Display Dilemma - IPS or TN

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Masqurin Wizard, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. Masqurin Wizard macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2010
    I bought a low-price LG 22" twisted nematic in 2008 and regretted the choice. When I plugged it in to my MacBook Pro, I experienced very blurry pixels - almost as if it was running at a non-native resolution, but I checked this countless times and calibrated over and over. I also experienced a really sickening dithering effect on dark shades of grey - particularly the grey of the iMovie interface. I mean no hyperbole in this statement - the dithering was noticeable and headache inducing. The monitor was so bad that I returned it to Amazon after a week - something I do very rarely.

    Since then, I have continued to consider buying an external display for my MacBook Pro. I've investigated a lot more, and the in-plane-switching (IPS) type of monitor became an attractive option. My brother owns a 26" Dell Ultrasharp monitor, which greatly impressed me with its build-quality and picture quality. I've also used a new 27" iMac at work, which I understand uses the IPS screen type. However, I am well aware of the costs of buying IPS monitors.

    It's now that I am beginning to consider that surely not all twisted nematic displays could be painful to use. I would consider a TN screen as I do not require precise colour accuracy, and the savings are considerable. My first-choice hardware models are mostly Dells, who increased their prices on like-for-like monitors considerably (not unlike the considerable price hike on Apple hardware in Europe in early 2009), and buying a TN-type screen increases the choice of manufacturers.

    Now I'm really at a deadlock in which monitor to buy, and in need of recommendations and advice from people who also do not require high-end monitors, but know the difference between good and shoddy. Even if you don't care about IPS vs TN - can you recommend me the monitor that you own?

    (N.B. I have ruled out the 24" Cinema Display due to price and DisplayPort incompatibility - I own an early 2008 model MacBook Pro with DVI-out)
  2. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    You know, I had an older Samsung 22" monitor which I had connected to my older Macbook Pro (pre-unibody) and it displayed the same results you just described. Blurry pixels. However, whenever I had the MBP closed in clamshell mode and had just the Samsung monitor as the only active display, screen quality was back to normal, with the proper "native resolution" look. Have you tried doing this yet?

    Now I have the new mid 09 13" MBP connected to a newer Dell 20" TN display currently, and I no longer have that problem. Both displays show proper native resolutions just fine without any issues.

    I really can't explain why that is and why I had that issue before, but I don't any more, and I'm quite happy with my TN display.
  3. Cycom macrumors 6502


    Mar 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Having owned a 24 inch iMac in the past, I can say with all certainty that IPS panels are far, FAR superior to TN. It's not even close.
  4. akadmon Suspended

    Aug 30, 2006
    New England
    You seem to have researched the subject quite a lot, os it's all the more surprising you still have doubts. Don't settle for "good enough" - go IPS!
  5. Masqurin Wizard thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2010
    Thank you for your helpful feedback, everyone :)

    I didn't try the "closing the MacBook" idea. I hadn't planned to keep the screen closed so I could use the laptop display as an additional display (for Pixelmator / Photoshop palette and iTunes etc). I also saw a word of caution from a Blizzard engineer on the World of Warcraft Mac forum that running WoW on an external display with the laptop lid closed might affect heat dissipation.

    I've resolved to save my money for now and wait until the summer to buy a Dell Ultrasharp or equivalent IPS monitor. I don't want to chance it again with a TN, only to be disappointed and to send it back to the seller. This also leaves enough time for new models to be released (particularly interested in the rumors of the next Dell 27" monitor that shares the display component with the 27" iMac).

    However, there is one more important factor. My three year Applecare on my MacBook Pro expires in May 2011, and the next laptop I will get will probably be a 13" MacBook Pro, or equivalent. The difference in money in getting a TN and an IPS monitor will probably be equal to the saving in getting a 13" model instead of a 15" model - so I'm confident in investing in a decent monitor that will last will eventually pay off.
  6. TheStrudel macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    Good decision. Don't forget: the more we buy IPS monitors, the more we encourage manufacturers to make them at lower prices, and these days they're astoundingly affordable compared to the options we used to be limited to. You can get a 23" 1080p NEC display for $300 now, and there are the 24" 1920x1200 displays from HP, Dell, and others for a little bit more.

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