High refresh rate monitors have traditionally been aimed at gamers, but they have a broader appeal. Manufacturers such as Samsung and Apple have begun including high-resolution displays in their phones and tablets. Should you also get one for your office computer?
What is a High Refresh Rate Monitor (HRR)?
A monitor’s refresh rate is the number of times the display updates per second, and it’s measured in hertz (Hz). Most basic displays stick to 60 Hz, which means the maximum frame rate you can perceive on these displays is 60 frames per second (FPS).
If you play a lot of games and have invested in a powerful computer to do so, it might achieve frame rates higher than 60 FPS. To maximize frame rates, some competitive gamers reduce the resolution and detail settings. This decreases input lag, which makes the experience smoother.
Doing this on a 60 Hz monitor might deliver a slight reduction in input lag, but you won’t see the benefit of those extra frames because the monitor can’t keep up. This could cause blurry motion on the screen. This problem can be solved by high-resolution monitors.
Generally, anything above 144 Hz is considered a high refresh rate monitor. However, most displays that go beyond 60 Hz count, including the 90 Hz displays in VR headsets, and the 120 Hz display in the iPad Pro.
If you’re on the market for a high refresh rate monitor, you likely want to look at 144 Hz or above. For a gamer who must have it all, 240 Hz monitors do exist. These monitors are especially popular with competitive multiplayer gamers, as they provide excellent graphic quality and fast response times.
Screen tearing is a problem that high-resolution monitors can cause. Screen tearing occurs when the refresh rate and frame are not compatible. As the monitor attempts to process an image, it creates ugly horizontal lines (“tears”)
Variable refresh rate (VRR) monitors attempt to solve this issue with technologies like NVIDIA’s proprietary G-Sync and the open-source AMD-backed FreeSync. To eliminate screen tearing, VRR monitors lower the refresh rate to match the framerate of the game.
You Don’t Need One, But It’s Still Great
How does a high-refresh rate monitor perform when performing more mundane tasks? The most basic computing tasks such as browsing the internet or managing files don’t require much power. A desktop will be able to benefit from a high-resolution monitor.
Firstly, your computer will seem more responsive. It will feel more responsive to everything, from moving the cursor around and dragging windows to opening applications. You might need to try it for yourself to see the benefits. You’ll definitely notice the difference if you ever return to a 60 Hz monitor.
One of the best points of reference for a higher refresh rate monitor is Apple’s iPad Pro. In 2015, Apple introduced the first 120 Hz displays in a consumer tablet. Customers and reviewers noticed the difference right away. Since the introduction of these iPad Pro models, we have tried them all and found that they are noticeably more comfortable.
Apple added 120 Hz displays to the iPhone 13 Pro as part of the “ProMotion” feature. Samsung also went to 120 Hz with the Galaxy S20. OnePlus, ASUS, OPPO, and Razer all sell Android smartphones with 120 Hz display modes. A mobile device’s refresh rate can be doubled, which can affect battery life. However, it is not something that you need to worry about when using a desktop monitor. (That’s why the iPhone’s ProMotion uses variable refresh rates, allowing it to go below 120 Hz when there’s no movement on the screen. )
No one needs a high refresh rate monitor for simple computing tasks. A monitor at 60 Hz does the job just fine. In the office or study realms, a high refresh rate monitor is like a comfortable chair or pricey mechanical keyboard–you don’t need it, but it’s nice to have.
High Refresh Rate Monitors are Now Cheaper
High refresh rate monitors with variable rates used to be cutting-edge. However, 144 Hz is starting to look a little stale as 240 Hz monitors arrive in droves. This also means monitors with the more modest 144 Hz refresh rate have fallen in price.
The panel type can also make a huge difference in terms price. The oldest type of LCD available is the TN panel. Since their introduction, they have seen significant improvements. They still have issues with poor color accuracy, poor viewing angles and washed out blacks.
They’re also the cheapest of all the panel types. Since LG hit the one-millisecond barrier in its UltraGear IPS monitor in 2019, TN panels are no longer the only choice for competitive gamers. You can now get better blacks, color accuracy, and viewing angles in an IPS panel, complete with low latency and high refresh rates.
TN panels have become less in demand. A high-resolution monitor with a TN panel should be available at a reasonable price. You can find off-brand monitors with high refresh rates for around $250; add an extra $50-$100 if you want something name-brand.
High refresh rate monitors are available in all panel types. VA panels provide the best image quality, but with a lot of input lag. IPS panels provide a great compromise between image quality and responsiveness. However, TN panels are not the best for overall image reproduction.
Try a High Refresh Rate Monitor in Person
There is no one-size-fits all monitor. When shopping for a monitor, there are too many things to remember.
For example, in addition to standard office work, will you be gaming, or editing phot