Glossary

Backlight Bleeding: A monitor is said to have backlight bleeding when there are leaks of lighting around the edges of the screen. This could lead to “washed out” colors at these areas. Almost all monitors will have backlight bleeding but the bleeding on the best units will be so minimal that it’s unnoticeable. Backlight bleeding will be more apparent when the monitor is displaying darker colors (for example, during darker scenes in a movie or a game) and this can potentially take away some of the immersion factor that gamers are always craving for.

Contrast Ratio: This ratio is determined based on the difference between the intensity of the darkest black  and the brightest white on the screen. Generally, the higher this ratio is, the better the picture quality. You might occasionally come across a term known as dynamic contrast ratio as well, which numbers in the millions these days. These figures are loosely interpreted and used as an advertising gimmick by the manufacturers and should not be considered seriously.

Ghosting: Also known as smearing of images, this means that when there will be a trail of images or “ghosts” that are left behind a particular object that moves quickly across the screen. This is a direct effect of a slower response time of the monitor. These days, the modern gaming monitors come with a minimum of 8 ms however, at which ghosting is reduced to a nominal degree.

Luminance: This is basically the brightness level of the monitor. It’s measured in cd/m2 which stands for candela per square meter. The higher the luminance, the brighter your display will be.

Response time: The rate that the pixels on the monitor can change from one color to another. This is measured in milliseconds (ms). The fastest monitors these days have capabilities of up to 2 ms. Often, the response time is measured based on how quickly a pixel is able to change from black to white or or from a shade of gray to another shade of gray. The faster or lower the response time, the less ghosting or smearing issues you’ll encounter.

Refresh rate: Often confused with response time, this measures the speed at which the display refreshes itself. This is measured in Hertz (Hz). The higher this value is, the smoother the transition of images are, which translates to reduced motion blur.

Resolution: This is a measurement of how many pixels that a monitor can potentially display. The higher this value is, the sharper and more detailed the display will be. For instance, a 19 inch monitor will be able to display a maximum resolution of 1280 x 1024. This means that the screen will have the capability to display 1280 pixels horizontally and 1024 pixels vertically. A 22 inch monitor on the other hand has the ability to display a resolution of 1920 x 1080, thus providing the user an enhanced visual experience due to the additional clarity and detail that the images have.

Viewing angle: This is measured in degrees. It’s basically the angle from which you’re able to view the screen from top, bottom or the sides at little to no changes in the contrast or intended color on the screen. The manufacturer’s specifications on this aspect are usually exaggerated so you should always look at the type of panel that’s being used instead. IPS gives the best viewing angles, followed by VA. The worst would be TN panels whereby there will be significant color changes when you’re not looking at the monitor directly at its center.

TN: This is the acronym for Twisted Nematic. It’s basically the first type of panel that was used within desktop monitors. Because of their low costs of production, these panels are still favored largely by many manufacturers. Further, these panels typically have the fastest response times which make them suitable for hardcore gamers. The major drawback it has is its limited viewing angles which lead to inconsistent colors and contrast.

VA: This stands for Vertical Alignment and it’s another type of panel that’s a middle ground between TN and IPS panels. Their viewing angles are slightly wider than TN panels but they still pale in comparison to IPS panels in this regard.

IPS: This is the acronym for In-Plane Switching. It’s the most modern technology with regard to the panel types and provides the best visual experience due to its superb viewing angles. Their response times are usually lower than those of the TN panels however. Initially, their response times were very poor but their improved models have up to 8 ms response times which are arguably the borderline that eliminates all ghosting issues.