LCD displays on Chrome OS devices usually come in two different panel types: TN or IPS. A TN (Twisted Nematic) display typically has poor viewing angles and poor color reproduction, resulting in a dull or washed out look. An IPS (In-Plane Switching) display typically has better viewing angles and much better color reproduction, resulting in punchier colors, a wider color gamut, and better contrast.
TN (Twisted Nematic) Display
TN (Twisted Nematic) is the most common technology and also the oldest monitor technology. The main advantage is that it provides the shortest response times, making them good for gaming. TN monitors also offer high brightness and draw less power than competing technologies. Another important factor is that they are cheap to manufacture, resulting in low prices for end users. A twisted nematic (TN) display is a common type of liquid-crystal display ( LCD ) that consists of a substance called a nematic liquid crystal that is confined between two plates of polarized glass.
The drawbacks to the technology is the color shifts that occur at wider viewing angles. There are large differences in quality between different products, but the lower-end ones will exhibit color shift even at moderate angle changes. A TN-based display can usually be identified through these color distortions when viewing the picture from above or from the sides.
Most TN displays have a characteristic black-on-gray or black-on-silver appearance, and are suitable for use in alphanumeric readouts such as those found in wristwatches, cell phone displays, and some calculator displays. The high-resolution LCD panels typically found in handheld and notebook computers use a different technology.
IPS (In-Plane Switching) Display
In-Plane Switching (IPS) was one of the first refinements to produce significant gains in the light-transmissive characteristics of TFT panels. Jointly developed by Hosiden and NEC, it is a technology that addresses the two main issues of a standard twisted nematic (TN) TFT display: colour and viewing angle.
The main advantages with IPS monitors is that the technology offer noticeably better color reproduction as well as much better viewing angles. The downside used to be a difficulty to emphasize blacks, which in turn meant problems with the contrast. IPS panels were also very expensive and slow in the beginning.
Now the manufacturers have started producing so-called Super-IPS (S-IPS) panels at reasonable prices. Response times have crept down considerably and the contrast is much better. In addition, color display and the options to calibrate the colors are superior to the other panel types. IPS panels keep colors constant, even in sharp angles.
TN vs IPS Screen on Chromebooks
IPS improves viewing angles of TFT monitors considerably, but means that two transistors are needed for every pixel, instead of the one needed for a TN TFT display. Using two transistors means that more of the transparent area of the display is blocked from light transmission, so brighter backlights must be used. The increased power consumption can make the displays unsuitable for notebook use, but in higher end, particularly multimedia focussed notebooks with widescreen movie viewing as a principle purpose IPS screens are employed. Wide angle viewing is certainly enjoyed, but the price is that battery life may be poor.