Android A to Z - What is IPS?

What is an IPS display? IPS stands for In-Plane Switching. It's commonly found in high-end monitors -- gaining mainstream notoriety in Apple's displays -- and has also found its way into tablets. The iPad uses IPS displays. ASUS has an IPS display in its Transformer Prime tablet. And Samsung has its own flavor of IPS in the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which is it calls Super PLS (Plane-Line Switching).

The long and short of it is that you get better color representation -- that is, whites are white, blacks and back, reds are red, etc. -- and better viewing angles. That's perhaps less of an issue with tablets than larger displays, because you're more likely to be using it directly in front of your face. But wider viewing angles are always better than not. (And we've seen some pretty horrid tablet displays in our day.)

There's not a lot of arguing against that, technically speaking, an IPS display is just "better" than a non-IPS display. If you have the option between an IPS or non-IPS display, we'd go with the former.

Previously on Android A to Z: H is for Hacking; Find more in the Android Dictionary

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Android A to Z: What's an IPS display?



The Fire has an IPS display and it's quite nice although I think I still prefer my sgs2 display. The IPS screen def has better color representation though when it comes to whites, there is no question there at all.

IPS has inferior refresh rates compared to TN. Other than that, it's superior in all other ways.

I'm not convinced we have learned much when the only thing explained is what the letters stand for.

Far more informative information is provided by two Wiki articles that explain the competing technologies.

LCD Technologies:

The best visual explanation is this image from in which you see the top yellow line (representing electrodes) positioned between the viewer and the light source typical of older technologies. Looking thru that layer of electrodes is what messed up viewing angles.

The IPS method of putting those electrodes beside the liquid crystals moves these electrodes out of the way, by putting them on the same PLANE (surface) as the crystals.


IPS has image retention, lots of stuck/dead pixel issues, screen bleed and other quality control issues. Some may be device specific but I have seen a lot of complaints about them on iPads as well as the TF Prime. If you get a good one they are nice but you may need to return one or two devices to get a good one.

How about contrast? IPS having a full backlight like all LCD displays means that even black is emitting some light. Like when I read on my iPad2 in night mode the whole screen is giving off light, while if I understand right amoled is pixel based light emission so I wouldn't get the whole screen glow, which to me would mean darker black, and less annoyance and eye strain. I would think there are different times where each would be better. Being somewhat colorblind person, having true color representation doesn't matter that much to me, I can't see it. Not having whole screen glow when reading in the dark does matter... makes me wonder why I have an iPad, although I rarely read on it.