Input Lag Vs Response Time- Which One Is Better For Gaming

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Although both input lag and response time reflect a display’s capability, they represent two totally different things. Input lag simply determines the time the display needs to respond to an input signal. Response time on the other hand is simply the time pixels need to change colors.

In this article, we’ll explain in detail the differences between input lag and response time. 

input lag vs response time

Input Lag Vs Response Time – What’s the Difference?

If you want to compare input lag and response time first know about the concept and this might help you to compare even better.

What Is Input Lag?

Input Lag generally means the time interval between your pressing on a key and the result on the screen. This will be clear with an example. Suppose you are playing FIFA. You just crossed a defender and you are going to shoot. You pressed the key but the player didn’t shoot and you missed the shot. Here the latency between the pressing and acting is known as input lag. 

What Is Response time?

Response time means the time required for a monitor to change its pixel’s color from black to white or gray to gray. You can think of it as when you play nothing on the monitor then it naturally shows black but when some scenery pops up then it will be gray or white. The time requires for doing so is known as response time.

Importance of Input Lag and Response Time

Input lag and response time both hold much importance in gaming and other activities. If you know them then it will also help you to understand.

Input Lag

If you have a higher refresh rate or lower input lag you will get smoothness and that is very important. A higher refresh rate enables you to better experience by giving you a smooth pace on the screen and a delay-free game experience. 

Response Time

Now you know that response time is the time needed for a single pixel’s color to change from one to another. If you recommend smooth graphics change experience, then you must have a higher response time. In a first shooter game, response time holds a lot of importance. You must have a clear visualization of the full screen and you will need a fluid-like smooth graphics change.

Which One Do You Need for Gaming?

In gaming, both response time and input lag hold much importance. You need a lag-free smooth experience to play competitive games because if you don’t get that you won’t get the timing right and you will end up losing. That’s what input lag refers to. 

While in the case of response time it refers to the time needed for the pixel to change color from one to another. If you play first-person shooter (FPS) games, then you will need smooth picture-changing quality and a higher response time will enable you to do that. 

Best Setting for Gaming

We saw previously that input lag is the time latency between the pressing of the controller and the response on the screen while response time refers to the time needed to change colors from one to another. But what are the best settings for gaming? That question pops into the mind of many of us.

In the case of input lag, many monitors deliver dedicated gaming settings. You should enable game mode for the monitor to play a game to have a better experience. 

On the other hand, response time should be very less for the best gaming experience otherwise you will face ghosting. There are many response times like 5ms or 1ms. 5ms response time is good for gaming but now some monitors give you 1ms response time which enables you to have a much more smooth game experience. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Is Ghosting?

Ghosting is a product of higher response time or lower refresh rate. You will have a clear idea after listening to this example. Suppose you are playing a racing game. You are going through a place and suddenly a blurred image comes on your screen. That thing is called ghosting.

But if you have a monitor with a higher refresh rate then you might not say it anyway. 

What Should You Prioritize More?

Now here we come for the main question of what should you prioritize. We will keep it simple in that matter.

If you have the budget, you obviously should look for both good qualities. But if that is not the case then you should look for a lower input lag. Because higher input lag will create a lot of disturbance in the game.

Is input lag or response time better?

Although both of these are important, input lag is more important for gaming. So, if you are looking for a monitor for competitive gaming, get a monitor with better input lag.


Above we discussed response time and input lag briefly. This article will give a clear idea of these two. This will solve your choosing problems for a new monitor.

For the best experience, you should look for both qualities but if you want to buy a relatively lower quality monitor you should keep in mind that the input lag should not exceed 32ms, and after that look for the response time.

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