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When it comes to gaming monitors, there is not one that is perfect for everybody. Each gamer requires something different which depends on the PC or console they use, the titles they like to play, and the rest of the things they intend to do with it (productivity/film). Some of the best models have an ultra-fast response time and an extremely low input lag making them particularly responsive. Others feature a 4K resolution or an ultra-widescreen. Almost all of them have a refresh rate of at least 144Hz and support a form of adaptive synchronization technology (G-sync/FreeSync). The number of models and specs can be truly overwhelming.
While some peripherals such as mice and keyboards are primarily matters of personal taste, some gaming monitors are objectively better than others: they are, in fact, capable of displaying sharper images, brighter colors, have a higher resolution and faster frame rates, menus that are easier to navigate and extra options to optimize gameplay.
Moreover, buying a gaming monitor is an investment. A good gaming monitor can last you many years – often five or more – and will accompany you through several updates to your PC or gaming console. With that in mind, spending extra to buy one of the best gaming monitors is, almost always, worth it.
Your new gaming monitor must also complement your graphics card. After all, your GPU cannot reach its true potential if you have a mediocre monitor that acts as a bottleneck.
4K gaming is becoming an increasingly attainable reality, especially after the release of the new Nvidia RTX 3080 and AMD RX 6000 GPUs. However, the ideal combination at the moment is 1440p at 144Hz (for PC games) which offers excellent performance at a reasonable price.
There are other things to consider as well, such as an ultra-wide screen or a 360Hz panel!
We usually recommend an IPS panel over TN. Its image sharpness, viewing angles, and color reproduction are far superior. The other alternative is VA. Its colors are not that warm, but its contrast ratio is really impressive.
In this article, we will help you choose the best gaming monitor for you, capable of offering you a smooth and immersive gaming experience — and maybe even a competitive advantage -. Continue reading in order to find out the things to consider before choosing a gaming monitor, plus our list of best models you can buy right now.
Do I need a gaming monitor?
If you play regularly, a gaming monitor can make a world of difference in your entertainment. A higher resolution can improve immersion immeasurably, and if you are a competitive gamer, a higher refresh rate can give you an advantage.
There is little sense though to buy a high-end gaming monitor if you don’t have the graphics power to take full advantage of it. If you’re looking to upgrade your gaming PC one piece at a time, focus first on improving its graphics performance and then buy a gaming monitor.
Which gaming monitors do professional gamers use?
Professional gamers focus on speed. This means they want the highest refresh rates and the lowest response times, though that also means sacrificing resolution, sharpness, and colors. They usually use a 1080p gaming monitor with a refresh rate of 240Hz.
They also use almost exclusively 24-inch monitors, so they don’t have to move their heads to see the edges of the screen.
Sadly there are still people believing that “the human eye can’t see more than 60 fps”. That statement is simply false: there is a big difference between gaming at 60 fps vs 120 fps, since being able to see faster actions can translate into faster reactions!
How to choose the best gaming monitor for you
Gaming monitors come in a wide selection of panels — TN, IPS, VA —, screen sizes — 24”, 27”, 34”, 49”(!) – aspect ratios — widescreen, ultra-wide, flat or curved — and, of course, prices. So which one to choose?
To facilitate you we found that the easiest method is to ask yourself these three questions:
- What kind of titles do you like to play?
- How capable is your PC?
- What is your budget?
If you like single-player role-playing games and slower titles in general (strategy games), larger, higher-resolution monitors can give you a better gaming experience since they will flesh out more details. However, you’ll need a powerful graphics card to game at Wide Quad HD/1440p (2.560×1,440 pixels) or Ultra HD/4K (3.840×2,160 pixels) resolutions, so make sure your PC is up to it.
If you prefer competitive games (MMO, FPS) then a high refresh rate (144Hz) is much more important than resolution. These gaming monitors help improve motion perception while reducing input lag thus making your gameplay much more responsive.
However, unless you have a high-end graphics card, we recommend that you stick to Full HD/1080P (1920×1080 pixels) resolution so your gaming system can push out as many frames as possible.
Gaming monitors with a 1440p resolution and a 144 Hz refresh rate currently offer the best performance/price ratio. In slow games and everyday PC use, you’ll appreciate the visual fidelity and extra screen real estate, while in faster eSports titles, the high refresh rate will make it easier to aim your blows.
Fortunately for you, these features do not cost an arm and a leg. A high-resolution monitor or one with a high refresh rate costs a couple of hundred dollars. Unfortunately, combining these two specs also doubles the price. So, pick a budget and prioritize the characteristics accordingly.
Remember, though, that a more expensive monitor will also be future-proof. A good gaming monitor can last you even a decade, and even if you decide to upgrade or buy a new PC in the future, you may not need to replace your monitor as well.
Size, aspect ratio, and resolution
When it comes to monitors, bigger is almost always better. Larger displays can grant a more immersive gaming experience, as the image fills your entire field of view — just make sure you have enough space on your desk. And, it goes without saying, that the larger the monitor, the higher the price. That said, in most cases, we recommend sticking to a 27-inch monitor or a smaller one.
The aspect ratio determines the width and height of the display. Most monitors nowadays have a 16:9 aspect ratio. However, ultra-wide monitors with a 21:9 aspect ratio are gaining popularity, since they offer a wider field of view.
Last but not least, resolution. More pixels produce a sharper image. However, you will need a powerful GPU in order to go above 1080p.
Monitors use a variety of panels, each one with its own unique advantages and disadvantages:
Twisted Nematic (TN) panels are the most convenient and very popular among gamers since they offer the fastest response time (usually 1ms). However, color accuracy and viewing angles tend to be substandard. That being said, modern TN panels have managed to minimize these drawbacks.
Vertical Alignment (VA) panels are the middle ground between IPS and TN. They are known for their high contrast ratio, good color reproduction, and ability to display deep blacks. High-contrast screens look especially good in dark rooms, as blacks will look black rather than gray. When a high-contrast display also has a high peak brightness (at least 600 nits), HDR content will also be more incisive. Unfortunately, VA panels suffer from slow response times responsible for “ghosting”, which can ruin your gaming experience. That’s why they are still rare in the gaming market.
In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels offer the best color accuracy compared to VA or TN panels and wide viewing angles, but they usually have a higher response time than TN. Another potential problem is the so-called “IPS glow”, where the monitor’s backlight is visible in dark scenes. They are the best type of panel for general use, but competitive gamers may have issues with them.
However, this trend is beginning to change. LG has developed a new IPS panel (nicknamed “Nano IPS” or “Fast IPS”) that boasts faster response times (gray-gray) of 1ms (with overdrive on). The first reviews noted that both “ghosting” and “artifacting” are significantly worse but we imagine that these problems will be resolved over time.
Response time, input lag, and refresh rate
Gaming monitors should have a fast response time, a low input lag, and a high refresh rate — ideally similar to the number of frames your PC can produce.
The response time (measured in milliseconds) shows how long it takes for a pixel to switch from one shade of gray to another. An extremely fast response time (2ms) translates to a smoother image. A response time of 4 ms is typically adequate for gaming.
Input lag is particularly important to competitive gamers. The input lag is the amount of time it takes for action (the press of a button) to appear on the screen. An input lag of 5 ms or less is considered good for competitive play.
Finally, the refresh rate is the number of times, per second, the image gets redrawn and is measured in hertz (Hz). Almost all monitors have a refresh rate of at least 60 Hz. Fast-paced images may appear blurred at this rate, or the screen may display tearing.
The new trend for gaming monitors is a refresh rate above 60Hz, usually 75Hz, 120Hz, and 144Hz; but there are also panels that can reach 240Hz and even 360Hz.
If your GPU can churn out more than 60 fps then a high refresh rate monitor can display smoother movements.
A high refresh rate, however, doesn’t mean that the image will be free of tears and artifacts. This brings us to adaptive synchronization technologies: G-Sync and FreeSync.
G-Sync and FreeSync
The best gaming monitors sport either G-Sync or FreeSync (sometimes both). These adaptive sync technologies help monitors combat tearing and other motion-related artifacts while keeping input lag to a minimum. Displays equipped with Nvidia’s G-Sync or AMD’s FreeSync technology allow a compatible graphics card to control the monitor’s refresh rate. Thus the display works at a variable refresh rate (VRR) based on the number of frames per second (fps) the graphics card is capable of producing. The result is a smoother, tear-free gaming experience with decreased input lag.
G-Sync is implemented by Nvidia, which normally requires a physical G-Sync module inside the monitor, which in turn increases the price tag. FreeSync is AMD’s alternative; it doesn’t require a special module and therefore does not increase the price of a monitor. G-Sync requires an Nvidia graphics card in order to work, while FreeSync requires an AMD one.
In early 2019, however, Nvidia released a new version of its GeForce drivers that allow FreeSync monitor users to activate G-Sync on their Nvidia GPUs. Be advised though that results may vary from monitor to monitor.
HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology is not just for making movies look better. It can also turn a fade-out game into something vibrant, allowing for greater contrast between the lighter and darker parts of the image, as well as a wider color gamut.
While a number of monitors are technically HDR-compatible, most of them fail to hit the peak brightness values that make this feature useful. Currently, there are four levels of HDR for monitors: DisplayHDR 400, DisplayHDR 600, DisplayHDR 1000, and DisplayHDR 1600. The number corresponds to the maximum amount of nits (peak brightness) that the display can reach.
Ports and extra features
A gaming monitor must be equipped with a variety of video inputs, that way you can connect it to a PC and a gaming console. Two HDMI ports are the ideal solution, as all major consoles use HDMI, while most high-end graphics cards offer both DisplayPort and HDMI connectivity.
USB ports are a convenient extra, as they make it easy to connect a gamepad, a mouse, a keyboard, a USB stick, or other external peripherals, and in some cases, it is also possible to charge your device (phone) with it. When these extra ports are placed on the side of the monitor, they allow for easier access. A stand with height adjustment, tilt, and rotation provides additional ergonomic comfort.
And lastly, some gaming monitors also come with RGB. While some of us can’t stand this trend (I find that it ruins my immersion), many gamers love them.
So, which gaming monitor should I buy?
Screen size, panel technology, and extra features determine the price of a gaming monitor. You can find a good 24-inch model that uses a TN panel with a response time of 1ms for about $100. If you want a better panel (IPS/VA), with a 144Hz refresh rate and G-Sync or FreeSync technology, it will cost you around $200. One of the best 27-inch gaming monitors with 1440p resolution complete with all bells and whistles will have a price tag of around $500, while a 34-inch Ultra HD monitor will cost you $700 or more.
Quick buying tips
Before buying a gaming monitor consider the following:
- G-Sync or FreeSync? G-Sync works only with an Nvidia graphics card, while FreeSync works with both AMD and Nvidia, although performance is not guaranteed with the latter.
- For image quality, VA > IPS > TN. TN monitors are the fastest and cheapest but also have the worst viewing angles. IPS monitors sport slightly slower response times, but better colors than VA monitors. VA monitors boast the best contrast but also the slowest response times.
- Refresh rate: the higher, the better. Larger numbers translate to a smoother image. Choose a monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate combined with the lowest response time you can find.
Our selection of the best gaming monitors you can buy today
Samsung Odyssey G7 (C27G7/C32G7): best curved gaming monitor
Do you want one of the best gaming monitors that can combine almost all the best LCD technology? You just found it in the Samsung Odyssey G7!
These two screens use the same 1000R curve radius as the larger G9, meaning the curve is narrower than most other panels. And that makes a huge difference when gaming: the narrower curve matches the human eye better and makes games much more engaging.
If you don’t think 4K resolution is worth the splurge, then the Samsung Odyssey G7 is perfect for you, since it offers a 1440p display — the ideal resolution for gaming. This is only part of the equation though since this monitor can handle all the graphics power of your PC thanks to its refresh rate of 240Hz.
Such a high refresh rate is typically reserved for 1080p monitors, but with the Odyssey G7, you get this, along with a peak brightness of 600 nits and a 10-bit color depth. Thus, not only will you be able to see a ton of frames, but each one will render in all its glory. And you don’t have to worry about screen tearing since this monitor supports both G-Sync and FreeSync Premium Pro.
The main concern obviously relates to the use of VA panel technology, which is traditionally associated with slow response time and subpar performance. That’s not the case here though. Samsung claims response times of 1ms and this monitor feels and looks just as fast. It’s undoubtedly comparable to the best TN monitors, at least in speed.
What’s more, the VA panel can produce deep blacks (it boasts a contrast ratio of 2,500:1), making it an ideal choice for dark rooms, while it can also become bright enough to overcome glare in bright rooms. It also sports good ergonomics – slim bezels, height adjustment, swivel, tilt, and rotation, and is VESA compatible – however, its viewing angles are mediocre, with the images appearing faded to the sides. It can also offer a good HDR experience, as it has a good range of colors, but its edge-lit local dimming function can be a bit distracting.
It also features a slew of additional features designed to enhance your gaming experience. You can, for example, add a virtual cross-hair, and a frame rate counter, and there is a black stabilizer function that makes objects more visible in dark scenes. It also features a Picture-in-Picture mode that allows two input signals to be displayed at once, which can be useful for streamers using two computers. It also boasts two USB 3.0 ports to charge your mobile devices and its backlight is completely flicker-free.
Overall, this is a feature-rich monitor that should please most people.
MSI OPTIX MPG341CQR: a valid alternative
While modern consoles are capable of 4K HDR gaming, one thing gaming PCs can do better is their support for ultra-wide gaming monitors. In fact, we believe that a 21:9 aspect ratio (or wider), is the best type of monitor for PC gaming, which is why we like the Optix MPG341CQR (Check on Amazon) so much.
It has a 34-inch VA panel (rather than IPS) that delivers incredibly incisive and vibrant colors with really excellent contrast. Add to this a maximum brightness of 400 nits, wide viewing angles (178/178), a 21:9 aspect ratio (3,440×1,440 pixels), a 144Hz refresh rate, and a response time of just 4ms and you can understand why this monitor excels in almost every metric that matters to a gamer.
The best thing, however, is that it’s sold at a reasonable price… sure it’s not cheap, but considering the amount of cutting-edge technology it comes equipped with, coupled with the amazing build quality and aesthetics, we think that this is absolutely one of the best mid-to-high-end gaming monitors for 2021.
Asus ROG Swift PG259QN: the fastest
The Asus ROG Swift PG259QN (Check on Amazon) is the fastest gaming monitor you can buy right now, and its 360Hz refresh rate is just the icing on an almost flawless cake.
While 360Hz is faster than most gamers need – and most graphics cards can handle – if you are an eSports player and want a competitive edge a 360Hz monitor is your best investment.
It even lets you analyze your gaming ecosystem via Nvidia Reflex (you will need an Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics card) to understand which of your devices affect latency. Knowing which hardware component or peripheral increases the input lag will allow you to make more targeted future upgrades.
It is expensive, despite the fact that it measures just 24.5 inches and has a Full HD resolution. 1080p displays are no longer popular, but it is the ideal resolution for gamers who want to push the refresh rate and frame rate to the limit.
Unfortunately, the response time is only average (2-3ms) but is worth the sacrifice in order to have a very versatile IPS panel with great contrast (1,250:1), and solid color reproduction — it’s one of the best factory-calibrated displays we’ve ever tested – and wide viewing angles.
If you already have a 240Hz gaming monitor, it’s not worth upgrading, but if you try it, everything else will seem slow to you.
MSI Oculux NXG253R: a valid alternative
A high refresh rate or color quality? In recent years, this has been a dilemma for anyone buying a gaming monitor. The MSI Oculux NXG253R (Check on Amazon) aims to eliminate it.
In fact, until recently, most of the high refresh rate panels were TN or – at best – VA, which resulted in shallow colors and narrow viewing angles. The MSI Oculux NXG253R uses an IPS panel, which sports inky blacks, rich colors (however, the color gamut is “just” sRGB, rather than DCI-P3 – which is increasingly popular with gaming monitors), decent brightness and contrast (1,000:1 and 8,000:1 in HDR), and wide viewing angles.
But is 360Hz worth it? Switching from a classic monitor (60Hz) to a “fast” gaming monitor (120Hz) is nothing short of transformative, and although the same cannot be said for going from 120Hz to 360Hz, the extra fluidity is noticeable, mainly thanks to reduced ghosting. If you are a competitive esports gamer, this is really all you need to know!
Unfortunately, there are still trade-offs to be made such as the size and resolution, 24.5 inches and 1080p respectively. Spending so much on a monitor that’s not even 1440p seems like a serious compromise. At least Nvidia G-Sync and Reflex are featured here, and they sweeten the deal, a bit.
If you’re the kind of competitive gamer who can take advantage of a 360Hz gaming monitor, the MSI Oculux NXG253R (Check on Amazon) is one of the best. You just have to make peace with the idea of buying a piece of specialist equipment, not an all-rounder.
MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD: best all-around monitor
The MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD (Check on Amazon) is a 27-inch monitor with the best color performance we’ve seen so far, thanks to its quantum dot display. In fact, this gaming monitor recorded the widest color gamut we’ve ever measured: 110% of DCI-P3 (after calibration) — color purists, however, will complain about the lack of an sRGB mode, considering its 165% coverage.
Its contrast is also great — for an IPS panel that is — measured at 1,100:1 (after calibration). And for those concerned about speed, this panel has a 1 ms response time, a refresh rate of 165Hz, and supports both AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync to ensure smooth movement (without tearing and ghosting) and unmatched image quality. Unfortunately, its backlight strobe to combat motion blur is a disappointment. It cannot be used in tandem with Adaptive-Sync, brightness decreases by about 50% and creates noticeable ghosting.
Moreover, the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD also offers a couple of unique tricks. The first is the faux-4K display mode which allows the monitor to work with the PlayStation 5, scaling the signal to fit its 1440p screen. The second relates to the USB-C connection (in addition to the two HDMI 2.0 ports and one DisplayPort 1.2) which supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, which means it allows for a single-cable connection for power (albeit limited to 15W of charging power) and video for compatible USB-C devices such as modern laptops.
For the rest, this monitor also boasts good looks, with a modern design with minimal bezels and a futuristic and ergonomic stand (it can tilt, swivel, rotate, and is height adjustable) that pair well together.
Perhaps the only real complaint here is that this is yet another HDR gaming monitor that doesn’t offer any noticeable image quality enhancements over SDR.
Thus, if you like your games to have a more colorful look, the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD (Check on Amazon) is the best gaming monitor for you.
Samsung Odyssey G9: best super ultrawide gaming monitor
Fans of flight and racing simulators will drool once they behold the super ultrawide screen of the Samsung Odyssey G9 (Check on Amazon), an incredibly bright 49-inch curved gaming monitor with extraordinary colors and ultra-smooth movement.
It doesn’t sport the same excellent viewing angles as the LG 34GN850 (Check on Amazon) and the edges may appear a bit faded if you sit too close to it, but it boasts a faster refresh rate of 240Hz while the 32:9 aspect ratio offers even more screen space. The 5,120×1,440 resolution (more than seven million pixels in total) and the 49-inch display are equivalent to two 27-inch 1440p monitors placed side by side.
There are other ultrawide monitors that can simulate the width of two monitors, but when you have so much “real estate” to work/play with, also having a screen that curves around your peripheral vision means that you will not need to turn your head that much! This display has an incredibly narrow 1000R curvature, which envelops your entire field of view. You won’t find another monitor that can give you the same feeling of depth.
The image quality is just as excellent. This is because it uses a QLED panel with a 2,500:1 contrast ratio and a peak brightness of 1,000 nits which put it on par with some of the best TVs.
In terms of gaming, it has an outstanding, almost instant, response time of 1ms – when it runs at 60Hz and a solid response time at its maximum refresh rate –, with low input lag and support for G-Sync and FreeSync for an even smoother image.
Samsung Odyssey Neo G9: a valid alternative
The original Odyssey G9 (Check on Amazon) is arguably the best super ultrawide gaming monitor. The question is whether Samsung has managed to create an even better one in the form of the Odyssey Neo G9 (Check on Amazon).
They look identical, in fact, the only difference between the two is the mini-LED backlight that the Neo G9 is equipped with. The panel is still VA – and it’s fantastic – but the Odyssey Neo G9 has a much more sophisticated full-array local dimming function (2,048-zone) rather than being edge-lit.
The problem with any backlight-based rather than pixel-based local dimming technology (which we find in OLED panels) is that trade-offs have to be made. Put simply, an algorithm has to decide the brightness of a certain area based on the image data and the result is never perfect: there will be visible halos around small and bright objects.
Sure, these halos are more visible on the Windows desktop than when playing games or videos, but they create a rather cluttered and distracting work environment. It must be stated that this monitor is not designed for content creation or office work, however, at this price, it is definitely a flaw.
On the other hand, sitting in front of the Odyssey Neo G9 is probably the closest virtual reality experience you can have without a headset: the huge 49-inch aspect ratio, its 1000R curve, the resolution of 5,120×1,440 pixels (it’s like having two 1440p monitors side by side without the empty space in between), the industry-leading peak brightness (of 2.000 nit!) and contrast, its 240Hz refresh rate, and compatibility with G-Sync and FreeSync Premium Pro combine to deliver an experience that few screens can match. Graphics-rich games are what the G9 does best. Against this backdrop, the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 offers arguably the best viewing experience on today’s PC.
Ultimately, mini-LED backlighting creates as many problems as it solves. Plus, at this price point, you have so many options, with the obvious alternative being a 120Hz OLED TV with HDMI 2.1 connectivity. But if money isn’t an issue and you want to experience the visual pinnacle, then the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 (Check on Amazon) is an immersive marvel, that will change your definition of the word “monitor”.
Razer Raptor 27: the best
The Raptor 27 gaming monitor is a 144Hz HDR triumph. Razer decided to enter the gaming monitor market and did it with a bang.
This monitor will make any of your friends jealous: it has unmatched build quality and premium highlights, such as the RGB stand and flat green cables that are aligned with grooves in the back of the monitor which helps a lot with cable management. In addition, its HDR technology is among the best we’ve ever seen in an edge-lit panel.
The Raptor sports a 27″ IPS panel with a Quad HD resolution (2560×1400 pixels). This resolution was chosen on purpose: it’s high enough to allow the screen to show beautifully detailed images but not so high that you’ll need an incredibly powerful PC to make the most of it. In other words, it’s the perfect mix of performance and accessibility.
The monitor covers 162.1% of the sRGB color range and emits 300 nits of brightness. It also supports HDR400 and comes with some display presets, such as FPS, Racing, MMO, and Streaming mode.
In terms of performance, it has a response time of 1ms and despite its refresh rate of “just” 144Hz, the Raptor 27 was able to compete with other high-end 165Hz gaming monitors in our speed tests. We weren’t able to observe any motion blur; however, professional gamers will have to choose between 144Hz or activating the backlit strobe, which limits you to 120Hz, reduces brightness by 40%, and disables FreeSync and G-Sync.
The only real drawback is its price (Check on Amazon). However, this is easily one of the most beautiful and probably the best gaming monitor you can buy today.
Samsung CRG9/C49RG9: the biggest gaming monitor
When size does matter this Samsung model is the best you can get – if you can afford it. It measures a whopping 49 inches in diagonal and has a resolution of 5120×1440 pixels (32:9).
Its 120Hz VA panel has an excellent contrast ratio, although black uniformity is rather poor. As with most VA panels, the viewing angles are also scarce, but the curved panel helps, making it easier to see the sides.
Samsung added FreeSync 2 variable refresh rate technology, which works quite well even with Nvidia cards, despite the lack of official support.
In addition, the CRG9 is now HDR-ready since it can reach a peak brightness of 1,000 cd/m². It cannot match the HDR quality of the more expensive G-Sync HDR models or those of high-end TVs.
The average response time is around 6ms, which is a great result considering the size of this thing!
Maybe its best feature, other than gaming, is that it supports dual input meaning that you can simulate a dual monitor configuration with a single monitor.
The Samsung CRG9 (Check on Amazon) is our dream monitor.
LG 27GN950: best 4K gaming monitor
4K gaming is a serious commitment. You need a huge amount of graphics power to achieve decent frame rates at such a high resolution, unless you have a premium graphics card, like the new Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080.
For an unprecedented gaming experience, the LG 27GN950 (Check on Amazon) is the perfect 4K gaming monitor to showcase your new GPU, as it features a sharper image with more precise details than the lower resolutions.
It also offers a 144Hz refresh rate, so if you have a gaming PC that can handle it, you can achieve both the correct visual fidelity and perfect motion sharpness, also thanks to its response time of just one millisecond – quite rare for an IPS monitor.
However, 4K is just the native resolution of the panel; it takes much more to get a good image than the number of pixels. Fortunately, the 27GN950 also nails all other aspects of a great gaming monitor.
What really impresses is LG’s Nano IPS technology which offers a wider and more accurate color gamut, and stellar viewing angles. It also supports a 10-bit color depth — for over a billion colors — covering 134% of sRGB color space.
HDR also looks amazing — is almost on par with some TVs — thanks to the Edge Array backlight and local dimming function. HDR content enjoys, in fact, a contrast ratio of 8,000:1! The 27GN950 is also DisplayHDR 600 certified, which means that the screen can exceed 600 nits of brightness.
And HDR is supported even in high-refresh-rate games thanks to FreeSync Premium Pro (variable refresh rate between 48 and 144 Hz to smooth out irregular frame rates and completely eliminate screen tearing). But if you have an Nvidia graphics card, don’t worry, since this monitor is also compatible with G-Sync.
The 27GN950 also supports Display Stream (DSC) compression, giving you access to the full 4K 144K refresh rate with HDR and VRR via a single DisplayPort cable without the need for Chroma sub-sampling or a messy two-cable solution!
Last but not least, this monitor also boasts one of the lowest input lag scores we’ve ever measured.
All in all, the LG 27GN950 (Check on Amazon) is the best 4K gaming monitor for most people.
ViewSonic Elite XG270QG: best 1440p G-Sync gaming monitor
Not all of us own an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti so we can game at 4K resolutions. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want a premium gaming experience all the same.
The ViewSonic Elite XG270QG (Check on Amazon) offers everything most gamers could ever want: it boasts a 27-inch premium IPS panel with a 1440p (2,560×1,440 pixels) resolution, a 144Hz refresh rate (which can be overclocked to 165Hz), and support for Nvidia’s G-Sync technology (no more screen tearing), and despite its price, it offers a huge value for competitive gamers.
In addition, it has an exceptional response time (1ms) and sports the black frame insertion function that further improves movement — the latter can’t be used with G-Sync enabled. The input lag is slightly higher than most competing 60Hz gaming monitors but most people won’t notice.
Also its extra features, such as built-in speakers, the ability to make crosshair appear on the screen, and RGB lighting – to relieve stress on your eyes when you are playing in a dark room – they’re all meant to boost your gaming experience. It even has a hook for hanging your headphones and a mouse cord holder.
Unfortunately, it also has a low contrast ratio thus blacks appear somewhat gray, does not support HDR, and has bad color accuracy out of the box (if properly calibrated this panel is capable of covering 98% of the DCI-P3 color space). On the plus side, it offers wide viewing angles and becomes bright enough (350cd/m2) to combat glare.
Of course, it is also excellent as an office or general-purpose monitor since its support allows you to adjust it in a variety of ways – including putting it in portrait mode – and most people should be happy to own one.
ASUS TUF VG27AQ: best FreeSync gaming monitor
The Asus TUF VG27AQ (Check on Amazon) offers excellent performance at a decent price. The spec sheet is simply amazing: this is a 27-inch 2K (2560×1440 pixels) IPS panel with a response time of just 1ms. Its stand-out feature is its 165Hz refresh rate combined with the latest generation ELMB (Extreme Low Motion Blur) SYNC technology. This Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) works great both with AMD’s FreeSync and Nvidia’s G-Sync compatible graphics cards! Image quality is also extremely sharp with support for high dynamic range HDR10.
This monitor has a similar design to other ASUS gaming monitors, and the support is great. It offers great ergonomics as you can adjust it in any way you want, and the ability to mount it with VESA. With thin edges, it also favors a multi-monitor configuration.
The ASUS TUF VG27AQ performs a great job of balancing image quality, speed, and above all, price. This is a great monitor for both PC and console. And don’t let TUF branding mislead you, this is a great all-around monitor that will set the pace for the future “budget” conscious devices of the Asus brand.