Quite a few confusions bother you when choosing a monitor for your gaming or productivity build. While all these play a role in deciding which monitor is best for you, some are more important than others.
Probably the most important one is the battle between IPS and LED monitors. Those who want to create gaming and productivity PCs spend so much time talking over the IPS Vs. LED debate. And the choice is not easy.
Differences in construction, quality, and technology provide unique advantages and drawbacks to both IPS and LED monitors. If you choose a random monitor without understanding these, you might not have the ideal gaming, photo editing, or productivity experience you imagined. We have tried to answer the common doubts raised in an IPS Vs in this guide. LED debate.
We understand that technical specifications matter in the selection, but we have kept the article as jargon-free as possible. So, everyone can make the right choice from the duo.
The Science Behind IPS and LED
Let’s look at what IPS and LED mean in the world of computer monitors and display equipment.
IPS, which stands for In-Plane Switching, is a screen technology used with LCD monitors. The development of IPS displays happened due to several issues caused by TN panels used regularly in the late 1980s.
In particular, IPS displays provided better color accuracy, improved viewing angles, and stable response times. Since their popularization in the early 1990s, the IPS panel technology has improved. S-IPS, H-IPS, e-IPS, and P-IPS are major variants within the IPS panel technology spectrum.
Depending on the purpose, the IPS panel technology can be integrated into various monitor types, including ultra-wide, gaming-focused, and curved monitors.
LED, which stands for Light-Emitting Diode, is a backlighting technology used with LCD monitors. A monitor using LED technology can be called an LED-backlit LCD monitor in the most technical terms.
LED backlighting made it to the monitor industry when the traditional CCFL backlighting hindered the monitors’ color reproduction, performance, and durability.
However, LED-backlit LCD monitors can offer a few advantages over CCFL-backlit ones, such as supporting a wider color gamut, slimmer design, lower power resource consumption, increased reliability, and a wide contrast ratio.
It needs to be noted that LED backlighting has been used in an immense variety of situations, including Televisions and smartphones.
The bottom line: IPS is a panel technology while LED is a backlighting technology.
Is IPS an LED Panel?
We would like to refer to the last section’s bottom line: IPS is a panel technology; LED is a backlighting technology.
Due to this, an IPS cannot be an LED panel. However, a monitor using the IPS panel technology may also use LED backlighting technology. Simultaneously, you can find IPS panels that use technologies other than LED backlighting. Some manufacturers like Samsung and LG have tried alternative backlighting technologies like QLED, OLED, and MicroLED.
Some of these alternatives keep using an LCD while others have moved away. For instance, OLED monitors and TVs from LG do not use an LCD. Instead, these display devices arrange a vast number of OLEDs in proper order and toggle them to create the desired image. MicroLED, which is being worked on by popular tech giants like Apple and Samsung, takes this to a new level using millions of LEDs.
We will now analyze the significant advantages of choosing a monitor using the IPS panel technology. Most of these points are compared with other panel technologies like VA and TN.
- Better Viewing Angles
Monitors powered by the IPS technology offer better viewing angles during operation. It means the color on the monitor would look the same regardless of where you look at it from. It was not the case with VA and TN panels, which offer poor viewing angles. This feature comes in handy for professionals like photographers and video editors.
- Improved Color Accuracy
Color accuracy refers to how truthfully the panel can reproduce the colors. Fortunately, IPS panels offer the best deal in the market right now, supporting 8-bit color reproduction. It means the monitor can display more shades of primary colors without a problem from a practical standpoint. In the end, whatever you see on an IPS monitor will be closer to the actual footage.
- Enhanced Color Gamut
Compared to TN and VA, an IPS panel can accommodate a wider color gamut. Gamut refers to the subset of colors the monitor can show. There are standards such as Adobe RGB and sRGB, and monitor manufacturers advertise how well each monitor accommodates these gamuts. Monitors designed for professionals might have 100% or 98% of sRGB and Adobe RGB, respectively.
- Contrast Ratio
IPS panels also support a better contrast ratio when compared to TN and VA counterparts. It means a user can easily understand the difference between bright and dark spaces on the monitor with better ease. An improved contrast ratio will help professionals who deal with content creation and editing to display the same better.
Here are some areas where an LED display offers an upper hand. Please note that the LED technology might be used along with IPS, VA, or TN panel technologies.
- Slim Design
Compared to its predecessors, LED-backlit technology allows manufacturers to create slimmer monitors. It is so because the LED backlighting hardware does not consume a lot of space, whereas older ones like CCFL backlighting hardware were huge. Therefore, you would see that monitors using LED backlighting will have a more portable design.
- Less Expensive
The LED backlighting technology also caused the rise of inexpensive monitors and television displays. While a CRT-based display requires a lot of construction expertise, creating an LED-backlit LCD is an easy task, and it can be automated. Due to the lower base price of LED monitors, LED monitors with advanced features are generally more affordable than IPS variants.
- Low Heat and Power Consumption
Due to their design, LED monitors do not generate a lot of heat or consume huge power. Both these increase the reliability and durability of the LED-backlit LCDs by a long shot. From an energy-conserving point of view, LED monitors are a better choice than previous-generation options. In the end, it means less e-waste, you know.
Compared to older models, LED monitors are very versatile. For instance, they can be combined with an IPS panel to provide a blend of color accuracy and performance. Similarly, the IPS-TN combination is an excellent choice for gamers. As we said, LED monitors can easily achieve better response times and improved refresh rates, as high as 1ms and 300Hz.
Why Is the IPS Panel Better?
We think the following reasons are why you should choose a monitor with an IPS panel.
First of all, monitors with an IPS panel are suitable for professional tasks like photo and video editing. It is particularly because the panel can reproduce colors with ultimate accuracy and accommodate popular color gamuts like sRGB and Adobe RGB. In general, whatever you see on an IPS display tends to be a more accurate representation of colors in real-life.
The wider viewing angles on an IPS monitor also mean a lot from a convenience perspective. In the end, you can choose a place of your comfort and look at the monitor. It comes in handy when you want to set up a multi-monitor or extended display system. You can see that professional photographers also go for an IPS monitor system over TA and VA ones.
Given that you get a high-resolution monitor with an IPS panel, you will not have to worry about the image quality at all. Regardless of the content, the panel can display everything with maximum sharpness. Many manufacturers allow you to choose between different viewing modes as well. For instance, you can reduce the blue-light emissions from the IPS monitor to improve your health.
Despite the expensive price tag they come with, IPS displays are built for long-term performance. As a result, professionals who invest in long-lasting workspaces will love the durability of IPS displays. Even though you may spend a couple of hundred dollars on display, it will catch up with almost all the varying gaming or PC needs you may have.
In addition to these, IPS-based monitors will have manufacturer-specific features as well. For instance, you may have different modes and customizable settings. An IPS monitor from BenQ that I use allows me to pick a mode suitable for reading, movies, gaming, etc. You may also get a variety of connectivity options via the manufacturer.
For IPS monitors to achieve some of these benefits, they must be combined with several other technologies. For instance, if an IPS monitor needs to perform better power savings, it needs to use the LED backlighting technology. Similarly, features like thinner bezels may be required to improve how the display experience improves.
How Long Do IPS Panels Last?
As we mentioned earlier, IPS panels are designed to provide a high-quality customer experience. They are also optimized to be a long-term investment compared to other panel technologies. Therefore, if you take a representative IPS monitor and VA/TN monitor from the market, you will see that the IPS one offers improved performance. More importantly, the monitor does this without compromising the system’s running hours.
Of course, to answer your question, we cannot give you a single figure that works across manufacturers. The specific answer to the question depends on several factors, including the manufacturer and the machine’s price-tag. However, market research says that a typical LCD monitor comes with a usage cap between 30000 hours and 60000 hours. It needs to be noted that we are talking about usage time and not the time from purchase.
For instance, if you use the monitor for 8 hours a day, we are talking about 10 to 20 years of lifetime. This is an interesting number for professionals for another reason. If you are a professional photographer or media creator, you will have to change the hardware setup within 10 years for sure. Keeping this fact in mind, you can confidently get an IPS monitor for your professional PC setup. Even otherwise, a maximum lifetime of 20 years seems quite impressive from a utilitarian point of view.
Here is the icing on the cake, though. If you buy the monitor from a trusted manufacturer, you also get one of the best warranty packages. Therefore, even if you find some problems with the IPS monitor, you have a chance at getting it replaced. Even if that is not the case, you should keep a lookout for problems like dead pixels, screen problems, and burn-in issues on the screen.
Are IPS Monitors Good for Eyes?
Eye-strain is one of the biggest problems for professionals who spend hours in front of computer monitors. It often happens due to the type of rays emitted from the panel. Of course, choosing an IPS monitor over a TN/VA monitor can impact your eyesight health.
The general opinion is that IPS monitors cause less strain on human eyes. This is mostly because of the fact that IPS monitor manufacturers use high-quality construction materials. Compared to other types of monitor technologies out there, IPS ones offer better viewing angles. Therefore, you don’t have to strain your eyes by keeping them in the same place.
The second part of the narrative deals with the monitor manufacturer, though. As we said earlier, many of the popular IPS monitors come with advanced customization features. You can control the emission of blue light from the panel to protect your eyes. You can also set up the monitor to adjust the brightness according to the amount of ambient light. All these can make an IPS monitor an even better option.
We should also consider that monitors using the IPS panel are designed for stable performance. It means your eyes will also receive some kind of premium treatment.
Popular LED Brands
Now that you have learned a few things about LED-backlit LCD monitors, shall we look at the top brands to consider while buying an LED monitor?
Dell is a United States-based company that produces a wide variety of consumer electronics products. In the computing sector, it creates some of the best LED monitors as well. You can choose from a wide variety of lineup from Dell, including the ones for gaming and professional editing. The company is also known for the blend of inexpensive pricing and quality-rich features.
Samsung, the South Korean brand, has not just been a popular LED brand but also a technology pioneer. The company has designed some of the best LED monitor technologies in the world. You can also find a superb variety of monitors such as ultra-wide, curved, and high refresh-rate ones from the company. It also has an inexpensive line of monitors.
To complement its hardware lineup, ASUS, the Taiwanese tech giant, has been making LED monitors for decades. Compared to other manufacturers, ASUS focuses on LED monitors designed for gamers. The ROG lineup from the company includes a few superb gaming-focused monitors. The main problem with ASUS is that its products are relatively expensive.
Popular IPS Brands
Now, let us look at brands that have built some of the best IPS-based monitors in the past decades. So that you know, most of these brands have a lineup of LED monitors.
LG, the South Korean electronics giant, is considered the most popular brand when it comes to IPS panels. There are a couple of reasons why. First, LG designs some of the monitors considered the IPS display standard. Second, the company follows a strict QC policy to ensure the best color accuracy and features on their monitors. Indeed, the brand value also matters.
BenQ is another brand that has developed various IPS-based monitors for professionals. While the firm has some products for gaming and other needs, most of its products focus on providing a stable and color-accurate reproduction of images. We should also note that BenQ monitors are available on the pricier and cost-effective sides of the spectrum.
IPS monitors are yet another category where Hewlett Packard is famous. Compared to other brands on the list, the products from HP are very inexpensive. Therefore, thousands of customers consider HP the go-to option for computer monitor needs. This company is also noted for inexpensive products that offer premium features like thinner bezels.
We hope we cleared at least some of the central questions you had in the IPS Vs. LED debate. As you can see, a head-on comparison between IPS and LED is not possible due to obvious reasons.
However, our answers will help you understand whether you need the panel technology and backlighting technology in your dream gaming/professional PC.