Is An HDR Gaming Monitor Worth It? – The Ultimate Guide


An HDR gaming monitor can be worthwhile if you’re a die-hard gamer who loves the extraordinary gaming displays.

Will high dynamic range (HDR) soon become standard in all gaming displays? You can think so, as there has been a thriving production rate of HDR gaming displays recently. 

HDR stands for “High Dynamic Range.” It’s only goal is to show pictures, games, or movies with excellent lighting that looks as real as possible. Let’s uncover all aspects of HDR gaming monitors and how they are worth it.

What Is HDR Technology?

High Dynamic Range, or HDR, is not a new concept. HDR is a feature of modern HDTVs, so you probably already have the technology at home. HDR has improved your viewing experience, but it has been slow to catch on in other mediums, such as computers and video games.

What Is HDR Technology

The sole goal of High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging is to increase the sense of realism in a picture. It keeps a wide color range while enhancing the contrast between dark and light areas. You can view more vibrant colors and a more realistic picture.

What Does HDR Do In A Gaming Monitor? 

HDR monitors can read the HDR signal of compatible content and improve the picture quality by increasing the contrast ratio, color gamut, and peak brightness. 

There are different HDR formats, but the most important one for PC gaming is HDR10, which is an open standard and is mainly used by video game developers and monitor makers. 

Not every HDR10 monitor will let you see the same thing. Some give you a much better picture, while others give you a barely noticeable improvement.

HDR Specifics: Considering Elements

When buying an HDR monitor, you must pay attention to the display’s specs, especially the peak brightness, color gamut, contrast ratio, and, most importantly, local dimming. The HDR certification from the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) is one way to figure out what the HDR on the monitor means, more or less.

Display HDR 400 monitors don’t have much more peak brightness than regular SDR monitors, so you shouldn’t buy one of these just because it supports HDR. HDR displays 600 and 1000 can be a big step up from HDR display 400, but only if the monitor supports full-array local dimming.

One Display HDR 1000 monitor might only have 32 edge-lit dimming zones, while another with the same certification might have 1,000+ zones! HDR will look much better on the model with many dimming zones because it gives you better control over the backlight. The more dimming zones, the better, and a full-array local dimming solution is a must for a “true” HDR picture on an LED-backlit monitor.

On the other hand, OLED monitors are self-emitting, so they don’t need a backlight or local dimming. Since each pixel makes its own light, there are no true blacks, and the contrast ratio is infinite. This also means you’ll get excellent HDR image quality, but some OLED displays can’t get as bright as LED or mini LED LCDs.

HDR Hardware and Software Compatibles

Compatible Monitors for HDR

All your hardware components, including your monitor, graphics card, display cable, and, finally, the game you’re playing—must be HDR-compatible.

1. Compatible Monitors for HDR 

There are hundreds of monitors on the market that are capable of displaying high dynamic range (HDR) content. However, for the most part, you should stick to ones that adhere to the VESA Display HDR specification. If a display simply says “HDR” or “HDR10,” all that implies is that it can receive an HDR signal but does not actually modify or enhance the content in any way.

2. HDR-Compatible Graphic Cards

You don’t need the most recent GPU to experience HDR (although more horsepower does help). Any GPU from the GTX 950 onwards supports HDR, while all AMD cards newer than the R9 380 do as well. HDR is supported by Intel integrated GPUs beginning with the 7th generation of CPUs, which is why many recent laptops do as well.

3. HDR Display Cables

Most display cables support HDR, but if you’re using a high refresh rate monitor, you should ensure you’re using the best output on your GPU. For 4K at 60Hz, you can use a standard high-speed HDMI cable, but for refresh rates higher than that, you’ll need an ultra high-speed one. 

Why Is Mini-LED Best for HDR?

HDR is a great way to use mini-LED. Most modern monitors have edge-lit LED backlights, which means the LEDs are along the screen’s edges. Because of this, it’s common to see bright, hazy spots along the edge of a monitor. It’s hard to make a backlight that can light up the whole screen without making the edges brighter. 

Edge-lit LEDs can be used to make HDR monitors that are very bright. Samsung’s 49-inch Odyssey G9, which is very different, is one example. The Odyssey G9 has a feature called “local dimming,” which turns off strips of edge-lit LEDs to improve contrast. However, smaller objects will always have hazy halos around them. This issue is called “blooming.”

Most of this problem is solved by Mini-LED, which puts LEDs right behind the LCD panel. Blooming still happens, but it happens less often and is harder to see. Each pixel in an OLED screen makes its light, so it never blooms. This doesn’t matter unless you want to buy a TV, though, because there are no OLED PC gaming monitors.

Is HDR Better Than QHD or UHD Resolutions in Gaming Monitors?

HDR is becoming more popular as a superior option to higher resolutions. Because HDR uses multiple exposures, it can achieve realistic contrast and lighting that is impossible to achieve with a single resolution alone. It also lessens aliasing. Before deciding, you should consider both because they serve various objectives and add to excellence differently.

HDR won’t have any noticeable speed impact, although playing games at higher resolutions could use more GPU resources. Accordingly, based on the gaming experience you desire, you should probably pick your display carefully!

Which Supports HDR Better? IPS vs. VA vs. TN

Which Supports HDR Better IPS vs. VA vs. TN

Modern monitors employ IPS, VA, or TN screens. IPS and VA support HDR, but TN does not. IPS’ pixel reaction time is 4ms, while TN’s is 1ms. IPS offers up to 144Hz refresh rates, whereas TN can reach 240Hz.

IPS panels improve color accuracy. VA is a medium ground. Similar to an IPS panel in performance but cheaper.

 A VA panel has stronger contrast than an IPS screen, but it’s less accurate. IPS is for people who value graphics above performance, TN is for competitive multiplayer, and VA is a decent, cost-efficient compromise between the two. Weather IPS panels are more viewable. Now it’s up to you to decide.

Is HDR Gaming Monitor Worth It?

HDR is a technology that lets screens show more than a billion colors. This means that you will have a better time watching. Most high-end monitors and many mid-range monitors can handle HDR.

No doubt setting up HDR requires a significant expense. To reap the benefits, you’ll need a good monitor, a powerful GPU, and games that support it. However, once you do, it will be tough to return. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with SDR content

The extra fidelity of robust HDR implementations supported by gear capable of showing it is a significant enhancement. There’s still a long way to go before we have a base standard that can make HDR material sing, but there’s a lot you can do with it right now.

Is HDR Worth It for PlayStation and Xbox consoles?

Your personal computer or gaming console may experience a modest increase in input lag when exporting HDR video, and it is also possible that your television or monitor will experience a similar increase in input lag while processing HDR content that it receives.

However, if you have decent hardware and HDR support built into your games, you shouldn’t notice much difference. However, not every piece of hardware or implementation will be of high quality.

When you switch to HDR, your display can noticeably lengthen the time it takes for input processing. If your television features a gaming mode that helps it lower input lag, but you can’t activate both this mode and HDR simultaneously, you may be forced to decide which feature is more important to you.

Our following point will be about the compromise that has to be made between the high-end images that HDR provides and the input lag. HDR gaming is a rewarding quest on consoles such as the Xbox One S, Xbox One X, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Pro; however, HDR gaming on a personal computer is a significantly more difficult endeavor.

 There should be very little holding you back from trying out high dynamic range (HDR) gaming if you’re a console gamer who’s interested in it. PC gamers, on the other hand, have to contend with a never-ending stream of challenges that we can only hope will vanish as soon as HDR becomes more widespread.

Perks of HDR Gaming Monitor 

HDR Gaming Monitor

More specifically, HDR technology enhances picture quality in gaming monitors in the following ways.

  • Color Spacing And Color Gamut 

Bits of color space are how displays “draw” the colors you see on the screen. When there is white space between colors, each hue stands out more clearly. Better image quality can be anticipated if the millions of color bits displayed on your screen are of higher quality. HDR not only enhances this, but it also gives this new quality a new name: Color Gamut. Because of this, HDR displays can display a wider variety of colors. 

  • Black Levels and Shadows

Most people like HDR screens because they have better black levels, a problem with SDR screens. Instead of a bluish tone, HDR has exceptional black levels and shadows that will improve the overall picture quality.

  •  Nits And Stops

A monitor’s maximum brightness is expressed in terms of the number of Nits it can produce. Also, with more light, colors and tones are more faithfully rendered. However, because you would be viewing a monitor from such a close distance, it is not always able to generate the same amount of brightness as an HDTV.

To prevent the brightness from penetrating the entire screen, monitors employ Stops. As a result, an HDR display will have a high Nit value and multiple stops of dynamic range.

  • Radiance and Chrominance

These two aspects set “true HDR” apart from the rest. The term “luminosity” describes the amount of light coming from a surface. Better luminance indicates more true colors because radiance is a significant factor. The chrominance of color is the degree to which it differs from its luminance on a computer screen.

If the chrominance of your screen is higher than average, it suggests that the colors are being displayed more faithfully. Since HDR displays have more excellent brightness and chrominance than SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) screens, the resulting video is of higher quality.

Also Read: Is Nvidia G-Sync Worth it?


Q.1 What is Fake HDR?

Some HDR monitors are called “fake HDR” or “pseudo-HDR”. Even though these displays can accept and process the HDR signal, their hardware can’t improve the picture quality, even if the peak brightness is increased.

Q.2 Is An HDR Gaming Monitor Always Worth It?

Some HDR monitors have bad HDR picture quality, but they are still worth the money because they have good specs in other ways.

Other HDR monitors, on the other hand, may have excellent HDR picture quality but other problems with their panels.

So, always read reviews of the monitors you’re interested in to find out what you need to know.

Q.3 What do VESA Display Standards mean?

The VESA Display HDR logo is the easiest way to tell if a monitor is capable of actual HDR output. This logo shows that the VESA Display HDR program, the only global, open standard for HDR, has tested and approved the monitor’s specs. The program was made to help standardize the specs of HDR monitors, which are different from one another.

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