Not any old display will do for gaming and you’ve got to head for one of the best gaming monitors when you’re ready to upgrade or change. However, you will have to address some big, though definitely exciting, questions. How fast do you want it to be? Do you want the biggest resolution going? How about HDR? And a few others too, for good measure.
There are a few things you should know, however, before buying a gaming monitor. You’ll have to choose between 4K, which gives you sharper images but lower refresh rates, and 1080p, which favors responsiveness over resolution. Everything in between lands on the middle of the spectrum. There’s also High Dynamic Range (HDR), which nets you better color and brightness but at a higher cost.
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The Dell 24 S2417DG is one of the best 1440p gaming monitors you can get for the price. Its 24-inch, Nvidia G-Sync panel covers 123 percent of the sRGB color spectrum and emits a solid 284 nits of brightness. It’s also super easy to pivot the display and even turn it into portrait mode. The monitor offers several useful presets, like FPS, RTS and RPG mode, which all change the color and brightness of the display. Now, pack all those neat features in a package with an affordable $429 price, and you’ve got yourself the best overall gaming monitor out there. Pros: Vibrant quad-HD display; Very responsive; Useful game presets; Highly adjustable Cons: Stiff navigation buttons Display: 24-inch (2560 x 1440) | Max Refresh Rate: 165 Hz | Response Time: 1ms | Adaptive Sync: G-Sync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: TN | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI
As we sifted through the field of cheap gaming monitors, the LG 24MP59G-P stood out primarily because of its solid all-around features for the price ($150). Its 24-inch, 1920 x 1080 display covers 93 percent of the sRGB color gamut and hits a respectable 246 nits of brightness. This monitor also has one of the best lag times we saw in this price range. Additionally, it has a pretty wicked design and it’s even compatible with AMD FreeSync. Pros: Bright display; Stylish design; Responsive for the price; Affordable Display: 24-inch (1920 x 1080) | Max Refresh Rate: 75 Hz | Response Time: 5ms GTG/1ms MBR | Adaptive Sync: FreeSync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: IPS | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI Samsung’s CHG70 curved gaming monitor blew us away with the the full force of a rainbow. The 32-inch, 1440p, FreeSync show covers a wild 154 % of the sRGB spectrum. In SDR mode, the monitor averaged up to 365 nits of brightness in our testing, and in HDR mode, the specs say that the monitor can go up to 600 nits. To top it all off, the display sits on a super-ergonomic stand that can accommodate any setup you throw at it. Pros: Sharp, 1440p resolution; Fantastic HDR support; spectacular color and accuracy Cons: Noticeable warping and color shifting; No built-in speakers Display: 32-inch (2560 x 1440) | Max Refresh Rate: 144 Hz | Response Time: 1ms | Adaptive Sync: FreeSync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: VA | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI (2), USB (2)
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Asus ROG Swift PG27A
The Asus ROG Swift PG27A is among the most beastly sub-$1,000 monitors, as it offers a 4K display with Nvidia G-Sync, a pair of solid speakers and an intuitive interface. This 27-inch champion covers a rich 130 percent of the sRGB color gamut. And while it stumbled slightly with its 234 nits of brightness, it offers a speedy 4-ms response time for a 4K monitor. It also neatly flips into portrait mode, as if it were meant to be viewed that way all along.
Pros: Gorgeous 4K picture quality; Intuitive interface; G-Sync support; Solid built-in speakers
Cons: Fairly pricey
Display: 27-inch (3840 x 2160) | Max Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Response Time: 4ms | Adaptive Sync: G-Sync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: IPS | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB (2)
As long as you’re willing to drop the cash ($849), the Acer Predator X34 is hands down the best-curved gaming monitor you can get. At 34 inches with a 3440 x 1440 resolution, it’s incredibly immersive, covering 99 percent of the sRGB color gamut and a strong 261 nits of brightness. You’ll even get the full dive with the Predator’s crisp 7-watt speakers and its Nvidia G-Sync compatibility. This monitor just looks pretty badass, too, as if an alien artifact crash-landed on your desk. Pros: Impressive design; Gorgeous picture quality; Strong G-Sync performance; Low latency; Solid built-in speakers Cons: Pricey; Navigating menus can be a pain Display: 34-inch (3440 x 1440) | Max Refresh Rate: 100 Hz | Response Time: 4ms | Adaptive Sync: G-Sync | Aspect Ratio: 21:9 | Panel Type: IPS | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI For just $200, the ViewSonic XG2401 is a sharp, 24-inch, 1920 x 1080 panel with speedy 1-millisecond response time and AMD FreeSync compatibility for tear-free gaming. The ViewSonic averages 355 nits of brightness, while the color landed at 91 percent, which could be better. But for a monitor this inexpensive, the built-in speakers packed a punch when we cranked the volume up all the way, and this monitor even offers a neat headphone stand. Pros: Superfast response times; Fast 144-Hz refresh rate at 1080p; AMD FreeSync support; Highly adjustable stand with headphone dock Cons: A few extraneous features Display: 24-inch (1920 x 1080) | Max Refresh Rate: 144 Hz | Response Time: 1ms | Adaptive Sync: FreeSync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: TN | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI (2), USB (3)
There ar 2 main ways that to check out our screens to see the most effective gaming monitor. The first is by playing games on it, obviously. Subjectively testing the gaming performance of each panel isn’t necessarily going to give you the lowdown on the specifics of a particular screen, but it will let you test the functioning ratio, native resolution, and any explicit gamer-centric technologies they’re sporting.
Side-by-side comparative testing in this manner is also incredibly valuable for keying into the sometimes subtle differences between each panel. When you use a screen in isolation it’s easy to become blind to its comparative faults as you simply get used to them.
Testing screens back-to-back allows us to discover and highlight specific issues between them. Objective testing can be great, but it’s also far more difficult. To do it properly, you need hardware for testing the true latency, color accuracy, and other metrics. Most gamers don’t have access to any of this, but you can do a semblance of objective testing using the LCD calibration pages here.
This site offers several test screens you can bring up on any web-connected panel to make some qualitative assessments. The days of actual retail space for such things are dwindling, but if you can get a look at a screen before purchasing it, plugging a notebook or such into it and checking out the Lagom pages are very handy.