If you’re looking for one of the best gaming monitors, then you might feel as though things are impossible to sort through. There are, quite simply, far too many choices, and it’s incredibly hard to look through all of the different models, specs, and even styles without knowing a little bit about what you should be aiming for.
Because gaming has been on the up for so long now, we’re seeing more and more companies dive into more niche styles of monitors. It means that you’re never just going to be looking at resolution and refresh rates, but even trying to figure out if you want to try out one of the curved gaming monitors. The good news, though, is that monitors are becoming more and more affordable too. It means that there’s really never been a better time to try and get a budget-friendly option, because they’ll still manage to pack in features like UHD resolution and great response times.
Whether this is your first or fiftieth monitor, have no fear, because we’ve gone ahead and listed everything you need to know about picking up one of the best gaming monitors. All you need to do is read on, and you’ll walk away enlightened, and maybe even have upgraded your set-up.
- Resolution – As 4K resolution becomes more mainstream in both console and PC gaming, you may need a monitor that can keep up. However, unless your gaming rig has a high-end GPU, you may not be able to achieve full 4K graphics. You can still get great images from a 1080p or 1440p monitor, especially if you’re working with an older GPU.
- Refresh Rate – A monitor’s refresh rate refers to how many images it can process in a single second. If your monitor says it has a refresh rate of 120Hz, that means it can process 120 individual images in a second. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the on-screen motion is. Higher refresh rates are ideal for gaming monitors because intense action scenes can become a blurry, glitchy mess at lower rates.
- VRR Compatibility – Not all games are created equal, so not all games will perform well at the same refresh rates. Both gaming consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and graphics cards like the RTX 3000 series from Nvidia and the Radeon 5000 series from AMD use variable refresh rate technology. This means that the GPU in your PC or console works with your TV or monitor to find the optimal refresh rate for motion smoothing, letting you get the most out of your game no matter what screen you use. You’ll want to see if your GPU or console uses G-Sync or FreeSync, and choose a compatible monitor.
- Screen Size – Bigger doesn’t always mean better when it comes to gaming monitors. If your gaming desk or gaming space is on the smaller side, you won’t be able to use an ultrawide monitor, even if you wall-mount it. And unless you’re a streamer or content creator, an ultrawide monitor isn’t always the best choice anyway. You’ll want to get a monitor that is big enough for you to appreciate details and easily read text without being overwhelming. As with televisions, a screen that is too big can cause eye strain and even motion sickness, made worse by sitting so close to the display. For most games and programs, a monitor between 24 and 32 inches will work just fine. But if you often edit videos or work with multiple programs for streams, an ultrawide will help you multitask better without worrying about the extra space a multi-monitor setup requires.
- Price – Your budget is the most important factor to consider when shopping for a new gaming monitor. While most displays will run several hundred dollars, you can still find budget-friendly options that offer great features like UHD resolution and high refresh rates. However, if you’re willing to dig deep in order to get the very best of the best, there are specifically designed gaming monitors that can easily cost several thousand dollars. Determining your budget not only keeps you from overspending, but it also helps you to narrow down your choices; it’s a lot easier to choose between about a dozen different models that cost $300 than the millions of search results you can get by just searching for “game monitors” online.
Why Trust SPY When Shopping for Gaming Monitors?
Recently, SPY’s product reviewers have tested the latest gaming monitors from brands like Acer, MSI and Samsung, and we’re always on the lookout for new monitors with stellar refresh rates, elite picture quality, and a great value for your dollar. We know that the quality of gaming monitors varies widely, as does the budget gamers have available. While everyone would love to try out the new ultra-wide curved gaming monitors from Samsung and Razer, that’s just not possible for most players. When finalizing our selection, we picked monitors in different price brackets, as well as options in different screen sizes, so you can find the option that best fits your desk and budget.
We want you to be able to find the very best gaming monitor that suits your setup and needs, so we’ve gathered the 15 top picks from brands like Acer, Samsung, ASUS, and Razer below. We’ve also broken down their features and price points to make it easier to list out pros and cons, narrowing down your picks until you find the perfect display. You can read more about each model below.
1. Corsair Xeneon
Whether you’re looking for a main or secondary gaming monitor, the Corsair Xeneon is the best you can buy. The 32-inch screen gives you 1440p resolution, a refresh rate of 165Hz, HDR support, FreeSync and G-Sync compatibility, and response times as low as 1ms. It also gives you 100 percent sRGB, 100 percent Adobe RGB, and 97.5 percent DCI-P3 color ranges for better accuracy and more lifelike images.
The stand features integrated cable management to help keep your gaming space organized as well as a mount for compatible cameras, making it perfect for streamers and content creators. This monitor is also compatible with Corsair’s iCUE software, allowing you to create and maintain several different settings profiles to cater to different games and users.
2. Acer Nitro VG240Y
Shopping for a new gaming monitor doesn’t mean you have to choose between skimping out on features or completely ignoring your budget. The Acer Nitro VG240Y is a 24-inch screen that delivers all of the premium features you want with a price point that will make your bank account very happy. It has a native refresh rate of 144Hz, 1080p full HD resolution, a 1ms response time, and FreeSync compatibility. It also has 8 preset modes for different game genres, letting you choose the color, contrast, and brightness that best fits your favorite games.
3. Acer Predator XB271HU
This 27-inch display from Acer is a perfect choice for anyone with a modest budget looking for a main or secondary monitor. With 1440p resolution and a max refresh rate of 165Hz, you’ll get stunning color, contrast, and details in all of your favorite games. The ergonomic stand allows you to adjust the screen for more comfortable viewing, and it has an integrated headset hook and cable management clips to keep your gaming space organized. The Acer Predator XB has built-in eye protection like blue light filters, anti-flicker technology, and dimming zones to help reduce eye strain during marathon sessions.
4. ASUS ROG Swift
If you want the best of the best and have the cash to burn, the 32-inch ASUS ROG Swift 4K monitor is the perfect option. It has HDR support as well as G-Sync Ultimate compatibility for the best, most detailed graphics. It also has a peak brightness of 1,400 nits and a native refresh rate of 144Hz. There is a small OLED display panel on the front of the monitor that lets you see CPU temperature or GPU info at-a-glance to catch issues before they ruin your gaming session. There is also an easy-to-use dial for selecting menu settings and a tripod mount for cameras and lighting equipment, making it great for streamers and content creators.
5. Samsung Odyssey Neo G9
The Odyssey Neo G9 truly earns the moniker of “ultrawide.” This display measures 49-inches, giving you the benefits of a multi-monitor setup in a single screen with picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture modes. The screen produces native 4K resolution and a refresh rate up to 240Hz with an input response time as low as 1ms to give you the extra edge you need.
It works with G-Sync and FreeSync for variable refresh rates to prevent annoying stuttering and tearing that can break immersion, and with the Auto Source Switch, the display automatically detects when your PC or console is on and switches to the appropriate input source. The screen has a sleek, futuristic design as well as LED RGB lighting to add a touch of style.
6. LG UltraGear
As 4K resolution becomes standard in gaming, you’ll need a monitor that can keep up, and the 27-inch Ultragear from LG definitely fits the bill. With a native refresh rate of 144Hz as well as both G-Sync and FreeSync Premium Pro compatibility, things like screen tearing and motion blur are virtually eliminated. You’ll also get 98 percent DCI-P3 color volume for vivid images and HDR support for better detailing.
The ultra-low 1ms response time gives you near real-time reactions to your inputs from either keyboards and mice or gamepads. The back of the monitor uses RGB Sphere Lighting 2.0 that you can sync either to video or audio cues for a more immersive and eye-catching gaming experience.
7. Samsung Odyssey G7
The Odyssey G7 from Samsung uses the same QLED panel technology that can be found in the brand’s high-end televisions, giving you 125 percent sRGB color volume as well as HDR support for incredibly lifelike images. It also works with both G-Sync and FreeSync Premium Pro variable refresh rate technology to prevent screen tearing and stuttering; and with a native refresh rate of 120Hz that can be overclocked to an astonishing 240Hz, motion blur is virtually eliminated.
The 32-inch screen features a curved design that is more ergonomic for long-term viewing as well as more immersive. The back of the monitor also features RGB lighting so you can add a bit of personal flair to your battle station or match other RGB peripherals and components.
8. ASUS ROG Strix XG
For gamers whose GPU features FreeSync VRR tech, the ASUS ROG Strix is the best monitor to pair it with. It’s specifically designed to work with FreeSync technology to smooth motion and prevent screen tearing, and with a native refresh rate of 144Hz, you won’t have to worry about motion blur while streaming media. The 32-inch screen produces excellent 1440p resolution with HDR support for enhanced detailing, and the Shadow Boost feature helps enhance contrast for more dynamic images and video.
The integrated blue light filter helps reduce eye strain, while the game view and display widgets let you customize settings to get the most out of your favorite games. Built-in RGB lighting works with the ASUS Aura Sync app, letting you choose from millions of colors and 12 different effects settings to customize your lighting or match your other ASUS RGB components and peripherals.
9. Acer Predator X38
The Acer Predator X38 is an almost perfect complement to any G-Sync-enabled GPU. This 38-inch screen features refresh rates and response times that can be overclocked to 175Hz and 0.3ms, respectively. Along with 1600p resolution, the display is Delta E<2 calibrated for 98 percent DCI-P3 color volume for richer, more vibrant images.
The ultra-narrow bezel gives you more viewing area, and the 8 preset game modes let you select the brightness, contrast, and refresh rates that best suit your favorite games. It also has integrated eye protection with a blue light filter and anti-flicker technology to reduce eye strain during long gaming sessions.
10. BenQ EX3501R
PC gamers and content creators know that it takes more than just a few peripherals to get the most out of your games. The BenQ EX3501R features 2 HDMI inputs, a DisplayPort input, 2 USB 3.1 ports, and a USB-C port so you can connect everything from external storage devices to webcams and even laptops.
The USB-C port not only allows for fast data transfer, but you can also connect a second 1440p display, dock your laptop or mobile device, and charge mobile devices. Along with tons of connectivity options, you’ll also get 1440p resolution, a 100Hz refresh rate, FreeSync compatibility, and HDR support. There is also an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts screen brightness to suit your environment.
11. Razer Raptor
The 27-inch Razer Raptor is the perfect monitor for anyone who wants their display to look good while also working hard. The base is CNC machined out of a single piece of aluminum and features a matte black finish as well as RGB lighting that works with the Razer Synapse app for custom lighting schemes and colors. The back of the base has CNC machined cable management channels for keeping your desk organized, and the base tilts backward 90-degrees for easier access to the HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C, and USB 3.2 inputs.
The screen itself has an anti-glare coating to help reduce distractions from overhead and ambient lighting and is the first THX Certified monitor for visual clarity and color accuracy. You can choose between a 144Hz or 165Hz model, and both versions give you 1440p resolution, a 4ms response time, 350 nits of brightness, and G-Sync and FreeSync compatibility.
12. ASUS TUF Gaming VG259QM
BEST SMALL SCREEN
If your desk is short on space, this 24.5-inch monitor from ASUS TUF Gaming is a great option. And while it may be on the smaller side, that doesn’t mean you have to give up great features. You’ll get excellent 1080p full HD resolution, G-Sync compatibility, multiple HDR modes, and a blue light filter to reduce eye strain. You can also overclock the refresh rate to a staggering 280Hz and the input response time to 0.5ms for near-instantaneous reactions to your keyboard, mouse, or gamepad inputs.
13. AORUS FO48U
BEST FOR PC AND CONSOLE GAMING
This massive 48-inch monitor from AORUS looks more like a TV than a PC display, which makes it perfect for gamers who frequently switch between PC and console games. Its screen uses an OLED panel to produce stunning 4K resolution and 98 percent Adobe RGB for vivid colors for incredibly lifelike images. The dual HDMI ports work with variable refresh rate technology like G-Sync and FreeSync so you can get the most out of both your PC’s graphics card and consoles.
It also has a 1ms input response time for ultra-fast reactions to your button presses and 5 audio presets for rich, room-filling sound with or without a headset. This display features two dashboard widgets for monitoring refresh rate, frame rate, input lag, audio, and picture settings so you can customize the output to suit your favorite games and correct issues before they can ruin your gaming session.
14. MSI OPTIX MPG341CQR
BEST FOR STREAMERS
If you’re a Twitch streamer or content creator, the 34-Inch Optix RGB from MSI is a monitor that is built from the ground up to help you take your videos and streams to the next level. The top of the monitor has a webcam cradle that easily slides across the screen for better positioning, and a built-in tripod mount lets you attach DSLR cameras for 4K video capture. There is a bungee for mouse cables to help reduce drag and tangling during intense gaming sessions, and an ambient light sensor automatically adjusts screen brightness to suit your environment.
The display has a USB-C input for charging mobile devices, transferring files, and connecting your laptop so you can monitor chat and other programs you need to moderate your content and streams. On top of all of this, you’ll also get 1440p resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate so you can get buttery smooth motion and great detailing.
Review: MSI’s New Curved Monitor Is Insanely Awesome
15. ASUS ROG Strix XG17AHPE
Gamers on the go will love the portable ASUS ROG Strix gaming monitor. This 17-inch screen has an integrated battery that gives you up to 3 hours of use on a full charge and uses a USB-C port for faster charging. It can connect to your laptop, mobile device, or console via USB-C or mini HDMI cable, letting you have a second screen or main display no matter where you are. Weighing in at just 2.3 pounds and measuring .4 inches thin, it’s small and lightweight enough to take in a backpack or laptop bag.
The screen gives you 1080p full HD resolution, a refresh rate up to 240Hz, a 3ms response time, and 100 percent sRGB color to be a versatile gaming display. It also features built-in eye care with a blue light filter and anti-flicker technology, and the screen protector doubles as a kickstand for easier placement and viewing.