Best Gaming Monitors of 2017 – Reviews, Ratings and Comparisons
So you dished out the money for an awesome GPU but your graphics aren't up to snuff. The next step is to get a better Monitor. A good monitor can change the way you see your game, literally. The beautiful thing about monitors is that they often cost as much as a GPU but last much longer. A GPU usually has the lifespan of a 3-4 years, but a monitor can last for the better part of a decade. Even longer. Before I upgraded I was using the same monitor I had been using since I was 5. I used that monitor for 15 years. Then I upgraded and noticed an amazing difference. So if you are still searching for a better, more visual gaming experience, then the monitor is probably the next piece you should upgrade.
Best Gaming Monitor of 2017 - The Experts' Pick
If you don’t want to read the whole guide and just want to know what monitor to buy you should go with the Acer XB270HU. It is an IPS panel with a high refresh rate and low response times. It will give you great pictures and fast response times. The perfect all-rounder. If you read that and had no idea what any of that was then you should read further. Further in the article we have a list of the best monitors to buy for certain kind of requirements.
Best Gaming Monitors: Why do I need this guide?
Technology is becoming increasingly complicated. It becomes harder and harder to understand what is good and what is bad. What has good value and what is overpriced. We notice that gamers pay a lot of attention to the components inside of their computers (as they should) but often forger the peripherals.
Monitors are one of the most underrated and complicated technologies that goes into our computers. The more you look into monitors the more complicated you realize they are. While the GPU is where most of your graphics come from, they will also suffer if you do not have a monitor that can properly display those graphics. It is important that you understand what is displaying those vivid images and is instrumental in displaying the worlds that we so love. A monitor is what determines the level of immersion that you experience.
For a long time my personal monitor was a 10 year old monitor simply because I didn’t see a monitor worthy of my money. I would spend hundreds of dollars on new Ice Hockey skates and spend money on keyboards and mice. But the money was a forgotten part of my build. Then one of my friends came to my rescue and gave me a gift card to Amazon and told me to spend it on a monitor. Only a monitor. So I did and haven’t looked back since. Since that day I cannot understand how I survived with having the cutting edge of screen technology. We firmly believe that monitors are important, while I dismissed them for days, I have since joined the way of thinking here at the team. They are crucial to immersion.
Luckily Moore’s law also applies to monitors. Moore’s law states that every 2 years technology should double. He was referring to CPU’s at the time but it applies to just about every other sector of tech hardware. Including monitors. They have been getting so much better so much faster that it is hard to keep up. Luckily you do not have to buy a monitor every 2 years.
A monitor is an investment. It is something that you will own for a long time. You should own it for a long time. A good monitor is not an insubstantial amount of money. The great thing about monitors is that they do not become obsolete. They get improved on and every year they get much better, but they are always capable of doing what they need to. That is why we consider a monitor an investment. A good monitor will last you for years. Monitors rarely die from use, they are sturdy and almost infinite machines. It is hard to kill a monitor through wear and tear.
We have compiled and listed the best gaming monitors for people today. They are separated into categories as everyone has different priorities. But before we get into the best, you need some information on what makes a monitor, specifically a gaming monitor, good. There are several things to take into account.
- Refresh Rate
- Panel or Display technology– the panel is the technology that powers the screen. Each panels has a pros and cons.
- Lag time
- G- Sync and Freesync
- Viewing Angles
- Aspect Ratio
For each monitor we will tell you what is good about it, what is bad about it and facts about the monitor. Giving you the information you need to make an informed decision. All of these fancy technologies are used to give you the impression of smooth fluid motion.
We all know that video and screens are not in fact living motion. But enough pictures shown so closely together that they give the impression of smooth living motion, as if it were real life. That’s the goal of the monitor, to simulate the worlds that we so love, to make us feel like a part of them. And to display those pictures as closely together to give you the best impression of complete fluidity.
This is hard to pinpoint, as they are all important for different reasons.
How to Choose the Best Gaming Monitor? Things You Must Consider!
The single most important features of a monitor is the panel type. The panel type sways the price, the refresh rate, the response time, the viewing angles. Just about everything. As you will see in the panel type section, some panels are better than others. But each panel type has a specialization. While certain panels (IPS) are improving every day, as it stands TN have their place in the market.
As the saying goes, bigger is better. Or is it? Normally it is but having a huge monitor comes with drawbacks. Not because of the size per se but because technology hasn’t kept up with the size. We have yet to manage high refresh rates (hz), high resolutions, and great colour calibration, but soon. You can expect the next batch of monitors to manage large sizes with all the other bells and whistles necessary for a gaming monitor. But those large monitors will come with an equally large price tag. It’s something to look forward to. As it stands the larger then monitor the bigger the price tag. The sweet spot for gaming is about 24’ inches, this gives you enough screen and all the bells and whistles you need. But if you have the cash and desk space then you should go for a bigger screen, there are no drawbacks beyond a certain size.
Aspect Ratio is how images on your screens are sized. When you have a screen that has a 16:9 images get sized with 16’ wide and 9’ high. If that aspect is 21:9 then the images are 21’ high and 9’ wide. This aspect ratio tends to work better with larger screens. The bigger screen the bigger then aspect ratio. To a degree. 21:9 is nearly cinematic aspect ratio. We are just now getting computer monitors that are able to have a 21:9 aspect ratio.
This is how often the screen redraws the image per second. It is measured in Hz. A 144 Hz screen redraws the image 144 per second and a 60 Hz screen does it ‘only’ 60 times per second. While this may sound like a lot, 60 Hz is actually noticeably slow. Especially when you are playing fast paced games such as FPS’s or Racing games. In these games you need to get new information as quickly as possible so that you can react properly.
But isn’t that just Frames per Second?
No, there is a difference. The refresh rate is how often the screen refreshes even if there is no change in the screen. So the lower number is how often the image changes. If you have a PC that is powerful enough to run games at over 60 FPS then you should certainly be looking at a monitor that runs over 60 Hz.
The thing about monitors is that they are a long term investment. Sure your GPU is the most important thing about your gaming PC. Yet a monitor is what is needed to display said graphics. So you should get a monitor that has 120 or 144 Hz so that you can upgrade your GPU without having to replace your monitor. Otherwise you will be restricting your FPS to only 60.
You will find no 60 Hz monitors in this guide. If you are looking at buying a monitor nowadays then you should really be getting a monitor over 60 Hz.
Again, many think that bigger is better. But again this is misleading. Many people also confuse resolution for screen size. While similar, and often correlated, they are not the same thing at all.
Resolution is the number of pixels that are on a screen. A larger screen means you could fit more pixels. But that isn’t always the case. A 13’ laptop can, and often does, have the same amount of pixels as a 17’. You cannot see anything extra on the 17’, everything is just slightly bigger.
So why can you change the resolution?
You can’t, not actually. The computer has a setting that tells it how many pixels are on the screen. And you need to find the monitors resolution then input that into the computer (most computers figure this out themselves). Resolution is a set number, it is how many pixels are on the screen regardless of what you tell your computer to run. That’s why you have a native resolution. Because that is what your monitor has.
A higher resolution results in more pixels on your screen which gives you more images in sharper detail. So in general a higher resolution would be better. You run into an issue when you have apps that are coded for a different resolution. So in general a higher resolution means a sharper, but smaller image. If you do not have 20/20 vision then you may want to get a lower resolution so that the images are larger and easier to see.
As a general rule bigger is better. Except when it isn’t.
If you have a small workstation you should consider getting a smaller screen and and that screen would mean a smaller resolution. However, it is possible to have a small screen with a high resolution. This is also known as HD or 4K resolution. The more pixels on the screen the more accurately you can display the image and the more details you can put onto the screen. Because each pixel is coloured
There are several different types of panel technology.
TN Panels, IPS Panels, and VA Panels. Each one has pros and cons so let’s go through them and see which one suits you best.
These are the gamers choice. They do not have as good viewing angles or as vibrant colours as the other 2 options. But they make up for it with a lower price and faster refresh rates. These screens are often 120 or 144 Hz and have a redraw speed of 1 ms. If you play action games then you should be looking at this screen. Because while it may not have the same colour abilities as the other panels, it reduces motion blurring by refreshing the screen more often. These monitors have been around for a long time, which is how we got the ultrafast refresh rates and relatively low price.
These panels are the best possible panels for the design professional. These offer the best colour calibration and viewing angles, essential for anyone who needs to have the most accurate colours as possible. There a few drawbacks to these monitors. One is the price and the other is the response time. For the average person these don’t really matter (well price does but). If you do not play action games then it is better to get an IPS panel. This will give you the best views possible and the most accurate images.
If you play fast paced video games then a response time of 8-14 ms isn’t good enough for you so you should go for a TN panel with a response time below 5 ms.
Anyone who does not play action games should seriously look at getting an IPS Panel as the slower response time doesn’t affect normal application use. This speed is perfectly fine for Photoshop and casual use.
This panel type tried to get a compromise between the TN and IPS panels. It failed at both. It has the slow response times of an IPS panel and the less vibrant colours of a TN panel. What a VA panel does excel at is colour contrast. What this means that it displays darker colours better.
That is the only thing that it does well. Beyond that there is no reason to buy these monitors, they are the grand-daddy of monitors. If you can avoid it, then avoid these monitors. They aren’t the cheapest and they aren’t the best. You will not get good value for your money.
G-Sync or Freesync
Screen Tearing is one of the most frustrating things to do deal with in a monitor. It is when the pixels misalign, causing a distorted image. The most common culprit is a refresh rate (Hz) that is out of sync with your FPS (Frames Per Second). It looks like this.
As you can see in the picture. There are solutions, and those are G-Sync and Freesync. Both of these communicate with your GPU and monitor to see what FPS and refresh rate you are running. It then syncs the 2. That’s why its better to have a higher refresh rate, because then your FPS aren’t being held back by your monitor. You want your GPU to be the bottleneck here because that can be adjusted easier. You can lower the graphics of the game to get higher FPS but you can do nothing about the refresh rate of a monitor.
If you are looking for a monitor then you should look at monitors with G-sync or Freesync. But there is a 3rd option. V-Sync. This has been around for a whole and some say that it can be detrimental to performance. That is only when you cannot run a game at 60 FPS. If you can’t run the game at 60 FPS then you should lower your video settings anyways.
G-Sync and Freesync differ from V-sync in that they are built into the monitor and are made by Nvidia and AMD respectively. These companies are looking to solve the issue of screen tearing once and for all.
G-sync is the better alternative by far. Freesync is relatively new, and while cheaper, you do not get your moneys worth. You are better off getting G-sync. This is because G-sync is more robust, smoother, and has been around longer. That time of being around has given Nvidia the chance to work out some kinks in the system.
G-sync is a Nvidia technology and Freesync is an AMD technology. Both only work with their respective graphics cards. So if you are only upgrading your monitor and nothing else then you are stuck with the company you already have. Or you can go with neither. Having a higher refresh rate greatly reduces the impact that a potential screen tear would have. Because the tear would last so short that you wouldn’t even notice it. That’s the goal right? To make things imperceptible to our mere mortal eyes.
End of the story is that, out of the 2 G-sync is the superior but you have to look at the added cost. You could just as easily use V-sync IF you have screen tearing. I almost never experience screen tearing. In the past year I had it maybe once.
So at the end of the day what monitors are the best? Well this is really personal but we are going to be talking about gaming monitors.
This is how many angles you can look at the monitor and see no distortion or wonky colours. Every monitor has an angle that it was designed to be looked at. Normally it is head on, but some of them have angles where you should be looking slightly up at the monitor. These monitors are designed to be used on a stand so that you can lean slightly back in your chair. They are in fact much more comfortable then looking straight ahead, in my opinion. This is personal preference.
The monitors with the best viewing angles are the IPS monitors. They have more viewing angles and provide better colour recreation. So if you care about watching movies a lot then you should spring for a IPS panel. Or if you care about Photoshop, or incredibly accurate vivid colours get an IPS panel. But keep in mind that they are more expensive.
On the other hand you have TN panels. They tend to only have one viewing angle and not nearly as vivid colours. If you look at the monitor from anywhere other than head on you will get colour distortion. However, most people sit directly in front of their monitor so it can be a non-issue.
If you are building a home theater rig then you should look at which monitors have the best viewing angles. Those monitors will always be IPS panels.
Best Gaming Monitors of 2017 Comparison Table
|Type||Monitor||Panel||Size||Resolution||Refresh Rate||Refresh Time||Adaptive Sync||Price|
|Best Gaming Monitor|
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|Best 144Hz Monitor Value|
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|Best 144 Hz Gaming Monitor|
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|Best Freesync Monitor|
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|Best Widescreen Monitor|
ASUS ROG SWIFT PG348Q
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|Best 1080p Monitor|
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|Best 4k Monitor|
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|Best eSports Monitor|
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|Best Budget Monitor|
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More information about buying the best monitor for gaming
A monitor is not a small amount of money, as such you should do your research. You should analyze exactly what your needs are and your budget is.
Step one in buying a monitor is figuring out how much you want to spend. Set a range that you would be will to spend on your new monitor. Keep in mind that a new monitor, if bought properly, will last you for decades. Most monitors last 2-3 different computer builds. Remember that this is a long purchase, it will keep your games looking great for a long time.
Now that you have your budget you should look at what kind of gamer you are. Do you play FPS’s? Or do you play more RTS’s, or what if you don’t game at all. Maybe you are looking at a home theater set up.
If you play First Person Shooters then you should look at getting a 144 Hz monitor with a 1 ms gray to gray pixel speed. This will let you achieve higher frames per second and keep even the most hectic games looking smooth.
But if you are building a home theater set up then you should look at IPS panels that offer better viewing angles and colour accuracy. These monitors have slower response times but nothing that you would notice during a movie or graphic design. The only time you notice the slower draw times is when you are playing a snappy game that requires instantaneous accurate responses.
If you RTS’s (Real Time Strategy’s) then it’s up to your personal preference. Whether you value a good looking monitor over a fast one. Or vice versa. A TN panel isn’t necessarily better than a IPS panel, they just do different things. And we are quickly approaching a time where we will not longer have to decide between great colours and fast response times. You can see a glimpse of that future in our choice for bester overall monitor
This monitor uses a IPS panel giving us better colours, but Acer also managed to give us 144 Hz and relatively fast response times. The 144 Hz is more important than the gray to gray response times since that’s how often the screen redraws itself every second which has a larger effect on how fast the screen changes the image than the gray to gray scale.
This monitor also offers use G-Sync to eliminate any screen tearing, however, that means that you need a Nvidia graphics card to use the G-Sync feature. Another con is that it is expensive.
But there are so many pros.
|144 Hz||Needs a Nvidia graphics card for G-Sync|
As the graph clearly illustrates the pros outweigh cons. This is arguably the best gaming monitor out there. While there are monitors that offer similar features and monitors that are cheaper; you are unlikely to find a monitor that offers this many features in one platform. And the price may hurt, but the moment you get in game on this monitor you will forget all about the money you spent and consider it worth every dime.
What if you don’t have an Nvidia graphics card but instead use an AMD card? Fear not for there are more Freesync monitors that are nearly as capable as this one, and with a lower price point.
What if you are playing video games professionally? Then what kind of monitor do you get?
You get the BenQ XL2420G. This is a relatively cheap monitor that has one goal in mind. To give you the fastest response times. It doesn’t care if it looks pretty or if the colours are perfect, all it wants is speed. And boy does it deliver inexpensively. It is well built but pretty barebones on features with the colours also not being the best available. But in every monitor sacrifices must be made, either features or money. In this case, you have to sacrifice features. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you don’t care about having perfect colours but instead want a fast monitor for as cheap as possible. This is the monitor for you.
It has 144 Hz on a 1920x1080 frame with a 1 ms response time. You will not get the same level of graphics as you would on a 4K monitor and it isn’t as big as a 1440 monitor. But it’s damn good at what it does. The perfect example of a specialist showing us how it is done in it’s class. This isn’t going to impress friends that don’t know about computers but your fellow gamers will be thoroughly impressed with this monitor, especially when they see the 144 Hz in action.
And if you believe that bigger is ALWAYS better? Then you have to get a widescreen monitor, and you might as well get one with a curve right? Cause why not? Well there are better reasons, such as immersion and it strains your eyes less. Especially when you get to really widescreen monitors. Because of the curve you are able to use your peripherals to discern information as opposed to be forced to move your head ever so slightly. It makes the whole experience much more fluid and comfortable.
If you want a curved widescreen then you should go for the Asus PG348Q. It is a behemoth of a monitor with a 3440x1440 resolution and 100 Hz G-Sync. A huge 34’ monitor using an IPS panel will bring any game or movie to life. This monitor is perfect for both gaming and photoshop. It has 100 Hz which isn’t as good as 144 Hz but is good enough for even the most avid gamer. The only people likely to notice the difference between 100 Hz and 144 Hz are those who play First Person Shooters professionally. Everyone else is likely to just enjoy the extra Hz. And when you have such a beautiful monitor it can be expected that not everything will be perfect.
I give it another 2 years before we have a monitor just like this one but with a 144 Hz.
What if you want the cheapest monitor that you can get? Say you don’t care about all these fancy facts and just need a monitor for as cheap as possible, then you get the AOC G2460PF. The only difference between this monitor and the best eSports monitor is Freesync and G-sync. As we covered earlier in the article, G-sync is the superior, but pricier, alternative. The difference in prices between the 2 monitors is due almost entirely to the difference between the 2 systems.
So is that price difference worth it?
People have reported having issues with Freesync where it doesn’t work or it makes the screen tearing worse. In that situation you can still use V-sync, which isn’t as effective and will limit your Hz but will solve the problem of screen tearing. And that’s the biggest thing here right?
What about choice? Fair, you want more than 1 budget monitor. Fear not for we have you covered. Here are the best monitors under $300 (at the time of writing).
Best Gaming Monitors under 300 USD
If you are looking for the cheapest monitors possible while still getting some decent performance out of them this is the paragraph for you. If you are looking for just average gaming then you can look at getting a 60 Hz monitor with 1080p. But if you want more performance for your fast games then you should be looking at 144 Hz. And you can get 144 Hz monitors for decently cheap nowadays. Just don’t expect great viewing angles or colour accuracy.
This monitor is around $40 more expensive than the aforementioned AOC monitor and it doesn’t really deliver that extra value. At all actually. You are better off getting the AOC monitor as it has the same 144 Hz and 1440p resolution, but offers a cheaper price, more inputs and USB ports. Unless you are looking for monitor with speakers built into it. If you want a monitor that has its own speaker system then get the ViewSonic.
Honestly though, you are better off getting your own speakers. They will deliver better surround sound and end up saving you money.
Mid-Range Pricing ($300-$600)
So you saved up a little longer and are now ready to get a monitor that will last years. You are willing to spend a little more money to get a higher quality monitor. Without a doubt these are the monitors that you should be putting your hard earned money towards. While this amount of money is nothing to sneeze at, these aren’t the best monitors on the market. But they will be more than enough to get the job done.
In this category you will find IPS panels and a sprinkling of TN panels in between. Nothing will be lower than 144 hz and everything will have a response time under 6 ms. Otherwise you are not getting your monies worth. They will have better viewing angles, more inputs and USB ports as well speakers. These monitors are the best value for money.
You will find 1440p monitors in this category, ranging anywhere from 24’ to 28’. Because of the higher resolution you can create larger screens without individual pixels becoming noticeable.
Note: this monitor is the TN panel version of this monitor. Acer has an IPS version of this monitor but it is quite a bit more expensive. You will see that monitor in the high end section of this guide.
This is one of the best monitors for value on the market to date. It has a 144 Hz refresh rate combined with 1440p and G-sync technology. It utilizes a TN panel to deliver near instant response times and a high refresh rate. This gives you ultra-smooth gaming experience and reduces blurring on screen. Then you have the G-sync feature to eliminate any screen tearing.
This monitor is awesome at it’s price for a 27’ monitor. It has all the features you would expect from a $500 monitor while giving you a large screen then I would have expected, given the price point.
Not only do you have the 1440p resolution on a 27’ screen (considered the best resolution for screen size) you also have Acer Eyeprotect technology which is designed to help your eyes for when you are looking at a screen for long periods of time.
With the G-sync feature you will be able to to get adaptive refresh rates and never experience screen tearing ever again. It also has a USB 3.0 hub consisting of 5 ports allowing you to connect devices such as your mouse and keyboard directly to your monitor so you don’t have to crawl under your desk. On top of that you have several different inputs such as HDMI (handy if you want to hook up a console or laptop), and DVI to take advantage of the 144 Hz feature.
This monitor is similar to the Acer in the mid range, but it has free sync instead of G-sync. That is actually the only difference between the 2. Well, that and this one has an IPS panel instead of a TN. Oh and it’s about a $100 more expensive.
It’s another 27’, 144 Hz, 1440p monitor that comes with several different features that will make your life only easier.
This monitor has AMD’s Freesync technology in it allowing you to get adaptive refresh rate to eliminate screen tearing. However, that adaptive refresh range is only from 25-90 Hz. So you will not be able to utilize the freesync tech and get 144 Hz sadly. But you can still use V-sync at the high refresh rates and that might get rid of the screen tearing problem for you. If not then you are just going to have to dial back the refresh rate,. But you can still above 60 Hz which will already be an improvement that you will notice.
I find the lack of blur reduction mode disturbing in this monitor. For something priced this high it should have that feature installed. But nothing is perfect.
There are a lot of good things about this monitor though. For one it has an IPS panel instead of a TN panel, so if you do colour sensitive work on your computer you should look at getting this monitor as opposed to the Acer. The IPS panel gives you a big improvement over a TN panel, it’s amazing how big the difference is. Once you go IPS it will be hard to go back. The same stands for 144 Hz though. If you don’t want to have to choose, then this monitor is for you.
NOTE: if you have a larger budget then you should look at the high end part of this article as there is a much better monitor than this one. It features the IPS panel with a 144 Hz, but also with G-sync. So if you can save up then I would recommend it.
Best 4k mid-range monitor
This monitor stands at 28’ and has all the features you would expect from a gaming monitor, while delivering you 4k gaming as well. The only issue with that is you need a lot of graphics processing power to be able to run your games at 60 FPS with full 4k graphics. Not even the new 1080 will do it flawlessly. If you are going to dish out the money to be able to run your games you might as well get a better monitor.
While 4k is awesome, you only have 60 Hz refresh rate, but you do have a 1 ms response time. If you are looking for the best gaming possible then you shouldn’t get this one. There are other monitors that will give you more performance for a better price. But if all you care about is the resolution of your screen then you can’t go wrong with this monitor. It’s the most value for a 4k monitor at this price point.
While this monitor does use a TN panel, it is one of the newer TN panels. These new and improved panels have improved the atrocious viewing angles of the previous generation. While the vertical angles still leave something to be desired the horizontal angles are nearly as good as those of its IPS counter parts. So basically, this is the monitor for you if you want a 4k monitor for as cheap as possible.
These are the monitors for those of us who have saved up or worked hard to make sure that money is no object. All you want is the best, then that’s what you are going to get. Just be aware that you are going to have to pay for it.
In this section there are monitors that are quite close to the mid-range section and some that are so absurd it’s almost funny. These monitors will be the fastest, widest, most colourful monitors on the market. Some of them will combine an IPS panel with 144 Hz and 1440p resolution. Others will be 30+’ with curved widescreen and 4k resolution. All of them will have either G-sync or Freesync. Most of them will be G-sync.
Acer XB270HU bprz
This is the same monitor as the Acer of the same model name before, except that one uses a TN panel and this one uses the IPS panel and still delivers 1440p with a 144 Hz and a blazing fast response time. It also has G-sync, which does require a Nvidia graphics card. All of this is packed into a 27’ screen.
Other than the price and the fact that it needs Nvidia graphics card, there are no cons to this display. It is nearly the perfect monitor.
It delivers great colour accuracy and viewing angles while giving you the speed you need to play your games. But it also has 4x USB 3.0 ports, one of which has a charging ability. Unfortunately it only has 1x Displayport making this monitor not that great if you want to connect consoles as well. If you are looking to connect other inputs you should have a look at the Asus ROG PG279Q which will be covered later in the guide.
If you are a Nvidia user then this monitor is almost perfect for you. You will not get better bang for your buck. You can use the G-sync function with your Nvidia graphics card and get the adaptive refresh rate across the entire FPS range.
Combining the 144 Hz rate with an IPS screen gives you great viewing angles, proper colour accuracy and an insanely fast refresh rate. This monitor is nearly the perfect monitor.
Acer Predator X34
This is a behemoth of a monitor. It measures 34’ with a curved ultra-wide screen. It has an IPS technology with a 21:9 aspect ratio and running a 75 Hz refresh rate. The screen looks gorgeous with its 1440p resolution. On top of all these specifications it is loaded with gamer specific features, including matte anti-glare coating to let you see the screen in a light rich environment. While the 75 Hz refresh rate is less than ideal, it is still better than a 60 Hz refresh rate and is about all you could expect from a monitor that large and with such good colour accuracy.
This monitor comes equipped with G-Sync, perfect for the Nvidia user. It also has several different profiles so you can customize the monitor to the specific game that you are playing.
What about brands? Are there certain brands that are better than others?
Yes, if you are going to buy a monitor then there are certain brands that you should be buying from. You should be buying from the biggest companies, companies like Asus, Acer, benQ, and AOC. You want a company that is well-versed in shipping and dealing with returns. Sadly you will receive monitors that are DOA. Monitors are fickle beasts and the stresses of shipping can cause dead pixels and other malfunctions within the monitor. Luckily these companies all have great return policies where you can ship the monitor back if you have dead pixels or an otherwise faulty monitor. Some of the monitors on this list have had people have to return the monitor to get a proper working one, but they never had to pay extra and this can be expected when you are buying monitors.
However, with the big brands you won’t get a DOA (Dead On Arrival) monitor very often. With the smaller companies you tend to get monitors that are DOA more often. And occasionally they don’t have as good return policies.
So what are the differences between the different brands?
Let’s go through each brand and discuss what is unique about them
If you talk to a gamer about their favourite monitor brand, they are probably going to bring up BenQ. This company has consistently made monitors that are catered towards gamers. They often have 144 Hz and 1ms gray to gray response times. This makes a huge difference in how quickly you can respond to fast games. But what BenQ struggles with are IPS panels. Because TN panels have been the cheapest and fastest panels for a long time BenQ has largely stuck with them as the offer gamers the most important features for a relatively low price. But now that the technology is getting to the point where you can have an IPS monitor with the gaming features that you need such as 144 Hz. It will be interesting to see how BenQ evolves.
Another one of the bigger companies that consistently delivers high quality products. They have many technologies packed into their monitors and they often have more focus on the way their monitor sits on your desk. In other words, their ergonomics. They have a lot of options in how the monitor faces you so you can customize it the way that you want it to be.
These guys have been in the monitor making game for such a long time, almost since the beginning. Much like BenQ, Asus has great ergonomic designs that let you customize the positioning of your monitor to your liking. They also have great gaming features, but they tend to cost a little bit more than your average BenQ monitor. This is because they have a larger offering of monitors than BenQ and most of their monitors have more features. They are less barebones than your average BenQ monitor.
Acer is the underdog in the monitor business. Their recent offerings are certainly on level with the other big 2 companies. Before then they had a string of poor quality monitors, but they seem to have fixed their issues and are on par with the others here. In fact, they are on the cutting edge of some of the new techs. They were one of the first to combine a 144 Hz refresh rate and an IPS panel. No one has yet to get that response time down to 1 ms but I would look at Acer to be one of the first companies to do it.
While they tend to not have as many ergonomic options as their competitors, you cannot count them out. And the ergonomic options they do have tend to more than sufficient.
In fact, Acer makes the 2 best monitors on the market right now. For the budget folks they make the Acer XB270HU and for those willing to spend more they have the best gaming monitor currently on the market. The XB270HU bprz. As you can tell by the model numbers, they are basically the same monitor. But the bprz one has an IPS panel as opposed to a TN panel.
What kind of monitor you should be ugetting should depend mostly on what kind of gamer you are. So we broke down the typical groups of gamers into infrequent, average, and pro. Obviously the pro is going to want to spend the most. But what we did was we looked at the habits of these gamers and then broke them down into groups.
You should look at each group and see which habits are most like you. Then look at what kind of monitor you should be getting, the decision is a big one but this article is designed to make it as painless as possible.
This type of gamer is the casual weekend warrior. You most likely own a console and prefer to casually play with your friends. You don't care how good you are or what rank you are. Having a good time is main (only) goal when you play video games.
You play maybe 1-3 hours of video games a week. Usually on the weekends or whenever you have nothing better to do. The games are something to do because you have nothing else to do. Games are a great way to unwind and just relax, but they mean nothing more to you.
You buy maybe a couple games a year, usually about one. The graphics setting doesn’t matter to you at all. As long as you can see what you are doing, all you want is to be able to see what you are doing in your games. Sure it would be nice to have the best equipment, but you aren’t willing to spend either the time or money.
You play games a little more than the average weekend warrior. Some people would consider you a nerd, others would consider you normal, and yet others might consider not at all inundated with traditional nerd culture.
The majority of people, and most of us here, fit into this category. The average gamer will play about 5-10 hours of video games a week. Often on the weekend, but you might fit in an hour here and there during the week. After a long stressful day, you like to unwind with a bit of video games before getting on with the rest of your evening.
The average gamer will often pay attention to their rank, but it won’t be the be all end all of their gaming experience. Their rank matters, but not nearly as much as having fun. Among their friends there will be banter about your rank, but really it doesn’t matter too much. Occasionally there will be an average gamer who cares a lot about what their rank is. They will often think that they are much better than they actually are.
While you care about your gaming hardware you do have other things that take up your money. Therefore, you have only dictated a budget to yourself and you are sticking to it (mostly). The graphics settings matter, but not as much as not spending too much money. But that’s not to say that you are being cheap with your rig. You are nevertheless willing to drop money, but you are going to get the best bang for your buck.
You are either a current professional gamer or trying to become one. Or maybe you could potentially go pro, you have the skills and have put in the time. You play games more than the first 2 combined. Games may still be a hobby, but they are a huge part of your life. Whether because you love playing games, or you love showing off your equipment, you are going to spend more money and time on games than average.
You play video games 11-20 hours a week. You come home and right away play an hour or 2 of video games. Then the weekend rolls around you get to put even more hours into gaming. Ranks are important and you are usually on the higher end of the rank bell curve. Whether you are so good because you have been playing the same game for years or because you play so many different games so often doesn’t matter. When you play a game you are usually at the top of the leaderboards. Friends have been made while playing games. You have servers in games that you log into and everyone knows you. There are people that you consider friends that you have never met in real life. You just know their gaming handle.
Your hardware matters and you are willing to spend a bit more to get better equipment. You like to show off your gaming rig and care about what graphics setting you are running at. A substantial part of your income goes into your gaming habit, not only in games, but also in your hardware. You are more likely to want a monitor for your PC gaming rig as opposed to a better screen for your console rig.
These are the guys who are winning the eSports tournaments. Playing video games is your day job. You wake up, play, eat, play. You are playing games upwards of 30 hours per week. Your understanding of the game surpasses 99% of the gaming community and you are among the select few that people cheer for.
Every little edge that hardware can give you matters. You treat your games like they are Olympic sports and you must have the best equipment possible. While your budget may not be unlimited, you know exactly what is most important for your particular genre of games. Gaming is your life. You may have hobbies outside of playing video games, but you consider games your job.
As such a monitor is a business expense. It is something that you are going to spend the money to get the features you need. You want the best monitor. On top of that you know exactly what is most important in a monitor. There are certain features that matter the most to you, whether it is 144 Hz or 1440p or how accurate the colours are.
While you want the best, you also don’t want to overspend on your monitor. You need that money to go to other parts of your build. Value for money is most important.
You are going to want to prioritize certain features and look at getting the best eSports monitor on our list.
The computer is a shrine, it is something to be admired. It will be used, but most importantly it is art. Nothing but the best will do for you. Money is no objection and only having the best matters to you. You are going to want to look at the high end section of our guide to get an idea of what kind of monitor you should get for your beast of a computer.
One thing we haven’t talked about yet is the ergonomics of the monitor. What parts you should look for when you want to have a monitor that sits the way you want it to sit and make your seating arrangement as comfortable as possible. Every monitor has angle adjustments and height adjustments. This lets you bring the monitor up and have it pointing down to you so that you can lean back in your chair and not have to sit up stick straight.
But there is more to ergonomics than just the most basic height and angle adjustment. Things such as having a landscape and portrait orientation, hooks on the side to hang things on the side of the monitor, ways to connect more than one monitors on a stand, mount the monitors elsewhere. The opportunities are endless. Manufacturers have seen those possibilities and are working hard to make the perfect monitor, from the specifications to the way it looks.
When looking at buying a monitor the most important things to you should be the specifications. However, it is understandable why you would care about how it looks on your desk. For those who do not know anything about monitors, the way it looks on your desk is what is going to impress someone. And if you are going to be shelling out not an insubstantial amount of money, you should be able to show it off to all of your friends.
If, for some reason, you decide you don’t care about whether your monitor is a 144 Hz or whether it is 1440p and you only want one that looks cool then you should go for a curved monitor. Obviously they are slightly more expensive than other good looking options, but they offer the biggest WOW factor. And that’s why you are doing this isn’t it?
Say that you do not have the budget too afford a widescreen curved monitor. Then you should just get one that suits your taste. Anything that looks good is so different for every person. You should look at the monitors in the guide and choose the one that looks the best to you. The looks of the monitor can easily be assessed by looking at the pictures of the monitor that the manufacturer uploads to their website.
To properly understand what a monitor’s ergonomics are like you should go to your local computer store. You should try out the monitors they have there and ask the staff what each customizable feature is called. Try out the monitors they offer and take the specifications we have shown you here to make informed decisions.
Even more impressive is setting up multiple monitors on your workstation to simulate having a larger monitor. If you can afford it, then get a widescreen curved monitor. It does the same thing as multiple monitors but more fluid. If you want the 144 hz refresh rates and a 1440p monitors, but the widescreen and money is no object. Then you should buy several of the aforementioned 144 Hz 1440p monitors and get a stand that will hold all of them. I suggest getting 3 monitors.
Following are some tips on how to set up multiple monitors. If you are going to be getting several monitors then you should be getting the same monitor. Occasionally people will get 3 different monitors and discover that they are much harder to configure.
The first thing you should do is make sure your graphics card(s) can handle the extra load. Remember that it is going to take a lot more computing power to run both monitors. While I could go through every graphics card and determine how many monitors they can support, it would take too long to tell you exactly how many you could run. It also depends on the graphics quality you want to run and how demanding the programs are.
Instead, you can just google your graphics card followed by how many monitors you want to run. For example I would google [GTX 960 3 monitors]. The information that will come up will tell you exactly whether you can run what you want to run. If it comes out that you cannot run your setup then you will be able to find out whether you should upgrade your card or whether you should lower your expectations.
Or for a quick check you can look at the back of your graphics card to see how many outputs the card has. That in and of itself will limit how many monitors you can connect to your computer. But just because the GPU (Graphic Processing Unit) has the outputs doesn’t mean it can actually support that many outputs. So you should always google your ideal set up.
Once you know whether you can run your set up you can begin to go about setting things up. This always involves some time and effort. You should look at the stands that are available online. To make your life easier, we have found the 2 best monitor stands that are available right now. Both of them are Dual screen stands. If you are looking at getting a setup of more than 2 monitors, just buy 2 of them. We have found that stands of more than 2 monitors get too expensive or too unstable. They are not worth the money.
So look at this stand and this stand. These are the 2 monitors that I have ever used. If you look at these 2 monitors and for whatever reason decide that they aren’t for you, just remember that you should look at the reviews. But just because it has 5 stars doesn’t make it a 5 star stand. If it has been reviewed by one person, that isn’t an accurate representation. I only accept reviews if more than 50 people have reviewed it. That’s when I accept the reviews.
After that you should get familiar with your computers BIOS before you attach your monitors. Attach just one and then google your motherboards BIOS so you don’t make any breaking mistakes. You can google how to set up the multiple monitors for your specific monitor, but for most it is quite simple. You just go to your video settings (in the BIOS) and change the outputs to multiple screens. Every motherboard has something alone those lines. But you should Google your specific set up to make sure that you know what you are doing.
Then you attach your monitors to their stands, plug them in and boot up.
Sadly, you cannot just plug and play. You also have to configure your video settings within the computer and get the resolution right. Then you will have to do that for every game that you have. Some games don’t even support multiple monitors so you are going to have to trick those into thinking that you are just playing on one large screen. None of this is hard. It’s just time consuming.
You can expect the whole process of setting them up to take a couple of hours. But then you will be in an immersive bliss. Completely enveloped in the worlds of your choosing.
Using your TV as a monitor
Some people must be wondering why you should get a monitor instead of just using your TV. There are several reasons for that. It’s because a TV is designed to be viewed from far away. So there are reasons to use your TV. If you like to play games from your couch. But there are many cons to using a TV as a computer monitor most of these cons are associated with larger monitors are as well. The slower refresh rate, the lower resolution and the abysmal response rate.
All of the features that we have mentioned earlier in the article tend to be lower for TV’s. Just about the only pro that a TV offers is the size. But that can also be a con. Having such a large screen forces you to sit farther away from the screen, which also means that you may have to have invest in a portable station for your keyboard and mouse. And that keyboard and mouse would have to be Bluetooth to cross the distance effectively. This is obviously less than ideal for gaming and just doesn’t make any sense for a computer.
Those reasons may not be enough to sway people. For those of you who are unconvinced and still wish to use a TV there are several ways to do this. The easiest is to make sure your GPU supports HDMI and just plug and play. It’s that simple. Put the computer near your TV and get a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, ensuring that you can play from the couch comfortably.
I have a laptop, should I still get a monitor?
Absolutely. A monitor will work wonders and will give you access to 2 screens which can improve your productivity and elevate your gaming experience.
While your laptop has a screen of itself, and that screen usually is powerful enough to support gaming. You will notice a huge difference if you upgrade screens.
Most laptops do not pay as much attention to their screens as they do to what is in the computer itself. So it stands to reason that every monitor is better than the laptop screen. In fact, when you look at a laptops specifications they rarely mention what screen they are using, unless it is a touch screen. The only manufacturer that I could find was with Apple. They mention that they use a retina display, which is just a fancy way of saying that they are an HD screen.
Obviously, since a monitor is designed to do only one thing, it excels at that one thing.
What to look for in a monitor for console gaming
This article has been written from the PC gaming perspective. But there is a large amount of people that play video games from consoles, and console players also want to get a better gaming experience and may not have the money, nor the space for a large TV that usually is used for console gaming. So the secondary option is a monitor. Luckily this is often a better option than a TV.
So what kind of monitor should I get?
Aren’t the best gaming monitors good enough for consoles?
Well yes they are, in fact they are too good. You do not have to spend the same amount of money to take full advantage of your consoles. Luckily the new generation of consoles are essentially mini PCs. They do not have the same level of customization or power, but come at a much cheaper price and trade off the customization for user friendliness.
There is a difference in the performance power between a PC and a console, and the monitors suffer for it. A console cannot display games at a resolution higher than 1080p and cannot go faster than a 60 Hz refresh rate. This is because no TV has a true refresh rate faster than 60 Hz.
Some TV’s do say that they have a refresh rate higher than 60 Hz but this is a form of false advertising. The refresh rate isn’t actually more than 60 frames drawn per second, but is instead frames interposed between each other and a fancy form of guessing. No TV has a true 144 Hz refresh rate or a true 120 Hz refresh rate. What they do instead is frame duplication or interpolation.
These methods are essentially padding and can make the screen appear more fluid, but in an artificial, noticeable, manner. Anyone who goes from a 120 Hz monitor to a ‘120 Hz’ TV will notice the difference in quality of 120 Hz.
Because of the lack of current TV technology the current gen of consoles are limited to 60 Hz gameplay. This will save you a pretty penny.
But what about high resolution? Surely TVs have 4K and other technologies.
Yes they do. But the restriction here lies within the consoles. The Xbox One and PS4 do not have the capability to display a game at a resolution higher than HD 1080p. The next generation of consoles will likely push the resolution up to 4K and let you push the graphics barrier. We recommend saving your money as when that day comes the 4K monitors will be much cheaper as well.
4K is only a PC technology right now simply because only PC has the graphics cards capable of keeping up with the monitors. If you want to have bleeding edge graphics then you should get a PC. Or better yet, build a PC.
What about my aspect ratio?
Again, this is a technology that only PC’s can take advantage of. The biggest reason is that an ultrawide monitor will exceed 1920x1080p resolution that consoles are limited to. Every single ultra-wide monitor has a resolution of at LEAST 2560x1080p. The most common ultra-wide resolution is 3440x1440p. Even if that weren’t the case, all console games are designed to be played at the 16:9 aspect ratio so scaling up would pose some serious issues.
After all of this you may be thinking that the only thing you need to concern yourself with is the response time.
You would only be half correct. Sorry. Basically the ultra-fast response times don’t really matter at only 60 Hz. They can’t hurt, but it isn’t worth shelling out the extra money for a 1 ms response time monitor when you are only getting 60 redraws a second.
So what panel is best for me?
Go with a IPS panel. As a console player you are likely to play farther from the monitor and in different positions other than directly in front. That’s what the convenience of a controller allows you. So why not take advantage of it. The IPS panel will give you better viewing angles and less colour distortion. This is only a good thing.
The whole TN vs IPS panel argument only exists at the lower price range because there are few IPS panels that have broken the 144 Hz 1 ms barrier. Once there is a large amount of IPS monitors that operate at 144 Hz then you will see the TN panel slowly disappear from the market.
As a console player you cannot take advantage of the 144 Hz or 1 ms response time (not really that is) so you might as well get the best colours and viewing angles. Especially since you are likely to be playing from many different locations. You can play from your couch, or leaning to the left or right. You can play from basically anywhere. And the IPS panel makes a huge difference in that regard.
Common mistakes people make when buying a monitor
When buying a monitor there are several things to look out for. Especially when ordering online. Luckily most mistakes are simple and easy to avoid. But to make sure that no one doesn’t get a faulty monitor that they can’t exchange or has a negative experience we decided it would be a good idea to cover the basics.
Buy from reputable stores.
This one is pretty simple, you shouldn’t buy monitors from websites you have never heard of or that don’t come recommended from a friend or family member. This is because often those sites are less reputable for a reason. Or if they are a newer company then they may not have figured out the proper supply chain or how to properly refund/ ship out new monitors.
Another aspect of the reputable brand is the fact that you have a higher chance of getting DOA (Dead On Arrival) monitors with dead pixels or cracked stands. If you can think of a fault, then a monitor has probably arrived with it. But, those mistake happen with less frequency. The smaller companies are more likely to make mistakes that would result in damaged goods.
Reputable websites or brands have better return policies. If you happen to receive a DOA monitor then you can ship it back and get a replacement monitor quickly. While annoying, these mistakes often only take time to solve. Usually it is the shipping time that delays these packages as the manufacturers tend to be great about making sure you get good monitors. We have heard some horror stories. But for every horror story there are hundreds if not thousands of people who simply received a perfect, fully functional monitor.
Check out monitors in a physical store
If you can you should go to a store to check out monitors and see if you can find your model at the physical location. This gives you a better feel for the monitor and you can determine if there is anything that the website doesn’t mention. Sadly the companies selling things on the internet are never going to give you the negatives of the monitor.
That is just a fact of buying things off of the internet. But if you can go to the store and try it out before you buy it; you have a good chance of spotting any issues that would otherwise not be found.
This is the biggest possible tip we can give. Not only look at the number of stars that a monitor has, also check how many people have reviewed it. If only 5 people have reviewed it then you shouldn’t trust the reviews. But if more than 50 have reviewed you have a good idea of what the monitor is actually like.
The best part of online shopping is the reviews. You don’t have to take the salesmans word for it. You can check out what out other people are saying about the product, people that have used the product and have no reason to lie to you.
If they have no reason to lie, why can’t I trust the 5 people?
Largely because it is too small a sample size. Those 5 people will not properly represent the whole population. And because occasionally companies will pay people to write reviews on their products. Normally they only pay a couple of people so you can trust the reviews if there is a substantial amount of people who have written in then you can trust that there are enough unbiased people writing those reviews.
Take your time
One thing that we see a lot of people do when they have no monitor is panic and don’t make the right choice. That’s part of the reason that we created this guide, so that people could make informed decisions.
Before you buy a monitor make sure you have all your facts. Decide what kind of monitor you want, what is most important to you. Before spending such a large amount of money you need to know you are getting your monies worth. This is why we have compiled a list of monitors that will suit every need. If you need a certain type of monitor then you can choose from one of our suggestions with a clear conscious.
A monitor is a long term purchase. It is not something that you want to cheap out on. If you are going to buy a monitor, don’t buy one that you won’t want to be using in over 5 years. Beyond that, choosing a monitor is just prioritizing your features. It’s about what games you play, what work you do and how much you want to spend.
If you have a lot of money to spend, then you can get a stellar monitor that will be good at everything you want to do. But if, like most us, you are operating on a budget then you are going to have to prioritize features.
A 144 Hz refresh rate and a 1 ms response time is most important for fast paced games; whereas a IPS panel with larger viewing angles and more accurate colours is better for a working monitor.
For the most immersive experience possible you should be looking at a curved IPS widescreen. This will give you the impression of enveloping your head and really pull you into the screen.
At the end of the day a monitor is a personal thing. It is the thing you are going to spend hours staring at, it should make you happy and accomplish everything you want it to. Ideally you should go to a store and test out some monitors there, but if you don’t have access to a computer store then you can look at the monitors in the list and check out their reviews. See which one is best for you.
If you none of the monitors in this list do it for you, then you can take the features you want and google it. For example you can google 144 Hz 1440p IPS Curved monitor. See what pops up. Keep in mind that those monitors are often overpriced or are not a quality build. If you can you should stick within the major brands. They know what they are doing.