CES had a pretty good year, and so have computer monitors, which thankfully were about more than just ports. What’s even better is that this year’s interesting, feature-packed monitors are for more than just gamers. Monitors are playing an even more important role as the centerpiece of the home office during the pandemic, and manufacturers have responded to that demand with designs that cater to a wider audience.
We have a quirky-looking, almost square-shaped creative and productivity-oriented monitor from LG that some people will find useful. Samsung debuted its Odyssey Ark, a 55-inch curved 4K gaming monitor that I would feel safe floating on when the water comes. Speaking of Samsung, the company’s display division found a suitable monitor to introduce its new QD-OLED display technology: Alienware’s 34-inch curved gaming monitor. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Last year’s CES show was mostly about HDMI 2.1, as the new wave of consoles, the PS5 and Xbox Series X, had recently arrived with the promise of displaying games in 4K at up to 120 frames per second (ironically, few games achieve this a year later). We still love to see that port appear in new monitors and TVs, as higher bandwidth HDMI ports future-proof your big investment and keep your content looking its best. But in the end it’s just a port. And thankfully, many of CES 2022’s best monitors are included, along with some more unique talking points.
These are the most interesting monitors coming out of CES this year.
One model that will certainly be popular is technically not a gaming monitor, but a TV. It’s LG’s 42-inch C2 OLED, and that size is the smallest TV panel LG has produced to date — a much more reasonably sized desk mate than its 2021 48-inch C1 model. Even though it’s a TV, it has all the key specs of the gaming monitor, such as HDMI 2.1 ports, variable refresh rate, automatic low latency mode, a refresh rate of 120 Hz and an almost instant response time.
Given the gaming credentials, several brands are likely to use LG’s 42-inch OLED panel in their monitors. Asus is the first to announce a 42-inch OLED gaming display at CES 2022, with a design and stand that looks different from LG’s TV design. It’s similar in most respects, although it has the all-important DisplayPort for more connectivity options, in addition to the HDMI 2.1 and HDMI 2.0 ports.
Burn-in still exists among those looking to use an OLED for productivity or gaming. The verdict is not yet known on some of these newer models until they are released and people get a chance to test them or until manufacturers give guarantees. Alienware’s 34-inch QD-OLED gaming monitor, due out in March 2022, sets a high bar for those warranties, with “enhanced OLED reliability” and a three-year premium warranty that covers OLED burn-in. Importantly, we don’t know the price of this model, but maybe the warranty will raise the price a bit.
I’ve touched on it before, but I can’t talk about gaming without mentioning Samsung’s giant Odyssey Ark monitor again. It has Samsung’s signature 1000R curve, which is just as round as mainstream monitors today, but it brings that curvature into a 55-inch display – the largest it’s produced to date – with a 16:9 aspect ratio allowing it looks like a big, curved TV right in front of your face. It won’t come as a surprise if the Ark can deliver an unparalleled gaming experience, but the form factor also seems like a boon for multitasking productivity. The Ark’s kickstand allows the screen to rotate vertically, allowing you to stack applications as you see fit.
There’s a lot Samsung hasn’t shared about the Ark yet, but it apparently has quantum dot color and Mini LED backlighting. The Ark seemed like a good monitor for Samsung to debut its QD-OLED technology in, but alas. That honor goes to the aforementioned Alienware’s 34-inch curved (1800R) QD-OLED gaming monitor, which is due out in March. The Ark, on the other hand, will be released in the second half of 2022.
CES 2022 also saw the debut of Asus’ ROG Swift PG27AQN, the world’s first 27-inch QHD display with a 360Hz refresh rate (that rate was previously limited to 1080p). So now gamers don’t have to compromise on visual quality to see titles run at the fast speeds needed to stay at the top of their game. Nvidia also had some cool display announcements aimed at competitive gamers. Some of these QHD 360Hz gaming monitors from AOC, MSI and ViewSonic have mini LED panels for more vibrancy and more accurate colors and lighting.
And with Nvidia software, they support what the company calls dual-format resolution (pictured above), so gamers can take full advantage of these 27-inch displays in QHD if they wish, with the option to shrink the screen real estate to see games. run in 1080p, which is still a popular resolution for professional gamers. The latter option emulates the experience of playing on a 25-inch 1080p monitor without worrying about the image being stretched on a QHD display, which can reduce image quality.
The CES 2022 monitors weren’t just about gaming, though. Samsung’s line of smart monitors has got a new model, the 32-inch 4K M8, which touts new features that look useful. Despite being a monitor, it doesn’t require any additional hardware to stream TV shows and movies like most TVs can do these days. New for this model is the included SlimFit camera that can be attached magnetically for video calls. The M8 can serve as a SmartThings hub for your connected IoT devices in your home. Samsung is also introducing Game Home, a feature that essentially turns the M8 into a game streaming monitor, which can connect to different services and to different controllers. Samsung hasn’t captured those final details yet, but it could be exciting.
Returning to the monitor I mentioned first in this post, LG’s square 16:18 aspect ratio monitor called the DualUp has excited many of our readers. LG says it offers “the same screen space as two 21.5-inch displays and has a vertical split display feature that allows users to see more at a glance.” This one isn’t for me, but it’s still easy to see how it can benefit people who need a big screen that’s also high-resolution with a resolution of 2560 x 2880. LG says the form factor has ergonomic benefits, because you you don’t have to move your neck back and forth. It resembles the monitor used in Teenage Engineering’s marketing for its Computer-1 DIY PC case.
The best thing about monitors that debuted at CES 2022 is that there was something for everyone, creatives, gamers or those who simply appreciate big, beautiful and capable displays that they want to connect to a PC, macOS computer or a console. Thinking about all these announcements puts me in a good mood, and I will probably exist in this delicious honeymoon bubble until the stock prices of the manufacturers (no of them will be cheap).