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What Is Response Time? A Basic Definition

Acer Predator X34 S
(Image credit: Acer)

Pixel response time refers to how fast a monitor can shift from one color to another (typically black to white to black or gray to gray) and is measured in milliseconds. But what does a low response time mean for gamers in the real world? A lower response time will garner less motion blur and allow for a clearer picture during fast-moving scenes in games.

TN (twisted nematic) panels typically had the upper hand in response time, but IPS (in-plane switching) and VA (vertical alignment) panels today can drop down in the 1ms range for response time. However, the fastest IPS panels that we’ve seen can hit as low as 0.5 ms.

We should note that all panel types have trade-offs, and while TN panels tend to have lightning-quick response time, they are inferior to IPS and VA panels when it comes to color reproduction and viewing angles.

This article is part of the Tom's Hardware Glossary.

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Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.