New 3DS/XL top screen displays: IPS or non-IPS?

Feb 21, 2012
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Can't take pictures of it right now, but if my XL's top screen doesn't have the same color drop-off when moving it side-to-side/top-to-bottom (colors don't invert when looking at it to the left, although I'll get some minor yellow-ish coloring if I look at it from the right side. Didn't see any weird color changing like the bottom screen does when looking at it from the bottom or top that I recall.

Even if it's a TN display it's still better than the ALBW XL's display, so I'm happy regardless.
 
Jul 8, 2012
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IPS: Colors and image, stay relatively focused, with no shifting of quality at different (even severe) viewing angles. The colors do not invert or wash out (fade) into the overall screen.

TN: Colors and image wash out and unfocus (even invert), shifting image quality to look bland and muted, when looking at the screen from differing angles (even severe).

Is this the correct jist of generalized difference?

If so, I can see how IPS having a wider viewing angle (Steve Jobs touted IPS viewing angles unveiling the original iPad), would definitely be beneficial to face tracking 3D; as a feature works in conjunction with the better IPS angles + the camera/IR.

comaprison nXL vs OG

 

Easy_D

never left the stone age
Jan 5, 2008
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I don't think any of the displayed images are TN displays. This is what TN does with vertical angles:


I think they are different types of IPS displays. Looking at the Wiki there are different generations of IPS displays, with the latest ones having improved contrast, also at angles.
Which leaves the question, are there any regular N3DS versions with the better contrast displays?
Thinking about it. The calibration itself could be responsible for the viewing angles, my PC monitor has several pre-sets available that all affect the viewing angle, like multi viewing, top down, bottom up etc.
 

Villager

Neo Member
Jan 19, 2015
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I'm glad my top display is an IPS display. I would be extremely pissed if the top was a TN display, I could give a shit about the 3D functionality because I simply dont use it so if my top display looked like that when i could be getting an IPS id probably send it back to nintendo for a replacement.
 
Apr 11, 2007
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Here is my comparison of "type a" and "type b" screens. All photos taken with brightness set at level 5.

Type A - IPS. Very good viewing angles, more vibrant colors, but crushed blacks and clearly visible dithering artifacts.
Type B - TN/MVA?

My IPS screen has problems with dark greys:




And with visible dithering artifacts:
Imgur gallery:
http://imgur.com/a/XoLYV
Test image:
http://i.imgur.com/9OIEDuk.jpg
 
May 11, 2006
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Nice, France
Here is my comparison of "type a" and "type b" screens. All photos taken with brightness set at level 5.

Type A - IPS. Very good viewing angles, more vibrant colors, but crushed blacks and clearly visible dithering artifacts.
Type B - TN/MVA?
Thanks for your input. Could tell any difference on how they handle motion?

Like with oled Vita vs 2000, it doesn't seem to be a clear winner and both screens are good.

I think the ips display is a must if you want to use extensively motion aiming, move your arms a lot or play in weird position, but if you play mostly while sitting or in bed with the handheld in front of you, it's fine.

Would you dare tell that a good calibration is more valuable than the type of display?
 
Oct 15, 2005
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Here is my comparison of "type a" and "type b" screens. All photos taken with brightness set at level 5.

Type A - IPS. Very good viewing angles, more vibrant colors, but crushed blacks and clearly visible dithering artifacts.
Type B - TN/MVA?

My IPS screen has problems with dark greys:

Can you take a straight on picture of the Mario kart 7 garage? I did notice some differences with black levels on the original XL but not that big. I'm curious which screen is closer to the original.
 
May 12, 2014
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Here is my comparison of "type a" and "type b" screens. All photos taken with brightness set at level 5.

Type A - IPS. Very good viewing angles, more vibrant colors, but crushed blacks and clearly visible dithering artifacts.
Type B - TN/MVA?

My IPS screen has problems with dark greys:


And with visible dithering artifacts:


Imgur gallery:
http://imgur.com/a/XoLYV
Test image:
http://i.imgur.com/9OIEDuk.jpg
Thanks for this. The one on the left looks much better to me, but that's an exceptional case I guess (a very dark room in the game).
 
Jan 28, 2014
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The TN screen is still really good, IMO. My NA red N3DSXL (bought about 2 weeks after release) is a TN top screen and I am completely used to it already.

I still wish I had the IPS screen though, but I don't want to go through the hassle of transferring data, putting on new screen protectors, returning the unit, etc.
 

dark10x

Digital Foundry pixel pusher
Jun 9, 2004
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IPS isn't all it's cracked up to be. Viewing angles are better than other LCDs but it still loses a bit of brightness at an angle. It's not CRT, Oled, or plasma good in this regard. For 3ds do we really need wide viewing angles? The system is designed to be played head on.

Color reproduction is its best attribute but the rest? If the 3ds is using a 6-bit panel then you're left with extra dithering that can prove noticeable.

It smears fast motion more than a TN panel.

My biggest issue are black levels. IPS panels are the worst of the worst when it comes to this. The panels glow brightly leaving darker areas looking washed out. In a bright room this isn't a big issue, fortunately, making the problem easy to solve but it's still worth noting.
 
May 11, 2006
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The TN screen is still really good, IMO. My NA red N3DSXL (bought about 2 weeks after release) is a TN top screen and I am completely used to it already.

I still wish I had the IPS screen though, but I don't want to go through the hassle of transferring data, putting on new screen protectors, returning the unit, etc.
The TN screen is a huge improvement over the OG xl. Aside from the poor viewing angle, I have no complaint. I'm rediscovering all my games and I can't stop using the thing. I really wish to see the two panels side by side to see what are the differences aside from viewing angle, but I know nobody who bought one.
 
Oct 1, 2006
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IPS isn't all it's cracked up to be. Viewing angles are better than other LCDs but it still loses a bit of brightness at an angle. It's not CRT, Oled, or plasma good in this regard. For 3ds do we really need wide viewing angles? The system is designed to be played head on.

Color reproduction is its best attribute but the rest? If the 3ds is using a 6-bit panel then you're left with extra dithering that can prove noticeable.

It smears fast motion more than a TN panel.

My biggest issue are black levels. IPS panels are the worst of the worst when it comes to this. The panels glow brightly leaving darker areas looking washed out. In a bright room this isn't a big issue, fortunately, making the problem easy to solve but it's still worth noting.
TNs aren't really better at black levels though. (Actually, cheap ones can be even worse)
 
Feb 23, 2010
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Decided to compare my OG 3ds with my wife's XL and my new 3ds XL. Sorry for the blurry OG pic

http://abload.de/img/photogrid_14265191252vpsa7.jpg

Were improvements made with the jump from the original 3ds to the original xl, or is the bigger screen just making it look better? The new 3ds though thankfully, is much better than both.

Haven't had the time to test for dithering yet, for some reason that one imgur test image won't load on my 3ds browser
 
Jun 6, 2004
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Amman, Jordan
Here is my comparison of "type a" and "type b" screens. All photos taken with brightness set at level 5.

Type A - IPS. Very good viewing angles, more vibrant colors, but crushed blacks and clearly visible dithering artifacts.
Type B - TN/MVA?

My IPS screen has problems with dark greys:


And with visible dithering artifacts:


Imgur gallery:
http://imgur.com/a/XoLYV
Test image:
http://i.imgur.com/9OIEDuk.jpg
Never thought I'd say it but this is making me want the TN.
 
May 12, 2014
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So I dropped by JB Hi Fi today - they had over forty Majora's Mask new 3DS XLs just sitting there in boxes. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let me actually check any - they have a strict policy on customers not opening the box first to try the console (even if only to turn it on and off again), even though all of the boxes are already unsealed.

I could get another one...but I really don't want to without knowing that I'm getting a perfect product to replace my current one, and I'd basically be playing the lottery all over again (with the risk of not only getting another TN screen - which I'm not even sure is worse yet than an IPS without comparing the two in person - but also yellow calibration, dead pixels, etc).

This is so much more difficult than it ought to be.
 
Jun 19, 2013
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My biggest issue are black levels. IPS panels are the worst of the worst when it comes to this. The panels glow brightly leaving darker areas looking washed out. In a bright room this isn't a big issue, fortunately, making the problem easy to solve but it's still worth noting.
Where did you get this from? It's important not to take a few IPS panels with bad black levels and extrapolate to *every* IPS screen. As Durante mentioned, TN panels can be just as bad as the worst IPS panels, and the bad viewing angles of TN panels make the blacks look wrong, taking on a gradient instead of a solid colour.

I mention this because all of these phones (except the OLED Lumia 900 and Galaxy S5) have IPS LCD displays, and my own iPhone 5s has one and its blacks are barely noticeable, especially next to the device's own black bezel:



Source: http://www.anandtech.com/show/8554/the-iphone-6-review/8

With a black level of 0.2-0.5 nits, it's hardly a case of the display "glowing brightly" when showing black, especially when these phones display a brightness of up to 600 nits (my iPhone 5s is 500 nits)

The TN screen jamiola showed seems to do a much better job than the IPS displaying the details of a dark room.
That has very little to do with black levels, which are how dark a screen goes when it shows solid black.

Black levels are however related to a display's contrast ratio, but again IPS displays can have high contrast ratios. All of these phones use LCD IPS displays:
 
May 12, 2014
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That has very little to do with black levels, which are how dark a screen goes when it shows solid black.

Black levels are however related to a display's contrast ratio, but again IPS displays can have high contrast ratios. All of these phones use LCD IPS displays:
Ahh, I see! So you would say the difficult to see dark room is really down to that individual 3DS unit having a poor contrast ratio?
 
Jun 19, 2013
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Ahh, I see! So you would say the difficult to see dark room is really down to that individual 3DS unit having a poor contrast ratio?
No problem. It was really just semantics anyway, black level tends to refer to how bright a display is when it's showing solid blacks, but I got what you meant in terms of how the dark colours didn't look pronounced on the Type A screen.

It's hard to say whether it's down to contrast ratio, I don't think so because the IPS N3DS XL displays richer colours than the TN old 3DS XL. But if the TN N3DS XL shows richer colours than the IPS N3DS XL, all other things equal, then it could be the case.

Pokémon AS/OR makes the distinction obvious between Old 3DS XL and N3DS XL, perhaps someone with all three devices (old 3DS XL, TN N3DS XL and IPS N3DS XL) could post some comparison shots?

---

I was just reminded of this issue, though. I have a Surface Pro 2 and it has a good contrast ratio (it should for the money), but one of Microsoft's driver updates caused this:

"the display does not seem to be showing any pixels with a brightness darker than 14 out of 255 in the sRGB scale. It just comes out black on the screen. That's 5% of the brightness range gone."

I'm probably wrong, though!

Edit edit: I might be right: visit this page and look at the squares on your IPS N3DS XL: http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/black.php

Could someone with both Type A N3DS XL and Type B N3DS XL visit the above page, take a photo of the grid of squares, and report back? It'd be much appreciated!
 
Dec 5, 2014
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Ahh, I see! So you would say the difficult to see dark room is really down to that individual 3DS unit having a poor contrast ratio?
Regardless of what's causing it, something is fucky with the blacks on Type A. Combined with the dithering, it seems like this whole thing is turning in to a "pick your poison" affair.

What bothers you more?

A) Contrast issues and dithering

or

B) Reduced viewing angle and slightly washed out colors

Both are clear upgrades over the OG 3DS XL. For what it's worth, I'm quite positive mine is Type B, and the viewing angle is slightly better than my OG 3DS XL. 3D effects on my N3DS XL are definitely worlds better. I'm not sure why some people with Type B are seeing worse 3D. Perhaps there are other issues that may be at play?

I know it's probably not very common for someone to have 2 N3DS XLs, or even for both of them to not be the same screen, but all of the comparison pictures we can get between Type A and Type B are welcome, and will help.
 
Jun 19, 2013
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I remember seeing a massive, noticeable improvement from TN Old XL to IPS NXL in this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuWBMQSYQNc&t=335 Skip to 5:35

Wonder if the TN N3DS XL beats both?

---

As for the talk about dithering, I don't have any dithering on mine. The only dithering I see is on Capcom's MT Framework games, but that's the case for any screen, even my original 3DS. From the photos alone, the dithering is going to be down to the camera lens taking the photo, not the screen.

The IPS panel in Type A is almost certainly an objectively better display in terms of its core attributes, but I have a feeling it isn't being used to its potential. The problem likely lies with to how the thing was calibrated on the production line -- the issue with darker colours, see my post above, adds credence to this.

It's also a line of discussion from earlier on in this thread.
 
May 12, 2014
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I remember seeing a massive, noticeable improvement from TN Old XL to IPS NXL in this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuWBMQSYQNc&t=335 Skip to 5:35

Wonder if the TN N3DS XL beats both?
I no longer have my old 3DS XL to compare, but here are some photos of my new 3DS XL, my new 3DS and my old 3DS (same brightness - I haven't set the dates properly on all of them though, heh):

I thought the new 3DS XL had the best quality of the three when I looked at these in person, but I don't think the difference is really big enough to show up in a photo comparison (I also thought the new 3DS screen looked a bit warmer, but again, that's not really showing up very well).

Edit: It's interesting to compare my 3DSes with the ones MrKeinov posted:

 
Feb 21, 2013
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There's faint horizontal lines on my screen during some games. Almost like line bleeding but not quite.

Fantasy Life and Majora's Mask at some points.
 
Oct 1, 2006
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So I dropped by JB Hi Fi today - they had over forty Majora's Mask new 3DS XLs just sitting there in boxes. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let me actually check any - they have a strict policy on customers not opening the box first to try the console (even if only to turn it on and off again), even though all of the boxes are already unsealed.

I could get another one...but I really don't want to without knowing that I'm getting a perfect product to replace my current one, and I'd basically be playing the lottery all over again (with the risk of not only getting another TN screen - which I'm not even sure is worse yet than an IPS without comparing the two in person - but also yellow calibration, dead pixels, etc).

This is so much more difficult than it ought to be.
Stay put.

#TN Master Race
 
May 11, 2006
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Nice, France
I remember seeing a massive, noticeable improvement from TN Old XL to IPS NXL in this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuWBMQSYQNc&t=335 Skip to 5:35

Wonder if the TN N3DS XL beats both?
You can see crushed black on the IPS display of this video :eek:

My type B display is also way more clear and with better color than my OG XL. I was playing Mario and it's crazy to actually see that the coin and stars are actually shiny gold and not just yellow.

I should do some tests on darker games. Maybe the type B is not so inferior after all.
 
Sep 10, 2009
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IPS isn't all it's cracked up to be. Viewing angles are better than other LCDs but it still loses a bit of brightness at an angle. It's not CRT, Oled, or plasma good in this regard. For 3ds do we really need wide viewing angles? The system is designed to be played head on.

Color reproduction is its best attribute but the rest? If the 3ds is using a 6-bit panel then you're left with extra dithering that can prove noticeable.

It smears fast motion more than a TN panel.

My biggest issue are black levels. IPS panels are the worst of the worst when it comes to this. The panels glow brightly leaving darker areas looking washed out. In a bright room this isn't a big issue, fortunately, making the problem easy to solve but it's still worth noting.
Wide viewing angles are nice on a handheld actually. You do typically play it mostly head-on, but being a small screen, you will often have it tilted a bit here and there. The complaints about the previous XL's 3D was caused by people not playing it directly head-on, so it does happen often enough.

But really, I think being a Nintendo console, going for the screen with the vastly better colors should be a no-brainer.
 
Jun 6, 2004
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You can see crushed black on the IPS display of this video :eek:
Yeah and the colors seem a bit too saturated and perhaps contrast overblown... like the Dynamic setting used on TVs in showrooms (or some of Samsung's OLED phones). It works to lure the general public in picking your product because it has "more pop". But informed people know those settings are awful and need to be calibrated/toned down when it's brought home.

I'm not saying the old 3DS has better screens, but I feel like Nintendo might have gone a little overboard with the color saturation and contrast on the new IPS panel, sacrificing accuracy and detail for a deceptively more impressive appearance.
 
May 11, 2006
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Nice, France


I took this capture as a reference point for crushed blacks. I can confirm that my TYPE B screen doesn't suffer from crushed blacks. I would even say that it's a little too bright and I can see too much details.
It would be cool if Type A owners could use this picture to see if all of TYPE A display suffer from crushed blacks.
 
May 12, 2014
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Update! Okay, I actually did manage to find a store that would let me take a peek at a Majora's Mask new 3DS XL console. And jackpot! I could tell straight away that it was an IPS screen and not a TN/other screen (I think I'll just stick to calling it "TN"). It really is a lottery, and I'd have never even known it if not for this thread.

So, here they are, two Majora's Mask n3DS XL consoles (and yes, I am going to sell one of them to a friend, I actually really need the money. I can't spend it frivolously on 3DSes like this, I own too many as it is >_<) which I'm now going to compare directly. I should probably mention at this point that I've applied Hori screen protectors to the console that I already owned, but this doesn't really affect how the screen looks at all.

First up, menu screen. This may be a calibration issue popping up, but to me there's a slightly more noticeable difference between the top and bottom screens of the IPS n3DS XL (right) than there is between those of the TN n3DS XL. You might have to expand the image for this to be apparent though. Note that the bottom screen of the IPS n3DS XL is actually TN, not IPS:

Moving on to a game, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, it's immediately apparent that even when viewed head on, the IPS screen (now on the left - I kept swapping the two consoles around while taking photos, but hopefully it should be clear from context which one is which) is more vibrant:

Vary your perspective just a little bit, and wow, the difference between the two screens is like night and day. The IPS screen clearly holds its colour much better from all angles:

However, I tried going to a darker area in the game, and here's where you can possibly argue that the TN has an advantage - since it is lighter/more washed out (and also a little warmer, although again perhaps this is due to the calibration of the different screens), the details of objects in the shadows can be seen more easily:

Going to a darker room still, and the problem with high contrast on the IPS becomes more apparent as it means you can't see as much in the shadows (although the rest of the room is more vivid):

As far as the 3D viewing goes, my TN screen actually can hold 3D from different angles very well, but I think the IPS probably edges it out a bit, since it's a little more difficult to break the 3D effect. I haven't tested the dithering issue yet on the IPS (which my TN does not have at all), but I'll do that shortly - however, I can't really say that I noticed any dithering at all while playing Monster Hunter. I want to play a few more games too to see if I notice any other differences.

Which do I prefer? At this point, I'm going to say the IPS screen. The more vibrant colours and better viewing angles are a bigger draw for me than a brighter screen in dark areas. As another poster said though, it's one of those "pick your poison" scenarios, I guess.

For the sake of completeness, here's a comparison with four 3DSes (TN n3DS XL and IPS n3DS XL at the bottom, TN n3DS and the original 3DS at the top):

 
Apr 12, 2009
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My young daughter has always enjoyed watching me play 3DS (despite having one of her own). She used to struggle with watching while sitting next to me, and I always had to disable 3D otherwise she would complain. Since switching to the new XL, she hasn't complained, even with 3D enabled. I just realized that this may be due to the much more clear side viewing angle on my IPS screen.

For what it's worth, I'd probably rather have a TN screen, just so the two screen match more closely, but I think it's a coin flip; I'd be happy with either.
 
Oct 15, 2005
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However, I tried going to a darker area in the game, and here's where you can possibly argue that the TN has an advantage - since it is lighter/more washed out (and also a little warmer, although again perhaps this is due to the calibration of the different screens), the details of objects in the shadows can be seen more easily:



Going to a darker room still, and the problem with high contrast on the IPS becomes more apparent as it means you can't see as much in the shadows (although the rest of the room is more vivid):
do you have Mario kart 7? if you do go to the kart selection screen
can you see the two yellow cables hanging down on the ips screen?



direct feed images show the cables as being visible but barely where as on a regular 3ds xl they are very visible. the shadow stepping on the wall is also very apparent on the tn screens, similar to what you see in games if you increase the gamma beyond the intended level. it would lead me to believe the tn panels might be brighter than intended.

you could also try a test image and see if both tn and ips show the same number of black levels.

the slight tint you have on the tn panel is calibration flaw. if you do my ds game test itll probably show a red/green push.
 
May 12, 2014
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do you have Mario kart 7? if you do go to the kart selection screen



can you see the two yellow cables hanging down on the ips screen?
Hmmm...yep, I can, although they're obviously not as visible as in that picture. This is a bit of a rubbish photo, since in person I can see the cables more clearly on the screen, but they're there:

the slight tint you have on the tn panel is calibration flaw. if you do my ds game test itll probably show a red/green push.
I'll check this out too. The IPS definitely seems bluer/cooler to me.

Edit:

you could also try a test image and see if both tn and ips show the same number of black levels.
I'll try this as well!
 
Oct 15, 2005
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Hmmm...yep, I can, although they're obviously not as visible as in that picture. This is a bit of a rubbish photo, since in person I can see the cables more clearly on the screen, but they're there:





I'll check this out too. The IPS definitely seems bluer/cooler to me.

Edit:

I'll try this as well!

If you check on the tn screen with mario kart you'll see the shadow banding on the wall and the cables are super visible. I believe the ips is displaying a more faithful representation of the source. Usually if blacks are being crushed those cables aren't visible.

It's possible the ips is blue pushing but you'll have to test it. 3ds backgrounds are made from shades of grey though so the ips looks more accurate, at least in your picture.
 
Apr 11, 2007
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Here is my comparison of "type a" and "type b" screens. All photos taken with brightness set at level 5.

Type A - IPS. Very good viewing angles, more vibrant colors, but crushed blacks and clearly visible dithering artifacts.
Type B - TN/MVA?

My IPS screen has problems with dark greys:
Here is the same MGS3 scene displayed on a plasma TV:

 
May 12, 2014
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Okay, I just tried big_z's DS calibration test. The n3DS XL with the TN display has a square with a slight yellow/green tinge instead of being black. The n3DS XL with the IPS display is basically perfect, as I couldn't tell any difference from the black at all.

Viewing the test image from relaxvideo.hu, I couldn't see rectangles 1, 2 and 3 with the TN display, but could detect the others (rectangle 4 looked a little greenish). The IPS display had the same result (1, 2 and 3 were invisible). Next, I moved on to the black screen test that Toadthemushroom posted - only squares 8 and above were visible on my IPS panel. I moved back to the TN display - to my surprise, squares 4 and above were visible (although the first few visible squares were greenish rather than being close to black).

I wanted to do the dithering test as well, but for some reason that imgur link won't load on a 3DS.
 
May 20, 2007
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Okay, I just tried big_z's DS calibration test. The n3DS XL with the TN display has a square with a slight yellow/green tinge instead of being black. The n3DS XL with the IPS display is basically perfect, as I couldn't tell any difference from the black at all.

Viewing the test image from relaxvideo.hu, I couldn't see rectangles 1, 2 and 3 with the TN display, but could detect the others (rectangle 4 looked a little greenish). The IPS display had the same result (1, 2 and 3 were invisible). Next, I moved on to the black screen test that Toadthemushroom posted - only squares 8 and above were visible on my IPS panel. I moved back to the TN display - to my surprise, squares 4 and above were visible (although the first few visible squares were greenish rather than being close to black).

I wanted to do the dithering test as well, but for some reason that imgur link won't load on a 3DS.
do you have a link to that test?
 
May 7, 2014
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The difference between the TN and IPS screens are really noticeable in the pics Yrael posted. It's a bit shady to sell two types of screens to customers without that being identified on the packaging somewhere. If someone prefers one type over the other, there's no way to know until the device is opened and tested.