TL;DR – These are the Best Gaming Monitors:
1. LG UltraGear 34GN850-B
Best Gaming Monitor
The best gaming monitor should be good for a lot of different situations, and that’s what lets the LG UltraGear 34GN850-B shine. This is an all-around slugger thanks to its 34-inch, ultra-wide display. You can play your competitive games in the standard 16:9 aspect ratio if you need to, but when you want a rich, cinematic experience, you can take full advantage of the extended 21:9 aspect ratio of the monitor.
The Nano IPS panel on this monitor can deliver a 3,440 x 1,440 resolution with a 10-bit color depth and a 144Hz refresh rate. That translates to a crisp, colorful, fluid image in your games. FreeSync and G-Sync support will help ensure it stays smooth, too. And, let’s not ignore the 440-nit peak brightness that allows this monitor to support some basic HDR. One DisplayPort connection will set you up for PC gaming while two HDMI ports can handle some consoles on the side, and there’s even USB passthrough.
2. AOC 27G2
Best Budget Gaming Monitor
The AOC 27G2 is one of the cheapest gaming monitors that can really qualify itself as a gaming monitor. For just about $200, it can deliver a 1080p picuture and run at 144Hz, giving you both sharp game visuals as well as smooth gameplay. Other gaming monitors at this price might just look like they’re made for gaming but stick with a basic 60Hz refresh rate, giving you no edge in competitive gameplay.
The AOC 27G2 remains fairly simple in some ways, with an average contrast ratio of 1,000:1 and a brightness level of 250 nits, but it still goes above expectations at this price point by delivering an IPS panel with support for FreeSync. That panel will make viewing content from off angles that much easier, so it can serve as a small TV if needed, and FreeSync support will help prevent tearing in your game visuals. (Note: the prices of many electronics are fluctuating frequently right now, so you may need to watch closely to find the AOC 27G2 at it’s $200 price point.)
3. LG UltraGear 27GN950-B
Best 4K Gaming Monitor
Let’s be clear, 4K is just a resolution, and there’s a lot more to getting a good picture than just the number of pixels. Fortunately, the LG UltraGear 27GN950-B (read our review) nails those other aspects on top of delivering an ultra-crisp 4K resolution on a 27-inch panel.
Beyond its high resolution, the LG UltraGear 27GN950-B is able to deliver a 144Hz refresh rate, so if you’ve got a machine that can handle it, you can get both visual fidelity and motion clarity. It also supports a 10-bit color depth for over a billion colors. That’ll help when you want to take advantage of the monitor’s HDR, which is even supported when you’re gaming at a high refresh rates with VRR thanks to FreeSync Premium Pro. Nvidia gamers aren’t left out either with G-Sync compatibility.
4. Samsung Odyssey G7
Best 1440p Gaming Monitor
If you don’t think 4K is all its cracked up to be, then there’s plenty to be gained by sticking with old faithful: 1440p. The Samsung Odyssey G7 (read our review) offers up a 1440p display with a fairly tight curve. That’s a good start for gaming, but this monitor is ready to take as much graphical horsepower as you can throw at it thanks to a super-fast, 240Hz refresh rate.
Those are the kinds of speeds usually reserved for 1080p monitors, but with the Odyssey G7, you’ll get those speeds alongside a 600-nit peak brightness and 10-bit color depth. So, not only will you be able to see a ton of frames but each frame can look exceptional. And, don’t worry about tearing, as this monitor supports both G-Sync and FreeSync Premium Pro.
5. Pixio PX279 Prime
Best 1080p Gaming Monitor
People might be clamoring over 4K displays and 1440p has a home in the hearts of many gamers who are trying to balance visual quality with value, but 1080p still has its place. The Pixio PX279 Prime is a prime example of just what 1080p is still good for. This gaming monitor delivers some of the latest specs you’d want from a gaming monitor while staying reasonable in price and high in performance.
The Pixio PX 279 Prime stretches its 1080p picture across a 27-inch, IPS panel with FreeSync Premium Pro and support for G-Sync. Thanks to a 400-nit peak brightness, the display can offer HDR support as well. But, the star of the show is the 240Hz refresh rate, which will see your games run as smooth as hot butter. Since 240fps will be a tough target to hit in some games, the support for FreeSync and G-Sync will help keep the visuals clean.
6. Viotek GFI27QXA
Best Budget 4K Gaming Monitor
Getting 4K isn’t going to be cheap, especially if you want the high-speed refresh rates that make a monitor truly game-worthy. But, the Viotek GFI27QXA at least makes getting a 4K gaming monitor a good deal more affordable. This display offers up a 4K IPS panel for accurate colors and wide viewing angles, letting you make the most of the 8 million odd pixels. And, you’ll be running that panel at up to 144Hz for super-smooth gaming.
There are some trade-offs to stay in the budget price point, though. You won’t get any high-end HDR implementation, the monitor stand is fairly basic, and the display requires two simultaneous inputs to reach 4K at 144Hz, however it might not perform to your liking. But, you can use one cable to hit 4K at 120Hz and take advantage of the display’s FreeSync, and the monitor has a VESA mount so you can always switch to a more elaborate stand as needed.
7. Gigabyte Aorus CV27Q
Best Curved Gaming Monitor
The Gigabyte Aorus CV27Q offers a little bit of everything, including a slight curve to keep every bit of the screen facing you. This upgrade from the Aorus CV27F (read our review) has a reasonable price, especially when considering it’s a 1440p display with a fast 165Hz refresh rate. That’s good for delivering super smooth gaming at a crisp level.
It’s not just that resolution and resfresh rate that will help you keep track of your enemies but also the 400-nit brightness, which has earned this monitor DisplayHDR 400 certification. The Aorus CV27Q also supports FreeSync 2, keeping your visuals looking great regardless of whether you’re hitting high or low frame rates.
8. Samsung Odyssey G9
Best Super Ultrawide Gaming Monitor
There’s not an error in the picture above. The Samsung Odyssey G9 is in fact super, super wide. It has a 32:9 aspect ratio, making it effectively two standard monitors set side by side with no gap in the middle. This display has an incredibly tight 1000R curvature, so it’ll wrap around your field of view. There may be no other monitors that will let you get this deep into the game.
Picture quality is also a high point for the Odyssey G9. That’s because it’s using a sharp QLED panel with a dazzling peak brightness of 1,000 nits. That puts it on par with even some of the best gaming TVs, especially with the 10-bit color depth. What’s almost shocking to see is that, even with all the features Samsung has already packed into the Odyssey G9, it also supports a 240Hz refresh rate for mind-blowing fluidity.
9. Asus ROG Swift PG43UQ
Best HDR Gaming Monitor
There was a brief period where TVs were getting all the exciting HDR features while gaming monitors were left in their wake. But, that’s not so anymore, and the Asus ROG Swift PG43UQ is a testament to that. This monitor delivers a 4K picture at a dazzling, 1,000-nit peak brightness. That combined with the VA panel’s high contrast ratio will let you get an HDR experience that can rival many TVs.
Of course, gaming is important here as well. Fortunately, this monitor supports a 144Hz refresh rate, and can use VESA’s Display Stream Compression to enable 4K HDR at 144Hz over a single DisplayPort 1.4 connection. And, with that DisplayPort connection, you can also enjoy support for variable refresh rates, screen tearing won’t mar your viewing experience.
10. ViewSonic Elite XG270QG
Best G-Sync Gaming Monitor
If you know you’re after a monitor with true G-Sync capability, then you’ll love the ViewSonic Elite XG270QG. This monitor hits the sweet spot with a 1440p resolution on a 27-inch display. This gives you clear visuals without putting the crazy stress on your graphics card that 4K visuals can. You’ll want that headroom from your graphics card to help it take advantage of this monitor’s 165Hz refresh rate.
The capabilities of this monitor extend beyond gaming as well. That’s thanks to its colorful display, which supports up to 1.07 billion colors and covers enough of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color spaces to offer an excellent visual experience in whatever you do.
11. Gigabyte Aorus FI27Q Tactical Gaming Display
Best FreeSync Gaming Monitor
The Aorus AD27QD (read our review) was one of our favorite gaming monitors of last year and now Aorus has made it even better with the Aorus FI27Q Tactical Gaming Display. The biggest changes you’ll notice on this QHD gaming monitor is it now refreshes at an even faster 165Hz for high-speed action.
Aside from that 27-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 display offers up a lot with HDR 400 support, 10-bit colors, and a 1ms response time—which is impressive from an IPS monitor. The Gigabyte Aorus FI27Q Tactical Gaming Display is also G-Sync Compatible on top of its native support for FreeSync Premium. You even get some bonus features focused on gaming such as a microphone to add active noise canceling for your microphone setup, plus a few on-screen tricks like a frame rate counter and crosshair overlay.
12. Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQL1A
Best G-Sync Compatible Gaming Monitor
G-Sync can be pricy, but it gets a lot more affordable when you just use a quality FreeSync monitor that’s been officially vetted for strong G-Sync compatibility. That’s what the Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQL1A offers. You’ll get a bright, sharp, and fast experience from this monitor thanks to its combination of a 1440p resolution, a 470-nit peak brightness, and a 170Hz refresh rate. However, you’ll be limited to 144Hz when using G-Sync.
This display can handle some HDR gaming, and it even supports 10-bit color, letting you get a great picture in and out of games. This monitor is also a strong option for anyone looking at the Xbox Series S, as it can support that console’s 1440p and 120Hz specs alongside FreeSync.
13. Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor (AW2521HFL)
Best Esports Gaming Monitor
When it comes to esports, there are few things you need to consider beyond speed. The Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor (AW2521HFL) has that on lock with a 240Hz refresh rate that’ll let you cruise through maps while catching all the visual detail you need to get the drop on your opponents.
The Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor keeps things fairly simple by using a 1080p display panel that will make it easier for your system to push the full 240fps you need to take advantage of the display. And, when you can’t keep a constant frame rate, FreeSync and G-Sync support ensure you won’t run into tearing. A nice extra perk of this monitor is its use of a fast IPS panel, which can help ensure your viewing angle won’t impact your ability to see enemies in games.
Where to Get the Best Gaming Monitor in the UK
We’ve mentioned several brilliant gaming monitors on this list, with up to 14 different options to choose from. These range from the most affordable all the way up until the juggernaut sets for those who love to take in every single detail. Thankfully, all of the displays mentioned can be found in UK retailers, and we’ve just so happened to track them down to save you the trouble of a time consuming Google search.
What’s next for gaming monitors
Gaming monitors keep getting faster, and while the upgrade to 144Hz might seem like a leap for anyone coming from a 60Hz panel, there are monitors coming out well in excess of even 240Hz. We saw 300Hz monitors come to laptops at IFA 2019 with the unveiling of the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 and Acer Predator Triton 500.
However hot those laptop monitors seemed at the time, they’re just a bit slower now next to the Asus ROG Swift 360Hz announced in early January. It was announced alongside a 4K 144Hz monitor from Asus, the ROG Swift PG32UQX, which uses 1152 mini-LEDs to create tiny local dimming zones and deliver a staggering brightness level of 1400 nits. Between the two, you can expect some super smooth visuals or fluid HDR later in 2020. The second monitor to meet the DisplayHDR1400 specification was Acer’s own version of a 32-inch 4K 144Hz gaming monitor called the Predator X32.
In 2020, you’ll also have more technologies to look out for. At CES this year, AMD announced new tiers of FreeSync. The first is FreeSync Premium, which indicates a display will have at least a 120Hz refresh rate at 1080p or higher and low frame rate compensation (LFC). The next higher tier, FreeSync Premium Pro, offers those same features while also ensuring HDR is supported. You may even see TVs show up with these certifications.
What to look for in a gaming monitor
Below I go over the three essential things you should consider before buying a gaming monitor including screen size, resolution, and aspect ratio. I’ve also briefly explained a few of the more technical aspects of computer display such as panel types, refresh rate, and the variable refresh rate technologies available today.
Screen size: “How big?” Will probably be the first thing you’ll ask yourself when you go about buying a gaming monitor, and the answer really comes down to your unique situation. Are you in a tiny dorm with barely any room or are you looking to get a 43-inch gaming monitor to replace your TV?
How you answer that question will ultimately determine the display size you need. But if you’re looking for some basic guidelines on screen sizes, 24- to 27-inch gaming monitors will satisfy most gamers. Those looking for a more immersive experience might be interested in a 32-inch or larger screen. As with most things, gaming monitors will usually become more expensive as you go up in size, so think with your budget as much as your ambition.
Aspect ratio: The aspect ratio of your monitor is closely related to its size because it determines which form factor your display will have. The majority of monitors fall into the widescreen category with their 16:9 aspect ratio. Ultrawide displays have been rising in popularity recently and these screens often feature the 21:9 aspect ratio you would typically see at the movie theater. If you can believe it modern gaming monitors have only been getting even wider and there’s a growing crop of 32:9 displays as well.
Screen resolution: This determines how sharp your gaming monitor will be and, for the most part, there are three choices: Full HD (1,920 x 1,080), Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440), and Ultra HD or 4K (3,840 x 2,160). Like screen size, as the numbers go up so does the price, plus they’ll require a higher-end graphics card if you hope to maintain a high frame rate.
Panel type: Although most monitors might look the same on the surface, there are a few different panel types that offer specific benefits and shortcomings. Twisted Nematic (TN) panels are the most basic and common panel you’ll come across as they deliver the fastest response times of 1ms often at the cost of duller colors, grayer black levels, and poor viewing angles.
In-Plane Switching (IPS) is the next most prevalent type of display and it’s basically the opposite of a TN panel. Rather than focusing on speed, IPS panels are known for rendering excellent colors and contrast while offering wider viewing angles in exchange for slightly slower response time, usually hovering around 3-5ms.
Lastly, Vertical Alignment (VA) panels are becoming increasingly common and they essentially split the difference between TN and IPS panels. They offer great image quality with decently quick response times. VA panels aren’t perfect, though, as sometimes fast-moving objects will give off ghosting effects due to the slower response time.
If you want a responsive gaming monitor, it’s best to pick one with a fast response time, which is a measure of how quickly a pixel can change from the brightest to the darkest (white to black) color.
Response time: Competitive shooters and MoBAs demand the quickest response times, so it’s best to play these types of games on monitors that offer a 1ms response time. Playing Indie games and most single-player experiences shouldn’t be a problem on a display with a response time between 3-5ms – and it’s pretty much impossible to find a gaming monitor that is slower than this.
Refresh rate: This is another important measure of how responsive a gaming monitor is, and it defines how often your screen can display a completely new image — so it essentially dictates your frame rate. 60Hz is the standard refresh rate for silky smooth PC gaming, but there’s a long list of gaming monitors that feature even higher refresh rates of 120Hz, 144Hz, and, so far, up to 240Hz.
Basically, the higher the refresh rates the more times the image on your screen will update every second, resulting in a smoother gameplay experience. Beyond the visual appeal of high refresh rate displays, they can be useful for gamers who need to keep up with the rapid movements competitive games demand. Generally, you’ll be at an advantage if you see your opponents and react before they do.
G-Sync vs FreeSync: Variable refresh rate (VRR) technology is a fairly recent invention and it ensures you have a consistently smooth and responsive gaming experience. Currently, there are two flavors of VRR, Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync, and they’ll require a prerequisite that you own a compatible graphics card from the corresponding brand. Nvidia GeForce cards do allow you to enable VRR on any FreeSync monitor, but your results will vary.
At the most basic level, VRR syncs your monitor’s refresh rate with the number of frames your GPU outputs. This prevents screen tearing caused by the graphics card feeding your display multiple frames while it’s is in the middle of refreshing its picture. If your graphics card is running your game at 60 fps, you’ll see your monitor refresh at exactly 60Hz with wonderfully smooth gameplay.
My only other piece of advice when buying a gaming monitor is to make sure your video card can handle the resolution and refresh rate of the display you’re considering. It would be a waste of money to buy a 4K gaming monitor when your GPU can only handle 1080p gaming.
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Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam
Mark Knapp is a regular contributor to IGN and an irregular Tweeter on Twitter @Techn0Mark