Written by: Subhasish Adhikary

What Does Monitor Response Time Mean?

There are a few factors that one should look upon while purchasing a good quality monitor. Response time is one of them.

Apart from the response time, one should also consider the frame rate and refresh rate as well.

Response time is one of the most important features of a monitor, and mostly it’s been ignored while looking for a good monitor.

In this article, we’ll try to fit in-depth knowledge of monitor response time and its importance.

What is Monitor Response Time?

What Does Response Time Mean in PC Monitors?
What Does Response Time Mean in PC Monitors? PC courtesy: Flipkart.

Monitor time in simple words is the time which the monitor takes to shift from one color to another.

The lesser the response time, the better and smoother the color switch, thus the better image and video production.

Monitor response time matters the most from people into computer gaming or any other thing that involves motion like video creation and editing. 

Usually, the monitor’s response time is measured in Black to White to Black.

We measured it by the time that the monitor takes to switch from black to white and then again to black.

We measured it in milliseconds and usually, an average monitor’s response time is 10ms. 

Types of Response Time:

What Does Monitor Response Time Mean? 1
Types of Response Time

Black to White to Black: It is the standard motion indicator.

It is the time that the monitor takes to become fully active(white) to fully inactive(black) to fully active(white).

The time that the monitor takes to complete this round trip from black to white and then again to black is the response time of the monitor.

Basically, the time that the pixel takes to switch colors. These kinds of monitors are better for users looking for monitor ergonomics.

For example, in LCD, the time which the liquid crystals require rising and fall is the response time for it.

Gray to Gray(GtG): In gray to gray gradation, the pixels do not become completely inactive like that in black to white to black, rather they are partially inactive, and then an average of several grays to gray gradation response times are averaged which decides the response time for the monitor.

These kinds of monitors are better for those looking for better gaming experiences and videography. For example, in LCD there are 256 gradations of gray.

What kinds of monitors are the fastest?

What Does Monitor Response Time Mean? 2
What kinds of monitors are the fastest

Monitor’s response time should be considered if you are purchasing the same for gaming or videography purposes.

The panels present inside the monitor(LCD) decide the responsiveness of the monitor.

We can classify the panels into 3 categories at the time of writing. They are:

TN (Twisted Nematic) screen panels: These monitors are highly responsive.

They are inexpensive; the reason being that the color range is poor. People mostly choose monitors with less colorful TN panels for a better gaming experience.

We consider these monitors for gaming purposes more; they are less recommended for videography and photography purposes because of poor color range.

IPS (In-Plane Switching) screen panels: These monitors are expensive because of a wide range of color availability.

They have a higher response time as compared to TN screen panels and hence they are not marketed for gaming monitors.

Photographers and graphic designers mostly valued them.

VA (Vertical Alignment) screen panels: This is the amalgamation of TN screen panels and IPS screen panels. They have a low response time and also provide a wide range of colors.

These days, they come with refresh rates as low as 1 ms.

We can use them both for gaming and videography purposes.

Monitor Response Time vs Refresh Rate

What Does Monitor Response Time Mean? 3
Monitor Response Time vs Refresh Rate

Before comparing the monitor response time and refresh rate, let’s dig into what the refresh rate means in context to monitor.

Refresh rate is the number of times the monitor refreshes with the new image (frame) every second.

We measured it in Hertz.

The higher the quantity of hertz, the smoother the picture will be.

The refresh rate is another key feature that’s been thought of while buying a good quality monitor for gaming and videography purposes.

From the following example, one can easily understand the difference between monitor response time and refresh rate.

Let’s say a panel with a 120 Hertz refresh rate means the refresh time needed for a single fan is 120 seconds which is about 8 milliseconds.

Also read: Is 144Hz Monitors Worth It For Gaming?

If this panel also features 5 milliseconds response time which is shorter than the 8 millisecond means that the panel can finish changing pixel color before refreshing to the next frame, so there won’t be motion blur when playing games or watching videos. 

Recently we can see some panels with a high refresh rate for the low response time like 120 Hertz refresh rate with 24 millisecond response time.

With this combination, motion blur would be apparent during gameplay because after refreshing to the next frame the panel is still processing the color change of pixels.

The viewing quality would not be so good, especially for those things featuring lots of movement, like an FPS game or action movie. So we’ve talked.

Check this out: Best Curved Monitors in India

How important is response time on a monitor?

For people using computers for reading, casual surfing, shopping, or binge-watching, response time does not really matter but for people using computers for gaming and videography, the response time of the monitor plays an important factor for a seamless and smooth experience.

The lesser the response time of the monitor, the better.

A monitor with 5ms and a monitor with 1ms response time make all the difference for you. It enables you to perform distinct motions and avoid ghosting.

Also read: Best Full HD & 4K Ultra HD Monitors in India

The disadvantage of monitor with less response time

People suffering from headache and eye strain issues should avoid using highly responsive monitors since the complex image processing for maintaining the brightness and blue light filters are skipped.

Thus, it might cause eye strains and headaches.

In a nutshell, deciding the responsiveness of the monitor while purchasing solely depends on the purpose the monitor is bought for.

Monitors with a response time of 5ms or less are considered good if you are purchasing the monitor for gaming or videography purposes, whereas the monitors with higher response time are good as well for people purchasing the monitor for casual surfing, reading or binge-watching.

Frequently asked questions:

Is a 5ms response time bad?

5ms is a good response time for people using their monitor for gaming. It is a good response time for both casual gaming and professional gaming, where the competition is steep.

The key to decide with the responsiveness of the monitor for gaming is the lesser the response time, the better it is for gaming.

What is a good monitor response time?

A good monitor response time depends upon the purpose the monitor is used for. For example, a monitor with a higher response time is good if you use the monitor for casual surfing, reading, or binge-watching.

But if you are into gaming and videography, the monitor with lesser response time is recommended.

On average, the monitor with response time for a monitor used for gaming purposes should be 5ms or less.

For monitors used for casual surfing, reading, or binge-watching, response time greater than 5ms is also not bad.

Which is better, 1ms or 5ms?

Monitor with 1ms is better if you are considering a monitor for gaming purposes. The lesser the response time, the better it is for gaming and videography purposes.

Is a 5ms monitor good for gaming?

Monitor with 5ms is considered best for gaming. In general, any monitor with a response time of 5ms or lesser is considered good for gaming.

References:

https://www.viewsonic.com/library/tech/what-is-response-time-for-monitors/

https://www.howtogeek.com/405903/what-is-a-monitors-response-time-and-why-does-it-matter/

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Subhasish Adhikary

I'm constantly in search of the latest gadgets & technology news that I can share with you. In my meantime, I blog on topics ranging from digital marketing, online business, startups to tech gadgets.

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