IPS vs. LED: The Differences Explained

Are you thinking of investing in a new monitor or television? If so, you’ll likely want to compare IPS vs. LED screens. After all, IPS technology is quickly becoming more accessible. But understanding how it differs from other display techs can be challenging.

To make the best possible choice for your usage, budget, and preferences, it’s crucial to consider the following when choosing your ideal display:

  • differing prices
  • image quality
  • power consumption

Let’s quickly review the various features of IPS and LED screens and discover which might be right for you.

What is IPS Technology?

LED IPS Monitor Screen in Extreme Closeup Macro Magnification

IPS (in-plane switching) technology almost exclusively refers to IPS panels, primarily found in LCD (liquid-crystal display) screens. An IPS panel is an added component that can result in brighter, more vivid colors and a faster image response time.

This panel can alter the natural light and coloration patterns in an LCD display. This greater control and processing can limit refresh rates, but it also produces stunning images that are nearly life-like in terms of quality and depth.

IPS technology is becoming a more prevalent option for computer monitors and televisions, and image quality may be one of the primary reasons. However, it’s crucial to remember that IPS panels can increase your screen’s overall power consumption and heat output.

Additionally, IPS isn’t the only option available. You can choose from a wide variety of different display screens, monitors, and televisions when upgrading your home and personal belongings. That said, IPS monitors tend to be extremely popular among gamers and movie buffs. 

What is an IPS Monitor?

An IPS monitor is any LCD desktop computer monitor that’s equipped with an IPS panel. These types of monitors tend to be most popular among gamers and digital video editors due to their incredible clarity and viewing angles.

Generally, monitors connect to desktop computers to display images. IPS monitors differ from IPS televisions in that they require a direct source to produce images. Still, IPS monitors come in a wide range of sizes and types.

You can easily find compact IPS gaming monitors and lengthy, curved IPS LCD screens. So naturally, larger models retail for more than smaller ones. Still, the gorgeous image quality remains the same, no matter the precise screen dimension or shape.

Slower-paced first-person games can look jaw-droppingly perfect on an IPS monitor. Still, the major downfall of these screens tends to refresh rates. The average IPS display has an average refresh rate of about 70Hz.

The primary factor that connects these differing screens is the presence of an IPS panel. This panel changes the pattern type of the LCD (or LED) screen it’s attached to, helping to make more efficient lighting and coloration choices. 

What are LED Displays?

Light Emitting Diodes for LED Display

LED (light-emitting diode) displays are somewhat similar to cathode-ray tube (CRT) televisions. However, instead of relying on a single bulb to produce colors, they utilize a vast array of small diodes.

This type of display has been relatively popular since the mid-2000s. In fact, many of the first slim-backed flatscreen televisions were LED models. However, LED technology soon branched out into other markets, including light bulbs and appliance display screens.

Still, LED monitors and televisions are relatively commonplace nowadays. They’ve also evolved since their introduction. For example, many of the best LED displays offer HD or 4K resolutions and staggeringly fast refresh rates.

Though IPS technology is heavily associated with LCD devices, there are several IPS LED screens. After all, IPS panels alter the way that displays produce light. In LCD screens, these changing patterns appear in a seamless transition. 

The image quality might be slightly less impressive in LED options, but the pattern control mechanism is the same. Consequently, IPS should be seen as an additional aspect of LCD and LED monitors and televisions, not an entire subsection unto itself.

IPS and LED Monitor Comparison

Choosing between IPS and LED monitors can be challenging if you’re unfamiliar with their features, specifications, and costs. Before purchasing a new gaming or entertainment monitor, you’ll want to consider several crucial aspects, including:

  1. Viewing Angle
  2. Brightness
  3. Image Quality
  4. Power Consumption and Heat
  5. Price

We’ve broken down these topics into an easy-to-read chart to make things simpler. 

IPSLED
Viewing AngleIPS screens offer wide viewing angles that allow viewers to see the display area clearly, no matter what angle they’re positioned at. The majority of LED screens have relatively poor viewing angle range and can suffer from glare issues.
BrightnessThese types of monitors are backlit, but there’s less light bleed than when compared to other types of screens, like TN options.Users can adjust the brightness to varying degrees with an LED monitor, and this type of screen uses individual diodes to keep displays lit. As such, they don’t produce a significant level of bleeding in low-light settings, but this darkness can impact picture quality.
Image QualityIPS screens produce clear, crisp images with accurate coloration, shadowing, and contrast, unlike other types of displays.Some LED displays can generate relatively clear images and vivid colors. But others may struggle to rival the quality that IPS screens can offer. Image quality tends to vary depending on the device.
Power Consumption and HeatThough there are Energy Star certified IPS televisions and monitors, this type of screen tends to consume more energy than alternative displays.  Consequently, they may also produce more heat than competing screen types. LED screens are some of the most energy-efficient options on the market. They tend to consume less energy than other types of display, which also makes them a cooler choice.
PriceGenerally, this type of screen will cost more than simpler TN or VA options. Still, prices vary between about $200 to over $1,000 per monitor.Simple LED screens tend to be incredibly affordable. Monitors without additional software feature an average price of about $300 per screen.

However, if you’re looking for more in-depth information on how IPS and LED monitors differ, you can find a more detailed comparison just below.

Viewing Angle

Sitting close to your monitor or television isn’t the best idea, especially if you’re hoping to avoid eyestrain. As such, it’s vital to consider your future screen’s viewing angle.

Many backlit display screens suffer from excess glare. Unless you’re sitting in a darkened room, there’s a good chance that you’ll struggle to see a clear image. The majority of standard LED screens suffer from this issue.

But one of the most notable features of IPS displays is a broader and crisper viewing angle. As a result, these types of screens are easier to see in all kinds of lighting conditions. Additionally, you can see crisp and vivid images from several viewing angles. 

Brightness

LED screens can produce very bright images. However, these images can appear “blown-out” due to a high brightness setting. Also, if your dark shades look more gray than black, you might be dealing with poorly chosen LED display settings.

On the other hand, IPS screens almost always achieve an ideal blend of brightness and shadow. This technology ensures greater color accuracy, helping to make bright hues shine and dark shades deepen. 

Though IPS screens aren’t the brightest backlit displays, they are some of the most pleasing in terms of image quality. Traditional LED models aren’t quite as appealing, despite their increased brightness. 

Image Quality

IPS is the winner when it comes to image quality. The pictures produced on an IPS screen tend to be breathtakingly clear and vivid. When looking at a still image on one of these monitors, you may feel that you could reach out and touch the picture itself.

LED screens have variable image quality that often depends on the user’s display settings. Still, even the best-chosen settings can result in a poor image, partially due to the nature of LED screens. However, there is something to be said of LED refresh rates.

If you enjoy playing fast-paced online games with friends, an LED screen could be the smarter choice. Unfortunately, many LCD IPS monitors have a lackluster refresh rate. This could leave your first-person gaming experience feeling jittery and slow. Of course, IPS LED displays are a fantastic middle ground. 

Power Consumption and Heat

The more processing power you require, the more electricity you need. And the more electricity you need to keep systems running, the more heat you generate. That’s why speedy gaming computers tend to have advanced cooling components.

The same principle applies to display screens. IPS monitors and televisions tend to require slightly more processing power than alternative options. Consequently, they’re more likely to consume power and generate excess heat. Still, there are a handful of IPS screens that are Energy Star certified.

LED screens are noteworthy for being some of the most energy-efficient options. Because they utilize individual diodes to produce light, they don’t consume as much electricity as other displays. As you might imagine, this also results in less heat output. 

Price

In terms of price, standard LED screens are the clear winner. Though IPS technology is growing in popularity, many IPS monitors and televisions are slightly pricier than traditional LED alternatives. So if budget is your primary priority, you may be better off purchasing an LED display.

That said, smaller monitors (30in or less) tend to be competitively priced. If you’d like to experience IPS technology for yourself, you can always invest in one of the budget-level monitors for about $200.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you’ll find some of the answers to the most frequently asked questions concerning IPS and LED screens. If you have lingering questions, hopefully you’ll be able to find the answer you’re searching for below. 

Is IPS or LED Better for Gaming?

When choosing between an IPS and LED screen for gaming, it’s almost always better to choose an IPS monitor. You’re bound to enjoy better image quality, color accuracy, and viewing angles.

Gaming desktops tend to be far pricier than their compact or everyday counterparts, and gaming monitors often follow suit. If you’re willing to invest funds into building or buying a top-of-the-line gaming pc, you can complete your rig by adding an IPS monitor.

That said, it’s entirely possible to game with an LED monitor. Many of the higher-end LED screens feature superb refresh rates of 240Hz (or more) and HD resolutions. That said, IPS panels are quickly becoming standard for gaming monitors, including LED models.  

Is IPS Better for Your Eyes?

IPS can be better for your eyes than alternative types of screens, including TN and LED. However, according to Harvard Health Publishing, staring at a backlit screen for several hours each day can cause eyestrain.

While there’s yet to be an overwhelmingly eye-friendly backlit screen, IPS screens can be a little easier on the eyes than TN or VA models. That’s because they offer richer colors and higher color accuracy as well as better overall viewing.

Is IPS Really Better?

Overall, IPS is the better choice in terms of viewing angle, brightness, and image quality. The only aspect in which IPS doesn’t perform better than LED is price, as IPS monitors and screens tend to be far pricier than LED options.

However, if you’re looking for a simple computer monitor that’s affordably priced, an LED screen could be the better choice. Individuals that primarily use their home desktop to search the web, check out social media, or watch short videos might not reap the full benefits of an IPS screen.

Is IPS an LED?

IPS panels can be used in both LCD and LED monitors and screens. They are added components that improve the quality of existing LCD and LED monitors. 

Remember, the primary differences between LCD and LED screens are the light arrangement and types. Because IPS panels are additional forms of technology that can be used with multiple types of screens.

Additionally, TN and VA monitors can be either LCD or LED, depending on their manufacturer. 

Is IPS Good For Movies?

If you’re looking for a high-quality screen for movie-watching, you can’t do far better than an IPS option. These monitors are known for their color accuracy and image clarity and can be viewed from a wide variety of angles.

That said, it might be best to invest in a television with an IPS panel if your primary use will be watching videos and movies. After all, a TV with IPS technology is bound to produce precise, vivid images, making it ideal for at-home movie nights and streaming marathons. 

Is IPS Worth It Over TN?

Though IPS screens are generally pricier than TN models, their rich color depth and clarity could make them more worthwhile for those hoping to enjoy superior image quality. However, their slower response rate can be problematic, particularly for those that enjoy playing fast-paced online multiplayer games.

Essentially, your priorities will determine whether IPS is worth it over TN. For example, if your top priority is to find an affordable monitor with an excellent refresh rate, TN might be the right choice. Still, an IPS monitor’s impressive image quality can make slower-paced games far more immersive and enjoyable.

Conclusion

When comparing IPS monitors to LED monitors, it’s crucial to consider their varying viewing angles, brightness, and image quality levels. You’ll also want to compare their power consumption, heat production, and average price. 

Taking the time to weigh these features and specifications can help ensure you choose a monitor that meets your needs, preferences, and budget. Between IPS and LED monitors, IPS screens are generally the better option, but they’re often far pricier than simpler LED monitors. 

About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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