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What is response time?

Find out everything you need to know about a computer screen’s response time.

The response time is the amount of time it takes to update the pixels on screen with new colours. The quicker your laptop or monitor’s image can change, the smoother your game will be. In this guide, we’ll go over the best response times for gaming and how it can improve the quality of your favourite games.

What is the response time?

Any movement in video games, from characters walking around to huge explosions, is shown by pixels changing colour on screen. The response time is how long it takes for this to happen. Slow changes can result in screen-tearing, where parts of the screen update quicker than others, so you end up with a distorted picture when the action really kicks in. The standard response time is about 14 milliseconds (m/s) but gamers should keep an eye out for models with 8m/s or less. If you want something with lightning fast reactions, 1m/s will give you seamless gameplay with no interruptions.

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Refresh rate

Going hand in hand with the response time, the refresh rate (measured in Hz) is the number of times the image on screen refreshes in a second. If you have a screen with a higher refresh rate, over 100hz, there’s less flickering between frames so you get a really smooth and realistic gaming experience. For more information on what a refresh rate is, check out our handy guide.