Whether you are buying a television that you’ll use for gaming sometimes or are purchasing a dedicated gaming monitor, this is one acquisition that demands careful consideration. It’s an item you are unlikely to replace in a couple of months. Your choice should be one you are ready to live with for at least the next two years.
Gaming monitors and televisions aren’t created equal. Ergo, you should have a clearly defined list of requirements that’ll help you identify which model best suits your needs. Here are a couple of tips to help you do that.
1. The 4K Question
4K is all the rage but be careful not to be carried away by the euphoria. In many ways, 4K gaming is still fairly new though advances in photographic game design are increasingly making 4K a must have.
The latest Microsoft Xbox and Sony PS consoles are 4K-ready. A PC can do it too as long as you have the requisite graphics card. Also, 4K televisions are no longer as out of reach price-wise as they were when they first hit the market. Today, there isn’t an enormous price difference between a 4K TV and a similar size 1080p TV even though they still cost more.
My advice? The gaming industry isn’t going to retreat to 1440p or less so you may as well go with 4K now if you want to be ready for the future. However, if you find this incompatible with your budget, you can buy a lower spec then upgrade when you are in a better financial position.
2. Refresh Rate and Response Time
Among hardcore gamers, TVs aren’t a popular option for displays. The reason? Refresh rates and response times. The best gaming monitors have refresh rates of as much as 240Hz (for 1080p monitors) and 165Hz (for 1440p monitors), as well as response times starting from just 1ms. Lower response times and higher frame rates reduce ghosting and lead to better quality images.
On these two parameters, monitors usually trump TVs. That said, TV manufacturers are taking cognizance of gaming needs and the overall quality is improving. For instance, 4K monitors have the same refresh rates as 4K TVs i.e. 60Hz. Nevertheless, response times are still less than impressive with 15ms and 30ms being the more common figures for TVs. I’d recommend buying a monitor and not a TV unless response times aren’t a big deal for you.
With the proliferation of smartphone games, one would assume that screen size isn’t as big a deal as it once was. That is far from true. There’s something about how immersed a gamer becomes while playing on a life-size screen. Nevertheless, one shouldn’t be too dogmatic about large TVs and monitors.
For example, where you’ll install it is a determining factor. Large screens provide no advantage over smaller ones if you have to sit too close to them due to space constraints. You’ll miss out on crucial action that’ll be forced into your peripheral vision. This can deteriorate your experience when playing fast-paced action games like Battlefield or Call of Duty.
4. Dedicated or Multi-Purpose TV?
Are you buying a TV that you’ll primarily use for gaming or do you want one that you’ll only play on occasionally but will serve as an ordinary TV most times? Remember that to use a TV for gaming, you have to create a setup that includes game accessories and perhaps special seating.
You could dismantle and restore this setup each time you want to play but if you are a serious gamer, you’ll want a somewhat permanent installation. For ardent gamers whose gaming TV won’t also serve its traditional entertainment purpose and may even be in a separate room from the living room, a PC monitor would be a more prudent purchase. It delivers better value for less.
TVs and gaming monitors come in a wide range of price tags, sizes and features. The ideal gaming monitor and TV will vary from person to person. The above tips can help you focus on what’s most important so you can derive the best value from your purchase.