TN vs IPS: 10 Must Know Facts

  • IPS panels have a higher color accuracy and color contrast.
  • TN panels are more widely available with a 1 ms response time.
  • Both TN and IPS panels can be purchased with high refresh rates such as 144Hz, 240Hz, and 280Hz.
  • IPS panels lose no visual color clarity when viewing it from any angle.
  • TN panels have a narrow viewing angle and lose color clarity from any viewing angle that is not directly in front of the monitor.
  • IPS panels have less backlight bleed through.
  • IPS and TN can both support features like G-Sync or FreeSync.
  • TN panel technology is older than IPS panel technology.
  • TN monitors are frequently cheaper than IPS.
  • IPS monitors are usually color-calibrated out-of-the-box.

Choosing a monitor has grown to be a more difficult task for the smart consumer. There are three dominating display panel technologies and a whole list of subsets of technical specifications to work through. The most common argument is between TN and IPS display panels. Both panel types are commonly found in today’s world, whether for office work or at a brick and mortar retail store.

As technology keeps on getting better, the difference between technology keeps getting smaller. However, TN and IPS still have some glaring differences. The most notable differences are the color contrast and viewing angles. TN has almost no viewing angle. Color clarity is lost when the user moves slightly to any side of the monitor other than directly in front of it.

extend screen
Moving a window from one monitor to another is called “extending” the screen.

IPS display panels have a much wider viewing angle that has no visual loss except at extreme angles that are unrealistic positions for computer users to be in. When TN and IPS monitors are placed side-by-side, the color contrast and clarity of the IPS panel shine brightly. IPS panels have an 8-bit color panel system that allows for a much wider color range than the 6-bit color panel used in TN technology.

Gamers will usually opt for a TN panel. Designers, artists, producers, and creatives that care about color contrast and image clarity will want to choose IPS displays. These are general recommendations and you may find that either technology will suit your purposes just fine.

TN vs IPS: Side-by-Side Comparison

TN IPS
What It is Monitor back panel Monitor back panel
Primary Use produces images on a monitor produces images on a monitor
NameTwisted Nematic In-Plane Switching
Conceived The 1930s The 1990s
Initial Releasethe late 1980s 1996
Influential Developers Hitachi Hitachi
Technical Committee Hitachi Hitachi
Open formatYes Yes
Technologies Influenced IPS, VAVA
TN vs IPS
High-angle shot of the professional gamer playing in first-person shooter online video game on his personal computer. Gamers will usually opt for a TN panel.

What is TN?

Twisted Nematic, or TN, panels are among the most commonly-used monitor panels types around. TN is the monitor panel of choice for gamers. This is not because TN panels are known for visual clarity and increased definition, they aren’t.

It is because TN panels have better response times and refresh rates. This means gamers can take advantage of 144Hz or 240Hz monitors with smoother on-screen motion and less input lag. Responsiveness is critical to competitive gaming.

While it may seem like a millisecond difference in motion, it can be the difference between winning and losing in-game. Other processes that rely on quick refresh rates like stock trading may also benefit from a TN panel monitor.

TN panels are the oldest panel technology available in a monitor. This helps to lower the price of TN monitors on the market versus VA or IPS panels. As TN panels are older technology, they offer a faster refresh rate and response time. This is because the panels are producing less clarity and color vibrancy. There are high-end TN panels that offer wide color ranges, but even then TN panels can’t compare to the image quality of IPS panel colors.

Gaming laptops are usually the only type of laptops to have TN panels installed.

TN Pros:

  • Fast response time and refresh rate
  • Smoother on-screen motion
  • Cheaper technology
  • Widely available

TN Cons:

  • Less color clarity and contrast
  • Narrow viewing angle

What is IPS?

In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels were made to portray better color reproduction and viewing angles. This results in excellent color contrast that doesn’t lose clarity because the viewer is at the wrong angle. IPS monitors are known for their color contrast, brightness, and image clarity.

They excel at black reproduction which helps eliminate the washed-out look that can bleed through the led TN panels.

IPS panel displays can also be purchased at high refresh rates over 240Hz. TN panels still hold a slight advantage over IPS panels in response time, but some high-quality IPS displays are able to match the refresh rate and response time of a good TN panel without sacrificing the color vibrancy found in IPS displays. As time moves forward, IPS may displace TN as the go-to choice for gamers.

IPS panels are also excellent for everyday use. They have excellent image clarity that can suffice for digital graphic design. As IPS describes a wide range of products, there are both gaming-specific IPS monitors as well as sRGB focused IPS displays for designers. As it stands, TN monitors are still more commonly available with 1 ms response times than IPS displays.

IPS displays are commonly used for laptops and 2-in-1 devices. The high brightness, color contrast, and wide viewing angle create a better experience on laptop devices.

IPS Pros:

  • Strong color vibrancy and image clarity
  • Available in fast refresh rates over 240Hz
  • Energy-efficient
  • Wide viewing angle

IPS Cons:

  • Slower response time than TN panels.
  • More expensive.
  • IPS glow can occur at extreme viewing angles.
TN vs IPS
A person using her laptop for a video call. IPS displays are commonly used for laptops and 2-in-1 devices.

Next Up…

TN vs IPS: Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is IPS?

IPS stands for In-Plane Switching. It is a type of display panel used in monitors. It has excellent color vibrancy and color contrast. IPS monitors also have a wide viewing angle. IPS panel monitors are excellent for entertainment, design, gaming, and business. They also have better led lights than TN panels which creates improved screen brightness.

What is TN?

TN, or Twisted Nematic, panels are the oldest monitor panel technology in existence. Yet, they are still the fastest response time technology available in a monitor. As TN panels are considered older technology, TN monitors are typically cheaper than their IPS or VA counterparts due to older led arrays and other parts. TN has been known as the go-to choice for gaming performance due to its incredible response time and high refresh rates. While IPS panels are able to reach the same refresh rates now, they still have trouble keeping up with the response time of TN panels.

Which is better IPS or TN?

Better is subjective. If you use your monitor to watch movies and work, you might enjoy the IPS much more. It has better color vibrancy and color contrast which provide a clear and comfortable display to work at. Gamers may still want to opt for a TN panel to take advantage of 1ms response times for competitive gaming.

TN panels are the most common type used in office work due to being rather inexpensive. Either panel type will do the job, but it comes down to what you use your computer for. If the tasks you perform do not require enhancement speed or visuals, then the panel you choose will come down to personal preference based on visual quality. If response time matters, TN panels are the obvious choice. If the image quality is the most important, IPS panels are far better and closer to the full sRGB color gamut.

Are IPS better than TN?

IPS can be better than TN panels for specific users. Graphic designers and other visual artists will find that IPS displays offer visuals that are far superior to TN panels. The color contrast is much greater as well as the range of color. IPS panels can also be viewed from far more angles. The wide viewing angle is great for creatives who position their monitor in unique ways.

Is IPS or TN better for FPS?

Both IPS and TN are now capable of high refresh rates like 240Hz. This means either IPS or TN panels can keep up with PCs running games at incredible FPS rates. However, TN panels still have the edge with their 1 ms response time. IPS panels are not far behind with 4 ms response times becoming more common. TN panels may be the better option for office work as they are cheaper.

Is TN the same as IPS?

No. TN and IPS are two different types of back panel technology for monitors. IPS offers better image quality and consistency than TN panels. As IPS is a newer technology, this is to be expected. However, the extra clarity and color contrast have yet to maintain the same 1 ms response time achieved by the older TN panel technology.

What’s the price difference between TN and IPS?

TN monitors are available on the market for prices as low as $100 new. These monitors can also reach higher prices of over $1000 if other features are included as well. IPS display typically start at a price around $150 and can range to over $2000. Of course, this is also reliant on what features are packed into the IPS panel monitor.

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