HP TECH TAKES /...

Exploring today's technology for tomorrow's possibilities
What is an IPS Monitor?

What is an IPS Monitor?

Linsey Knerl
|
If you’re working or playing with an outdated monitor, you may be unimpressed with its graphics, screen clarity, or refresh rate. These are common complaints with an outdated computer monitor.
It may be time for an upgrade; specifically to an IPS monitor. This high-tech option has become one of the go-to tools for creatives, business owners, and those in the gaming community. And it could be just what you need for a more satisfying computing experience.
What makes an IPS monitor special? How can it boost the enjoyment of what you create and share with co-workers and friends? Learn why IPS technology is earning its place at the top of the technical world and why it may be time for you to update to this impressive display preference.

What is an IPS monitor?

An in-plane switching (IPS) monitor is a type of LCD (liquid-crystal display) monitor. It’s made up of backlighting or a mirror behind a polarizer. These sit behind the liquid with crystals mixed into it. The monitor relies on perfect alignment of the liquid crystals to pass along the light to the next polarizer.
These crystals spin into position when electrically charged. In front of all of this is another polarizer, with the whole thing covered in the protective glass "screen" that we see with our eyes or touch, if it's a touch screen product. IPS is the standard for high-end monitors, such as those in some touch screen displays.
There are two other types of LCD panels in today’s displays. These are TN (twisted nematic), which are commonly used for less-expensive computer displays, and VA (vertical alignment), which have excellent contrast with deep blacks, but their slow refresh rates make them better for watching television or computing tasks that require less agility.

IPS vs TN monitor

When shopping for a monitor, you’ll most likely choose between an IPS and a TN monitor. So what's the difference? Technically speaking, they work in much the same way by using LCD technology to project the image onto the screen.
The IPS and TN monitors' main difference is in how the two polarizers are positioned in relation to one another and the shape of the crystals in the liquid-crystal layer. In a TN monitor, the polarizers are perpendicular to one another and rely on the helix-shaped liquid crystals to "twist" the light from one polarizer to get to the other. IPS liquid crystals aren’t helix-shaped, at all. In fact, they are shape shifters which is how they perform their unique function in the monitor.

Benefits of an IPS screen

IPS monitors generally cost a bit more than their TN counterparts because TN displays are easier to produce. But what does this mean in consumer-friendly terms? Here are the benefits of using an IPS screen:

Increased viewing range

You can view an IPS screen from several angles, giving it an advantage for teams who want to share a monitor or look at projects from various points in the room. IPS offers up to 178 degrees of viewing range.

Color accuracy

An IPS screen can show 256 shades of each primary color through 8-bit technology. This produces much more natural color renderings than the 6-bit versions from TN monitors, which only show up to 64 shades per primary color.

Color consistency

Even if we can’t see all of the available color variations of an IPS monitor with our human eyes, we can notice consistency. Look for IPS display products to offer “up to 98% of Adobe RGB color space," or something similar, to demonstrate the large subset of available colors that the monitor can show.
Color distortion on TN displays is especially noticeable at shallow viewing angles when there is more than one person viewing the screen.
Not everyone will notice these benefits at first. If you use your monitor to browse the web or create documents, you probably won’t create or use the millions of color variations that an IPS monitor reveals. There is a growing group of professionals and hobbyists who would appreciate the robust tech capabilities, though.

Who should use an IPS display?

Who are these consumers that would get the most from an IPS display? Anyone who appreciates vibrant color and viewing the display from many angles will benefit from upgrading to an IPS display. This could be anyone, but it’s a notable perk for:
  • Design, photography, and video professionals who create and render detailed, brilliantly-colored illustrations, photographs, animations, and video renderings
  • Gamers with a preference for high-quality graphics and who want a larger viewing space for immersive experiences
  • Cinephiles and home video enthusiasts
Every screen has its drawbacks, and IPS screens have had a history of a slower response time than TN. However, newer models are catching up, leaving even the most serious gamers to consider whether better viewing angles and color accuracy may be worth it.

Best IPS displays

How can you know where to start? New models are coming to the market all the time, and you’ll likely find them to offer good value for the perks provided. Here is a sampling of those that rank high among users of every kind:

1. HP OMEN 27i monitor

The HP OMEN 27i monitor makes waves as essential gaming gear, but it's also a great choice for anyone who appreciates crystal-clear viewing at more angles and smooth gameplay with 1 ms response time (with overdrive). It has ambient RGB lighting too, which helps to make eye strain a thing of the past.
Additional features:
  • 165 Hz refresh rate
  • Brightness of 350 nits
  • 1 ms response time
  • Quad High Definition (QHD) resolution (2560 x 1440)
  • DCI-P3 98% color reproduction

2. HP 32s monitor

If you’re looking for a slightly larger screen, consider the 31.5-inch diagonal viewing area of the HP 32s monitor. It gives you 70% more viewable space than a standard 24-inch computer display, and the 178-degree viewing angle is enhanced with a swivel and tilt range of -5 to +13 degrees.
Additional features:
  • Full High Definition (FHD) resolution (1920 x 1080)
  • 99% sRGB color accuracy
  • HDMI and VGA port connectivity
  • 5 ms gray to gray
  • Anti-glare, anti-static screen

3. HP 27f 27-inch display

Do you want an attractive option that combines form and function? The HP 27f 27-inch monitor provides brilliant picture quality in a very thin display that looks good on your desk or entertainment center. In addition to the eye-catching aluminum details, it comes with an HDMI cable but can be used with VGA connectors as well.
Additional features:
  • AMD FreeSync™ technology, to lock the refresh rate to the speed best for gaming
  • FHD resolution (1920 x 1080)
  • Anti-glare, anti-static screen
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Response time 5 ms

4. HP 24f 24-inch display

A slightly smaller version of the previous monitor is the HP 24f 24-inch monitor. With many of the same features, including a clear view from many angles, it’s a sure fit for smaller spaces. It weighs just over 6 lbs, making it easy to move around if needed.
Additional features:
  • FHD resolution (1920 x 1080)
  • 5 ms gray to gray (with overdrive)
  • AMD FreeSync™ technology
  • Brightness of 300 cd/m²

5. HP P274 27-inch monitor

If multiple monitors are your thing, the HP P274 27-inch monitor is a good pick. It sits seamlessly next to other displays with micro-beveled edges to show a more complete picture without breaking up the view. Plus, it has on-screen controls that make it easy to switch between modes during presentations.
Additional features:
  • Wide 178-degree viewing angles
  • Quick connections through HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA ports
  • FHD resolution (1920 x 1080)
  • 5 ms gray to gray

6. HP EliteDisplay E243 23.8-inch monitor

For smaller desktops and workstations, consider the HP EliteDisplay E243 23.8-inch monitor. While it’s more modest in size, it boasts big features including 4-way adjustability for even better viewing. You can also connect your USB accessories right to the monitor, with the two USB 3.0 ports (one upstream, two downstream).
Additional features:
  • VGA, HDMI, and DisplayPort connections
  • FHD resolution (1920 x 1080)
  • 150 mm height adjustment
  • Brightness of 250 cd/m²

7. HP EliteDisplay E273 27-inch monitor

If you’d enjoy a few more inches in your viewing range, the HP EliteDisplay E273 27-inch monitor is a business-class solution to consider. It shares the best features of the 23.8-inch version, and it comes with an anti-static and anti-glare screen.
  • Additional features:
  • FHD resolution (1920 x 1080)
  • Brightness of 250 cd/m²
  • Adjustable height, tilt, swivel, and pivot for the best ergonomics and views
  • On-screen picture-in-picture, input, color, power, and luminescence controls

Shopping for an IPS panel monitor

IPS panel monitors are the go-to display for those in the creative arts industries, including designers, photographers, and animators. But what if you're not in these fields? An IPS may still be for you. Consider these questions as you shop for your new monitor:
  • Do I want a wider viewing range and the ability to see my work from more angles or viewpoints in the room?
  • Am I looking for the fullest range of color representation on the screen?
  • Is ergonomic support high on my priority list? Would I benefit from a monitor that I can tilt and adjust to be higher or lower?
  • Will I use my monitor alongside other displays? Could micro-beveled edges help me see more of my project without annoying partitions?
  • Do I play games often? Would I prioritize realistic graphics at the same level as refresh rate?
  • Am I using a variety of inputs to connect my display? Will I still need access to legacy inputs, such as VGA?
Knowing the answers to these questions can help you decide if IPS is right for you, along with which of the many available models will best fit your needs.

What about the cost?

IPS monitors have been priced higher than other previous LCD options, causing some consumers to question whether the cost is worth it. The longer they are available, though, the lower the cost falls, and their advanced features prove their value in the market and in your office or home.
If you use an IPS monitor for any length of time, its differences are apparent. It’s an easy purchase to justify when you’re investing in truer color, clearer picture, and a wider viewing range. In fact, for those who consider budget above all else, choosing the smaller of the IPS monitors may be better than going with TN or VA technology at all. If you want a more in-depth look at the specs to consider when choosing a monitor, you can read about them here.

Summary

Here’s a breakdown of some of the priorities you may choose based on your interests. By picking the right one for just the features you really want, you’ll get a better overall value.
  • Gamers: Get the right balance of refresh rate and realism with the HP OMEN 27i, which is designed with the gaming community in mind.
  • Visual artists, photographers, and designers: Choose the HP 32s and similar displays to see the best rendering of the designs you make in Adobe and other creative tools.
  • Business professionals and educators: Pick from any of the IPS monitors for essential features, but get more support for multiple monitors with the HP EliteDisplay series.
So, which IPS monitor best matches your computing personality? We hope our list has helped you discover which monitor is the best one for you.

About the Author

Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.

Disclosure: Our site may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.

Disclaimer

Prices, specifications, availability and terms of offers may change without notice. Price protection, price matching or price guarantees do not apply to Intra-day, Daily Deals or limited-time promotions. Quantity limits may apply to orders, including orders for discounted and promotional items. Despite our best efforts, a small number of items may contain pricing, typography, or photography errors. Correct prices and promotions are validated at the time your order is placed. These terms apply only to products sold by HP.com; reseller offers may vary. Items sold by HP.com are not for immediate resale. Orders that do not comply with HP.com terms, conditions, and limitations may be cancelled. Contract and volume customers not eligible.

HP’s MSRP is subject to discount. HP’s MSRP price is shown as either a stand-alone price or as a strike-through price with a discounted or promotional price also listed. Discounted or promotional pricing is indicated by the presence of an additional higher MSRP strike-through price

The following applies to HP systems with Intel 6th Gen and other future-generation processors on systems shipping with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 Pro systems downgraded to Windows 7 Professional, Windows 8 Pro, or Windows 8.1: This version of Windows running with the processor or chipsets used in this system has limited support from Microsoft. For more information about Microsoft’s support, please see Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle FAQ at https://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle

Ultrabook, Celeron, Celeron Inside, Core Inside, Intel, Intel Logo, Intel Atom, Intel Atom Inside, Intel Core, Intel Inside, Intel Inside Logo, Intel vPro, Itanium, Itanium Inside, Pentium, Pentium Inside, vPro Inside, Xeon, Xeon Phi, Xeon Inside, and Intel Optane are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or other countries.

In-home warranty is available only on select customizable HP desktop PCs. Need for in-home service is determined by HP support representative. Customer may be required to run system self-test programs or correct reported faults by following advice given over phone. On-site services provided only if issue can't be corrected remotely. Service not available holidays and weekends.

HP will transfer your name and address information, IP address, products ordered and associated costs and other personal information related to processing your application to Bill Me Later®. Bill Me Later will use that data under its privacy policy.

Microsoft Windows 10: Not all features are available in all editions or versions of Windows 10. Systems may require upgraded and/or separately purchased hardware, drivers, software or BIOS update to take full advantage of Windows 10 functionality. Windows 10 is automatically updated, which is always enabled. ISP fees may apply and additional requirements may apply over time for updates. See http://www.microsoft.com.

HP Rewards qualifying and eligible products/purchases are defined as those from the following categories: Printers, Business PCs (Elite, Pro and Workstation brands), select Business Accessories and select Ink, Toner & Paper.