[Guide] TN and IPS Displays - Which does my 3DS have?

Discussion in '3DS - Tutorials' started by NekoMichi, Jan 12, 2016.

?

Which model do you have?

  1. 2DS + TN

    12 vote(s)
    1.9%
  2. 2DS + IPS

    3 vote(s)
    0.5%
  3. O3DS + TN

    58 vote(s)
    9.1%
  4. O3DS + IPS

    12 vote(s)
    1.9%
  5. O3DSXL + TN

    44 vote(s)
    6.9%
  6. O3DSXL + IPS

    13 vote(s)
    2.0%
  7. N3DS + TN

    65 vote(s)
    10.2%
  8. N3DS + IPS

    20 vote(s)
    3.1%
  9. N3DSXL + TN

    86 vote(s)
    13.5%
  10. N3DSXL + IPS

    195 vote(s)
    30.6%
  11. 2DS + Dual IPS

    4 vote(s)
    0.6%
  12. O3DS + Dual IPS

    5 vote(s)
    0.8%
  13. O3DS XL + Dual IPS

    4 vote(s)
    0.6%
  14. N3DS + Dual IPS

    22 vote(s)
    3.4%
  15. N3DSXL + Dual IPS

    95 vote(s)
    14.9%
  1. NekoMichi
    OP

    NekoMichi Retro Collector

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    Introduction

    There have been several discussions on here about the different types of display panels used by Nintendo in different 3DS units, with some displays having better image presentation than others. Since this has been asked in multiple threads and there hasn't been a unified thread about it yet, I thought I'd write one here.

    1. What are TN or IPS Displays?

    So far, Nintendo has used two different types of display panel between the 3DS (and N3DS): TN and IPS. Each works in slightly different ways and have their own merits.

    The most common one used is the TN (Twisted Nematic) display, which has faster pixel response times and is relatively cheaper to use. It also draws slightly less power, which in turn should allow for longer usage between charge cycles, though this largely depends on other factors such as types of games being played, 3D mode, wireless settings, and screen brightness. The main drawback is that TN displays have less-than-ideal contrast and colour reproduction. One of the most telltale signs of a TN display is having the screen colours appearing washed out, even inverted when viewed from very slanted angles. This is why players often prefer having an IPS display.

    Some newer units have been equipped with IPS (In-Plane Switching) top and/or bottom displays. These displays are more expensive, but produce better colours. Dark areas remain dark while colour saturation and contrast is more vivid than on TN counterparts. If you view the screen from a wide angle, the image remains as clear as if you were looking directly at a 90º angle. This comes at a cost of having higher power consumption, potential scanline effects, as well as a few milliseconds of pixel delay (though it shouldn't matter so much since pixel delay isn't the same as input lag, so it only affect the time it takes for a pixel to fully change colour). Even then, the milliseconds' difference is negligible to the human eye.

    Here's a more detailed guide to the different displays used in gaming monitors.

    2. So which display does my 3DS have?

    If you have a working CFW or have access to homebrew, you can use 3DSident by Joel16 to identify which display hardware version you have.

    Otherwise, there's another easy way to check, and that's simply to turn on the 3DS and look at the screens from below at an angle. For consoles purchased before 2015, focus on the top screen only, as all lower screens would be TN. For consoles purchased during or after 2015, pay attention to both screens as some consoles have dual-IPS displays. If the dark areas start to look brighter and colours change, then you probably have a TN display. If not much changes in terms of colour, then it's likely an IPS display.

    [​IMG]
    The top display on the left is a TN model while the one on the right has an IPS top screen and TN lower screen
    According to threads on NeoGaf and Reddit, some models of the New 3DS XL have IPS display panels, although without any official word from Nintendo it's hard to eliminate the possibility that other models don't. The IPS N3DS XL models are apparently more common than TN models.

    Since 2015 however, there have been reports of either top and/or bottom displays having IPS panels for both N3DS and N3DS XL consoles.

    There was a claim on Reddit that you can tell which model yours is without powering it on by looking at how it's packaged; ones that slide out upwards from the box are supposedly TN while ones from the side are IPS. Again, this cannot be properly verified without official confirmation, which Nintendo probably isn't going to do.

    There also doesn't seem to be any consistent pattern in TN/IPS trends between the units. You can get either display regardless of region, serial number, time of purchase, or if the 3DS is a special limited edition model or not. Unfortunately this means that you won't be able to determine which display you have before purchase and that the most surefire way to tell is to unbox the console and look at it.

    3. So what's the point?

    This is an interesting little find, since Nintendo never officially advertised IPS as a special feature of the 3DS. If I had to guess, I'd say that the rationale for Nintendo implementing IPS displays in New 3DS XL units would be so that people other than the player would be able to watch the game around the console due to the wider viewing angles. After all, having multiple spectators was one of the main things Nintendo mentioned when first introducing XL models with the DSi. Another reason for selecting XL models only might be because of the larger battery, since IPS displays consume more power and this would compensate for that. As for the N3DS XL models with TN displays, Nintendo could have leftover 4.88" TN display panels from O3DS XL manufacturing and this would be a way of using the remainder stock to minimise wastage of components. However, recent N3DS (small) consoles with IPS panels have been appearing too.

    Quite why Nintendo went with TN displays when the 3DS first launched is still a bit of a mystery though, since both the DS lite and DSi/XL got dual IPS displays (this may be incorrect, please disregard) so expense doesn't seem like a realistic reason. The only explanation I can think of is the power consumption, with the 3DS already having less-than-stellar battery performance, an IPS display might have made it even worse (especially in 3D mode, where the top screen is essentially acting as two separate displays).

    4. Conclusion

    Whether the 3DS has an IPS display or not shouldn't be a vital issue, since most players won't be gaming with the 3DS at an extreme angle. It does affect the quality of the image, but not to a game-breaking extent. If the image quality does matter that much, Nintendo's fine with you returning your unit and replacing it with a new one as many times as you want so long as it's within your warranty period (some people have done this already) and fingers crossed, you'll get an IPS model instead.
     
    Last edited by NekoMichi, Oct 7, 2016
    Gamelogic, Jacklack3, hiten and 8 others like this.


  2. Trolling

    Trolling This Username is taken. Problem?

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    Both my Old and New 3DS have TN but i don't care because i never turn the 3D on :)
     
    Darkyose likes this.
  3. Valkart

    Valkart GBAtemp Fan

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    Mine has IPS but I never use the 3D feature to save battery.
     
    Darkyose likes this.
  4. sl0ps

    sl0ps Advanced Member

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    Did not know this, thanks for sharing! After a brief inspection I can say with 95% certainty that my New3DS XL has an IPS display.
     
  5. RemixDeluxe

    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Would 3DS systems from launch without a doubt be TN?
     
  6. leon315

    leon315 POWERLIFTER

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    My old 3ds xl Zelda's triforce ed. has IPS displays, fuck yaaaaaay XD
     
    Last edited by leon315, Jan 13, 2016
    Rasa likes this.
  7. SomeGamer

    SomeGamer GBAtemp Guru

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    None of my Old and New 3DSes have IPS. That's sad, but neither of them are XL.
     
  8. RemixDeluxe

    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Do any original 3DS systems have IPS? I know it wasn't as popular as the XL and it got discontinued shortly after so I'm gonna go on a limb and say no IPS for original 3DS.
     
  9. NekoMichi
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    NekoMichi Retro Collector

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    IPS seems to be a rather recent addition, so I'd say that original launch models are unlikely to have IPS displays.
     
  10. Sora Takihawa

    Sora Takihawa AFF (Akiba Freedom Fighter)

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    my 3DS XL (Grey) have IPS xD
     
  11. Jayro

    Jayro MediCat DVD and Mini Windows 10 Developer

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    What about the 2DS?
     
  12. NekoMichi
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    NekoMichi Retro Collector

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    There haven't been many reports from 2DS users... :(
     
  13. reiyu

    reiyu Canadian, eh?

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    easiest way is to highlight the notifications icon and tilt the screen and see if the icon changes color. if it does, you got a TN, if it doesn't you got an IPS.
     
    Dinomite likes this.
  14. narutonic

    narutonic GBAtemp Regular

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    TN FTW ! 144 Hz :gun:
     
  15. Procyon

    Procyon TheRealProcyon

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    Can someone tell me if this is IPS or TN? I can't tell. [​IMG]
     
  16. RemixDeluxe

    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Well according to the vote results there are a couple of users who got IPS for the original 3DS unless they are misunderstanding and/or trolling.
     
  17. leon315

    leon315 POWERLIFTER

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    definitely TN displays
     
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  18. Procyon

    Procyon TheRealProcyon

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    thanks
     
  19. nisemono

    nisemono Member

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    My metallic blue n3dsxl box slides up to open but the display is IPS :P
     
  20. yacepi15

    yacepi15 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Im confussed... The mine its TN or IPS? My console its an O3DS XL Blue/black.

    Photo:
    [​IMG]

    (If you need it,i will take another photo.)