Let’s talk about gaming monitors’ main characteristics: what to look for, which one is better to buy. At the end is a list of worthy models.

When choosing a monitor, you will be faced with a lot of parameters: diagonal and screen resolution, matrix type, response time, frame refresh rate, support for G-Sync / FreeSync technologies. What does all this mean, and is it essential to understand each pixel? Let’s take a look at how to choose a gaming monitor.

Diagonal and Screen Resolution

At first glance, the choice is limited by the budget and the amount of free space on the table. However, it is worth remembering that the higher the resolution, the greater the video card’s load. One chip will produce a different number of frames per second at Full HD and QHD. The most popular resolution is 1920 × 1080, which is the minimum for modern gaming. Less – makes sense only in laptops with a small diagonal. As for the sizes, there are many: from small 23-inch models to giants like the Samsung C49HG90DMI, which can easily replace two screens.

When choosing a monitor, you will be faced with a lot of parameters: diagonal and screen resolution, matrix type, response time, frame refresh rate, support for G-Sync / FreeSync technologies. What does all this mean, and is it essential to understand each pixel? Let’s take a look at how to choose a gaming monitor.

Diagonal and Screen Resolution

At first glance, the choice is limited by the budget and the amount of free space on the table. However, it is worth remembering that the higher the resolution, the greater the video card’s load. One chip will produce a different number of frames per second at Full HD and QHD. The most popular resolution is 1920 × 1080, which is the minimum for modern gaming. Less – makes sense only in laptops with a small diagonal. As for the sizes, there are many: from small 23-inch models to giants like the Samsung C49HG90DMI, which can easily replace two screens.

There is also a curved monitor format: they differ from flat ones in a smaller viewing angle and body shape. Such a device should be bought only for gaming – playing behind a curved display, sitting directly in front of it, is quite comfortable because the extreme points of the screen are closer to the eye than in the case of a flat monitor. But watching movies, especially in a company, will be inconvenient: half of the picture is not visible from the side on such a screen.

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Brightness, Contrast, and Matrix Coverage

Choose a model with a brightness not less than 250 cd / m 2. During the game, you will be close to the monitor and can reduce it if necessary. However, in rooms with bright or natural light, high brightness will keep the screen legible. The contrast must be at least 1000: 1. Otherwise, the image will not look sharp enough. We also advise you to pay special attention to the presence of modes for protecting your eyes: they will come in handy during a long game.

The screen coating can be glossy or matte. It is believed that gloss makes the picture “juicier,” but it glares a lot. The matte finish will not shine, but it will not embellish the picture either. If you play in the evenings, and your room does not have bright light sources and glare, feel free to grab a glossy monitor. If something shines on your screen all the time, it is better to choose a panel with a matte finish.

Gaming Monitor Matrix Type

There are three options: TN, VA, and IPS. TN matrices have a short response time and a low price: mainly TN panels in budget models. However, this type has less contrast (compared to IPS) and smaller viewing angles. VA is a mid-range matrix that sits between TN and IPS. For the price, it is also in the middle segment. IPS monitors are slightly more expensive and not as fast as TN monitors. But they have better color rendering and broader viewing angles. For an IPS panel with a response time of 1 ms, you will have to pay at least 3000 more than for a similar model with a TN matrix.

If you play online games and the frame rate counter is in the first place for you, and the picture quality does not matter, feel free to take TN. If you prefer predominantly single projects with luscious graphics, take a closer look at VA or IPS.

Which Monitor is Best for Gaming: Response Time

This is one of the main parameters that distinguish a regular office monitor from a gaming one. The characteristic describes the rate at which the color of pixels changes – in other words, the rate at which a picture is displayed on the screen. In gaming devices, the response time should be no more than 5 ms, while on home monitors, it can be 25 ms or more. A 24-inch monitor with 1 ms can be bought for 9,000 rubles, for example, Iiyama G-Master G2530HSU-1.

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Refresh rate (Hz)

The frame refresh rate is measured in hertz and displays the number of frames that the monitor can display in one second. The minimum for gaming is 60 Hz, but this value is only suitable for single games. In online battles, where there are many dynamic scenes, the picture’s smoothness is much more critical. Therefore, it is better to choose 120, 144, or even 240 Hz displays. 

At the moment, 240 Hz is the highest frequency that can be found on the market. Devices with such an indicator are much more expensive than their less fast counterparts. The cheapest 240 Hz monitor costs 20,000 rubles – this is the Acer KG251QDbmiipx with a diagonal of 27 inches and full HD resolution. Monitors with 144 Hz are top-rated: this segment’s choice is much more than among models with support for 240 Hz. You can even find devices with a diagonal of up to 49 inches.

G-Sync / FreeSync support

Video card manufacturing companies have developed adaptive synchronization technologies, with the support of which the monitor provides the smoothest picture possible. NVIDIA has G-Sync, AMD has FreeSync. Models with G-Sync are more expensive, but they work with popular NVIDIA video cards.

On paper, adaptive sync benefits are apparent, but gamers still debate whether it makes sense in practice. We recommend using a monitor with G-Sync / FreeSync support to eliminate tearing and other visual defects with these technologies. Also, hardware and video card drivers are regularly updated, which means that frame synchronization technologies will also improve.

Connection

Modern video cards use HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, and Mini DisplayPort connectors. VGAs are rare. For 4K 30 fps transmission, HDMI 1.4 support is required. For 4K 60 fps – HDMI 2a or Displayport 1.3 / 1.4.

Many gaming monitors also come with built-in speakers, a headphone jack, USB-A, and USB-C ports that allow you to connect peripherals or charge your smartphone. Additional functionality should be selected as needed. However, note that the built-in speakers in the vast majority of cases will not sound the best.

Bottom Line: What a Good Gaming Monitor should be?

A properly selected gaming monitor will have the following characteristics: a diagonal of at least 27 inches with an aspect ratio of 16: 9, a response time of 1-5 ms, a refresh rate from 60 Hz, support for G-Sync / FreeSync, and the presence of HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces for connecting modern video cards. All other parameters (for example, the device’s appearance and additional connectors) depend on your taste and budget. You do not have to choose for a long time. We have compiled a small top monitor.

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Best Gaming Monitors 2020: Model Rankings

Iiyama G-Master G2730HSU-1

A gaming monitor from Iiyama fits all of our needs: it’s a 27-inch TN panel with decent resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels), FreeSync support, and a low 1ms response time. HDMI, DisplayPort, and even VGA connectors are used to connect to a computer. Plus, there are speakers and a USB hub. The model costs only $272.

Iiyama G-MASTER G2730HSU-B1 68.6 cm (27″) LED LCD Monitor – 16:9 – 1 ms – 1920 x 1080

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HP OMEN 27

HP’s near bezel-less 2K TN gaming monitor is perfect for shooters and racing. The 165Hz frequency, 1ms response time, and G-Sync support promise a smooth picture even in fast-paced gaming scenes.

OMEN 27 by HP 27 Inch Gaming Monitor QHD 165Hz 1ms NVIDIA G-SYNC (Black Aluminum)

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AOC G2590FX

If you’re looking for a small gaming monitor, check out the famous AOC manufacturer. The 24.5-inch matrix looks very unusual: it has almost no bezels—resolution to match the screen size – Full HD. The rest of the characteristics are at the level of top models: 1 ms, 144 Hz, FreeSync support.

AOC G2590FX 25″ Framless Gaming Monitor, FHD 1920×1080, 1ms, 144Hz, G-SYNC Compatible+AdaptiveSync, 96% sRGB, DisplayPort/HDMI/VGA, VESA, 25 inch, Black / Red

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MSI Optix MAG321CQR

The curved 31.5-inch monitor features an unusual gaming device – VA matrix, which provides a 1ms response time and sound color reproduction. It also has FreeSync support and a high 144Hz refresh rate.

MSI 32″ Full HD RGB LED Non-Glare Super Narrow Bezel 1ms 2560 x 1440 144Hz Refresh Rate Free Sync Height Adjustable Curved Gaming Monitor (Optix MAG321CQR), Black

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Xiaomi Redmi Display 1A

As a budget solution for the inexperienced gamer, the products of the affordable Xiaomi brand are suitable. It cannot be said that this model stands out in some way from the rest (perhaps with a low price), but it is equipped with the most minimal set of necessary characteristics. The polling frequency is 60 Hz, the brightness is 250 cd / m², the matrix is ​​IPS. 

Xiaomi Mi Surface Display

But you shouldn’t associate the Chinese corporation only with budget devices. Here’s a $300 model that packs a chic spec and offers gamers 4K resolution, a high contrast ratio of 3000: 1, and a 144Hz refresh rate. Almost all the reviews from the model are incredibly positive.

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