Common wisdom would say that a bigger screen is better than a smaller one. People would prefer a 100-inch TV over a 50-inch one most of the time, right? However, that desire for more inches can backfire for PC gamers.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
The push for the biggest screen seems logical. Immersion is key to a great gaming experience, and an expansive monitor is the perfect canvas for painting vivid game worlds. But there’s a critical juncture where the scale tips from beneficial to burdensome.
Just ask anyone who has decided to use a 55-inch TV as their PC gaming monitor at a desk! There’s definitely such as thing as “too big,” and the dividing line might be closer to the smaller end of the monitor market than you might think.
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Pixel Density, Viewing Distance, and Other Boring Stuff
Your high-resolution game deserves a quality display. Though often overlooked, pixel density plays a vital role in delivering crisp, clear images. A larger screen without increased resolution leads to a diluted pixel density, giving your beautiful game a mosaic look.
And then there’s the matter of viewing distance. A cinema-sized monitor on your desk might sound like an incredible idea, but you’ll be craning your neck and straining your eyes without enough space to enjoy it from a comfortable distance.
It’s also worth considering how we use gaming monitors when playing at a desk. The distance you sit from the monitor means that a smaller monitor (e.g. 24 or 27 inches) will fill the same proportion of your visual field as a larger monitor at a greater viewing distance.
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Big Screens Can Make You Play Worse
Here’s a plot twist: the size of your monitor might negatively impact your gameplay. A larger screen can slow you down in a gaming world where success is measured in split-second reactions. That expansive real estate might mean that you can’t see all of the information on the screen in the central part of your vision all the time.
There’s a reason professional eSports players favor 24-inch monitors as the sweet spot, and having the whole playfield and HUD in sight without having to turn their heads or even hunt across the screen with their eyes makes a difference.
Most of us are not pro gamers, but sitting too close to a too-large monitor can still make playing some games harder for you than necessary.
The Ergonomic Strain of Big Gaming Monitors
Super-sized screens might contribute to a different kind of high score – your discomfort level.
Staring at an overly large monitor means your eyes and neck are constantly at work, scanning the breadth of the screen and trying to keep up with the action. This visual tracking can lead to a condition called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), characterized by eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, and even neck and shoulder pain.
Improper viewing distances are one cause of CVS, and sitting too close to your monitor because it’s too big can be one part of the issue.
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The Hidden Cost of Mega Monitors
Beyond the not-so-subtle price tag, various costs can hide behind a mega monitor. From the requisite high-end graphics card to the spike in your electricity bill, your price for a large monitor extends well beyond its initial cost.
The physical size also demands a proportional amount of desk space. Accommodating a large monitor might mean an unplanned revamp of your gaming space, adding further to the hidden costs.
You may also be giving up things like refresh rate, panel image quality, and other factors that have a bigger impact on how good the picture looks and moves than screen size.
Unless you also need a monitor for massive multi-tasking productivity, it might be better to be conservative in your gaming monitor choice. Consider sticking to a 24-inch or 27-inch monitor for gaming at a desk. Personally, I use a 31.5-inch monitor for a good blend of productivity and gaming use, but when you go larger than that at normal desk viewing distances, things can get a little dicey.