Giant OLED TVs don’t belong on computer desktops, despite what my colleague Sean Hollister thinks. They are used as monitors by a number of gamers as they offer near-perfect image quality at a price similar to high-end gaming monitors. It’s hard to blame them, but they’re enduring mediocre supports, TV-focused interfaces, and no DisplayPort, a staple for super-fast PC gaming. The pros may outweigh those cons for some, but it would be great to get rid of most of those cons entirely. Luckily, there are now better alternatives out there—plenty of them, actually.
At CES 2023, numerous companies announced models using LG Display’s 27-inch flat and 45-inch curved OLED panels. They are current computer monitors, complete with sturdy, height-adjustable stands (with optional wall mount) and all the ports you’d need for proper PC gaming. They also have a 240Hz refresh rate and a 0.03 millisecond response time. With this batch of panels, LG and Acer are releasing similar 27-inch and 45-inch models, while Asus and Corsair have taken advantage of these sizes with slightly more experimental designs.
Samsung also stays in the mix, both as the manufacturer of the panels and the monitors. While that company’s new QD-OLED technology first arrived inside Alienware’s AW3423DW monitor last year, delivering slightly brighter performance than traditional OLED panels, Samsung will launch two curved monitors of its own in 2023. 34 inches. Odyssey G8 OLED paired with a wilder 49-inch ultra-wide with the unwieldy name, the Odyssey G95SC. (I’m still waiting for that OLED Odyssey Ark though.)
Even in its infancy, the world of OLED gaming monitors is a playing field that companies have a lot of fun playing on. If your company is not here (Sony), what are you doing?
It was amazing as I lost count of all the OLED gaming monitors announced during CES 2023. Each one promised things that are still hard to find on your average non-OLED monitor. Things like precise control of brightness per pixel, unprecedented responsiveness, and wide viewing angles are inherent to OLED, now combined with high-end gaming monitor features.
Unfortunately, they are not accessible in terms of prices, at least to begin with. 27-inch models cost around $1,000. That’s the price of LG’s UltraGear OLED, which is the fastest model to get to your door if you order one now. If you’re willing to trust a lesser-known company that doesn’t have the best track record of getting products out on time (or at all), Dough claims it’ll offer a 27-inch model for $649 later this year.
And the prices just go up with the bigger ones. LG’s curved 45-inch UltraGear starts at $1,699. I got hands-on with Corsair’s similarly sized Xeneon Flex that you can manually flex between flat and curved, and it’ll cost $1,999. Samsung hasn’t shared the cost of its big 49-inch Odyssey G95SC, but I expect it to sell for around $3,000 or so.
While none of them are cheap, I also don’t think they are fancy for what you get. Gaming (especially on a PC) is an expensive hobby, and these monitors fall well within the range that pricey non-OLED models have occupied for years. The biggest decision gamers looking for an OLED face right now is choosing between a slightly larger TV with a slower refresh rate and response time or one of these smaller OLED monitors made for gaming. For example, you can commonly find LG’s stellar 42-inch C2 4K TV for around $1,000, compared to the similarly priced new 27-inch 1440p LG monitor. There are tradeoffs to make in both directions.
The good news for gamers is that there are already as many companies, if not more, making OLED monitors than are currently in the TV business, at least in the US. That gives me hope that prices eventually they drop at a more reasonable price point.
Price aside, come on, let’s get excited! OLEDs are made just for gaming. Advancements made on the TV side of the business have leaked out, and these monitors have specs that speak directly to gamers, like DisplayPort, HDMI 2.1 ports, USB-C video support, and much more.
I’m going to be very busy this year reviewing all the OLED monitors that I think will be the most important, which is not something I thought I would say a few months ago. I’m sure some of them will be a better buy than others, and it sure beats having only TVs to choose from.