The Definitive Guide to Gaming Monitors

Gaming monitors play a huge part in determining how successful any gaming setup will be, whether you’re playing on a bespoke rig or can only stretch to a budget machine. Modern-day video games continue to push the limits of visual technology, so if you’re hoping to fully dive into these virtual worlds, you need a monitor that can showcase them at their best. Knowing exactly what type of monitor to invest in is a different story, which is why we’ve put together this definitive guide to gaming monitors.

The hardware market is saturated with all manner of gaming-specific screens, with devices offering everything from high-refresh rates to extremely ultrawide panels. You could probably spend a fair few day of your life researching everything that is available right now and still be none the wiser about which type of screen you need! Does 4K really make such a big difference? And how important are refresh rates anyway? Whether you’re making your first gaming monitor purchase or looking to upgrade your existing setup, keep reading for answers to these questions and more.

Budget and Function

If you were to head to Amazon, eBay, or any specialized gaming hardware website right now, you’d be faced with having to navigate your way through hundreds of gaming monitor options. Sure, most marketplaces stock screens for a variety of budgets, but even if you’re looking for the most wallet-friendly option, there’s still a multitude of features that you need to consider.

For instance, if you plan to use your PC setup purely for gaming, then low response times are something to prioritize. However, if you’re planning to use it for both work and play, you need to consider screens that feature high contrast panels and color accuracy to ensure maximum productivity.

Are Curved Monitors Necessary?

Another important thing to take into account when monitor shopping is whether or not you should invest in a curved screen. Just a few years ago, this dilemma would barely crop up, but now most manufacturers have launched curved models — with a lot more on the horizon if consumer tech shows like CES are anything to go by.

Although they may seem like the latest tech fad, curved screens can make a big difference when it comes to improving the player experience in genres like online casino and open world/sandbox. The general consensus is that they make playing games a lot more immersive, with their larger field of view also being more comfortable during extended play sessions. Curved monitors can increase the likelihood of enjoying live dealer casino games — even helping you pick out key details — and enhance the immersion of games like the Red Dead Redemption series and Minecraft.

If you are going to invest in a curved monitor, it’s essential to understand its specs. The lower the curvature of the screen, the more curved the display will actually be. So, the curved radius of a 1000R screen will be greater than that of an 1800R monitor. Moreover, curved monitors are typically ultrawide, measuring at least 30 inches, which places them in a more premium price range.

Essential Monitor Features To Consider

By now, you should have a much clearer idea of the type of gaming monitor you need (curved or not curved) based on both what you intend to use it for and how much you can afford to spend. However, even if you have a big budget and want to splash out on a premium screen to pair with your high-end PC components, a higher price tag doesn’t always mean more functionality.

Here are four essential monitor features to take into consideration before splashing out:  

Screen Resolution

Screen resolutions seem to improve with each new iteration of gaming monitors released on the market. At a minimum, you should be looking at a 1080p resolution for gaming (1920 x 1080), but if your budget can stretch to it, Full HD, QHD, and 4K resolution will give you the sharpest picture quality.

Pixel Density

The quality of a monitor is also impacted by its pixel quality, measured in ppi (pixels per inch.) The perfect gaming monitor will feature a ppi of 109 but be warned: some large screen monitors also come with a lower pixel density if the resolution isn’t up to scratch.

Refresh Rates

Yes, refresh rates do count! The higher the refresh rate, the better your viewing experience will be. Gamers need monitors with a minimum of 75 Hz to ensure smooth images and uninterrupted visuals.

Panel Tech

There’s a whole raft of panel tech to figure out when shopping for monitors, too, but this feature can make or break your gaming experience. TN monitors are the most inexpensive of the bunch, but the image quality deteriorates when viewed from a side angle. UPS monitors are quick to respond. However, VA monitors can often provide better color contrast.

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