What is a Gaming Monitor?—The Only Guide You Need in 2022!

What is a Gaming monitor? If you're wondering if they are worth it, or just another extra piece of hardware that's priced premium but doesn't really deliver as much, you're at the right place.

In this in-depth guide, you'll learn:

  • What are gaming monitors
  • How do they match up against regular monitors
  • How big is a good gaming monitor
  • What would be a good gaming monitor for PS4/PS5

And much more, including in-depth analysis and comparison, to help your gaming skills get the competitive edge!

So, let's get started!

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A gaming monitor is designed to enhance the visual output of your CPU and graphics card.

While there are exclusively labeled Gaming PC monitors, any monitor designed to display the best possible visuals by enhancing the color accuracy, depth, blacks, etc., along with giving a gamer another advantage thanks to shorter response time and faster refresh rate, can be called a gaming monitor. A gaming monitor, hence, has certain attributes/features differentiating it from a regular monitor.

what is a gaming monitor

While all monitors are designed to display the result of a computer’s image rendering and processing, a gaming monitor would be any monitor that does that, but better, i.e., it gives gamers the clearest possible image quality (as needed for the game), with least blurs, and smooth motion transitions.

Read on to find out more on these specific features that differentiate gaming monitors’ performance from regular ones.

Main specs to look out for in gaming monitors

A good gaming monitor should not “just” display, its job is to make the image the best possible one, in a gaming context, where fast motion, scene transition, game graphics, etc., are of utmost importance. For example, while all monitors display, a gaming monitor might give you a fast refresh rate along with enhanced blacks and shadows, making it a better fit for playing games.

Most monitors focus on some main features, which coincidentally help make your gaming more competitive if aligned a certain way. These are as follows:

what is a gaming monitor vs regular monitor

Resolution

Refers to the measurement of screen size or screen area in terms of pixels. So, a full HD screen with a screen size of 1920 x 1080 p, has 2,073,600 pixels. A higher resolution will make it harder for you to discern individual pixels on your screen, making the images more detailed and lifelike.

Refresh rate

This refers to the speed of refreshing the image on screen. A monitor’s refresh rate determines how smooth your on-screen image transitions will be: faster the refresh rate, the easier it is on the eye to look at fast movements on-screen. Measured in hertz (Hz); most monitors have a variable refresh rate.

Response time

Response times refer to the period of time needed by a single pixel to change color. Lower the response time, smoother the experience of color changes. Refresh rate and response time must be compatible, i.e., the response time must be fast enough to keep up with the refresh rate.

Manufacturers often list gray to gray (GtG) response time, or, the time needed for a single pixel to change from one shade of gray to another. Response times can also be in terms of moving picture response time (MPRT) which refers to the bit of time a pixel stays a certain color on screen.

GtG vs MPRT specs can be a huge edge if you’re looking for the best gaming monitors, as MPRT is more often slower than GtG, causing motion blur for gamers. So, it’s always best to look for a healthy balance of the two when researching response times for the monitor models you like.

Color

Color is one of the most important factors to consider, and it has subfactors like contrast ratio, peak brightness, black level, color space. All of these factors determine the final image rendering of your CPU and graphics cards.

Screen size and pixel density

Depending on your eyesight, your position during gaming sessions, screen size and pixel density will determine the best gaming monitor or regular monitor for you. This is because it doesn’t matter if you’re scrolling YouTube videos and shorts or in a high-tension gaming situation, you’d always want a screen where you wouldn’t see a single pixel. 1440p or 4K screen size is more or less a good way to go, if you have worse than 20/20 vision or like to sit at least 25″ away from your gaming monitor.

Aspect ratio

Refers to the proportion of width to height of a screen. Most games support playing on widescreen and ultra wide screens. Curved monitors are also quite common as they correct the curvature error in sight: make objects far away clearer thanks to a curved effect on screen.

Panel type

An in plane switching panel (IPS panels) helps you see more blacks, and are the most highly rated gaming monitor panel type. The second type is Vertical alignment (VA panels), and these two combined render better image quality over the most common and popular Twisted Nematic or TN panels. However, TN panels are fast and have very little input lag, perfect for gaming.

Inputs and ports

Ports on modern monitors, both gaming and regular, can range from old school VGA that just transmits video to DisplayPort and HDMI, which can expertly transmit all kinds of video and audio signals.

Mounting

Depending on your gaming position or workspace, mounts will vary in both utility and position. Mounts can range from wall mounts to VESA-approved mounting holes.

G-Sync monitors vs FreeSync monitors (and also, Adaptive Sync)

These technologies both have one function: to amp up screen performance to match the performance of the graphics card. While a G-sync monitor gives you better performance from a more premium gaming monitor, FreeSync can cause faint double images, also known as “ghosting.” Adaptive sync, on the other hand, offers a non-stuttering gaming experience.

Gaming platforms

One of the most important factors that will determine which gaming monitor to choose, is its compatibility with your gaming platform. Gaming consoles are best suited for gaming monitors for enhanced and immersive gaming experiences. A few features of some of the most important ones have been discussed below:

  • Gaming PC: Gaming monitors can be easily paired with PCs, and provide users with services of a regular computer along with the better gaming display for PC gamers.
  • Nintendo: Since their launch in the market, it has been a favorite among loyalists, especially Nintendo Switch. Various gaming monitors are now available for amplifying your virtual adventures.
  • Sony PlayStation: Sony PlayStation is a home video game console series that has ruled the gaming world in popularity for a long time. An Ultrawide monitor is ideal for the high definition, competitive gaming of PS.
  • Xbox: Enhance XBox One‘s 4K ultra HD display into a full-blown cinematic experience on the larger screen of a monitor specifically made for gamers to have a smoother experience and enjoy games.

High dynamic range (HDR)

An HDR monitor would mean that it would enhance certain visuals with better depth, shadow, highlights, etc., giving you more lifelike images. This would help you to see more in the darker parts of the story while gaming, which is always handy especially in first person shooters.

Because gaming monitors are designed exclusively for gaming, they have a certain advantage over regular monitors. That does not mean you cannot use regular monitors for playing games, or a gaming monitor for work or multimedia usage.

Now that we’ve covered some of the most fundamental features of a computer screen, let’s jump into a straight-up comparison between a gaming monitor and a regular monitor, taking a look at their differences and similarities.

Similarities between gaming monitors and regular monitors

Resolution

Gaming monitors are not always the best at resolution; the reason is, the ideal resolution of a gaming setup is dependent on things like position of the gamer and even the platform they are playing on. Professions like graphic designing, video editing, copy editing, etc., require attention to detail, and professionals often choose 1920X1080 resolution monitors anyway, even if they don’t play games. Moreover, when it comes to color reproduction in static images, regular monitors are better than most gaming monitors as the latter specializes in moving images, and video rendering.

Regular multimedia usage

A gaming monitor is a significant investment, which does not really match up to its tag if purchased and used by a regular internet browsing multimedia user. As far as watching movies or YouTube videos is concerned, most monitors will do the job just fine. And, this includes more forgiving games that do not need much graphics.

Aspect ratio and screen size

These specifications will often remain the same between two similarly sized products. The gaming model would concentrate more on enhanced image- and video-rendering, and hence would be the same size/resolution as a regular monitor.

Differences between gaming monitors and regular monitors

Consider these pros if you’re looking to get a gaming monitor; here are some ways in which gaming monitors stand out for their regular counterparts.

Refresh rate

Gaming monitors labeled so and priced accordingly should be backing their claim up with great refresh rates. While 75 Hz is good for a regular screen, choose upwards of 100-120 Hz screens if you wish to fully enjoy the gaming monitor experience.

Response time

A good gaming monitor should have a maximum response time of 5ms. While the ideal is 1ms, any value from 1 to 5 is going to give you great gaming sessions.

What is a gaming monitor used for?

In short, a monitor designed to boost the gaming visuals that your CPU and graphic hardware render. It is a display screen that is “optimized” and meant for gaming. In as much, it hence prioritizes certain specs and features that aid gaming over others.

These features are most commonly three:

  1. High refresh rates: Where a regular monitor offers a constant 60 Hz (60 images a second), gaming monitors nowadays offer up to 240 to 360 Hz. This is designed to help your game navigation be even faster and smoother.
  2. Low input lag: In a game, you will want every click of the mouse to be effective and instantaneously translated on screen. Gaming monitors and their different panel types, along with tech like G-sync, Adaptive-sync, etc., and other gaming-oriented features will help you achieve this.
  3. Faster response time: In line with low input lag, response times of lower than 5ms will help you in a high-speed intense game as your screen will be more responsive.
  4. Color reproduction: Most OLED and other high end monitors will give you lifelike colors and highlighted blacks, which is always handy if you want to shoot your opponent lurking in the shadows!

In short, any monitor designed to enhance the gaming experience as a whole is known as a gaming monitor. A gaming monitor can be any monitor that gives you good resolution, fast refresh rates, shorter response time, etc., that enables you to play the games you’re playing better.

Other factors such as calibrating your game settings and aligning your PC and monitor specs will help improve your gaming visuals.

“What is a good gaming monitor size?” How big should your gaming display be?

The perfect monitor size for gaming depends on the screen resolution and pixel density (PPI). Although most find 24″ monitors to be ideal for gaming, others might consider 27″ to not be large enough.

However, it is almost unanimously agreed upon that a 32″ monitor is not an ideal gaming monitor as it is too large. No matter which display size you prefer, it is features like screen resolution, screen real estate, your usage, color space, color accuracy, contrast ratios, aspect ratio, response times (see discussion above) that will determine your gaming monitor performance.

Combinations of screen size and resolution

Here is a list of some combinations that should be ideal for a gaming monitor, according to the resolution you might prefer as a gamer:

  • For 1080p: 23 to 25 inch
  • For 2560x1080p: 25 to 29 inch Ultrawide
  • For 1440p/4K: 27 inch
  • For 4K: 28 to 32 inch and over (Recommended 32″ or above to get clearer details)
  • For 2560X1440p: 27″ Quad HD, available in most premium gaming monitors
  • For 5K and 8k: 32″ monitors with 5/8K support

These, combined with specs like the panel type you use will determine the potential of your gaming monitor and setup. But of course, you need a good gaming router as well for enhanced performance, high-end gaming, and ease of use.

What is a good gaming monitor?

A good well-rounded off gaming monitor that supports all kinds HD gaming, while being a cutting edge OLED gaming monitor is this:

Alienware 34 QD OLED (AW3423DW)

While the name Alienware truly gives any product a premium touch, this is finally one OLED gaming display monitor we can get behind!

Combined with Samsung’s new QD-LED tech, that brings in the optimal RGB subpixel structure with quantum dot technology, this 34″ monitor is all about clarity, be it color saturation, peak pixel brightness, and even fonts, for those who use the same monitor for game and play. It also boasts of the best in class HDR.

A solid high refresh rate of 175Hz and shorter response times of ~0.1ms makes this one of the best models you can get your hands on.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a gaming monitor and regular monitor?

The main difference between a gaming monitor and a regular monitor is that the former prioritizes speed and lower lag to optimize and enhance your gaming experience. They will typically also have specs that allow them to nullify motion blur on screen to enhance most game visuals. Regular monitors however have better static image rendering and can often double up as suitable monitors for not-so-graphics-heavy games.

Is it worth getting a gaming monitor?

Depending on your budget, and specific gaming needs, you can opt for one of the many available gaming monitors in the market. These models will, in short, have even lower response times, faster refresh rates, lower input lags, better color resolution, color accuracy, and better reproduction. However, most regular monitors can support lighter games and can give you better image rendering when it comes to text and static pictures. So, it is important to know what your personalized needs are to understand the kind of monitor worth buying at your price point.

Can a gaming monitor be used for work?

Yes, in short. While gaming monitors have features that help and enhance gaming, they also have most of the other features that any old-school computer monitor has, so, in most cases, you can work on your gaming monitor as well, and use your regular monitor to play games.

What’s important in a gaming monitor?

Some of the most important features to look out for in a gaming monitor include faster refresh rates, smaller response times, better color accuracy, ideal size and resolution for the games you play, a good panel like an IPS panel or a TN panel, and the kind of ports that can be supported by the console or gaming platform you prefer. Remember, any monitor that prioritizes speed and responsiveness can be considered and used as a gaming monitor as long as it suits your specific gaming needs.

If you ask me…

The market for technology is always in flux, but as a user and buyer, it is important that you know what specs go into designing an exclusive gaming monitor. If this helps you make up your mind about gaming monitors, let me know in the comments below!

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