It is worth bearing in mind that thanks to cloud gaming, there are alternative options to hardware to take advantage of 4K displays: with a good and stable connection, services such as Stadia reach an ultra-high resolution. And we can expect the same from future services like Microsoft’s browser alternative. Gaming monitors which one is better to buy Tips and recommendations
Screen size and resolution: more is not always better
There is little point in betting heavily on a monitor simply because it offers the maximum number of inches. If our gaming space is minimal and we are very close to the screen, we will have a problem: we want to enjoy our eyesight, not spoil it.
Our starting point here should be comfortable, and for this, we should evaluate the space we have when playing and if we are willing -and indisposition- to change it for the acquisition of a larger monitor. From there, the most advisable is:
- Between 21 inches and 27 inches (or a little bit more), you can position yourself and play relatively close to the screen and comfortably enjoy good resolution and gaming quality. The writers who helped write my paper prefer a monitor 27 inches. This size is convenient for them both for work and for playing games in their spare time.
- If you want to get a monitor more significant than 29 inches, it is better to have a reasonable distance between the monitor screen and your gaming position. As a tip, there is always the option of using an arm to place it on the wall or adjusting the position and distance.
As far as resolution is concerned, the higher the resolution, the better and sharper the image will be. The maximum number of pixels that a screen can display determines the finish’s quality and clarity.
While there are PC games that offer 8K resolution thanks to graphics cards, such as the GeForce RTX 3090, the truth is that there is some room for this to become the standard when it comes to desktop gaming.
In this regard, our recommendation is to evaluate between a 2Kor 4K resolution depending on the titles we usually play and the budget we have available, and wait patiently for an 8K price drop unless we are interested in it or we have an imminent major component renewal planned.
A standard monitor, an ultra-widescreen monitor, or several connected monitors?Gaming monitors, which one is better to buy? Tips and recommendations
A lot had happened since the legendary Apple II and the days when a PC’s image was associated with substantial CRT monitors. And the fact that video game players are becoming more demanding has opened up exciting possibilities: several features distinguish monitors designed for gaming (commonly classified as gaming monitors) and those seeking to provide solutions to everyday or professional tasks.
Unless, of course, we do not use them to enjoy video games. But then, what makes a good monitor? The quickest and most straightforward answer is that the best monitor is neither the most expensive nor the one with the most inches, but the one that best suits the use you will give it.
As we mentioned, in addition to the design and reliability of the brand and model itself, there are various features to consider when choosing a new screen. Most of them, determined by the gaming experience we are looking for, the gaming space we have, and, logically, our budget.
Because it is not the same to play Among Us among friends, with the occasional discussion, as it is to escape by taking to the skies in Flight Simulator, and the same goes for competitive gaming, streaming games, or immersing ourselves in an open-world experience through a curved, ultra-widescreen display.
Continuing our series of hardware guides, we have set out to help you choose the best monitor for your PC, console, or entertainment system. You are starting from the most essential to the features you must weigh before deciding on the model. And the big question: Is it better to play on a single extra-long screen or go for multiple monitors?
Essential tips and recommendations for choosing a monitor
Let’s start with the simplest: let’s take the liberty of assuming that you are looking for a monitor for gaming, that you usually alternate between different types of games (from pixel art wonders to the wildest shooters), and that you are open to studying various types of budgets. Also, you tend to share your games on Twitch from time to time.
We make this assumption, among other things, because any monitor model will serve you well for checking your emails, watching Netflix, or browsing social networks. Still, not all of them are going to guarantee you an optimal gaming experience.
With the above in mind, this is what you have to take into account when comparing what different gaming monitors offer and determine how much of your budget you are willing to invest in them.
Even the best of monitors can’t work wonders.
No matter how friendly the requirements of League of Legends or Fortnite are, neither of them will work on a 386: if you’re looking to see the most demanding games on your own, we recommend you have a computer with suitable components and, of course, that you take a look at our guide to graphics cards.
In certain games, having the most expansive field of view gives the player a great advantage. In others, an immersive experience is achieved that can only be defined as spectacular.
We have many examples of this. From cockpit views such as DiRT Rally 2.0 and Euro Truck Simulator 2 to strategy essentials such as Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition and Dota 2, to the spectacular landscapes and views of Red Dead Redemption II or Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
In this aspect, we return to the previous point, and we refer to the space we have when placing our monitor and the critical distance that implies having a large screen when playing. However, there is always the option of connecting several monitors.
- An ultra-widescreen monitor will give us an image without separations, highlighting each game’s immersion or avoiding the collateral effects of small areas without visibility.
- All in all, through a few simple adjustments, Windows makes it easy to view the same content or game on multiple screens. And not only that: we can also see the same thing on all screens or dedicate one of them to another function (chats, web browser), even changing its layout and location.
In this aspect, the limit is set by your budget and priorities. One ultra-widescreen display is a significant investment, but two with good features can mean an even more substantial outlay. You can still add more fields of view or delegate a secondary function through a monitor you already have.
What curved and super curved monitors achieve
For decades, the aim was to offer the viewer a screen that was as flat and as thin as possible. For some time now, in a matter of years, manufacturers like Samsung have brought back the curve and advocated super curved monitors when it comes to gaming.
On the one hand, the premise is simple: a more immersive feeling is achieved when integrating into the game. On the other hand, it reduces eye fatigue when viewing the most lateral areas of the monitor itself, making the distance between all screen areas and the eyes more or less homogeneous.
Opting for a curved or super curved monitor is an aspect to consider if you tend to do long gaming marathons that also require you to be attentive to all the screen corners. A priority? Well, that’s already up to you, the budget we shuffle, and the time you usually spend on Fortnite or PES.
How does HDR work, and what variants are available?
Can color make a difference to the gaming experience? It may not improve your winning streaks, but the games’ landscapes, heroes, and villains can look truly stunning with the right technology.
For some time now, more and more games are going for high dynamic range, also known as HDR (High Dynamic Range), which, simply put, is based on the premise of increasing the ability to display colors and contrasts.
From here, it is worth considering that there are three primary standards of HDR technologies:
- HDR10, the open standard and the most common among manufacturers, with a color luminance of up to a maximum of 1,000 nits and a color depth of 10 bits.
- HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) is used to provide HDR in terrestrial, cable, and satellite television transmissions.
- Dolby Vision, the Dolby Labs system, offers better results than HDR10 (a color luminance of up to a maximum of 10,000 nits and a color depth of 12 bits) and includes precise instructions (metadata) in each frame.
When opting for HDR technology, we have to bear in mind that not all games take advantage of it and add on. However, it can also make a difference between two models with similar features and prices. However, it is not the only thing to take into account.
Refresh rate and response time: two essential elements
Visual quality is the sum of a set of elements in which there are many factors to consider beyond resolution or color. And although many of these are obtained through specific hardware and components, such as a sound processor or a powerful graphics card, the monitor has three characteristics that make the difference.
We may encounter unwanted effects during our games, such as tearing (the impact of a misplaced image) when our monitor’s refresh rate is low, or ghosting: an uncomfortable blurring that blurs the image on the screen caused by a high response time.
If we usually record or broadcast content on digital platforms, we should invest in Flicker-Free technology (no flicker in the image). That said, most monitors labeled as gaming monitors with more than 120 Hz refresh rate include anti-flicker technology.
On the other hand, technologies, such as Asus’ ELMB Sync (Extreme Low Motion Blur), seek to optimize blurring effects in high-speed images. Something very grateful in first-person shooters and to take into account when setting our priorities.
The refresh rate is, in essence, the number of times per second that the monitor updates its buffer. If we want an optimal gaming experience, we should go for a monitor with 144 Hz (6.94 ms gap), 200 Hz (5 ms), 240 Hz (4.16 ms) support depending on our budget.
On the other hand, when we talk about response time, we refer to the margin of time that a pixel takes to make the transition from one color (or state) to another. Logically, the shorter this time is, the better experience we will have, and here we must make an aside: the type of panel matters.
There are three types of panels: twisted nematic (TN), in-plane switching (IPS), and vertical alignment (VA). TN panels offer the shortest times (4-10 ms) and should be our priority over IPS/PLS (8-16 ms typically) or VA (14-30 ms). All in all, this chart best establishes the differences.
Logically, it is up to us to evaluate the use we will give to our equipment and the type of games and experiences we are looking for. All in all, our budget should find a good balance between resolution, refresh rate, and response time.
FreeSync or G-Sync? The million-dollar question
It is common, almost a tradition, that AMD and NVIDIA end up colliding in our hardware guides, and the case of monitors is no exception. As we mentioned, combating image problems is a priority among the most demanding gamers. And while it’s possible to resolve these glitches through vertical sync technology (V-Sync), V-Sync can take its toll on performance.
Faced with this situation, NVIDIA and AMD have opted to offer their solutions: G-Sync and FreeSync, respectively. And, not to be outdone, the results and objectives are more or less on a par, but the approach of each is very different.
G-Sync is a proprietary system from NVIDIA. Technology integrated into the monitor dedicated to freeing the video card from having to perform the synchronization while maintaining performance. However, it should be noted that G-Sync increases the price of the monitor itself.
AMD’s FreeSync, as its name already hints, is an available technology, so any manufacturer can use it for free, which makes monitor prices more competitive. Of course, every monitor with FreeSync technology undergoes a certification process.
While G-Sync technology is a feature of high-end monitors, it is possible to find manufacturers that integrate both technologies. Of course, AMD is on home turf with FreeSync, and all AMD Radeon cards from the Radeon RX 200 series upwards benefit from it. However, it is indicated that Nvidia GeForce 10 series and newer models should work seamlessly with FreeSync technology.