Whether it’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 or World of Warcraft, there are certain pieces of hardware that make the gaming experience better. One such piece of hardware that makes a big difference – your virtual portal – is the monitor. The monitor you decide to use can make or break a gaming experience. So what do you look for when choosing a monitor and which ones are best? Let’s take a look at some of the best gaming monitors of 2011.
LED Vs. LCD Displays
One of the first things to consider is the type of display the monitor utilizes. There are two main types; LED and CCFL LCD. For gaming, LED monitors will give you more balanced lighting meaning deeper blacks and more vibrant color. LED monitors are thinner and lighter than their LCD counterparts and use up to 40% less power. They are, however, more expensive than LCD screens. If you have the budget, LED is the way to go.
Size does matter despite what some people say. A monitor used for gaming has to be a fit to your vision and in particular your peripheral vision. Get a monitor that is too large and suddenly you have a hard time taking it all in. Usually 20 to 27-inches is sufficient for gaming with 23 to 24-inch monitors being optimal for the best viewing experience. Larger monitors are good if you plan to sit farther away from the action.
Monitor manufacturers like to brag about how bright their monitor is, but this can be very misleading. Brightness after a certain point does not make sense for gaming monitors and the optimum brightness range is between 200 and 300 cd/m² (Candelas per meter squared). Anything brighter is usually overkill.
Resolution is another important feature to consider. While monitors that feature a 720p resolution would be decent for most of today’s games, many game makers are producing higher resolution games that can take advantage of higher resolution monitors. A Full HD monitor which is 1080p with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a 16:9 aspect ratio will ensure that your games will look great in the years to come.
A new feature that is beginning to make inroads is 3D capability. More and more 3D monitors are coming into the market every day and while most games don’t take advantage of the 3D capability right now, more soon will. If you feel like future-proofing, then consider a 3D monitor. 3D monitors are more expensive right now but there is a push for more 3D content taking place that may justify the extra expense.
Refresh rate, or the number of times in a second that a display’s hardware draws data, is rated in Hertz and can vary from 50Hz to 120Hz. While there is no noticeable difference between 60Hz and 120Hz displays, it is an important consideration if you are going to purchase a 3D monitor. With 3D, the refresh rate is cut in half so that a 120Hz monitor becomes a 60Hz monitor in 3D. Refresh rates less than 60Hz may result in screen flicker which can be hard on your eyes.
Viewing angle is another consideration and if you are viewing the monitor at any angle other than head-on, an IPS (In-Plane Switching technology) monitor is a must to keep the display clear and viewable. Some monitors feature a new type of IPS called E-IPS (Enhanced) which is said to have crisper displays at higher viewing angles than a regular IPS display.
So now that you know what to look for in a good gaming monitor, let’s have a look at some of the best gaming monitors for 2011.
Top Gaming Monitors of 2011 Reviewed
The Asus VG236H is a fantastic gaming monitor featuring the latest monitor technology. This 23-inch Full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080 resolution) 4:3 aspect ratio advanced Dual-side LCD monitor is 3D ready and features a a 120Hz refresh rate. The VG236H comes packaged with the NVIDIA 3D Vision technology kit which includes active LCD shutter 3D glasses, a 3D Vision Emitter (USB), and advanced 3D software to control the experience. A 400cd/m² brightness and 100,000:1 contrast ratio give you bright, clear, crisp images.
Connecting to a PC is easy with Dual-link DVI and HDMI ports. The Asus VG236H features a non-reflective surface for maximum definition. The VG236H is easily adjustable and can swivel 150°, adjust vertically up to 4-inches and can tilt to accommodate your viewing preference. The built in cable management keeps those unsightly wires hidden from view. With its’ host of video-enhancing technology the Asus VG236H will give you the gaming experience you wish for.
Acer S273HL bmii 27 Inch Gaming Monitor Review
The Acer S273HL bmii is a sleek and stylish monitor that will make any game look good. At 27-inches this Full HD (1920 x 1080 resolution) 16:9 aspect ratio LED monitor is on the larger side and features a 75Hz refresh rate. The S273HL bmii has a 12,000,000:1 contrast ratio a brightness of 300cd/m², and an anti-glare surface for crisp, bright images.
With HDMI and VGA ports, the Acer S273HL bmii is easy to connect to a PC. With built in speakers and the ability to adjust the display angle, the S273HL is a futuristic looking gaming monitor.
Dell UltraSharp U2312HM
The Dell UltraSharp U2312HM 23-inch LCD monitor gives you amazing crystal clear and color accurate images. This is great whether you are a professional or gamer. The 2312HM is a Full HD (1920 x 1080 resolution) monitor with a 16:9 aspect ratio, 60Hz refresh rate, eIPS, and an anti-glare hard coating. At a 1000:1 (10,000:1 Dynamic) contrast ratio and 300 cd/m² brightness, your games are sure to look fantastic. The U2312HM also features a wide viewing angle and an 8ms response time.
With a DVI-D and VGA input as well as 4 USB ports, the Dell UltraSharp U2312HM is sure to have the connections you need. It’s adjustable stand allows you to pivot, tilt, and swivel the display and has built-in cable management.
Response Time Concerns for IPS Panel Monitors
While its true that the 8ms response time is higher than other “gaming monitors” and may cause small level of blurring this is a trade-off that many gamers still make for more accurate color imaging.
ViewSonic has been making outstanding monitors for a long time and the ViewSonic VP2365WB 23-inch LCD monitor was designed with professionals and gamers in mind. The VP2365WB features a 16:9 widescreen anti-glare IPS display which provides superior image quality at almost any viewing angle. At Full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution, a 1000:1 contrast ratio, and 300cd/m² you will see all the details in your game.
The ViewSonic VP2365WB features VGA and DVI-D inputs as well as providing 4 USB ports to connect all your peripherals. With a “green” eco, the VP2365WB saves up to 40% on power consumption. Pivot (90°), height, swivel, and tilt adjustments make the ViewSonic VP2365WB easily cusomizable to your liking.
If you’re wanting an inexpensive LED Viewsonic gaming monitor, then we highly recommend the VX2453MH-LED as well which you can usually find under $200.
The LG E2450VR-SN is a good looking monitor in more ways than one. This 27-inch LED Full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080 resolution) monitor is loaded with advanced features. Its’ anti-glare screen is a 16:9 aspect ratio and has a contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1 and 250cd/m² brightness to give you blacker blacks and rich color. The Dual Stand give you the freedom to orient the diaply however you see fit.
Featuring DVI-D, VGA, and HDMI inputs, the LG E2750VR-SN connects to almost any source for an expanded viewing experience. With features such as Auto Bright, Cinema Mode, and Dual Web, the E2450VR-SN offers the latest in technology.
When gaming, clarity and details are important. Missing even the smallest of details could be the difference between winning and losing. These gaming monitors will give you the edge you need to be the best.