Whether you’re a PC gamer, a console gamer, or do a little of both, one thing we can all agree on is a proper display is critical for getting the most out of your gaming experience. Even if you're using the latest graphics card from NVIDIA or playing 4k games on the XBOX One X, it will be all for nothing if you don’t have a display that delivers crisp images and silky-smooth gameplay.
But for all you console gamers out there, that doesn’t mean you MUST use a TV. A gaming monitor is also a great option for console gaming—especially if you play competitively.
So, what are some of the benefits of making the switch from a TV to a gaming monitor?
Let’s start with the most obvious difference between the two: size.
One of the first things to mention when comparing TVs and gaming monitors is the size of the panel and you may be surprised to learn that bigger doesn’t always mean better when it comes to gaming.
Of course, if you plan to gather a bunch of friends around a single display for split-screen shooters or other multiplayer games, a monitor isn’t going to be the ideal choice. Since gaming monitors typically fall in the range of 20 to 30 inches—with the largest monitors rarely exceeding 32 inches—you don’t want to minimize your screen real estate by sharing space with other players.
But smaller panels have their advantages, too. First off, they taking up less space.
Since gaming monitors are smaller, it makes for a great alternative if you’re living in a dorm or have less space to deal with. It won’t replace the TV in your living room, but it will be perfect for a cozy gaming station in your bedroom or office.
Additionally, with TVs, which are considerably larger, you’ll likely be sitting further away on a sofa, whereas with a gaming monitor, you’ll sit much closer at your desk.
But why is being closer to a smaller screen beneficial?
Sitting close to a small display allows you to easily view the whole screen. Say you're playing a First Person Shooter. You’ll be able to more easily utilize your peripheral vision to check the map, health bar, ammo, etc., all the while remaining focused on the action of the game.
This might sound like a minuscule advantage, but that split-second you shift your line-of-sight can be the difference between getting the kill and getting killed.
Another benefit of smaller screens is they usually produce sharper images because of a higher pixel density—another reason for their ideal up-close viewing.
Which brings us to resolution.
Resolution is the number of pixels that make up your screen. It’s measured by the number of pixels in the width by the number of pixels in the height. For example, Full HD (1920x1080) has 1920 pixels in the width and 1080 pixels in the height.
In a general sense, the more pixels a screen has the better the image quality will be.
But it doesn’t stop there.
As mentioned earlier, another factor in image quality is the pixel density. A 24-inch, Full HD gaming monitor is going to have sharper images compared to a 40-inch Full HD TV because the same amount of pixels are more tightly condensed in the smaller gaming monitor’s panel.
This is why viewing a monitor from close proximity is much better than with a TV. The closer you get to a TV the more pixelated it appears because the pixels are more spread out over a wider surface area.
Ok, then what resolution should you be on the look for when searching for a monitor for your console?
It really depends on what console you’re using. If you’re on a Nintendo Switch, original PS4 or Xbox, then you won’t really need anything higher than Full HD since they are limited to that resolution.
However, what about owners of the XBOX One X or a PS4 Pro, both of which have raised the bar by offering 4k gaming?
In that case, the only way to truly take advantage of 4k is to get a 4k monitor. Luckily, there are plenty to choose from, but just like TVs, the price will run a little higher.
Take a look at this affordable, 32-inch 4k monitor. The XG3220 from ViewSonic ELITE:
One of the most essential specs to pay attention to when buying a gaming monitor is response time.
Response time measures how long it takes the pixels to change from one color to another—also widely referred to as the shift from “gray to gray (GtG).” Response time is recorded in milliseconds and for most gamers, anything higher than 5ms is deemed too slow. Those who are competitive hold even higher standards, claiming a 1ms response time as the only suitable option.
Unfortunately, with TVs, the response time isn’t usually as good as a gaming monitor’s. Also, TV manufacturers rarely provide this spec anyway, which is why, as consumers, we’re forced to scour through countless forums and blogs for other users’ reviews of this specific spec. The reason response times aren’t often shown on a TV’s spec list is mostly because TV response times aren’t super important for typical, non-gamer consumers whose primary use is movies and TV shows.
However, with gaming monitors, users can easily figure out the response time by checking the spec list or by reading through the product description.
So, what happens if you’re using a panel with a slow response time?
Slow response times result in artifacts on the screen like ghosting or aliasing. These occur when new frames are being rendered on the panel but the pixels take too long to change color, leaving behind leftover image remnants. Not only are these unsightly, but they can also drastically affect your physical reaction time as well.
Take it from me—you’ll want the fastest response time you can get, and when you switch from a TV to a gaming monitor this will be one of the most noticeable differences.
This one is for all the Xbox users out there…for now.
The Xbox One X and Xbox One S are now supported by AMD’s FreeSync adaptive sync technology, a benefit that was once only granted to PC users.
If you aren’t already aware of this technology, FreeSync is an adaptive sync technology that follows VESA standards and was created to eliminate screen-tearing and screen stuttering without resulting in input lag experienced when turning on V-Sync.
Screen tearing and stuttering occur when your GPU is rendering a certain amount of frames while your monitor/TV simultaneously outputs a different amount. The jarring look of tearing and the uneasiness of stuttering are remedied by FreeSync technology by adapting your monitor’s refresh rate to the GPU’s frame rate, creating seamless visuals. (Learn more about these technologies here)
Recently, more TVs have begun to utilize AMD’s FreeSync technology, but since FreeSync is royalty-free, nearly every gaming monitor (that doesn’t support NVIDIA’s G-Sync technology) supports AMD FreeSync. So finding a FreeSync monitor for your console is a breeze.
Here’s one of the latest AMD FreeSync gaming monitors, the XG240R from ViewSonic ELITE:
A curved gaming monitor might be a perfect compromise if you want all the benefits of a powerful gaming monitor but don’t want to lose too much screen real estate (I know, I know, I said bigger isn’t always better).
Curved monitors are usually on the larger side of the monitor spectrum, but that’s not the only advantage. Compared to a flat panel, the bend of a curved monitor aims directly at the viewer, creating a more immersive viewing experience.
Even more to the point, the natural curve minimizes eye-strain by eliminating distorted corners and providing a wider field-of-view for greater overall comfort.
Let’s have a look at the 35” XG350R-C, an UltraWide curved gaming monitor released by ViewSonic ELITE at the beginning of 2019.
We’ll keep this one short and sweet for you.
Since gaming monitors are specifically designed for gaming, the control over your On Screen Display (OSD) caters particularly to the wants and needs of gamers. Monitor designers implement game modes for specific genres, color modes, easy ON/OFF access to adaptive sync technology such as V-Sync, AMD’s FreeSync, and NVIDIA’s G-Sync, and much more to give you control and improve your gaming experience.
All in all, here are the main benefits you should expect when playing your console on a gaming monitor instead of a TV:
If you would like to learn more about what ViewSonic ELITE gaming monitors can offer your console experience, please visit https://www.viewsonic.com/gaming/