Peripherals are just as important to the overall gaming experience as the hardware in the PC itself. A good monitor can mean the difference between an immersive gaming experience and a clunky, fuzzy mess. The most basic aspect that buyers should consider is the size of the display. There are benefits and drawbacks to different-sized monitors, and this guide will break down the most popular sizes, options, and configurations to give users a starting point on their monitor buying journey.
The resolution, response time, panel types, and refresh rate are also incredibly important, especially for gaming. So, too, is color accuracy for professionals working or creating content from home. This guide won’t go over those factors in-depth, but interested readers can check out some of our other guides like our one about 1440p 144Hz vs 1080p 240Hz displays and their impact on gaming performance.
Before jumping into the benefits of each monitor size, It’s worth noting that monitors are measured diagonally. A 22-inch monitor is not going to measure a full 22-inches wide. It’ll fall in the realm of 18-inches wide and 10 or so inches tall depending on the manufacturer. To land on the exact figure, you can find the area of any given display to figure out how much space is gained in the jump. It’s often more than one would expect. A 22-inch display will have an area of 180-inches while a 24-inch display will have an area of 240 square inches. Each leap in display size comes with a significant jump in screen space.
Now, 22-inch monitors are an option; However, the prevalence of affordable 24-inch displays has made 22-inch monitors an inferior option given the similar price point that most are available at. A 24-inch display can deliver an immersive gaming experience and can take more advantage of 1440p (2K UHD) compared to the smaller 22-inch display. Neither one is going to get much out of higher resolutions like 4K. Users will want a larger display to notice the differences there.
24-inch monitors are solid budget options, especially at 1080p HD. There are plenty of high refresh rate options in this size that can be had at an incredible value. For example, the Asus TUF 24” is a 1080p display with G-Sync compatibility and a high 144Hz refresh rate that can be had for just $199. Those looking in this price bracket and size should also consider 24.5 and 25-inch displays. They offer comparable screen sizes and come in at very low prices considering the performance.
The next most common step-up for gamers is going to be a 27-inch display. These monitors are quite large and can take full advantage of 2K and 4K resolutions. The price gap between 27-inch and 24-inch is not quite as wide as it was a few years ago. Responsive high-resolution options like the LG 27GL850-B can be had for $449, with leagues of lower resolution or response time options being available in the mid 2-300 dollar range. As games continue to become more graphically impressive, gamers are turning to 27-inch displays to get as much immersion as possible for a reasonable price.
The 27-inch size is where users start to see widespread access to more premium features like HDR, G-Sync, low response times, and greater color accuracy. It’s harder to find smaller displays with as many features and add-ons as these larger displays. Overall, a 27-inch display will be the sweet spot for many gamers, especially those who just need one decently-sized display.
32-inch displays are going to offer fantastic experiences at high resolutions and blurry ones at lower resolutions like 1080p. Those wanting one of these hulking displays will want to budget for a high resolution. Once at this size, most of the offerings on the market are going to focus on curved displays. Some have extreme curves while others are more subtle. The curved nature of these large displays makes them fantastic centerpieces for an immersive gaming experience. Though some users looking for multi-display configurations may want to stay away from these larger curved options as they can be tricky to align at off-center viewing angles.
The price hike is steep between premium 27-inch displays and a comparable 32-inch display. No-compromise displays like the BenQ 32-inch 4K UHD monitor are going to demand a high price upwards of $699. These large 32-inch displays are going to truly shine in 4K UHD and can deliver immersive experiences in any title.
Anything greater than 34-inches is going to be considered an ultrawide display. These monitors are, well, incredibly wide, hence the name. There are even “super ultrawides” that truly stretch the idea of what one could consider a reasonably sized display. Despite the flashy nature and premium feature sets of most hulking ultrawides, they are still a niche item even for the most elite gamers out there. The best of the best in this category demand an equally big price. Options like the staggering 49-inch Samsung Odyssey G9 will run enthusiasts $1,399.
The reason is simple. Many titles don’t support the wide FOV and display size that ultrawides bring to the table. Many shooters and esports titles can’t broaden the size they accept since it would give other players unfair advantages. Even then, it takes more time to move a cursor across the screen and see things in far corners, which can hamper competitive performance. AAA storytelling titles and racing games can truly benefit from these huge displays, but widespread acceptance and compatibility have yet to happen for these displays.
Multi-monitor configurations may not offer any additional benefits when it comes to gaming. They run into the same issues as ultrawides do with FOV and image scaling. However, aspiring streamers, professionals, and gamers who like to multi-task should consider having at least two displays. The added utility of a second monitor can make many tasks much easier. Being able to engage with, say, a stream chat while gaming full screen on a second monitor is quite handy. Couple a pair of 27-inch monitors with a VESA mount and you will be well on your way to having an envy-worthy gaming station.
Gamers have more options than ever before when it comes to picking out the right size display and configuration than ever before. As displays grow larger and larger, prices keep coming down on now-modest displays like 27-inch monitors. It’s up to the individual to find the exact configuration and sweet spot that works for them. For users still unsure of which option is best, I would recommend picking up a 1440p 27-inch display. They can be had at reasonable prices and will deliver an excellent experience across any game.