Gaming pc screens: Best gaming monitors in 2023

Gigabyte G27F2 Gaming Monitor Review: Premium Performance for a Low Price

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The Gigabyte G27F2 is a 27-inch FHD/IPS gaming monitor with 170 Hz, Adaptive-Sync, HDR and extended color.

Editor’s Choice

(Image: © Tom’s Hardware)

Tom’s Hardware Verdict

For an impressively low price, the Gigabyte G27F2 delivers top quality contrast, color and video processing on par with many more expensive screens. Unless you must have greater resolution or built-in speakers, it’s a true performance bargain.

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    Excellent color accuracy and contrast

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    Quick response and low input lag

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    Super-smooth overdrive and video processing

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    Solid build quality

  • No speakers

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In today’s gaming market, where relatively inexpensive consoles are delivering Ultra HD graphics at 120 Hz and 4K televisions are coming down in price, FHD monitors are getting less attention than they deserve. However, when you’re shopping for a desktop display, they can still perform at a high level while representing a small part of your system budget. For just over $200, you can get a well-made high-performance gaming monitor with 170 Hz, Adaptive-Sync, HDR and a wide color gamut.

The Gigabyte G27F2 is the second iteration of the G27F I reviewed two years ago. Upgrades include 170 Hz instead of a 144 Hz refresh rate, the addition of HDR, and better overall performance. The best part is that the price is a tad lower than before. At this writing, the new G27F2 is selling for $210, about $25 less than its predecessor, making it a good candidate to rank among the best gaming monitors.

Gigabyte G27F2 Specs

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Panel Type / Backlight IPS / W-LED, edge array
Screen Size / Aspect Ratio 27 inches / 16:9
Max Resolution & Refresh Rate 1920×1080 @ 170 Hz
Row 3 – Cell 0 FreeSync: 48-170 Hz
Row 4 – Cell 0 G-Sync Compatible
Native Color Depth & Gamut 8-bit / DCI-P3
Response Time 1ms MPRT
Brightness (mfr) 400 nits
Contrast (mfr) 1,000:1
Speakers None
Video Inputs 1x DisplayPort 1. 2
Row 11 – Cell 0 2x HDMI 2.0
Audio 3.5mm headphone output
USB 3.2 1x up, 2x down
Power Consumption 20w, brightness @ 200 nits
Panel Dimensions WxHxD w/base 24.2 x 16.1-21.6 x 7.6 inches (615 x 409-549 x 194mm)
Panel Thickness 1.7 inches (42mm)
Bezel Width Top/sides: 0.3 inch (8mm)
Row 18 – Cell 0 Bottom: 0.9 inch (22mm)
Weight 11.4 pounds (5.2kg)
Warranty 3 years

If you’re shopping in the FHD category, you won’t always find a wide gamut or HDR but the G27F2 has both. Its IPS panel covers just over 91% of DCI-P3 according to my measurements and beats most other IPS monitors in native contrast with nearly 1,400:1. While not quite in VA territory, it is visually superior to most of its competition. HDR has also been added where the original G27F didn’t support it. There’s no dynamic contrast, so you won’t see a significant difference between SDR and HDR. However, light output is a hair shy of 400 nits, meaning slightly brighter highlights and more vivid color.

Video processing has been improved, with a 170 Hz refresh rate. This gives the G27F2 a slight advantage over its 165 Hz competition. In fact, it is one of the more responsive displays I’ve tested at this price point, with a very low input lag score and a ghost-free overdrive. You also get a backlight strobe option which Gigabyte calls Aim Stabilizer. It works instead of Adaptive-Sync. Speaking of Adaptive-Sync, you can run FreeSync from 48-170 Hz and G-Sync from 1-170 Hz. Keep in mind, though, that the G27F2 has not been certified by Nvidia.

Gigabyte’s full suite of gaming enhancements is included with aiming points, timers, a frame counter and the info-rich dashboard, which monitors CPU and GPU stats in real-time. With the OSD Sidekick app, available as a free download, you can control the G27F2 from the Windows desktop and even create custom aiming reticles. The only things missing here are an LED lighting feature and internal speakers. It is otherwise a complete and full-featured gaming monitor that performs well above its price point.

Assembly and Accessories

The G27F2’s panel and stand are already assembled for you out of the box, though you can easily unsnap the panel if you’d rather use the 100 mm VESA mount for an aftermarket solution. The base attaches with a captive bolt. The resulting package is light but solid and free of extraneous play. HDMI and DisplayPort cables are included, and a small external power supply provides the juice.

Product 360

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(Image credit: Gigabyte)(Image credit: Gigabyte)(Image credit: Gigabyte)(Image credit: Gigabyte)

Styling is simple and to the point, with a thin flush bezel around the top and sides and a wider strip at the bottom. Only a Gigabyte logo adorns the front, and there’s another one in the back printed on a glossy area. You can also see the model number in shiny text down one side of the back panel. A few molded-in shapes signal the G27F2’s gaming intent, but nothing here draws too much attention. A tiny joystick is the only control. It navigates the OSD efficiently and doubles as a power toggle. In front, a white LED indicates power status, steady for on and flashing for standby. It can be defeated if you wish.

The stand offers a 130mm height adjustment and 5/20 degrees tilt. There is no swivel or portrait mode. The monitor is light enough that it can easily be turned by sliding the stand. The footprint is relatively small, and the base is just large enough to keep everything stable.

The input panel is up and underneath the left side and includes two HDMI 2.0 and one DisplayPort 1.2. In the middle is a 3.5mm headphone jack, then you get USB 3.2 ports, one upstream and two downstream. There are no built-in speakers.

OSD Features

The G27F2’s OSD is more full-featured than one would expect from a $210 monitor. You get everything required for image calibration, game performance and convenience.

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The Gaming menu packs a lot of functionality, including the Aim Stabilizer, also known as backlight strobe for blur reduction. It reduces light output by around 20% and creates a slight phasing artifact. This is a common issue with the backlight strobes I’ve experienced, but Gigabyte controls theirs a bit better. I could see it faintly in test patterns but only occasionally in games. It works instead of Adaptive-Sync.

Super Resolution should be left off as it creates obvious edge enhancement in areas of high contrast. The G27F2 is sharp enough without help. The Overdrive has three speed options plus one called Smart OD that varies the overshoot with frame rate. It is extremely effective at reducing blur and has no downside. There were no ghosting artifacts in either Smart OD or Picture Quality modes. It’s one of the best overdrives I’ve experienced in any gaming monitor.

In the Picture menu, you’ll find six preset picture modes and three custom memories. The default is Standard and can be calibrated with the full set of controls, color temp and gamma. Speaking of gamma, it tracks perfectly at each preset. If you choose 2.2, you get 2.2. The User Define color temp is very precise and rewarded me with pro-level accuracy during testing. Among the picture modes is an sRGB option which delivers that gamut.

Other Settings has a few convenience options, including one that turns off the front LED. You can also set the USB ports to charge devices if you wish. When you’ve tweaked the G27F2 to your liking, save the settings in one of the three memory slots.

If you press the joystick, then click left, it opens the Dashboard. When you have a USB connection along with the OSD Sidekick app running, you can monitor all sorts of CPU and GPU information in real-time. Gigabyte is the only company that has this feature to my knowledge.

Pressing the joystick and clicking right opens GameAssist which includes a set of timers, a frame rate counter and aiming points. A green cross is included, and you can load up to three more custom shapes from OSD Sidekick.

Gigabyte G27F2 Calibration Settings

The G27F2 can be enjoyed without calibration in its Standard mode, but its default grayscale is right on the edge of being too blue. That is easily remedied with the RGB sliders and no matter which way you go, gamma is spot-on with the best tracking I’ve seen from any monitor at any price. Color gamut accuracy is also quite good. Below are the settings I derived from my calibration. HDR signals gray out all picture options, but color is solid there as well.

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Picture Mode Standard
Brightness 200 nits 45
Brightness 120 nits 18
Brightness 100 nits 12
Brightness 80 nits 5 (min. 64 nits)
Contrast 50
Gamma 2.2
Color Temp User Red 97, Green 99, Blue 100

Gaming and Hands-on

No matter what I did on the G27F2, it gave the distinct impression that it should cost more than $210. I barely noticed the FHD resolution because contrast and color are so good. With perfect gamma, the contrast is enhanced further with a truly textural feel to the image. The only place I wished for a bit more pixel density was when working with small fonts, mainly on websites or spreadsheets. With plenty of screen real estate to play with, it was easy to make Word documents big enough to read easily. Editing photos wasn’t a problem either.

I tried various combinations of Aim Stabilizer, Adaptive-Sync and overdrive to find the best and smoothest motion processing for games. The Smart OD option varies the amount of overshoot to best match the current frame rate. For the most part, I was running games in full detail at 170fps but there were occasional drops to 160fps. The Smart OD kept edges sharp and blur to a minimum. With the Aim Stabilizer, I saw a few frame tears as AS was turned off. I also saw slight phasing artifacts in areas of high contrast, such as the outline of a dark object against a bright sky. Interiors looked fine with no evidence of phasing. For competition, some users may prefer Aim Stabilizer as it provides the greatest amount of blur reduction. I preferred Adaptive-Sync for my gaming sessions.

Response and control lag were non-existent in my experience. I could mow through enemies at will with quick and efficient movements of the mouse. The G27F2 responded to my every wish and whim. Though the very best players will likely benefit from a 240 Hz or faster screen, 170 Hz is plenty of speed for the rest of us.

With such tight gamma, the G27F2 makes the most of its wide color gamut in both SDR and HDR content. Though HDR doesn’t offer any more contrast, it does have better punch and brighter highlights. Color also pops a bit more. I didn’t notice any performance penalty when playing Doom Eternal or Call of Duty WWII in HDR mode and the picture was more vivid and engaging. At this price point, the G27F2 stands out compared to other inexpensive HDR screens.

MORE: Best Gaming Monitors

MORE: How We Test PC Monitors

MORE: How to Buy a PC Monitor: A 2022 Guide

MORE: How to Choose the Best HDR Monitor

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Features and Specifications

Next Page Response, Input Lag, Viewing Angles and Uniformity

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom’s Hardware US. He’s a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.

How to Buy a PC Monitor: A 2022 Guide

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How do you choose a PC monitor? (Image credit: Shutterstock))

The monitor is the window to your PC’s soul. Without the right display, everything you do on your system will seem lackluster, whether gaming, viewing/editing photos and video or just reading text on your favorite websites.

Hardware vendors understand how the experience changes with different display specs and features and have flooded the market with a plethora of options. But which features and specs are most valuable for how you use your monitor? For example, should you get 4K, 1440p, 1080p or just plain HD resolution—and what’s the difference anyway? How much do refresh rates and response times matter? Are things like flicker-free, low blue light mode, G-Sync and FreeSync crucial? And how should your priorities change if your focus is gaming versus professional applications versus general use?

Before we get started, if you’re looking for recommendations, see our Best Computer Monitors page or gaming-specific Best Gaming Monitors list. We also have high-res picks on our Best 4K Gaming Monitors and Best Budget 4K Monitors pages and break down HDR displays in our How to Choose the Best HDR Monitor article. 

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  • Determine your monitor’s main purpose: gaming, professional or general use. Generally, gamers should prioritize fast refresh rates and low response times, professionals should prioritize color accuracy and general use users have less specific needs but will often opt for a monitor with a high-contrast VA panel.
  • The higher the resolution, the better the picture. A monitor’s resolution tells you how many pixels a monitor has in width x height format. 1920 x 1080 (also known as 1080p, Full HD (FHD) and HD) is the minimum you need. But you’ll get sharper images with QHD and even sharper with 4K.  
  • Size matters too. Pixel density has a big impact on monitor quality, and our sweet spot is 109 pixels per inch (ppi). A larger monitor will have low pixel density if it’s a lower resolution. For viewing from typical desktop distances, 32 inches is plenty ‘big.’ It’s not hard to find a 32-inch gaming or general use monitor at 4K resolution for under $1,000.
  • Refresh rates: bigger is better. This tells you the number of times your monitor updates with new information per second and is measured in hertz (Hz). Bigger numbers equal better, smoother, less choppy images. Refresh rate is especially important for gamers, who’ll want a monitor with at least 75 Hz (most monitors designed for gaming offer at least 120 Hz), combined with the lowest response time you can find. If you’re not gaming, a 60 Hz refresh rate should do.
  • Response times: Shorter is better, but it’s not a big priority unless you’re gaming.  Response time tells you how long a monitor takes to change individual pixels from black to white or, if its GTG response time, from one shade of gray to another. Longer response times can mean motion blur when gaming or watching fast-paced videos. For gaming monitors, the highest response time you’ll likely see is 5ms, while the fastest gaming monitors can have a 0.5ms response time.
  • Panel tech: For image quality, TN < IPS < VA. TN monitors are the fastest but cheapest, due to poorer image quality when viewing from a side angle. IPS monitors have slightly faster response times and show color better than VA panels, but VA monitors have the best contrast out of all three panel types. For more on the difference between panel types, see the dedicated section below.
  • Consider a curved monitor. Curved monitors are supposed to make your experience more immersive with a large field of view and are said to be less eye-straining. However, they can be prone to glare when viewing from certain angles (light sources are coming from various angles instead of one). Effective curved monitors are usually ultrawide and at least 30 inches, which both point to higher costs.

If you do buy a curved monitor, understand curvature specs. An 1800R curvature has a curved radius of 1800mm and a suggested best max viewing distance of 1.8 meters — and so on. The lower the curvature (as low as 1000R), the more curved the display is. 

Monitor resolutions

Images on an LCD panel are comprised of millions of tiny dots. Each pixel consists of three sub-pixels, one for each primary color. A monitor’s resolution provides a screen’s length x width in pixels.  The more pixels you can pack into each square-inch of a monitor, the more realistic and smooth the image. A higher resolution (QHD  or better) is important if you want a monitor that’s bigger than 27 inches.

You can tell how many pixels a monitor has based on the name of its resolution. Some resolutions have multiple names. Below are the most common monitor resolutions you’ll encounter from best (highest number of pixels) to worst (least number of pixels). Except where noted, we’re talking about a 16:9 aspect ratio.

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5K resolution 5120 x 2880
4K resolution 3840 x 2160 (typical monitor resolution) / 4096 x 2160 (official cinema resolution)
Ultra HD (UHD) resolution 3840 x 2160
Quad HD (QHD) aka Wide Quad HD (WQHD) aka 1440p resolution 2560 x 1440
2K aka 1440p resolution 2560 x 1440 (typical monitor resolution) / 2048 x 1080 (official cinema resolution)
WUXGA resolution   1920 x 1200
Full HD (FHD) aka 1080p aka HD resolution 1920 x 1080
HD aka 720p resolution 1280 x 720

While more pixels is generally better, two things can make you second-think getting a monitor with QHD or better resolution.  

The first is your PC’s graphics card. The more pixels you have, the more processing power your graphics card needs to alter those pixels in a timely fashion. Images on 4K monitors look stunning, but if your system isn’t up to the task of driving 8.3 million pixels per frame, your overall experience will suffer and that extra resolution will actually become a hindrance, particularly if you’re gaming. 

The second thing that can hold back a high-res monitor is your operating system’s font-scaling capabilities. Windows is best at a pixel density of 90-110ppi. If a monitor has a pixel density much greater than that, objects and text will look extremely small and potentially impossible to read. When reviewing 27-inch 5K monitors, we’ve been forced to use DPI (dots per inch) scaling for any hope of reading text in our apps. The quality of scaling varies among monitors and isn’t always a sure fix when text is too tiny.

What resolution do I need for gaming?

For the best picture, more pixels are better. But when gaming, those pixels can also slow you down if you don’t have a beefy enough graphics card. Most video interfaces don’t support refresh rates faster than 60 Hz for 4K/UHD or 5K signals. That’s starting to change (for a premium), but you still need a very expensive graphics card to play at 4K and push past 60 frames per second (fps). The GeForce RTX 3080 can usually get there, as can the GeForce RTX 3090, but good luck finding one!

The current sweet spot seems to be QHD (2560 x 1440) resolution. With monitors up to 32 inches, you see good pixel density and a detailed image that isn’t too difficult for mid-priced graphics cards to handle.

If you want ultimate speed that’s also not too taxing on your GPU, FHD (1920 x 1080) delivers the highest frame rates (you won’t find gaming monitors today with lower resolution). But avoid stretching that resolution past 27 inches, as you may notice a dip in image quality, with pesky individual pixels being visible. 

Minimum graphics card requirements vary based on the game, but if you plan on buying a monitor for gaming at QHD resolution (and don’t want to have to turn the in-game settings down to low), you’ll want at least a GeForce RTX 3060 Ti or Radeon RX 6800.  

4K gamers should find the fastest card they can afford. The GeForce RTX 3070 might be sufficient for lighter games or if you turn down some settings, but the GeForce RTX 3080/3090 or the Radeon RX 6800 XT or Radeon RX 6900 XT would do you better. For more tips on picking a graphics card, see our Graphics Card Buying Guide, Best Graphics Cards and GPU Benchmarks Hierarchy pages. For help choosing a 4K gaming display, see our Best 4K Gaming Monitors page. 

What kind of panel do I need? TN vs. VA vs. IPS

There are three major LCD technologies used in today’s PC monitors: twisted nematic (TN), vertical alignment (VA) and in-plane switching (IPS). Each has several variations that offer different advantages. We won’t get into the intricacies of how these differing panels work. Instead, the chart below explains how each impacts image quality and the best use cases for each panel.

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Row 0 – Cell 0 TN VA IPS
Performance Fastest: low response times, highest refresh rates, minimal motion blur; Low input lag Longest response times typically; Higher refresh rates possible Slower response times than TN, faster response times than VA; Gaming-quality refresh rates are rare
Display Worst viewing angles;Worst color Viewing angles typically better than TN, worse than IPS; Good color; Best contrast;Best image depth Best viewing angles; Best color
Pricing Cheapest Pricier models can have performance comparable to TN Most expensive
Best Use Gaming General Use Professional

While that graph should be enough to make a quick decision on panel type, if you want to dive deeper, consider the following:

  • Contrast is the most important factor in image quality and reliability (5,000:1 is better than 1,000:1). As such, we consider VA panels to offer the best image quality among VA, IPS and TN.
  • We’ve reviewed plenty of TN screens that can hold their own in the color department with more expensive IPS and VA displays. While the general perception is that TN offers less accurate color and contrast than VA and IPS panels, there’s a chance you won’t notice the difference. Many gaming monitors use TN panels for their speed. We’ve found that color quality differs by price more than it does by panel tech.

Gaming monitors: Which features matter?

There are many confusing choices and even more confusing marketing terms to sift through when buying a new gaming monitor. Let’s break down the features that actually benefit gamers. Note that some factors depend on a player’s skill level.

For our top gaming monitor recommendations, check out our Best Gaming Monitors page. And for 4K stunners, see our Best 4K Gaming Monitors page. 

Competitive gamers should prioritize speed, which calls for high refresh rates (144 Hz or more), as well as the lowest response time and input lag (see our gaming monitor reviews) possible. This will likely limit you to 25 or 27 inches, possibly with lower pixel density and without extended color or HDR.

But maybe you’re a casual gamer who won’t notice the difference between 60 fps or 144 fps. You can settle for 75 Hz or even 60 Hz coupled with FreeSync or G-Sync (more on that below) and prioritize things like strong image quality, pixel density and  30 inches or larger. If your budget allows, this could also allow for more saturated color or even HDR.

What should my gaming monitor’s refresh rate and response time be?

Credit: Acer

Ideally, you want a monitor with at least a 75 Hz, combined with the lowest response time you can find. Refresh rate is particularly important for gamers, so most gaming monitors have a refresh rate of at least 120 Hz, (the fastest availabile is 360 Hz), and you’ll want a maximum response time of 5ms.

However, there are some worthy 60 Hz gaming monitors, and many 4K ones are limited to 60 Hz. If you opt for a 60 Hz display and plan to game, G-Sync or FreeSync is a must (more on that below).  

Lower resolution + good graphics card = faster refresh rates. Look at the on-screen display (OSD) above from the Acer Predator Z35 curved ultrawide. Its resolution is low enough where a fast graphics card can hit a 200 Hz refresh rate with G-Sync enabled. If you’re buying a monitor for the long-term, remember that the graphics card your PC uses 1-3 years from now may be able to hit these speeds with ease.

Worried about input lag? Input lag is how long it takes your monitor to recognize output from your graphics card or when you’ve pushed a button on your keyboard or mouse and is something gamers should avoid. High refresh rates generally point to lower input lag, but input lag isn’t usually listed in specs, so check our monitor reviews for insight. Sites like DisplayLag also offer unbiased breakdowns of many monitors’ input lag.

Should I get a G-Sync or FreeSync monitor? 

Credit: Nvidia/AMD

Gaming monitors usually have Nvidia G-Sync (for PCs with Nvidia graphics cards) and/or AMD FreeSync (for running with PCs using AMD graphics cards). Both features reduce screen tearing and stuttering and add to the price tag; although, G-Sync monitors usually cost more than FreeSync ones.

Another thing to keep in mind is that G-Sync relies on DisplayPort, while FreeSync works with both HDMI and DisplayPort. For more on which port is best for gaming, see our DisplayPort vs. HDMI analysis. And for more on the two popular Adaptive-Sync flavors, see our G-Sync and FreeSync pages in the Tom’s Hardware Glossary.

Regardless, if your budget only has room for a low to mid-speed graphics card, you’ll certainly want a monitor with either G-Sync or FreeSync that works at a low minimum refresh rate.

So, should you opt for G-Sync or FreeSync? Here’s what to consider:

  • Which hardware do you already have? If you’ve already nabbed a shiny new RTX 3080, for example, the choice is clear.
  • Team Nvidia or Team AMD? If you’re not tied to either, remember that G-Sync and FreeSync offer comparable performance for the typical user. We learned this when we tested both against each other in our Nvidia G-Sync vs. AMD FreeSync faceoff.
  • What’s the Adaptive-Sync’s lowest supported refresh rate? G-Sync monitors operate from a 30 Hz refresh rate up to the monitor’s maximum, but not all FreeSync ones do. FreeSync monitors usually support Adaptive-Sync up to a monitor’s maximum refresh rate, but it’s the lower limit you must note. We’ve reviewed screens that bottom out at as high as 55 Hz. This can be problematic if your graphics card can’t keep frame rates above that level. Low frame rate compensation (LFC), which G-Sync kicks in at below 30 Hz, is a viable solution but will only work if the max refresh is at least 2.5 times the minimum (example: if the maximum refresh rate is 100 Hz, the minimum must be 40 Hz for LFC to help).
  • Many FreeSync monitors can run G-Sync. Nvidia has tested and certified some of these as G-Sync Compatible. Many non-certified monitors can also run G-Sync too, but performance is not guaranteed. See our article on how to run on G-Sync on a FreeSync monitor for more. 

If you plan on doing a lot of competitive gaming with HDR content, consider getting a G-Sync Ultimate or FreeSync Premium Pro display. Both features are certified for lower input latency and include additional benefits for HDR titles. 

Do I need overdrive or motion blur reduction?

Overdrive and motion blur reduction are available in many gaming monitors (under various brand names). To understand their value, you’ll first need to understand ghosting. Ghosting is that blurry trail a moving object creates on the screen sometimes. That’s caused by uneven pixel transition, or when it takes a monitor’s pixel longer to change from Color A to Color B than from Color B to Color A.

Overdrive reduces ghosting by speeding the rate at which pixels transition through higher voltages. When done correctly, the pixel reaches that level quickly, then changes for the next frame before voltage gets too high.

Meanwhile, motion blur reduction, also known as ultra low motion blur (ULMB in the photo below), maintains motion resolution when on-screen action becomes more intense.

Credit: Asus

Here’s what to consider before deciding for or against the two:

  • Overdrive can create inverse ghosting artifacts, so check our reviews to learn how good a monitor’s overdrive feature is. You can test your own monitor’s overdrive by using the BlurBusters UFO test. Watch the UFO while switching between your monitor’s different overdrive options. When you see a white trail behind the saucer, you’ve gone too far.
  • You typically can’t use motion blur reduction and G-Sync / FreeSync at the same time. (There are rare exceptions, like the Asus ROG Strix XG27AQ.) Gamers should opt for Adaptive-Sync every time. A fast graphics card running at 60 fps and higher with G-Sync or FreeSync will pretty much eliminate any need for motion blur reduction.
  • Motion blur reduction reduces overall brightness. We’ve tested monitors that cut brightness by over 60% if blur reduction is on.

What’s a good gaming monitor deal?

Gaming monitors often go on sale, but it’s hard to tell if you’re actually getting a good deal. The first way to find out is to check reviews to make sure it’s the right monitor for you.

You can also tell if you’re getting a good sales discount on a name-brand monitor with the following guidelines: 

  • 144 Hz at 1080p (27 inches or more): $200 or less
  • 60 Hz at 4K: $250 or less

Finally, we love and, for Amazon listings, CamelCamelCamel for tracking the price history of specific monitors. 

General use monitors: Which features matter?

Credit: Dell

Both gaming and professional monitors are more than qualified to serve as general use displays. But if you want to avoid spending extra money on a specialized monitor, you need something that works well for every kind of computing, entertainment and productivity. Here’s how to decide what’s best for you:

  • Contrast is king, so VA panels are too. We consider contrast the first measure of image quality, followed by color saturation, accuracy and resolution. When a display has a large dynamic range, the picture is more realistic and 3D-like. VA panels typically offer 3-5 times the contrast of IPS or TN screens. If you place a VA and IPS monitor next to each other with matched brightness levels and calibration standards, the VA screen will easily win in terms of image quality.
  • Consider flicker-free if you’ll be staring at the screen for over 8 hours. They won’t flicker at any brightness level, so even those particularly sensitive to flickering will be pleased.
  • Low blue light isn’t a buying point. Most operating systems, including Windows 10, have modes for reducing blue light, based on the theory that blue light interferes with sleep. But although many monitors offer this feature, it’s not necessary. Low blue light can make a computer image less straining on your eyes, but so can accurate calibration. And since reducing blue brightness also affects all other colors, you may experience an unnatural look in graphics and photos. This is especially distracting in games and videos. There’s no need to prioritize low blue light, but it’s becoming harder to find monitors without it.

Professional monitors: Which features matter?

Credit: Asus

Professional users have special needs. If you’re a photographer, print proofer, web designer, special effects artist, game designer or someone that needs precise color control, this section’s for you. Here’s what to know:

  • Monitors vendor-certified as color accurate cost more but are worth it. If you want a monitor that’s accurate out of the box, this is your best choice. It’s especially important for monitors without calibration capabilities. Professional monitors should come ready for work with no adjustment required. A DeltaE (dE) value of 2 or lower is a good sign. A dE under 3 is typically considered invisible to the human eye. 
  • You want calibration options. There are two ways to accomplish this: the on-screen display (OSD) and software. Check our reviews for monitor-specific calibration recommendations.
  • Calibration options should include choices for different color gamuts, color temperatures and gamma curves. At minimum there should be sRGB and Adobe RGB standards, color temperatures ranging from 5,000 to 7,500K and gamma presets from 1.8 to 2.4. Monitors used for TV or movie production should also support the BT.1886 gamma standard.
  • Flicker-free goes a long way if you’re spending eight hours or more in front of a computer screen. Many pro monitors today offer this.

What bit-depth do I need?

  • Higher is better, and professionals need at least 10-bits. An 8-bit panel won’t cut it for most professional graphics work. If possible, opt for 12-bit. For more, see our article on the difference between 10 and 12-bit.
  • A deep color monitor won’t do you any good if your graphics card can’t output a 10- or 12-bit signal. Yes, the monitor will fill in the extra information, but only by interpolation. Just as with pixel scaling, a display can’t add information that isn’t there in the first place; it can only approximate. Many consumer-grade graphics cards are limited to 8-bit output.

No matter what PC you have, your monitor choice has a dramatic effect on everything you do. That makes buying a new monitor a worthy investment and one that can benefit you immediately, whether your playing games or doing work, with the right selection. Just make sure you don’t waste money on a screen with excess features or without the specs you need to help your PC shine. 

MORE: Best Gaming Monitors

MORE: Best 4K Gaming Monitors

MORE: HDMI vs. DisplayPort: Which Is Better For Gaming?

MORE: All Monitor Content

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Scharon Harding has a special affinity for gaming peripherals (especially monitors), laptops and virtual reality. Previously, she covered business technology, including hardware, software, cyber security, cloud and other IT happenings, at Channelnomics, with bylines at CRN UK.

6 features to consider when choosing a

gaming monitor

Time to upgrade your PC and console gaming monitor? To find a good monitor, you need to understand the parameters: resolution, screen size, refresh rate, response time, panel type, curved or flat screen . .. the list is long. Whether you’re a professional gamer looking for maximum frame rates or a hobbyist looking for image quality, we’ve put together a short but detailed guide to help you find a good monitor.

  • Panel type
  • Screen size and resolution
  • Refresh rate
  • Response time
  • Curved or flat
  • Game types

Panel type

Panel type is the most fundamental characteristic of a monitor, and probably the most important. The main functional parameters of the monitor directly or indirectly depend on the type of panel – everything except the sound. There are currently three main types of LCD monitor panels. Each with its own merits and differences.

TN panel (Twisted nematic) is the fastest type of panel. If you’ve come across a 360Hz monitor, it’s almost certainly TN. TN panels consistently delight users with high refresh rates, fast response times, and good black levels and contrast. But, they still have the narrowest viewing angles and the least attractive color reproduction.
VA (Vertical alignment) – universal version of the panel. Excellent contrast, good response time, decent colors. Viewing angles are wider than TN panel. VA panels are somewhere in between, between TN and IPS, which is why they are so popular, especially in large monitors and TVs. She has a slight tendency to halos, but modern technology has largely eliminated this shortcoming. VA panel is not as fast as TN, but very close to it.
IPS (In-plane switching): The best panel option for most users. The advantages of IPS technology are color reproduction, which is far superior to the other two types of LCD displays, and wide viewing angles. Response time and refresh rate are similar to VA panel. IPS has a reputation for not having very high levels of contrast and blacks.

Screen size and resolution

Monitor panel sizes range from 22″ to 50″, with the most popular gaming monitors ranging from 25″ to 35″. Common Permission Values: 1920 x 1080 (full HD 1080p), 2560 x 1440 (QHD or 2K) and 3840 x 2160 (4K or UHD). Also, there are extra-wide versions of these resolutions. When choosing a screen size, be sure to pay attention to the aspect ratio: the standard aspect ratio is 16:9, the aspect ratio of ultra-wide monitors is 21:9 or 32:9.
The optimal resolution for a clean and crisp image is 100-120 pixels per inch. For 1080p, 25″ or 27″ is best, for 1440p 27″ to 35″, and for 4K you need at least 32″. The image on a 1080p monitor at 32” may not be clear. Conversely, 4K resolution on a 25-inch screen will look too dense.
1080p 25-27″ monitors are best suited for gamers who value speed and responsiveness. The large screen size is very convenient – you do not have to sit close to the monitor, and the image looks as realistic as possible. But larger screens still have slower refresh rates, slower response times, and the potential for ghosting.

Refresh rate

There is a common saying about monitors: the faster the better. If earlier 60 Hz was considered a good frequency value, now monitors with a frequency of hundreds of frames per second are considered commonplace. A monitor with a high refresh rate is faster and allows your graphics card to perform at its best. The monitor refreshes frames faster, reducing overall display latency.
Most often there is no need for a very fast monitor. Most games are GPU intensive and won’t run at 240 or 360Hz, with the exception of CS:GO and Rainbow Six Siege. Modern PC and console games run at 60Hz – 120Hz, so a 144Hz or 165Hz monitor will be more than adequate.

Response time

The monitor’s response time and refresh rate determine how smooth your gaming experience will be. Any mismatch between your graphics card and monitor will result in stuttering and image tearing. A monitor with a slow response time results in more input lag, which will be especially noticeable in fast-paced scenes. Manufacturers use gray to gray transition (GtG) and moving image response time (MPRT) to determine monitor speed. MPRT is used to measure the likelihood of blurring or ghosting on the screen. GtG is useful as a general response metric because it reflects the ability of pixels to quickly change their color. Acceptable values ​​for GtG are less than 4 ms, for MPRT – 1 ms.

Curved monitor or regular

Most gaming monitors are flat, hence the term “flat screen”. Flat screens fit perfectly with any gaming genre and style and are the industry standard. Curved screens have become more and more popular in recent years.
Matching the natural depth of human vision, curved monitors provide that coveted “immersive gaming” factor. If you decide to purchase a curved monitor, we recommend that you test it before buying. Curve depth of a curved monitor is expressed as a number followed by an R for radius. So a 1000R monitor is 1000mm edge to edge, 1900R is 1900 mm and so on. The lower the number, the closer the edges and the more “steep” the curve is.
Because curved monitors almost always have a 21:9 ultra-wide resolution, they have a larger field of view than their flat counterparts. A smaller field of view (FOV) means having to move the screen (and head) to see beyond the edges of the frame. An ultra-wide curved monitor is the best choice if you like to play simulation games like racing or flight simulators. It will provide a more realistic viewing experience than a flat screen. For other types of games, the difference will not be so noticeable.

Other things to consider

The basic characteristics of monitors from different manufacturers are very similar. Be sure to look out for exclusive features on a particular monitor. For example, BenQ’s HDRi technology goes beyond the basic HDR specifications. Along with individual picture modes and ambient light sensors, HDRi technology delivers a high dynamic range that matches your preferences. Let’s talk more about HDRi technology from BenQ
Long gaming sessions may adversely affect your eyesight. BenQ gaming monitors with Eye-Care Technology filter out harmful blue light and eliminate flicker for a more comfortable viewing experience. Gaming monitors feature anti-glare screens to prevent reflections that can ruin your gaming experience.
Many manufacturers often overlook the sound quality of their monitors, but BenQ has corrected this error. The treVolo audio engineering team has developed monitors with 2.1 channel surround sound thanks to two built-in speakers and a subwoofer. This is far from the metallic sound that you are familiar with on old monitors. This is a powerful game sound with the possibility of custom settings. We recommend that you use headphones to avoid disturbing others while playing.
BenQ gaming monitors allow you to set individual picture settings so that you are not limited to preset modes. The Color Vibrance feature allows you to choose from 20 levels of color intensity. Black eQualizer and Light Tuner optimize dark and bright areas of the screen so you don’t miss a beat. This is especially important for first-person shooters in order not to miss opponents who are hiding in the dark. Likewise, overexposed areas of the screen can result in poor visibility of details. HDRi technology in BenQ monitors prevents this.

We select a monitor according to the style of the game!

Genre games, story games, quests and narrative games: they all need good colors and high resolution, not just speed and reaction. The BenQ EX2780Q monitor is just what you need to dive into a new adventure.
In first-person shooters, frame rate and response time matter the most. MOBIUZ EX2510S/EX2710S monitor is a good and fast monitor with 1080p resolution, 165Hz frequency and 1ms latency.
Ultra-wide and curved monitors are ideal for racing and flight simulators. We recommend checking out the EX3415R and EX3203R models from BenQ. These are state-of-the-art monitors with refresh rates ranging from 100Hz to 144Hz, fast response times, and impressive sound.


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Regular Monitor vs Gaming Monitor

If your home monitor is no longer meeting the growing interest in gaming and you’re thinking about buying a new monitor, then this article is for you.

This article explains what makes regular displays different from gaming monitors and what to look for when choosing a monitor for a gamer.

Regular Monitor vs Gaming Monitor

Everything is relative. You can often find monitors in the office or at home that can handle a huge range of tasks – web browsing, word processing, working with Excel spreadsheets, streaming video broadcasting and many others.

They can also handle computer games and design, but not one hundred percent. If you want to truly enjoy your games to the fullest, there are certain features you should look out for when buying a monitor – the features that make a display a gaming monitor.

Ordinary office monitors have a very affordable price, but while playing games you will surely encounter screen tearing or input lag and many other unpleasant phenomena that greatly degrade the gaming experience.

Read on to find out why you should invest in a gaming monitor if you’re determined to take your hobby to the next level!

BenQ EX2780Q 144Hz HDRi Gaming Monitor

  • 27″ IPS Panel 2K QHD
  • HDR technology and FreeSync support
  • USB-C™ Connector

Response time

Response time is the rate at which the panel is able to update each pixel, measured in milliseconds. In other words, this is how fast a pixel can switch between grayscale. Fast response makes gaming comfortable – this indicator should be as close to zero as possible, for example -1 ms.

Regular monitors tend to run slower than gaming monitors, which is impractical for gaming as high screen response times lead to numerous problems in games.

If the manufacturer does not indicate the response time of the monitor, this means that such a monitor is not intended for gaming at all. And this means that you should not buy such a monitor if you play modern dynamic games.

Frame rate (FPS)

The refresh rate is the number of updates per second of the image on the screen. This indicator is measured in hertz (Hz).

It’s worth making it a rule these days not to buy a monitor with a refresh rate of less than 60Hz. For fast-paced PC gaming, it is preferable to choose a monitor with an even higher refresh rate.

A high refresh rate is essential for competitive games, as well as fast-paced games such as first-person shooters or any other genre where a fast reaction time is essential. With a low refresh rate, not only does the reaction speed of the player decrease, but also the image quality deteriorates due to screen tearing and the blur effect, when the monitor does not keep up with the rest of the gaming equipment and the image is smeared across the screen.

It is also important to note the screen resolution and how it affects the refresh rate. High resolution puts a strain on gaming hardware and lowers frame rates. As of 2019-2020, only games running in Full HD and 2k reach 100 Hz per second, with 4K (2160p) putting too much strain on the hardware and therefore limited to frame rates below 100 fps. However, this will change in the near future.

A monitor with a frequency of more than 100 Hz, such as 144 Hz or even higher, is the best choice and a good investment for the future.

In addition, you should give preference to monitors equipped with adaptive synchronization technology – FreeSync. from AMD or G-Sync from NVIDIA. These technologies ensure that your graphics card stays in sync with your gaming monitor. This will prevent screen tearing – the effect of tearing the image in half, a problem that often occurs on regular monitors that try to run games at speeds faster or slower than the panel’s native refresh rate.

Input delay

General purpose monitors usually process images to make them look decent in any scenario. In budget models, this image processing cannot be turned off at all.

This is bad for games because every process applied to the image adds latency. This creates an input problem – a delay between the gaming equipment that outputs the signal and the monitor that displays it for you. Therefore, processes such as image sharpening, noise reduction, dynamic colors, contrast adjustment, video mode, cinema mode, etc. slows down the gameplay.

If the total input lag exceeds 40ms (and this is a standard value for ordinary low-cost monitors), games become almost unplayable. Latency below 25ms is great for most scenarios. But as a gamer, you will clearly notice the delay between pressing a key or button and the action happening on the screen.

Gaming monitors may also have additional image processing, but they will always also have a dedicated game mode and PC mode. Both of these modes turn off all additional processing, minimize latency and maximize the freedom given to gaming hardware.

Extensive connectivity

Standard monitors usually have one video output, such as one DisplayPort or one HDMI. A gaming monitor will have at least one of the latest versions of HDMI (like HDMI 2.0b), DisplayPort, and multiple USB ports for charging devices like controllers. Good gaming monitors also have built-in speakers and an output for headphones or an external sound system.

Conclusions: Regular monitor or gaming monitor?

Game monitors are called gaming monitors because they are designed for the very specific needs of video games. Gaming monitors have high responsiveness and refresh rates, and keep input lag as low as possible. Many gaming monitors come with speakers, in case you want to use them. In addition, gaming monitors have excellent image quality, without unnecessary image processing.

Trying to play on a budget monitor is like taking a budget car to the race track. It will work, but you won’t like the results. And you’re just wasting time and money. So make the right choice!

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