VA Panels: What are they good for?

Sometimes, when checking monitors, we stumble over a myriad of acronyms, some more intuitive than others. Often those hide crucial information about the model, so it’s always useful to learn as much as possible. The first ones to know are those differentiating the different panel types, and there are a multitude of them: IPS, VA, TN, OLED, MiniLED and more. Here our focus will be on VA panels, a technical feature that is especially suitable for web browsing, films and gaming.

1. What is a VA Panel?

VA, acronym for Vertical Alignment, is a common LED display type, often used for monitors. It aligns its liquid crystals vertically, so they run perpendicular to the glass substrate. When met with voltage, the crystals tilt and let light through, producing color. The positioning is not a trivial detail: it effects how crystals behave. VA panels are famous for the deepest blacks – this is possible because without any voltage, the liquid crystals of the VA panel do not tilt and block light completely. In regards to black uniformity, therefore, this panel performs very strongly. For a pretty similar reason, VA panels offer amazing brightness. Overall, the contrast ratio offered by such a panel is unmatched. Philips’ VA LED displays use an advanced multi-domain vertical alignment technology that gives super-high static contrast ratios for extra-vivid and bright images. Their optimised pixel management technology gives you a 178/178-degree extra-wide viewing angle, resulting in crisp images from any perspective. VA panels are particularly appreciated for their high quality in reproducing HDR contents, movies, games and so on.

2. Is VA Panel better than OLED?

VA and OLED are two different technologies. While VA means that its liquid crystals are placed vertically and activate with electricity coming from a backlighting unit, the acronym ‘OLED’ stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode, meaning that each pixel is controlled individually and emits its own light. It’s not completely fair comparing two deeply different technologies, but we’ll try our best. OLED offers thinner and more flexible screens, strikingly superior colors, and unlimited contrast. The downside is that OLED monitors are more expensive and far less common on the market. If you are looking for something within a smaller budget, but that can offer great reproduction to enjoy games, movies and other HDR contents – then a monitor with a VA panel is the ideal solution.

3. Is VA Panel better than IPS?

It all depends on what your use is going to be. If your goal is to edit photos and videos, or work with CAD and similar, then you need an IPS panel that offers extreme and precise color accuracy (and a wider-than-normal color gamut). But on the other hand, VA panels are particularly appreciated for deeper blacks and high static contrast ratio, making it great for gaming and for entertainment. By the way, if you want to learn more about IPS, we already published an extensive article about it. For more information click here.

3.1 Is VA or IPS better for 4k gaming?

Although slightly behind in terms of color accuracy, VA panels are great for gaming since shadows and details often are crucial in having the upper hand. However, when talking about 4K gaming, IPS are overall more commonly used, since it also offers good MRPT and GtG response time, with little ghosting.

3.2 Is VA or IPS better for graphic design?

Graphic designers, video editors and other digital artists would agree that color accuracy is fundamental. Which explains why IPS panels generally target for professionals doing color-sensitive work. This does not mean that VA panels are terrible at the job, but that IPS are – simply put – better. For example, the Philips Monitors 27B1U7903 delivers maximum performance and visual fireworks for today’s professionals with Thunderbolt ™ 4 and Mini LED. This UHD 4K display supports 1.07 billion colors, with an impressive color gamut (NTSC 121%*, sRGB 154*, Adobe RGB 99.2%*, REC 709 99.1%*, REC 2020 80.4%*). Lastly, this model is certified with the newly announced VESA DisplayHDR™ 1400 certification level, bringing out brilliant colors, deeper blacks, and brighter whites with ultra-realistic effects. Please check out the product page here.

4. What is the VA panel best for?

Due to its impressive contrast ratio, its deep blacks and blinding brightness, VA panels are great for HDR contents. HDR stands for “High Dynamic Range”, and it is a technique to heighten a picture’s dynamic range. It is supported by both contents (such as movies, tv series, games) and monitors. This means that the contrast, the deep blacks, the bright whites, and vibrant color offers users lively and engaging viewing experience, without missing any nuance or any detail.

4.1 Is VA panel best for gaming?

VA panel is impressive for gaming, for any game, so you’ll always get good performance and excellent image quality. Check out the Philips Evnia 27M2C5500W: a curved QHD VA display that offers ultra-fast, smooth, and lag-free gameplays thanks to its 240 Hz refresh rate, 0.5 ms MPRT, AMD FreeSync™ Premium Pro and low input lag. In addition, SmartImage HDR gives optimal viewing from HDR contents. Please check out the product page here.

5. Are VA panels good for bright rooms?

VA panels offer great contrast ratio, so are good to be used everywhere, whatever the light – although they are unmatched in dark rooms, performing wonderfully any HDR content you want.