What Is Monitor Response Time?

What is the monitor response time? Why does this even matter? Is this one of the technical questions you’ve encountered while shopping for a new monitor? Size, color, and resolution are important aspects of a good monitor, but the factor that can prevail is monitor response time.

Monitor response time is the time that it takes to shift from one color to another. Usually, it is measured in milliseconds, how long does it take to go from black to white to black again. On average, response time is around 10 milliseconds.

Monitor refresh rate and response time are not the same things. The refresh rate is how much time a computer screen is capable of displaying a new image. It is expressed in Hertz. On average, you will be able to find a monitor with a 60 Hertz refresh rate.

Do you need a lower monitor or higher monitor response time? 

The majority of people use a computer every day, to write emails, book flights, edit pictures. While doing any of this, response time is not something that you would notice, or that you do need to worry about. One exception is gaming, competitive gaming to be exact, where milliseconds and finesses determine who is the best. Choosing the right gaming monitor for you can be the difference between winning and losing if you play competitively, otherwise, you may not even notice a difference.

What kind of monitors are faster?

There are several different kinds of monitor display types, including TN, VA, and IPS.

The fastest response occurs on TN panels, which generally are the best for reflex-based gaming. Essentially all TN panels do 1milisecond. VA and IPS panels usually come in at 2ms-5ms, but provide better colors and viewing angle and also bigger delays due to processing. IPS panels are rare and pretty expensive.

Keep in mind that if you want a wider screen, the response time is also going to be affected, meaning that the higher the resolution, the slower the response.

TN (Twisted Nematic) screen panel

Positives: Inexpensive, 1ms response time, fastest of the three.

Negatives: Lesser color range, poor viewing angles.

VA (Vertical Alignment) screen panel

Positives: Best contrast ratio, the perfect balance between the price and performance.

Negatives: Usually has higher response time (lower than IPS), can lead to ghosting and backlight bleed.

IPS (In-Plane Switching) screen panel

Positives: Vivid colors good for photography, high refresh rate, the best viewing angles 

Negatives: Expensive, response time 4ms, or higher. 


If you need a monitor, you should not rush to your final decision. Response time, frame rate, refresh rate are just some specifications that you should consider while browsing for a new screen. Stay away from brands with a weak reputation

If you want your screen to look like an actual window, a 4ms response time is a perfectly reasonable bargain for an IPS screen, while a TN screen is a perfect choice for a competitive e-sport player. 

There is no right or wrong, technology is advancing every single day, make sure that your purchase is right for your demands.

This article was last updated on May 25, 2021 .

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Categorized as Monitors

By Denis Loncaric

My name is Dennis. I have been in the tech business since 2005. I have always been interested in music production, equipment, and sound in general. I work full time as a studio drummer. I've done more than 9000 live gigs and more than 500 sessions. Mixing music and using tech is my passion.