Monitor manufacturers have certainly not stood still in recent years. Everything from resolution and color fidelity to refresh rate and image quality has been visibly improved. Unfortunately, that has not made it easier to choose a monitor, because the range is greater than ever and the choices you have to make are all the more difficult. Fortunately, Floris has a buying guide for you that explains in detail what you need to know before buying a monitor.

This article is made possible by Asus. The content is entirely determined by Floris.

There are a thousand things you can pay attention to when you have to buy a monitor, but they are of course not all equally important. How thick a monitor is or how long it takes to turn it on makes little difference, while you will immediately notice if the resolution is too low or the refresh rate is too slow. Therefore, below are the most important points that you should pay attention to when choosing a new screen.

Resolution and refresh rate

The days when a 1080p widescreen monitor was your only choice are long and wide behind us. Nowadays, as a gamer, you can also choose from 1440p and 4K in the widescreen section (16: 9). For the adventurous gamer, there is also a growing range of ultra-widescreen monitors (which have an aspect ratio of 21: 9), which are extremely suitable for racing and strategy games. Which resolution you choose strongly depends on a few things: what your budget is, how strong your video card is and, last but not least, your personal preference.

For gamers on a budget, it is recommended to opt for a 1080p panel. Not only are they cheaper than the 1440p and 4K alternatives, but they also need a less powerful graphics card to drive. For most titles, a GTX 1060 3GB / RX570 is sufficient, especially if you mainly play eSports games such as Overwatch and CS: GO. In addition, faster-than-60fps panels are now available for very reasonable prices. The Asus VG248QE, for example, has a refresh rate of 144Hz, but is on the shelves for only 249 euros.

If 1440p or 4K is more your thing, you will not be short of options. Even higher refresh rates, like 120Hz or 144Hz, are no longer a rarity at 1440p and not even at 4K, provided you have deep pockets. For example, ASUS recently launched the Swift PG27UQ, a monitor with a 4K panel running at 144Hz and support for G-Sync HDR. Thanks to the 384 backlight zones and a maximum brightness of 1000 nits, games with HDR support are displayed like never before.

Hardware expert Bart van Brenk from ASUS adds: ‘Most gaming monitors do not excel in terms of color reproduction, but ASUS has put a stop to this with this monitor. The addition of a Quantum Dot layer allows this monitor to display no less than 99% of the Adobe RGB color spectrum, comparable to professional design monitors. The monitor is equipped with RGB lighting in the form of the ROG logo on the back, which can be synchronized with many components and peripherals from ASUS and other manufacturers by means of the ASUS Aura Sync software. ”To top it all off, the project monitor a ROG logo on your desk and on the wall or ceiling behind the monitor.

Keep in mind that only a GTX 1080 Ti or an RTX 2080 (Ti) can drive a 4K monitor at a reasonable frame rate, but even then you won’t get much further than 60fps with most games. A 1440p panel is therefore better recommended for the majority of gamers. You still get the higher resolution with extra sharpness, but you don’t have to spend a fortune on a video card. For 1440p / 120Hz, a GTX 1070 Ti is sufficient, a card that is almost half the price of the 1080 Ti.

Above all else, 1440p monitors are cheaper than their 4K equivalents. A 1440p / 144Hz panel costs roughly a fifth of a 4K / 144Hz monitor. The ASUS MG279Q, for example, costs 599 euros, but apart from the lower resolution and lack of HDR support, it has specifications comparable to the PG27UQ.

Which panel type?

There are roughly three types of LCD panels currently available, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages. The most common type is TN, which stands for Twisted Nematic. TN panels have the advantage of a low price and low response time, making them ideally suited for monitors with a high refresh rate. The disadvantage of TN is that they usually have poor color reproduction and very poor viewing angles, disadvantages that you will see especially on cheaper monitors.

IPS panels are in many ways the opposite of TN panels: they have better color reproduction, much better viewing angles (typically 180 degrees) and have a constant response time with a sharper image. The disadvantage of IPS (In-Plane Switching) is the higher power consumption, the higher price and the higher response time. IPS panels are often used for image editing because of the more accurate color reproduction, but this better color reproduction also makes games look more colorful and generally cooler.

The third type of panel that is common is VA, which stands for Vertical Alignment. VA panels are roughly between TN and IPS in terms of refresh rate, image quality and price. Often these panels also have a viewing angle of about 180 degrees, but are a lot cheaper compared to IPS. VA panels are a good compromise between IPS and TN and are also available in refresh rates up to 165Hz.

If refresh rates of 240Hz don’t bother you, it’s easy to recommend an IPS panel. The better colors and increasing support for HDR from these panels make games look better no matter what angle you are looking at the monitor from. If you are on a budget or just need crazy high refresh rates, then a TN panel is the appropriate type.

Ergonomics and size

Designing a work or play area as ergonomically as possible is never a bad idea, especially for gamers who sit at their desks late into the night. Most monitors offer a foot that is at least adjustable in height. Only in the budget segment are there still monitors that save on the total price by omitting an adjustable foot.

For a single monitor setup, a base with only height adjustment is usually good enough. For a battlestation with multiple monitors, it is nice that they can also rotate towards the seat, so that all monitors have a viewing angle of zero degrees. Moreover, monitors with a swivel base often also offer the possibility to tilt the panel ninety degrees in any direction so that you can use it in portrait mode. This is particularly useful for gamers who also want to use their second or third monitor for programming or writing in between games of Fortnite.

The choice of the size of your monitor is often made last, but it is certainly important. Which format you choose is partly linked to the resolution you have chosen. Windows and applications for Windows have been optimized for years for 90 ppi (pixels per inch). Fortunately, Windows 10 has infinitely better support for scaling these applications to other pixel densities, but that does not alter the fact that applications usually look best at ~ 90 ppi or a multiple of that.

For those who necessarily want to achieve 90 ppi, a 1080p monitor must have a diagonal of 24 ”(92 ppi), a 1440p monitor a diagonal of 32” (92 ppi) and a 4K monitor a diagonal of 48 ”(92 ppi). ppi). The latter is of course not practical, which is why a diagonal of 24 ”is also an option, to then scale up the image in Windows itself. Because Windows 10 handles application scaling much better than previous versions of Windows, it is no longer a disaster to have a different number of pixels per inch.

It is therefore generally better to choose a monitor that fits your workplace in terms of size and has a pixel density that suits the application of the monitor. Modern games almost always scale perfectly with pixel density and even often look better with a higher pixel density. If gaming is the main application of your monitor, more ppi is always better.

All in all, a monitor of between 24 “and 27” is common for games, where a higher resolution often justifies a larger monitor. Formats larger than this often cost disproportionately more and offer little added value in games or are not supported at all, especially by older games. The exception to this is currently 32 ”monitors, for which there is a reasonable budget offer. If the monitor is also used for productivity, this may be an interesting format in combination with a 4K panel.