Every year, games are getting better and graphics cards more affordable, which should mean that your gaming experience just keeps getting better too – but only if your monitor can keep up.
Playing a next-gen game on a good gaming PC – but without a decent gaming monitor – is like driving a Ferrari with dirty windows. Ultimately, you don’t want your monitor to get in the way of a great gaming experience. If you’re looking to treat your eyes to a new display in 2021, here are some of the important things every gamer should look out for.
Viva la resolution
The first thing you want to consider when looking for a new gaming monitor is, of course, the resolution. If you’re playing a fast-paced first-person shooter, for example, you can’t shoot what you can’t see. Getting a display with a higher number of pixels is always the best place to start.
Most gamers will settle for a resolution of Full HD or higher, which is 1920x1080 pixels. If you’re playing on a low resolution, you won’t experience everything the latest games and next-generation graphics have to offer, so you’ll want a sharp resolution that allows you to see every detail. And when you compare HD (which is 1280x760) to 4K resolution (which is 3840x2160), 4K has more than eight times the number of pixels.
If you’re a gamer who also cares about fast reaction times and having the competitive edge, a good response time and refresh rate are the two most important considerations after resolution. Refresh rate (measured in Hz) refers to the number of times a monitor displays a new image each second, and the higher it is, the more frequently it will match the frames-per-second generated by your graphics card. There’s a world of difference between playing a fast-paced game at 60Hz and 144Hz, and once you make the switch you probably won’t ever look back.
Response time, on the other hand, refers to how quickly the pixels of your monitor shift from one colour to another. You want your response time to be as low as possible, since any delay will cause ghosting or blur. Similarly, a low refresh rate will result in stuttering images or screen tearing. Response time and refresh rate can not only make or break the gaming experience, but can also mean the difference between winning or losing. LG’s Ultragear gaming monitors have managed to cut response times to one millisecond – the industry lowest and a first for nano in-plane switching (IPS) monitors.
Another thing worth mentioning is input lag, which refers to how long it takes for your monitor to react to the output of your graphics card or when you’ve pushed a button on your keyboard and mouse. High refresh rates generally result in lower input lag, so if you’re looking for more responsive gameplay, always keep both in mind.
The panel matters
There are many different types of panel technologies out there, but only a few that gamers should opt for. Twisted nematic (TN) panels have high response times and refresh rates, but may not offer great colour reproduction and viewing angles. Vertical alignment (VA) panels offer great contrast ratios but can fall short when it comes to response times.
IPS panels are a go-to choice for serious gamers as they offer stunning colour reproduction, great viewing angles, and excellent response times. LG improved IPS technology when they unveiled nano IPS in 2019, which uses a layer of nanoparticles in the backlighting to deliver high image quality with more rapid response times – exactly what gamers need.
What’s on the inside?
Modern gaming monitors are becoming more advanced each year, so there’s a lot more to consider than just their hardware specs. You also need to look at the intelligent technologies inside them. Good gaming monitors should come with built-in AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-Sync capabilities. These adaptive syncing technologies dynamically synchronise your monitor’s refresh rate to match your PC’s output more precisely, which results in a much smoother experience with less screen tearing and stuttering.
Geared for the gaming age
At the rate that today’s games and gaming hardware are advancing, there’s so much for gamers to look forward to. Gaming monitors are no exception, and the latest ones on the market can not only deliver much more immersive experiences, but also give gamers a competitive edge over their opponents. So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself geared up for the gaming age, because the gear is only getting better.