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Do you need a high refresh rate monitor for office work?



  A desktop computer monitor, keyboard and mouse on a desk.
neonnextor / Shutterstock

High refresh rate monitors have traditionally been aimed at gamers, but they have a wider appeal. Device manufacturers like Apple and Samsung have started incorporating high refresh rate displays into their tablets and phones. So, should you also purchase one for your office computer?

What is a high refresh rate monitor?

The refresh rate of a monitor is the number of times the screen is updated per second and is measured in Hertz (Hz)). Most standard displays stick to 60 Hz, which means that the maximum frame rate you can observe on these displays is 60 frames per second (FPS).

If you play a lot of games and have invested in a powerful computer before that, it can reach frame rates higher than 60 FPS. Some competitive gamers lower the resolution and detail settings to maximize frame rates. This reduces the input delay and provides a smoother overall experience.

Doing this on a 60 Hz monitor may slightly reduce the input delay, but you will not see the benefit of those extra frames because the monitor cannot stay up. This can result in blurry movements on the screen. High refresh rate monitors are designed to solve this problem.

In general, anything above 1

44 Hz is considered a monitor with a high refresh rate. However, most displays beyond 60 Hz also count, including the 90 Hz displays in VR headsets and the 120 Hz display in the iPad Pro.

If you're in the market for a monitor with a high refresh rate, you probably want to look at 144 Hz or higher. For a gamer who needs to have it all, there are 240 Hz monitors. They are especially loved by competitive multiplayer gamers because the overall graphics reliability is not as important as the latency and response times.

One problem you might encounter with a monitor with a high refresh rate is the screen tearing. This happens when the frame and refresh rates do not match. It creates unsightly horizontal lines (or "tears") as the monitor tries to process the image.

Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) monitors attempt to solve this problem with technologies such as NVIDIA's proprietary G-Sync and supporting the open-source AMD-FreeSync. VRR monitors reduce the refresh rate in real time to match the frame rate of the game you're playing to avoid screen cracks.

You don't need one, but it's still great

So, how does a high refresh rate monitor perform in more pedestrian tasks? Basic computer tasks, such as surfing the web or managing files, do not require much power. That's why you can get the most out of a monitor with a high refresh rate on a desktop.

First, your computer will respond faster. Everything from moving the cursor and dragging windows to launching applications just feels better. It's something you may have to experience for yourself to assess the benefits. You will definitely notice the difference if you ever return to a 60 Hz monitor.

One of the best reference points for a monitor with a higher refresh rate is Apple's iPad Pro. In 2015, Apple introduced the first 120 Hz screens in a consumer tablet. Reviewers and customers immediately noticed the difference. We've owned several iPad Pro models since these screens were introduced, and they feel noticeably better.

  An Apple iPad Pro 2020.
Apple

It is also rumored that Apple is adding 120 Hz displays. to the upcoming iPhone 12, like Samsung did with the Galaxy S20. OnePlus, ASUS, OPPO and Razer all sell smartphones with 120 Hz display modes. On a mobile device, doubling the refresh rate can affect battery life, but you don't have to worry about that on a desktop monitor.

No one needs a high refresh rate monitor for simple computing tasks. A monitor at 60 Hz works fine. In the office or study areas, a high refresh rate monitor is like a comfortable chair or a pricey mechanical keyboard – you don't need it, but it's nice to have.

RELATED: Why You Should Upgrade Your Old Computer Monitor

High Refresh Rate Monitors Are Now Cheaper

High Refresh Rate and Variable Refresh Rate Monitors were once groundbreaking. 144 Hz, however, is starting to look a bit stale as 240 Hz monitors arrive in bulk. This also means that monitors with the more modest refresh rate of 144 Hz have dropped in price.

The panel type also makes a big difference in price. TN panels are the oldest type of LCD on the market. They have improved significantly since they were first introduced. However, they still suffer from less than favorable color accuracy, disappointing viewing angles, and faded blacks.

They are also the cheapest of all panel types. Since LG hit the one-millisecond barrier in its UltraGear IPS monitor in 2019, TN panels are no longer the only choice for competitive gamers. You can now get better blacks, color accuracy and viewing angles in an IPS panel, complete with low latency and high refresh rates.

  The LG UltraGear 27-inch IPS 1ms Latency Gaming Monitor.
LG

With this new kid around, TN panels are no longer in demand. So you should be able to pick up a monitor with a high refresh rate at a modest price with a TN panel. You can find monitors from other brands with high refresh rates for about $ 250; add an extra $ 50- $ 100 if you want something branded.

High refresh rate monitors are available in all panel types. VA panels offer the best image quality at the expense of input lag. IPS panels offer a good trade-off between responsiveness and image quality. However, TN panels form the bottom of the barrel when it comes to overall image reproduction.

RELATED: TN vs. IPS vs. VA: What is the best display panel technology?

Try personally a monitor with a high refresh rate

There is no monitor that is suitable for everyone. There are simply too many things to consider when buying one.

For example, besides standard office work, do you go gaming or edit photos and video? A TN panel is probably sufficient for simple office work. But if you want color accuracy for video or photo editing, a VA panel is ideal.

The size and resolution of the screen are also important. If you want to make the leap to 4K, a monitor with a high refresh rate becomes expensive. Would you trade the pixel density for smoothness and ease of use?

Price is also an important consideration for most people. If you're looking for a better-than-average monitor, you'll find that it also has a higher refresh rate, even though it may only be 75 or 120 Hz. You can certainly save money by opting for a more modest screen that sticks to 60 Hz.

The best way to decide if a high refresh rate monitor is for you is to use one. Drag a few windows around, type at high speed, use your favorite apps or play a game or two.

For some people, the difference will be dazzling, while others prefer to invest the extra money in another position. Try a high refresh monitor and find out which camp you fall into!


High Refresh Rate Monitors aren't the only products aimed at gamers with broader appeal. To increase productivity, you may also consider upgrading to a gaming mouse, mechanical keyboard or an SSD.

RELATED: These "Gamer" PC Products Are Great For Office Work


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