How we test

Custom PC - - LAB TEST / MID- RANGE PROCESSORS -

The gam­ing mon­i­tor mar­ket has ex­ploded re­cently, thanks to the ar­rival of adap­tive re­fresh rates, su­per-wide and curved LCD pan­els, plus IPS dis­plays with high re­fresh rates. Most of these fea­tures don’t come for free, though, putting many gam­ing mon­i­tors out of the price range of many peo­ple. What’s more, if you’re af­ter pure gam­ing per­for­mance on a tight bud­get, some of those fea­tures are su­per­flu­ous to your re­quire­ments. In­stead, a mod­est-sized panel with a rel­a­tively low res­o­lu­tion, but a fast 144Hz re­fresh rate and 1ms re­sponse time, is the key.

One fea­ture that does come for free, how­ever, is AMD’s adap­tive sync tech­nol­ogy FreeSync. It en­ables your mon­i­tor to syn­chro­nise its re­fresh rate with your gam­ing frame rate, elim­i­nat­ing stut­ter­ing and tear­ing arte­facts. In con­trast, mon­i­tors with Nvidia’s equiv­a­lent tech­nol­ogy, G-Sync, tend to carry a pre­mium of £100 or so over other­wise iden­ti­cal mod­els. G-Sync is a bet­ter tech­nol­ogy, usu­ally syn­chro­nis­ing over a wider range of re­fresh rates, but for this test, we wanted to fo­cus on bud­get gam­ing dis­plays, so we’re only in­clud­ing FreeSync mod­els. We’ll do a roundup of G-Sync mon­i­tors at a later date.

This month, we re­view a se­lec­tion of 24in 1080p TN gam­ing pan­els, with 144Hz re­fresh rates and 1ms re­sponse times. Most of them also sup­port FreeSync. With prices rang­ing from £220 to £330, these prices are about as low as you can go while still get­ting great gam­ing per­for­mance. Most of these dis­plays also fea­ture other pre­mium ex­tras, such as ad­justable stands, mul­ti­ple in­puts and USB hubs.

We as­sess mon­i­tors on their de­sign, fea­tures, im­age qual­ity and gam­ing per­for­mance. We look­ing out for pre­mium build ma­te­ri­als or just a good eye for style. Ex­tra fea­tures in­clude USB hubs, speak­ers, ex­tra con­nec­tions and gam­ing modes.

For im­age qual­ity, we test each mon­i­tor in its de­fault con­fig­u­ra­tion straight from the box then see how easy it is to im­prove that pic­ture, if needed. Some dis­plays may be put right sim­ply be choos­ing a dif­fer­ent pre­set while oth­ers might need more ex­ten­sive tweak­ing. We’ll also take into ac­count im­age qual­ity once fully tweaked and cal­i­brated with a col­orime­ter.

As for gam­ing per­for­mance, most of these dis­plays should per­form very sim­i­larly – that is, very well in­deed – but we’ll look out for any idio­syn­cra­sies and re­port on any ex­tra fea­tures or modes.

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