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What is an IPS Monitor? A Practical Guide to Understanding Display Technology

By Pye Jirsa on December 14th 2012

Article Overview | Defining IPS Monitors

Since our latest posts discussing our favorite laptops for creative professionals and the Lightroom 4 benchmark tests, we have seen a lot of comments and questions regarding displays. The particular keyword in these discussions being “IPS.”

If you are a creative professional or are interested in the digital arts, then most likely you have heard the term IPS in reference to computer and laptop monitors. In fact, having an IPS display seems to be all the rage these days. Throw a stone on the internet and you will find discussions regarding IPS displays all over the “interwebs”; and in the usual interweb fashion, many people with the strongest opinions are a little confused as to what IPS actually does.

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In this article, we are going to help demystify the term IPS (In-Plane Switching); but more importantly, we want to help everyone better understand display technologies from a real-world-practical standpoint. Let me preface this by saying that if you are looking for a technical/scientific article on display technologies, then this isn’t the place for you. Like every article on SLR Lounge, our goal is write approachable articles designed to help our readers in understanding real-world functionality. Let’s get started!

What, IPS Isn’t New? | Brief History of IPS Monitors

As of late “IPS” has become a big marketing word. Step into an Apple store and you would be hard pressed talking to someone that didn’t mention Apple’s “brand new IPS Displays!” In fact, Apple is probably one of the biggest marketers of this “new-found” technology. As a business person myself, this is when you have to tip your hat to Apple’s awesome marketing machine. Why? Well, because IPS is actually nothing new. In fact, this technology was originally invented in 1996 by Hitachi.


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That’s right folks, this latest marketing buzz word is in regards to a technology that as of today (Dec 13, 2012) has been available for nearly 16 years. And once again, I tip my hat to you Apple. Because now everyone has “gotta have” an IPS display. But, what exactly is an IPS display? We will get there in due time, but for now, let’s go over some of the basics.

IPS, TFT, LCD, LED, TN… Oh my! | IPS LCD Monitors

With all the display acronyms for technology that have come out over the past 10-20 years, it is no wonder why people are confused. Well, let me see if I can help “de-confuse” the situation. First, let’s start with the basics, the LCD.

Many of you already know, the term LCD simply stands for Liquid Crystal Display. It simply refers to thin display types that use unlit liquid crystals to formulate the display. It is important that you remember standard liquid crystals are unlit, because this means that they require some form of back light in order to be visible. A point that will resurface later in this article.

Anyway, it was back in 1996-1998 when I remember the term TFT and “Active Matrix” becoming major buzz words in marketing computer displays. At the time, I was actually working as a sales person and then a technician for the brick-and-mortar computer retail powerhouse Comp USA (now an online only company, boo hoo!).

This was the time when everyone started hearing about TFT LCDs or “active matrix LCDs.” TFT simply stands for Thin Film Transistor and a TFT LCD is simply another variation of an LCD display. They were all the buzz when they were released because they boasted great color, contrast and response times in comparison to available passive matrix LCDs.

Let’s now skip ahead to the present. Most every type of monitor that is purchased today is going to be a type of TFT LCD display. That’s right, your lovely new IPS display is actually just a type of TFT LCD. It is simply a different technology variant of thin film transistor liquid crystal displays. In fact, there are two primary variations of TFT LCDs which we are going to discuss shortly. First, let’s discuss some of the most important features when it comes to displays.

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Most Common Desired Display Features in LCDs

Let’s discuss some of the most important display features for a few different types of common uses.

Response Time – The response time of an LCD display is measured in ms (milliseconds) and it refers to the grey-to-grey transition time. Ok, so what the heck does that mean in a real world setting? Well, have you ever heard of LCD “ghosting”? Ghosting basically refers to an artifact where you essentially would see a lagging “ghost” behind objects that move across the screen. This was caused by the response time being very slow. Hence, if an object was moving across the screen, the trailing pixels behind the object wouldn’t shift color quick enough, thus creating a little ghost or shadow-trail behind the object as shown in the image below from TFT Central below :


Response Time is an important feature when it comes to entertainment. Whether you are enjoying a movie, watching your favorite sports team, or playing the latest video game, a slow response time will ruin your experience as it can be very distracting.

Contrast & Black Levels – First, take what you know about contrast ratios and throw it out the window. All of this 1000:1, 10,000:1, 1 million:1 contrast measurements are bogus. Why? Because factories are performing these measurements according to their own scales, not a uniform scaling system. Hence comparing contrast numbers across different brands is absolutely useless.

LCD technology in general suffers from reduced contrast and poor black levels when compared to other types of technology, such as plasma and CRT displays. They have come a long way, but they still have a ways to go.

Poor overall contrast results in flat looking displays given that the difference between color and light contrast from pixel to pixel is very low. To use a photography term, a high contrast display will look like it “pops.”

Black levels on the other hand refers to how dark a pixel can actually become. We briefly mentioned earlier that liquid crystals are not self-illuminating, which is why you need a back or edge light to light up the pixels. Well, if you have a light shining through a pixel, it is easy to reveal brighter colors and whites. But, what about blacks? If the liquid crystal has a light directly behind it, then the only way to show black is for the liquid crystal to block all of the incoming light. In the example below, the image on the left has much better overall contrast and black levels when compared to the example on the right. This is an illustration of what black levels would look like on a poor quality LCD where the back-light shines through the black pixels.


Early LCD displays were absolutely terrible in regards to black levels. Liquid crystals wouldn’t absorb enough light and thus blacks would simply become a very visible gray. With poor black levels, once again you have reduced contrast. If you have followed our post production tutorials, we always mention that contrast is created by having some deep blacks and some pure highlights in each image.

While an LCD with poor black levels is tolerable for general computer work, it is absolutely terrible when it comes to watching movies. You all know the black bars at the top and bottom of widescreen movies when played on a TV with a different aspect ratio? Well, on a LCD display with poor black levels, those black bars become a very visible gray (which I am sure is something many of you might have noticed).

You can also imagine, having poor black levels on your monitor will also make it difficult to visualize true blacks when editing your images. Your images most likely will end up with too much deep blacks since you would be compensating visually for the lack thereof in the display.

Wide Color Gamut – The monitor’s color gamut refers to color reproduction, or basically how well colors can be accurately displayed in any given situation. This is feature that is absolutely crucial when it comes to creative professionals. The wider the color gamut, the better the display can reproduce extended colors found in the Adobe RGB and NTSC color gamuts.

From color grading video, to editing still photographs, to creating digital art; being able to see colors accurately is probably the single most important feature for creative professionals.

Without a monitor that can accurately display colors, there is no guarantee that your finished product will display correctly in its final format.

For example, typical uncalibrated consumer LCDs tend to be more blue/red than a calibrated or professional color correct LCD. Thus, when editing your image, you would tend to overcompensate creating an image to look warm on screen. However, once you printed said image, you would find that it comes out far too warm since your screen wasn’t correctly displaying the colors to begin with. Hence a monitor that doesn’t accurately display colors will force you to incorrectly overcompensate.


To illustrate this, in the above image we took a single RAW image and processed it on one of our calibrated displays. We then took this image and displayed it on our uncalibrated 17″ ASUS G75VW-DS73 and on our uncalibrated 15″ MacBook Pro Retina. Both screens were then shot with a Canon 5D Mark III in a completely dark room at the exact same settings to show the difference in color. The uncalibrated MacBook Pro Retina comes far closer to being color correct straight out of the box than the ASUS display. This isn’t to say the ASUS display is unusable, far from it. This simply means that prior to using the ASUS for editing, it does need to be calibrated with an external calibration device such as the Spyder 4 Elite Elite (which is what we use in the studio).

In the image below, after calibration with our Spyder 4 Elite, the calibration report shows that our Dell U2711 27-inch Monitor displays 93% of SRGB and 87% of Adobe RGB. While it may not calibrate as well as an even higher-end NEC or EIZO display, it is a great wide gamut IPS monitor for a modest price.


Viewing Angle – First, keep in mind that it isn’t always beneficial to have a wide viewing angle on your LCD. In fact, when we worked in the finance industry, we would always use screen privacy protectors whenever we were on our laptops working on the road. These privacy protectors essentially cut down the viewing angle by an extreme amount so that only those looking directly at the screen could see the display. If you are handling sensitive information on your laptop, the last thing you want is an IPS display that will let anyone see your screen from any angle possible.

However, the needs of creative professionals are quite different. Creative professionals rely on their displays to show accurate colors from edge to edge within their working space. Monitors without a wide viewing angle will show color shifting whenever you are not viewing that particular area straight on.

At this point, you are probably thinking, “Well Pye, I don’t think that matters. I am never doing my work while sitting at an angle, I am always looking at my computer straight on.”

Well, that is exactly what I am talking about. When looking at your computer straight on, you will notice shifting in color and brightness from the center of your screen out to the edges. This isn’t a major issue when you are working on a smaller display on say a 13-17″ laptop because the angle from edge to edge isn’t very extreme. But, on anything larger, this can have a very big impact.

To illustrate this point, we took the same RAW image and duplicated twice to create a total of 3 duplicate images. Within Lightroom 4, we are using the Survey View to view all images side by side. At a standard viewing distance, I shot an image in a dark room with our Canon 5D Mark III and a 17-40mm lens.

At a standard viewing distance, this first example shows the edge to edge color and brightness shifting on our uncalibrated Asus G75VW-DS73. This is a very high quality FHD LED display (which is the next best thing to Retina in my opinion), yet we can still see some brightness and color shifting from the center out to the edge of the display. This effect is even more noticeable in the vertical direction, and the overall color shifting effect itself will be far more exaggerated on lower quality displays.


Once again, IPS monitors will also show color and brightness shifts from edge to edge depending on the quality of the display, it will simply be less than a standard TN display. Here is the same illustration, this time showing our Apple MacBook Pro 15″ Retina display at a standard viewing distance. Notice that while the color shifting is more subtle, we still see a significant amount of shifting in brightness from edge to edge. However, there is indeed less shifting than the ASUS display.


Again, on a smaller 13″, 15″ or 17″ laptop display, this isn’t as big of a problem. On our laptops, we are generally working within the center of the screen and since the screens are small to begin with, the shifting will not be as noticeable. However, could you now imagine sitting close to say a 24″ or 27″ display? Without a high quality IPS display, the color shifting will be so significant that it will be difficult to correctly color your creative works.

Now that we have covered the most important features of a display, let’s move on to discussing the two most common types of TFT LCDs and their strengths and weaknesses in regards to these features above.

The Two Most Common Types of TFT LCDs

There are many types of TFT LCDs. But, rather than turn this into an encyclopedia of TFT LCD types, let just discuss the two most common types. When most of us think of a standard non-IPS LCD, we are actually talking about TN TFT LCD. Let’s talk about these types of displays first.

Twisted Nematic (TN TFT LCDs)

TN refers to Twisted Nematic and from here on, we will refer to a TN TFT LCD simply as a TN display. TN displays are the most common consumer LCD display simply because they in essence offer “the most bang for the buck.”

TN displays have evolved to the point of having an incredibly fast response time, which is one area where an IPS display suffers. This means that a TN display would be better for entertainment, since it will not show as much ghosting when watching sports, or playing your favorite video game.

In regards to viewing angles, TN displays suffer (particularly in the vertical direction which is what you saw in the illustration above). In fact, if you have ever tried to watch a movie on your laptop while laying down, you may have even noticed the colors inverting at extreme angles.

Most TN panels can only represent 70% of the 24-bit color available from graphics cards as they only display 6-bits per RGB color (i.e. 6-bits Red + 6-bits Green + 6-bits Blue = 18-bits). So, instead they display interpolated 24-bit color using dithering. Think of dithering as smudging two colors on a palette t0 create a desired shade, only instead of paint it is combining surrounding pixels to create the desired shade. If you have a high-quality TN display, this generally isn’t going to be noticeable. However, poor quality TN displays may only show as little as 10%-30% of NTSC, Adobe RGB and sRGB color gamuts.

Indeed, when it comes to creative professionals using TN panels for their work, choosing a high quality TN panel is extremely important. Overall quality, viewing angle, contrast, and color representation will differ significantly between make and model. For example, the ASUS G75 units that we use for image editing feature an FHD LED back-lit TN TFT LCD; which from all the laptops I have tried, are the next best thing to the MacBook Pro Retina display. When in the studio, we still use Dell Ultrasharp IPS screens attached to each G75 workstation. But, when we are out-and-about on location without IPS displays, a calibrated G75 display will still work just fine for image editing and color grading.

In Plane Switching (IPS TFT LCDs)

Finally! If you have made it to this point in the article, then pat yourself on the back because you probably know more about LCD displays than most, haha.

As we previously mentioned, IPS technology has been around for quite a while. It may also surprise you to know that there are several different types of IPS technologies. IPS, S-IPS, AS-IPS, IPS-Pro, H-IPS, etc. All of these are different types of IPS technologies created and used by different manufacturers and display lines. It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss each of these, but just know that all IPS technology is not equal, and it is definitely worth digging into what type of IPS technology a display has before purchasing.

But, to keep things simple, let’s just say that IPS is IPS is IPS. In other words, let’s just talk about the technology (and similar technologies) as a whole.

IPS displays were designed to improve on the flaws of TN technology, primarily in regards to the poor viewing angles and color reproduction. They do this by simply altering the direction of the pixels within the display (parallel instead of perpendicular pixels). Of course, it really isn’t that simple and neither is explaining it. So let’s just leave it at that ;)

As with any display technology, they improve over time. IPS displays now have great contrast and black levels (a problem they previously suffered from). However, their response times still don’t compare to standard TN displays. In fact, the previous example of ghosting was actually on an IPS display. While response times have improved over time, the IPS displays still lag in this feature.

These features make IPS displays far better when it comes to professional creative applications than casual consumer entertainment uses.


IPS is indeed a better display technology for creative professionals. If you are considering a long-term career as a creative professional, then a high quality wide gamut IPS LCD is an absolute must have. In fact, whenever we are working on production tutorials seen in the LR4 Workshop Collection and software such as the LR4 Preset System, we are always working on high quality IPS LCDs because we need a reference quality display in order to achieve accurate final results.

However, high quality TN displays shouldn’t be ruled out completely. When calibrated, high quality TN displays can be used by creative professionals when cost is major factor. As we mentioned, within the studio, each of our ASUS G75 machines is hooked up to a Dell U24 or U27 wide gamut IPS display. However, when out on location, a calibrated Asus G75 display will still work very well.

Remember that when it comes to each type of display technology, quality will vary. A high quality TN display can perform better than a low quality IPS display. Within IPS displays, there are several different types of IPS technologies.

To aid you on your IPS display research, here is one last tid-bit of interesting info. Factories that manufacturer these TFT display panels are extremely expensive. In fact, they are so expensive that this high barrier to entry means that there are only a handful of manufacturers out there. In my opinion, Panasonic (who purchased IPS technology from Hitachi), Hitachi, Samsung, Toshiba, Sony and Sharp are the best manufacturers of IPS technology.

So, that lovely little Dell, Asus, HP or other brand of TN/IPS LCD that you are looking at isn’t actually coming from said companies. They are simply purchasing the TFT LCD panels OEM from these large manufacturers and using them in their displays. Looking into who actually makes the panel for your so-desired TN or IPS LCD will help in comparing each display’s individual quality.

Hope you all enjoyed this article!

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

Follow my updates on Facebook and my latest work on Instagram both under username @pyejirsa.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Niharika Singh

     I really liked your web site it’s really fresh  <a href=””>skype to talk</a>

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  2. Nick Izaak

    Seriously, this is most winded article.  IPS = Better viewing angle, better contract at the cost of higher power consumption and higher response time.

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  3. David Fontes

    I didn’t need a whole damn 3500-word rendition for what does ISP stand for w/a monitor!!! One lousy sentence from the very beginning would have been sufficient!!! dah?….lol. 

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  4. Mart Einpalu

    Great review, thanks!

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  5. Lee Hawkins

    Awesome article!!! Thanks! I just shared this in a group where this came up. You’ve made this pretty simple to understand.

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  6. damien lee

    Hi guys, i really liked your web site and i see that it’s very stable.. Can you please tell who is your hosting provider? I’ve heard about that they are good, can you tell me yours or suggest anyone for that matter? Thank you

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  7. Stephen Glass

    Very informative. No mention of the higher dollar NEC or Eizo surprises me. Is it budget considerations?

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  8. Barry Wt.

    UPDATE Now on the website I do see that the HP 27VX is listed as a ISP screen. Just not mentioned on the box.
    But their on line customer service person said it is not ISP ? …

    So what do you think about the “Technicolor Certification” Better to keep a New 27″ HP 27vx, or for the “same money” go for a HP Pavilion 23″ 23xw Technicolor Color Certivied screen?

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  9. Barry Wt.


    I am noticing that this report is “a few years old” I am wondering if the NEW “Non IPS” LCD screens have caught up in performance, with the IPS screens. I have been driven crazy by looking at an old Sony SDM-HS73, TFT LCD screen to edit my digital photographs. It is old enough to be “pre Widescreen display format” (5 to 10 years old or More!?)
    The constant need or curse of bobbing my head around and trying to guess where I have to be , and guessing the “accurate exposure” on the screen… BAD!
    I hate this so much, and CAN’T trust viewing this screen at all. I don’t know if I am deleting the good pictures and keeping the bad ones or not… If “you” move your head just a few inches, the Contrast and color changes, noticeably! So I am having to burn $ buying a new one!!!?

    So I thought I need to go by an IPS screen to edit out my photos. I went to a “Best store” to check on IPS screens. The recommended a HP. 27vx monitor, (sale price 139.99+tx. List price $249.99) To me saying it was a Good Special on a Good IPS screen. (there was a AOC screen there e for 99.99 on sale that was IPS, but I think it was only 21.5 inches, and the “same height” as this old “square” Sony I am on right now. If I have to burn $ I want a screen at least a little bit taller.)
    so I picked up the 27 inch HP 27vx, ( Have Not opened the box yet.) and have been reading “quick customer reviews” of it on the “Best store” site. They say, “great color, great viewing wide angle” , “great for photos” etc. I have not opened the box, but I am looking at it and it does not say IPS anywhere on it. The “Best store” website says it is IPS. But that is not stated on the box, hmmm…
    I contacted HP customer service, (internet chat) and they told me it is Not IPS. And that the term/statements – “Expanded Viewing Angle, lets everyone enjoy a great view” and “Always the best angle” on the HP website for the 27vx Might just mean that it is a big wide screen ??? (27″ screen) It do Not think it mentions IPS on the HP website either.

    Or is this “expanded viewing angle” now true of todays non ISP LCD screens???

    I asked the person at customer service if it was a “FHD LED back-lit TN TFT LCD” and they said Yes.

    So I guess my main concern question for somebody trying to edit down their thousands of digital photos, and possibly do some altering in cyberlinks “photoshop” would you stick with the HP 27vx, or return it and get an IPS monitor? My photos are now taken on a Good “point and shoot” Canon camera.

    Also… What do you think of the “new” Technicolor color certified” rating on monitors?

    I am tired now, but wonder if the disclaimer of “Note: Content must be created in rec. 709 (movies/videos) or sRGB D65 (photos/web page) format for color accuracy.” < means it will not apply to photos taken in "Jpeg"? on "point and shoot cameras"???

    So what do you think hang on to the New 27" HP 27vx ($139.99) " FHD LED back-lit TN TFT LCD"? type screen"
    Or take it back and get a ISP screen. Such as a HP Pavilion 24xw , (23.8 Inch wide. sale $134.99 reg. $199.99) Technicolor Color Certified monitor?
    Or any other suggestions for somebody who likes to try and take Good Scenery shots on a Good point and shoot camera, and wants to edit them down to just the "good ones/better version" and maybe do a little bit of altering in Cyberlinks "photo shop"??? And then Print some up.

    Or are all new LCD monitors going to drive me crazy like this "Old" … "square" Sony LCD monitor?

    I think I am to tired to type anymore.

    Thanks for your thoughts.
    OH and by the way, is there some EASY way for the casual in home user to accurately "calibrate" the " FHD LED back-lit TN TFT LCD" monitors, as you say that "you" do? I am thinking No…?

    And why aren't the manufacturers just calibrating the monitors properly when the produce them???

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  10. Michael Neal

    Haters gonna hate. Keep up the good work.

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  11. Michael Neal

    Great article Pye!

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  12. Paul Empson

    Very good read… was looking at an IPS monitor as my next upgrade… my current LCD’s just don’t hold their config’s…

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  13. Gurmit Saini

    Hi great article. could you please advice me on monitors as i am looking for one at reasonable price.
    best regards

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  14. Hal Gaskill


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  15. Hal Gaskill

    Great article!
    I was looking at a Newegg monitor on sale with IPS technology. The reviews were very good but I didn’t know what IPS was. Now I have a good idea.

    I never, ever play games on my computer and my only high-demand application is Photoshoot. So, I have found my new monitor.

    I also found slrlounge which is great because photography is my hobby. I wasn’t looking for photography but just Googled in on ips display.

    If people don’t like your article I do suggest that you refund their money, though!

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  16. Steve Enoch

    Great article! Very helpful! Thanks Pye!

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  17. ASUS PA248Q 24-Inch LED-Lit IPS Professional Graphics Monitor Review | Find The Best Monitor For Photo editing Here

    […] if the Asus PA248Q is for you, let’s focus on some of the pros and cons associated with this IPS widescreen monitor. Based on some of the Asus PA248Q review ratings, this is what users had to […]

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  18. Marcos Bressan

    This article is genius. Thank you very much!

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  19. Hisham

    Ooops I just noticed that I am reading a page on SLR Lounge which is camera related! Well when dealing with colors IPS is almost always better than TN. It like seeing a picture taken with a polarised filter… compare to them washout looking image on TNs.
    Good read. Thank You.

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  20. Dennis Frailey

    I counted four times that you used “in regards to” or “with regards to” in the article. The correct English is “in regard to” or “with regard to”. Sorry to be pedantic, but as a school teacher for over 40 years I always notice ways I can help people improve their English grammar.

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    • Sykogf

      Hey, Dennis. As a “fellow pedantic” I find it funny that you noticed (and mentioned) his use of “in regards to” as opposed to his misspelling of “they” when he wanted “the” (for example). Good catch, nonetheless.

      Pye, very good article (grammatical errors aside), well-written, etc. A little more detail on the IPS technologies would be nice. Could you, perhaps, write an updated article (which would include OLEDs) with more detail into the physics and/or inner workings of the technologies? I, for one, would be very interested in that.

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  21. Daniel

    This is sincerely the most annoying article I’ve ever stopped reading. Do us a favor and get to the point. Almost every paragraph is poorly written and self-satisfying.

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  22. ASUS VS239H-P 23-Inch Full-HD LED IPS Monitor Review | Find The Best Monitor For Photo editing Here

    […] monitors available in the market, ASUS VS239H-P does not use the inferior TN but rather the IPS type monitor technology. The IPS screen thereby brings the overall cost of this monitor down. […]

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  23. Best Computer Monitors for Photography | Find The Best Monitor For Photo editing Here

    […] The accuracy of both color and detail are paramount. In order to ensure this, look into an IPS (In-Plane Switching) monitor. The best computer monitors will contain IPS. This feature in your […]

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  24. Anup Das

    Knowledgeable Information. Thanks for taking time to write and share with others.

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  25. Robert Felty

    I also want to add that I appreciate the in-depth nature of the article. Simply spelling out the acronym would not have made for a very worthwhile article. Thanks for taking the time to really go into detail about the pros and cons when compared to other display technologies. I now know that I TN is probably better for my purposes.

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  26. damian

    Far better if you took half the energy and time to write that article and actually put it into what the article was supposed to be about in the first place. Couple of measly paragraphs about IPS which basically state you were too lazy to write about what the article was supposed to be about.

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  27. The Ultimate Screen Calibration Guide

    […] a little off axis with the monitor. For an exceptional breakdown of monitor types, check out Pye Jirsa’s article over at our friends from SLRLounge. With this said, color temperatures and brightness will still shift on IPS monitors over time, so […]

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  28. Ash

    Good detail but the heading is “What is an IPS monitor” this would have been good to open with what ips stands for then do the rest of the article> I found myself annoyed having to scan down the page to get the answer I wanted. But do love the effort you put in.

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  29. The World of Colour Correction – One of the most intricate and complicated worlds to live in | PrintWild Blog

    […] explained in a very informative article: “IPS displays were designed to improve on the flaws of LCD technology, primarily in regards to […]

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  30. AceOfBasics


    Definitely do not listen to the naysayers. Wow. Much of the consumer-driven behavior today is wildly inappropriate as much as it is an outward manifestation of self-loathing.

    Your contextual examples grounded in the historical genesis of modern product creation (or rather, “variations”) is not only very helpful but extremely illuminating.

    Thank you for not borking a perfectly good opportunity to demonstrate your technical prowess alongside a modest exhibition of refined composition. Too many a time, the “interweb” is ripe with one-liners and “duh,” responses; as though the original impetus driving the question could be answered with the same and that such an “obvious” answer was likewise so plainly self-evident thus vitiating the need to have ever asked the question.

    Keep on, I appreciate the good work.

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  31. Marios of

    Not sure why people feel the need to complain about the work of others. I for one liked this article and found it useful so thanks for writing. It’s a bummer that there’s so much to consider when making a buying decision though and we haven’t even got to talking all of the other components of a laptop :-)

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  32. Tom Johnsen

    Thanks for the article, it was incredibly useful.

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  33. Louie

    Thanks for the effort and an informative article. Is the response time ghosting with IPS much of a problem on a 15″ 1080p screen watching football or playing an ordinary game etc.? Would I say it is too blurry to enjoy? Do you think a good quality 1080p laptop tn display looks pretty much the same as ISP except for the viewing angle on static pictures?

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    • Hisham

      well IPS display colors better. But then to be honest, to spend hours in front of monitors looking at static fonts and pics I prefer my TN to my IPS even the IPS screen is bigger by a couple of inches. Feels less tiring on eyes.

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  34. Bob S.

    I am not a computer guru by any means but want to know as much about the product as I can find out before buying it. Went to Best Buy today looking for a monitor and asked the person selling them what IPS meant and he could not answer me and passed me on to another dept. which I didn’t have time for so I came home and read your article and was very impressed as I learned as much as I need to know to make a decision. Thanks so much.

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  35. Chimas

    Great article!
    And spoiled people will destroy the internet, if they don’t grow up.

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    Hi PYE,

    Great article, I should say. Not because this is about something great, but the way you have put it across. I gained a lot of knowledge about LCDs. Thank you.

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  37. Ron White

    Well done piece, naysayers aside. You wrote the piece you wanted to write and it was well done. The ones who didn’t like it, just wanted to read a different explanation.

    Btw, why does your system insist is not a URL. I had to omit it to leave this message.

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  38. sgt.shultz

    This article reminds me of a Styx song. “Too Much Time on My Hands”

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  39. yette

    you forgot to mention LG Company with regards to IPS.

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  40. Lance

    Thanks for the informative article. Where else but online can you spend your time to enlighten people and get criticism in return. “Dude I read your article you suck”. Hey if you don’t want to read it don’t read it. It was enjoyable and informative.

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  41. Can You Match Your Camera LCD and Computer Display Brightness? – Q&A

    […] [Rewind: A Practical Guide to IPS Monitors] […]

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  42. gdumps25

    Is there any free software that will highlight weakness or strengths of your choice, more likely the choice you accepted from the sales rep or web site, eg gaming package.

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  43. Arun

    Thanks for the Article…!!

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  44. jon simpson

    long ass article, all i wanted to know was what ips was

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    • Rowan Staveley

      And yet you chose to read to the end and even stuck around to post a complaint rather than heading right off to wikipedia. ..

      Good article.

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  45. jmscyclist

    Very informative, I’ve been trying to find info like this for a while. I unfortunately have a TN monitor and as noted am struggling with good color representation because of the narrow viewing angles. Are there any filters that can help in this area? I know there is nothing that will totally eliminate the color shift from the viewing angle…..

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  46. Kogilathas

    a very informative article. Thanks Pye..

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  47. Remrie

    This article rambles a bit, but it’s very coherent and extremely informative. No literary calibration is needed. :)
    While my budget is too low to really make a difference, it’s nice to know for future reference.

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  48. Wild Palms

    Just a quick note on the article which was very informative. You slipped into an old parlance when talking about Wide Color Gamut and used the term ‘monitor’. This was for a brief time used to describe a computer display, but has thankfully been dropped as it conflicts with the original meaning of the term. A monitor is a studio speaker used for listening in on the musicians playing. A display or computer display is the electronic screen used to present the information to the user.

    Otherwise, good article.

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    • Lefty

      Wow, dude. Take put your pocket protector and relax.

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    • Farallon5

      No, monitor is a term used to describe BOTH. Sony has been making professional video “monitors” forever and a day. The term, like many words in the English language, has a synonym. It’s unfortunate that one reader actually took you seriously by saying “take out your pocket protector”. Basically conceding to your overbearing yet inaccurate assertions. “Monitor” is a term meaning : Radio and Television. a receiving apparatus used in a control room, especially to provide a steady check of the quality of an audio or video transmission. — in this obvious blunder you’ve served as a hindrance to at least one readers understanding an hopefully no others fell for your pedantic and inaccurate blurb. It’s confusing for some but it’s like a “brush”. Use it to scrub a floor, a toilet, or the dirty inaccuracies from your mouth… It’s shaped different but it’s still a brush. Similarly; there are more than one type of monitor. Just because you think a “display” isn’t a monitor doesn’t make it so. One could also say I monitored this thread… I’m glad I did. I may have saved someone from believing a gear head with a very small understanding in relation to the discussion and technology therein.

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  49. akshay

    very nice article, world needs tech experts like u who share his knowledge to general people.

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  50. D

    Great article. Thanks!

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  51. Marius

    Pye, did you tested the Truelife panels from the Dell laptops? Just beeing courious

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  52. studio828senior

    Thank you!!!! As a pro photographer confusesd about what to buy your description s and practical information has really been helpful. My only question is what is a slow response time. And what makes for a lower quality ips monitor. Thank you for taking your time to explain this subject so non geek types can understand! !!

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  53. Samuel

    Agreed; a well written and informative read, thanks.

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  54. Tom

    Don’t listen to the haters, Pye, with this one article I now know more about what all the confusing LCD acronyms than I’d learned in an entire day of researching other sources. Thank you!

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  55. Creed

    worst article ever wanted to kinow what a IPS monitor is and whats the differences between non IPS. Ended up the article talkedabout it for like not even a paragraph and the rest of the huge article is about bs thats not on the topic of the article… way to go

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  56. Brian Hartman

    Does ASUS use that same display on any of their other laptops? I’m willing to give up some horsepower for portability.

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  57. JonSmeeth

    What about AMOLED screens? Any idea why Samsung’s high-contrast OLED screens don’t make it to the professional desktop for colour-aware applications?

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    • Pye

      OLED (Organic LED) will make it’s way eventually. However, right now there are still a lot of bugs to be worked out when putting OLEDs into large panels. Hence, you see them most often used for small devices/phones/etc. I am excited to see these nifty little self lit diodes make their way into monitors as well ;) 

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    • Hisham

      I think its because of their relatively short life afore burn in sets in.

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  58. Pete

    Great article, thanks. I’m looking for a new laptop now so the info is very relevant.

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  59. Geo

    you only forgot to mention PVA or PLS type of screens.

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    • Pye

      Not forgotten, there are simply too many types of IPS related technologies from all the manufacturers to list. Hence, we just kind of talk about it as a whole. Thanks for the comment!

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    • j Flo

      I concur. Although I would group pls with ips as PLS employs similar polarization methods to ips. I know this is 2.5 years later but I’m having the best results with a true 8bit VA panel I got from benq. IPS has improved by leaps and bounds and i enjoy it on many of my devices (as i also enjoy oled). In scenarios where backlight lacks dimming control (pretty much all desktop monitors) the visible blacks are still just unacceptable to me in low lit environments. While grading all the levels can be viewed, eliminating the bleeding backlight seems to be a cost inflating pest at the moment. VA panels suffer some of the gamma and brightness aberrations that TN shows, but much less visibly on axis. so while I’d rather look at my ips displays in most scenarios. I’d rather use the VA in low lit environments. IPS requires double the transistors per pixel which interrupts more light so manufacturers compensate by installing brighter backlights which exacerbates the light bleed around the edges and through the panel. oled seems to be unperfected and cost prohibitive (perhaps due to pixel persistence) but i have seen some “creative/pro” displays that rely on oled. Speaking of ips deployed in portables, this seems to be the only scenario where backlight is actually dimmed for the intended purpose of preserving energy. This seems to have the unintended yet beneficial consequence of actually bringing that light bleed back into acceptable low light levels. Why LG and the others don’t seem to put user dimmable backlights in their consumer ips desktop panels, I can’t fathom. (unless the pwm flickers hard when dimmed and they don’t want you to care that they are using pwm light source). Incidentally, my va panel does not have a dimmable backlight but it DOES use a voltage controlled backlight to control the output so no pulse in the image (or lightsource of the image anyway) Nonetheless, VA (and its modern iterations) is worthy of discussion as it is neither TN technology nor IPS technology where PLS actually is samsung’s iteration of ips.

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  60. Simple Reader

    I love the fact that it takes you 40 paragraphs before you even define what the term IPS means – as far as an acronym. And considering there are only 51 paragraphs, that’s just not right.

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    • Pye

      Thanks for the comment. I added the acronym definition to the start of the article. But, I didn’t want this to be really a “dictionary” style article just defining terms, I wanted everyone to have a good practical grasp of the concepts. Hence it is long, but hopefully it was an easy and enjoyable read.

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    • dvsjr

      You know what else is awesome? Manners.

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