Are you looking for a suitable display for PC gaming? Then you’ve come to the right place. The monitor is a crucial, yet often neglected element of the PC experience. This indispensable device gets overlooked the most!
- 1 Best Gaming Monitors Comparison – May 2017 | Handpicked by PC4U.ORG
- 2 The Recommendations by Resolution
- 3 Gaming-Display 2017: Buyer’s Guide for LCD Full-HD-Displays (1920×1080)
- 4 High-Fps-Gaming: 240-Hz-Displays Hit the Market
- 5 Gaming-Displays: LCD Buyer’s Guide for WQHD Displays (2.560×1.400)
- 6 Gaming-Displays: LCD Buyer’s Guide for UHD-Displays
- 7 Before buying a gaming monitor, you should know:
- 8 Gaming Monitor Buying Guide
- 8.1 TN, IPS, or VA Panels – What’s Going to Be Your Pick for Gaming?
- 8.2 Response Time Vs. Input Lag
- 8.3 Why Not Just One Option, Rather Than Gray to Gray OR Black to White?
- 8.4 Can There Be A Tie Between Input Lag And Response Time?
- 8.5 Refresh Rate: Does it Matter?
- 8.6 Should you invest in a 144 Hz monitor?
- 8.7 NVIDIA G-Sync vs AMD FreeSync, what‘s the difference?
- 8.8 Other parameters:
- 9 Old Part: The Recommendation by Price:
- 9.1 Best Gaming Monitor under 200 dollars:
- 9.2 Best Gaming Monitor under 500 dollars: (Above $200)
- 9.3 Best Gaming Monitor above 500 dollars
In this article, the PC4U team has compiled a list of LC-displays that we can highly recommend. From gamer-displays with 120/144 Hz, curved Ultrawide-displays, or high-resolution Ultra-HD-panels (“4K”), we found just the right ones in every price category.
Best Gaming Monitors Comparison – May 2017 | Handpicked by PC4U.ORG
|Models||Price||Size & Panel||Resolution||Response time (G2G)||Refresh Rate||input lag||Adap.sync|
|ASUS PG348Q (Recommend!)||Details on Amazon||34″ / IPS||3440×1440 (UltraWide Curved 21:9)||5ms||60Hz (OverClocking to 100Hz)||9.2 ms||NVIDIA G-Sync|
|Acer Predator X34 (Recommend!)||Details on Amazon||34″ / IPS||3440×1440 (UltraWide Curved 21:9)||4ms||60Hz (OverClocking to 100Hz)||9.2 ms||NVIDIA G-Sync|
|EIZO FORIS FS2735||Details on Amazon||27“ / IPS||2560×1440 (16:9)||4 ms||144Hz||5 ms||AMD FreeSync|
|LG 38UC99 (Great for gaming and photograph)||Details on Bhphotovideo||38“ / IPS||3840 x 1600 (16:9)||5 ms||60Hz (OverClocking to 750Hz)||24.7 ms||AMD FreeSync|
|ASUS PG27AQ||Details on Amazon||34″ / IPS||3840 x 2160 16:9)||4ms||60Hz||5.9 ms||NVIDIA G-Sync|
|Acer XR341CK (Recommend!)||Details on Amazon||34″ / IPS||3440×1440 (UltraWide Curved 21:9)||4ms||75Hz||7.13ms||AMD FreeSync|
|ASUS PG279Q (Recommend!)||Details on Amazon||27“ / IPS||2560×1440 (16:9)||4ms||144Hz (OverClocking to 165Hz)||3.25ms||NVIDIA G-Sync|
|AOC Agon AG352UCG||Details on Amazon||35″ / VA||2560 x 1440(UltraWide Curved 21:9)||4ms||100hz||5.63||NVIDIA G-Sync,|
|ViewSonic XG2703||Details on Amazon||27″ / IPS||3440×1440 (UltraWide Curved 21:9)||4ms||165Hz||3.21||NVIDIA G-Sync,|
|Acer Predator Z35||Details on Amazon||35″ / VA||2560×1080(UltraWide Curved 21:9)||4ms||144Hz (OverClocking to 200Hz)||7.2 ms||NVIDIA G-Sync,|
|Benq XL2735 (Great for eSports)||Details on Amazon||27″ / TN||2560×1440
|Acer XB271HU||Details on Amazon||27“ / IPS||2560×1440 (16:9)||4 ms||144Hz (OverClocking to 165Hz)||N/A||NVIDIA G-Sync|
|BenQ XL2730||Details on Amazon||27“ / TN||2560 x 1440(16:9)||1 ms||144Hz||4ms||FreeSync|
|ASUS PG278QR||Details on Amazon||27“ / TN||2560×1440 (16:9)||1 ms||144HZ (OverClocking to 165Hz)||4 ms||NVIDIA G-Sync|
|Acer Predator Z271 Tbmiphzx||Details on Amazon||27“ / VA (Curved)||1920 x 1080||4 ms||144Hz||6.71 ms||NVIDIA G-Sync|
|ASUS MG279Q||Details on Amazon||27“ / IPS||2560×1440||4ms||144Hz||4.05 ms||AMD FreeSync;|
|Dell S2716DG||Details on Amazon||27“ / TN||2560 x 1440
|1 ms||144HZ||4.25 ms||NVIDIA G-Sync|
|LG 34UC79G||Details on Amazon||34“ / IPS||2560 x 1080
(UltraWide Curved 21:9
|5 ms||144HZ||10 ms||AMD FreeSync|
|ASUS MG278Q (Recommend!)||Details on Amazon||27“ / TN||2560×1440||1 ms||144Hz||9.8 ms||AMD FreeSync;|
|Benq Zowie XL2540 (Great for E-Sports)||Details on Amazon||24.5“ / TN||1920×1080||1 ms||240Hz||13.5ms||NONE|
|Samsung CFG70||Details on Amazon||24” / 27“ / VA (Curved)||1920×1080||1 ms||144HZ||4.14ms||AMD FreeSync;|
|LG 34UM68||Details on Amazon||34“ / IPS||2560×1080(UltraWide 21:9)||5 ms||75Hz||N/A||AMD FreeSync;|
|Samsung UE590 (Recommend!)||Details on Amazon||28“ / TN||3840 x 2160(4K)||1 ms||60HZ||N/A||AMD FreeSync;|
|BenQ ZOWIE XL2430||Details on Amazon||24”/TN||1920×1080||1 ms||144HZ||10 ms||NONE|
|Samsung UE590||Details on Amazon||24”–IPS
|3840 x 2160(4K)||24”–4ms
|Samsung CF591||Details on Amazon||27“ / VA (Curved)||1920×1080||4 ms||60Hz||6.7 ms||AMD FreeSync|
|Asus MG248Q||Details on Amazon||24”/TN||1920×1080
|1 ms||144HZ||3.75 ms||AMD FreeSync|
|Samsung CFG70 (Recommend!)||Details on Amazon||24“ /27” inch / VA (Curved)||1920×1080
|1 ms||144hz||6.7 ms||AMD FreeSync|
|BenQ XL2411||Details on Amazon||24“ / TN||1920×1080||1 ms||144Hz||10ms||NONE|
|AOC G2770PQU||Details on Amazon||27“ / TN||1920×1080||1 ms||144HZ||8.4ms||NONE|
|ASUS VG248QE||Details on Amazon||24“ / TN||1920×1080 (16:9)||1 ms||144HZ||3.2 ms||NONE|
||Details on Amazon||24“ / TN||1920×1080||1 ms||144HZ||Low (No accurate data)||AMD FreeSync|
|AOC G2460PF(Recommend!)||Details on Amazon||24“ / TN||1920×1080 (16:9)||1 ms||144HZ||3.66||AMD FreeSync|
|ASUS VG245H||Details on Amazon||24“ / TN||1920×1080 (16:9)||1 ms||75Hz||10ms||AMD FreeSync|
|BenQ RL2455||Details on Amazon||24“ / TN||1920×1080||1 ms||60HZ||10ms||NONE|
|ViewSonic VX2252MH||Details on Amazon||21.5” / TN||1920×1080||2 ms||75HZ||N/A||NONE|
* The specs of each monitor listed above is only basic ones, you can see more detailed information of each monitor on Amazon
The Recommendations by Resolution
For years, display size was the main factor when gamers chose a display to buy. Today, this has changed a lot: The sheer range of available products has exploded – it has become almost impossible for a single person to have an overview of the entire market. That’s why we decided to revise our LCD buyer’s guide. Instead of size, we now sorted our recommendations by resolution. response time, features, size, and prize-tag are of course still important factors.
Gaming-Display 2017: Buyer’s Guide for LCD Full-HD-Displays (1920×1080)
Many gamers are still using displays with 1920×1080 (Full HD) resolution which equates to a total pixel number of just over 2,0 MP. Typically, these displays have a screen diagonal of 24”. While there are also 27” models around, by now, these are mostly being replaced with higher resolution models. Fast-Response displays with extremely low latencies and high refresh rates of 120 or 144 Hz are most commonly found in this category. Those features, in fact, are some of the main reasons people are still sticking with Full-HD panels. Even 60 Hz displays still have their place as budget gaming-displays. The hardware in many gaming rigs only rarely puts out more than 60 FPS anyway. These monitors are also great for more casual gaming. Samsung C24FG70FQ:
Samsung C24FG70: Comeback in the Gaming Sector
Samsung is trying to get its ball back into the game of gaming LCDs with this 24” panel while also staying on its own very bold path. What that means, is that the display is curved significantly at a radius of 1,800mm. This only really unleashes its full effect in multi-screen setups, though. The rest of the specs are also top notch: 144 Hz, Freesync, full sRGB color gamut thanks to Quantum-Dot technology and a high static contrast ratio of 2.000:1. What’s unusual for a VA panel, is that the response times are also said to be very fast. In fact, Samsung advertises with 1 ms. This however has been achieved through a “Motion Picture Response Time” measurement, and not using the conventional Gray-to-Gray method. The C24FG70FQ, alongside its bigger brother C27FG70, is one of the best gaming monitors in its class. This is not only thanks to its great image quality, but also because it’s very user friendly: A base with double-joint as well as an in depth OSD menu allowing you to tweak a lot of things are always a plus. At around 280$, the C24FG70FQ is a relatively expensive, yet feature-packed 24” Full-HD display.
A cheaper Full-HD alternative is the ASUS MG248Q (More information on Amazon). that has a low latency of only 3ms at 144 Hz, and Overdrive that can be adjusted in 5 increments. It also comes with Freesync (from 40 to 144 Hz), Nvidia 3D-Vision and the “Displaywidget” software that allows you to link your display settings to specific software and even export them as XML files. These features a probably the reason why ASUS went with a price-tag of almost 300$. Nvidia users probably tend to go fort the G-Sync enabled, 180 Hz capable PG248Q which comes in around 540$ (More information on Amazon). Those who don’t need G-Sync or other software goodies can find great alternatives in the BenQ ZOWIE RL2455 and Acer XF240H that cost 200 and 280 dollars each.
AOC G2460PF: The Affordable Way to get 144 Hz and Adaptive Sync
The AOC G2460PF (More information on Amazon) is our mid-level recommendation and is the cheapest way of getting 144 Hz and Freesync in one package. The I/O is also contemporary with a USB hub on the side. Ergonomics-wise we’re getting pivoting-ability and a removable cable management clip on the foot. The Freesync range from 35 up to 144 Hz is impressive. Contrast however, didn’t manage to impress us. The G2460PF also tends to be too bright. Even when set to the lowest brightness, it still clocked in at 156 cd/m². Luckily, all relevant parameters can be adjusted in the settings menu. AOC’s G-Sync enabled G2460PG (More information on Amazon) commands a serious premium just for Nvidia’s proprietary Dynamic-Refresh-Technology.
Of course, nowadays you can find capable gaming displays for less than 200$ by now. One of those is the new Benq Zowie RL2455. Benq are marketing this model mainly as an RTS or console display with the former probably being due to two special display modes intended to make details onscreen more pronounced. Despite this, the RL2455 is great for every use. At its low price-tag, it omits some upper and middle-class features and opts for a 60 Hz refresh rate. This paired with the flat panel and limited ergonomics are the reason for the low price. Free- and G-Sync are also not supported. With low latency and a very fast TN-panel, this display still checks the necessary boxes for a gaming monitor.
High-Fps-Gaming: 240-Hz-Displays Hit the Market
Those of you playing shooters at a competitive level need every millisecond they can get, even if that means sacrificing image quality. In this niche, TN-panels still have their place. Since late 2016, these are available with refresh rates of up to 240 Hz. This makes high-FPS gaming possible without any sync issues, and without needing to utilize Vsync, G-Sync, or Freesync, which all increase input-lag.
In late 2016, the first 240 Hz panel hit the market: The Benq Zowie XL2540. For a model so clearly focused on E-Sports, a fast TN-panel with the highest possible refresh-rate is the way to go. The Zowie not only comes with a fast panel but also offers some useful gimmicks like a carrying handle on the base, the focus-blinds, a protective cover, and a cable remote. Still, the price of around 500$ remains a tough pill to swallow for a 24” Full-HD display without G-Sync or Freesync. This display is really only for those who want to play fast paced shooters like Counter Strike: Global Offensive in the best way possible.
Gaming-Displays: LCD Buyer’s Guide for WQHD Displays (2.560×1.400)
If full HD doesn’t satisfy your need for pixels but your graphics card can’t quite handle UHD resolutions, screens with a resolution of 2.560×1.400 pixels are an ideal choice. Compared to Full HD, you’re getting 78% more pixels. From a 24” Full HD panel to a 27” WQHD panel the pixel density increases from 92 of around 109 pixels per inch – a difference that is definitely noticeable, even when increasing the diagonal at the same time. This increase in pixels however, does mean more load on the GPU. While 1080p can nowadays be handled even by entry-level graphics cards, WQHD needs a significantly more powerful GPU to push all those pixels. This is also due to Anti-Aliasing still being necessary at this resolution, and it being a very hardware-intensive process. You can find a roundup of current WQHD displays in our 04/2017 issue.
Eizo Foris FS2735: Adjustable Freesync and Config App
At the top of our WQHD buyer’s guide, the Eizo Foris FS2735 has found its place. It’s a serious all-rounder that already impressed us in our hands-on test. With adjustable Freesync (either 35-89 Hz or 56-144 Hz), extremely low latency, an IPS panel, and a slew of extras like its own configuration app, and even a mobile app, this monitor brings with it everything gamers could want… If you have an AMD graphics card. Otherwise, dynamic refresh rates won’t work. We also like the variety of ports and the internal power supply with a dedicated power switch. The FS2735 is also great for work due to its perfect ergonomics and great color reproduction. With its high price-tag however, this display is aimed at those more flush with cash. Luckily, you can get high-quality WQHD displays for less than that.
Viewsonic XG2703-GS: IPS-Panel with G-Sync up to 165 Hz
For those looking for a luxury monitor but wanting to stay below 700$ the Viewsonic XG2703 is a great choice. With its variable G-Sync that goes from 30 Hz up to 165 Hz, and a 27” IPS panel, this display doesn’t make any compromise when it comes to image quality. In our test in the 04/2017 issue, we measured a good contrast ratio of 1118:1, low input lag of 12,1ms, as well as even illumination and great color accuracy. A screen of this quality is of course no bargain and you’ll have to dish out 700$ for this one.
Benq Zowie XL2735
Benq are taking a different path with their new Zowie XL2735 which is aimed at professional and competitive gamers, and, of course, also the rest of the gaming community. Adaptive Sync has been omitted in favor of minimal lag and high refresh rates up to 144 Hz made possible by Benq’s “Dynamic-Accuracy” technology. We think this might have been realized through a combination of backlight-strobing and typical overdrive. This technology is compatible to variable refresh rates, making Freesync or G-Sync unnecessary. Two adjustable and removable blinds can block out distractions or reflections, and the cable-bound remote with integrated preset-memory allows to create and transport individual screen profiles. All in all, this is a proper E-Sports display we can highly recommend to those loving fast-paced online shooters – despite the high price.
Dell S2716DG: Fast, Elegant, and with G-Sync
In recent months, many WQHD gaming displays got fitted with the complete package of an expensive IPS panel, Adaptive Sync, and refresh rates of 144 Hz or more. Dell however, picked a more humble approach for their G-Sync debut with the S2716DG. They went for a TN panel and sacrificed some image quality. While even this model isn’t exactly a bargain, it offers excellent synchronization with Nvidia’s G-Sync alongside low latency and great build quality, The simplistic and elegant body is an unexpected deviation from the usual gaming-display-formula. In our test, we also really enjoyed excellent even illumination, and low latency. Due to its limited color accuracy and an obvious need for recalibration, photographers should definitely look another way – the S2716DG is aimed explicitly at gamers who value fast response times over image quality.
Dell Ultrasharp U2515HX: Small but High-Res
Dell’s Ultrasharp U2515H has been on the market since December 2014 and got a update on October 2016 named U2515HX , and is still one of the cheapest and most popular WQHD displays on the market. The focus when developing this display seems to have been put mostly on image quality. It features an AH-IPS panel with a diagonal of 25”. The resolution is 2.560×1.440 pixels, making for a pixel-density of 117 pixels per inch which is pleasant to work and game with. The maximum brightness lies at 350 cd/m2 which is good enough for bright environments. The latency isn’t the greatest at 6ms, but is definitely acceptable – just not the best for fast-paced shooters. Action games like GTA V or racing games like Project Cars are a lot of fun on the Dell. On the back, you’ll find exclusively digital ports: 2x HDMI (MHL), DisplayPort 1.2, and another Mini-DisplayPort. What’s special is that this display also offers a DisplayPort output which will probably only come in handy for a few users. WQHD displays are also available for less than 300$ – however, this often means you’ll get a smaller panel overall.
Gaming-Displays: LCD Buyer’s Guide for UHD-Displays
Good and gaming-ready UHD displays with decent image quality can nowadays be found for less than 350$. Here, we’ll introduce some of them to you. If you’re looking for a bigger high-resolution display, it’s well worth it to also look at some offerings on the business and TV market like the Philips BDM4065UC. In a recent instalment of “UHD meets 40 inches”, we looked at the Liyama X4071UHSU-B1. LCDs of this size however, require you to have an overwhelming amount of free space on your desk. A market overview of new UHD displays can be found in our 11/2016 issue.
Asus PG27AQ: UHD-IPS-Panel for Nvidia Users
UHD/4K gaming is still a double-edged sword. While it has been a buzzword in marketing for quite a while, even high-end graphics cards can’t cope with the challenges running a graphics-intensive game in 4K poses… Except if there’s a multi-GPU setup or a GeFore GTX Titan inside your rig, you lower your graphics settings, or you can live with frequent drops in framerate. With Nvidias new GTX 1080, pushing those 8.3 Megapixels is starting to work better. UHD is thus becoming less and less of an exotic resolution.
That means that displays like the Asus PG27AQ are getting more and more popular despite their high price tag. In our 02/2016 issue, we tested the PG27AQ in its own hands-on review, and in our Freesync/G-Sync long-term test. What we found is that it stretches the boundaries of what’s currently possible. Like with pretty much all other UHD panels the maximum refresh rate at 3.840×2.160 pixels is 60 Hz. More will only become possible with DisplayPort 1.3. However, the first display with that port can be expected to come out at the end of this year. Under current circumstances, G-Sync in the PG27AQ is limited to a maximum of 60Hz (60 FPS). Like its smaller brother, the QHD PG279Q (More information on Amazon), this display has great color accuracy, great viewing angles, up to 165Hz refresh rate and good ergonomics. The pixel-density is excellent at 163 PPI. Where it’s slightly behind is in the latency department. Asus are recommending an Nvidia GTX 980 as a minimum – makes sense seeing how many pixels it will have to push.
Samsung U28E850R: UHD in the Midfield
With UHD displays, you can now get Dynamic Refresh for a lot less money. One good example for this is Samsung’s U28E850R with Freesync support – albeit only from 40 to 60 Hz. Here, you’re getting 4K resolution at 28” which means that the pixel density is still going to be very high. Instead of IPS, this display has a cheaper TN-panel which results in achieving a less stellar off-axis viewing experience. You’ll notice a decrease in contrast and some color distortion when looking at the display from an angle. Despite slight variations in the backlight-brightness and its contrast ratio of 700:1, the U28E850R fared well in our test. It’s readily available and comes in at a fair 500$. Thus, it remains our tip for UHD panels in the mid-price segment.
Samsung U24E590D: 24” UHD Bargain
The price-drop of UHD displays throughout the last two years has been enormous. Nowadays, UHD displays often change hands for less than 400€. The Samsung U24E590D offers a resolution of 3.840×2.160 pixels with a diagonal of 24”. While its ergonomics are somewhat limited, it features an IPS panel and Freesync. The latter only works in the range from 45 and 60 Hz though. In our 08/2015 review, this display impressed us with good viewing angles, good color accuracy, and low input-lag. This is a great entry into the world of UHD, especially when seeing how its bigger sibling is quite a bit more expensive and “only” uses a TN-panel.
Gaming-Displays: Buyer’s Guide for 21:9 and Curved Displays
While the 16:9 aspect ratio is still dominating the display market, 21:9 models are become more and more sought after. These extremely wide displays give you a panoramic view during gaming and drastically enlarge the peripheral field of vision – especially with curved models. In most displays, you’ll find a resolution of 2.560×1.080 (UW-UXGA) which only demands a little bit more horsepower than traditional Full-HD. It can however, look somewhat grainy on 34” or 35” displays. More expensive 21:9 displays offer up to 1440p or 1690p. Ultra-wide displays, much like curved ones, aren’t for everyone, and aren’t supported by every game. In some titles, you will have to deal with black bars to the left and right of your content.
LG 38UC99-W: #1 in Size, Resolution, and also Price
Smaller is bigger: The diagonal of this display measures 38”and it boasts a resolution of 3.840×1.660 pixels. Beside its size, this theatre-worthy display also impresses with image quality. The IPS panel has great color accuracy and very even backlighting with differences of only 3% at most. The contrast ratio of 983:1 and its maximum brightness of 300cd/m2 are also good results. This makes it well suited for photo editing or videographers. The refresh rate goes up to 75 Hz and Freesync is also on board. All these perks make the biggest ultra-wide monitor a great all-rounder. Those more focused on gaming however, should look towards the LG 34UC79G-B (More information on Amazon) with its 144 Hz panel. This also only costs more than half of the 1.400$ that the LG 38UC99-W commands.
Asus PG348Q (More information on Amazon) is another top-tier ultra-wide display. It unifies the most important features of a 21:9 gaming diplays: 34” in diagonal, G-Sync, a maximum refresh rate of 100 Hz, an IPS panel, and it’s curved. Although, with a radius of 3.800 mm, it’s a very subtle curve. Where they’ve gone more eccentric, is the foot which looks unconventional even by ROG standards. It however gives the display an edge over other ultra-wides in ergonomics. Its price however, is quite a statement, and despite its great performance metrics, can be called expensive. With Acer’s Predatox X34 (More information on Amazon), we also tested a very similar contestant in the 21:9 curved display rink. It also supports refresh rates of up to 100 Hz and comes with Nvidia’s G-Sync technology. An updated model with identical specs can be found in the X34A. The maladies of its predecessor (no guaranteed 100Hz and banding caused by the backlight) are said to have been cured. The X34A also commands a pretty hefty 1.100$.
Freesync users of course won’t have to life without dynamic refresh rates in the 21:9 realm. LG have revamped their top 21:9 model with the new 34UC98-W (More informaiton on Amazon). It boasts better ergonomics and height adjustment, a more stable body, a much more pronounced curve with a 1.800 mm radius, a UWQHD IPS-panel that conforms to sRGB almost across the entire surface, Freesync support, and Thunderbolt ports. Like with the Eizo Foris FS2735 or the Asus MG248Q, this display can be configured using a dedicated app. This isn’t entirely necessary with this model though, since all the parameters can also comfortably adjusted using the joystick placed on the side of the body. One much welcome extra has been omitted however: The refresh rate tops out at 60 Hz. With Freesync activated, the range goes from 50-75 Hz.
Cheaper ultra-wide alternatives can be found in the LG 29UB67-B (More informaiton on Amazon) and the 34UM68-P (More informaiton on Amazon). Both models have a 21:9 aspect ration at 2.560x 1.080 pixels but aren’t curved. Remember that curving a panel makes production more expensive and can lead to inconsistencies in the backlight. While a big panel like the one on the 34UM68-P is usually a plus, the resolution of the panels comes across as rather grainy paired with the sheer size of the displays. A plus however, is the great off-axis viewing experience due to the IPS panels used in both models, Subjectively, the LG 34UM68-P is capable of gaming: While the total latency lies at around 22ms, Freesync makes the display feel a lot more responsive than it is. A way of entering the 21:9 world on a budget is with the LG29UB67-B which is less impressive in size, omits Adaptive Sync, but also only costs 300$.
Before buying a gaming monitor, you should know:
- TN, IPS, or VA Panels – What’s Going to Be Your Pick for Gaming
- Response Time Vs. Input Lag, how important is it?
- Refresh Rate: Does it Matter?
- Should you invest in a 144 Hz monitor?
- NVIDIA G-Sync vs AMD FreeSync, what‘s the difference?
- Is a 4K Monitor Worth It?
Gaming Monitor Buying Guide
TN, IPS, or VA Panels – What’s Going to Be Your Pick for Gaming?
As with many things in life, no monitor is perfect. Each type of panel has its own advantages and disadvantages.
CRTs provide practically no input lag and have extremely low response time, which makes them useful for competitive gaming. However, their size, resolution limits, aspect ratio restrictions, and other issues have made them largely unusable in recent years.
TN panels are another good choice for competitive gamers as they support higher refresh rates (TN panels are generally from 60Hz to 144Hz, offering substantially greater fluidity of game-play with higher frequencies.). They also have low response times, decent input lag, and high resolutions. TN panels offer sharper pictures, widescreen output, lower weight, smaller physical dimensions, and higher resolutions compared to CRTs.
However, compared to other LCD panels, TN panels suffer from restricted viewing angles and worse color reproduction, which cannot be easily fixed. Ultimately, for most gamers who play somewhat competitively to very competitively, a TN panel is a good option. However, for those looking for a prettier and improved color experience, another panel type may be worth considering.
IPS panels solve the issues of TN panels through better color reproduction and viewing angles, but do so at the cost of refresh rate and response time. IPS panels are especially useful for those wanting a beautiful, immersive visual experience rather than highly competitive playing. PLS and AHVA are very similar to IPS. Hence, they are not usually differentiated.
VA panels provide a good middle ground with refresh rates and contrast levels that are better than IPS. However, they have worse viewing angles and color production, although it is generally better than TN. Response times are VA’s biggest downfall, as they are slower than IPS, IPS variants, and TN.
What’s best for you will depend on all of these factors. For those who want to play at a competitive level and favor FPS or racing games, TN panels would be the best choice. On the other hand, those who seek a more impressive and immersive experience may want to go with an IPS (or something similar, such as PLS), especially if it involves artistic endeavors. Finally, those who want a general monitor for work may want to consider a VA panel, although their slower response times means they would not be good for gaming.
At a glance, monitors seem as though there is nothing complicated about them; they only display pretty pictures. However, there’s more to a monitor than that and understanding these features will help you make the right selection.
Response Time Vs. Input Lag
Input Lag is an estimate of the gap between the time of the command that’s entered on your keyboard, controller, or the mouse and the time its response is seen on your screen. In time-reactive video games, minimal input delay is important.
Input lag, though very important, is often ignored. While playing a video game or simply using the computer system, the input lag can become an obstacle and influence the effectiveness of the performed task. This fact started attracting press attention with the release of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2005 and 2006, as these systems were pushing the acceptance of HDTVs in homes. Although users were pleased with the improved quality that they were getting from these televisions’ resolutions and pictures, their input lag was a real shortcoming. Thus far, many people are not aware of its existence and how it could affect their satisfaction with these systems.
As a gamer, I can easily see the difference between a 50- and 100-millisecond lag between the server and the monitor. I could still differentiate between 20 milliseconds and 50 milliseconds when I was playing more. There was a huge hit to my own gaming performance when I switched from a CRT monitor to the projector in my movie room. The same player, the same game, but it resulted in awful scores due to the input lag on the projector. This wasn’t solely a problem only professional gamers could notice; spectators could also detect the delays.
For a professional or casual player, an input lag time of more than 30 milliseconds is a turnoff where it is obvious, such FPS games, racing games or games that generally require swift actions. Other than internet connection, one of the major reasons for mistakes or failures during games is high input lag. Thus, input delay time, while not being a standard measure of screen’s general performance, is pretty significant for majority of gamers. Therefore, it is added to this guide and assessment. Regardless of what level you are at as a gamer, an input lag of less than 30 ms is recommended.
Please improve your input lag for a moment
To begin with, not all gamers need small input lag. It is more prominently noticeable in time-sensitive games like Planetside 2, Battlefield 4, Call of Duty, and other similar first-player shooters. For the majority of other types of games, precise timing is not a necessity. There can certainly be some instances where, for example, you will need to initiate a specific spell in Guild Wars 2 or WoW, and the input-lag is much more tolerable than in the first–player shooters.
There is a distinction between input lag and response time; the latter indicates how quick a pixel can change from black to white and return back to black on a given monitor. Manufacturers of the monitors inform you about the response time of their GTG (Gray to Gray), which can be lower than black to white. Even though the input lag is much important than the response time, a reaction period of more than 5 ms can occasionally cause ghosting effect or produce unclear images. This could influence how your game is played. Hence, you would want to take the option of a lower response time for your gaming titles.
Why Not Just One Option, Rather Than Gray to Gray OR Black to White?
The answer is simple – Money. Monitor manufacturers are aware that screen changing from black to white takes more time than going from gray to gray. Advertising the fastest option seems strategic for them as the display becomes more appealing to the user. You should not be too concerned with this estimation as long as you are making fair comparisons on displays using GTG or BTW. Manufacturers will make the statistics look more exciting with an attractive logo, something similar to this:
A monitor’s response time usually controls the extent of ghosting on a display. Ghosting is the blur you notice on your monitor, dragging along behind objects when fast scenes like action videogame such as Ninja Gaiden or a car chase is being displayed. A display with slow response time will show blurring along moving objects and can be very disturbing to human eye. It is easy to spot a game operating at 60 FPS. I used Ninja Gaiden as a reference as it is a very swift action game, involving lots of movements. It is ideal for manufacturers to report the ratings of their response time as this determines the ghosting factor which a display has. Simply ensure that you do not mistake it as input lag.
Can There Be A Tie Between Input Lag And Response Time?
To a certain extent, there could be. A pixel is considered dormant when it is in black or active when it becomes white. It means that an image needs to be visible for you to react to what is being displayed.
In summary, you should not read too much into the response time rankings as advertised by monitor manufacturers. As long as it is not mistaken as input lag (usually not advertised), I’m okay with manufacturers’ advertisements of it.
Refresh Rate: Does it Matter?
Also called frame rate, the refresh rate is a very important determinant when it comes to buying a monitor. The images shown on a monitor are individual images refreshed at a very rapid rate to give the illusion of images being in motion. Measured in Hertz (Hz), the refresh rate states the number of times the monitor refreshes the images or changes the pixels on the screen per second. The standard refresh rate is 60 Hz; it means that it will redraw the screen image 60 times per second. A monitor with 120 Hz is the best for a smooth gaming experience.
The high refresh rate is set to start at 120 Hz. Perhaps, due to the fact that it is twice that of 60 Hz refresh rate, which up to this point, has been the quality measure for flat panel monitors. Now, however, faster panels that are rated at 144 Hz and another one that I will name as spurious 240 Hz (more to that later) are on the market. Faster monitors are hitting the market everyday and I believe that bigger the number, better it is. Do you agree?
When it comes to competitive gaming, higher refresh rates are quite better. There are three clear benefits of higher refresh rates:
- Even without the use of V-sync, we do have less noticeable screen tearing. Each frame stays less time on the screen and this makes any tears to be less noticeable.
- When it comes to scrolling fast, there is less motion blot. However, when the scrolling action is slow, the object in sight will be left in a short-lived condition, not prolonged and dull visually. In general, we can say that this is the best type of monitors for shooter type games, where fast reflexes matter.
- The response time is faster; so for this, your graphics card is ready to make good use of this opportunity.
Disadvantages of high refresh rate monitors:
- Logically, not the best option for detail, immersion experience, or graphical accuracy. Unavailability of super big screen sizes ( 29 inch or higher ), low quality color rendition, low accuracy, its intensity of blackness being weak, and deficiency in consistency from one corner to another corner in comparison to a high grade IPS screens.
- High costs of the screen and graphics card.
- The resolution is somewhat limited. By increasing the resolution to another level, let’s say from 1920×1080 to 2560×1440, implying that the graphical work has nearly doubled with respect to affecting the refresh rates. For this reason, most monitors with high refresh rates still stick to the 1920×1080 resolution as higher resolutions are becoming more readily available.
- Options for connections are limited. Almost all the graphical interfaces will need the latest edge versions to promote 120 Hz or higher refresh rates, like the Dual Link DVI (without a doubt, the remaining DVI ports won’t be able to promote 120Hz).As for the common misconception of ‘’overkill ’’ or ‘’beyond the human capability‘’, I can assure you that they are quite untrue. Some scientists have conducted tests that indicate to the effect that individuals have the ability to detect unique images in a series of different images at around 13 milliseconds per image. That produces a frame rate close to 76 frames per second, which is slimmed down to a 72 fps to suit the 12 factor used in film (especially those of 24 fps, 48 fps, and 60 fps standards). The NTSC standards (TV shows as opposed to film) are commonly used, going by a 29.97 frame rate (this is summed up and doubled to 60 for monitors).144 Hz monitors have been produced by multiplying 72 fps standards by 2, or the NTSC 60, which is also doubled to produce 120 Hz monitors.Also, keep in mind that higher refresh rates are normally only available on TN panels. As such, you’ll need to take some time to consider what is more important – getting a TN panel with higher refresh rates or getting a prettier IPS display with lower refresh rates.My advice: You shouldn’t settle for a refresh rate of less than 60 Hz, a response time of more than 5 ms, and an input lag of more than 30 ms. If you can get higher refresh rates, it would be great.
Should you invest in a 144 Hz monitor?
Higher refresh rates allow for a seamless and more comfortable gaming experience as it significantly reduces the blurring effects. 120 Hz and faster monitors optimize the viewing experience with their high refresh rates, lower input lags, better motion resolutions, and protection from screen tearing. Hence, they are favored when it comes to competitive gaming.
Today, the 144 Hz refresh rate is quite popular in the gaming industry. There is a good number of reasons for it. Most of the modern graphic cards are designed for a refresh rate of 60 Hz or higher.
A 144 Hz makes sense only if your GPU can deliver 120 fps. Only then, will you enjoy a seamless experience and the difference will be noticeable. For your hardware to deliver optimal performance, you should have a monitor that matches the capabilities of your GPU.
As far as 144Hz monitors are concerned, every gamer appreciates different attributes. For some, it is the crisp color reproduction while for other, the flawlessness performance.
NVIDIA G-Sync vs AMD FreeSync, what‘s the difference?
These two technologies were created, primarily for the monitors that are diverse in refresh rates rather than for permanent or fixed refresh rates. The solution to NVIDIA is G-Sync while the solution for AMD is FreeSync.
Generally speaking, the refresh rate of a PC monitor is fixed at 60 Hz. That is, in just one second, the display refreshes its image 60 times. The work of the graphics card for your PC is to continuously push the frames to the display unit at any speed it can. Sometimes, this can result in tearing of the screen – this means one part of the display will be showing one frame while different part of the display will be showing another frame. It may even get worse if there is a wide gap in your game’s frame rates.
G-Sync and FreeSync bring variable refresh rates into practice. When your game is rendered at 40 frames per second, the monitor will update itself at the speed of 40 frames per second. If it begins to render at 75 frames per second, your monitor will be updated in accordance to the rate of 75 frames per second. There occurs communication between the monitor and graphics processor. The refresh rate changes frequently to be the appropriate level that will match the images being sent to the display. As a result, the problem of stuttering, input lag, and tearing of the screen that result in much of the fluid images when playing PC games would be eliminated.
NVIDIA’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync
The first solution that came about was the NVIDIA’ s G-Sync. This was formed around NVIDIA solution – that is, it requires a NVIDIA graphics processor which has the attributes of G-Sync and a display that supports G-Sync. All PC monitors that support G-Sync are part of the hardware modules that communicate with NVIDIA GPU. These modules can modify the display’s settings immediately.
The second solution was the AMD’s FreeSync. AMD was a solution on its own and not formed around any others. It was founded on a royalty-free industry standard called DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync. Any display that supports FreeSync does not need a related hardware module.
There is a bit of conflict in the approach here. A hardware module is the brains behind NVIDIA’s G-Sync solution while with FreeSync, a driver and firmware are used in AMD’s Radeon. NVIDIA believes that AMD’s solution may not meet the standards. ‘‘Ghosting’’ has been reported by users with respect to FreeSync displays – a situation whereby objects leave behind artifacts during movement on the screen. To some extent, most people seem to prefer NVIDIA’s solution. However, AMD’s allows for improvements and it’s somewhat inexpensive. Certainly, it would depend on your GPU – NVIDIA or AMD.
With all things considered, we can say that both technologies are perfect in delivering the best experience for gamers. We have explained in detail on many gaming monitors with installed G-Sync and FreeSync. Another point, which we should not leave out is that more monitors use AMD FreeSync than the competitors.
Screen size: Gamers require various screen sizes for their games. Usually, however, bigger the screen size, the more expensive the monitors are. For us, we suggest that you go for at least 23’’ size screen. However, if you prefer much bigger screen then select a high resolution one that will suit you.
Viewing angle: This is the viewing angle from the screen’s axis of symmetry. Often varying between 120 and 160 degrees, there are vertical/horizontal viewing angles. Of course, the greater the angle, the better it is because the monitor is often viewed by the user while indirectly facing it. For most of the users who use their monitors alone, the viewing angle is not really important since their screen viewing angle is usually not an issue for them. It is more problematic for an LCD TV in a living room as there will be multiple viewers present.
Contrast: It is expressed as 600:1, for example. The higher the number, the deeper the “blacks” will appear, which is important for movie and video game lovers. The way it affects the viewing experience depends on the type of the panels, so the comparison must be made between the same types of panels.
Brightness: The brightness of the screen is expressed in cd/m². The higher the number, the brighter the screen is. This value is usually not crucial as the screens are often viewed in close distance.
Resolution: If you want the best images for sharpness and details (pixel density), you have to, at least, go for 1080 Full HD.
As for excellent image for sharpness and details, you have to choose a resolution of 1440p (WQHD).
If you are looking for an extraordinary image for sharpness and details, you need to choose a resolution of Ultra HD (4K). However, keep in mind that 4K monitors are slow and require good GPUs to make it work.
As for the gamers who yearn for the latest in sharpness, color performance, and best image quality, the monitor with a 4K resolution will be the accepted hardware which would be complemented by the RPG gamer. Please note that the GPU requirements for operating a 4K monitor are quite higher than that of the other screen resolutions.
Is A 4K Monitor Worth It?
The latest to hit the shelves are the 4K monitors. Their prices have come down drastically. You can get them starting from a few hundred dollars. Often, you can expect large savings during special sales events as the 4K monitors have become more readily available.
The 4K display resolution is the same as that of TVs at 3840 x 2160. A standard monitor has a display resolution of only 1920 x 1080; that makes it greater by four times. Almost all operating systems including Windows, Mac, Chrome OS and Linux are compatible with resolutions that are higher than 1080p. You can start using a 4K computer almost instantaneously by purchasing and simply plugging it into your PC. The only thing that you need to be aware of is whether or not your graphics card supports the high resolution.
The sharpness, clarity, and color vibrancy (pixel density) are noticeable. This is because the viewing distance between your eyes and computer monitor is normally closer than your eyes and TV screen. A 4K monitor would let you play your games in 4K on your PC. However, there are a few conditions. You need high-end, robust graphics hardware for detailed settings. This means working with multiple graphic cards that are the best quality of their kind. Additionally, not all games are designed for a 4K monitor, so the results might fall short of your expectations. As a matter of fact, you may even prefer lower-resolution with higher frames-per-second than 4K for certain games.
Is a 4K PC worth it? The answer is a Yes! If you’ve always wanted a 4K PC and have the budget, you may definitely want to invest in one. It has many benefits that justify its cost. You can enjoy its superior detailing that guarantees a good viewing experience. It also looks good. But, there is one drawback (if you consider it as one), which is that once you get a taste of the high resolution of a 4K monitor, there’s no going back to a low resolution monitor.Best Gaming Monitor Recommend: (Classification based on the price)
Old Part: The Recommendation by Price:
BenQ Gaming Monitor RL2455HM (Low input Lag, Best choice for the price between $150 and $200)
Of course, nowadays you can find capable gaming displays for less than 200$ by now. One of those is the new Benq Zowie RL2455. Benq are marketing this model mainly as an RTS or console display with the former probably being due to two special display modes intended to make details onscreen more pronounced. Despite this, the RL2455 is great for every use. At its low price-tag, it omits some upper and middle-class features and opts for a 60 Hz refresh rate. This paired with the flat panel and limited ergonomics are the reason for the low price. Free- and G-Sync are also not supported. With low latency and a very fast TN-panel, this display still checks the necessary boxes for a gaming monitor. For those console gamers who are seeking a monitor with low-lag display, the BenQ RL2455HM is a great choice. The1080p display is a great complement for gamers using an Xbox or PlayStation 4; gamers will enjoy the look. It has solid construction and the monitor has some really nice customization options available. For those who demand accuracy of color, the TN panel may be a bit disappointing. This monitor is being marketed mainly towards those serious gamers who demand superior game-play response. The Smart Scaling and the black eQualizer are an indication of this monitor’s functions.
For RTS gamers looking for an affordable monitor that is fast enough to keep up with all the action, I would suggest the BenQ RL2240HE. This monitor is missing some key features, such as USB connectivity and an adjustable stand, however, you will receive blur-free action and a smooth display due to its fast pixel response. Also, if you are a gamer who spends a great deal of time playing, ergonomics may be important, and considering the BenQ RL2460HT as an alternative, would be wise as it has a larger, 24-inch screen, an adjustable stand, and is still reasonably priced.
ViewSonic VX2252MH (Best Gaming Monitor under 150)
Coming in with a fairly low price, the ViewSonic VX2252mh is a well-performing and sleek-looking monitor. Even though the built-in speakers are a little weak and the monitor does suffer from some stability issues, its performance, visually, will match and even outperform many of its competitors in the sub-$160 price range. Personally, it would be my suggestion that you wait until you have an extra $30 and then purchase the VX2452mh instead. This is the model’s 24-inch version, which allow you to receive the same efficient performance on a larger display at only a very small price increase. It has been my experience that the ViewSonic VX2252mh has actually performed up to the hype it received and I would recommend this monitor to any prospective customer.
Acer XB270H (Most recommended, 144HZ, NVIDIA G-SYNC)
For those PC gamers who wish to keep their resolution at 1920×1080, while maintaining the variable refresh rate technology of G-Sync in order to have a smooth and worrisome-free gaming experience, the Acer XB270H will fit the bill. This monitor has been constructed well, and the TN panel has better quality than the majority of users have previously experienced with TN. When tested, it provided a 144 Hz refresh rate, when paired with NVidia’s G-Sync module. This provides a great deal of improvement in your PC gaming, when compared to a standard 1080p monitor.
Philips 272G5DYEB (144HZ, NVIDIA G-SYNC)
The Philips 272G5DYEB uses NVidia G-Sync in its Philips Brilliance LCD Monitor. This allows you to enjoy extremely smooth gaming on a 27-inch screen, which gives you extra brightness. The experience of tearing or motion stutter can be eliminated with the 272G5’s G-Sync module, which removes those artifacts. Motion-blur and ghosting issues are taken care of by the fast refresh and pixel response rates of the panel. Even though the viewing angles may not be ideal, just like most TN models, the display’s inky blacks give a brightness to the colors. I was not impressed with the 272G5’s limited resolution of 1920 x 1080, when compared to other G-Sync, big-screen displays. If you are planning on spending $650 in order to have a big-screen gaming monitor, we suggest adding an extra $150 and purchasing the Asus ROG Swift PG278Q (More information on Amazon), which we highly recommend; you will still have a monitor that is G-Sync-enabled, but with a higher resolution (2560 x 1440), along with a handful of other gamer-friendly features.
The rock-solid BenQ XL2430T monitor comes equipped with several connectivity ports, has fast pixel response, and its ergonomic stand with its sleek looking panel, is able to maneuver into an ideal viewing position for your maximum comfort. Just like all the other monitors available in BenQ’s venerable XL line, the XL2430T as a multitude of gamer-friendly options. These include Smart Scaling, programmable hotkeys, blur reduction, along with special gaming presets. It even provides a place for you to place your headphones between your gaming play, or when you just need a breather. These special features will cost you a little extra, but it’s money well-spent if you are a serious gamer. With all that being said, if you wish to take advantage of the most recent innovations in display technology and have around $500 to spend, the Acer XB270H with NVidia’s G-Sync technology, would be the perfect choice. In the category of mid-size gaming monitors, this is our Editors’ Choice.
LG Electronics Gaming 24GM77
The 24GM77 from LG is a premium gaming monitor. With the ever increasing number of monitors being manufactured in this category, LG may well have to step up its game. When you compare it to the BenQ XL2430T, with its excellent, full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels), and 24-inch TN monitor, you will find that there is very little difference between them.
The LG 24GM77 comes with a feature to reduce motion blur, called Motion 240, and is just like the feature offered with the BenQ monitors. The mechanism for this system is a continual adjustment of the intensity of the backlighting. There is a backlight scan which is inserted between each frame. This reduces image persistence and, in turn, makes moving objects appear much sharper. This difference is so dramatic, it is all most the same as gaming on a CRT monitor. There is one slight drawback with this system; when this function is activated, the maximum brightness of the screen is cut in half. So when using this monitor, you need to remember to set up your screen accordingly. You should also be aware that if your eyes are particularly sensitive, the flickering produced by the backlight scanning of the Motion 240 may possibly cause eyestrain and headaches.
However, the 24GM77 with its Motion 240 for a sharper image, accurate colors, and responsiveness, is one of the best monitors on the market for gamers. Priced more reasonably than some of its competitors, the LG screen is a good option. Even though this monitor has great qualities, it does have the look of plastic, which may give its rivals a bit of an edge.
Best Gaming Monitor above 500 dollars
ASUS PG278Q ROG Swift 27-Inch Screen (Best 144Hz Gaming Monitor)
The Asus ROG Swift PG278Q utilizes Nvidia’s G-Sync technology built right into the monitor, giving you the best of high-resolution and smooth gaming. The TN panel is a full 27 inches with a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1440 (WQHD), a 1ms pixel response time, along with a 144Hz refresh rate, all delivering you a blur-free and sharp gaming experience. The monitor is 3D ready and comes with special gaming features, such as LED lighting effects, crosshair aiming, and even a turbo hotkey.
The PG278Q is the perfect companion monitor to any high-end gaming system. The ergonomic stand allows you to adjust the panel so you can create a viewing position that is optimal for you. Most importantly, this monitor is a strong performer. The viewing angle of this monitor could be a little wider and it only has one video input, but it does offer several features designed to aid in enhancing your gaming experience. With the features we have described, this monitor, with its gamer-friendly features and solid performance, has earned it our best recommendation for 27-inch gaming monitors.
Eizo Foris FG2421 BK
Eizo is better known for its association with medical imaging displays and graphic design, however, recently they have begun to inject their expertise into the world of gaming monitors, through their Foris product line. Looking like a pretty classic kind of monitor, the Foris FG2421, at first glance, does not seem to be anything special, with its semi-gloss, Full HD screen (1920 x 1080 pixels). However, after taking a closer look, we were happily surprised to find a VA screen panel on this monitor. The wide viewing angles, decent response times, and high contrast, makes the VA a nice compromise between the IPS and TN screen technology that is usually found within monitors these days.
It has a motion blur-reducing system built-in to aid in reducing eye fatigue, which is caused from the eye’s persistence of vision. Called Turbo 240, this mode is based on a technique known as Pulse Width Modulation. When the screen’s refresh rate is set 120 Hz, the Turbo 240 doubles each image up to 240 Hz, and at the same time, switches the backlight off and on between every other frame. This creates an effect similar to a backlight scan found in a CRT monitor. This switching forces your eye to refocus each time it sees the black flash between each of the frames, causing movement to appear smoother and sharper.
You instantly notice how striking this effect is, and with this LCD technology, the effect is getting closer in quality to that of a CRT display. There is, however, one downside. For people who are particularly sensitive to the PWM techniques, it is possible for headaches, eye-strain, or shimmering to occur.
This monitor is perfectly suited for fast action games. This is mainly due to its 23.5″ VA screen panel, wide viewing angles, ultra-high contrast, and Turbo 240 mode. We were a little startled that Eizo hasn’t paid attention to color quality, as this is usually the strong point for this brand. The stand could use a little tweaking and a little more advanced styling. Overall though, this is still a top-quality monitor.