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While an average user sees the monitor as just a means for displaying text, photos, and videos, for avid gamers the monitor is so much more. Depending on their choice of games and gaming style, they need it to display the tiniest details or to reflect their swift commands. If gamers are in a combat game, they need good reflexes and a low input lag, that is, the time it takes for a monitor to react to the command you have input, is not something they can afford if they wish to win. 

Since the year 2019 is coming to a close, many of the big names among monitor manufacturers have already announced some of their offers for 2020. So, let’s first take a look at a few essential elements of a quality gaming monitor and then finish with an overview of five selected monitors for the year 2020. 

Resolution: How important it really is

An average computer user appreciates seeing all the details and colours as vividly as possible, just as they would enjoy it on their mobile phone screens. However, although it may come as a surprise, the resolution as an element is not crucial for all gamers. Gamers are thought to go for the maximum in everything when it comes to computer equipment but that is not always so.

The monitor resolution gamers would opt for depends on the games they prefer to play as well as their hardware, among which the graphics card has the most say. If you are playing Tomb Raider or any adventure-oriented game, you would want to relish the beautiful scenery while you go about your tasks. On the other hand, if you have enemies breathing down your neck and you need to react fast, you will be more than willing to sacrifice resolution slightly to achieve a higher frame rate. 

Colour explosion on computer and laptop screen | Photo: Alexandru Acea via Unsplash

Colour explosion on computer and laptop screen | Photo: Alexandru Acea via Unsplash

Refresh rate: high or low, that is the question

To put it simply, refresh rate represents the number of times your monitor updates with images, that is, frames, in a second meaning that if you have a monitor with a 75 Hz refresh rate, it displays 75 frames per second. For the non-gamer folk, the refresh rate is not a crucial element in their decision-making process, while serious gamers pay close attention to that element when choosing a monitor.

The higher the refresh rate, the easier it is to track a fast-paced game, which can be of great importance for a serious gamer. However, the choice of the graphics card settings has to match your monitor in the sense that your monitor needs to be able to handle the rate at which the graphics card sends the information to the monitor. Otherwise, the image will not be displayed as it should and it may look like it is torn or half-loaded. 

While setting up a monitor is usually a no brainer, problems can occur; and yes this goes for both Windows and Mac rigs, there’s no computer that’s completely immune to hardware or software incompatibilities or problems. If you have an Apple computer and encounter any trouble setting up your shiny new monitor, the safest bet is to turn to professionals who are authorized to make MAC repair, as you don’t want to void your warranty.

Response time: low times mean less ghosting

Let’s be honest, for writing an email, online surfing or typing a Word document, an average user doesn’t need to think too much about the response time since it bears little relevance. The response time is the time it takes for the monitor to change from black to white to black again in milliseconds making a low response time especially attractive for multiplayer games. 

Minecraft is an example of a game where response time doesn’t make that much difference so if your adversary is the computer or if the game is casual, then this element is not of great importance. On the other hand, in a racing game or a fighting match, a low response time can be the difference between winning and losing because one cannot react swiftly if the previous image is still perceived on the screen (i.e. ghosting).  

Other elements: connector type and display’s shape and size

When it comes to the connector type, currently the best options for gamers and non-gamers alike are HDMI and DisplayPort. However, sometimes the choice between the two is preordained since some graphics cards and monitors have just one of these two ports so your gaming monitor needs to match your graphics card in terms of the connector type.

As for the display size, this would greatly depend on whether gamers are sitting close to the monitor or playing a game from the sofa because they simply wouldn’t be able to see everything if they are sitting too close to a large monitor. As for the shape, if the monitor is curved, you would have to sit directly in front of it to see the image, while a regular one can be tilted to achieve optimal neck position which is perhaps a better option for an avid gamer. There are those gamers who prefer dual monitors but this is quite an expensive option.

Best upcoming gaming monitors for 2020: 

1. Acer R240HY

Acer R240HY

Acer R240HY

Acer R240HY monitor has an attractive design, a maximum refresh rate of 75 Hz and a 4ms pixel response time which is altogether a fine choice. The downside is the light bleed, that is, backlight leaks through a bit, which is a common problem in LCDs. 

Pros:

  • Low price
  • Vibrant and crisp colours

Cons:  

  • No VESA mount,
  • No AMD FreeSync

2. LG 27UL500-W 27-Inch UHD IPS

LG 27UL500-W 27-Inch UHD IPS

LG 27UL500-W 27-Inch UHD IPS

LG 27UL500-W 27-Inch UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS monitor has a 60Hz refresh rate and 5ms response time. Its UHD (Ultra High Definition) screen at 27-inch provides an amazing level of sharpness but it also requires an external power brick. 

Pros:

  • Stunning design
  • No OSD buttons
  • 4K

Cons:  

  • Requires an external power brick

3. Dell D2719HGF

Dell D2719HGF

Dell D2719HGF

Dell D2719HGF monitor provides gamers with a 144Hz refresh rate and 2ms response time which ensures a smooth gaming experience. The only complaint so far is directed at the inbuilt speakers with the minimum volume since it might bother many gamers.

Pros:

  • 2ms response time
  • 170°/160° excellent viewing angles

Cons:  

  • Plastic material used for body construction
  • Minimum volume on inbuilt speakers

4. HP VH240

HP VH240

HP VH240

HP VH240 monitor has a 60 Hz refresh rate, 5ms response time and it is quite practical since it supports tilt, swivel, pivot, and height adjustments. However, its high input lag prevents it from being the go-to choice for avid gamers, while casual gamers and average users would be satisfied. 

PROS: Low price, Supports tilt, swivel, pivot, and height adjustments

CONS: low native refresh rate

Pros:

  • Low price
  • Supports tilt, swivel, pivot and height adjustments

Cons:  

  • Low native refresh rate

5. Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor AW2518H

Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor AW2518H

Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor AW2518H

Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor AW2518H comes with a 240Hz refresh rate, a 1ms response rate which means there is no input lag making it an appealing choice for gamers. However, it is expensive and its futuristic design takes up a lot of space.

Pros:

  • High refresh rate
  • Fast response time

Cons:  

  • High price
  • Only 1080p

The perfect monitor is difficult to choose and since there are so many factors that influence the decision-making process, it is perhaps best to speak in terms of the most optimal solution for your needs. A serious gamer might only go with the Alienware 25, while a casual might be completely satisfied with Dell D2719HGF. Whichever the criteria you take into consideration, just make sure you research your options thoroughly so you can achieve a satisfying gaming experience. 

Author Bio: Bily Bum is an electrical engineer, tech, and gaming fan with 15 years of experience in the technology world. He is also a contributor to Technivorz.

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