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Entertainment Lifestyle

What to Look for in the Best Gaming Monitor

As you are likely to have noticed, there’s certainly no shortage of contenders for the title of best gaming monitor of 2017. The good news is that despite their fancy names, the key features aren’t all that difficult to understand. Here are the eight key factors to consider when shopping for the gaming monitor of your dreams.

  • LCD Panel Type

Gaming monitors these days can typically be divided into three categories namely, TN, IPS and VA. For a detailed description of each type of LCD panel type, you can check out my in depth guide here. For a faster run down of the pros and cons of each type, simply divert your eyes to the box that follows.

Type Pros Cons
Twisted Nematic (TN) Cheapest Option
Fastest Response Times
Viewing Angles are Limited
Poor Color Reproduction
Limited Brightness
In Plane Switching (IPS) Best Color
Best Viewing Angle
TN Monitors are Faster and Cheaper
Vertical Alignment (VA) Best Brightness
Lowest Black Levels
TN Monitors are Faster and Cheaper
  • LCD or LED

If you’ve got the budget for it, an LED gaming monitor is the obvious choice. Unfortunately, due to their high price, many gamers don’t. Unlike LCD monitors, LED monitors consist of thousands of light emitting diodes. Such diodes lead to monitors which last longer (see longevity below and use approximately 55 percent less energy.

LCD or LED

LED monitors are also known for having better contrast ratios, viewing angles and black levels. If you can’t afford an LED monitor however, the good news is that in terms of both color accuracy and all important response time, there is very little difference.

  • Response Time

Measured in milliseconds, a monitor response time measures the amount of time taken for a pixel to change colors. The lower the response time, the faster the monitor can respond to fast-moving images. A speedy response time , therefore ensures that graphics are reproduced smoothly and accurately regardless of how fast a game is moving. If there’s one thing that a gamer should not be willing to sacrifice on, this is it.

  • Contrast Ratio

A monitor contrast ratio measures the difference in brightness between the brightest and darkest pixel on the screen. Theoretically, the higher the contrast ration the deeper the color reproduction. In reality however, different manufacturers measure contrast ratio in different ways. And as a result, the ratio has become somewhat meaningless in recent years.

  • Brightness

A monitor brightness level is typically measured in candelas per square meter or cd/m2.

While it is possible to find monitors as bright as 500 cd/m2, most experts agree that anything above the 300 cd/m2 mark is largely unnecessary. In fact, some of the best gaming monitors in the above chart only have 250 cd/m2.

  • Connectivity

All of the monitors in the aforementioned chart come complete with a DVI connection. The standard for many years, a DVI connection is compatible with blu-ray players, cable boxes, games consoles and of course, computers. If you’re after a true digital connection however, you might want to look for a monitor offering either an HDMI or DisplayPort connection. For more details on the various gaming monitor connection options, please click here.

  • Size

Size

These days, it’s not uncommon to find gaming monitors that exceed the thirty-inch mark, but for most gamers, their options will be limited by both the size of their home and the size of their wallet. Larger screens are not just more expensive, they require more space to view comfortably. Typically the best value can be found around the 21 to 24 inches mark.

  • Price

Most people are surprised to learn that you can get your hands on a top notch gaming monitor for under 200 dollars. If you really want to game in style, however, or you just have far too much money on your hands, there’s nothing stopping you from splashing out up to a thousand dollars. Pierce the five hundred dollar mark and you can expect both a thirty-inch screen and the potential for 3d gaming.

Best Gaming Monitor Under 200

The first rule of shopping for the best gaming monitor fewer than 200 dollars is that you’re going to have to sacrifice on size. If you’re looking for a monitor that’s at or above the 27 inches mark, $200 simply isn’t going to cut it.

The good news however is that provided you’re satisfied with a screen size of 24 inches or less, you might be surprised to learn just how much you can afford.

Here are three gaming monitors that, despite their low price, pack some serious punch.

  • Asus VE248H

Despite currently retailing for an incredible $179, this 24 inch LED monitor comes completely with a 2ms response time and a full HD 1920 x 1080p resolution. It’s well built ring stand allows for both tilt and swivel and its ultra thin construction is stylish to say the least.

While its color reproduction is decidedly TN grade, overall it offers a level of picture quality that’s high above its modest price tag. It’s fast enough for even the fastest of first person shooters and its LED backlighting ensures that its power consumption is as modest as its price tag.

Asus VE248H

  •  Viewsonic 2453MH

Another viable contender for the best gaming monitor under 200 dollars is the Viewsonic 2453MH. The sequel to its wildly popular older brother, Viewsonics latest offering comes complete with a speedy 2ms response time and a full HD 1920 x1080p resolution.

While it comes complete with a standard base, said the base is removable. And when you remove it, you can tilt the neck back allowing you to stand the monitor as if it were a picture frame. The result is a 24-inch monitor that’s surprisingly portable.

In terms of image quality, its text rendering isn’t perfect but it is imagery is cool, balanced and pleasingly colorful. For a TN monitor, it’s impressive, for a TN monitor under $200, it’s a steal.

  • Dell 2340M

Finally, we have the Dell 2340M. The first thing that you should know about the Dell 2340M is that it’s the smallest (23 inches) and the slowest (7ms response time) monitor on the list. Before you click the back button, however, I should mention that it’s also an IPS monitor.

Yes, you heard me right now it’s a high quality IPS monitor from a reputable manufacturer that you can get your hands on for less than $200. Its image quality lives up to IPS standards, beating both other monitors by a mile and it’s arguably the most stylish of the bunch too with an almost borderless display.

If, and I do mean if, you’re happy with the seven ms response time, I personally think that it’s an easy winner for the title of best gaming monitor under 200 dollars. Of course, if you’re a serious FPS junkie, you may well disagree with me.