How To Choose a Monitor for Gaming on a Budget 

Choosing the right monitor for gaming can be a daunting task, especially when you’re on a budget. With so many options available, it’s important to know what features to prioritize. After all, finding the right gaming monitor that matches your gaming preferences can make all the difference. 

When it comes to gaming, not just any old monitor will cut it. Gamers today crave high-res screens, quick refresh rates, and responsive panels for a competitive edge. We all know that top-tier features can hit your wallet hard, but don’t worry! With some savvy research, you can find yourself a gaming monitor that strikes the perfect balance between performance and price.

Choosing the Perfect Match for Your Rig and Space

First things first, before even searching for gaming monitors, take a good look at your gaming setup – whether it’s a trusty PC or a sleek console. Your gaming device will determine the compatibility of gaming monitors and set their performance limits, helping you to narrow down the options.

Next, consider your gaming habitat – are you a nomadic gamer, always on the move? Or do you conquer virtual worlds from your home office? Your gaming environment plays a massive role in choosing the right monitor size. If you’re the type that’s always on the go, a portable gaming monitor, like the OMNI VX1755, might be your perfect match. On the other hand, if you game in your home office, you might want to consider the multitasking marvels that are

Once your setup is clear, you can start to examine the monitor itself. Key factors include the panel type, resolution, refresh rate, and response time. By carefully evaluating these aspects, you can confidently choose the right gaming monitor for your setup.

Panel Type

When you’re on the hunt for a gaming monitor, one of your first big choices is the type of panel. It determines the image quality, response time, viewing angles, contrast ratio, and other aspects of your gaming experience. When picking your panel type, think about what games you love to play – that way, you’ll find the perfect monitor for your gaming style.

There are four main panel types to choose from: TN (twisted nematic), IPS (in-plane switching), VA (vertical alignment), and OLED (organic light-emitting diode). Now, OLED panels are the newest and most advanced panel type for gaming monitors, but they come at a steep price, so we won’t dig too deep into them.

Gaming Monitor Panel Types

TN panels are loved by competitive gamers for their lightning-fast response times, crucial for minimizing motion blur in fast-paced games where split-second reactions matter. However, TN panels aren’t exactly known for their color accuracy and their viewing angles can be narrower than the likes of IPS and VA panels.

IPS panels are the reigning kings of the gaming monitor scene due to their excellent color accuracy and wide viewing angles, enhancing the visual appeal of your gaming experience. The catch? Cheaper models can be a bit slower compared to TN panels, though current IPS monitors have caught up to speed on response times However, they’re perfect for casual gamers who want stunning visuals and don’t mind if their monitor isn’t setting any speed records.

VA (Vertical Alignment) panels fit somewhere between the fast response times of TN panels and the vibrant colors and wide viewing angles of IPS panels. With response times typically ranging from 4ms to 8ms, they provide a satisfactory gaming experience. Additionally, the inky blacks these monitors produce complement horror, RPGs, and other atmospheric genres where every shadow counts. 

Image Quality

The make-or-break factor when it comes to image quality and detail is the gaming monitor’s resolution – the number of pixels it has. The higher the resolution, the sharper and more vibrant your games become. But crispier 4K visuals can come at a higher price tag and a demand for a powerful graphics card. Luckily, 2K (1440p) and Full HD (1080p) resolutions are available in budget-friendly gaming monitors, offering a solid gaming experience.

When it comes to making your visuals pop, you can’t ignore the monitor’s color gamut and contrast ratio. Color gamut sets the monitor’s color range, while the contrast ratio is the difference between the deepest blacks and the brightest whites. Although impressive color gamut and contrast ratios can get pricey, you can still find budget-friendly options offering decent color accuracy and a minimum 1000:1 contrast ratio. Plus, if your gaming device supports it, (High Dynamic Range) compatible monitors are available at a reasonable price. The HDR10 standard supercharges contrast and color depth for immersive gaming. 

Refresh Rate and Response Time

The refresh rate is like your gaming monitor’s heartbeat. It describes how often the image on the screen refreshes each second. While high refresh rates deliver smooth and blur-free visuals – ideal for intense action – they demand some serious muscle from your graphics card. Fortunately, today, budget-friendly gaming monitors with a high refresh rate, often exceeding 144Hz, extend quality gaming experiences to casual gamers.

Also contributing to smooth and blur-free visuals is the monitor’s response time. Response time is all about how fast those pixels can switch colors on your screen. This means that lower response times, typically around 1ms or 2ms MPRT (Moving Picture Response Time), produce smoother and more immersive gameplay. While lower response times can cost more, a response time of up to 5ms should still offer decent gaming without burning a hole in your pocket.

Additionally, Adaptive Sync technologies, such as G-Sync for NVIDIA GPUs and FreeSync for AMD GPUs, can improve your gaming experience. They synch the monitor’s refresh rate with your gaming device’s graphics card output to reduce screen tearing and stuttering for smoother visuals. The good news is that you don’t need to dig too deep in your pockets to find a gaming monitor with Adaptive Sync. Just ensure that the monitor’s Adaptive Sync is compatible with your gaming device.

The Budget Monitor for Your Gaming Preference

Finding the perfect gaming monitor to match your budget and preferences is no small feat, but we’ve got your back. Here’s the lowdown on what features to look out for based on your gaming style:

Competitive Gaming

TN used to be the go-to choice for competitive gaming, but with the evolution of IPS technology, you no longer need to sacrifice visual quality, even on a lower budget. Keep your sights set on a 1080p resolution monitor that offers decent color accuracy so you can enjoy a clear image. This resolution allows your graphics card to laser-focus on those high frame rates demanded by fast-paced genres like FPS, Fighters, and MOBAs. Finally, gaming monitors with a 144Hz or higher refresh rate and a 1ms or faster response time – like these – ensure smooth gameplay for competitive gamers.

Casual Gaming

If you’re into gaming from time to time but don’t want to splurge on a fancy esports monitor, IPS panels are your go-to. These panels can  handle all your work and entertainment demands while still delivering remarkable gaming performance. Paired with a 1080p resolution, they elevate your gaming experience with enhanced color accuracy and wider viewing angles. While higher rates provide smoother gameplay, a 100Hz refresh rate is enough for a decent experience. And when it comes to response times, they can approach 5ms without ruining your gaming experience.

Immersive Gaming

For immersive genres like horror games and atmospheric RPGs, VA and IPS panels strike a good balance between speed and color accuracy. If your budget allows, set your sights on a 2K Quad HD (1440p) resolution. If not, then don’t worry – 1080p still offers an enjoyable gaming experience. While high refresh rates and low response times are not essential for these genres, a refresh rate of at least 100Hz and a response rate of up to 8ms can still provide satisfactory gameplay without costing a fortune.

Final Thoughts

Selecting the perfect gaming monitor for your budget can be a challenging yet rewarding task. Whether you’re a competitive gamer seeking lightning-fast responses, a casual gamer looking for a balance between play and work, or an enthusiast of immersive genres, there’s a gaming monitor out there that strikes the perfect balance between performance and price. By understanding the key features – panel type, resolution, refresh rate, and response time – you can narrow down your options and choose the best gaming monitor for your gaming style and budget.