Wondering if a 32-inch monitor is too big? We’ve got you covered!
Lot’s of us have been there: We find a monitor with a great refresh rate, a solid native resolution, and a fast response time. It seems perfect, but the nagging question about its size is keeping us from clicking the “Order” button.
Generally, a 32″ monitor is too big for high-level gaming, but it can be a good fit for certain types of office work, multimedia viewing, and everyday uses. Eye strain can be a serious issue with large monitors, especially if you lack a deep desk.
That’s the way-too-short answer. There are definitely situations where a 32″ monitor can be a great choice and there are definitely situations where a 32″ monitor is a terrible choice.
This quick guide will get straight to the point with the details you need to make the right call and determine whether or not this monitor size is the right one for you.
What Makes a Monitor Too Big?
There are a few physical realities to consider when looking at a 32-inch monitor. The first is simple: your desk. You need to sit a certain distance away from your monitor to see all of it clearly and to get the full effect of the images it displays (plus it’s easier on your eyes), and the appropriate viewing distance gets farther and farther the bigger your monitor gets.
You’ll need a pretty deep desk to support a 32-inch monitor, otherwise you’ll have to choose between an uncomfortable viewing experience or a comfortable one…from several feet away.
The next consideration is your monitor’s resolution and, by extension, your computer’s processing power.
See, monitors with native 1080p resolution all have the same number of pixels regardless of their size. That means a 25-inch monitor and a 32-inch monitor with native 1080p resolution will have the exact same number of pixels, but the 32-inch monitor’s pixels will be stretched out over a larger area.
Pixels that are clustered closer together produce clearer, more detailed images, so monitors with the largest number of pixels per square inch will give you better viewing experiences than those with low pixel density.
Or, to put it another way, games and videos will look worse on a 32-inch monitor with the same native resolution as a smaller display.
If you opt for a 32-inch monitor you’ll want to make sure you get one with a high native resolution, otherwise you’ll be in for a rude awakening when your game looks worse on your new monitor than it did on your old one.
The last consideration is really no big deal: Your computer. You might think that a larger monitor requires more processing power than a smaller one, but that isn’t the case.
You won’t need any special hardware to run games on a larger monitor; your computer cares about the number of pixels, not the size of the screen. That means it’ll take exactly as much processing power to render images on a 32-inch 1080p display as it would on, say, a 1,000-inch 1080p display.
A big enough desk and a high resolution don’t necessarily mean a 32-inch monitor will work for you. It all depends on how you’re going to use it.
Is a 32-inch Monitor Too Big for Gaming?
There are a couple of schools of thought regarding monitor size for gaming, but it all boils down to what kind of gamer you are.
If you’re the kind of gamer who likes to play slow-paced games like Civilization VI or Minecraft, or if you’re aiming for as immersive an experience as possible, then you’ll probably love a 32-inch monitor. The large screen will give you a wide view of the field and let you take in tons of scenery at once, which is exactly what you want if you’re looking to immerse yourself in your favorite digital world.
If you’re the kind of gamer who likes to play shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valorant, or Overwatch, MOBAs like League of Legends or DOTA 2, or racing games like Forza or Dirt Rally, a 32-inch monitor is definitely too big for you.
Why? Well, a few reasons.
Most pro gamers prefer to play on monitors 25-inches or smaller, and it’s not because they can’t afford larger ones. See, while you may benefit from seeing more of the map at once while playing Civilization VI, having all that information onscreen can be distracting when playing faster-paced games.
Having all kinds of stuff going on in your peripheral vision makes it harder to maintain the intense focus required for playing games like CS:GO at high levels, a problem that gets worse as your monitor gets larger.
In addition to eliminating distractions, smaller monitors also help pro gamers react more quickly, avoid repetitive stress injuries, and prevent eyestrain.
See, a larger monitor doesn’t just present more information at once, it increases the distance your eyes will have to travel to take in the information. Not only does this mean that you’ll have to move your eyes around more, it also means you’ll have to turn your head and tilt your neck if you want to see the corners of the screen.
That may not sound so bad right now, but think about how irritating and uncomfortable it could be for a pro player who games all day, every day. Those big eye movements go from uncomfortable to painful and sometimes dizzying, and those constant head movements will do a number on your neck.
What seems like a good thing—a big, beautiful monitor—quickly turns into a health hazard and a literal headache for serious gamers. Staring at a screen may not directly harm your eyes (you can read Harvard’s answer to that myth), but it can cause eye strain, especially if requires large eye movements to see.
A smaller monitor, on the other hand, lets you keep all the necessary information in the center of your view, which makes it easier to play through long sessions without making yourself dizzy or hurting your neck.
Note: If you don’t already have a high refresh rate monitor and you want to immediately improve your first-person shooter (and other eSports games) performance, take a look at our guide to the pros & cons of 144Hz monitors.
Is A 32-inch Monitor Too Big for Office Work, Design, or Everyday Use?
This is one situation where a 32-inch monitor would be a good fit. The larger the screen, the more “real estate” available for documents, browser windows, spreadsheets, and whatever else you may be working on.
Many offices are full of workstations with multiple monitors for this same reason; it’s nice to be able to compare documents side-by-side or swap between multiple open applications without having to alt-tab through your windows every few seconds.
It’s also important to note that companies wouldn’t spend the money on extra monitors if they didn’t believe the extra screen space improved their employees’ productivity, so it’s a pretty safe bet that a larger monitor will also help you get more done in less time.
If the ability to see multiple windows at once is helpful for people working on documents and spreadsheets, imagine how beneficial it would be for people working on creative projects. Whether you’re designing logos, editing images or videos, rendering graphics, or any other visual work, chances are you’ll benefit from being able to keep your inspiration or models onscreen at the same time.
A big screen also lets you see the whole picture when you’re designing or editing images. Sometimes you need to back out and see everything at once to get a better perspective or see how one element meshes with another, and a big screen will let you zoom out while still being able to see finer details. After all, what’s a big screen to an artist but a big, high-res canvas?
Is a 32-inch Monitor Too Big for Watching Movies & Streaming Videos?
It’s not a shocker that many people prefer to watch movies and shows on big screens. A 32-inch monitor with a high resolution (at least 1440p, preferably) will give you a relatively large, clear picture that you can see clearly from across the room; perfect for watching TV in bed or turning your room/office into the comfiest home movie theater in the area.
A 32-inch monitor won’t give you the same cinematic experience as an 80-inch TV with surround sound, but it’ll still be a perfectly viable way to watch your favorite shows, movies, and streams after you’re finished working or studying for the day.
The difference between watching movies on a 32″ monitor and gaming on one is that, since you don’t have to interact with a keyboard/mouse, you can relax at whatever distance you need to be from the monitor.
Final Thoughts & Recommendations
A 32-inch monitor may be too big for you if your desk is too small, if you plan on buying a monitor with a resolution below 1440p, or if you plan on using it to play a lot of fast-paced games like CS:GO or Forza Horizon 4.
A big monitor on a small desk may strain your eyes, a big monitor with a low resolution will deliver ugly images, and a big monitor will make it hard to keep track of things onscreen and potentially lead to repetitive stress injuries if you play a lot of fast-paced games.
On the other hand, a 32-inch monitor may be just what you need if you plan on using it for work, everyday computing, streaming movies and TV, or playing slower-paced games. The extra real estate will let you manage multiple open windows at once, give you a more cinematic viewing experience, and let you see more of the game world at once.