What to Look For in a Gaming Monitor


Gamers, especially the hardcore ones, are very meticulous beings, especially when it comes to picking the perfect monitor for a gaming rig. So what do they look for when shopping around?

Size and Resolution

These two aspects go hand in hand and are almost always the first ones considered before buying a monitor. A bigger screen is definitely better when you talk about gaming. If the room allows it, opt for a 27-incher to provide lots of real estate for those eye-popping graphics.

But a large screen won’t be good if it has a crappy resolution. Aim for at least a full HD (high definition) screen with a 1920 x 1080 pixels maximum resolution. Some newer 27-inch monitors offer Wide Quad High Definition (WQHD) or 2560 x 1440 pixels. If the game, and your gaming rig, supports WQHD, you will be treated to even finer graphics than full HD. If money is not an issue, you can even go Ultra High Definition (UHD) providing 3840 x 2160 pixels of graphics glory. You can also choose between a screen with an aspect ratio of 16:9 and one with 21:9.

Refresh Rate and Pixel Response

The refresh rate is how many times a monitor takes to redraw the screen in a second. It is measured in Hertz (Hz) and higher numbers mean less blurry images. Most monitors for common use are rated at 60Hz which is good if you’re just doing office stuff. Gaming demands for at least 120Hz for faster image response and is a prerequisite if you plan to play 3D games. You may also opt for monitors equipped with G-Sync and FreeSync that offers synchronization with supported graphics card to allow variable refresh rates for an even smoother gaming experience. G-Sync requires an Nvidia-based graphics card while FreeSync is supported by AMD.

The monitor’s pixel response is the time a pixel can transition from black to white or from one shade of gray to another. It is measured in milliseconds and the lower the numbers the faster is the pixel response. A fast pixel response helps reduce ghost pixels caused by fast moving images displayed on the monitor which leads to smoother picture. The ideal pixel response for gaming is 2 milliseconds but 4 milliseconds should be fine.

Panel Technology, Video Inputs, and Others

Twisted Nematic or TN panels are the cheapest and they offer fast refresh rates and pixel response making them perfect for gaming. However they don’t offer wide viewing angles. Vertical Alignment or VA and In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels may offer high contrasts, superb color, and wide viewing angles but are susceptible to ghost images and motion artifacts.

A monitor with multiple video inputs is ideal if you’re using multiple gaming formats like consoles and PCs. Multiple HDMI ports are great if you need to switch between multiple video sources like your home theater, your game console, or your gaming rig. DisplayPort is also available if your monitor supports G-Sync or FreeSync.

Some monitors have USB ports for direct movie playing as well as speakers with subwoofer for a more complete gaming system.