If you're into competitive gaming, you definitely know the importance of low input lag. And while a plethora of options can raise the price of your gaming monitor, it doesn't necessarily mean it will end up more responsive overall.
Manufacturers, who are now well aware of the importance of input lag, are also not afraid to throw the "gaming" tag on monitors that shouldn't make the cut. That being said G-Sync screens typically have lag of just 0-5ms. For FreeSync it tends to vary quite a bit more.
So, here's a look of my favorite VA and IPS gaming monitors that have low input lag. These start for budgets of around $150 to those who've got more than $1,000 to spend.
Why IPS vs. a TN Panel Monitor for Gaming?
IPS monitors offer wider viewing angles and better color accuracy than their TN panel counterparts. This greatly improves the gaming visual experience.
In addition, if you're like me and do any photo or video editing on the side, then it's invaluable to have something more color accurate.
IPS vs VA
Both VA panels and IPS panels have good color, good viewing angles (with VA being slightly worse). VA, again in general, typically has better blacks while IPS has better whites and "light" colors. IPS, in general, does have a bit more color accuracy. Lastly, IPS typically has better pixel response time although the gap between VA and IPS has greatly been reduced over the last few years.
Dell Alienware AW3418DW
I'll fully admit that this monitor isn't for everyone. Some may dislike the size, curved screen, or even price tag.
However, if you're looking for a large monitor to game competitively on, the Alienware 1900R is hard to ignore. Plus, the price, is about half of what it cost just a couple of years ago when released.
A 34" 3440x1440p IPS Panel with sRGB99% color reproduction, NVIDIA's G-Sync technology, a fully customizable RGB lighting system, 120Hz overclocked refresh rate, 4ms response time, and connectivity that includes DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4, and 4 USB 3.0 ports. It's also tilt, swivel, and height-adjustable.
Standing in front of this monitor it's definitely a sight to see. And while I personally prefer a triple monitor setup and game on a 24" monitor when playing competitively, the vastness of the screen space on this monitor makes me think twice. I'd definitely prefer it on one of those eye-candy boasting AAA titles.
The pixel density is high and both gaming and movie watching are absolutely gorgeous on it.
Overall, if you want a large and responsive monitor that supports 1440p and G-Sync, this one is worth a look.
Asus PG279Q vs Acer XB271HU Gaming Monitor
No, the PG279Q wasn't released yesterday. But in a way, the price drop to $600 makes it a better deal than the day it was released.
For me, it checks all the boxes including; G-SYNC, IPS display, 165Hz refresh rate, thin bezel, and 1440p resolution.
Whether you like it or not may depend on your ability to use G-Sync as well as whether you'd prefer a curved display.
Compared to the Acer XB271HU and the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q. With the PG279Q Asus ROG Swift PG279Q at around $600 and the Acer model at $500 they're both reasonable options. Newer options like Alienware's 1900R offer a larger 34.1" display while being curved.
So, if you're looking at this price point, what are the differences that you'll find between the two? Here's a quick summary.
When you see both of these monitors side by side, the first thing you'll notice is that their some of the better-looking monitors you've ever seen. G-Sync makes an amazing difference and the higher refresh rate with it is something you'll have to experience for yourself. I'd give the slight edge overall in the picture category to the Asus PG279Q Swift as the colors just seemed to pop very slightly more.
Out of the box the Asus model feels a bit better constructed than the Acer Predator XB271HU and has a few more features as well. One of these features is the joystick on the back, which makes navigating the menu much simpler than what you'll get on the Asus.
For Bezel, both of these monitors are ultra-thin and, in my opinion, equals.
165Hz vs 144Hz vs 120Hz - Does it Make a Difference?
Having experienced gaming on all of these refresh rates, I'd say that it largely doesn't matter. In other words, if you already got a similar model from last year, I'd wait to upgrade at least another year.
Backlight Bleed or IPS Glow
Both of these monitors have a bit of backlight bleed or IPS glow. This is normal with these types of monitors. Occasionally, I've seen monitors with worse glow than others, so if you're concerned with that, you may have to try out more than one.
The big question here is whether or not premium features on the Asus, like the menu joystick, are worth the 20% price hike vs. the Acer XB271HU. It's a bit brighter and a bit sturdier but very similar quality overall. However, with the Asus model coming within $100 of the Acer model, our recommendation is to go with the Swift.
Acer Predator XB271HK - A Good 4k G-Sync Option
If you've got a machine that can power today's latest games in 4k, I'm envious.
If that's you, I highly recommend you take a look at Acer's Predator XB271HK gaming monitor. It's a 4k IPS UHD panel with a gray to gray response time of 4ms.
While it doesn't have the super-fast refresh rate of the 1440p monitors above, it does have G-Sync which eliminates screen tearing and display stutter while getting rid of any input lag.
Connectivity is versatile with 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI v 1.4, and 4 x USB 3.0 ports.
Overall, it's a good deal at around $600 and worth it if you'd rather have the extra resolution over higher frame rates.
2 Good 4k FreeSync IPS Gaming Monitors Under $500
Whether you have an AMD graphics card that uses FreeSync or you simply want a couple of good IPS displays, here are a couple of good options.
LG 27UD58-B 4k UHD IPS Monitor
The 27UD58-B from LG is a fantastic option for gamers looking for a 4k IPS monitor with low input lag. Additional gaming features like game mode and black stabilizer allow some flexibility based upon the games you're playing.
In addition, this monitor has FreeSync. So, if you have an AMD graphics card, you'll have a tear-free experience.
The 27UD58-B has a 4k S-IPS panel with fantastic viewing angles and 10 bit (8+A-FRC) color. For gaming it has a sub 1 frame input lag and around a 5ms response time. For refresh rate, it has 60Hz. However, for most this isn't an issue as in 4k going over 60 frames is difficult to drive in modern AAA titles.
In terms of color accuracy, it's decent at around NTSC of 72%. It's certainly not for use with high color-sensitive jobs; however, for those who don't need to keep colors perfectly accurate, you'll still get a fantastic experience. You'll get whites that are whites and good blacks too.
Overall, this is a fantastic series of monitors if you're looking for a good FreeSync or low input lag IPS monitor to game with. There's a 24" model of this exact panel; however, LG also has a 34" Ultrawide option in the 34UM57-P that we feel is worth looking at for gaming.
Asus 4k UHD FreeSync IPS Gaming Monitor MG24UQ
For around $100 less, take a look at Asus' MG24UQ. It has a lot of fantastic options you get on more expensive monitors and costs just around $300.
High-End Options for Less
Options I really like include the 5-way OSD joystick for quickly accessing and controlling the monitor. When you want to change color for a lot of different games, this makes things easy. In addition, the MG24UQ is a very ergonomic choice as it includes pivot, tilt, and swivel adjustment. If you're picky about the position of your monitor like I am, this is something you'll definitely appreciate.
The other thing I really like is that this monitor tends to be easy on your eyes. If you go from work on a computer to playing computer games afterwards, this is a must-have.
In terms of 4k responsiveness, this is one of the better options you can get with just 10ms of input lag. Right now, this is as good as it gets.
Even if you don't have an AMD Radeon graphics card, there's still a lot of appeal here. An inexpensive price, great looking panel, 4k resolution, and great gaming features all make the Asus MG24UQ a fantastic buy.
Also, if 1440p is enough and you'd prefer a bigger option, you might want to consider Asus' 27-inch version of this monitor.
2 Cheap and Good IPS Gaming Monitors With Low Input Lag Under $150
Don't want to spend $500 or $1,000? Here are two fantastic IPS monitors that have low input lag and cost under $150.
A Cheap and Good IPS Gaming Monitor to Consider
Don't have the money for one of the expensive monitors above or the graphics card to run above 60Hz? Here's a budget gaming monitor that's both responsive and a great value for the money you spend.
Before I upgrade to the more expensive monitors above, I used the Asus VS239H-P. It has an e-IPS panel, a 5ms GTG response time, and overall input lag of less than 1 frame.
For connectivity, it comes with DVI, Analog, and HDMI ports along with standard 100x100mm VESA wall mounting holes.
Overall, it's a great deal at just around $130 and should be a major consideration if you're looking to switch to a monitor with better viewing angles and color.
Dell UltraSharp U2312HM IPS Monitor
If you're looking for a less expensive option that's still fairly responsive, I strongly recommend you take a look at the Dell UltraSharp U2312HM. For around $200 you get an IPS panel monitor with wide viewing angles, .6ms input lag as shown at TFT Central, and 8ms GTG response time.
While this monitor does have a somewhat high response time when compared to TN panel monitors, it is not bad when using Dell's overdrive feature. Most won't notice the slight motion blur of the U2312HM.
Final Thoughts and U2312HM Vs. U2311H:
Overall the U2312HM is a solid gaming monitor at a good price. The previous year's model, the U2311H, is also a very good choice showing slightly less blurring with a higher, but still low, input lag of 10.6.
IPS Gaming Monitor Poll
TN Vs. IPS for Response Time, Input Lag, and Refresh Rate:
I recently finished a post on low input lag TN panel gaming monitors where I compared what I feel are the best TN panel gaming monitors at this point in time.
Compared to IPS monitors, TN panels made for gaming in general, do have faster response times. That being said the magic number for me personally is 4ms gray to gray which many of the e-IPS panels on the market are able to accomplish.
My Top 10 Budget Gaming Monitors (Under $200) for 2017
Monitor Terms to Know for PC and Console Gaming
Want to familiarize yourself with PC gaming monitor terms? Here's a shortlist I made for you to reference.
In terms of your monitor, this is the time it takes for a pixel to go from the deepest black to the whitest white and then return back to black. Manufacturers tend to post a GTG or gray to gray response time in order to post a faster time.
A slow response time can introduce blur and ghosting. I find this to be especially prevalent in monitors with a response time above 8ms. The lower the response time the cleaner fast action movement or scenes will be rendered.
This is the delay from when an input is entered in your keyboard, mouse, controller, or other device, and when it is displayed on your monitor.
This statistic is especially important when it comes to twitch sensitive fighting, RTS, or FPS games. Under 1 frame of input lag or 16ms or less is considered good in terms of gaming.
Your monitor's refresh rate is basically the amount of times per second it draws the images which it is receiving. A higher refresh rate gives players a smoother playing experience overall and allows you to see your opponent the second they make a move.
It's important to keep in mind that the refresh rate of your monitor is also affected by your video card. Since most monitors have at least a 60Hz refresh rate you'll need a video card that can give you in excess of 60 FPS or frames per second in order to take advantage of what a 60+ Hz refresh rate monitor has to offer.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2013 Brandon Hart
Speak Your Mind
Tonny Montana on October 26, 2017:
I wish there was a IPS monitor in 24 inch with 240 hz refresh rate and 1ms. This is all I really need.
Ryan on February 28, 2017:
@Brandon Hart is there an example for shawn makaveli's comment?
Pryda on December 10, 2016:
Acer R240HY everything gaming about this monitor. Input lag with real tested results and actual gtg specs.
Brandon Hart (author) from The Game on September 27, 2016:
That day is already here.
Aidil from Singapore on January 08, 2016:
@RAJ Judging by your comments I think you are really dumb. Also your english is really bad. Congrats! You just got scam by Alienware. Please come back and comment when you are smart enough...
RAJ on June 16, 2015:
These are all puny compared to CRTs. Puny puny. I'm sticking with my Alienware 120Hz 1080P. Single graphics cards just now became powerful enough to run 1080P fast. But just when that occurs they want you going higher rez like 4k. New kids are slow vs old school gamers. Quake1-3 fast needed CRT speed. Now everyone slow COD players so they live with lag worse than 1998.
inahut on May 23, 2015:
anything less than the hpzr30w--in terms of size--and in terms of its generously beautiful performance--is not worthy of comparison. this is a seriously great monitor. the review here is accurate. the price is not easy. the gift of it when one uses it for gaming is not at all disappointing or frustrating. 23 inch. 27 inch. no. 30 rules. if there was a bigger monitor not made by the inept lg name, I would own it today.
inahut on May 23, 2015:
have the hpzr30w, more than 2 years, nothing better out there now for the price and the effort to change to some new monitor. new offerings since this monitor are mere adjectives, no substantial nouns.
Brandon Hart (author) from The Game on November 29, 2013:
U2312HM has an input lag of just 9.3ms. Believe it or not it's used by many gamers.
randomvisitor on November 28, 2013:
Dell UltraSharp U2312HM?
Its real average response time is almost 20ms and inputlag is 26ms... seems at least "not suitable" for FPS games.
BenQ BL2411PT (S-IPS)
Real response 8ms, inputlag 4ms, similar price (in czech rep.)
Brandon Hart (author) from The Game on October 21, 2013:
Ya I am familiar with those... although at some level it's all a bit gimmicky for me at this point in time
SS4 on October 19, 2013:
What about the overclocked IPS monitor from places like Overlord Computer? They have some nice 120hz(OCed) 27" 1440p IPS.