The computer monitor market for a long time was limited to two options for most consumers. Either you could get an affordable screen with a TN panel, or an extremely expensive yet superior one with IPS panel. In recent years that huge pricing gap has largely disappeared, and you can find IPS monitors that aren't that much more expensive than good TN screens. High time for Hardware.Info to take a closer look at 20 affordable IPS monitors.
So why are we focusing on monitors with IPS panels? TN (Twisted Nematic) and IPS (In Plane Switching) aren't the only types of panels. Most are related to one of those two, but VA (Vertical Alignment) is a very different technique. VA monitors typically have the best contrast out of all of them, as VA technology is able to block the most light from the backlight. It creates the best black values, resulting in an amazing contrast. It does have its own drawbacks, however. VA screens tend to use more power, they tend to have relatively slow response times and colours change the more you look at the screen from an angle. The viewing angles are still better than on TN panels.
Not many consumer monitors exist with VA technology, but they're out there. Samsung, among others, has the SyncMaster LS24C750, the review of which you can read here. BenQ and Iiyama also have a number of monitors using the same technology.
In this article, we focus specifically on IPS, primarily because of the better response times compared to VA. That's often a quality that's important to people looking for an alternative to TN screens (which have very fast response times). What TN panels are not good at, is displaying colours properly, especially when viewed from an angle.
Colour rendering is exactly the strongest quality of IPS technology, and that the colours don't change depending on the angle you're viewing the screen from. Now that 24-inch monitors are becoming more common, and 27-inch models are becoming increasingly affordable, it's even more important. The brightness may decrease slighly from an angle, but not nearly as much as on TN panels, and the colours don't shift. .