What type of monitor panel is best?

You’ve probably seen the type of monitor panel in its specifications many times. Do you really know which monitor panel is better? Do you know what types of panels there are and what each one does? This is exactly what we will see today in this article, we will try to explain everything about monitor panels and see what display technologies are available.

When buying a monitor we always tend to look at two key features, namely the display resolution and the size or inches it has. And if we want a gaming monitor, we will also look at the response time or refresh rate. So what do we know about monitor panel types?

Monitor Panel

In any case, the panel type of a monitor is an important feature that we need to know depending on what we want to use our monitor for, because each has its pros and cons. The types of LCD and LED panels we can currently find in the market are IPS, TN, VA, PLS, IGZO and WLED. We should know that in general terms, neither panel is better than the other, but its features will allow us to work better depending on the situation.

The panel of a monitor is nothing but the element that is responsible for providing us with the image on our monitor. This panel is embedded with millions of diodes that dynamically change the light intensity or brightness of three primary colors: Red, Blue, and Green (RGB). Through a CCFD or LED lamp that provides backlighting, these diodes allow a certain level of light and a different color to pass through and this is how colors are formed on our screen and this is how we can see an image on it.

Monitor Panel Types

From now on, we will take a detailed look at each of the panel types available in the monitor market and what the features of each are. This way you can get a rough idea of what your next monitor’s panel will be.

Monitor with TN panel

TN panels, from the abbreviation (Twisted Nematic), were the first panel type used by flat panel LCD monitors, and in fact they are still widely used and of course improved upon the early versions.

As for the positive features that these panels bring to a monitor, there can be several. For starters, they consume less energy than others and have a lower cost of production. In terms of thickness and size, these panels are lighter because they are narrower and can produce different resolutions and different sizes and shapes. They can also produce clearer images and are flicker-free.

These panels are widely used by manufacturers to create “gaming” monitors or specialize in gaming, because their response time is very low, so images do not experience lag from the moment the video card renders it and is sent to the monitor. In addition, the refresh rate of these monitors will be very high, between 60Hz and 240Hz on the newest monitors, and will offer us incredible fluidity of motion in games.

As for the negative aspects of such panels, there are many. Perhaps one of the most important issues is the limitation in viewing angles, as these monitors look good when viewed from the front. The lower the viewing angle of a monitor, the worse it will look when we look at it from the side, the color representation will change and we will not be able to see the image correctly. Early TN LCD panels had terrible viewing angles, but today they are quite acceptable at 160 to 170 degrees, although there is still color distortion.

Other disadvantages are that they produce motion blur, uneven backlighting on large screens, dead pixels, and not very faithful color representation. While it is true that we will see vibrant and saturated colors on these monitors, they will not be very realistic.

Therefore, these monitors are not recommended for use in graphic design work or image or video management, as the color representation will not be good. However, they are widely used monitors for gamers due to their fast response and high refresh rates. So if you just want a monitor for gaming, check out one of these.

WLED or LED backlit monitor

LED or WLED (White LED) is not a panel per se, but a backlight technology for LCD monitors. This lighting method is used in high-end LCD displays.

LCD screens were the great innovation and incredible evolution of traditional CRT or cathode ray projector screens. It provides much lighter, flatter displays with better resolution and power consumption. What we need to keep in mind is that high-quality LCD screens use LED or WLED technology to provide their backlight, as low-end or “regular” ones use CCFL technology.

The difference between the two technologies is that LED lighting provides higher image quality due to higher brightness capacity with pure white light, greater lamp durability and lower energy consumption than CCFL. The pixels of LCD displays do not emit their own light, but change their brightness to allow or deny the passage of light from the backlight, thereby producing colors. The color of the backlight will always be the same, pure white light

Another improvement of WLED lighting over CCFL is that the panel turns on instantly, whereas CCFL takes longer to reach final brightness. Consumption is much lower as the pixels are responsible for filtering and reducing the power output of up to 95% of the light produced. That’s why the brightness of an LED monitor is much higher than a regular LCD, and contrast ratios are much higher with LEDs.

Monitor with IPS panel

IPS is a panel created in response to the limitations of the first TN panels on the market. Nowadays, they are widely used panels for different work areas and uses of monitors and televisions. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages below.

These panels have a much wider viewing angle (178 degrees) than their predecessors, so color distortion will be greatly reduced even if we look at the screen from the side. And not only that, they also greatly improve the quality of color reproduction thanks to better contrast ratio, with better blacks and colors that are much more faithful to what we actually see.

As for the negative aspects of these IPS panels, for example, they have a higher production cost than TN panels and are therefore more expensive products. Additionally, response times are slower (about 4 or 5 milliseconds), refresh rates are lower (60 Hz), and power consumption is higher.

While it’s true that there are currently IPS panels with refresh rates reaching 144 Hz, response times will almost always be slower. These features make these monitors ideal for graphic design, as some have more than 90% P3 and 100% sRGB color space, so colors will be very true to life and photos will look more natural.

One thing we have to keep in mind with these panels is the effect of bleeding around the edges of the screen. This effect causes light leaks to appear at the edges of the screen, which we can perfectly notice under a black background.

Although they are not recommended for competitive gaming and eSports, they will be suitable for casual gamers who want to experience high image quality with amazing graphics without sacrificing response time.

Monitor with VA panel

VA panels offer a combination of the features of TN panels and IPS to offer us the best of each, and the truth is that they have partially succeeded.

These panels today offer refresh rates of up to 144Hz, and they also have better color reproduction, higher peak brightness, and better viewing angles. So, the advantages over TN panels are obvious, and some of these panels go up to 90% P3 color space and have 178-degree viewing angles, just like IPS.

There are also VA monitors with AMD FreeSync’s dynamic refresh technology or Nvidia’s G-Sync, optimized for gaming and with response times of 144 milliseconds at 1 Hz.

But they still won’t be faster than TNs, and they also have motion blur in fast action, so they don’t make them the best ally of eSports. They are also not as good as IPS for working professionally in graphic design. On the other hand, due to the combination of features, one of these monitors will offer us a good experience in both areas, let’s say they are very balanced.

Monitor with PLS panel

PLS are panels with very similar characteristics to IPS panels, in fact they have essentially the same advantages and disadvantages in terms of response times, color space and others.

These panels are manufactured by Samsung, and the manufacturer provides information that places these panels above IPS with better viewing angles, increased brightness by up to 10%, higher image quality, and the ability to be flexible panels. However, we can generally say that these panels are the IPS version made by the Korean brand for its products.

Monitor with IGZO panel

These abbreviations refer to the building materials used, namely Indium, Gallium and Zinc Oxide. This definition refers to the type of semiconductor found in the TFT or thin film of the transistor. This technology can be used on other panel types such as TN, VA, IPS and even OLED displays.

One of the best features of these panels is that they consume very little power and provide very faithful and vibrant colors, just like IPS panels. Of course, production and marketing costs are much more expensive.

The materials used to create the transistors of these panels offer higher conductivity than regular ones, and therefore the energy savings compared to IPS are almost 90%. The pixel density is also higher, so less lighting power is required to produce images as bright as other panels. In this way, response times are faster and color reproduction can be up to 99% in the Adobe RGB color space.

This technology is quite new and will spread slowly and will definitely be linked to OLED technology because it shares a unique ability in the industry to make transparent panels. These panels will be aimed at mobile and portable devices where battery consumption has always been the biggest issue.

OLED and AMOLED monitors

LED displays are currently the most common, along with the types of panels we see specifically for making monitors and large screens. But there are still a few technologies that are increasingly used, and not just in Smartphones and Tablets, these are OLED and AMOLED displays.

OLED displays are based on organic light-emitting diodes, an organic compound that enables each pixel to be illuminated individually. In this case, it will be the pixels themselves that provide the illumination, thus producing more accurate images with superior brightness quality and better contrast since no backlight is used. Black levels are greatly improved.

AMOLED displays are a variant of active matrix OLED displays. In this case, each pixel lights up when activated electronically, managing energy much better and providing very low consumption. In this way, since there is no light, blacks will be real and the color quality will be like that of OLED screens.

Both technologies are mainly used in mobile displays because they are expensive to produce and their quality is ideal for representing colors and low consumption. Samsung is the largest AMOLED display manufacturer, which has already implemented this technology in monitors and television screens.