How we test
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.