LCD vs. IPS | What Is the Difference Between the Two Technologies?

Is there any difference between LCD monitors and IPS panel monitors?

LCD monitors use a fluorescent backlight to illuminate the screen. On the other hand, the in-plane switching display technology offers many colors and wide viewing angles.

This article will give you a detailed comparison of IPS displays and LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technology. We'll also have a look at IPS vs. LED-backlit displays.

Explaining the Differences Between LCD vs. IPS Monitors

How does an IPS display differ from an LCD screen technology?

What is an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)?

LCD stands for liquid crystal display, and it is the most common type of monitor. The monitors use liquid crystals that generate a particular color by altering light. LCDs use the CCFLs (cold cathode fluorescent lamps) backlight technology.

The backlighting ensures uniform illumination across the entire screen, resulting in an even level of brightness. However, LCD monitors don't offer the best picture quality. The monitors don't feature dimming capabilities, meaning darker scenes may appear overly bright, resulting in reduced image quality.

magnified detail of the LCD screen illustration

Instead of emitting light, LCD display technologies work on the principle of blocking it. Unlike LED displays that emit light, LCDs use a backlight to produce images, ensuring they consume less power.

How does the LCD technology work?

The number of pixels determines the quality of images on a display. Additionally, a pixel consists of three subpixels, including blue, red, and green. A different color on your screen is produced when the subpixels change color combinations.

When the pixels in a display work together, you can enjoy millions of different colors on your display. LCD displays use backlight technology, and the pixels are electronically switched on and off. Liquid crystals help to rotate polarized light, and there is a polarizing glass filter behind and in front of the pixels. There are liquid crystals between the two filters, and you can switch them on and off electronically.

There are different types of LCD screen technologies, including:

  • IPS panels (in-plane switching) offer enhanced color contrast, better viewing angles, and a higher contrast ratio

  • VA panels (vertical alignment panels): Vertical alignment displays are seen as a medium quality between TN panels and IPS displays

  • TN (twisted nematic) panels are popular for offering high response times. However, they don't provide the best color contrast, contrast ratio, and viewing angles.

  • Advanced Fringe Field Switching (AFFS): the display panel offers an enhanced color reproduction range

LCD panels are being replaced by other display technologies such as LED panels and OLED TVs (organic light-emitting diode).

Pros

  • LCD panels are popular because of their low power consumption
  • They produce minimal heat as they generate less power
  • LCDs have a slim and lightweight design
  • They offer even levels of brightness

Cons

  • There is no local dimming capability, which results in poor contrast

What Is an IPS Display? 

In-plane switching displays (IPS) are part of LED panels. Unlike a TN panel monitor, an IPS monitor offers excellent viewing angles. Thus, you'll enjoy high-quality images irrespective of your viewing position. The color accuracy and image quality don't change even when watching from extreme angles.

an IPS monitor

IPS panel technology also offers enhanced color reproduction and picture quality. However, some IPS monitors can come with high latency and response times, which may not be the best display choice for gaming.

Simply put, an IPS panel display is a type of LED monitor in which the liquid crystals are in parallel instead of being lined up at right angles.

Pros

  • Outstanding viewing angles
  • Incredible contrast levels
  • Excellent color accuracy, offering high-quality images
  • You enjoy an immersive and life-like watching experience

Cons

  • With slow response times, they are not the best choice for gaming.

Is IPS a Type of LCD?

In-plane switching is a type of panel technology for LCDs. The LCD panel technology is famous for offering high-quality and life-like images. Additionally, the panel technology provides better contrast and viewing angles than TN and VA panel technologies.

IPS LCD monitors are also known to offer incredible color accuracy. Thus, they are an excellent choice for people looking for monitors for more than just gaming.

Due to the added advantages, IPS monitors are pricier than their TN and VA panel technology counterparts.

Is IPS LED or LCD?

Simply put, LED monitors are LCD monitors. Both LED and LCD panel technologies use Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). They also have lamps at the back of the display that helps produce the images you see on your screen.

The main difference between LCD and LED technologies is in the lights you find at the back of the screen. LCDs use fluorescent lights at the back of the screen, while LED monitors have light-emitting diodes.

LED displays also have two backlighting technologies, including full array lighting and edge lighting. For the full array lighting, you have LEDs that span the entire back of the screen, whereas edge lighting has LEDs at the edges of the screen.

Which one should you choose between LED vs. LCD displays?

If you are looking for a cheaper option between the two, an LCD is ideal. An LCD is much cheaper than an LED of a similar size. You can get a bigger LCD for a more affordable price than an LED.

a monitor and a keyboard on the desk

LED monitors also come in a slimmer size than LCDs, helping you save space on your desk. The slim design makes them ideal for multi-monitor setups and wall mounting. The slimmer design is due to the light-emitting diodes in the LED displays being smaller than the fluorescent lamps in LCDs.

Picture quality is also a vital consideration while choosing between LED and LCD displays. LED monitors offer better quality images compared to their LCD counterparts.

For instance, an LED display offers better black levels that result in incredible color accuracy and contrast. Full array LCDs with the local dimming feature also enhance color accuracy. The feature ensures that some pixels completely shut off, resulting in the best contrast.

However, the two display technologies don't have a lot of differences in some aspects, such as the viewing angle. You'll enjoy enhanced picture quality irrespective of your viewing position.

LED displays also have the lowest energy consumption.

Is IPS LCD a Good Option?

The IPS panel technology performs better than other LCD technologies such as Twisted Nematic (TN) and Vertical Alignment (VA) panel technologies. The panel technology has better viewing angles than the TN and VA technologies, ensuring high-quality images even when watching from extreme edges.

IPS LCDs are also ideal for offering more accurate and brighter pictures. You'll experience no color degradation or blurry images at any viewing angle.

If you are a graphic or visual artist, the color accuracy of the IPS monitors makes them an excellent choice. They are also an ideal choice for someone looking for a regular television with high-quality images.

Is IPS or LCD the Best Choice for Gaming?

The IPS technology was developed to correct the faults of older LCD technologies such as VA and TN panel technologies. Such shortcomings include poor viewing angles and inaccurate colors.

However, the IPS technology was not the best for gaming due to high input lag, slow response times, backlight issues, and high cost.

Today, it's possible to get modern IPS gaming monitors at an affordable price. The modern IPS monitors offer an incredible combination of viewing angles, accurate colors, low input lag, and quick response time, making them ideal for gaming.

desk with keyboard, monitor and tablet

IPS monitors were previously reserved for artists and graphic designers due to their color accuracy. Today, the monitors have undergone various advancements, making them ideal for gaming. Such improvements include a faster response time which minimizes delay during gaming.

The IPS technology also offers enhanced image processing and faster pixel switching, enabling you to enjoy a smooth gaming experience.

Although IPS displays are more expensive than their TN and VA counterparts, you can now find premium IPS monitors at an affordable price. Besides the reduced cost of purchasing the IPS gaming monitors, they are also more cost-efficient. They have lower power consumption which helps reduce your energy bills.

Additionally, the monitors feature a high refresh rate, essential for various types of gaming, including fast-paced games. The high refresh rate helps prevent screen tearing and game stuttering while playing fast-paced games.

a woman sitting in front of the monitor

Verdict

IPS panel technology is a type of LCD panel technology. LCD technology is now being outpaced by more modern technologies such as LED and OLED panels. The IPS technology offers better viewing angles, color accuracy, and contrast than other LCD technologies, including VA and TN panels. IPS monitors have a slim design, making them ideal for multi-monitor setups and wall mounting.

Unlike LCD monitors that use fluorescent lamps, the IPS LED monitors to use light-emitting diodes. The light-emitting diodes are smaller than the fluorescent, ensuring a slim design. Additionally, the local dimming feature enhances black levels and contrasts that provide incredible picture quality.

About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.

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