IPS screen

IPS screen© 2023 Shutterstock

What is In-Plane Switching (IPS)?

An acronym for In-Plane Switching, IPS is an LCD technology. Patented in the early 1990s, IPS was designed to overcome issues associated with TN TFT displays, such as limited viewing angles and low-quality color reproduction. To this day, IPS liquid-crystal screens are widely used in mid-range and high-end consumer electronics.

Unlike the previous generation of LCDs, IPS products don't display aftertouch marks on the screen. Furthermore, IPS displays feature twice as many transistors per pixel and a more robust backlight than their predecessors. As a result, In-Plane Switching displays deliver bolder colors, which can be viewed from different angles.

First-generation IPS products faced three main shortcomings in comparison to TFT LCDs: higher energy consumption, higher prices, and slower response time. As companies such as Hitachi and LG have invested heavily in this technology, the response time was reduced in later IPS generations, and there have been further developments, such as improved color accuracy.

In 2010, a competing technology was introduced by Samsung. Available at a lower cost, the brand’s Super PLS (Plane-to-Line Switching) pledges to provide better image quality, more brightness, and an even greater viewing angle flexibility. Other competitors have entered the market since then, such as AU Optronics' AHVA (Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle), which offers higher refresh rates.

IPS monitors are typically preferred by photographers, designers, editors, and other individuals who rely on color accuracy for their tasks. Price and power consumption, however, are still significantly higher for IPS technology, which makes TN TFT (twisted nematic thin-film transistor) LCDs still be attractive options.

When it comes to smartphones, the display choice stands between IPS, OLED, and AMOLED. Although there is no clear winner in this competition, each technology has advantages and disadvantages, which may help you choose your next phone. Generally speaking, OLED and AMOLED produce more vibrant colors and blacker-looking blacks, allow for the use of the always-on clock display feature, and are also more power-efficient. IPS displays, on the other hand, may provide more color accuracy, are not as pricey, and don't pose the risk of display burn-in.

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