What Is an IPS Monitor? Explained

what an IPS monitor is

When it comes to PC displays, the term IPS stands for In-Plane Switching, a technology that defines a specific type of LED (or more accurately, an LCD) panel. IPS monitors have become synonymous with superior color accuracy, consistency, and wider viewing angles compared to their counterparts: TN (Twisted Nematic) and VA (Vertical Alignment) panels. However, it’s worth understanding properly why an IPS monitor might be the right choice for you, given its unique attributes and performance capabilities. So, let’s break down exactly what is an IPS monitor, and whether you need one.

Understanding Monitor Panel Types

Before diving into the specifics of IPS technology, it’s important to acknowledge that it is one of the four main types of monitor panel technologies, alongside TN, VA, and OLED. All these types fall under the umbrella of LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) panel technology, with each offering distinct advantages and disadvantages depending on the intended use case.

The choice of panel technology affects several key aspects of monitor performance, including:

  • Response time and input lag: Important for gaming and real-time applications.
  • Viewing angle: How the picture quality changes as you view the screen from different angles.
  • Color reproduction: The range and accuracy of colors displayed.
  • Contrast ratio and black levels: The depth of blacks and the contrast between the darkest and brightest parts of the image.

What IPS Monitor Technology Does

IPS monitors utilize liquid crystals aligned in parallel, enhancing color reproduction by allowing more light to pass through the panel. This technology was developed to address the limitations of TN panels, notably in terms of viewing angles and color fidelity. Here’s a breakdown of what sets IPS monitors apart:

  • Wider viewing angles: IPS displays offer up to 178-degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles, ensuring consistent color and brightness from almost any perspective.
  • Color accuracy and consistency: These monitors excel in color performance, making them ideal for color-critical tasks such as graphic design, photo editing, and any professional application where color fidelity is paramount.
  • Response times: While traditionally slower than TN panels, modern IPS monitors have seen significant improvements in response times, making them suitable for a wide range of gaming applications.

Variations of IPS Technology

Over the years, IPS technology has evolved, resulting in several variations such as S-IPS, H-IPS, e-IPS, P-IPS, and PLS (Plane-to-Line Switching). Despite minor differences, these variations are often grouped together under the term “IPS-type” panels due to their shared core advantages in color and viewing angles.

The Case for IPS Monitors

While IPS monitors are revered for their superior color reproduction and viewing angles, they are not without their drawbacks. Here’s a comprehensive look at the pros and cons:


  • Outstanding color accuracy and consistency: Unparalleled in the display market.
  • Maximum viewing angles: Virtually eliminates color and contrast shift, which is a common issue with other panel types.
  • Sufficient response times for most users: Recent advancements have made IPS panels viable for gaming.


  • Below average static contrast ratio: Compared to VA panels, IPS monitors may not deliver as deep blacks.
  • Potential for white glow: From off-angles, particularly in dark content, though this is mostly an issue with lower-end models.
  • More motion blur: Than TN panels, although this varies between models and user sensitivity.

Best Uses:

  • Color-critical professional applications: Where accuracy and consistency are key.
  • Higher-level business/home use: For users who value image quality.
  • Gamers: Especially those who prioritize image quality over the absolute fastest response times.

IPS monitors represent a pinnacle in color accuracy, consistency, and viewing angles, making them a favored choice among professionals in graphics, photography, and video editing. While they come at a premium cost compared to TN and VA panels, the investment is often justified for users who demand the highest quality in color and image presentation. Whether you’re a technology enthusiast, a professional requiring precise color management, or a gamer seeking a blend of performance and visual quality, IPS monitors offer a compelling option that caters to a wide range of needs and preferences.

Hopefully, this helped parse out the topic into an easy-to-understand format. If you’re looking for advice on whether an IPS monitor is useful for gaming, we’ve got you covered.

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