IPS Panel Technologies
Simon Baker, Updated 1 March 2011

Contents:

New IPS Technologies - Introduction
What do LG.Display Have to Say About It?
What Are the Different Versions?

 

New IPS Technologies - Introduction

 

There used to be a time when manufacturers and customers were just happy to know their screen was using an IPS (In Plane Switching) panel. Now it seems there's all kinds of different versions cropping up, with new names and apparently different characteristics. I wanted to discuss the different versions being used and promoted today, and hopefully help summarise some of the differences.
 

 

What do LG.Display Have to Say About It?

 

 

Firstly, most IPS panels are manufactured by LG.Display, previously known as LG.Phillips. It's interesting to note that within their websites technical FAQ section they make reference to the different naming schemes being used to identify IPS panels. This is copied from their website so excuse the slightly odd English:

 
 

[IPS vs IPS-α] Is there any product difference between IPS and IPS-α ?

 

Physically, there exits no difference between IPS and IPS-α. However, Dell or HP, indicates “Intel Inside” in their products all the same time, even though they possess unique properties of product. Like this, we will keep on promoting the product indicating IPS, where several companies using IPS indicate IPS Premium to emphasize each appealing point.

 

So they use the term IPS-α to give a blanket reference to all the different types of IPS panel being mentioned (although they substitue the 'α' for an 'a' in parts of it). They are saying really that they aren't too concerned by it, the panels are all IPS, and different manufacturers use their panels and just highlight the strengths or features they want by adding another letter.  This seems to fit in with some of the more recent versions being promoted, which we discuss below. 

 

 

What Are the Different Versions?

 


Above: NEC 20WGX2


 



 



Above: Dell 2209WA

 

More recently though, the Dell 2209WA was the first IPS-based model to be released in the 22" market and advertised as featuring an e-IPS panel. The very competitive and low cost lead some to speculate that the 'e' stood for 'economy IPS'. There seems to have been a fair amount of use of this new 'e-IPS' name with other manufacturers such as NEC using it in their specifications for their new 2490WUXi2 for instance. They have even made the distinction and used H-IPS in other models in their range (e.g. 2690WUXi2).

The name 'economic IPS' seems to make the most sense, although it could also be linked to 'enhanced' and perhaps even 'energy efficient' or 'eco' with all the modern focus on carbon footprints and power consumption. It is a sub-section of H-IPS panels really but used in lower cost displays as these panels are less expensive to manufacturer. Some are actually 6-bit + AFRC modules in fact (as opposed to true 8-bit) which might explain how the costs are kept very low in some cases.

 

 

 



 

Above: NEC P241W