We’ve seen this 8K 120Hz gaming monitor and life won’t be the same

TCL's new 8K 120Hz monitor is only 27-inch in size but has 5000 miniLED backlight zones and produces the best image quality we've ever seen.

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Forget your fancy OLEDs, LCD is still king based on this TCL IGZO miniLED display we just saw. This monitor might only be 27-inches in size but it packs in an astonishing 8K resolution along with a 5000 miniLED backlight. Combined they make for eye- and brain-boggling levels of image quality, that sadly most of us will never – or not for a long while – get the chance to see.

While realistically this display won’t be a contender for our best gaming monitor guide, with a 120Hz refresh rate it would still deliver smooth enough gaming for anything outside of competitive FPS and racing sims. Combined with its amazing contrast, true blacks, and ludicrous 326ppi pixel density, our time viewing it at CES 2024 showed it would be the ultimate screen for immersing yourself in the stunning visuals of the latest AAA games.

For those not quite remembering, 8K is 7,680 × 4,320 pixels, which compares to 3,840 x 2,160 pixels for 4K. In terms of total pixels that’s 33,177,600 pixels versus 8,294,400 – good luck getting your RTX 4070 Super to run that lot at 120Hz! Or, let’s be clear here, good luck even getting an RTX 4090 to run at 120Hz at that resolution on a AAA game, even with ray tracing turned off.

Still, while most graphics cards might struggle to run many games at this display’s top rate, perhaps your biggest problem will be getting hold of this thing. Not because it will be ludicrously expensive (though it probably will be) or even that it might not be available in many parts of the world (it probably won’t be) but because it’s currently not a commercial product but rather a demonstration of its latest panel tech by TCL’s display technology division, CSOT.

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Key to making this display work is that it uses the latest IGZO technology, which while not a new development – it was created by Sharp back in the early 2000s – is still not common for larger monitors. It uses indium zinc gallium oxide crystals to produce the TFT backplane of the panel, instead of the usual amorphous silicon used in conventional LCD displays. This substance has 20-50 times more electron mobility, meaning electrons literally move faster through it. Without getting too deep into the science, this allows for even smaller transistors, in turn making for ever more miniature displays while still retaining high light output.

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The result of this technology is just jaw-dropping image quality. Combine the incredibly tight pixel density of IGZO with 120Hz smoothness and a 5000-zone miniLED backlight and you get stunning HDR with true blacks maintained even around super-bright objects. TCL CSOT only claims a native 2,000:1 contrast for this display but it looks so much higher.

We’ve tried to capture the amazing detail of the panel by showing a zoomed-out then zoomed-in picture of the same scene below, but the demo unit was running a video loop so it was hard to capture exactly the same scene. Hopefully, you can see for yourself just how amazing this level of detail would be to have at home.

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Of course, in practical terms, you’d be much better off with at the very least a 32-inch panel with an 8K resolution and could probably even stretch to a 45-inch panel and still notice minimal difference from normal desk-viewing distances but to be able to peer at a screen this sharp is utterly addictive.

So, while we can’t yet point you in the direction of where to buy such a stunning display, we can direct you towards our best gaming monitor guide for some more realistic gaming display options. Also, check out our CES hub for more stories from the show.