Summarizing the article in a single phrase, I’d once again say, as I often did in my LCD monitor reviews: there is no all-purpose LCD monitor and none is going to emerge anytime soon. While a high-quality CRT monitor can be successfully employed for playing games, working with text and processing photos, in the liquid crystals realm each matrix type is more appropriate for each of the enumerated applications.
All the types of modern matrices have high declared parameters, but it is the employed measurement methods that allow the manufacturers to present their produce in the best light, while the numerous conventions and simplifications introduced into the measurement process often play the crucial part – the excellent example is the response time of MVA and PVA matrices.
All modern matrices can be divided into three types: TN, IPS and *VA. TN-matrices have the smallest response time, but can’t boast big viewing angles or high contrast ratio or good color reproduction, which makes them in fact fitting for games and simple office work only. A monitor on a TN matrix would be the worst choice for serious work. You can easily tell a TN matrix from any other type by a strong darkening of the image when it is viewed from below, even at a small angle.
Monitors on IPS matrices seem to be the closest to my ideal of versatility and could aspire to be called the best if it were not for two problems: low contrast ratio (no better than with TN matrices) and a characteristic violet hue that appears in black color when the screen is viewed from a side (by the way, it is this violet hue that visually differentiates IPS matrices from *VA ones). On the other hand, monitors on IPS matrices have very good viewing angles and feature an excellent color reproduction, thus they are the only sensible choice for working with photographs among all LCD monitors. Considering that the response time of the latest IPS matrices is approaching that of TN matrices, thus allowing to play dynamic games, monitors on IPS matrices will be a good choice for home use.
MVA and PVA matrices boast an excellent contrast ratio and viewing angles, but they are not very responsive: the response time degenerates quickly as the difference between the initial and final states of the pixel is decreasing. Thus, such monitors suit badly for playing games. They also have some problems with color reproduction – they are worse than IPS matrices in this respect, so MVA and PVA matrices both are unsuitable for working with color. On the other hand, thanks to the high contrast ratio, such monitors will be an excellent choice for working with text, line drawings, and will make a good home device, if you don’t need a high-speed matrix. Choosing between PVA and MVA, it’s better to go PVA as they have a much better contrast ratio and repeatability of quality from model to model. Moreover, if you’re targeting a 17” model, there’d be no choice at all since 17” MVA-based LCD monitors are not manufactured anymore. If you go MVA, pay attention to the level of black color (you have to turn the monitor on in a dim room for that, though), since matrices from different companies are greatly different in quality, not always providing a really high contrast ratio. MVA and PVA matrices can be easily spotted among the others by the lack of any artifacts when you take a look at them from a side – no violet hue in black areas and no darkening when viewed from below.