This guide will provide you with all the information you require on How To Choose The Right Gaming Monitor in one convenient location.
There are numerous options and characteristics to consider when selecting a new gaming monitor, which can be difficult and annoying for many individuals.
You will need a gaming PC with a potent graphics card and CPU, as well as an appropriate gaming monitor that can make use of all that in order to fully enjoy the newest video games.
Quick Guide How To Choose The Right Gaming Monitor!
- Determine your monitor’s main purpose: gaming, professional or general use: Professionals should focus color accuracy, gamers should prioritize quick refresh rates and low response times, while casual users have less specified criteria yet frequently choose a monitor with a high-contrast VA panel.
- The higher the resolution, the better the picture: You can find out the width x height (or number of pixels) of a monitor by looking at its resolution. The bare minimum is 1920 x 1080, usually referred to as 1080p, Full HD (FHD), and HD. However, QHD and 4K will give you even sharper visuals.
- Size matters too: Monitor quality is significantly impacted by pixel density, and our sweet spot is 109 pixels per inch (ppi). If the resolution is lower, a larger display will have a lower pixel density. 32 inches is more than “large enough” for desktop viewing distances that are normal. Finding a 32-inch 4K display for gaming or everyday use for less than $1,000 is not difficult.
- Refresh rates: bigger is better: This displays, in hertz, the frequency with which your monitor updates with new data each second (Hz). Images are better, smoother, and less jerky when numbers are larger. Gamers need a display with the lowest response time possible, as well as a refresh rate of at least 75 Hz (the majority of gaming-specific monitors offer at least 120 Hz). If you’re not gaming, a refresh rate of 60 Hz is sufficient.
- Response times: Shorter is better, but it’s not a big priority unless you’re gaming: The response time of a monitor indicates how long it takes for individual pixels to transition from black to white or, in the case of a GTG monitor, from one shade of gray to another. Motion blur may result from slower response times when playing games or watching frantic films. The quickest gaming displays can have a response time of 0.5ms, while the highest response time you’ll typically experience is 5ms.
- Panel tech: For image quality, TN < IPS < VA: The cheapest and fastest monitors are TN models, which have lower image quality when seen from a side angle. Although VA panels have the best contrast out of all three panel types, IPS monitors have somewhat faster response times and display color better than VA panels. See the corresponding section below for further information on the variations among panel types.
- Consider a curved monitor: Curved monitors are considered to be less taxing on the eyes and to give you a more immersive experience. However, when viewed from certain angles, they can be prone to glare (light sources are coming from various angles instead of one). Effective curved monitors are typically extremely wide and at least 30 inches in size, both of which indicate higher prices.
Understand curvature specifications if you decide to purchase a curved display. The best recommended maximum viewing distance for an 1800R curvature is 1.8 meters, and so forth. The display is more curved the lower the curvature (down to 1000R).
We’ll go over everything you need to know about gaming monitors in detail in this article, along with what to watch out for to make sure you choose the best monitor for your needs and interests.
Screen Size And Resolution
Bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to the ideal monitor size for gaming; you also need to consider pixel density.
A monitor’s resolution and size are measured in pixels per inch to determine its pixel density.
The image quality on a monitor will be pixelated if the pixel density is too low, which results in a smaller viewing area, fewer details, and a loss of sharpness.
If it’s too high, there will be a lot of screen real estate and information, but you’ll have to enlarge the image to make the little text readable.
High pixel density itself isn’t a problem because you may decide whether to give up screen real estate for bigger, sharper details or not, but some programs, like video games, have inadequate scaling capabilities or none at all.
This implies that certain in-game components, such the HUD, will be too small in some games that don’t allow scaling.
Fortunately, scaling is well supported in most modern games. So, if you choose a display with a high pixel density, make sure to double-check how your preferred apps handle scaling.
What Monitor Size/Resolution Is For Me?
|5K resolution||5120 x 2880|
|4K resolution||3840 x 2160 (typical monitor resolution) / 4096 x 2160 (official cinema resolution)|
|Ultra HD (UHD) resolution||3840 x 2160|
|Quad HD (QHD) aka Wide Quad HD (WQHD) aka 1440p resolution||2560 x 1440|
|2K aka 1440p resolution||2560 x 1440 (typical monitor resolution) / 2048 x 1080 (official cinema resolution)|
|WUXGA resolution||1920 x 1200|
|Full HD (FHD) aka 1080p aka HD resolution||1920 x 1080|
|HD aka 720p resolution||1280 x 720|
In summary, 27″ screens are sufficient for the majority of individuals. They are sizeable, but not so large that you would need to move your head from one end of the screen to the other to see everything that is on it.
A 27-inch monitor should have a resolution of 2560 by 1440 (WQHD), which yields 109 pixels per inch. Without the need for scaling, you receive the ideal amount of screen real estate and detail.
A 27-inch 1080p (1920 x 1080 – Full HD) monitor, in contrast, has a pixel density of 81 PPI, which results in a small viewing area and distorted image quality. However, some customers don’t mind this because they would rather have a larger screen than sharp and clear image quality.
These are the ideal ratios of monitor size to resolution:
- 25″ or smaller: 1920×1080
- 27″-32″: 2560×1440 and 3840×2160
- 32″ or bigger: 2560×1440 and 3840×2160
- 25″-30″ ultrawide: 2560×1080
- 34″-35″ ultrawide: 3440×1440 and 5120×2160
- 38″ ultrawide: 3840×1600
- 40″ ultrawide: 5120×2160
- 43″ super-ultrawide: 3840×1200
- 49″ super-ultrawide: 5120×1440
Naturally, you must ensure that your CPU/GPU can manage the monitor’s resolution at its maximum refresh rate, which takes us to the second need you must take into account.
You can see how different refresh rates impact motion clarity in the video up above. As long as your FPS (Frames Per Second) can maintain up, the smoother the gaming, the greater the refresh rate.
If you pause the above-posted embedded video, you’ll see that a 60Hz screen struggles to keep up with the rapid pace. This is how that would appear:
You would be shooting a target that is not precisely where it appears to be if the racing car were an opposing player in a competitive first-person shooter and you were firing at it on a 60Hz monitor because your display is refreshing the frames too slowly.
In fast-paced games, having a faster refresh rate display gives you a slight advantage over other players in addition to more responsive and pleasurable gameplay. However, it won’t miraculously transform you into a better player!
As you can see, there is not nearly as much of a difference between 240Hz and 144Hz as there is between 60Hz and 120Hz+.
Even while the difference between 240Hz and 144Hz is less obvious, the jump to 360Hz and above still exists, and professional gamers will seek whatever advantage they can get.
Therefore, if you’re a competitive player, we strongly advise obtaining at least a 144Hz gaming display, and depending on your budget and level of competitiveness, either a 240Hz or 360Hz monitor.
Some gaming monitors have refresh rates between 75Hz and 100Hz, which provide a little but discernible improvement in motion clarity over 60Hz displays.
UltraWide vs. Widescreen
Unlike widescreen displays, which have a 16:9 aspect ratio, ultrawide monitors feature a 21:9 ratio. As a result, you have 33% extra horizontal room for an enjoyable gaming experience.
Wider fields of vision are available in some games, which might be helpful because it makes it easier to see enemies approaching from the corners. However, some competitive video games specifically set a 16:9 aspect ratio restriction.
You will have to decide whether you want the image to be stretched out or zoomed in while playing games that don’t support the 21:9 aspect ratio.
However, the majority of more recent games do support ultrawide resolutions.
Here is a list of all the games that support the 21:9 aspect ratio. For more information, see our buyer’s guide to the best ultrawide monitors.
A few 32:9 “super” ultrawide displays are also in production, like the Samsung Odyssey G9.
Panel Type And Response Time
In terms of displays, there are three basic LED panel technologies: TN, VA, and IPS, each of which has pros and cons.
Although OLED monitors are also available, only a small number of high-end models that are currently practical exist, such as the Dell AW3423DW and LG’s OLED 42″ and 48″ 4K TVs.
Which type of panel do I require? IPS, VA, and TN
|Performance||Fastest: low response times, highest refresh rates, minimal motion blur; Low input lag||Longest response times typically; Higher refresh rates possible||Slower response times than TN, faster response times than VA; Gaming-quality refresh rates are rare|
|Display||Worst viewing angles;Worst color||Viewing angles typically better than TN, worse than IPS; Good color; Best contrast;Best image depth||Best viewing angles; Best color|
|Pricing||Cheapest||Pricier models can have performance comparable to TN||Most expensive|
|Best Use||Gaming||General Use||Professional|
IPS (In-Plane Switching)
Although they don’t have as much contrast as VA panels, IPS panels provide the most accurate and consistent colors.
Aside from having the best viewing angles, IPS monitors also perform far better in terms of response times than the majority of VA panels, and some more recent IPS panels are even as quick as TNs.
So, in quick-paced games, you get brilliant colors and no noticeable ghosting. IPS glow is the primary problem with this technology.
A typical panel flaw is the IPS glow. In essence, the corners of the screen appear to glow when extra light flows through the panel.
Even yet, there are ways to control IPS shine. The glowing is only noticeable when viewing a dark image in a dark setting.
VA (Vertical Alignment)
The best contrast ratio VA panels have next, enabling them to generate deep blacks for more vivid details in the image’s shadows and a stronger overall relationship between the darkest and brightest colors.
Unfortunately, VA panels typically perform poorly in terms of response times. Even at greater refresh rates, VA panels exhibit ghosting, which is more pronounced when the image contains predominantly black pixels.
The majority of players find the ghosting palatable because they get such deep blacks in return. However, if you’re a competitive gamer and prefer fast-paced games, stay away from VA panels.
The newest VA panels don’t have this problem because they have a response time that is on par with some TNs, but they are only used in some high-end, pricey monitors ($600+), such the aforementioned Samsung G7.
Although slight gamma/contrast changes are to be expected, VA monitors feature wider viewing angles of 178° than TN panels.
TN (Twisted Nematic)
The colors are somewhat washed out compared to IPS and VA monitors, and the image fluctuates in contrast, color, and brightness when viewed at skewed angles on TN monitors, which have the lowest color reproduction and viewing angles overall.
However, TN panels are inexpensive to produce and have a quick response time speed of only 1ms (GtG – Gray to Gray), which means that the pixels change from one shade of gray to another in only a little over a millisecond.
Competitive gamers typically use this panel technology because it removes motion blur and trailing of items moving quickly.
You no longer need to sacrifice image quality for fast reaction time because IPS and VA panel monitors, including the LG 27GL83A and the Samsung G7, now have just as fast pixel response times as some TN models, if you can afford it.
Response Time vs. Input Lag
It is important to keep in mind that the monitor’s response time speed should not be confused with input lag, which is the period of time it takes for your orders to be registered and displayed on the screen.
In contrast to response time speed, input latency is not stated by monitor makers, therefore if you want specific details, you’ll need to look up monitor reviews.
Additionally, keep in mind that the manufacturer of the monitor did not mean for the response time to be taken literally.
It’s critical to remember that input lag—the time it takes for your orders to be registered and presented on the screen—should not be confused with the monitor’s reaction time speed.
In contrast to response time speed, monitor manufacturers do not specify input latency; consequently, if you want particular information, you must consult monitor reviews.
Remember that the monitor’s maker did not intend for the response time to be taken literally.
There is another 1ms MPRT (Moving Picture Response Time), which is measured differently, thus the mentioned 1ms must refer to GtG (gray to gray pixel transition).
Manufacturers occasionally just state “1ms response time” without specifying whether they mean the GtG or MPRT metric. You will once again need to rely on reviews and tests for explanation in this situation.
After determining your ideal screen size, resolution, refresh rate, and panel type, you may explore for specific features that some gaming monitors provide.
AMD FreeSync And NVIDIA G-SYNC
As you may have seen, some gaming displays come equipped with either AMD’s FreeSync or NVIDIA’s G-SYNC technology, or sometimes even both.
Both methods offer a variable refresh rate, enabling the monitor to modify it dynamically. This eliminates visual abnormalities like screen tearing and stuttering without influencing input lag like VSync does.
The open-standard VESA Adaptive-Sync protocols in DisplayPort and HDMI form the foundation for AMD’s FreeSync and NVIDIA’s “G-SYNC Compatible” technologies.
While G-SYNC Compatible is primarily supported through DisplayPort – and over HDMI 2.1 on some modern monitors – FreeSync is often supported over either DisplayPort or HDMI, depending on the monitor.
Unlike G-SYNC Compatible, which is based on Adaptive-Sync, G-SYNC (commonly referred to as native G-SYNC to prevent confusion) uses an integrated module inside the monitor instead.
The G-SYNC module, which replaces the standard monitor’s scaler and offers a larger dynamic refresh rate range, configurable overdrive, and slightly lower input lag, is the difference between the two technologies. However, it also dramatically raises the monitor price.
You will require a suitable graphics card to use any of these technologies:
- G-SYNC – GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost or newer
- G-SYNC Compatible – GeForce GTX 10-series or newer
- FreeSync – Radeon R9/R7 200-series or newer (excluding the R9 270/X, R9 280/X, R9 370/X, R7 370X, R7 265 models)
Keep in mind that certain more recent G-SYNC displays also support AMD cards when it comes to variable refresh rate.
HDR (High Dynamic Range)
Some gaming displays also feature HDR, giving you more contrast, brightness, and color range for content that is compatible.
A display must be able to provide at least 1,000 nits of peak luminance, 20,000:1 of minimum contrast, and 90% of the DCI-P3 color gamut in order for HDR to be fully enjoyable.
It will take a pricey full-array local dimming technology, which is present in a select few high-end gaming monitors, such the Samsung Neo G7, to attain such high brightness and contrast.
There are less expensive versions with HDR compatibility as well, but they can only show a small portion of what HDR is really capable of.
These HDR monitors typically feature VESA’s DispalyHDR certification, which clarifies the display’s capabilities (see image below).
However, you cannot rely on VESA’s certifications to guarantee an appropriate HDR viewing experience. You must check to see if the monitor has a full-array local dimming system or an OLED display.
Gaming monitors that support both FreeSync/G-SYNC and HDR may additionally be certified by AMD for FreeSync Premium Pro or NVIDIA for G-SYNC Ultimate, ensuring that both VRR and HDR function flawlessly and simultaneously.
Motion Blur Reduction Technology
Want motion clarity like a CRT?
In order to reduce motion blur, look for a gaming monitor featuring backlight strobing technology, also known as 1ms Motion Blur Reduction (MBR), NVIDIA Ultra Low Motion Blur (ULMB), Extreme Low Motion Blur, 1ms MPRT (Moving Picture Response Time), etc.
When turned on, backlight strobing reduces motion blur in frantic games even further.
Use this technology only for gaming because it reduces the screen’s maximum brightness when it is turned on.
Additionally, unless the monitor has a specific option for such, like ASUS’ ELMB-Sync or Gigabyte’s Aim Stabilizer Sync, you cannot enable FreeSync/G-SYNC and a blur reduction technology at the same time.
The Blur Busters Approved certification, which confirms flawless MBR performance, is ideal to check for in a monitor. An example of such a display is the ViewSonic XG2431.
Do I need overdrive or motion blur reduction?
There are options for overdrive and motion blur reduction on many gaming displays (under various brand names). To appreciate their worth, you must first comprehend ghosting. Ghosting is the sometimes-present fuzzy trail a moving object leaves on the screen. Uneven pixel transition, or when a monitor’s pixel takes longer to move from Color A to Color B than from Color B to Color A, is what causes that.
By accelerating the pace at which pixels transition to higher voltages, overdrive lessens ghosting. If everything is done properly, the pixel reaches that level quickly and switches for the following frame before the voltage rises too high.
Motion resolution is maintained while on-screen action gets more intense thanks to motion blur reduction, commonly referred to as ultra low motion blur (ULMB in the picture below).
Before choosing between the two, think about the following:
- Overdrive can create inverse ghosting artifacts, so check our reviews to learn how good a monitor’s overdrive feature is: By performing the BlurBusters UFO test, you can determine whether your monitor is in overdrive Change the overdrive settings on your monitor and keep an eye out for the UFO. You know you’ve gone too far when you can see a white trail behind the saucer.
- You typically can’t use motion blur reduction and G-Sync / FreeSync at the same time: (Rare outliers exist, such as the Asus ROG Strix XG27AQ.) Gamers should always use Adaptive-Sync. Motion blur reduction is almost unnecessary with a powerful graphics card running at 60 frames per second or higher with G-Sync or FreeSync.
- Motion blur reduction reduces overall brightness: We evaluated monitors that, when blur reduction is enabled, reduce brightness by more than 60%.
Curved vs. Flat Monitors
Even though many people thought that curved gaming monitors were only a novelty, their use is growing.
The choice between a flat and curved monitor ultimately comes down to personal preference. The curves range in steepness from 1000R to 3800R. (very subtle).
PC vs. Console Gaming Monitors
The Xbox One S/X and Xbox Series S/X consoles offer 120Hz at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K UHD resolutions.
You must utilize either 1080p 120Hz or 1440p 60Hz because not all 1440p 144Hz+ monitors, for example, support the Xbox’s “1440p 120Hz mode.”
If you’re interested in an older model, you’ll need to confirm what console modes are supported with other users or reviews. Manufacturers have started specifying what console modes are supported on newer monitors.
In addition to listing the top goods in our buyer’s guide for the finest PS5/Xbox Series X displays, we also include links to lists of console-compatible monitors from other manufacturers.
Additionally, the PS5 can support 120Hz, but only at 1080p and 4K UHD resolutions; at least not right now (beta testing has started, so official support is coming soon hopefully).
When purchasing a monitor for your PS5, always double-check that it supports the “1080p 120Hz mode” because, similar to the Xbox consoles, some 1080p 144Hz+ monitors may not.
Unless you intend to use that display for PC gaming as well, there is no reason to choose a 60Hz+ gaming monitor if you have a PS4, PS4 Pro, Nintendo Switch, etc.
What is a good value on a gaming monitor?
Gaming displays frequently go on sale, but it can be difficult to know if you’re really saving money. Checking reviews to be sure it’s the perfect monitor for you is the first step in learning more.
The following rules can help you determine if you are receiving a good sales discount on a name-brand monitor:
- 144 Hz at 1080p (at least 27 inches): $200 maximum
- At 4K at 60 Hz, $250 or less
Monitors for General Use
Professional and gaming monitors are both more than capable of serving as general purpose displays. However, you need a monitor that is suitable for all forms of computing, enjoyment, and productivity if you don’t want to spend more money on a specialist model. How to choose what’s best for you is as follows:
- Contrast is king, so VA panels are too: Contrast is the first factor we look at when evaluating an image’s quality, then color saturation, accuracy, and resolution. A display with a wide dynamic range produces images that are more lifelike and 3D-like. Compared to IPS or TN screens, VA panels typically offer three to five times the contrast. When compared side by side with same brightness levels and calibration standards, the VA screen will provide better-looking images.
- Consider flicker-free if you’ll be staring at the screen for over 8 hours: Even those who are very sensitive to flickering will be happy because they won’t flicker at any brightness level.
- Low blue light isn’t a buying point: Based on the idea that blue light disrupts sleep, most operating systems, including Windows 10(opens in new tab), feature settings for decreasing blue light. Although this feature is available on many displays, it is not necessary. Both low blue light and precise calibration can help computer images be less taxing on your eyes. Additionally, since lowering the brightness of blue also affects all other hues, graphics and images may appear strange. In games and films, this is especially annoying. Low blue light does not need to be prioritized, although it is getting harder to locate monitors without it.
Monitors for Professional Use
Professional users have different requirements. This area is for you if you’re a photographer, print proofreader, web designer, special effects artist, game creator, or need accurate color control. Observe the following:
- Monitors with vendor certification for color accuracy are more expensive, but worth it: This is the best option if you want a monitor that is accurate right out of the box. For monitors without calibrating capabilities, it’s extremely crucial. Professional monitors should not need any adjusting before use. A DeltaE (dE) value of 2 or less (opens in new tab) is considered positive. Normally, a dE below 3 is regarded as being invisible to the human eye.
- You need options for calibrating: The on-screen display (OSD) and software are the two methods available for achieving this. For calibration suggestions for a specific monitor, look through our evaluations.
- Options for alternative color gamuts, color temperatures, and gamma curves should be available for calibration: Color temperatures between 5,000 and 7,500K, sRGB and Adobe RGB standards, and gamma presets between 1.8 and 2.4 should all be present. The BT.1886 gamma standard should be supported by all monitors used in television and film production.
- If you plan to spend eight hours or more in front of a computer screen, flicker-free is important: Today, many professional displays provide this.
How many bits deep do I need?
- Professionals require at least 10 bits, and higher is desirable: For the majority of professional graphics work, an 8-bit panel will fall short. Whenever possible, choose 12-bit.
- If your graphics card is unable to provide a 10- or 12-bit signal, a deep color display will be of no use to you: The extra information will be filled in by the monitor, but only through interpolation. A display can only approximatively add information; unlike pixel scaling, it cannot add information that does not already exist. Consumer-grade graphics cards frequently have an 8-bit output limit.
Your choice of monitor has a significant impact on everything you do, regardless of the PC you use. That makes investing in a new monitor worthwhile and one that, with the correct choice, can help you right away whether you’re working or playing games. Just be cautious not to waste money on a screen with unnecessary features or that lacks the specifications necessary to make your PC shine.