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How Does A Bluetooth Headset Work

In this post about wireless headphones, we are going to try to clear up concerns in relation to their operation, mainly for all those who try to understand something beyond its simple use to listen to music.

This is something very interesting that helps us to have more information when buying a wireless headset and know what to take into account.

In the same way, we are going to talk about a feature that several models of headphones today include in order to provide better practicality in everyday use: wireless headphone technology called Bluetooth.

In recent times, wireless technology in headphones gained a significant following thanks to smartphones that lost the P2 (3.5mm) input for the headphones. At the same time, there was a greater popularization of the most affordable headphones from Chinese companies, which is why today it is simpler to buy a Bluetooth headset.

In today’s market, we find more than one type of wireless headphone technology, although the most popular and efficient today is Bluetooth. Due to this, we will analyze below what Bluetooth technology is, how it works and how it is applied in the audio of our headphones.

How Bluetooth Technology Works

Bluetooth wireless technology uses radio waves to connect different types of gadgets such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

Bluetooth makes use of radio frequencies, more specifically the 2.45 GHz frequency, and as this frequency band is widely used, it is a requirement to ensure in some way that Bluetooth does not suffer interference and that it does not produce them either. For which, they took advantage of the communication by FH-CDMA (Frequency Hopping – Code Division Multiple Access), which allows the moderation of the interference indices, dividing the frequency into 79 channels (or 23, subject to each country).

Differences between Bluetooth 4.2 and 5.0

The first thing we notice in Bluetooth 5 is that the range was optimized. While version 4.2 has a range of up to 50 meters in an open environment and up to 10 meters in an indoor environment (with walls), version 5 manages to provide a range of up to 200 meters in an open area and up to 40 meters in a closed environment.

This increase in range potential is due to the fact that Bluetooth 5 provides a changing transmission speed. It manages to use 4 levels of data transmission and is regulated according to the requirements of the gadget being used.

You can automatically switch between the following transmission speeds: 2 Mbps, 1 Mbps, 500 kbps, and 125 kbps. The lower the data rate, the greater the distance reached in data transmission.

For example, smartwatches do not need to send a large amount of data and consequently accept a transmission speed of 125 kbps, providing a range of up to 200 meters in an open environment. However, when a large continuous stream of data such as 1 Mbps or 2 Mbps is required as is the case with wireless headphones, for example, the range is greatly reduced. But do not worry, Bluetooth 5 will allow you to walk quietly throughout your house without great losses depending on the kind of Bluetooth you use (which is different from the Bluetooth version).

The second feature that stands out in Bluetooth 5 is battery saving. It manages to standby for a longer time and consume less power than its past generation (4.2). This is made possible by the enhancement of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology that was introduced in Bluetooth 4.0. It was created thinking about applications that require low data transfer (less than 1 Mbps) and for that, it uses the GFSK (Gaussian Frequency-Shift Keying) modulation system.

Finally, another feature that draws attention to version 5 of Bluetooth is the ability to transmit data in a single packet. In Bluetooth 4 this rate is 31 bytes per packet, while in Bluetooth 5 this value increases to 255 bytes per packet.

How to use Bluetooth 5.0 on technology devices

You will need a smartphone, tablet, notebook or other devices that support Bluetooth 5.0 and a headset that supports that version of Bluetooth. Both devices must be compatible with the technology to be really used, otherwise, the mobile will use an older Bluetooth version.

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Bluetooth classes

To make it possible to adjust Bluetooth to the most varied types of devices and purposes, the maximum range of the technology has been divided into four classes:

Class 1: Maximum power 100 mW (milliwatts) range up to 100 meters;

Class 2: Maximum power of 2.5 mW, range up to 10 meters;

Class 3: Maximum power of 1 mW, range up to 1 meter;

Class 4: Maximum power of 0.5 mW, range of up to 50 centimetres.

Bluetooth profiles

Bluetooth profiles are protocols that define what functions can be performed by devices that have Bluetooth.

There are currently around 40 different profiles, but some of these are found more frequently on devices that have this technology. The most relevant Bluetooth profiles for us will be presented below:

Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)

This profile is responsible for transmitting audio from one Bluetooth device to another. It is used by all Bluetooth headphones and speakers today. Before the creation of this profile, Bluetooth audio was very grainy and only headsets were used for phone calls. The Bluetooth modules that support the A2DP profile have in them a set of audio codecs that can be executed according to the hardware capabilities. These codecs are designed to balance the needs for power use, audio processing, and sufficient data rates according to what is required.

Headset Profile (HSP)

This profile provides the ability to stream audio through the microphone to answer calls, and adjust the sound volume level. It is used together with the A2DP profile to be able to transmit the audio of the voices.

Handsfree Profile (HFP)

This profile gives the Bluetooth device the ability to make hands-free audio calls in cars or smartphones. Add features such as accepting, rejecting or ending a call without needing to touch, for example, on the mobile phone to execute the command.

Audio / Video (A / V) Remote Control Profile (AVRCP)

This profile allows the user to control the music or sound of the Bluetooth device by performing functions such as play/pause, forward / backwards; beyond controlling the volume. It is generally used in conjunction with the A2DP profile to enable sound transmission and control.

Audio codecs

The codec determines how Bluetooth will transmit data from the source to the headphones. Encodes and decodes digital audio data in a specific format. Thinking of an ideal situation, the data is transmitted through a high fidelity signal at the specified minimum bit rate. This will use less band while maintaining good playback quality, better distance capacity, and better headphone battery life.

Before we begin, it is important to say that to get the quality of the desired codec, both the source and the headphones must have support for that codec. Furthermore, it is also necessary to know the meaning of some terms to make it easier to read about the codecs below.

Basic codec terms

  1. Sample rate (Hz): is the number of data points per second in an audio file. You need two samples to accurately capture any frequency, so the audio is sampled at least twice the limits of human hearing (approximately 20 kHz). The sampling frequency of the CD is 44,100 Hz, which means that with every second of sound, 44,100 measurements of the signal’s voltage variation are taken. In this way, the higher the sampling frequency, the more accurate the representation of the signal. A higher sample rate means a larger file size.
  2.  Bit depth (-bit): is the number of bits saved for each audio sample. A sample represented by only one bit could receive only two values: “0” or “1”. On the other hand, a representation with 3 bits could receive 8 different values ​​(23 = 8): 000, 001, 010, 100, 110, 101, 011, 111. A CD has a resolution of 16 bits, which allows a binary resolution with 65,534 (216) values. A higher bit depth records a signal more accurately. A higher bit depth multiplies the file size.
  3. Bit rate per second (kbps): generally measured in kbps or Mbps. That’s the amount of audio data transferred per second, in our case via Bluetooth.

SBC codec (Low-complexity sub-band codec)

The simplest existing codec is the Low Complexity Subband Codec (SBC). It is present in all Bluetooth devices that have the A2DP profile, being a universal codec. Its transfer rates reach up to 345 kbps, enough to play compressed MP3 files. So in case you want high-fidelity audio, don’t expect too much from this codec.

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AAC (Advanced audio coding) codec

The AAC codec was developed by Bell Labs, Fraunhofer Institute, Dolby Labs, Sony, and Nokia. It is the standard format for iPhone, iPod, iPad, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation 3. It is compatible with PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Wii, Sony Walkman, Android and BlackBerry.

The codec can provide a data transfer rate of up to 250 kbps. But despite having slightly lower performance, AAC is widely praised among compression algorithms and is considered a breakthrough over the SBC codec.

Apple has chosen to adopt the AAC codec for all its devices, in addition to the SBC codec, which is a requirement to have the Bluetooth A2DP profile. Apple Music streams with AAC natively, making it the best choice for an AAC or ALAC file library. For best results, you should pay attention not to use your iPhone to stream other compressed audio formats. The compressed files in MP3 or Ogg Vorbis format Spotify must be decoded by the iPhone and then encoded in AAC before they are transmitted to the headphones.

AptX codecs

The aptX codecs were developed by Qualcomm with the aim of offering a quality that was close to that of a CD, offering a rate of 16bits / 48KHz with a data transfer rate of up to 352 kbps. Even in this way, aptX still adds lossy file compression, compromising the final sound quality.

The aptX HD was created specifically to obtain higher resolution audio and fewer losses than the first version. It is a codec capable of reaching a speed of 24bits / 48kHz in LPCM (Linear Pulse Code Modulation) with a data transfer rate of up to 576 kbps. This already provides significant gain compared to aptX or SBC in terms of sound quality.

To decrease audio latency in Bluetooth headphones, aptX Low Latency was created, thus enhancing gaming and video experiences. It is a codec that has a latency of fewer than 40 milliseconds with a data throughput of up to 420 kbps.

And finally, to improve the battery consumption of the headphones, Qualcomm has developed the aptX Adaptive codec that changes the data transfer speeds according to what the file that is being played requires. This codec supports a data transfer rate of up to 420 kbps.

LDAC codec

Sony, in order to achieve the best sound quality in the Bluetooth headphone market, has created its own codec called LDAC. It has the ability to vary the bit rate according to the definition of the song and is capable of maintaining a speed of 96KHz / 24bits with a data transfer rate of up to 990 kbps. This data transfer speed is almost twice that of aptX HD and three times that of SBC. Fortunately, in the case of LDAC, it is possible to find non-Sony Bluetooth devices that support this codec. In this way, you will be able to obtain an audio quality superior to the aptX HD codec.

UAT codec

Hiby has recently developed its own codec, Ultra Audio Transmission (UAT), to overcome all the barriers of the existing ones, including Sony’s LDAC, and has managed to achieve a sampling rate of 192 kHz with a data transfer rate of 1200 kbps. There are still few devices compatible with this technology, but it is something surprising and that raises the quality that we have in our Bluetooth headphones even more.

How to use the best possible audio codec

Even in the case of Bluetooth 5.0, you will need a smartphone, tablet or laptop, and a headset that supports the desired codec (either aptX, LDAC or UAT). Both devices will need to be compatible with the technology to be really used, otherwise the mobile will use the SBC or AAC codec, which are inferior in terms of audio quality when compared to the other codecs mentioned.

Bluetooth does not support high-quality audio when the microphone is in use

When only the earphone is used to listen to some sound, the A2DP profile is activated and consequently, you are able to use codecs such as aptX HD, aptX Low Latency, LDAC, etc.

However, when you need the microphone, the Bluetooth profile will change to HSP (Headset Profile) or HFP (Handsfree Profile) and this will cause the audio quality to drop sharply because Bluetooth does not have enough bandwidth to maintain the audio quality and at the same time send data from the microphone.

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This problem of lack of data transmission capacity can be improved with the use of Bluetooth 5.0 which has several improvements in terms of speed and data transmission capacity.

Apple W1 chip

Apple has a chip inside their headphones with a specific audio codec that can only be used on Apple devices. In case you do not have, for example, an iPhone and want to pair the AirPods on your Android smartphone, you will not get the same sound quality.

Also, if you have a better Bluetooth headset than Apple’s with support, for example, the LDAC or aptX HD codec, and you want to connect to an Apple device, it will unfortunately not be possible to benefit from these codecs. Your headset will use the SBC and AAC codecs which are simpler and low in quality compared to the other currently existing codecs.

Advantages and disadvantages of wired and wireless headphones

After all that has been talked about, you may have realized that Bluetooth technology in wireless headphones is by no means simple, requiring a lot of engineering and skill from both the source and the headphones themselves. All the development of Bluetooth versions and profiles, plus audio codecs, comes at a great cost.

In addition to having a cost in terms of technology built into the Bluetooth device, we still have the cost of the battery to keep the hardware working, the Bluetooth radio wave receiving antenna and the integrated chip with DAC and amplifier inserted inside the Bluetooth headphones. .

Unfortunately, this raises the price of a good wireless headset considerably. So do not fall into the mistake that cheap headphones of this type will offer you good quality since it is a challenge to balance the cost of Bluetooth technology with the sound quality of the headphones and with the quality of the materials used in the headset. manufacturing.

The Bluetooth headset, despite its high cost, makes it much easier to play sports by listening to music or a podcast, watching movies without disturbing others, or simply studying. All this without cables. However, if you prioritize sound quality above all else, it is interesting to consider the alternative of wired headphones over Bluetooth, since this technology has its limitations.

In terms of audio quality, regardless of the value, we still have some compression and degradation of the audio in headphones that work with Bluetooth technology compared to those with a cable. It also adds the audio latency problem that many wireless models, depending on the codec and the version of Bluetooth, still have.

In short, the wireless headphone market is constantly evolving and getting better and better. In the meantime, it will only be possible to obtain higher quality at a high cost, so it is important to weigh priorities.

In the future, the cost of the technology is likely to decrease, as well as an improvement in it. Meanwhile, you will hardly achieve the sound quality of a wired headphone. Just look at the headphones from the best manufacturers, none who intend to produce the best headphones in terms of quality are using Bluetooth technology. By contrast, all aspiring headphones have cables.

Does the device affect the quality of the Bluetooth audio?

If we were using the same audio codec, it will not affect the audio quality to use a different mobile phone (or laptop or tablet), model. This occurs because the function of the Bluetooth signal transmitting devices is only the transmission of the digital signal that has to be converted to the Analog signal so that the headset can emit sound.

Conversion of the transmitted digital signal (via an audio codec such as aptX HD or LDAC) and further amplification occurs within the Bluetooth headset, via an integrated circuit board that has a DAC and a system amplification.

That is if your smartphone has support for the aptX or LDAC codec and your Bluetooth headset has to support the same codec, the headset will sound the same even if you use another phone model (which also has support for the same codecs).

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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.

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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.

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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.


OLED panels can be used as gaming monitors, however, I think that to this day they still do not have enough value for money to be worth it.

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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.

Modern Resolutions

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).

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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.

8K Resolution

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.
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TN vs IPS vs VA Panels: Advantages and Disadvantages

There are many different types of LCD panel technologies (Liquid-crystal displays). Of course, each technology has its advantages and disadvantages. Next, we are going to see each technology in detail, but here is a summary:

  • 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 panels

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 panels

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.

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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.

VA panels

VA stands for Vertical Alignment or vertical alignment. As the name suggests, this technology uses vertically aligned liquid crystals that tilt when a voltage is applied to let light through.

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.

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Viewing angles

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.

Color depth

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.

Color range

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.

Response times

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.

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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.

Refreshment rates

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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