2022 WAS A SURPRISINGLY BIG YEAR FOR MONITORS | Engadget

I don’t know if this is a late effect of the remote work trend or if it’s just a bunch of technologies all maturing at the same time (or maybe both), but 2022 was an extraordinarily great year for screens. So before we move on to a new generation of gadgets in 2023, I just wanted to take a moment to recap some of the notable offerings that have come out in the past 12 months.

Before we get to specific models, this year saw two major new players arrive in the gaming monitor space thanks to Sony’s Inzone brand and HyperX line of Armada monitors. For a company like Sony responsible for some of the most popular consoles of all time, this move was a surprise but also a bit late. That’s because while Sony has dabbled in gaming monitors in the past (remember that odd Playstation 3D TV from 2011), the company has largely refrained from expanding into the broader gaming hardware and accessories market — especially when it comes to PC peripherals.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

However, while Sony’s Inzone line of devices consists of headphones and monitors that share a similar design with the Playstation 5 and some exclusive features, it’s important to note that the hardware comes from Sony Electronics (the company that makes TVs, monitors, and wireless earphones) and not Sony Interactive. Entertainment (aka the Playstation people). This means you won’t find any explicit Playstation logos, but what you do get are some of the fancy technology found in Sony’s other premium gadgets like the flagship WH-1000XM5 wireless headphones.

As for monitors, after testing it earlier this year, I found the Inzone M9 to be one of the best 4K gaming monitors for the money. Now for just $799 (down from its $899 launch price), you get a 27-inch monitor with VRR support, NVIDIA G-Sync, DisplayHDR 600 certification, and full-array local dimming. I also appreciate some of the smaller touches Sony has included like the built-in KVM switch and the surprisingly well-built stereo speakers, the latter of which makes it really easy to connect a PC or PS5 and start playing without worrying about the sound.

Unlike other monitors, HyperX's Armada line of gaming monitors has ditched the traditional desktop stand in favor of an included monitor arm for a less cluttered, more adjustable setup.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Meanwhile, HyperX (now owned by HP) joined the fray this year with its line of Armada gaming monitors. Similar to Sony, the first batch of HyperX monitors feature a small twist on the standard formula because instead of shipping with a traditional desktop stand, both new monitors are only available with an assembled monitor arm. And when you combine it with a 25-inch panel that offers 1080p resolution and a 240Hz refresh rate for just $450 or a 2560 x 1440 screen with 165Hz for $500 on the 27-inch model, what you get are some great mid-range monitors, especially For anyone looking to keep clutter to a minimum.

Alienware 34 QD-OLED curved gaming monitor
Alienware’s AW3423DW was the first QD OLED display on the market when it went on sale earlier this spring.

Devendra Hardwar/Engadget

Another significant milestone in 2022 was the launch of the first batch of QD-OLED screens, under the Alienware AW3423DW title. The really nice thing about QD-OLED screens is that they combine the super-saturated colors and pure blacks you get with traditional OLED panels, but with much better brightness, not to mention less boom and wider viewing angles (when compared to traditional LCD screens). When you factor in its ultra wide format and 175Hz refresh rate, you get what is arguably the best all-around gaming monitor on the market. And while Alienware was the first company to launch a QD-OLED display, other companies are Like MSI has its competitors soon.

With a massive 55-inch 4K screen, Samsung's Odyssey Ark is one of the largest gaming monitors on the market.
With a massive 55-inch 4K screen, Samsung’s Odyssey Ark is one of the largest gaming monitors available today.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Alternatively, for people who don’t care about costs and just want the biggest, baddest gaming display on the market, Samsung’s Odyssey Ark was one of the most memorable gadgets I’ve used all year. With a massive 55-inch panel with 4K resolution and a 1000R curve, the Ark wraps around you like a kind of spaceship cockpit. And if that wasn’t enough, you can even rotate it to portrait mode, which offers one of the most unique gaming setups I’ve ever experienced. The downside is that while the Ark has four HDMI inputs and a special multi-display mode (which is essentially an enhanced picture-in-picture feature), due to a limitation of HDMI, it can only display content from one external source at a time. But if you’ve got $3,500 around and want an amazing display this year, the Odyssey Ark can’t be beat.

I recently had a chance to check out LG’s latest UltraGear gaming monitor with its new 240HZ screens, which is the highest refresh rate you can get from any OLED screen on sale today. LG’s new panels mean you can get the deep blacks and vivid colors that OLED screens are known for And the The type of refresh rates previously only available from IPS monitors. The downside, however, is that with a maximum brightness of only 200 nits, the new UltraGears aren’t ideal for gaming in bright rooms.

LG's latest 45-inch gaming monitor not only features an ultra-fast 240Hz display, but also an ultra-wide 800R zig-zag radius that delivers a cocoon-like experience.
LG’s latest 45-inch gaming monitor not only features an ultra-fast 240Hz display, but also an ultra-wide 800R zig-zag radius that delivers a cocoon-like experience.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

But as someone who’s been waiting so long for OLED panels to become more mainstream, it’s really encouraging to see more products added to the mix. That’s because even though there are quite a few OLED screens out there right now (like the aforementioned Alienware AW3423DW), the pick-ups are still pretty slim. Some like the LG C2 are actually just TVs that are also pushed as large desktop monitors. Meanwhile, ASUS’ ROG Swift OLED line uses the same panels as LG’s in the C2, but with a few tweaks like a heatsink and a DisplayPort 1.4 socket to improve gaming performance.

But perhaps the biggest problem is that all the OLED screens available now are rather big. The smallest C2 and ROG Swift OLED models are 42 inches wide, while the Alienware AW3423DW isn’t much better with its 34-inch ultra-wide panel. But with LG’s new UltraGear OLED, we finally get something with a manageable size along with one of the highest refresh rates we’ve seen on an OLED screen to date.

The LG DualUp Display has an unusual 16:18 aspect ratio, and is designed to provide additional vertical screen real estate without the need to rotate the screen in portrait mode.
The LG DualUp Display has an unusual 16:18 aspect ratio, and is designed to provide additional vertical screen real estate without the need to rotate the screen in portrait mode.

LG

Meanwhile, for anyone who isn’t a gamer, there have also been some interesting new productivity offerings that have been rolled out this year. That’s because while it was technically announced last year, 2022 also saw the release of LG’s DualUp display with an unconventional 16:18 aspect ratio. When combined with its included arm, you’ll enjoy a setup with plenty of vertical screen real estate without having to stack multiple monitors or having to contend with a screen that’s too thin when rotated into portrait mode. And with a color gamut that covers 98 percent of the DCI-P3 spectrum, DualUp can handle much more than just long spreadsheets. LG even included support for power output up to 90W, so you can get video from a laptop and keep it fully charged with a single USB-C cable.

Finally, while it still needs a bit of refinement, Corsair just released its massive 45-inch gaming monitor with bendable screen called the Xeneon Flex. Now I know being able to manually convert a screen from flat to curved might sound a bit silly (and it probably is, especially when gadgets like the LG OLED Flex exist and feature built-in drivers), but it’s nice to see more companies experiment with bendy screen technology. And who knows, maybe they could add a feature where the screen switches to game mode when bent allowing your battle station to change gears depending on what kind of work (or play) you’re doing.

Regardless, with more people working remotely than ever before, it’s nice to have more options when it comes to setting up your setup. And I haven’t even talked about some of the other innovations from neighboring categories like TVs, laptops, and phones like the 240Hz OLED display option on the Razer Blade 15, Panasonic’s new LED.EX TVs, or the improved under-display camera on the Galaxy Z Fold 4. (I recently used UDC on the Z Fold 4 for calling into a video meeting, and no one has ever complained about image quality). Still, 2022 has been a great year for displays, and as we head into CES 2023, I expect that momentum to continue into the next year.

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