Looking to pair your PS5, Xbox Series X or Series S, or even Switch with the ideal console gaming monitor? We have you covered in this handy guide.
If you have or are planning to buy a new Xbox Series X or Series S console or a PS5, you may also be considering hooking them up to a monitor. After all, most of us have a PC of some sort, laptop or desktop, and those naturally work great with monitors. Why not make the most of a purchase and have multiple devices hooked up to one display? That’s good logic. We’re here to help, and the bottom line is that gaming monitors nominally designed for PC have a lot to offer console gamers. And that applies to PS5, Xbox, and Switch. But each console has slightly different monitors we’d recommend, and much of the decision depends on the kinds of games you play. Let’s begin.
First off, it needs to be said that monitors have distinct advantages over TVs. Since you sit close to them, you get more “bang for pixel” so to speak. Even an 8K TV looks like regular HD from common living room viewing distances, but a PC gaming monitor? By and large everyone sits just a few feet away from those, meaning every pixel counts – and is accounted for.
Further, monitors come in much more affordable prices. If you don’t need a massive screen, then monitors simply deliver better value for money. By the same token, monitors don’t take up a lot of space, so depending on your circumstances, that could be a major consideration.
Finally, gaming monitors often pioneer new technology later picked up by televisions. For a fraction of the cost of a good 4K TV, you get a monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate (TVs just recently arrived at 120Hz), FreeSync, HDR, and powerful audio. Monitors also don’t have all the complicated electronics and post-processing of TVs, meaning very low latency. Your typical gaming monitor has a 1ms response (grey to grey and/or moving picture response time, GtG or MPRT), while very few TVs come even close to that. Most TVs are happy to deliver 8ms with game mode engaged.
Relative article: Monitor vs. TV for Gaming: Which One Is the Best?
No matter what monitor you go with, make sure official HDR support and performance are included. Since all consoles now have games running with HDR, you need it to enjoy them fully.
Good audio is up next, and all BenQ gaming monitors offer superb sound. Many models feature 2.1channel audio, meaning two speakers and a subwoofer for deep and resonant sound.
And that brings us to connectivity. Ideal monitors have two HDMI, one DisplayPort, and one USB-C. The more the merrier, but with that layout you can have two consoles and two PCs (desktop and laptop, for example) all connected to the same monitor.
Go with 25” or 27” to maintain optimal pixel density and clarity. That would work best if you prefer high refresh rates or speedy frame rates.
Going with a 32” format will provide excellent pixel density. When speaking of pixel density, we’re also considering viewing distance. Unlike TVs, monitors are meant for up close and personal usage, so resolution really matters.
Keep in mind that the PS5 doesn’t officially support 1440p, so a 4K monitor would be a better investment. Or you can get a high speed, 144Hz 1080p monitor or 165Hz monitor instead. Sony may add 1440p support in a future update. Conversely, Xbox Series X/S do support 1440p. The same situation extends to previous generation Sony and Microsoft consoles.
We know there’s demand for connecting ultrawide screens with PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. However, as of fall 2021, none of the newer consoles have native support for ultrawide 21:9 and 32:9 resolutions. Having said that, if you connect a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S to a monitor like our own MOBIUZ EX3415R via HDMI, all three consoles will display an image that fills the screen without any issue, and in the case of PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, you will be able to take advantage of 120Hz gaming. For the most part, you can expect the monitor to take the highest-resolution output available and stretch or scale it accordingly to fill the entire screen. While this obviously distorts the image on the horizontal axis, you might find this to be a small cost to pay for a more immersive gaming experience. If you are interested in seeing how the PS5 performs on our MOBIUZ EX3415R, you can check our tests in this other article.
For console gaming, unlike PC, we recommend flat, 16:9 monitors. Ultra-wide, curved 21:9 monitors look very attractive, but their custom resolutions aren’t supported by any console at the time of this writing, and such support isn’t forthcoming.
Having said that, if the idea of a curved monitor really appeals to you, look for one that uses a standard resolution like 2560 x 1440. You won’t have the ultra-wide look, but also no issues with unsupported resolutions.
If you want to game in 4K, then a 60Hz monitor will do just fine, since in that resolution none of the existing consoles exceed 60 frames per second. However, should you prefer higher refresh rates for smoother gaming, then a premium 144Hz QHD monitor will serve you faithfully. Quite a few games already have 120Hz modes on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, with more to come. All of them offer lower resolution to attain higher frame rates, so a 1440p monitor (aka QHD monitor) is perfect.
Applies mostly to Xbox consoles, which support VESA Adaptive Sync and HDMI Variable Refresh Rate, as well as AMD FreeSync. All of these fancy terms mean the console’s graphics processor and monitor know how to match their frame rates, thus avoiding unsightly screen tearing and additional lag-related issues. If you opt for an Xbox console, make certain the monitor you pick has FreeSync or Adaptive Sync support to get the most out of the experience.
Relative article: What is FreeSync? What Can it Do for Better Gaming Experience?
Whether you prefer competitive multiplayer or single player makes a huge difference.
The former needs high frame rate while the latter tends to favor resolution. If you gravitate towards reflex-based first/third person shooters and arcade racers, you’re best off with a 144Hz panel.
But if your cup of tea is open world titles and graphics-intense exploration games, then a gorgeous 60Hz 4K console gaming monitor would be more appropriate. Think of it as a performance or fidelity balance, which is how many games refer to this equation in their graphics settings. Performance has come to mean lower resolution with higher frame rate, fidelity the opposite.
Now on to pairing specific consoles with optimal monitors.
Compact and streamlined, the Series S was made for 1080p or 1440p resolutions, not 4K. That’s fine, because at up to 1440p the Series S can handle refresh as fast as 120Hz.
High speed full HD console gaming monitors offer 144Hz with HDR, FreeSync, and treVolo audio to make the most of the Series S. We’d recommend against connecting a Series S to a 60Hz monitor as the console is supposed to be all about lower resolutions and higher frame rates, so 60fps would soon prove to be a limiter.
The one caveat is that the Series S can upscale to 4K, so if you want to connect the console to a 4K monitor, that’s definitely possible. It won’t be as good as native 4K, but not bad. The Series S supports variable refresh rate, as in FreeSync, which most gaming monitors nowadays also support.
Here we have a more interesting situation. Three times more powerful than the Series S, the Series X generally aims for 60Hz in native 4K. But it’s definitely capable of 120Hz in lower resolutions, such as 1080p. It also supports 1440p and FreeSync, so you have a lot of options with this one. Again, if you prefer a console gaming monitor with native 4K and are fine with 60Hz.
Most titles are roughly 4K 60Hz, with some offering a lower resolution 120Hz mode. So, you can choose high refresh console gaming monitors like the MOBIUZ EX2510s/EX2710s and have fun with high frame rate titles, or go with the EX3210u for the full 4K 144Hz experience. Once more, that depends on your preferred playstyle and genre.
Bit of a simpler situation than with the Xbox consoles due to less supported variables. As of this writing, PS5 doesn’t offer FreeSync, and most importantly, has yet to implement 1440p (QHD) as an official, selectable resolution. That leaves full HD 1080p and 4K as the two resolutions of PS5. However, as far as gaming goes, the situation is very similar to Xbox Series X, because the PS5 is roughly the same as computing power goes.
Somewhat of an outlier here but worth a mention, especially as a second console to accompany an Xbox or PlayStation. Switch is all about 720p and 1080p in docked mode to the monitor via HDMI, so you don’t need a mighty monitor. However, good HDR and 10-bit color are a must because Nintendo games do color so well and deserve good presentation. The MOBIUZ EX2510S and EX2710S will do great for the Switch.
Based on our own experience so far with the new generation of consoles, some of the biggest games work best in lower resolution/high refresh. Therefore, going with a 1080p or 1440p console gaming monitor may not be as outdated as you may initially think in the supposed age of 4K. Having said that, the higher resolution has indisputable advantages with regards to detail and image quality.
And whatever you do, please avoid ultra-wide monitors or any monitor not 16:9 in aspect ratio. None of the console's support anything but 16:9 resolutions right now, so you’d be wasting your money.
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