LCD monitors are still an incredibly popular choice for computer monitors. They are significantly cheaper than OLED screens. LCD screens also don’t suffer from the same OLED burn-in effects that could be severe if the computer displays the same image consistently, as would be the case on the desktop, in word processing, and even in video games.
Tip: While you may thing the moving nature of video games would prevent burn-in, most video games use a HUD or Heads-Up-Display to show information. This HUD is generally static and onscreen for long periods and can end up being burned into the screen.
There are three main types of LCD panels that are used in computer monitors, these are TN, VA and IPS.
Tip: The names of each panel type refer to the orientation of the liquid crystals that are used to manage what light is displayed on the screen.
TN, or Twisted Nematic panels are the cheapest to make, they are generally considered the default if the LCD monitor doesn’t specify what type of panel it has. TN panels are generally easy to run at higher refresh rates, such as 120 or 144Hz, and so have historically been popular with gamers.
TN panels can struggle with poor colour accuracy. Another drawback is that TN panels have a narrow viewing angle. When not facing the panel head on, especially vertically, the colours can be distorted heavily.
Tip: Monitor viewing angle is the angle a viewer can be to the monitor and still see accurate colours. When viewed from outside of the monitor’s viewing angles, colours get distorted.
VA or Vertical Alignment monitors offer better colour accuracy and viewing angles when compared to TN panels. They still can’t offer the same quality as the more premium IPS panels but can be a reasonable middle ground offering better performance than TN for less money than an IPS panel. VA panels are able to offer the darkest blacks for LCD panels, although they can’t compare to OLED screens in this regard.
IPS or In-Plane Switching panels offer high colour accuracy and very wide viewing angles. Historically, these monitors offered slower response times and refresh rates than TN panels. Modern IPS panels, however, are capable of running at very high refresh rates of 240Hz or more. IPS panels are typically more expensive than otherwise equivalent TN panels – they do, however, also offer more versatility.