How to Choose Monitors for Console Gaming

how-to-choose-monitors-for-console-gaming

Monitors are generally associated with PCs, but they are also excellent for console gaming. In fact, many gamers deem monitors to be better companions for their consoles, particularly for competitive gaming. However, to have a competitive edge over other gamers, you need a monitor that shows great visual effects without tearing, flickering and blurring images. In this post, we are going to discuss the important aspects to consider when purchasing a console gaming monitor. 

How to Find a Good Console Gaming Monitor

The Resolution

Resolution of 4K UHD monitor screen showing sharper detail than FHD, HD, and SD

The display resolution is the first and most important aspect to consider. Currently, gaming monitors have the following resolutions:

Full HD (1080P)- This is the general standard resolution for gaming monitors and so, you don’t want to go below it. Since it is less demanding on consoles, most gamers usually go for monitors with this kind of resolution. 

Quad HD (1440p)- This is the next level of resolution and a middle ground that’s ideally not demanding on console systems. 

4K- This is currently the highest resolution in gaming and measures 3840×2160 pixels. 4K delivers the best and crispiest images but calls for higher system requirements. 

You cannot go wrong with any of the above resolutions, but if you want to enjoy games like Battlefield 1 at their full glory, you’ll want to invest in a 4K monitor.

Refresh Rate & Response Time

100 HZ refresh rate providing sharper image than 60 Hz

If you wish to rack up shots in Call of Duty or Battlefield, a high refresh rate is mandatory. The refresh rate is simply how often a monitor updates. Media like movies usually update at 24Hz, but gaming tends to be faster as you have to follow the actions and respond in split seconds. The average monitor features a 60Hz refresh rate but the pros tend to go for 120Hz, 144Hz or even 165Hz. A higher refresh rate is always better, as it ensures a smoother experience particularly for shooting games.

The Xbox One X can support a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, but the same can’t be said for the PS4. However, it never hurts to purchase a monitor with a higher refresh rate as it will be future proof. 

The response time is how long a pixel takes to cycle. For casual gaming, you want to go for a response time of around 5ms but for professional gaming, 1ms will provide the best experience. 

Monitor Panel Technology

 FreeSync- and FreeSync2-compatible monitor providing ghosting-free gameplay

Currently, there are three types of displays, each with their ups and downs:

Twisted Nematic (TN) panels boast refresh rates of 240Hz and fast response times with speeds of up to 1ms. They are ideally easier to manufacture than their counterparts, and that’s why they go for relatively cheap prices. The downside is that you experience color distortion at shallow viewing angles. 

In-plane Switching (IPS) panels can refresh at over 100Hz and have response times of up to 4ms. They have way better viewing angles and color representation than TN panels and so, if you’re a casual gamer, an IPS monitor would be the best one for you. 

Vertical Alignment (VA) panels boast the best contrast with deep blacks and excellent colors. However, they feature a slow response time (over 10ms) making them less than ideal for gaming. If you wish to settle for a VA display, ensure it features FreeSync and FreeSync 2 in order to get rid of the annoying ghosting effects.

Color Performance

For those who pay attention to picture quality and smoothness, response time is certainly a primary consideration. However, if you are looking for total immersion in God of War 4 or Rise of The Tomb Raider, then color performance is a top priority. Color performance refers to the best visualization of dark regions and wider color space. A monitor with at least 100% sRGB coverage can reproduce richer colors on the display. If the monitor can offer a wider color gamut of at least 90% of DCI-P3, you can be certain that games like Uncharted 4 will be more enjoyable and immersive. Darker areas is another factor that affects gaming and this is where VA panels shine.

The Screen Size

The size of your screen is not a big a deal as you will be viewing it up close and the differences are relatively small. Nowadays, gaming monitors are usually between 21” and 27” as these represent the ideal balance of viewing comfort and visual clarity. Anything small and the monitor would not benefit as much from high resolutions and anything higher and it would need to be viewed from a distance. 

The size you pick all boils down to your preference, but if you decide to settle for a 1080p Full HD monitor, don’t go bigger than 24” as the lower pixel density will result in some undesirable aliasing.

Connectors

Scenario simulation of gaming monitor setup with laptop

Gaming monitors today usually have the following outputs and inputs:

DisplayPort 1.4- This is the best option for video and audio transfer.

HDMI 1.4 or 2.0- Transfers both audio and video, but doesn’t support refresh rates as high in 4K resolution as DisplayPort 1.4. However, it is ideal for mid-range solutions or casual console gaming.

5mm Audio Out- This port is designed to be a more convenient way of connecting speakers or headphones directly to the monitor. 

Apart from these, a gaming monitor can ideally feature a 3.5 mm audio input and several varying USB ports. There are several other connectors but these are the most important. 

Additional Features

Eye Protection

There are times when you will want to play for hours on end, but it easily becomes frustrating when your eyes become fatigued and turn watery. In such a case, you’ll want a monitor that comes with blue light and flicker-free features. 

High Dynamic Range

With photorealistic or life-like graphics being a major trend, you’ll also want to ensure your monitor features High Dynamic Range (HDR). Both the Xbox One and PS4 are compatible with HDR-10 and this means you will have better image details and more vivid colors for a more photorealistic gaming experience. 

Conclusion

After going through the basic aspects of a gaming monitor: the resolution, refresh rate, response time, panel type, color performance, connectivity, and size, now you know how to choose the best monitor for your console gaming needs. Keep the tips above in mind and you can be certain that you will make a smart decision. 

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