Best Monitors for Gamers – A Complete Guide in 2020

Best Monitors for Gamers - A Complete Guide in 2020

Using a gaming monitor provides a smoother, more enjoyable gaming experience compared to a standard monitor. With higher refresh rates, stunning resolution, and variable sync technology, ViewSonic® gaming monitors let you take your gameplay to the next level.

If you’re just getting started as a gamer, we recommend the ViewSonic XG05 series. If you’re a serious gamer looking for a professional esports-caliber monitor, we recommend the ViewSonic ELITE XG270.

Introduction

Whether it’s watching playthrough videos, reading forums, or getting the latest technology, hardcore gamers are always on the lookout for the next big thing that helps them level up their gameplay.

Today’s gamers can choose from a wide variety of gaming monitors with a huge range of styles and specs. With so many different types of monitors on the market, it can be difficult to know which type you need. One of the gaming industry’s dirty little secrets is that certain types of gaming monitors work best for different genres, so in order to figure out what type of gaming monitor you need, it might be helpful to figure out what type of player you are first.

For example, while MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) players might be inclined to choose a flat panel gaming monitor, they would be better served with a high-resolution ultra-wide curved gaming monitor that lets them see the battlefield more clearly. And while first-person shooter games (FPS) like Call of Duty and Battlefield are often played on slower screens, gamers will find better success and more headshots using monitors with high refresh rates.

In this article, we’ll bring some clarity to the process as we break down the best monitors for gaming, what features to look for in a gaming monitor, and our top picks for monitors to help you take your gaming to the next level.

What are Gaming Monitors?

Gaming monitors are monitors that are designed specifically to handle the intense graphics and resolution requirements of PC games. While some gaming monitors are great all-rounders, other gaming monitors will give you a boost when it comes to certain gaming genres.

In order to capture the rich details and complex mechanics in PC games, gaming monitors typically come with higher resolutions and feature a powerful graphics engine for smoother gameplay. Higher resolution monitors are especially suitable for MMORPGs, as they enable players to have a wider, clearer view of the field.

With faster refresh rates and upgraded response times, gaming monitors also enable players to react faster and see in-game actions with more clarity. Monitors with faster refresh rates and response times are generally well suited for FPS, as players can react faster than incoming threats, and target other players more quickly.

In addition to having different technical specifications, some gaming monitors might also look different than traditional monitors.

Different gaming monitors can feature gaming accents such as dark colors, sleek profiles, sharp angles, and even embedded light strips.

Who Are Gaming Monitors for?

One popular misconception is that you have to be an excellent gamer to own a gaming monitor.

With a gaming monitor, gamers of all skill levels can enjoy an enhanced gaming experience with bolder colors, heightened responsiveness, and less lag.

If you’re just getting started, getting a beginner gaming monitor is a great way to help you get set up with the basics to make gaming more enjoyable.

For more serious gamers, streamers, and competitive players, ViewSonic offers competition-caliber esports monitors with its ELITE gaming series.

What Factors Should You Look for in a Gaming Monitor?

When it comes to gaming monitors, certain factors separate great monitors from ones that are just okay. Whether you’re playing League of Legends, Counter Strike, or World of WarCraft, a great gaming monitor can provide distinct advantages.

Refresh Rate

One important factor for gamers to consider is the refresh rate. Refresh rates (measured in Hz) are the speed in which a monitor changes or refreshes its screen. When it comes to refresh rate, the higher the better.

Players who play shooting games, point and click adventures or other games that rely on split-second reaction times would benefit the most from having a monitor with a high refresh rate.

Whereas typical 60Hz PC monitors might stutter during an open-world cutscene, gaming monitors with a high refresh rate can smoothly play out graphics-intensive scenes without stuttering.

When searching for a gaming monitor, try looking for a monitor with a 120Hz refresh rate and above.

Response Time

Another important factor to consider is response time. Response time is measured in terms of Gray to Gray (GtG) or how long it takes a pixel to go from one gray level to another.

Slower response times in gaming monitors can result in motion blurring, in which images appear blurred on screen, or ghosting, in which a silhouette follows object movement on-screen.

Motion blurring can be especially detrimental for racing games, shooting games, or other fast-paced action style games.

Typical PC monitors have a response time around 10ms, while most gaming monitors today have a response time of 1ms to 5ms.

For games where every millisecond counts, having a fast response time can mean the difference between winning and losing.

Screen Size and Resolution

While most people look at a monitor’s screen size, they often overlook screen resolution.

For MMORPG players of games like EVE Online, World of WarCraft, or other strategy-based games, a strong screen resolution provides players with the ability to see the field more clearly and execute their attacks with greater precision.

For beginner players, the action happening on MMORPG screens can seem quite messy. But the clarity that a high-resolution monitor provides can help cut through some of that confusion.

In terms of screen size, MMO players would be best served with screens 27 inches and up for a stronger sense of immersion and an expanded view of the playing field. When combined with a high-resolution screen, larger screen sizes enable players to see the field with a greater level of detail.

Screen resolution is essentially the number of pixels a screen can show and is sometimes referred to as PPI (Pixels Per Inch). The more pixels a screen has, the clearer it is.

Depending on your display, screen resolution can be calibrated within a certain range, while screen size remains constant.  

Some of the most popular resolutions are:

  • 720p or “HD” resolution
  • 1080p or “Full HD” or “FHD” resolution
  • 1440p or “Quad HD” or “QHD” resolution
  • 2160p or 4K Ultra HD resolution

When searching for a gaming monitor, try looking for a monitor with a 1440p or 2160p resolution to get the best image quality possible.

In contrast with the blocky pixels of the 1980s, today’s PC games are rendered with a sweeping cinematic quality, so that even background landscapes contain an extraordinary amount of detail. Choosing a monitor with high resolution can help you truly appreciate the graphics inside a game.

Resolution

Best Gaming Monitor Panel Type

When it comes to panels, monitors generally come in three different categories: Twisted Nematic (TN), Vertical Alignment (VA), or IPS (In-Plane Switching).

TN Panels

TN panels work by passing light through polarized screens, a color filter, and liquid crystals. While TN panels are one of the oldest types of panel technology, they can have issues with inconsistent and weak color quality, as well as narrow viewing angles.

One area where TN panels excel is in response time. TN panels boast ultrafast GTG times of 1 to 2ms.

The TN panel’s ultrafast response times make it an ideal monitor for fast-paced action platformers and shooting games that demand a lag-free experience.

IPS Panels

IPS panels are panels that were created partially to address the shortcomings of TN panels. While IPS panels have slower response times and lower possible refresh rates compared to a TN panel, IPS panels offer some of the best color accuracy, higher contrast ratios, and minimal color shift when changing viewing angles.

Due to their slower response times and refresh rates, most IPS panels aren’t ideal for competitive gameplay or fast-paced action games. However, with advances in panel technology, new IPS panels like the ones in the ViewSonic ELITE series can achieve response times close to TN panels.

IPS panels are ideal for players who want to enjoy slower-paced open-world games with beautiful graphics such as SkyrimGrand Theft AutoNo Man’s Sky, or Journey.

Because of its pinpoint color accuracy, IPS panels are also perfect for streamers who like to livestream their games, and other content creators who use their monitors for their creative work.

VA Panels

VA Panels are panels that combine some of the better characteristics of both the TN and IPS panels.

Compared to IPS panels, VA panels have similar refresh rates. VA panels also come with one of the best contrast ratios out of all three panels, creating blacker blacks and whiter whites.

However, one factor going against the VA panels is a slower response time, making it liable to blur during fast-paced action games or first-person shooters.

With higher contrast ratios, faster refresh rates, but slow response times, VA panels would be best suited for casual players or players who enjoy single-player games.

G-sync vs FreeSync - Gaming Monitors

Variable Refresh Rate Technology

In terms of gaming monitors, there are two primary types of variable refresh rate technologies: AMD FreeSync® and NVIDIA® G-SYNC®.

While most monitors are designed to operate at a fixed refresh rate, most games will use a fluctuating frame rate depending on the scene. For some monitors, this creates “tearing”, where images can become disjointed.

Today, gamers have the option of choosing between AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-SYNC to smooth out gameplay, reduce input lag, and prevent screen tearing.

While the two technologies fundamentally accomplish the same task, NVIDIA G-SYNC remains NVIDIA’s proprietary technology, while FreeSync is free for companies to use. NVIDIA’s G-SYNC technology works embedding a physical chip in the monitor, while FreeSync uses the monitor’s video card to function. When it comes to gaming, both technologies work equally well.

In 2019, NVIDIA released software drivers for FreeSync monitors to enable them to become compatible with NVIDIA graphics cards. While this technically enables all FreeSync monitors to utilize NVIDIA and AMD GPUs, NVIDIA has only designated a specific set of FreeSync monitors as “G-SYNC Compatible” and able to utilize NVIDIA graphics cards without issue.

Want to know more? G-Sync vs FreeSync Explained

Video Inputs (Optional)

One optional factor to consider when looking for a gaming monitor are video inputs or the different connectivity options that monitors offer.

Different connectivity options transfer data at different rates. While HDMI 1.3/1.4 cables could transfer data at 10.2 Gbps or 24 fps, HDMI 2.0 cables can transfer up to 18 Gbps while delivering 4K video at 50/60 fps.

Various other connectivity options such as DisplayPort and USB Type-C come with their own advantages and drawbacks.

While this isn’t a make it or break it factor, it’s good to keep in the back of your mind, especially if you plan on playing games that use up a lot of processing power.

Try searching for a gaming monitor with a wide variety of up-to-date video and connectivity inputs.

Monitor Ports and USB-C - A Comparison of Display Connections - HDMI Monitor Ports and USB-C - A Comparison of Display Connections - DisplayPort Monitor Ports and USB-C - A Comparison of Display Connections - USB-C

 

 

Will Gaming Monitors Make Me a Better Gamer?

One question that we often get asked is if upgrading to a gaming monitor will make you a better gamer. And the honest answer is that it depends.

Using a state-of-the-art gaming monitor can give you the tools to react faster, see vivid colors, and experience ultra-smooth gameplay.

While these monitors can’t improve how you play, they can give you the tools you need to succeed and reach the next level.

And regardless of skill level, gaming monitors simply make gaming more fun. With vivid colors, incredible RGB lighting (on some models), and lag-free gameplay, ViewSonic ELITE gaming monitors can immerse you in a whole other world.

Can I Use a Gaming Monitor for Regular Browsing?

Yes. In fact, many people often use their gaming monitor as their only monitor. With advanced refresh rates, stunning resolution, and variable sync technology, gaming monitors make excellent workstations for working, playing, watching movies, and so much more!

Top Five Gaming Monitors

When it comes to gaming monitors, ViewSonic offers a diverse assortment of monitors that can help take you to the next level whether you’re a beginner or a pro. Here is a list of our top five picks for the best gaming monitors.

ViewSonic ELITE XG270QGXG270QG ViewSonic ELITE Gaming Monitor

 

With a blazing-fast 1ms GtG response time and a sleek 27” display, the ELITE XG270QG is perfect for everyone from multiplayers in MMORPGs to explorers wandering around open worlds.

The ELITE XG270QG relies on IPS Nano Color technology which expands the traditional IPS color gamut with a nanoparticle film for exceedingly accurate colors and a deeper, richer gaming experience.

The XG270QG’s 1ms GtG response time is on par with what professional esports players use and helps create seamless pixel transitions and reduced “ghosting” no matter what game you’re playing. This gaming monitor also comes with a stunning 165Hz refresh rate and NVIDIA G-SYNC technology, creating a hyper-responsive and ultra-smooth gaming experience.

Crucially, the XG270QG comes with ergonomic features such as height adjust, pivot, tilt, and swivel so that players can play comfortably, without injury, for hours at a time.

The XG270QG also comes with Elite Design Enhancements based on feedback from gamers to make for a more comfortable gaming experience. These enhancements include gorgeous ambient RGB lighting embedded into the monitor, built-in mouse anchors, a reinforced headphone hook, sight shields, and a brushed metal base.

ViewSonic ELITE XG270QCXG270QC ViewSonic Elite Gaming Monitor

In terms of specs, the ELITE XG270QC is similar to the XG270QG. However, while the XG270QG is a flat panel monitor, the XG270QC is a 27” curved monitor.

Curved monitors are great for gaming because they enable players to experience less distortion, relax their eyes by engaging their peripheral vision, and immerse themselves in the game (to learn more about curved monitors, click here).1

With AMD FreeSync Premium Pro technology and PureXPTM motion blur reduction, users can experience low latency, wide adaptive refresh rate ranges, low framerate compensation, and incredibly clear visuals from fast-moving objects.

This makes the ELITE XG270QC especially suited for racing games or action-packed adventure games.

The XG270QC utilizes a sleek 3-sided borderless display for less frame distraction, and a powerfully sleek, borderless gaming experience.

Just like the XG270QG, the XG270QC comes with ergonomic support and Elite Design Enhancements including built-in RGB accents and ambiance, a headphone hook, built-in mouse anchor, and brushed metal base.

ViewSonic ELITE XG270XG270 ViewSonic ELITE Gaming Monitor

The 27” ViewSonic ELITE XG270 monitor comes with a mind-blowing 240Hz refresh rate that makes motion blurring and tracers a thing of the past. If you need speed and clarity, this is the monitor to get.

This IPS display features stunning colors with sRGB 99%* coverage for vivid colors, and beautiful colors no matter which angle you look at your monitor.

The ELITE XG270 is G-SYNC Compatible and certified by NVIDIA to work flawlessly with NVIDIA GPUs.

Just like the XG270QG and XG270QC, the XG270 comes with ultra-smooth ELITE RGB lighting. Gamers can enjoy a beautiful built-in RGB lighting system that syncs perfectly with other RGB peripherals while lighting up their victories.

ViewSonic VX2758-2KP-MHDVX2758-2KP-MHD

The ViewSonic VS2758-2KP-MHD is a solid 27” monitor built to help gamers take their gameplay to the next level.

Featuring a 144Hz refresh rate and AMD Free-Sync, the ViewSonic VS2758-2KP-MHD makes stuttering and screen tearing a thing of the past.

With a SuperClear® IPS panel, the VS2758-2KP-MHD handles colors beautifully no matter what angle you’re viewing from.

For gamers with sensitive eyes, the VS2758-2KP-MHD utilizes Flicker-Free technology and blue-light filters to reduce eye strain.

One unique feature from the VS2758-2KP-MHD is its ability to calibrate visual settings to your viewing experience. Through ViewSonic ViewMode, this gaming monitor comes with presets that enable you to enhance gamma curve, color temperature, contrast, and brightness for situations ranging from gaming to movie watching to web browsing to reading.

ViewSonic XG05 Series (24” / 27”)XG05 SERIES ViewSonic Gaming Monitors

The ViewSonic XG05 series of gaming monitors provide the speed and performance that gamers need.

Available in 24” and 27” sizes, the XG2405 and XG2705 monitors are Full HD IPS monitors with an ultra-sleek three-sided borderless design to make frame distractions nonexistent. SuperClear IPS panel technology helps create pinpoint accuracy in terms of color brightness, and consistently brilliant images whether you’re looking at the screen from the bottom, top, or side.

The XG05 series monitors come with an impossibly fast 1ms response time and an incredibly swift 144Hz refresh rate to eliminate motion blurring and place you directly in the action.

XG05 monitors also come with AMD FreeSync Premium technology which seamlessly synchronizes frame rate output for an incredibly smooth gaming experience with exceptional visuals.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a beginning gamer or an experienced pro, gaming monitors can help you get the most out of your games.

With beautifully smooth visuals, bright colors, and incredibly fast response times, ViewSonic gaming monitors can not only give you the tools you need to reach the next level, but they can also help make gaming more enjoyable.

Plus, whether you’re exploring new landscapes in open-world games, blitzing through MMORPGs, or just browsing online, gaming monitors provide consistently beautiful colors and reliable performance.

Because ViewSonic gaming monitors aren’t just another gaming monitor, they’re a game-changer.

To see the full range of gaming monitors available from ViewSonic, visit ELITE.  Want to build an even better gaming station? Check this out.

Citation:

  1. Luo, Gang & Chen, Ying & Doherty, Amy & Liu, Rui & Shi, Cong & Wang, Shuhang & Le, Hoai & Peli, Eli. (2016). 66-2: Comparison of Flat and Curved Monitors: Eyestrain Caused by Intensive Visual Search Task. SID Symposium Digest of Technical Papers. 47. 903-906. 10.1002/sdtp.10839.

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*Percentages are calculated by using the specifications as provided by the panel makers and have been rounded to the nearest integer. Actual values may vary by 1% depending on the color mode used.

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