Of course, you can buy a gaming monitor based solely on its appearance, but this will not be the best thing to do and the user will most likely regret such a rash purchase in the future. What do you need to know before choosing a gaming monitor, and what characteristics should you pay attention to in the first place? We hope this material will help you make a successful purchase.


Screen size

When you upgrade your monitor, you usually want to buy a larger model than you had before, and that’s only natural. The monitor market is constantly evolving, and what was relevant a few years ago may well be considered “archaic” now. And in addition to the physical size of the diagonal, this also applies to the proportions of the screen – for example, the popular 16:10 “computer widescreen” variant of the past has almost completely given way to the universal 16:9 and is still only in the segment of purely professional models.

16:9 can now be considered optimal in most cases, and if the monitor will be used for different tasks, you should first look at models with these proportions. But if the computer is used mainly for gaming and watching movies, you should pay attention to ultra-wide 21:9 models.

As for physical dimensions, the principle of “bigger is better” does not always work here. For example, for online games (and especially for e-sports), where everything is decided by the speed of reaction, a large diagonal can only be a problem – the player may not notice the threat on the periphery of the screen if the field of view is too large. Therefore, in this case, it is better to limit yourself to a diagonal of up to 27″, or maybe look at even more compact models – 24-25″.

Ігровий монітор ASUS ROG Strix XG249CM
ASUS ROG Strix XG249CM – compact 24-inch gaming monitor

But for other purposes, 27″ can be considered the best starting point: such monitors are not too expensive, and with a typical user position behind the screen, they already produce a fairly large image. Moreover, since this is a very popular diagonal in general, it has the largest number of different models, so it’s the easiest to choose something to your liking.

If the gaming monitor will be used as part of a console-based gaming system, or if the user plans to play computer games with a gamepad, then he or she will sit a little further from the screen than when using a keyboard and mouse. Here it is worth thinking about a larger diagonal – for 16:9 aspect ratio it will be 32″.

And finally, for ultra-wide monitors, we would recommend models with diagonals of 34″ or more – smaller ones may seem too small visually. Of course, this is assuming that you have enough space on your desktop – such models are very large and can easily take up a medium-sized office desk, so you should also pay attention to this.

Gigabyte GS34WQC
Gigabyte GS34WQC – budget gaming monitor with a 34-inch screen


Resolution and refresh rate

If you choose a 27″ diagonal, the optimal resolution here is 2560×1440 pixels (also known as 1440p, QHD or WQHD). In this case, the pixels are already small enough that from a typical distance to the screen, the user sees a dense image with smooth lines that does not “break up” into separate points – in 27-inch Full HD models, this can be a problem, especially for users with sharp eyesight. In addition, with 1440p resolution, when working in Windows, much more information fits on the screen, which is also important.

If you want, you can also find 4K models on this diagonal, but for most users it will be “too much”. Only people with very sharp eyesight, who are also used to working on laptops with Retina displays, should look at such options.

On 32-inch models, the 1440p resolution looks a little better than Full HD on 27 inches, and as we noted above, such monitors are used to playing games from a slightly greater distance, so it’s quite possible to consider this option, especially if you’re buying a monitor for a not-so-powerful computer.

But if you have a powerful new gaming system, then 4K is the best resolution for a 32-inch monitor – especially if you plan to connect a current-generation game console to it in addition to a PC.

MSI MPG 321URX QD-OLED – 4K monitor with 32-inch OLED screen and 240 Hz frequency

If you decide to buy an ultra-wide gaming monitor with a diagonal of 34″ or more, then the optimal resolution will be 3440×1440 (manufacturers also refer to them as WQHD, which is not very correct). This resolution is, in fact, an analog of 1440p on 27 inches, with the corresponding image density, which will look much better than 2560×1080 dots on such diagonals.

As for the refresh rate, everything is quite simple. Today, the minimum frequencies for a gaming monitor can be considered 144-165 Hz, and this will be quite enough for most users. Not everyone will be able to feel the difference between them and 240 Hz, and in modern games it is not very easy to get even a stable 144 frames per second with high-quality graphics, not to mention higher values. If you buy a monitor primarily for use with a game console, then frequencies higher than 120 Hz will not matter at all.

As for monitors for esports, everything is quite simple. The standard resolution for them is 1920×1080 pixels (Full HD), and the refresh rate should be as high as possible (preferably 240-360 Hz). A lower resolution will allow the gaming PC to deliver more frames per second, which is critical for such games, and Full HD on small diagonals looks pretty decent.

We should also note that this is almost the only case where the response time is a very important parameter – it shows how long it takes the monitor to change the color of a pixel. Here, you should look at models with minimal values – preferably no more than 1 ms (GtG).


Panel type

For those who don’t know much about monitors, this parameter in the model specs table may look like something minor and not very worthy of attention, but in fact, it has a strong influence on perhaps the most important thing – the image quality.

It should be noted right away that not in all cases you will have a choice – for example, almost all esports models are equipped with panels made using TN+ Film (Twisted Nematic) technology. By modern standards, they have the worst picture, with not very saturated colors and, most importantly, very small viewing angles.

ASUS ROG Swift Pro PG248QP
ASUS ROG Swift Pro PG248QP – gaming monitor for esports, with a refresh rate of 540 Hz

But until recently, it was TN+ Film panels that were the fastest, with the lowest response time and highest refresh rates. Both parameters are critical for esports, and that’s why such players have to compromise. If image quality is more important to you than instant response, it is better to avoid such models (fortunately, there are very few of them left).

The most common type of panel in gaming monitors is IPS (In-Plane Switching): the technology has developed quite a bit lately, and modern IPS monitors have very good speed performance, which is enough for almost any gamer. At the same time, their image quality is much higher, both in terms of color saturation and wide viewing angles.

Unfortunately, IPS panels also have their own drawbacks in terms of image quality (although not nearly as critical as TN+ Film). First of all, it’s the “not quite black” black color: on an IPS monitor, it’s more of a dark gray color, and because of this, dark scenes don’t look very good. In addition, it has a bad effect on the overall contrast of the image.

The second drawback of IPS technology is that when viewed from the side, such screens produce a glow that is especially noticeable in dark areas of the image. Because of this, black color can take on a brown or silver tint, so it’s best to look at an IPS monitor directly, and preferably not in the dark.

LG 27GP850P-B
LG 27GP850P-B – 27-inch gaming monitor with enhanced Nano IPS panel

And the last of the traditional LCD monitor technologies is VA (Vertical Alignment). VA panels are the slowest, so some players may find them too inertial, even in simply dynamic games, not necessarily eSports. Therefore, we can say that such monitors are better suited for more “calm” genres.

The strong point of VA technology is much higher contrast (literally several times higher than IPS) and much deeper blacks, which makes VA monitors better for dark scenes and viewing in the dark. In addition, they also have a much lower side-view glow.

It can also be noted that VA panels display HDR content better and are generally better suited for movie sessions, but they have another drawback, in addition to relatively high inertia: significantly lower comfortable viewing angles than IPS. With even a moderate deviation to the side, the color saturation of the screen begins to decrease significantly, and blacks become gray, which greatly affects the areas of the image in the shadows.

But in addition to traditional LCDs, the desktop monitor market has recently seen more and more models with OLED or QD-OLED panels – and thanks to their characteristics, such monitors are almost ideal gaming models. They started appearing only a couple of years ago, but as of now, OLED monitors are already available in various screen diagonals and proportions, starting from 27 inches.

Such monitors have the fastest response time (better than even TN+ Film can offer) and high refresh rates: in the latest models, this parameter already reaches 200+ Hz, which is quite enough for the vast majority of players.

Sasmung Odyssey OLED G9 (G95SD)
Sasmung Odyssey OLED G9 – ultra-wide 49-inch monitor with curved screen.

But the most important advantage of OLED technology is its much better image quality. OLED monitors have bright, saturated colors, maximum viewing angles (even when viewed almost in profile, the screen remains the same as when viewed from the front) and a pitch-black color without the slightest hint of gray.

Thanks to the properties of OLED technology, OLED monitors are also ideal for movie screenings and handle HDR content very well. But they also have their drawbacks. First, it is their cost: OLED models are much more expensive than LCDs, so they are not worth considering if you have a limited budget.

Secondly, although they are ideal for gaming and movies, this technology is less suitable for working in Windows and generally for a long display of a static image due to the famous “OLED burn-in”. Manufacturers are introducing technologies to protect panels from premature burn-in, but you still need to take this into account when buying an OLED monitor.


Number of degrees of freedom at the leg

All legs support tilting the screen back and forth, but not other adjustments. It is highly desirable for a monitor to have an adjustable height – not only because you can customize it to suit your needs, but also because fixed-height legs are usually very short and the screen is too low. This may be acceptable for an office monitor, but for gaming and movie sessions, it’s best to position the screen so that the center of the screen is level with your eyes.

But left-right rotation is a “bonus” and you should pay attention to it only in specific cases, for example, when the desktop is next to the bed and you plan to use it for movie sessions before bed.

As for switching the screen to portrait mode, this is a very specific thing, and if you need a model to work with this feature, then you will most likely be able to choose a monitor for your own needs without this material.


Choosing a gaming monitor: what else do you need to know?

These were the main parameters to keep in mind if you decide to buy a gaming monitor. But there are several other characteristics that are also worth knowing about.

For example, users with sensitive eyes should make sure that the chosen monitor does not have backlight flicker, which is used in some models to adjust the brightness – it can cause fatigue in some people during long sessions. Manufacturers usually indicate the absence of flicker in the eye protection section, and in English it can be labeled as Flicker Free, Anti-Flicker, etc.

If you already have a gaming PC with a graphics card that supports adaptive frequency technology (NVIDA G-SYNC or AMD FreeSync), make sure that the gaming monitor you choose is also compatible with it, so you can get the maximum number of frames per second without dynamic image artifacts.

Dell G3223Q
Dell G3223Q – 32-inch monitor with AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, 120Hz console mode and NVIDIA G-SYNC compatibility.

If you plan to connect a modern gaming console to the monitor, make sure that it supports VRR (Variable refresh rate) technology – an analog of computer adaptive frequency, but for consoles connected via HDMI, and can keep the refresh rate of 120 Hz with such a connection.

If the monitor will be used with several systems, you should pay attention to the presence of a USB hub and KVM function – then you can connect a keyboard and mouse to the monitor and use them to control two PCs with easy switching between them.

And if one of the computers is a laptop with a USB Type-C connector that can stream video, this is also a good time to choose a monitor with a corresponding video input. Such models usually support charging USB-C-connected devices, so you’ll be able to get by with one cable for both video and charging.

That’s all – we hope our material will help you make the right choice!