The current best response time is 1ms, but the lower the better. Only TN panels, though, can get that low; IPS panels top out at 4ms.
In the end, 1ms is preferable for competitive gaming, while IPS may be preferable for casual gamers due to its superior visual quality.
If you’re a gamer, response time is one of the most crucial specs to look for in a monitor.
What Is Response Time?
The definition of response time is the first step in understanding this concept.
The speed with which a pixel transitions from black to white or from one shade of gray to another is what is meant by “response time.”
Always remember that the “real” response time is the one from black to white, while the “gray to gray” response time is more of a marketing ploy. Monitors’ black-and-white response times are typically slightly longer than their gray-to-gray times, even if the former is what the manufacturer emphasizes in marketing.
What Does Response Time Affect?
The sharpness and precision of the image of a moving object are most affected by the response time, which determines how quickly a pixel can change color.
A higher response time means a monitor has more trouble rendering fast-moving images correctly.
And in that case, what occurs? Note the following:
- blurred motion
Blurring of fast camera movements is the most noticeable side effect of a fast response time.
If that happens, the pixels may not have enough time to change colors, leading to a pixelated image. Those who are easily seasick may find this especially distressing.
In a similar vein, ghosting can occur when the camera moves quickly.
Because pixels can’t take the time to change color, any on-screen object that moves will appear as a vanishing silhouette.
What Is the Best Response Time For Gaming?
What is the ideal response time for a gamer? is the final and titling question.
To put it simply, the lower, the better, but there is always a catch.
The problem isn’t with the response time itself, but rather with the technology used to make modern monitors.
Most modern monitors use either TN (twisted nematic) or IPS (in-plane switching) panels. There are benefits and drawbacks to both of these technologies, including response time.
The response time of TN panels is 1ms, which is significantly lower than the 4ms limit of IPS panels.
But this raises an even more pressing issue:
Can You See The Difference?
Think about how players feel about first-person shooters in games. While some consider 30 FPS unplayable, others claim they can’t tell the difference between that and 60 FPS. It’s a similar story when thinking about response times.
To continue the analogy, though, it’s important to remember that it’s more challenging to adjust to 30 FPS if you’re used to a much higher one. The same holds true for how long it takes to get a response. If you’ve only ever used a 1ms screen, a 4ms one might feel too slow.
So, how to check?
In-person interactions are preferred. You can test how high of a response time you can tolerate without leaving your house, and most major hardware stores have monitors on display for customers to try. A little help from your TV is all that’s needed.
In general, response times on televisions are quite slow because this metric is not particularly relevant to their typical function. Manufacturers therefore rarely specify the exact response time of a TV, although most fall within the 8-15 ms range. The response time of a TV will undoubtedly be greater than the 4ms of an IPS monitor.
The Truth Behind Response Time
Here’s why you shouldn’t let a slow response time throw you off. If you want a more fluid gaming experience, a monitor with a higher refresh rate is your best bet.
In any case, a frame rate of 30 FPS will result in a choppy visual and auditory experience. However, with a 144 Hz monitor running at 144 FPS, a response time of 5 ms is still sufficient to give the impression of fluid motion and decent visual quality.
In order to lessen the motion blur on the screen, which is caused by slower response times, a lower response time is ideal.
Better visuals are possible, but between 5ms and 1ms, the difference is imperceptible.
Additionally, motion blur, smearing, and ghosting are highly monitor-specific. I wish I could say that all or no monitors will have any ghosting at 1ms, but I simply can’t.
Nonetheless, ghosting may still manifest itself, with the monitor’s current settings being a possible contributor.
The amount of ghosting on my screen increases dramatically when I use the fastest response time setting.
In addition, screens don’t always respond as quickly as they claim to. The response time in practice may vary significantly from the stated time of response.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll delve deeper into this topic.
Just to be crystal clear, response time is not the same thing as Input Lag. However, there is a world of difference between the two, and yet many people continue to get them mixed up.
The speed with which your screen transitions between colors is measured by its “response time.”
To put it simply, response time is not how quickly your actions and inputs are reflected on the screen.
No matter how low the cost of the panel or the refresh rate, I will never choose a monitor with a slower response time.
In the end, a response time of 5 milliseconds or less is preferable and barely distinguishable from a response time of 10 milliseconds or less.
Finding Better Sources Of Information On Both Latency And Response Time
The current state of response time testing is unfortunate because there is no universal method.
Consequently, monitors are used in ideal conditions where 1ms is possible, but your experience may be very different.
An expert benchmarking reviewer who understands how to test monitors to determine their actual response time is the best bet for getting accurate response time numbers.
You may find that the actual response time is significantly longer than the claimed 1 ms.
So far, rtings.com is the best website I’ve seen that conducts these kinds of tests. To see how many different monitors really perform in terms of response time, check out this link to their response time testing page.
Does Screen Size Affect Response Time?
When playing more reactive games that require you to be quick and sharp, it is important to keep in mind that the larger the screen, the slower the response time.
There is some discussion about the optimal monitor size for gaming; however, we believe that monitors under 27 inches are generally adequate for these games; therefore, you shouldn’t immediately be drawn to the largest monitors available.
What Is A Good Response Time For A Gaming Monitor?
Although 1ms is ideal for a gaming monitor’s response time, some 5ms monitors will still provide a sufficiently smooth visual experience for the vast majority of games.
Where you will probably notice a difference is in games with a lot of moving parts.
If we had to throw in our two cents, we’d say that competitive gamers should invest in a TN display with a 144 Hz refresh rate and a 1 ms response time.
However, response time isn’t the most important factor to consider if you want to experience true cinematic immersion. When playing games on a PS5 or Xbox Series X, we recommend upgrading to a large, high-quality HMDI 2.1 display.
Keep reading for this month’s best gaming monitor recommendations if you’re in the market for a new display.
What Response Time Is Good For Gaming?
For the most part, a response time of 1 millisecond to 5 milliseconds is considered optimal for gaming. But if you value speed above all else, look for displays with a 1ms response time or faster.
Those who play at a competitive level will benefit the most from 1ms monitors.
Having a clearer picture that shows motion with minimal blur makes it simpler to pinpoint your targets with pinpoint precision.
Furthermore, acquiring a 1ms is not prohibitively expensive these days. While 1ms is standard across all price points, more expensive features like higher refresh rates, different panel types, and higher resolutions are not.
This could explain why all 1ms aren’t necessarily expensive; moving to a lower response time is noticeable, but not as noticeable as moving from 60 to 144hz.
You can see and possibly appreciate the sharper image if you play games solo, but you don’t need to.
Having a 3ms or 5ms response time isn’t the worst thing for a monitor to lack in terms of performance or visual quality, so long as it meets your other needs.
Switching from a 1ms monitor to a 5ms monitor is the best way to experience the difference between the two. Otherwise, they’ll look identical at first glance.
Is there a clear winner between 1ms and 4ms or higher if you have the ability to distinguish between them?
All of this brings us back to the original debate over TN vs. IPS. Simply put, TN has faster response times, but IPS has wider viewing angles and more accurate colors.
So, if you’re a competitive gamer who needs every edge you can get, we can only suggest a 1ms TN monitor. The superior visuals of an IPS monitor, however, are worth putting up with a slower response time of 4ms for.