Gaming monitors in 2018
PC monitors have come a long way since the early 1990s. What once was a square, heavy screen with a 144p resolution back then has turned into a beautifully looking PC part which not only has a wide resolution range up to 3840×2160 (4K) but has also become a stylish choice as monitors nowadays have implemented RGB lighting and come with all sorts of stylish innovations giving the consumer the option to choose a monitor which will compliment his desk or chair. Style and looks have never been more important in gaming hardware and monitors are no exception.
The term gaming is a huge marketing selling point and it could not be missing from monitors. Besides, however, the marketing aspect of the term “gaming”, monitors in 2018 have implemented features which are specifically designed to appeal to gamers and are quite useful. This is why gaming monitors are a must for every PC gamer who wants to enjoy a great gaming experience.
Gaming monitors for every preference and budget
A huge variety of gaming monitors is available on the market today and every gamer should be able to find an appropriate gaming monitor for his specific needs and budget. Whether you want a standard FullHD (1920×1080) monitor, a 4K screen or an ultrawide gaming experience on a 34″ (or bigger) screen, there is a gaming monitor for you. However, it can become frustrating choosing the best monitor with the plethora of monitors being available on the market.
In this guide, I want to make your decision to buy a new gaming monitor or upgrade an existing one much easier by giving you the option to choose from 10 different monitors which I consider to be the best in their category.
All monitors will include a link to Amazon.com where you can take a look at prices and reviews of others. I have an affiliate relation with Amazon so if you buy a monitor by clicking on one of my affiliate links redirecting you to Amazon, you support me and the work I am doing here.
Ultrawide gaming monitors
Ultrawide gaming monitors are for those of you who want to have the best gaming experience and can invest a good amount of cash in their monitors. Gaming on an ultrawide, 21:9 display is an unforgettable experience and definitely the preferred choice for those who just want the best gaming experience.
1. Best Ultrawide gaming monitor: Asus Rog Swift Curved PG348Q
The Asus Rog Swift Curved PG348Q is a 34″ ultrawide 3440×1440, curved monitor. With a display ratio of 21:9, this monster of a screen delivers the best gaming experience. It is not just the large size that makes it the best but also the features it provides. It is a 100Hz refresh rate monitor making it the perfect choice for those who prefer high refresh rate gaming. The monitor is overclockable meaning that you have to manually select the 100Hz feature and restart the monitor in order to make it operate at that refresh rate.
The monitor supports NVIDIA G-SYNC Technology. Pairing this monitor with an NVIDIA GPU will give you the smoothest gameplay experience as it eliminates stuttering by supporting an adjustable refresh rate from 30Hz-100Hz. Just remember to plug in your Display Port cable to support this refresh rate. The Asus Rog Swift Curved PG348Q has an impressive back design and the implemented RGB lighting make this monitor a joy to look at. The IPS panel will give you the best color accuracy even at an angled view. The navigation menu is perfect and the best I have ever seen on a gaming monitor, giving you all the options you would want by making them easily accessible to you.
If you have the cash to spend and have decided to get the best gaming monitor with a huge curved display, high refresh rate, IPS panel and impressive RGB lighting, the Asus Rog Swift Curved PG348Q is your monitor. Most games, nowadays, support ultrawide gaming and you should have the best possible experience with an ultrawide monitor. Nothing less than gaming perfection.
2. Best Ultrawide high refresh rate gaming monitor: AOC AG352QCX
AOC is a company which has been delivering top-quality, budget-friendly gaming monitors for every preference and budget. AOC also decided to enter the ultrawide gaming sector with the AG352QCX by adding a 200Hz refresh rate to their 35″ display. Combining a 2560×1080 display with a 200Hz refresh rate on a 21:9 display ratio is a true gaming feast.
Keep in mind, however, that you cannot take advantage of the high refresh rate without a GTX 1080Ti and even the best GPU on the market cannot reach this framerate in most games. For games, although, like Overwatch or CS:GO, this monitor will leave you speechless with its gaming performance. For most AAA titles expect to surpass the 100FPS threshold and many titles should give you 144FPS with the GTX 1080Ti.
The AOC AG352QCX also supports FreeSync which eliminates tearing and lagging and delivers a smooth overall gameplay. The problem with FreeSync and G-Sync is that it is only compatible with AMD and NVIDIA GPUs respectively which limits your options when it comes to choosing a new GPU. Nevertheless, if you have an AMD GPU and have enabled FreeSync you will run any game smoothly and without having to worry about tearing or lagging even on very low framerates since FreeSync range extends from 30Hz-200Hz on the AOC AG352QCX.
The 4ms response time will provide you lag-free gaming sessions. The monitor comes with the classic AOC black-red design, a color combination which should appeal to most gamers and goes well with almost any colored-theme build if that is something of significance to you.
The AOC controller gives you the option to store monitor gaming profiles and access them immediately with a simple click of a button. A feature worth mentioning is “Shadow Control” allowing you to adjust the brightness of shadows without affecting other display settings you have set. “Low Blue Light” and “Low Input Lag” are also two very important features on the AOC AG352QCX. The first protects your eyes from drying out and should always be turned on while the second ensures that your input lag is low, very important especially when you are gaming online.
All in all, the AOC AG352QCX is the perfect combination of an ultrawide monitor with a 200Hz refresh rate. If you want to get a 35″ without sacrificing refresh rate at a reasonable price, this is the monitor for you. The TN panel is ultimately not on par with IPS panels but the 200Hz refresh rate and the impressive build quality will compensate you for your choice.
3. Biggest Ultrawide gaming monitor: Samsung CHG90
Have you ever played PC games on a 50″ TV monitor and thought it was awesome? If this is the gaming experience you are after but did not think that such a monitor could be a viable option, think again and take a look at the Samsung CHG90. What we have here is a curved 49″ super ultrawide screen with a 3840×1080 resolution, a 32:9 aspect ratio, High Display Resolution (HDR) support, a 144Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time.
This monitor is perfect for gaming and multitasking and the 49″ display is equivalent to two 27″ monitors side by side. It is 47.36″ wide, 14.54″ tall and 7.65″ deep and weighs 26.2 lbs so make sure to have a big enough desk to accommodate this beast. Also, keep in mind, that moving a monitor of this size around is not a good idea so if you are frequently moving, this monitor is probably not for you.
The Samsung CHG90 also lets you adjust its height with its Height Adjustable Stand (HAS), something I did not expect from a monitor of this size. Then again, it is not exactly the budget-friendly alternative. Besides height adjustment, you can swivel the base and tilt the monitor to adjust it to your liking. The maximum refresh is adjustable to 60 or 120Hz, too, if you do not want to game with a refresh rate of 144Hz all the time.
FreeSync support is included so do not worry about tearing or lagging. Samsung’s quantum dot technology adds a lot to the gaming experience by delivering perfect color accuracy. A screen of this size is the perfect multitasking machine because you can have two different displays side by side. For example, you can play your favorite game and render a video at the same time since the 49″ display is two 27″ displays combined.
Two disadvantages are the Pixel density which is apparent on a monitor of this size, so sitting too close in front of the Samsung CHG90 is not recommended as you can see individual pixels. If you come from 24″ or 27″ display, it can be quite annoying to witness such a poor pixel density. Additionally, the lighting on the back of the monitor is weak and it will not provide you with good lighting conditions in order to play in a dark room.
16:9 Gaming Monitors
16:9 gaming monitors are your standard-sized monitors and the best option for you looking for a great gaming experience on a 1080p, 1440p or 4K resolution. If ultrawide monitors are not affordable to you and you would like something cheaper but still packed with great gaming features on any resolution you should look for monitors with a maximum size of 32″. Again, it depends on what your needs are, what GPU you have in your build and how much you are willing to spend on a monitor. For example, a GTX 1060 should be paired with a 1080p monitor while a 1440p or 4K monitor should take advantage of a GTX 1080 or GTX 1080Ti. No use pairing a GTX 1050Ti with a 4K monitor, that is just a waste of money.
Find out more about monitor resolutions and graphics cards by clicking on this link.
4. Best 4K 16:9 Gaming monitor: Acer Predator XB321HK
The Acer Predator XB321HK is a 32″, IPS 4K monitor with a response time of 4ms. Although it does not support a 144Hz refresh rate and only goes up to 60Hz, it is still the best 4K monitor you can buy. It supports NVIDIA’s G-SYNC technology and its IPS panel delivers excellent color accuracy resulting in an amazing gaming experience with a 16.7 million color support and a contrast ratio of 100.000.000:1. IPS technology will give you excellent viewing angels and Acer has also implemented their “Flicker-less Technology” feature which eliminates screen flickering once and for all. Combine that with its native 4K and G-SYNC support and you are up for great gaming sessions.
The monitor color scheme follows the traditional black and red combination and although AOC uses it too, the Acer Predator XB321HK looks much more robust and unique, in my opinion, because they decided to go with red for the edges of the monitor’s stand which makes the color stand out. The stand, however, cannot be swiveled around which is a shame considering that cheaper monitors have that feature included like the AOC AG241QX. However, the tilting angles are nice and you should not be worried about weird colors once tilting the monitor since IPS technology prevents that.
The Acer Predator XB321HK is a great monitor for you looking for the ultimate 4K gaming experience. The fact that it does not support 144Hz is because 4K 144Hz monitors have not been released yet. If you have been looking for the best 4K 32″ monitor, the Acer Predator XB321HK is definitely for you.
5. Best Budget 4K Gaming Monitor: Samsung U28E590D
In case 4K is your resolution but you want the most budget-friendly option while still not sacrificing many of the offered features on high-end monitors, then take a minute to read through the specifications of the Samsung U28E590D. It is a 28″ LED TN panel monitor with a 1ms response time and a 60Hz refresh rate. Moreover, the monitor supports FreeSync, a nice addition when taking the lucrative price point into consideration. with a color contrast of 1.000.000.000:1, expect some amazing and accurate color results when playing your favorite games. The “picture by picture” feature is also present on the Samsung U28E590D allowing you to display two different sources and execute two different tasks at the same time.
The “Eye saver mode” protects your eyes and allows you to spend many hours in front of the screen without having to worry about straining your eyes. It is the same feature as “Low Blue Light” by AOC and it is recommended to have this feature on at all times along with the “Flicker-free” feature. Again, the combination of Free-Sync, flicker-free and Eye saver mode will give you a great gaming experience.
Drawbacks are the fact that the Samsung U28E590D is a TN panel which makes it almost impossible to view the screen at an angle as TN technology is far inferior to IPS washing out the color on the edges of the screen. On the other hand, the price of this monitor is significantly lower than IPS panel monitors and most budget-friendly monitors come with a TN panel. TN panels still provide a great gaming experience, however. As a matter of fact, I am writing this right now on my AOC AG241QX TN panel. I never had an issue with the color accuracy of my monitor and the price tag of IPS monitors is too much for my wallet, to be honest.
There are even cheaper monitors than the Samsung U28E590D but if you go cheaper you have to make compromises on the display size. 28″ is the absolute minimum for a 4K screen and you should not go lower than that. If you want a smaller size display, consider looking at 1440p or 1080p monitors.
1440p (2560×1440) Gaming Monitors
1440p is the most common resolution for gaming and the definite sweet spot between graphics and performance. The performance impact going from a 1080p to a 1440p display is by far smaller than the jump from 1440p to 4K. Whether 144Hz or standard 60Hz, 1440p is widely accessible and most graphics cards nowadays can support 1440p gaming at decent framerates.
6. Best 1440p 144Hz monitor: Asus ROG PG279Q
For 2560×1440 gaming, you will have a hard time finding a better monitor than the Asus ROG PG279Q. What we have here is a 27″ 1440p 165Hz, IPS, 1ms response time, G-SYNC monitor. Asus breaks the standard 144Hz refresh rate of other monitors by going with a 165Hz display, which, in combination with the IPS panel and its amazing colors will definitely provide you the best gaming experience. NVIDIA’s G-SYNC will eliminate in-game lag, stuttering and frame drops while the 1ms response time will only compliment the gaming experience.
Asus has its own low-blue light technology called “Asus EyeCare” which does the exact same job of protecting your eyes from discomfort after long gaming sessions. Asus chose to go with the traditional black and red color design for the Asus ROG PG279Q (gamers love black and red apparently) featuring a black stand with an embedded red Asus logo on the bottom right side of the monitor’s stand. 360 degrees rotation allows you to fully rotate the monitor and witness its beautiful design on the back with its adjustable height mechanism.
The Asus ROG PG279Q is a definite eye-pleaser and once you have it sitting on your desk, you will understand what I mean. The OSD menu is designed by Asus and just as the Rog Swift PG348Q, Asus has made a stellar job of creating the most accessible and feature-rich menu, a standard which other companies should be eager to match. The only negative feature is its actual price. Packed with all these features, do not expect the Asus ROG PG279Q to be budget-friendly. This is the top, high-end 1440p monitor so be ready to pay a premium price for the best gaming experience.
As far as I am concerned, 1440p 144-165Hz gaming is the best experience you could have. Although it pales in comparison to ultrawide 4K gaming, the price tag on those ultrawide monitors is probably way too big for the majority of gamers. 2K high refresh rate gaming is definitely better than 4K 60Hz gaming as games really benefit from the higher refresh rates. Once you get used to a 144Hz display, you cannot go back to 60Hz. Until 4K 144Hz+ monitors will become available (although those will be quite expensive), there is no better combination than a 1440p display along with a high refresh rate for playing games. 1080p gaming, on the other hand, while the standard a few years back, has started to become obsolete as prices of 1440p monitors have significantly reduced over the last years. The difference between 1440p and 1080p gaming is big while the price difference is not as big as it used to be a few years ago.
Check out why high refresh rate monitors offer the best gaming experience in 2018. Click here for more information.
7. Best budget 1440p 27″ 144Hz monitor: Dell S2716DG
For those of you who do not want to miss out on a 1440p 144Hz monitor but cannot afford the heavy price tag of the Asus ROG PG279Q, I have good news for you as the Dell S2716DG is a great alternative. What we have here is a 27″ 144Hz 1440p monitor with a 1ms response time and support for NVIDIA G-SYNC without breaking the bank. The biggest issue with this monitor in comparison with the flagship Asus ROG PG279Q is that it comes with a TN panel instead of IPS, which means less color accuracy and much worse viewing angles. However, it still delivers a great, lug and stutter-free gaming experience and the TN panel will not bother you at all unless you have been used to an IPS panel from the beginning.
The Dell S2716DG comes with a plethora of connectivity options including Display Port 1.2, HDMI 2.0, three USB connectors, two for downstream and one for upstream, as well as a headphone connector. The DP and USB upstream cable are included in the package. Besides the TN panel, this monitor has everything you could want from a feature-rich monitor and is the best option for those of you who are more budget-oriented but still do not want to miss out on great gaming features such as a high refresh rate and G-SYNC support.
8. Best 1440p 60Hz monitor: BenQ GW2765HT
High refresh rate gaming is not for everyone. Some prefer great color accuracy offered by IPS panels over TN high refresh rate panels. This is where the BenQ GW2765HT steps in. This is a budget 1440p 60Hz IPS monitor which does what it promises, delivering great gaming performance for an affordable price. With 100% sRGB color accuracy and excellent viewing angles, this monitor is aimed at those of you who do much productivity work besides gaming.
Do not think, however, that the BenQ GW2765HT lacks any necessary gaming features. While not including any Sync technology, features like flicker-free technology and low blue light are included at the $300 price point. Height adjustment, tilting, pivoting, stroking and swiveling is also supported letting you adjust the monitor’s position to your liking and gaming style. A 4ms response time might seem a lot more than the typical 1ms advertised on gaming monitors but the real-world difference is negligible. Do not fall into this marketing hype as no human eye can distinguish between 1ms and 4ms.
All in all, the BenQ GW2765HT is the perfect choice for those of you who want an affordable 1440p monitor with great color accuracy for your important productivity work besides your gaming sessions.
1080p (1920×1080) Gaming Monitors
1080p gaming had been the golden standard for many years and the vast majority of gamers still play their games on a 1920×1080 monitor. While 1440p gaming is the upcoming trend and on the way to become the standard resolution for gaming, it still has a long way to go and 1080p gaming will not be dethroned that easily. I remember the first time I played GTAV on my 1080p monitor. I was coming from a laptop and once I started playing, I was amazed by how crisp and sharp GTAV looked on my new 1080p monitor. Make no mistake that 1080p looks great and if you are the type of gamer who prefers high-fps even on lower-end hardware, a 1920×1080 monitor is where you should invest your money in.
9. Best 1080p 144Hz monitor: Asus VG248QE
This monitor has been around since 2013 but is still the best 144Hz 1080p monitor you can get your hands on. It is a standard 16:9 24″ TN panel monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time. The monitor’s height can be adjusted, you can pivot it up to 90 degrees as well as swivel and tilt it. Asus’ top build quality is the primary reason why this monitor is still being recommended for 5 years.
The monitor hosts your typical connectivity options and has a nice and overseeable navigation menu and while it does not include ground-breaking features like most of the monitors mentioned above, it does what it promises at a fairly reasonable price point. The 144Hz refresh rate is the Asus VG248QE biggest selling point and those of you who own a GtX 1060 or GTX 1070 and looking for an affordable 1080p gaming monitor with great features should look no further than the Asus VG248QE.
10. Best Budget 1080p monitor: Asus VS247H-P
The Asus VS247H-P is by far the best budget-friendly 1080p gaming monitor you can find under $200. More than 8,000 reviews on Amazon.com prove my point. It is a 1080p 60Hz monitor 23,6″ TN panel monitor with a 2ms response time. With a 50.000.000:1 contrast ratio and with the ability to tweak the aspect control, this monitor offers more than enough features for its price. Additionally, you can select from 6 pre-loaded profiles if you want to but I recommend adjusting the image settings manually. The 2ms response time proves its worth here by providing a lag-free gaming experience.
With the Asus VS247H-P being my first gaming monitor I have very good things to say about it. The navigation menu is great, it gives you access to all settings with the buttons that are located on the bottom right part of the monitor where you can start adjusting your individual settings. The monitor’s picture quality and color accuracy are superb, taken into consideration how affordable it is and the monitor is manually overclockable to 75Hz with third-party software, although it is not officially supported. 75Hz is a huge upgrade from the standard 60Hz and I recommend you try it out.
A few disadvantages are the monitor’s stand which is pretty unstable and you should be careful when touching the monitor or moving your desk as it is really shaky. The navigation menu is great, however, the buttons for accessing the menu are located in the bottom right corner of the screen and you might wonder where they are situated. I spent 10 minutes trying to figure out how to power on the screen. In combination with the unstable monitor stand, be careful not to damage your monitor by trying to adjust the color settings. While the Asus VS247H-P has very good color quality, brightness and contrast, the stock settings are abysmal and the screen is way too bright when you power it on for the first time. Some serious manual tuning is necessary in order to allow the monitor to unleash its full potential.
The decision is up to you
Whatever monitor you choose, the most important thing to remember is to choose according to three factors: your budget, your GPU and what you actually need. There is no reason to spend money on an ultrawide 4K screen if your budget does not allow it, or your GPU is not up to the task of supporting the resolution and refresh rate of the monitor you have chosen. On the other hand, having a GPU like the GTX 1080Ti and going with a 1080p 60Hz monitor will cause your GPU to seriously underperform. The higher resolution you choose, the more pixels your GPU has to render and games tend to become more GPU-dependent and less CPU-dependent as you go from 1080p to 1440p to 4K. Your monitor and GPU have to be on the same level for the best possible gaming experience.
Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section and tell me what monitor you currently have and whether you are thinking of upgrading it. I am certainly happy with my 1440p 144Hz display and I am definitely not upgrading for a few more years.