H-IPS vs. S-IPS: What is the Difference?

The S-IPS and H-IPS LCD display panels are different, but they are more similar to each other than they are to some of the other panel technologies available. LCD panel technology is a murky subject to begin with because most computer users make their LCD purchases based on properties such as screen size, ports, connections, and response times. Surprisingly few look at the most important aspect – the quality of the panel.

Dell UltraSharp U2711

Nevertheless, both S-IPS and H-IPS panels represent the latest and greatest in the LCD industry. The H-IPS panels have a different pixel orientation than their S-IPS progenitors, which is responsible for the minor differences between them. These differences include aperture size or ratio, contrast ratio, and the presence of angle-associated glowing.

H-IPS the Newest Technology

Both S-IPS and H-IPS are high-end panels, and not nearly as common as the TN (Twisted Nematic) panels. H-IPS is a newer variant of S-IPS. The interdigital electrode patterns of the H-IPS lie close to each other, and the pixels resemble pocketed ammunition belts (llllllll). On the other hand, S-IPS pixels interdigitate closer to (<<<<).

The pixel orientation gives H-IPS a higher contrast ratio than S-IPS. The contrast ratio is the difference between the whitest white and the darkest dark that a screen can possibly display. Keep in mind the contrast-ratio is a variable statistic, because manufacturers have different ways of measuring this quantity, and they usually take the brightest area they can possibly find on the screen.

Another advantage is the glowing effect the user experiences when he or she looks at the monitor from an angle is reduced in H-IPS. As you move your head to the side, the display will not lose much contrast. H-IPS panels with high viewing angles, which range up to 178 degrees, are available. However, if there is one snag to the H-IPS, it is that they might appear too smooth or anti-aliased to the user.

Color Accuracy is Excellent in Both S-IPS and H-IPS

Although, S-IPS and H-IPS are different, those differences are not extensive. There are a few cons to purchasing both H-IPS and S-IPS panels instead of cheaper ones. They are obviously more expensive and geared towards professionals. However, consumers have also increasingly started to move slowly but certainly towards higher-quality panels, with prices moving lower as a positive side effect.  Their intended use is based around how important the color is to the user. These panels will benefit those interested in graphics design applications, and users looking for accurate color reproduction.

Compared to TN Panels

S-IPS and H-IPS panels are also not produced as widely as TN panels, TN panels beingthe most common ones in the market by far. These panels are inferior to H-IPS/S-IPS, save for a few features. Their viewing angles and contrast ratios are much lower than those of H-IPS/S-IPS. The color palette available is not as exhaustive either. TN panels are 6-bit, compared with 8-bit S-IPS/H-IPS, and they are not able to display as many colors. They have to emulate their palette. Most of the affordable LCD displays on the market consist of TN panels.

However, in terms of response times, TN panels are the fastest. The response time is a measure of how long it takes for a pixel to change in color. At low response times, the user will experience a blurring effect as the pixels change value or color. TN panel response times of as low as 2 ms are common – some are even down to just 1ms. TN panels might be better for gaming if a person wants to use them for split-second on-line FPS gaming.

On the other hand, response time in IPS panels are steadily decreasing to the point where the difference is insignificant. This is especially the case with new H-IPS monitors.

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