals that are arranged to create a screen. The crystals need a backlight behind them since the LCD panel itself doesn’t produce any light.

For IPS displays, the liquid crystals are lined up horizontally and parallel to each other. This alignment gives IPS a few advantages over other displays, like impressive color accuracy and wide viewing angles.

If you use an IPS display, you’ll be met with a few pitfalls. For one, IPS has a relatively poor response time when compared to the alternatives. It will also have worse color contrast, defined as how ‘richly’ the display can show blacks and whites. 

Nano IPS is a type of IPS that uses a new backlight system. Just like the original IPS, LG designed Nano IPS. However, Nano IPS is far more obscure. It’s built on top of regular IPS technology but is improved to have lower response times (the lowest you can reasonably get, at 1ms) and a wider color gamut. 

Simply put, the wider the color gamut, the more colors the monitor will be able to display. Colors will look more saturated and richer when using a display with a wide color gamut.

With all this in mind, what can you expect from Nano IPS and IPS displays? Let’s break down the differences between the two technologies below.

Side-by-Side Comparison

Nano IPSIPS Displays
CreatorLG Hitachi and LG
Release Date20191996
Type of TechnologyImprovement on the backlight of LCD display panelsType of LCD display panel
Typical Response Times1ms4ms
Typical Color Gamut98% DCI-P3 or 135% sRGBDependent on the backlight technology used

Nano IPS vs. IPS Displays: What are the Alternatives?

IPS panels are just one kind of LCD display. Similarly, Nano IPS is just one, niche kind of IPS backlighting technology.

Let’s explore some of the alternatives to Nano IPS and IPS displays.

Nano IPS

The creator of Nano IPS, LG, has used the “Nano” title in other inventions. NanoCell is a semi-popular, proprietary display technology that LG uses in televisions. Really, it has very few similarities to Nano IPS and shouldn’t be compared at all.

With that out of the way, there are genuine alternatives to Nano IPS. There are two selling points to Nano IPS: color gamut and response times. Many IPS monitors have a lower response time (think around 4ms), whereas Nano IPS can jump up to 1ms. The question is, do you even need a response time that fast?

Chances are, there’s no need for you to balk at a 4ms response time. So, just about any IPS monitor could replace a Nano IPS without you noticing a response time difference. Color gamut is a completely different story.

Color gamut describes how many colors, out of the full spectrum of visible colors, the monitor can reproduce. A wider color gamut reproduces more colors and vice versa for smaller gamuts.

There are different color systems out there that all cover a different color gamut. Usually, they’re represented by a triangle cut-out of all the possible visible colors. Adobe RGB, sRGB, DCI-P3, and NTSC are the most commonly used color systems. You’ll usually see DCI-P3 and sRGB used in the context of monitors.

The specs of the color gamut are expressed as percentages, which represent the percentage of each color system the display can use. Nano IPS have an impressive gamut of 98% DCI-P3, but it’s not alone. Monitors like the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD and Acer XB273U GX have very similar gamuts.

You don’t actually need to buy a Nano IPS display to get a wide color gamut. 

Man sitting at desk computer monitor
Nano IPS displays have a faster response rate and a wider color gamut than regular IPS displays.

©Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock.com

IPS Displays

LCD displays come in three main varieties: IPS, TN, and VA. IPS displays were made explicitly as an alternative to TN displays, which were (and still are) the cheapest LCD display. TN displays are known for having a somewhat mediocre image quality, but great refresh and response rates to make up for it.

The average TN display is advertised as having a 1ms response rate. On the other hand, a typical IPS display has a 4ms response rate. Older IPS panels are even worse, with 6ms to 8ms in response times.

IPS panels, in return, have drastically better visuals than TN displays. Out of all of the types of LCD panels available, IPS stands out by having superior color accuracy, consistency, and viewing angles. You won’t experience color or screen distortion when viewing the display from the side, thanks to the wide viewing angles.

Unlike TN, VA displays have visuals of a similar quality to IPS technology. Although slightly worse in color accuracy and consistency, they actually have a better contrast ratio. IPS displays irritate some users because, at worst, they will display whites as tan and blacks as a mid-tone gray.

Higher contrast ratios help with immersion and help make beautiful scenes as striking as possible. IPS displays average a contrast ratio of around 1000:1, which is next to nothing compared to VA displays’ average of 3000:1

IPS panels aren’t a clear loser against VA panels, though. Their color accuracy is better––albeit only by a little. They also have higher refresh rates. IPS displays can go up to 500Hz, and VA displays can’t go higher than a maximum of 240Hz.

There are clear drawbacks to every type of LCD panel. Regardless, IPS panels are the most promising and the most expensive.

Nano IPS vs. IPS Displays: Which Should You Get?

Every Nano IPS display is, of course, a type of IPS display. But there’s still an important decision between getting a regular IPS or a Nano IPS from LG.

In almost every context, IPS displays will be a fine investment. They can be costly, it’s true––they also give you better color accuracy and consistency than any other LCD panel. If you work in a field that uses color, like visual design, an IPS display makes a lot of sense.

The response rate difference (4ms as opposed to 1ms) isn’t really that meaningful, either. Really, the biggest drawback to an IPS monitor is the contrast ratio. Contrast can have a huge impact on how visuals will look.

Even if you’re certain you want a type of IPS display, you still need to be wary about buying a Nano IPS. The “Nano IPS” label refers to real technology. Unfortunately, it’s partially just a marketing gimmick and the things it can do aren’t necessarily unique to Nano IPS.

There are other types of display with a 1ms response time, if that matters at all. There are definitely other IPS displays (and non-IPS displays) with a color gamut just as wide as Nano IPS. So, why are you looking to buy Nano IPS specifically? They might not be as special as they seem.

A wide color gamut can actually cause oversaturation since the content isn’t made for displaying with such a gamut. You can fix it by changing settings or calibrations for your monitor, but then there’s not too much point in getting a Nano IPS to begin with.

Make sure you understand what a Nano IPS or an IPS display can do for you before you buy one. All in all, if you won’t use their unique features, don’t get them!

Nano IPS has a higher contrast ratio, making it perfect for gamers.

©Studio Romantic/Shutterstock.com

Nano IPS displays are incredibly high-tech and increasingly popular. Here are three of the most commercially favored products that feature Nano IPS technology:

  • LG OLED TV: This is one of the best televisions currently on the market, featuring a 1ms response time, a 120Hz refresh rate, and a 4K resolution.
  • LG UltraGear Gaming Monitor: This high-performance computer monitor features a 165Hz refresh rate and a 1440p resolution.
  • LG 32UP550-W 4K Monitor: This computer monitor is good for creatives, featuring a 5ms response time, a 4K resolution, and a 60Hz refresh rate.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Nano IPS better than IPS?

The Nano IPS isn’t necessarily better than IPS, but it does have a better response time (1ms compared to a typical 4ms) and a wider color gamut. The thing is, wide gamuts can contribute to oversaturation since most content isn’t really designed to be consumed through a monitor with those kinds of specs.

What is the benefit of Nano IPS?

Nano IPS will give a significantly wider color gamut and a higher response time than typical IPS monitors. The color gamut is 98% DCI-P3 or 135% sRGB, which is almost as high as possible. Nano IPS also has a response time of 1ms, instead of the usual IPS monitor response time of 4ms.

Is Nano IPS better than OLED?

Nano IPS isn’t really better than OLED. OLED has better color contrast, similar color accuracy and consistency, and similar response rates. Nano IPS doesn’t have anything special to offer when compared to OLED, since OLED either trumps or matches Nano in most categories.

Is Nano IPS LCD or LED?

A Nano IPS display uses an LCD screen panel in tandem with LED backlights. Nano IPS actually refers to a new backlight technology, combined with the same IPS tech (LCD panel) we’re used to.

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