IPS vs OLED Monitors: Which Display Technology is Better?

If you’re in the market for a new monitor, you’ll encounter two of the most popular display technologies: IPS (in-plane switching) and OLED (organic light-emitting diode).

But which one is better for your needs?

This comprehensive guide will compare IPS vs OLED monitors to help you decide which fits you best.

We’ll look at differences in viewing angles, color accuracy, response time, contrast ratio, brightness, pricing, etc.

IPS Monitors: The Most Popular Display Technology

IPS panels have been the dominant monitor display technology for over a decade.

IPS stands for “in-plane switching,” referring to how liquid crystals are arranged on the screen.

Here are some key strengths of IPS monitors:

  • Wide viewing angles: IPS panels allow you to see the display clearly, even when viewing from extreme side angles. This makes them well-suited for tasks that require collaborating around a screen.
  • Color accuracy: IPS displays reproduce colors more accurately than cheaper TN panels. They cover over 99% of the sRGB color space. This makes them great for photo/video editing and other color-critical work.
  • Affordable pricing: IPS monitors are affordable due to mass adoption, especially at popular sizes like 24” and 27”. Entry-level 1080p IPS monitors can be found for under $150.
  • Low response times: Modern IPS panels have response times of 5ms or less, fast enough for smooth gaming and video playback.

Of course, IPS isn’t without some downsides:

  • Mediocre contrasts: IPS displays have weaker native contrast ratios around 1000:1, meaning blacks appear more grayish, especially in dark rooms.
  • Backlight bleed: IPS monitors are prone to backlight bleed, where bright spots leak around edges of the screen. This varies panel to panel.
  • No OLED perks: You miss out on OLED advantages like perfect blacks, ultra-fast response times and wide color gamuts.

But for most people, IPS monitors strike the best balance of color, viewing angles, responsiveness and value.

That’s why they continue to dominate the market.

OLED Displays: Premium Picture Quality

OLED (organic light-emitting diode) is an emerging display technology used in high-end monitors and TVs.

On OLED displays, each pixel emits its own light. This gives OLED major advantages versus IPS and other LCD technologies:

  • Perfect blacks: With self-emitting pixels, OLED can produce truly black colors by turning pixels completely off. This creates an infinite contrast ratio and vivid image quality.
  • Ultra-fast response time: OLED pixels can switch on and off instantly. Most OLED monitors boast a 0.1ms response time, making motion look crisp without smearing.
  • Wide color gamuts: OLED accurately reproduces wider color spaces like DCI-P3 in digital cinema. Colors are more vivid and lifelike.
  • Thin and flexible: OLED panels are thinner than LCDs and can be manufactured on flexible plastic substrates. This enables creative industrial designs.
  • Great viewing angles: OLED maintains color accuracy and contrast at wide angles like IPS.

Of course, being a newer technology, OLED isn’t without some disadvantages versus IPS:

  • Higher pricing: With low production yields, OLED panels are extremely expensive. Most OLED monitors cost north of $1000.
  • Brightness: Although improving, OLED struggles to match the high peak brightness of IPS and other LCDs. Most OLED monitors top out at around 300-400 nits.
  • Burn-in: Static content can permanently burn into OLED displays if left on the screen for long periods. This is mitigated by pixel shifting, though.
  • Limited screen sizes: Due to manufacturing challenges, OLED monitors are limited to smaller screen sizes, typically 27 to 34 inches.

But if your budget allows, OLED delivers a best-in-class picture quality that IPS monitors can’t quite match, especially with HDR content and games.

IPS vs OLED Monitor Comparison

Here’s a quick IPS vs OLED comparison to summarize the key differences:

MetricIPS MonitorOLED Monitor
Viewing angles178° wide angles178° wide angles
Contrast ratio1000:1 typicalInfinite (pure blacks)
Response time5ms fastest0.1ms
Color gamutsRGB standardWide gamut like DCI-P3
Brightness250-350 nits typical300-500 nits
Prices$100 – $700$1000+
Screen sizes24”-43” commonMax 34” currently
Lifespan50,000+ hours30,000 hours

So, which is better ultimately comes down to your priorities and budget.

IPS provides excellent colors and viewing angles at accessible prices, while OLED delivers stunning image quality albeit at a premium.

IPS vs OLED for Gaming

For gaming, IPS and OLED both have advantages:

IPS gaming monitors strengths:

  • Affordable high refresh rates (144Hz, 165Hz, etc).
  • Larger screen sizes – good for immersion.
  • Matte display coating reduces glare.

OLED gaming monitor advantages:

  • Lightning fast pixel response for crystal clear motion.
  • True blacks enhance contrast and ambiance.
  • Vivid colors make games pop with details.

Hardcore competitive gamers might prefer OLED thanks to the insane 0.1ms response time.

But most gamers are well served by high-refresh IPS models given the far lower costs.

Whichever you choose, make sure your graphics card can power frame rates to match the monitor’s refresh rate.

IPS vs OLED for Creative Work

For professional creative work like photo/video editing, both IPS and OLED have pros and cons:

IPS strengths for creative work:

  • More affordable 4K options for high-resolution workflows.
  • Moderately sized screens (27-32”) optimize the workspace.
  • Matte coating minimizes glare.

OLED advantages for creators:

  • Cinematic wide DCI-P3 gamut brings colors to life.
  • True blacks allow seeing shadows and details.
  • HDR support yields a high dynamic range.

IPS will suit most creators fine, but OLED brings out the best in high-end photos/videos and allows making HDR content.

Just beware of potential burn-in with static toolbars over prolonged use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions people have about IPS vs OLED monitors:

Ques 1: Which has better picture quality, IPS or OLED?

Ans: OLED has better overall picture quality thanks to perfect blacks, quick response times, and wide colors. But IPS also delivers excellent color accuracy and vibrancy.

Ques 3: Is an OLED or IPS monitor better for eyes?

Ans: Both OLED and IPS monitors are great for eyesight, given their lack of flicker and wide viewing angles.

OLED emits less blue light at night, but both are fine for extended use.

Ques 4: Do IPS monitors have better viewing angles than OLEDs?

Ans: No, both IPS and OLED offer nearly 180° viewing angles so the image stays accurate when viewed from the side.

Ques 5: Can IPS have as good contrast ratio as OLED?

Ans: No display technology can match OLED’s infinite contrast from true pixel-level blacks. The best IPS monitors still only achieve around 1500:1 contrast.

Ques 6: Which lasts longer, IPS or OLED monitors?

Ans: Properly used, modern IPS panels last over 50,000 hours. OLED has a shorter 30,000 hour lifespan but most will outlive their usefulness before declining.

The Verdict: IPS and OLED Both Have Benefits

So which is better, IPS or OLED? There’s no universal winner.

IPS is the more mature, accessible technology that provides excellent color reproduction and viewing angles at reasonable prices. It’s easy to see why IPS dominates the monitor market.

OLED delivers unmatched contrast and response times thanks to self-emitting pixels. If you can afford the premium and avoid potential burn-in, OLED creates an unparalleled visual experience.

For most shoppers, a good IPS monitor will meet their needs beautifully.

But for those seeking the absolute best picture quality, OLED is the new benchmark, albeit at a high cost. Both technologies have their place moving forward.

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Manvendra Singh
Manvendra Singh

Hi, I am John Williams. Editor-in-chief of the website PCSynced.com. Here I write about PC technology & Guides.