From bulky CRTs to ultra-thin displays, gaming monitors have undergone many changes in the last few decades. As development in computer components and gaming consoles drove a need for better, faster and clearer visuals, monitors needed to keep up.
For many years, liquid crystal display monitors were the undisputed kings in gaming, but their use slowly started to diminish in the mid-2000s. The new light-emitting diode technology was thinner and had better visual quality.
The natural progression led to organic light-emitting diodes, making monitors and TVs even thinner. While there is a wider selection of TVs than monitors, the LG Ultrafine 4K 27-Inch OLED Pro Gaming Monitor is excellent.
Graphical quality is crucial for an enjoyable video game experience. The heavy lifting is done by the console or the computer’s graphics card, but that’s not all. The size of the monitor also plays a big role in clarity and level of detail.
While it’s usually better to have a big screen, consider where you play most of your games and available space there. A massive monitor isn’t always practical, and few games look amazing on a curved display.
As for professional gamers, they almost always go for a 24-inch monitor. There are various reasons for this, but the most important is that, at this size, they can have faster frame rates than larger screens.
In terms of image quality, OLED is superior to traditional LED technology. It’s based on the same principle, but OLED uses organic molecules to produce colors through an electric current. This produces more vivid colors and a wider viewing angle while using less power.
A monitor's refresh rate determines how many frames per second it can display. Most video games are coded for 60 frames per second, but some consoles and titles can go higher. Especially for multiplayer games or first-person shooters, 120 fps is becoming the standard.
Therefore, if you want your monitor to keep up with everything on the screen, it’s best to look for a high refresh rate, measured in gigahertz. Keep in mind that there is a massive improvement between 30 and 60 GHz, but less so when going from 60 to 120 GHz.
When there are fast-moving objects on the screen, such as in sports, racing or shooter games, a fast refresh rate can help to smooth out the images. But as video games become increasingly detailed, monitors need all the help they can get. That’s why a good-quality gaming display incorporates smoothing technology from two of the largest graphics card manufacturers.
Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync are essentially the same in their capabilities, primarily focused on eliminating screen tearing. This happens when the content’s frame rate is faster than the monitor, producing a glitch effect. G-Sync and FreeSync adapt the monitor’s frame rate to the graphics card instead of the card adapting to the monitor.
You might only play video games on one platform at a time, but you don’t want to swap output cables when changing systems. The best solution for that is to get a monitor with multiple connections.
A few HDMI ports let you connect a computer and a gaming console, and you only need to press a button to access either. Depending on your needs, a few DisplayPort connections will come in handy, as will several USB ports.
Gaming monitors can be relatively large, and if you have limited space on your desk, you might consider mounting the monitor. This can typically be done in several ways, but the two most common methods are mounting it on a wall with a bracket or keeping it upright through a monitor arm.
But there is one aspect that a good-quality monitor will have: compatibility with the VESA mounting system. The Video Electronics Standards Association set out a recommended design for the back of monitors. This ensures that the bracket and mounting holes line up perfectly with the monitor.
The price depends on the monitor’s size and capabilities. A portable OLED monitor costs $400-$500, while a high-quality monitor can cost $1,000-$2,000.
A. There are plenty of OLED TVs to choose from, so it’s easy to assume there should also be a lot of OLED monitors. But that isn’t the case. That’s because they often don’t have high enough frame rates for gamers, OLED burn-in and pixel degradation are problematic, and they are generally more expensive than LED monitors.
A. Since the visual quality is better than LED, gamers are interested in OLED monitors, but the low frame rate still makes them cautious. But that could all change, as Samsung is working on new OLED panels that can reach 240 hertz.
What you need to know: Sitting on a fully adjustable stand, this monitor produces excellent 4K visuals and is VESA compatible.
What you’ll love: This 27-inch gaming monitor has a refresh rate of 60 hertz, multiple connections including USB-C, DisplayPort and HDMI, and accurate colors through OLED Pixel Dimming HDR technology. The display can also rotate into a vertical orientation.
What you should consider: While there are two DisplayPort connections, there is only one HDMI port.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: A quick and easy solution for OLED gaming, this portable monitor has a built-in battery.
What you’ll love: The monitor has an elegant kickstand at the back that folds up neatly when you need to move it. It has a refresh rate of 60 hertz, a 100% Adobe RGB color gamut, and supports 10-point touch and pinch functions.
What you should consider: It only has a USB-C connection, so for gaming on an Xbox, you’ll need an HDMI adapter.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: The sheer size of this gadget places it closer to a TV, but who wouldn’t want to game on a 48-inch monitor?
What you’ll love: This 4K monitor has a wide 178-degree viewing angle and a refresh rate of 120 hertz, and is compatible with AMD’s FreeSync Premium. It has one DisplayPort, two HDMI connections, two USB 3.0 ports and one USB-C port.
What you should consider: At 48 inches, you will need more space than just a computer desk.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.