IPS vs TN vs VA – Which Is Best Monitor For Gaming? 

Quick Answer

For better viewing angles, accurate, richer and deeper colors, playing video games with an IPS monitor will unquestionably look more realistic than it could look on any and both of TN and VA monitors.

Gaming is all about what you see, at what pace you see it and how quickly a command for an action you initiate in the virtual world is executed and replicated on your screen or monitor in split seconds. The choice of your display unit is solely responsible in determining whether you will have an engaging or horrid gaming experience, to this end; gamers have often pitched IPS, TN and VA monitor against each other to get an answer to the question of which is the best monitor for gaming among the three contenders. The battle rages on as it is still being featured on many gaming and technology websites as IPS vs TN vs VA with either of the monitors edging out its rivals at different rounds of the duel.

The definitive answer to the question of “which is the best monitor for gaming” among the three can only be answered when the technical specifications and capabilities of each display type is thoroughly perused, hands-on or perhaps “eyes on experience” is also put in perspective at which point we can be able to lift the merits and demerits of each monitor, make an unbiased comparison among them and conclusively point out based on technical and visual aptitudes which monitor(s) we discovered to be the best. This will be the approach we will adopt here.

First, let’s understand the basics of these different monitor types:

What is a TN Monitor?

TN (Twisted Nematic) monitors were the most widely produced and used gaming monitor panels, they gained popularity for having many advantages over the older CRT monitors. Some of these advantages which still hold strong against some (including newer) monitors are lower power consumption, ability to eliminate flickers, no resolution limits, availability in various shapes, sizes, and are their being much thinner.

IPS vs TN vs VA
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Many gaming monitors used in competitive games still come as TN monitors for the main advantage of its breathtaking speed in response (fast refresh rate up to 240Hz). For VA and IPS monitors, this capability wasn’t considered in them despite being newer gaming monitors. For this reason, it is still possible that you have a TN gaming monitor just seated beside you.

As long as you are seating directly facing your TN gaming monitor, you won’t have any reason to worry about its colour accuracy, but should you have need to view from a different angle or you’re probably gaming with another person or group of persons such that it is not possible for the both or all of you to sit directly in front of the monitor, then you should look at getting another monitor that is not TN.

Merits of a TN Monitor

  • It gives the shortest response time which is ideal for gaming.
  • The monitor gives high brightness with less power consumption.
  • Inexpensive to manufacture thereby having low retail prices.

Demerits of a TN Monitor

  • Lower end TN monitors will show noticeable color shifts at moderate and wider viewing angles from above or its sides.

Read: Monitor Vs TV: Which is Best for Gaming?

What is a VA Monitor?

Vertical Alignment monitors (VA) are in the middle between TN and IPS gaming monitors, They offer a richer and deeper black background, better image quality, and a higher contrast ratio, unlike TN monitors by using liquid crystals and electrical current to tilt polarized glass for better image rendering.
Their inbuilt liquid crystal display technology is better organized than those of TN (but not as good as IPS) for which reason VA monitors have better control of light with reduced leakages though at a lower response time, unlike TN gaming monitors. VA monitors have their crystals arranged to the polarizers in a perpendicular manner which is in turn arranged at right angles making it be in a resting state. When current is applied, the crystals tip horizontally and twist thereby blocking the light from passing directly unlike in TN monitors.

Merits of a VA Monitor

  • Offers the deepest black for a richer viewing experience.
  • Less expensive compared to IPS monitors.
  • Better viewing angles compared TN monitors.

Demerits of a VA Monitor

  • Slower response time as much as 10ms.
  • Noticeable ghosting effects.

What is an IPS Monitor?

An IPS (In-Plane switching) monitor is a type of TFT LCD (thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal-display) which utilizes properly aligned liquid crystals to deliver consistent ultra-wide 178-degree vertical and horizontal viewing angles with high-quality color reproduction of any image thrown at it. IPS monitors came to provide a better option for the twisted nematic field effect matrix of LCDs that had limited viewing angles as well as low-quality color reproduction.
Variants of the IPS monitor are PLS (Plane-to-Line Switching) being the latest, S-IPS, e-IPS, H-IPS and P-IPS. Any of these variations feature improved IPS panel speed, contrast, and resolution and will perform far better than what we have in TN or VA monitors. For this reasons, they have been put to a wide range of uses other than gaming by video editors, CAD engineers, professional photographers, and graphic artists making them a regular stock on shelves of any monitor store or e-commerce website.

Merits of an IPS Monitor

  • Longer pixel lifespan.
  • Outstanding color quality no matter the viewing angle.
  • Better sunlight visibility with greater outdoor brightness, sharpness and contrast ratios.
  • High-end IPS monitors eliminate nigh on to color/contrast shifts that are prevalent in VA monitors.

Demerits of an IPS Monitor

  • Noticeable white glows are prevalent on darker images when using lower end and off-brand IPS monitors
  • It renders blur motion images in comparison to TN monitors.
  • Consumes 15% more power than TN monitors which means high power consumption and faster battery drainage.
  • Expensive due to engineering complexities in manufacturing the panels.
  • Longer response time.

See Also: Optical vs Laser Mouse: Which Is Better For Gaming? [Simple Answer]

Comparison: IPS vs TN vs VA – Which Is Best Monitor For Gaming?

There is no single type of gaming monitor that has all the desired specifications for the best gaming experience all to itself. Either of IPS, TN or VA monitors have one feature or capability with which it edges out the others. Nevertheless, placing the monitors’ side by side with each other, we found out that for better viewing angles, accurate, richer and deeper colors, playing video games with an IPS monitor will obviously look more realistic than it could have looked on any other monitor; the TN monitor in particular which comes closest to it.
However, the downside of the IPS monitor will be its slower response rate of a meager 4ms and of course being more expensive in case you are shopping on a budget. In this instant, the TN monitor will be a good buy for you having a faster response rate of about 1ms and being less expensive. With this, you will have to make do with images that are not as lucid as what an IPS gaming monitor would give you.

So among IPS vs TN vs VA, you will be better off making a pick between a VA or an IPS monitor, albeit with a few trade-offs to make.


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