Response Time vs Input Lag: How To Choose Your Next Monitor

If you're on the hunt for the best gaming monitor out there, you've likely come across the terms response time and input lag.

As with a number of monitor specs, like refresh rates, they can be a little murky at times as to what they actually mean, and whether they have a notable impact on performance.

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We're here to clear up a few things to arm you with everything you need to know on response time and input lag...and why they are certainly not the same thing.

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What is Response Time?

Response time is the length of time it takes for a pixel to change colour, typically from gray to gray (hence why you see GtG next to the time).

This happens very fast, so we're talking millisecond measurements here, which is why you'll normally find response time hitting anywhere between 1ms to 5ms with most gaming monitors.

There's some debate as to what the best response time is for gaming, but generally, the lower the better, as it'll make the displayed image look a lot smoother...great for high action and reflex driven gaming.

What is Input Lag?

Input lag is the delay between your commands and the monitor itself. This is often confused for response time...and it's easy to see why.

The lower the input lag the more 'responsive' the monitor will look to be to your actions, so this is important when it comes to picking the best monitor for competitive gaming.

Nowadays most monitors don't have a ton of input lag, so looking at other specs like refresh rates and response times, coupled with picking the best screen size for gaming are all important to factor in.

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What Happens When The Response Time Is Too High?

You've likely heard of ghosting when it comes to gaming monitors and it's an effect brought on by a slightly out of whack response time.

Ghosting looks a little like a trail of pixels behind whatever object is moving fast on the display. So main characters running around or fast cars can sometimes look like they're glitching a little.

Response times and refresh rates are closely linked and the higher the refresh rate is, the lower the response time has to be to work well with it.

It's also worth remembering that since response time is usually listed as GtG, in other words how fast the pixel can change from different shades of gray, it's not exactly the same as changing a pixel from black to white for instance (which is slower).

Use response times as a guide, alongside the refresh rate to make your decision and we think you should be all good to go!

If you're on the hunt for your next monitor, check out our top monitor picks right here and don't forget that there are some seriously impressive HDMI 2.1 displays currently on the market too.

Read More: What Is G-Sync? Know THIS Before Picking Your Next Monitor