What is monitor response time?

Image of a BenQ monitor featuring a solider in camo shooting a gun on the display.
Credit: BenQ

Image of a BenQ monitor featuring a solider in camo shooting a gun on the display.
Credit: BenQ

In today's digital age, monitors and TVs play a crucial role in our daily lives, serving as windows into the vast world of information, entertainment, and gaming. However, navigating the technical aspects of display technology can be overwhelming, especially for beginners who aren't necessarily tech-savvy.

One key factor to consider when choosing a monitor or TV, apart from picture clarity, sound quality, and energy efficiency, is response time. If you do a quick search online for the best gaming monitors, it’s one of the main selling points alongside resolution and refresh rate, but what does it all mean?

In this beginner-friendly guide, we will demystify monitor response time and explore its significance in delivering a superior visual experience.

What is response time on a monitor or TV?

Response time refers to the time it takes for a monitor or TV screen to transition from one colour to another. It is commonly measured in milliseconds (ms) and often represents how quickly a pixel shifts from black to white and then back to black again. A lower response time indicates a faster transition between colours, resulting in smoother motion and reduced motion blur.

Black flatscreen monitor on a desk with a black keyboard, mouse, mouse mat, and PC.
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Credit: Ella Don
A monitor with a fast response time can drastically improve your gaming setup.

Different types of display technologies, such as LED (Light Emitting Diode) and LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), have varying response times. LED screens generally offer faster response times compared to older LCD screens, resulting in sharper image rendering. However, it's worth noting that LED screens can still exhibit motion blur in certain situations.

To measure response time, a common metric used is grey-to-grey (GTG), which measures the time it takes for a pixel to shift between two shades of grey. GTG response time provides a more accurate representation of the monitor's performance, as it covers a wider range of colour transitions. A lower GTG response time is generally preferred, as it signifies better image clarity and a reduction of image or video artifacts, such as ghosting.

Why is a lower response time better for a monitor?

A lower response time offers several advantages for your viewing experience. Firstly, it reduces motion blur, ensuring that fast-moving objects appear crisp and clear. This is particularly important for activities such as gaming, watching live sports, or enjoying fast-paced action movies, where quick reactions and smooth visuals are essential.

On the other hand, a higher response time can result in noticeable motion blur and ghosting, making the image appear smeared or trailing behind. This can be distracting and diminish the overall visual quality. Therefore, if you're aiming for a more immersive and fluid experience, a monitor with a lower response time is preferable.

How can a fast response time make you a better gamer?

Side-by-side in-game image from God of War of Kratos in brown, red, and gold armour on the left holding Atreus on the right with a slight blur.
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Credit: God of War
A longer monitor response time can lead to motion blur (shown on right)

For gamers, a fast response time is of utmost importance. In competitive gaming, where split-second decisions and reactions can determine victory or defeat, a monitor with a low response time is crucial. It ensures that the image on the screen closely follows your inputs, minimising input lag and providing a more accurate representation of the game's current state.

Moreover, fast response times enable smoother graphics rendering, particularly in high-fidelity games with detailed visuals. This eliminates motion artifacts and enhances the overall visual quality, allowing you to fully appreciate the intricate details of the game world.

In fast-paced FPS (First-Person Shooter) games like Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, or Overwatch, where quick reflexes and precise aiming are vital, a monitor with a low response time allows for instantaneous updates on the screen. This helps you react faster to enemy movements, improving your performance and providing a competitive edge.

What are some of the best monitors for response time?

If you’re looking to upgrade your gaming monitor, or just browsing for gift ideas for the future, here are some top-tier monitors, including one of the best ultrawide monitors around, with the lowest response times you can get in 2023.

ViewSonic ELITE XG320U product image of a black monitor featuring white ViewSonic branding in front of a pink logo on a blue background on the display.
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Credit: ViewSonic

ViewSonic ELITE XG320U

Brand: ViewSonic - Size: 27-inch - Resolution: 2160p - Response Time: 1ms - Refresh Rate: 150Hz - Ports: USB, HDMI, DisplayPort

The ViewSonic ELITE XG320U features a 27-inch, 2160p screen that offers an excellent combination of size and performance, making it an ideal choice for enthusiasts of fast-paced FPS games who prioritise an immersive gaming experience.

When it comes to performance, this display impresses with its 150Hz refresh rate, which we believe is more than sufficient to provide a distinct competitive advantage in online gaming.

Moreover, the monitor's lightning-fast 1ms response time effectively reduces artifacts such as ghosting and input lag, ensuring that you maintain a gaming edge and enjoy smooth, seamless gameplay. Ultimately, it's one of the best 27-inch monitors on the market

Gigabyte M32U product image of a black monitor featuring white Gigabyte branding in front of orange and blue lighting in the background on the display.
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Credit: Gigabyte
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Gigabyte M32U

Brand: Gigabyte - Size: 32-inch - Resolution: 4K - Response Time: 1ms - Refresh Rate: 144Hz - Ports: USB Type-C, USB 3.0 x 2, HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4

Gigabyte's M32U monitor is a versatile and comprehensive gaming companion for your setup. With its impressive features and capabilities, this monitor offers a well-rounded solution that caters to various gaming needs.

The M32U boasts a sizable 32-inch display with an immersive 4K resolution. This combination strikes a perfect balance between expansive screen size and exceptional detail, delivering a visually captivating experience.

In terms of performance, the monitor doesn't disappoint. With a swift refresh rate of 144Hz, it effortlessly keeps pace with the fast-paced action found in FPS titles. Additionally, the 1ms response time ensures a tear-free and ultra-responsive experience, allowing you to react swiftly to in-game events.

Beyond its exceptional performance, the M32U offers unique features designed to enhance your gaming experience. Auto Noise Cancellation actively reduces disturbances, ensuring an immersive environment free from distractions. Meanwhile, Game Assist takes the guesswork out of optimising your monitor settings by automatically configuring them for competitive gameplay.

With its standout 4K resolution, the M32U truly shines. Whether you're immersing yourself in visually stunning masterpieces like God of War: Ragnarock or engaging in adrenaline-fueled Battle Royales such as Warzone or Fortnite, this GIGABYTE display demands serious consideration for its remarkable performance and the level of enjoyment it brings to your gaming sessions.

Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 product image of a black ultrawide monitor featuring a white Sci-Fi bridge with blue lights on the display.
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Credit: Samsung

Samsung Odyssey Neo G9

Brand: Samsung - Size: 49-inch - Resolution: 1440p - Response Time: 1ms - Refresh Rate: 240Hz - Ports: 2 x HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, USB-C, 3 x USB 3.0 - Other Features: Dual QHD, Infinity Core Lighting

Immersive and expansive, the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 boasts an enormous 49-inch display with a 1000R curve. Samsung's design ensures that the curvature aligns with the natural curve of the human eye, resulting in heightened immersion. Additionally, this Dual QHD display effectively combines the width of two QHD monitors side-by-side, delivering a truly expansive viewing area.

In terms of performance, the Odyssey Neo G9 excels. With an impressive 240Hz refresh rate, you gain a significant competitive advantage when aiming for the top of online leaderboards. Furthermore, the lightning-fast 1ms GTG response time ensures near-instantaneous response to your inputs, offering seamless and ultra-responsive gameplay.

Samsung has also prioritised comfort in the design of the monitor. You have the freedom to adjust the height, swivel, and tilt, allowing you to find the most comfortable viewing position. Moreover, the monitor is VESA-compatible, simplifying the setup process.

Adding to its appeal, the Odyssey G9 features Infinity Core Lighting, enabling you to illuminate your display and align it with the aesthetic of your gaming setup.

If you're in search of an extraordinary ultrawide display, the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9, arguably one of the best 1440p gaming monitors around, is a display that should not be overlooked. Its expansive 49-inch size and impressive performance capabilities make it a worthy contender for those seeking an immersive gaming experience.


Understanding monitor response time is essential for optimising your viewing experience, whether you're a casual viewer, a movie enthusiast, or an avid gamer. By choosing a monitor or TV with a lower response time, you can enjoy smoother motion, reduced motion blur, and more immersive gameplay.

Remember, response time is just one of the factors to consider when purchasing a monitor. Other aspects like screen size, resolution, and colour accuracy also play significant roles. Therefore, it's crucial to find a balance between these features that aligns with your specific needs and preferences.

As technology advances, manufacturers continue to push the boundaries of display performance, resulting in monitors with increasingly lower response times. So, the next time you're in the market for a new display, keep an eye out for those with impressive response time specifications to elevate your viewing pleasure to new heights.

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