With a new generation of consoles appearing imminently, and existing models likely to become cheaper pretty rapidly, there’s never been a better time to upgrade your TV or monitor to make the most of your gaming time.
If you’re buying a TV to watch TV, your needs will be a little different than if you’re buying one for gaming. It’s not that your TV can’t do both, but there are a few specific features you should put at the top of your shopping list if gaming is your primary leisure activity.
What to look for in a gaming TV or monitor
- Low latency: The speed at which a TV can render images is far more important for gaming than it is for regular video delivery. Most monitors that sell themselves as “gaming” monitors will already have low latency as a key feature, but for many TVs it’s a more mixed matter. Look for a TV that offers 30ms of latency or lower.
- High refresh rates: As a gamer, you’re probably already across this, and if you’ve used any 120Hz or greater monitor for gaming you’ll appreciate how much of a benefit those higher refresh rates are. There’s a tradeoff here for many TVs – and especially most OLEDs to date – between visual fidelity and refresh rates that you’ll have to juggle depending on your gaming styles of choice and preference. However, if you are looking to pick up a PS5 or Xbox Series X, it makes sense to make the most of its capabilities both now and into the future.
- HDMI 2.1: Want to make the most out of Sony and Microsoft’s new consoles? Then look for a TV with support for HDMI 2.1. It’s the current latest revision of the HDMI specification, with support for resolutions up to 8K, 120Hz and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) – which is of course a bit of a must for any gamer worth their salt. Not every HDMI 2.1 TV will support every gaming-centric feature, but it’s a good place to start. So far, only a handful of TVs in the local market are HDMI 2.1-ready, and they’re all on the very expensive side, to put it politely. So what happens if you do end up with a TV lacking HDMI 2.1? It’s largely a question of lower scale feature sets due to the lower bandwidth of the older HDMI standards. So for example, while HDMI 2.0b can handle 4K, it can’t push data fast enough to manage it above 60fps. If you can afford an HDMI 2.1-ready TV, though, you’re going to be set for some time to come.
- Connector options: Chances are pretty good that you won’t only be connecting up your shiny new games console to your TV unless you live alone, and even then it’s a good idea to get a TV with multiple HDMI inputs, support for standards such as eARC and even possibly some older connectors depending on what else you might want to plug into it in the future.
If you are going quite dedicated and looking for a gaming monitor, it’s much the same story, but you’re generally open to much higher refresh rates on monitors sold with a specific gaming purpose. The one big difference here is screen size, because most of us tend to play games on a monitor sitting much closer than with our TVs. As such you can somewhat get away with buying a smaller monitor than the equivalent TV, unless you do want that “full wall” style experience when gaming. You’re also much less likely to find old-school connector types on gaming monitors if that’s important to you.
Gaming monitors are also an area where you’ll see more options in the curved screen space. That was a trend in TVs a few years, ago, but it’s one that many makers have walked away from for home TV panel use. Because of that close viewing angle, some gamers prefer curved monitors for immersion, but that’s a tradeoff with potential glare, because that curve attracts light from more directions than a purely flat panel.
Samsung 65″ QLED UHD 8K Smart TV QA65Q800TAWXXY $4,199
The story here is 8K support, and while you will pay a premium for 8K right now, that should mean you’re able to jump into the very best visual fidelity on your new gaming console from day one. For non-8K content, the Samsung QA65Q800TAWXXY offers 8K upscaling, and when you’re not watching TV on it, Samsung’s Real Game Enhancer claims to optimise for lower input lag and picture quality for game-specific content.
LG Ultragear 27GL850-B $849
LG’s Ultragear 27GL850 ticks a lot of boxes for next-gen gamers and PC gamers alike, with 144Hz refresh rates, support for G-Sync and AMD FreeSync and a claimed 1ms response time. It’s a QHD (2560×1440) LCD monitor with a claimed DCI-P3 98 per cent coverage and dynamic action sync with black stabiliser features for enhanced visual clarity.
Samsung 55″ Series 8 TU8000 Crystal UHD 4K TV UA55TU8000WXXY $1139
If you’re on a more modest budget than an 8K TV, Samsung’s 55″ Series 8 TV might be a solid compromise. It’s 4K ready with HDR10+ support and a dedicated game mode that promises (as they usually do) reduced input lag and fast motion control when enabled.
Dell 27-Inches LCD Gaming Monitor, Black, S2719DGF $661.95
Dell might not be the name that you think of immediately when gaming comes to mind, but bear in mind that it’s also the owner of Alienware, so it does have some skin in the game. Dell’s 27-inch QHD monitor supports AMD Freesync if you’re hooking up a PC, and comes with dual HDMI (1.4/2.0) ports so you can more easily hook up multiple devices and then configure them to your taste with support for multiple game profiles.
LG 27UL600-W 27″ UHD 4K IPS Monitor $581.95
LG’s 4K (3840×2160) gaming monitor features support for AMD Freesync and LG’s own inbuilt game mode with very low lag rates, making it a good all-round gaming choice.
Editor’s note: Descriptions and features are as taken from manufacturer/seller claims on Amazon.
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