The Top 5 Things to Look for When Choosing a Gaming Monitor

Sept 2, 2021

1) Refresh Rate (Hz)

How fast the monitor updates the image on-screen. The faster, the smoother (ex. 60 Hz refreshes at 60 times per second, 120 Hz refreshes at 120 times per second, etc.). This is the most important factor when it comes to serious gaming, as it provides smoother gameplay, and allows you to see what happens on screen quicker (potentially before your opponents) giving you the advantage.

The most common refresh rates are:
  • 60hz
  • 120hz
  • 144hz
  • 240hz
The best recommended refresh rate for gaming is 144hz. This is a quick enough refresh rate to get you the advantage and is a huge difference compared to 60hz. 240hz is extremely expensive and a bit overkill as the difference between 144hz and 240hz to the human eye is not very noticeable.

2) Resolution & Monitor Size

Resolution is the number of pixels displayed in a monitor. It is measured width x height (ex. 1920 pixels x 1080 pixels = ~2 million pixels in each frame/image).

The most common monitor resolutions are:
  • 1920 x 1080 (Commonly referred to as a "1080p" monitor)
  • 2560x1440 (Commonly referred to as a "1440p" monitor)
  • 3840 x 2160 (Commonly referred to as a "4K" monitor)
Monitor size is the physical measurement between opposite diagonal corners of the monitor screen. This does not include the bezel of the monitor.

The most common monitor sizes are:
  • 24 inch
  • 27 inch
  • 32 inch
It is important to keep both resolution and monitor size in mind when choosing a monitor. For example, a 1080p resolution will look fine on a 24 inch screen, however if a 32 inch screen is only 1080p resolution, it will appear blurry since there are not enough pixels to densely cover the screen.

The best recommended resolution and size combos are:
  • 1080p 24 inch monitor.
  • 1440p 27 inch monitor.

3) Response Time

Monitor response time is how long it takes to change from one color to another. This is measured in milliseconds (ms) and the lower the better. Anything under 2ms is fantastic, under 5ms is great, and under 10ms is fine. The human eye can barely notice these tiny differences, so there is no need to overthink it.

4) Panel Type

The two most common types of monitor panels are TN and IPS panels. Each have their own pros and cons.

TN panels are most common type of panel out there because you can get them with higher refresh rates for a cheap price. The downside to TN panels is that they have bad viewing angles which means that the monitor may look distorted when looking at it from the side instead of directly in front of it. This won't be very noticeable if it is your primary monitor, but would be a bigger issue if it is your secondary monitor (placed to the side of your primary monitor).

If you value color accuracy, reduction in motion blur, high brightness, clearer image quality etc. then an IPS panel would be your best bet. IPS panels have great viewing angles, and generally provide a much better image quality. The downside to IPS panels is that they are significantly more expensive than TN panels.

5) Ergonomics

When choosing a monitor, take into account the amount of desk space you have available, and what type of adjustments you want the monitor stand to be able to make. Some higher end monitors come with stands that allow you to have great range of motion. You can rotate, tilt, raise and lower the monitor as you please. Cheaper monitors may be on a fixed stand with no adjustability. If you find a monitor you love but do not like the stand, you can always purchase a separate stand or monitor arm and re-mount it afterwards.

Another thing to consider is whether you want a flat display or a curved display. If you mainly play MOBAs (such as League of Legends), or do work on spreadsheets, a flat display will be better suited for you. If you play mostly FPS games, then you could potentially consider a curved monitor. Flat displays are definitely more popular and are the safer option. If you have never used a curved monitor before and are considering getting one for the first time, make sure you go to your local monitor store and test some out first to make sure that it is what you really want.

Overall, these are all important things to consider when deciding on purchasing a new gaming monitor. Remember, a monitor is something that you look at for so many hours, so make sure that you carefully choose a quality monitor that is right for you!