Monitor response time

Svetlana December 12 2021

If you are reading our article, it means that you do not have any idea about the monitor response time. Now we will together figure out what it signifies and why it is so important.

What is it for?

So, the response time signifies the period when the pixel moves from one color to the other one (or from one shade to the other one). The lower time it takes the monitor to move from one color to the other, the better it is.

Often, people confuse the monitor response time with the response speed. In fact, these two terms are different. It does not mean the same as the input lag. In turn, it signifies the delay between the click of a mouse or keypress and the effect that appears on the monitor. Usually, this characteristic is not advertised.

As for the response time, the manufacturers always indicate it. But they point it only for monitors. This characteristic is less discussed compared to the size of the screen or color reproduction. 

When many operations take place on the monitor, response time matters a lot. This feature concerns less how the monitor shows the inputs from the peripherals after the backlog. It concerns more the individual pixels. It signifies the period during which the pixel changes from one color (from black to white, for example) or shade (from grey to another one) to another.

Various grey shades show how intense any color will be shown on the screen through the filter. If grey is dark, it means that less light will go through the concrete filter of color and reach your eyes.

So, higher response time is better?

In fact, it depends on the user. If you are one of those people who likes to watch movies or play games and your screen is constantly filled with different colors, then you will need a monitor with a low response time. The faster this pixel changes its state, the less time you will see any artifacts on the screen.

The lower response time is also important when you work with pictures or videos. You want to avoid any delays between your actions and the result that is shown on the screen.

On the other hand, if you mostly use your computer for browsing websites, reading emails, or working with text documents, then you do not really need a monitor with a low response time. In this case, a high response time will not bother you.

How is it measured?

The response time of the monitor is generally measured in milliseconds. Why? Because on the standard 60 Hz monitor, one frame remains for less than seventeen milliseconds. To show the next frame in time, the pixels must move faster. But just because the monitor response time is less than seventeen seconds, it does not signify that it is excellent.

If the response time of the monitor is long, it can lead to so-called “ghosting.” It means the trails that remain from the moving elements when the pixels change from one grey shade to the other one for a long time.

It does not matter so much if you use the computer only for communication or simply staying online. But if you watch films with fast actions or play games, the bad time of response can lead to unnecessary visual artifacts.

Did you hear about 1 ms monitors?

Nowadays, modern pixels are quite fast. As a result, many companies have started to produce 1 ms monitors that can switch from one state to another in one millisecond. The test results show that this type of monitor has excellent response times during both heavy and light activities on your computer. This characteristic is very important if you want to avoid any delays between your actions and their effects on the screen.

On the other hand, having a monitor with a low response time might be pointless if you work mainly with text or images rather than playing games or watching videos. You do not need such rapid pixel change if you only need to read or write something on your monitor.

However, 1 ms monitors are not cheap. If you do not really need them because your work does not require a high response time, you can use cheaper models that still provide satisfactory results when it comes to this characteristic.

Warning! When the pixel changes its state too fast, afterimage burn-in can appear much faster than in other cases. It means that if your screen shows bright elements much longer than other parts of the monitor, ghost images could form on the screen where these bright objects were before. Be careful and avoid prolonged exposure to small picture elements on your monitor so as to prevent this side effect.

Overdrive

You need to consider one more thing about the response time – the overdrive of pixel time of response that defines how well the pixels move at various refresh periods. Too invasive pixel response time overdrive can remove trails at high periods of the refresh, but it can also result in overshot of pixels (or simply inverse ghosting).

An excellent pixel response time overdrive provides agile productivity, which avoids overshoots and inverse ghosting. To know how good the overdrive is presented on the monitor, you need to thoroughly look through the monitors’ reviews.

Monitor performance accuracy

If you are one of those people who are not willing to buy cheap monitors, then you need to know more about the monitor performance accuracy. As has been already mentioned, manufacturers often do not indicate this feature. If they do it, then they only mention the maximum response time that will be shown on the screen.

You can measure your monitor response times using a free program called PixPerAn. It also shows the exact amount of time after which an individual pixel changes from one state to another.

Then you will see what is better for you – a high or low response time and whether it will influence your work or entertainment experience in any way. You can consider a higher price as well if low-cost options show too much delay between your input and the image on-screen.

Input lag and response time

The input lag is different from the response time. The input lag is the delay between the moment you press a button on the controller and when that button actually has an effect on-screen. This means that if you are playing a game and there is a lot of input lag, your enemies might already have killed you by the time your button presses make it to the game.

Input lag can often be reduced by turning off image enhancements such as motion smoothing, but this comes at the cost of picture quality. Response time, on the other hand, cannot be reduced without also reducing overall image quality.

All in all, if you want to buy a new monitor, it is important that you do some research on response times and overdrives that are available on the market before making your decision. It might seem useless to have a high response time if you do not play computer games, but it is always better to know what you are buying.

How to check your monitor`s response time?

In order to check the response time of your monitor, you can use a simple tool. There is an online application called TestUFO that can help you measure it. This app displays a moving UFO on the screen and by pressing the spacebar, you start the test. The UFO should move smoothly without any trails.

After starting the test, keep your eye on the UFO and press the spacebar again when it moves off the screen. If there are any trails following the UFO, then you will see them in this test. Pressing the spacebar again will get rid of them.

The lower the response time is, the better. You can also use other applications for testing your monitor`s response time. One of them is TFT Central. This application allows you to measure the response time of the monitor.

Just keep in mind that displaying a white UFO should not result in any trails or inverse ghosting. And, vice versa – if there are such trails displayed on the screen, then simply move the UFO back and forth until they disappear for good.

What monitors have the best response time?

There is no definite answer to this question as it greatly depends on the person’s needs and preferences. However, if you are looking for a fast monitor with a low response time, there are some great gaming monitors that will fit your needs. Some of these monitors have a response time of 1ms, which is really good for gaming.

Moreover, many monitors now come with adaptive refresh rates that help to get rid of screen tearing and stuttering. This is another great feature for gamers who want the best gaming experience possible. So, if you are looking for a new monitor, make sure to check out the Response Time and Adaptive Refresh Rate sections to see if they are important to you.

What is a good monitor response time to look for when shopping?

Again, it depends on what you will be using your computer for. If you are looking for a monitor that has a low response time for watching movies or playing games, then you will want one with a response time of 8 milliseconds or less.

If you are just browsing the internet or working with text documents, then a response time of 16 milliseconds or more should be fine. Keep in mind that most monitors have a response time of around 16 milliseconds.

If you are unsure about what to look for when purchasing a monitor, try consulting with one of our experts at our store! We would be more than happy to help you find your perfect monitor!

Bottom line

Monitor response time is an important spec to look for when shopping for a new monitor. It affects the overall experience you will have while using your computer. If you are looking for a fast monitor with a low response time, there are some great gaming monitors that will fit your needs. Make sure to check out the Response Time and Adaptive Refresh Rate sections to see if they are important to you.

If you are unsure about what to look for when purchasing a monitor, try consulting with one of our experts at our store! We would be more than happy to help you find your perfect monitor!