When you want to buy a new monitor for a desktop computer, laptop or TV set, the exact technical parameters are the priority. The abbreviations marking the devices say little to a person who is not a specialist in this industry. What do the abbreviations VA and IPS mean?
What is a display matrix anyway?
Someone who is not familiar with the electronics industry may not even know what the concept of a matrix means, let alone strange abbreviations. The matrix, no matter if it is a computer, laptop or TV set, is the most important element of a screen. It is a part of the LCD panel responsible for displaying the image on the screen of a given device. Choosing the right type of matrix is therefore very important for the user, because it will impact the comfort of using the screen.
The type of matrix is important for the image quality. The other type will be better for reading, watching movies, and the other type is better for playing games. Currently, the most popular are three types of matrices – TN, IPS and VA matrices. The first type of matrices are slowly becoming obsolete, and in modern devices we mainly find IPS and VA matrices.
VA matrix characteristics
The abbreviation VA stands for ”Vertical Alignment”. It is a display matrix in which the crystals are arranged not in one, but in different directions. They are arranged both vertically and obliquely to the panel surface. This specific arrangement affects the properties of the image that is displayed by the VA matrices. When it comes to image quality, VA matrices are placed between IPS and TN. The advantage of the VA matrix is good color reproduction, although it is not as good as in the case of IPS matrices.
Contrary to the IPS matrix, it allows for better black depth and high contrast. This means that even with intense lighting, the image on the screen will be very clear, and viewing it will be really comfortable despite the light falling on the screen. In terms of contrast, there are two types of VA matrices: MVA matrix and PVA matrix. They differ in manufacturing technology. Matrices made in MVA technology are characterized by liquid crystals tilted to both sides, which gives wide viewing angles. On the other hand, the PVA matrices have a changed electrode arrangement, thanks to which they offer even better contrast. Their advantage is also lower production costs.
Characteristics of IPS
IPS is an abbreviation for “In-Plane Switching”. In this type of matrix, the liquid crystals are placed parallel to each other. This gives both better color reproduction and wider viewing angles. We can recognize the IPS matrix on the basis of really vivid and clear colors visible on the device screen, but there is not such a depth of black as in the case of VA matrices. Not the best black reproduction, high prices of devices, or worse response time are, however, considerable disadvantages of this matrix.
They also do not support high screen refresh rates. Most often, in the case of this type of matrix, the refresh rate of the monitor does not exceed 60 Hz. IPS arrays are better than VA on big TVs, located in large rooms and not placed directly in front of users. Perfect viewing angles allow you to see everything clearly on the monitors from all angles, no matter which side you look at the monitor from.
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VA or IPS matrix – which one to choose?
Anyone who chooses new computers, laptops or TVs is faced with a dilemma, among other things, which matrix to choose? Which matrix is better – VA or IPS display? There is no unequivocal answer to this question. A different matrix will be suitable for each user, as it depends on his preferences and needs. The choice of an IPS or VA matrix largely depends on what we most often want to do on a computer or laptop.
Both types of matrix have their own advantages and disadvantages that will be more or less important to users. Generally, however, it can be assumed that if we want the highest image quality and we have no budget limitations, the IPS matrix will be a better choice. When choosing a VA matrix, remember to place televisions or monitors perfectly in front of the user. Looking at them from an angle will be a bit of a pain. This is especially true for televisions.
When will the VA matrix be better and when will IPS be better?
Both the IPS and VA matrix will work well for traditional office work and for home use. In the case of VA matrices, a wide viewing angle and good color reproduction make them ideal also for using multimedia, especially for watching movies. However, if you intend to use the VA matrix for this purpose, you need to check two important parameters. The first is the response time of the matrix, and the second is the refresh rate.
The average response time of VA matrices is usually 1-6 milliseconds, and in IPS matrices it is 4-5 milliseconds. Fast response time and high refresh rate will allow you to really enjoy watching movies. IPS matrices are recommended for players who do not intend to use them to play games that require high image dynamics. The unique color reproduction, which gives a much better image quality, makes the IPS matrices perfect for graphic works.
IPS or VA – which matrix is better for players?
Unfortunately, IPS matrices are not free from defects. The biggest one is, first of all, the poor black reproduction. VA matrices are much better. In many cases, black displayed on an IPS screen will appear to be a shade of gray. The inferior quality of IPS matrices also means that the screen backlight may be uneven. VA or TN matrices will be much better for gaming.
In the case of IPS matrices, whether such a matrix will be appropriate will depend on the type of game. Unfortunately, games that require intensive graphics processing can cause the so-called smearing phenomenon. This is because the refresh rate as well as the response time of IPS matrices is weaker even than TN matrices. Despite the poorer image quality, it is better to choose a TN matrix than IPS for gaming.
VA or IPS – summary
The VA matrix is most often used in screens of computer monitors and TV sets. The most recent devices are mostly made with a VA matrix. Increasingly, matrices of this type are also found in laptops, but mainly in more expensive models intended for players. It can be said that it combines the features of both IPS and TN matrices. However, it is the IPS matrix that has an advantage over VA when it comes to perfect colors and viewing angle on monitors, despite the fact that it has a worse reproduction of the black itself.
However, it is worth remembering that the purchase of a monitor with an IPS matrix will require a much larger budget, so if there are limitations in this matter, it is better to bet on devices with a VA matrix. Of course, we cannot forget about the existence of TN matrices, although devices with them appear on the market less and less often. TN display matrices are an excellent alternative to both of the discussed types. It will be an ideal choice, especially when you care about the fast response time. In addition, it will also be for people for whom the most important thing is the lowest possible price of a new monitor.
Remember that what matrix will be the best for you depends on your needs and the purpose of the new screen. Each type of matrix has its advantages and disadvantages, but for people who are not demanding users, it is really not important what matrix they choose. At most, if they don’t like something and it works as it should, they’ll choose a different matrix next time. It is always best to test and evaluate the equipment yourself.
A lot of people don’t even pay so much attention to such details when selecting equipment. However, it is worth remembering that if it later turns out that something will happen to the image, it does not have to mean a defect of the device or a failure, but it may simply result from the type of matrix used in the device.