Monitors are all the same, right? After all they are all used to view whatever it is you are doing on your computer. There can’t be anything that special about them and I should be able to use any of them to do whatever I want with good results. While this may have been the case several years ago, it is not the case by a long shot today. Modern computer monitors are technologically advanced pieces of hardware that, depending on the specifications, can give you an outstanding computing experience or a crummy one. This is most apparent with monitors that are used for gaming. Most standard monitors are great for looking at Excel of Word or browsing the internet, but gaming monitors have to live up to rigorous expectations of clarity, color, and advanced features.
What to Look For – LCD vs LED
What does one look for when considering the purchase of a monitor specifically for gaming? There are a few key features to seek out, with the first and foremost being the type of backlight technology used to produce the images – fluorescent LCD or LED LCD. Each pixel of a monitor is colored by minute bits of red, blue, or green color produced by either an LCD or LED cluster. The technology behind the screen surface is important as LED monitors, which tend to be newer, give you more balanced lighting, deeper blacks, and more vibrant color. LED monitors also are thinner and lighter than LCD’s and use 40% less power. LED’s, however, are more expensive and can sometimes be outside of the budget. Size is another important factor but for this article we are going to focus only on 27-inch monitors. These large monitors are great for gaming, graphics, design, and other applications where a lot of screen “real estate” is desirable. While they are more expensive and can vary quite a bit in price, if you have the budget, 27-inch monitors are the way to go. A monitor’s brightness, contrast ratio, and resolution are key to helping produce clear, crisp, and vibrant images.
Brightness is rated in Candelas per Meter Squared (cd/m²) and 200 – 300cd/m² is considered the optimum range for brightness. Contrast ratio is the measure of the difference between the brightest white and the darkest black. A high contrast ratio is best and will result in a higher quality experience.
Resolution is the number of pixels contained within the screen area. Most of today’s gaming monitors will have Full HD 1080p capability which will give you a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Finish – Matte Vs. Glossy
A few other features to look for in a good gaming monitor are the screen finish, refresh rate, if the monitor is 2D or 3D, and the included viewing angle. Screen finish is typically either matte or glossy. Glossy screens look a little more vibrant that matte, but matte screens reduce glare from the background environment significantly and will be easier on your eyes for longer periods of time.
The refresh rate determines how smooth the action looks with higher refresh rates being desirable – although typically there is no discernible difference between a 60Hz and 120Hz rate. Refresh rate is most important when purchasing a 3D monitor as the rate is cut in half to produce the separate images needed for the 3D effect (a 120Hz monitor actually operates at 60Hz in 3D). 3D monitors are newer to the market and can offer a unique gaming experience in which you are immersed into the game play. Viewing angle can be important in a gaming monitor depending on the configuration of your gaming environment. If you are going to be viewing a monitor from any angle other than head on, then a monitor featuring IPS (In Plane Switching) is essential. IPS allows you to view the monitor at a wide angle range and still get a clear image. Some newer monitors feature a new type of IPS called E-IPS (enhanced) which gives you crisper images at even higher viewing angles. Now comes the good stuff. Let’s look at some of the best 27-inch gaming monitors for 2011.
27 Inch PC Gaming Monitors – Best of 2011
ASUS VE276Q The ASUS VE276Q is a TFT LCD monitor that lives for gaming and gives you a great experience. The VE276Q features a Full HD 1080p resolution (1920 x 1080) with a max brightness of 300cd/m² and a 100,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. This means that you will get vibrant clear images in any environment. With enhancing features such as AI light, which automatically detects the lighting environment and adjusts the display brightness, and Splendid Video Intelligence Technology which lets you optimize the contrast and color the way you like using six preset color modes and three skin tone modes, the ASUS VE276Q gives you the power to make it your own. The VE276Q features a host of connection options with its’ DVI-D, VGA, HDMI 1.3, and Display Port inputs. Built-in speakers and cable management round give this gaming monitor the extra touches that make it one of the best.
Acer HN274H bmiiid – Best 27 inch 3D LED Gaming Monitor of 2011
The Acer HN274H BMIIID is one of the most advanced LED 3D monitors on the market. This monitor will give you an immersive gaming experience unlike any other. Featuring Full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080 resolution), a 16:9 aspect ratio, 300cd/m² brightness, and a 2ms response time, the technical details are all there to ensure that you get great images. The HN274H BMIIID offers a huge 100,000,000:1 contrast ratio and VGA, DVI-D, and HDMI inputs for connecting to your computer. The Acer HN274H BMIIID gives you great sound with its’ built-in speakers and, since this is a 3D monitor, comes with NVIDIA 3D glasses so you can have a full 3D experience right out of the box. The advanced features and 3D capability along with the Acer name make the HN274H BMIIID a best gaming monitor of 2011 These are only a small handful of the great 27-inch gaming monitors being sold today. Some other monitors to consider are the Samsung S27A750D, HP 2711X, Planar Systems PX2710MW, and the ViewSonic VA2702W. If you have a little more room in your budget you could also consider the Apple LED Cinema Display 27” which is an outstanding monitor.
ViewSonic is a well-recognized monitor manufacturer that produces top of the line equipment. The ViewSonic VX2739WM LCD monitor is indeed one of the best that ViewSonic has to offer and boasts a 1ms response time which they claim is a World first. The VX2739WM features Full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080 resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio), a max brightness of 300cd/m², and a 100,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio (1200:1 fixed) for high quality image reproduction. For connectivity, theViewSonic VX2739WM features VGA, DVI-D, and HDMI 1.3 inputs as well as an audio in jack which delivers audio to the built-in speakers with SRS Premium Sound, and four USB ports (two on the side of the monitor and two next to the other ports on the bottom). With all of the features listed here, and many others not listed, the VX2739WM deserves to be on the best list for 2011. Unfortunately it’s not available from many manufacturers as it’s recently been replaced by the LED version the VX2753MH-LED.