Finding cameras and mobiles capable of taking excellent photographs is quite simple these days, but they still always leave room for improvement. And is that one of the programs that have been used for a long time is the photo and image editor for PC, necessary for various reasons and it is worth making the best use of it. Therefore, today we present to you some of the best photo editors for PC with Windows 10, macOS or Linux.
All of us as users, at some point we have had to do some retouching to a photo or an image; many times using only programs that are already pre-installed, to make simple modifications. But that has changed with the need for much more complex edits, as well as the ability of programs to carry them out.
Among the variety of programs that exist, we are not going to feel comfortable with all of them. That is why we will recommend to you some of the best photo editors for PC that you can get and try. Most are free, easy to use, and feature-rich. Anyway, if you have any additional recommendations, you can always leave them in the comments.
What Is an Image Editor for PC?
An image or photo editor for PC is a program used to improve and readjust the parameters of image files that are stored on the computer. These files can be from photos and drawings to renderings or graphics; and each of its tools allows you to modify colors, sharpness, contrast, shapes, size and more parameters.
The tools to edit photos are increasingly common and are present in each of the computers. Even a simple program like Paint is an image editor for PC that can fulfil useful functions for amateur users. And it happens that one of its main benefits is that in most cases they are very easy to use.
Photo editing is a practice that we see all the time, everywhere. On web portals, in magazines, in the media and even by fans on social networks. Come on, we have even edited a selfie or a photo that we liked, to improve them.
With a photo editor, or anyone can turn a work into something of high quality. But, even with how easy it is to learn to use these programs, you need some knowledge about the best photo editors for PC to achieve expected results. Since not all bring the same tools, nor do they serve the same purpose.
You Need a Basic, Online or Professional Photo Editor
Today, we can find a wide variety of programs for users of all kinds, each one with a greater or lesser aptitude for dealing with technology. And precisely, with the best photo editors for PC, exactly the same thing happens.
We are going to find some much more complete and professional alternatives, as well as there, are simple options that are only limited to the basic settings. The first thing you should ask is, why do you need to purchase the image editor? Keep in mind that just because a photo editor has too many built-in features, it doesn’t necessarily make it the best for you.
If what you want is to make simple and small adjustments, color adjustments, contrast, apply filters, watermarks or you want to make memes, you should not complicate too much. A fairly basic PC photo editor can be more than enough. You can even opt for an image editor that works on the web, for quick edits without installing anything on your computer.
However, the situation changes when you must make more advanced adjustments to achieve a high-quality result. While a simple photo editor has limited functions and an intuitive interface, a professional photo editor is much more complete. Not only will you find new functions, but there are also other methods for these types of edits.
In this Top, we will break down the best photo editors for PC according to the scope of their functions, so that you can determine which one best suits your needs. And in case the budget is important, you should know that most of our recommendations here have a free version that will allow you to know its functions. Let’s see them.
Best Basic Photo Editors
As we have already mentioned, there is a wide variety of free programs that can be very useful, but since nobody wants to have useless applications installed on their computer, I will limit myself to mentioning the most popular and best valued by users.
Anyone can use them to retouch their photos since the interface is simple and does not need much prior knowledge. Some have a more updated interface than others, as well as additional functions. However, they do have the basics anyway, and we cannot expect entirely professional results.
The first application that I recommend may not be the best of all, but it comes pre-installed in Windows 10, and it is the one that the system uses to open the images by default. It is a program that also has a simple, totally free photo editor. Its main advantage is that it receives constant updates, with a friendly interface.
Although we generally use it as a photo viewer, it offers some extra features that serve as an image editor for PC. From the “Edit and create” section, we can switch to an interface that allows cropping and rotating photos; Another function is to add filters, colours, and effects. As well as there is a function focused on adjusting the color and clarity.
The edits that are made are simple, but Windows 10 also offers us the possibility of Drawing, adding 3D effects and even placing an animated effect on the photos. And if for some reason it is insufficient, the system itself recommends the Paint 3D tool.
It is a fairly stable program to edit images very easily. Although it is one of the longest circulating among users, its regular updates have allowed it to keep up with current needs. Besides being free, it is also one of the easiest to use, with enough features to achieve professional editions.
The options they offer are for viewing and editing photos. With this program we can modify the size, brightness, contrast, colors and shapes in the image; as well as it is also possible to add effects, texts, templates, frames and much more. But PhotoScape has not limited to still images, as it has functions to assemble collages and edit gifs.
Its wide variety of predefined effects, together with the simple interface it shows, make it an excellent free alternative for any user to be able to edit photos as if they were a professional. It also has a paid version, which offers some extras and you can install it very easily both on Windows and on your macOS.
This is a photo editor for PC, which is mainly focused on facilitating computer screen captures to designers and editors, all this in a fast way. It also brings an editor to retouch the capture, without the need to resort to another external program.
It has a number of functions that integrate quite well into the Windows 10 taskbar and works in the background. With easy setup, snapshots can be taken full size or in a specifically designated area on the screen. But it also has several additional functions for editing images.
It is a free tool, although you can always acquire the license to have all its professional functions. From this tool, you can also edit all kinds of images very easily. It also has a variety of accessories, there is the possibility of saving photos in the cloud and highlights its customizable interface for simpler use.
Even though Photoshop is one of the best PC photo editors that we can use today, it can be quite complicated to handle. However, and fortunately, there are some simple and quick alternatives that can get you out of any trouble.
First, we have the Photoshop Elements tool , a program designed by Adobe that is focused on editing photos, at a less complex level. It has a large number of very intuitive functions, which allow us to improve the photos through artificial intelligence that guides us through the edition. It also has additional functions to recover images and videos, but you must bear in mind that it is not a free option.
On the other hand, if you want a simple and free alternative, we can take advantage of the Photoshop Express tool . It is a program capable of performing a large number of basic adjustments to cut, rotate or link photos. It also supports its own AI-based auto-checker for easy editing and offers a variety of filters.
Photoshop Express has an online version for instant editing, without downloading or installing any files. Although its functions are very basic, it is still an excellent tool for users who want to make professional edits without knowing much about the subject.
This is a much more complete version of the well-known Paint tool, which does not sacrifice its simple interface. Although it does not reach the level of Photoshop tools, it is an excellent alternative for inexperienced users, who are looking for a free photo editor for PC.
The simplicity of this program allows its execution in devices with little power. But in addition to the more basic features that we see in other editors, it also has certain important functions. Some of these are the history of actions, the support of layers and the possibility of applying effects or retouching photos quickly.
Although it is primarily aimed at novice users, Paint.NET brings a number of plugins designed by its developer community. These plugins are used to access a few more advanced functions, such as the ZOOM 3D for image recomposition. You can download it in Windows 10 totally free.
This is a powerful photo editor for PC, developed by Wondershare and available for Windows versions. An excellent alternative to editing images in a simple way, with a variety of interesting functions, all completely free. Although it is worth noting that if you don’t get your own license, the photos will have a noticeable watermark.
The Fotophire tool is made up of a series of blocks with very specific functions; that facilitate editing at a professional level without the need for great technical knowledge. The first is the Photo Editor, focused on editing filters, textures, colors, framing and other basic aspects.
We also have the Photo Cutter blocks, to eliminate the background of the photographs quickly when making photomontages; together with the Photo Erased function, which is used to edit and erase unwanted elements that are present in the image.
Finally, we have the latest features that have been incorporated. There is the Photo Maximizer, a complement that allows you to enlarge or zoom the photo without reducing quality and detail; and Photo Focus, to adjust colors, sharpness and blur to our liking.
This alternative offers the most basic functions, which are not always the best when editing photos on the PC. Paint 3D offers us some additional tools to the original version, which can be used to make quick and easy edits; even if you don’t expect too much from this app.
Perhaps it is not the best, but it is important to keep them in mind, considering that they are free and in most cases, they are already installed with the latest version of Windows 10.
Best Photo Editors on the Web
To have an image editor for PC, you don’t always need to download and install a tool. There are many free alternatives that you can use online, which are simple but with professional functions in most cases.
The greatest advantage of these tools is that you can take advantage of them from any device, at any time and without restrictions or additional costs. In addition, it will not take up space, which is appreciated when the computer does not have much internal memory.
A free image editor for PC, offering a good set of tools. It is used for simple photo editing, design making and even creating collages. All of this primarily intended for ordinary users who just want to do good editing, but it doesn’t work too much for professional purposes. Unless you purchase a license.
It is the top recommendation because it offers a variety of extra features, which cannot be found in other of the best photo editors for PC. To use it, it is only necessary to access its website , upload the image and start editing.
The BeFunky tool is one of the best photo editors for PC that you can use from a browser. It is a free, intuitive and quite a complete editor, although its paid version offers some additional functions for users looking for something more professional. It also has a version for Android that is quite useful.
In general, this image editor is divided into 3 sections, which facilitates its use by less experienced users. The first is the editor with the main functions, the second is a tool for making collages and the third is dedicated to graphic design. Although it does not reach the level of Photoshop, it is still a professional, complete and easy-to-use alternative.
It is not exactly a photo editor for PC, since this tool focuses much more on the elaboration of infographics . However, it is used to create and edit photos through designs already created or even through our own resources, from scratch.
It is a useful website to develop advertising campaigns and content for social networks, with a wide number of functions and tools that it leaves at our disposal. And while we can take advantage of its free license with registration, you always have the Pro alternative, which brings other interesting features. As an alternative app, we have PicMonkey, a very similar tool.
We can’t list the best photo editors for PC online, not to mention a favorite of many users. Personally, it is also one of my favorites, because in addition to reminding Photoshop a lot, from the outset it offers you the option to choose between 2 versions. We have the PIXLR X for novice users, with a simple interface, and PIXLR E, for professionals.
Both versions have editing tools for retouching photos through the web, as well as artificial intelligence that allows better results than expected and supports practically all types of image formats. We can open PSD projects, created by Photoshop without problems.
With a much more visual design, the I Love IMG program presents a wide variety of tools for editing images through the web. Each of its functions is divided to facilitate users’ work, making it an excellent free and intuitive alternative. Although its Premium version is not expensive at all, and it offers more functions.
It has direct tools to compress, crop, resize, rotate and even convert the image to other formats, or from HTML. In addition, its basic editor is present to adjust color, lighting, frames, filters and more. It even has a straightforward feature to quickly create memes and add watermarks.
If you are looking for a way to make quick edits instantly from the browser on your PC, this is the right option for you. It is a program with all the basic functions, necessary for simple edits. It does not need any type of installation or registration, you just have to access its website and then upload the photo from your computer or through a URL.
Its interface is quite intuitive and it is in Spanish, which is another benefit. Once the photo is loaded, in the left panel we can find a series of functions. In addition to the most common ones for editing brightness, colors and sharpness, we also have alternatives to create frames, place texts or superimpose images.
The extra functions are unlocked in its Pro version. But at least, you will be able to use the free version in an unlimited way and without problems with watermarks or damages in your editions.
We cannot forget the popular tool to store our photos and videos for free, and almost unlimited, that Google provides us. In this cloud service, we find a simple photo editor that can solve more than one problem.
Its functions are focused on retouching, cutting and editing the photos from its app, both on the PC and on the mobile. Its artificial intelligence is capable of making the process much easier by making recommendations for automatic improvements. We can’t expect miracles from this tool, but with its wide popularity and scope, it’s an alternative worth keeping in mind.
Best Professional Photo Editors
Although the programs mentioned so far are very useful, complete and even simple tools, they can sometimes fall short; This happens especially when we need to have as many functions as possible for a professional edition.
Advanced editing features can be present in a large number of programs. Here I will present you with the most popular and best-valued alternatives, to carry out any type of edition and achieve the result you want. Not all the options are paid, we can even find free options that offer spectacular finishes.
The best photo editor for PC that you can use today, with the best ratings and general acceptance is Photoshop. A tool developed by Adobe , which implements a variety of functions to do practically anything with photos and images.
It offers options for retouching, editing, removing or adding objects, playing with shapes and colors, filters, frames and a host of possibilities. One of the main benefits is that year after year it is updated with new features, allowing you to get more and more of it. This versatility makes it an excellent tool for users who depend on a professional PC photo editor, which can also be installed on any System.
Its biggest drawback is that, due to the large volume of functions it implements, it has become a somewhat complex program for all users. The interface is not simple at all and requires a bit of practice and prior knowledge to be able to use it properly. Also, it’s a bit of a pricey payment tool, but it really does offer everything it is worth.
The best professional photo editor for PC is closely followed by GIMP. A program that is characterized by offering many of the tools that we have in Photoshop, with the advantage that it is free, open-source and a little easier to use. In addition, it is in Spanish and is supported on different systems, whether Windows, macOS or Linux.
As an image editor for PC, it offers a variety of functions and plug-ins for editions superior to other free programs. That has allowed its interface to be customizable, to the point where we can have it as similar to Photoshop; although, for obvious reasons, there are fewer functions compared to the other payment options.
However, we are talking about a free tool for professionals , which supports multiple platforms and is updated quite regularly. Even with its medium learning curve due to its slightly complex interface, it has good support and a large community of users who take advantage of its functions. An option that you must take into account.
This is another professional PC photo editor that we can use for free. Despite not being as popular as GIMP, it works very well for all those users who have some experience with photo editing and want to use better functions than the basic alternatives, without having to spend on options like Photoshop.
Krita is a program oriented mainly in drawing, illustration, graphic design and digital painting. With its tools, you can create all kinds of illustrations, comics and a variety of artistic material. It is also a very versatile and intuitive open-source application.
Being a free alternative, it may not be able to satisfy all the needs of each user, it falls a little short at times. But for illustrators it comes in handy, being a photo and image editor for PC that is worth knowing. And being designed for all systems , you can easily edit on any device without any problem.
Another competition for Photoshop tools, with very complete functions and which has made good progress in recent years, is the Capture, One image editor. It is a program characterized by the customization options it offers.
It supports different formats for editing, including camera profiles to edit RAW photos easily, something necessary for all types of photographers, both professionals and amateurs. Even allowing you to edit the interface and the add-ons that can be used, you can adapt the program to a much more user-friendly design. Although it is still a complex alternative.
Not only is its design modern, but it also surpasses the Adobe app in speed and capacity. And being mainly oriented to photography, we have various functions for HDR, layers and color profiles, noise reduction, among other editing options. But you should keep in mind that their license is the most expensive on the list.
An image editor for PC that has been on the market for almost the same time as Photoshop, and in addition to being its direct competition, it shares a fairly similar interface. We can say that the Paintshop Pro program is located in an intermediate point between Photoshop and GRIMP, with a variety of functions for editing; which despite not being free, is much cheaper.
It has options to adjust all kinds of elements in the photos, in addition to allowing any type of change and correction. It brings support for working with layers, HDR support, supports RAW format and offers the classic drawing tools found in other professional programs.
Although its popularity does not reach the level of Photoshop, it is an image editor for PC that you can take advantage of a lot; especially because of its cheaper license and you can use the 30-day free offer to see for yourself everything this program has to offer.
Rather than being an image editor for PC, this tool is a fairly complete Photoshop extension, mainly focused on being a support for professional photographers and editors. Being multiplatform, it makes it a very flexible alternative.
This program is focused on the final retouching and finishing of the photos. It allows modifying a series of parameters quickly, with a simple and quite complete interface. However, its usefulness is limited to the final retouching of the photos, since it has somewhat limited functions. It is a plug-in that fits well with the popular Adobe tool, to facilitate editing.
It has an advanced artificial intelligence system, a large number of controls for the tool and has a Spanish version. In addition, even with its simple interface, you can get a variety of integrated tutorials that explain the best way to use Lightroom. If you are a professional and you work a lot with Photoshop, this is an extension that you should not miss.
OLED Monitors: Can an OLED TV Be Used as a Pc Monitor?
At CES 2019, Dell already showed us the promise of an exciting new future for Alienware gaming monitors with OLED displays for gaming.
Technically it was amazing. 55-inch screen, 4K resolution, 120 Hz refresh rate, HDR, color gamut up to 95% of DCI-P3 and support for variable refresh rates. These features fueled many enthusiasts for an OLED monitor, but it looks like it will still take a few years to become a reality.
Disadvantages of OLED panels
According to some sources, the purchase cost for a wholesaler of a 55-inch Samsung OLED panel is estimated at about $ 800. And Samsung, which is the world leader in the production of OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode), continues to have losses in all panels. And we are talking about 60 Hz panels, 120 Hz panels are much more expensive. So Samsung has shifted its focus to smaller and more cost-effective OLED panels for smartphones. Therefore, it is estimated that a 55-inch gaming monitor could go on the market for more than 3,000 euros, a price difficult to justify.
Also, keep in mind that such a large monitor is impractical for most people’s normal desktop use, even the smallest OLED options like the 48 ”LG CX48 are too big. Even 40- to 43-inch “monitors” aren’t comfortable and you end up with a sore neck and constantly having to move your head to view different areas of the screen.
Also, a 55-inch 3840 x 2160 pixel (UHD 4K) monitor has a density of 80.11 pixels per inch (a pixel density very close to that of a 27 ”1920 x 1080 monitor). This density may be suitable for games and multimedia, but not for general use for text documents, web browsing, photo editing, etc.
Another of the weaknesses that will worry the most about OLED panels is their tendency to produce burns when there are still images (the fly of television networks, HUDs in video games, etc.). This means that if we play a video game or the same program for many hours, the part of the screen that shows fixed information can be permanently marked on the screen. For example, the operating system’s taskbar will appear lightly when we are playing a game… Fortunately, OLED panels have been improving a lot and also have refresh technologies that prevent these problems.
OLED panels have a shorter lifespan of around 14,000 hours, slightly lower than their rivals. This shorter shelf life also affects color degradation over time. Although it is not such a serious problem for games and multimedia, it can be very problematic when editing photos. Therefore, you will need a reliable way to calibrate your screen over time to ensure consistent color consistency.
Lastly, OLED panels usually offer a slightly lower maximum brightness than their rivals.
Advantages of OLED panels
OLED panels work in a different way than other panels since each pixel lights up independently. In a normal screen, we have a matrix of white LED lights that through filters produce different colors. This design has the drawback that, by producing black pixels, some light is filtered out and makes the blacks not pure (they are dark grey).
On the contrary, OLED panels are capable of producing pure blacks since the one-pixel black LED does not turn on. For this reason, OLED panels have a much higher level of contrast. Thanks to this they achieve impressive image quality.
This way of operating, without backlighting or backlighting, has a couple of immediate benefits. The first is that OLED displays can be thinner. The second is that they have lower energy consumption.
Characteristics Between OLED and Other Technologies
As we already know, what we see on a screen are a succession of still images that change many times per second. Gaming monitors should have a refresh rate of 144 Hz and above and luckily there are already OLED monitors that reach that figure. Of course, there are monitors with TN and IPS panels that far exceed that number. Even so, 144 Hz should be valid for the vast majority of users.
The response time is the milliseconds it takes for a pixel to change from white to black and vice versa color. Long response time causes fast movements to trail and ghosting which makes the image less sharp. OLED panels have very fast response times, even better than gaming monitors with TN technology.
Variable vertical sync technologies (Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync) are extremely important because they eliminate tearing, stuttering, and decrease input lag. Many OLED televisions are already beginning to be compatible with these two technologies so that users can better enjoy their video games.
Display Resolution: What Are They and What Do You Need
One of the most important features when buying a computer monitor or television is screen resolution. And, although it is a simple aspect to understand, unfortunately, the acronyms and the marketing make it quite confusing … For example, the immense of the 4K monitors that are sold, are not 4K, they are UHD.
What is the resolution of a screen?
The resolution refers to the number of pixels that make up the image of a screen. A pixel is at a small point on the screen.
Resolution is usually specified as the number of horizontal and vertical pixels that make up the image, for example, 1920 x 1080 pixels. That means the screen has 1920 horizontal pixels and 1080 vertical pixels.
The total number of pixels will be the multiplication of both numbers. Older displays had less than one million total pixels, 1080p (1920 x 1080) displays have just over 2 million pixels, 4K displays have over 8 million pixels, and 8K displays have over 33 million pixels. pixels.
What is the aspect ratio of a monitor?
The aspect ratio of a monitor is the proportional representation that describes the correlation between the width and height of the screen.
720p or WXGA
A 720p screen typically has a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, just under 1 million total pixels (megapixels). They are sometimes also called HD or HD Ready displays, although in reality those usually have a resolution of 1366 x 768. It doesn’t matter much either. Today, they are quite low resolutions and practically all computer monitors and all televisions have higher resolutions.
1080p or FullHD (FHD)
The FullHD displays have a horizontal resolution of 1,920 pixels and 1,080 pixels of vertical resolution. There are still many monitors and televisions that use this resolution. Of course, I would not recommend buying a monitor larger than 24 or 27 inches with this resolution. The pixels are quite large and, although they do not bother in games, in office automation they can be noticed.
QHD 1440p, the misnamed 2K
1440p displays contain 2560 x 1440 pixels, and as monitors increase in size, the resolution is becoming more common. This resolution is also known as QHD or Quad HD as it has 4 times the resolution (twice the pixels in height and twice the pixels in width) than 720p HD displays.
As you can see, until now the normal screens were named with the vertical resolution (720p, 1080p, 1440p…), however, from that moment on the name of the resolution will be the horizontal resolution.
Because this format has been caught in the middle of the transition, it is sometimes incorrectly called 2K. And I say incorrectly because the 2K resolution (referring to the new fashion, horizontal) would be the 2048 x 1080 resolution that was used in the world of cinema before 4K.
UHD Vs. 4K Resolution
Although they are often confused, UHD and 4K resolutions are not the same . As we have seen in the table, the UHD resolution is 3840 x 2160 pixels, while the 4K resolution is 4096 x 2160 pixels. It is a bit wider.
4K is a professional cinema standard, while UHD is a consumer standard.
The term “4K” was originally derived from the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI), a consortium of film studios that standardized a specification for the digital production and projection of 4K content. In this case, 4K is 4,096 by 2,160, and it’s exactly four times the previous standard for digital editing and projection (2K, or 2,048 x 1,080).
4K resolution referring to the number of vertical lines as 2160p
The UHD or Ultra High Definition (ultra high definition) is the next step of what is called Full HD, the official name for the screen resolution of 1,920 by 1,080. UHD quadruples that resolution to 3,840 by 2,160. And while it is not the same as the 4K resolution we just saw, almost all televisions and monitors that are advertised as 4K are actually UHD.
The 8K resolution is the highest resolution currently available and is 7680 × 4320 pixels. There are still very few monitors and televisions with this resolution, and the ones that are there are extremely expensive.
Resolution is one of the most common specifications used to sell televisions and computer monitors, partly because “4K” and “8K” are easy to remember and claim to represent the latest of the latest in high technology.
However, the resolution is not the most important ingredient in image quality. Just because one monitor has a higher resolution than another doesn’t always mean it looks better. It can be, but not always, and for reasons that have little to do with resolution. When buying a monitor, you also have to take into account contrast, dynamic range, color representation, etc.
- What does 4K mean? It should mean that a screen is 4096 x 2160 pixels, but typically 3840 x 2160 pixels.
- What does UHD mean? It stands for “Ultra High Definition” and, although incorrectly, it is often synonymous with 4K.
- Do you need a 4K monitor? No, unless you are buying a monitor larger than 30 inches.
- Is 8K worth worrying about? Do not.
TN vs IPS vs VA Panels: Advantages and Disadvantages
- TN: shorter response time (up to 1 ms), but poor colors.
- IPS: the best colors, but worse response time. Even so, the improvements to the IPS panels have practically solved this problem and there are already IPS monitors with 1ms of response and 280 Hz.
- VA: They are not as fast as TN panels and they do not look as good as IPS panels. Of course, they have the advantage of having the best contrast. In addition, they are usually cheaper than IPS.
TN (Twisted Nematic) is the oldest technology in the world of LCDs (liquid crystal displays). Its operation uses the nematic effect that allows liquid crystal molecules to be controlled with voltage.
Twisted nematic technology was invented in 1970 and developed in the Hoffmann-Roche laboratories. It was a revolution and allowed the creation of flat screens.
Basically, the TN effect is used to change the alignment of liquid crystals when a voltage is applied. This, along with different polarization layers to filter the colors, allows the panel to show light or not.
TN panels are inexpensive and offer excellent response times (between 1 and 5 ms), making them perfect for gaming. Unfortunately, the color reproduction, viewing angles, and contrast of TN panels are worse than current LCD panel technologies.
Unlike most 8-bit IPS / VA-based panels, TN is 6-bit only and cannot display the 16.7 million colors available in 24-bit true color. They can mimic the 16.7 million colors of 8-bit panels using a technique called dithering, but the results are not impressive.
IPS is perhaps the most famous technology in the world of PC monitors because it tends to meet the most common uses of users very well.
IPS stands for “in-plane switching” and, like all LCDs, it also uses voltage to control the alignment of the liquid crystals. However, unlike TN, IPS monitors use a different orientation of the crystals, one in which the crystals are parallel to the glass substrates, hence the term “in-plane” in their name.
Rather than “spin” the crystals to change the amount of light that is allowed to pass through, the IPS crystals are already rotated, which has a number of benefits. However, you also need a more powerful backlight, which can lead to light leakage or bleeding on the screen.
What is the Super PLS?
It is a technology developed by Samsung that is very similar to IPS technology. According to Samsung, Super PLS (Plane to Line Switching) panels have wider viewing angles, produce 10% more brightness, and are cheaper to produce. In real life … they are just another IPS monitor.
What is AHVA?
Another type of patented panel similar to IPS and that also has the advantages announced by Samsung. Developed by AUO, AHVA is short for Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle. It is important to know it so as not to confuse it with VA technology.
This is the key difference between IPS and VA: with VA, the crystals are perpendicular to the substrates, while with IPS they are parallel.
As in IPS technology, the VA also has important variants such as Samsung’s S-PVA or AU Optronics’ AMVA.
VA technology has the advantage of offering better color reproduction and wider viewing angles than TN panels, although they do not reach the level of IPS panels.
VA panels also have the advantage of having higher contrasts compared to TN and IPS, so their blacks are much better.
There are VA monitors with high refresh rates, but they have high latency that can cause ghosting and motion blur. For this reason, competitive players should avoid VA panels.
The biggest disadvantage of VA panels is the color change. The change in color can cause the brightness levels to be uneven across the screen. It is subtle and there are people who do not even notice it, however, there are others who cannot live with it. Color changes also cause a loss of shadow detail in dark scenes when viewed directly from the center.
TN panels have the poorest viewing angles. The color and contrast change as you move your head both horizontally and vertically.
The VA panels are significantly better, but the best is the IPS.
Both TN and IPS panels tend to have a contrast ratio of around 1000: 1, although some good IPS monitors go as high as 1500: 1.
The best by far is the VAs that easily reach 4500: 1, although 3000: 1 is a more normal figure for cheap monitors.
Many televisions use VA panels and achieve 6000: 1 contrasts, achieving much deeper blacks. Ideal for watching movies.
Color quality can be divided into color depth (bit depth) and color range.
In both cases, TN panels are the worst. Many TN displays, particularly the cheaper models, only have native 6-bit and use frame rate control, also called FRC or dithering, to achieve standard 8-bit output. 6-bit panels are prone to color banding, while native 8-bit panels have smoother color gradients and therefore better color output.
Not all TN panels are 6-bit. High-end TNs are native 8-bit, but there are very few, even today.
VA panels achieve full coverage of the sRGB color space. However, VA panels can go higher-achieving about 125% sRGB or 90% of the DCI-P3 mark.
With IPS panels, there is more variation. Cheap IPS displays tend to offer sRGB coverage of 95% or less. On high-end displays, usually for professionals, it is not unusual to see full coverage of DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB.
At the gaming level, a very important aspect is the response time. A low time will ensure that we have an image without ghosting, without spots, and with a better level of general clarity.
The early IPS and VA panels were very slow, however, this has improved a lot with modern panels, so the differences between the three technologies are not as pronounced as before. That said, TN is still the best with panels with nominal 1ms (or even less) transition and 2-3ms true gray-to-gray averages.
IPS panels are next in terms of speed, although as is often the case with IPS, there is a wide variation between the best and the worst. High-end IPS monitors can have a transition time as fast as 4 ms. However, entry-level IPS panels sit closer to the 10ms range.
VA panels are consistently the slowest of the three. The fastest monitors have a response time of between 5 and 6 ms.
Currently, both TN and IPS monitors are capable of reaching refresh rates above 200 Hz, more than enough for any gamer.
- 60 Hz = 16.67 ms
- 75 Hz = 13.33 ms
- 100 Hz = 10.00 ms
- 120 Hz = 8.33 ms
- 144 Hz = 6.94 ms
- 165 Hz = 6.06 ms
- 240 Hz = 4.17 ms
A few years ago the most popular monitors were TNs. However, as the technology has matured, the best-selling monitors use IPS technology.
A typical IPS screen offers viewing angles of 178 degrees horizontal and 178 degrees vertical. Also, IPS panels are often more color accurate and capable of displaying more colors.
Over time manufacturers have managed to reduce response times reaching the performance of TN panels, yes, they are not so cheap.
Really, its only improvement, today, is the contrast and the depth of the blacks which is much better in the VA panels.
VAs have the advantage of being cheaper than IPS panels, they have better contrast, and the colors are much better than TNs. From my point of view, VA monitors are also a very good option, especially if you use the monitor a lot to watch movies or to play scary games since deep blacks are much better. Still, keep in mind that some VA monitors are ghosted and their viewing angles are more limited than IPS and can look very saturated (and weird) when viewed from the side.
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