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When it comes to gaming, the monitor is where the rubber meets the road. Even the best gaming rigs on the market will seem like rubbish if they’re paired with a lousy monitor. Likewise, a lackluster gaming computer can make up for it with the right monitor. With this in mind, we set out to find the best gaming monitor under $100 and came up with the six options we reviewed below.
How to Pick the Best Gaming Monitor Under $100 For Your Needs
Now that we’ve reviewed our top picks for the best gaming monitor under $100, let’s look at some of the most important specs to keep an eye on. These are all important to know for any monitor purchase, but we’ve ordered them from most to least important when it comes to this price point.
When it comes to budget monitors, nothing will affect overall performance like panel type. Panel type plays a large part in how colorful a monitor will be, how responsive it will be, and its viewing angles. There are three main types of panels that are used in computer monitors today:
- TN Panels: TN panels are the cheapest to manufacture and are often found in monitors under $100 like the ones we’re looking at here. TN panels are known for lacking in color and having very poor viewing angles. This means that when you look at the monitor from off center the colors become distorted and the image can be hard to discern. TN panels do have one distinct advantage however, which is that they are usually the fastest of the three panel types allowing for lower response times and higher refresh rates.
- VA Panels: None of the monitors on our list use a VA panel, so we’re going to overlook this one a bit. In short though, VA panels represent a middle ground between TN and IPS panels.
- IPS Panel: IPS panels are generally considered the most desirable overall and are the most expensive to produce in most cases. They boast the best viewing angles of all the monitor types and can produce robust and vibrant colors. That said, they usually have higher response times than comparable TN panels.
Refresh Rate and Response Time
Refresh rate and response time are very important for gamers to be aware of. The refresh rate is a measure of how many frames per second a given monitor can show on screen. The higher this number the more smooth motion on screen will appear and the higher the frame rates your games will be able to run at (assuming your computer can manage it).
Response time is closely related and is a measurement of how quickly the pixels on the monitor can change from one shade to another. A very slow response time can result in ghosting or other artifacts where a trail is left behind an object as it moves around on screen.
Faster response times can also offer a competitive advantage since changes to an object’s position in game will be rendered on your screen a split second sooner on monitors with lower response times.
Resolution and PPI
Resolution is a spec that almost everyone these days is already well familiarized with. All of the monitors on our list use the standard HD resolution of 1920 by 1080. What differentiates some of the monitors from the others is the pixels per inch, or PPI.
This is a measurement of how densely packed the pixels are on screen and is inversely related to the size of the monitor. The larger the monitor is at a given resolution the lower the PPI will be, which results in a slightly less sharp image.
In this case, all of these monitors look pretty sharp considering the price and budget. In short, other factors, like panel type, will have a much larger effect at this point.