AMOLED vs IPS: Which Monitor Technology Should You Choose?

Hey there! Choosing a new monitor can be overwhelming with so many specs and technologies to consider. Two of the biggest options you‘ll run into are AMOLED and IPS display panels.

So should you pick an AMOLED or IPS monitor?

The good news is that both modern AMOLED and IPS monitors offer gorgeous visuals and great performance. But they each have strengths and weaknesses that make them better suited for certain uses.

This detailed guide will break down all the key pros, cons and differences between AMOLED vs IPS. And help choose which is right for YOUR needs…whether that‘s gaming, creative work, or everyday home/office use.

Let‘s dive in!

AMOLED and IPS Explained

First let‘s quickly demystify what exactly these buzzword technologies actually are…

What is AMOLED?

AMOLED stands for active-matrix organic light emitting diode. It‘s an advanced display technology that uses an ultra-thin film of organic material coating each pixel, that lights up when an electrical current flows through it.

amoled technology diagram

AMOLED screens first appeared in mobile phones in 2008 before expanding to televisions, laptops, monitors and other devices over the following decade.

What makes AMOLED unique?

Some signature benefits of AMOLED displays:

  • Self-emitting pixels, no backlight required
  • Incredible contrast ratios and true blacks
  • Very fast refresh rates and response times
  • Thin, lightweight and flexible
  • More power efficient

AMOLED screens can achieve deep inky blacks in dark images because each pixel generates its own light and can be turned off completely. This also saves battery life.

The technology was co-invented in the mid 2000s by Steven Van Slyke and Ching Wan Tang after decades of prior research into organic LEDs (OLEDs).

Today AMOLED can be found on high-end monitors from brands like Alienware, ASUS and Samsung. As well as phones, tablets and TVs from leading manufacturers.

Overview of IPS Monitor Technology

IPS stands for in-plane switching – it‘s a screen technology used in liquid crystal displays (LCDs).

IPS panel technology

IPS was designed to improve on older LCDs which had poor viewing angles and color issues. The key is IPS‘s ability to shift liquid crystals horizontally without degrading image quality.

This gives IPS monitors extreme viewing angles (178+ degrees) while maintaining color accuracy and vibrancy. High resolution IPS panels are ideal for color critical creative work.

IPS entered mass production in the late 90s and quickly became the go-to display tech for everything from budget to high-end monitors. You‘ll find IPS panels on screens from Dell, LG, Lenovo HP and many more top brands.

Now that you know what AMOLED and IPS are and how they work, let‘s see how they compare…

AMOLED vs IPS Monitor Comparison

Using extensive research and testing data, we‘ve broken down how AMOLED and IPS monitors stack up across the most important performance categories:

Display Quality

Display QualityAMOLEDIPS
Color AccuracyGoodExcellent
Contrast RatioInfinite1000:1
Black depth0 nits0.15 nits
Viewing Angle178°178°
Brightness (nits)Up to 720Up to 1000
HDR CapableYesVaries
Response Time0.1ms5-25ms
  • Winner: IPS for color work, AMOLED for contrast/gaming

IPS still has superior color precision crucial for photography, design etc. But AMOLED‘s infinite contrast and true blacks provide more visual pop. Response times favor AMOLED too.

Both offer wide 178 degree viewing now. And maximum HDR performance requires zone dimming or per-pixel lighting that only the best monitors provide, regardless of panel type.

In summary – IPS excels at lifelike color accuracy. AMOLED provides more dynamic contrast/HDR.

Refresh Rates, Latency

Max Refresh Rate240Hz144-170Hz
LatencyExceptionally lowModerate

AMOLED dominates with up to 240Hz refresh possible, and extremely fast pixel response for minimal input lag. This adds up to silky smooth, high FPS gaming.

IPS peaks around 170Hz refresh rate, with reasonable but not spectacular latency. Casual gaming is fine on IPS but fast-paced competitive titles demand AMOLED.

Verdict: AMOLED is vastly superior for high refresh gaming/video.

Power Efficiency

AMOLED panels are significantly more power efficient than IPS overall. Tests indicate AMOLED can use ~100x less energy for displaying black/dark image areas thanks to per-pixel shut off.

High brightness images narrow the gap somewhat but AMOLED remains ahead, achieving 30-40% greater power efficiency in real-world usage.

But don‘t underestimate IPS either – modern low-power panels coupled with proper brightness adjustment provide excellent battery life as well.

Winner: AMOLED for longer battery life

Pricing Comparison

Due to more complex manufacturing, current-gen AMOLED monitors demand a large price premium over similarly specced IPS displays:

Panel SizeIPS Price*AMOLED Price*Premium
27" 1440p$300-500$700-12002-3x higher
32" 4K$350-600$900-18002-3x higher
42" 4K$900-1100$1300-30001.3-3x higher

* Approximate retail pricing for monitors with similar resolutions and feature sets.

However over the next 3-5 years, AMOLED pricing is forecasted to decline sharply as next-gen production techniques drive costs down. But IPS will likely maintain an advantage at the low-mid range.

Verdict: IPS much better value today, but AMOLED dropping to near price parity long term.

Lifespan and Burn-In Concerns

Early AMOLED panels were prone to permanent image retention and uneven wear over time. But thanks to hardware and software enhancements, modern AMOLED lifespan is now similar to IPS:

  • Newly engineered materials and transistors distribute current more evenly to avoid uneven aging
  • Integrated pixel refresh algorithms negate burn-in
  • Most monitors include protective screensaver modes

Multiple real-world tests across thousands of hours found no evidence of burn-in on latest gen AMOLED displays. Though some subtle color shift can occur after 5+ years of heavy use.

IPS remains resistant to permanent burn-in as well and sustains color accuracy slightly longer term. But concerns around AMOLED lifespan vs IPS have been largely eliminated with modern OLED advancements.

Both technologies now deliver functional lifespans of 10-15+ years under typical usage.

AMOLED vs IPS – Which is Better for YOU?

Now that you understand the key pros and cons…should you choose AMOLED or IPS for YOUR needs?

Here are usage-based recommendations:

For Creative Professionals

If you‘re a…

  • Photographer
  • Print/web designer
  • Video editor
  • Graphics pro

…who requires precise color reproduction, IPS is still the superior choice. The color accuracy across a wide gamut combined with resilience to burn-in is ideal for these creative workflows.

Some excellent IPS monitors for creative work include:

  • Dell UltraSharp U3223QE
  • LG UltraFine 32" Ergo UHD
  • BenQ SW321C 32" 4K
  • Lenovo P32p-30 31.5" 4K

Of course with a large enough budget, you CAN acquire highly color accurate AMOLED monitors like the Alienware 34 QD-OLED. But most creative pros will find better value in IPS options.

For Gaming and Entertainment

If your priority is…

  • PC/Console Gaming
  • Movies & Streaming Video
  • General personal enjoyment

…rather than commercial print/design work – AMOLED reigns supreme.

The gorgeous contrast, inky blacks and pixel response deliver incredibly dynamic, smooth visuals for games, films and web browsing alike.

And their improved lifespan vs older OLED panels makes AMOLED monitors just as viable for mixed use.

Some stellar AMOLED gaming monitors in 2023 include picks like:

  • Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 (32")
  • ASUS ROG Swift PG42UQ (42")
  • Alienware 34 QD-OLED Ultrawide (34")

So for gaming and entertainment, AMOLED certainly justifies the higher cost over IPS options.

For Office Work and Productivity

If you mainly need a monitor for general home/office tasks like:

  • Email, documents, browsing
  • MS Office apps
  • Accounting, analytics software

…both IPS and AMOLED will work very well.

IPS remains the better bang-for-buck choice. But if you watch movies or play games during downtime, AMOLED provides a richer viewing experience.

I‘d probably save the money and go with a 27-32" IPS monitor around $300-500. Or splurge on AMOLED if you value multimedia immersion and have expendable budget.

Either way you can‘t lose! Both technologies deliver gorgeous, high performance monitors nowadays. It just comes down to the better fit for how YOU personally use a display.

I hope this full rundown clears up any confusion around choosing AMOLED vs IPS monitors in 2023 and helps you decide what‘s best for YOUR needs and budget! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Happy display shopping 🙂

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