So what’s so special about ‘gaming monitors’ and why are they so important? If you’re into pc gaming and are familiar with the term ‘PC Master Race’, then you already know just how dominant the platform is in terms of performance when compared to console platforms like the PlayStation and the Xbox, offering superior graphics and frame rates that make the gaming experience all the more alluring.
However, it comes with a price, quite literally, because the better the pc you build or buy, the more cash you’ll need to splash. Consequently, a lot of thought is required before investing into making the perfect pc, like getting the best possible processor, coolers and, most importantly, the best possible graphics card you can get your hands on. But that’s the problem.
That’s pretty much all that people prioritize when building their dream PC and that’s usually where their wallets emptied, but they tend to overlook that a good gaming monitor is really what makes the difference between good and great when it comes to the overall gaming experience. Believe it or not, the gaming monitor is just as important as any graphics card will ever be, because you won’t be able to fully harness the true potential of your machine if you don’t have a proper gaming monitor to accommodate it.
Yet, even if you do acquire the funds to help you buy a great monitor, there are several other things you need to keep in mind, because whether or not the monitor is suitable for you depends on your other pc components as well, since all these choices pretty much go hand in hand and then combine to give you a final gaming machine. It may all seem pretty confusing or downright intimidating but have no fear because the following in-depth article will get you up to speed on the top 13 gaming monitors that you can get your hands on in 2018.
Best Gaming Monitors of 2018
13. Dell 27 Gaming Monitor (S2716DG) – Pure Performance at a Bargain
We start of this list with one of Dell’s frontrunners in the gaming monitor department, owing to the immense value for money offered by the S2716DG. Falling in the 1440p QHD category of resolutions, the LED-backlit LCD monitor offers some really good color production for a TN panel, as well as a decent contrast ratio of 1000:1. But probably the highlights of the gaming monitor include the impressive response time of 1 ms and great power efficiency owing to it being a TN panel type.
The monitor is, hence, really responsive for dynamic games. Moreover, the 144 Hz rendering of the refresh rate promises the smoothest gaming experience for mid-range and high-end GPU’s, as well as accommodating NVIDIA GPU’s with the help of G-Sync. The large 27’’ screen size and the overall design makes for a great additional aesthetic to the monitor, making it highly convenient as part of a working setup rather than just a gaming rig.
It seems to have all of the right connections you would need for today’s gaming needs, including a display port 1.2, HDMI 1.4, AUX port and USB 3.0 enabling console gaming, pc gaming and multimedia transfer at the same time.
As far as accessibility is concerned, the Dell 27 is pretty flexible as far as free rotations and positions are concerned so adjustments shouldn’t be a problem. Plus, the antiglare coat is a welcome feature too. All in all, a great gaming monitor that will definitely give a good bang for your buck as far as gaming monitors go. But, if you’re interested in something that’s a bit smaller and cheaper, check out its little brother, the Dell S2417DG.
– Although it is a pretty neat gaming monitor, some may argue that it’s too pricey, being a TN panel gaming monitor, but it makes up for it in so many departments so the price, being roughly $600, isn’t that big of a let-down, but it might be for some.
– You can still get gaming monitors with a lot better contrast ratios since the Dell S2417DG does struggle with some color in blue and black levels due to a low gamma rating. It’s fair to say that the color production is still a bit behind other monitors in this price section.
- Large Screen
- High Resolution, effective for most mid to high-end graphics cards
- Adjustable, anti-glare
- Very low response time
- Great refresh rate
- Adaptive sync
- A bit pricey for a TN panel
- Lacking color reproduction in black
- Limited connectivity options
- Weak contrast ration for price
12. GON AG271QG –Gaming Excellence
Probably one of the prettiest screens you are ever going to see, the AGON AG271QG is an outstanding gaming monitor in terms of picture quality, with the help of an IPS panel type that boasts a 2560 x 1440 QHD resolution, something you would expect from a world-class gaming monitor. The color production is one of the best we’ve seen for 16.7 million, and the extra-wide viewing angles make for a crystal clear viewing experience that restricts any eye strain with the help of Flicker-Free technology.
As far as the performance is concerned, the AGON AG271QG does superbly with a refresh rate of 165 Hz at maximum, capable of supporting some very powerful GPU’s. The contrast ratio is standard 1000:1 but the impressive visuals do it enough justice. The monitor is equipped with a multitude of design features that are ideal for all gamers, including a totally adjustable ergonomic base and a headphone holder. The AGON AG271QG can go toe to toe with even the best of the best as far as performance is concerned, such as the ASUS PG279Q, while still costing a bit less than most competitors.
– Despite being very user-friendly in terms of design and performance, there are a few misses with this one. One of them, without a doubt, has to be the most unacceptable response time, considering how most gaming monitors at this price point are known to have response times as low as 1 ms. This is due to the fact that the AGON AG271QG is an IPS panel, prioritizing picture quality over part. However, unless you are a very competitive player who actively partakes in fast-paced action titles, you probably won’t see the difference between this and 1 ms gaming monitors.
– The OSD, although easily operable with the buttons, is pretty confusing and, not to mention, outdated.
– It’s still a pricey investment to make for simply a gaming monitor, given how it supports some decent GPU’s, that yet may be a bit under-equipped for some of the newer top-notch gaming rigs.
– It’s not very appealing from an aesthetic point of view, losing out to many in this specific price point.
- Large Screen
- Brilliant picture and motion quality
- Great Gaming performance
- Impressive viewing experience
- Satisfactory refresh rate as well as G-Sync accommodation
- Very User-friendly
- A bit pricey for a mid-ranged gaming monitor
- Below average pixel response time
- Unimpressive design
11. ViewSonic XG2760 – Built for the Pros
The ViewSonic XG2760 is a very sturdy and compact monitor that poses a real threat to other brands in the gaming monitors arms-race. A 27-inch WLED monitor with a Twisted Nematic panel promises to keep a very high refresh rate of 165 Hz that enables silky smooth motion display that makes games look all the more fantastic without the slightest hint of any input lag. The response time is adjustable from 1 ms to 5 ms, allowing gamers to have a greater degree of control as to what suits them the most.
The 1440p resolution provides ample picture quality while the G-Sync technology in the case of NVIDIA GPU’s cancels any and all screen tearing since the monitor is most suited to the top-notch category of graphics cards. Additional customization via the ergonomic base and adjustments option allows the user to fully shift and calibrate the monitor’s positions for optimal gaming results.
Despite having the limitations of a TN panel, the black color stabilization helps in improving color contrasts. All in all, the ViewSonic XG2760 is a great package that is sure to deliver for most gamers.
– One of the major disadvantages faced by anyone that looks to buy the ViewSonic XG2760 is the price tag, that is somewhere above the $700 mark since the amount needed to fund this machine is well above others in the same performance range.
– The poor viewing angles and color production do little to justify the intimidating price of the monitor since its limitations of being a TN panel gaming monitor are really obvious while the price indicates quite the opposite.
– The ViewSonic XG2760 is lacking in innovation, looking surprisingly dull in front of other modern gaming monitors available today.
- Large Beautiful Screen
- Superb Refresh rate
- Adaptive Sync
- Extremely low and adjustable response time
- Fully adjustable positions
- Very expensive for a TN panel
- Outdated and ugly aesthetic appeal
- Poor viewing angles
- Unsatisfactory color production
10. Samsung CHG90 – Go Big or Go Home!
The Samsung CHG90 is one of the flashiest curved gaming monitors we have ever seen, and that is no the exaggeration. The monitor is crazy wide at 49 inches at a 32:9 aspect ration that is well above any of the other gaming monitors on the list, which is the essentially almost the same as having two 27 inch monitors side by side with merged screens, only without the extra bezels blocking the middle view. Needless to say, it looks amazing just to look at and operate as a regular office or work desktop, but it’s the gaming department where all the fun happens.
The CHG90 gaming monitor isn’t just huge and beautiful. It’s built to perform with a 144 Hz refresh rate (accompanied by AMD FreeSync) and an amazing response time pulled down to an impressive 1 ms. It should be obvious that the CHG90 isn’t just a pretty face and can satisfy an array of serious gamers with the help of a multitude of brilliant features, including 3840 x 1080 QLED display resolution, with really wide viewing angles, very sharp contrast rations that even support HDR for that extra dynamic range and a bunch of connectivity options that should be more than enough. It’s apparent that the Samsung CHG90 is a gaming monitor made for gamers looking for an all-new gaming experience, with gaming view space only found on virtual reality rigs which, paired with the right HUD customization options, gives a hint at what the future of gaming looks like.
If you’re still not sold, Samsung throws in a bunch of other cool features too like total ergonomic adjustments to suit the gamer’s needs, an Econ mode, an Eye Saver mode to control the satisfactory brightness levels, a convenient OSD, Quantum Dot Colour, and even cool new audio-aligned Arena Lighting feature that calibrates a backlight with the in-game sounds in order to make the gaming experience all the more exhilarating. The Samsung CHG90 is guaranteed to give you an experience like nothing else, be it for gaming or anything else.
Sure, the CHG90 is a good picture of what future gaming setups would look like, but still, it is far from being perfect as there are a number of reasons why you may not want to invest in this ‘gaming monster’, some of which are apparent from simply looking at it on paper, others only clear once you’ve actually used it for a while.
- Probably the one thing to make most gamers shy away from the seductive CHG90, like most things in this world, is the very hefty price tag. Sure, it may completely revamp your gaming experience forever, but is it really worth almost a $1000 from your gaming budget. It’s huge, it’s beautiful, but not a lot to see that can validate such a huge investment.
- The Resolution: You would expect a gaming monitor of such valuation to match, if not exceed, other gaming monitors in the same category, but the Samsung CHG90 is severely lacking in terms of pixel density as compared to most other gaming monitors, and that’s something most gamers are just not willing to let go off. And it makes sense as the price to pay for getting such a colossal monitor since the bigger the screen, the more pixels you’ll need to keep the pixel density as decent as possible. Any more than the 1080p being offered and the monitor would be way more expensive than it already is, which is pushing it.
- Some Accessories like the headphone holder located at the ‘back’ of the actual monitor is really inconvenient. Moreover, the sheer weight of the monitor may make it difficult to find a desk big or sturdy enough to support it.
- The bigger is not necessarily the better, as most users have reported being really uncomfortable with the number of times they have to move and tilt their heads just to take in all that screen real estate. And it only gets tougher in-game, unless you carefully calibrate the Hud to support this ridiculously wide viewing.
- Very Large Screen
- Stunning Design and Aesthetic
- Cinematic viewing experience
- Great Frame Rate
- Impressive Response time
- Wide Viewing Angles
- All necessary connectivity options
- HDR and FreeSync
- Adjustable Positions
- Very Expensive – Overpriced
- Too big for regular comfortable viewing
- Weak Resolution
- Very heavy and space consuming
9. BenQ EW3270U – 4K Gaming at its Finest
We’ve seen a lot of great gaming monitors so far, each with their own respective edge over regular gaming monitors, be it the frame rate, the response time, etc. The edge that the BenQ EW3270U has over most other monitors in its price range is its brilliant 3840 x 2160 Ultra HD resolution on a 32 inch VA panel screen with a pixel density of 140 pixels per inch and that really is a sight for sore eyes. It has a 21:9 aspect ratio and a refresh rate of 60 Hz, accustomed with FreeSync, which is great if you have AMD GPU’s.
This 4K gaming monitor gets you a response time of about 4 ms, maintaining a static contrast of an impressive 3000:1 ratio, and provides really good viewing angles at 178 angles from horizontal and 178 vertical. The colors production is crazy good as expected, getting 95% of the DCI-P3 Color Gamut, and is capable of displaying 1.07 billion colors, well above most other great monitors. The picture quality being offered is definitely one of the hardest to match, especially considering how it’s one of the few monitors to support true HDR 4K support, meaning that contrast and detail look as amazing as you’d think.
The BENQ EW3270U is also really well designed; not too big, elegant, very stable and as convenient and user friendly as you’d expect from a top-tier gaming monitor, equipped with a multitude of relevant inputs and outputs like display port, USB, HDMI and AUX In/Out in case you don’t want to use its built-in speakers.
The BENQ EW3270U is without a doubt one of the best gaming monitors around visually, but even this gorgeous piece of tech has its own limitations.
- Refresh Rate: The refresh rate of a mere 60 Hz is really average to be considered top tier gaming performance, meaning that despite the motion capturing won’t be as velvety smooth as you’d expect and other monitors in the same price range or even lower have managed to get the refresh rates up to 144 Hz or 120 Hz at the very least. So despite offering Ultra HD resolution, it probably won’t be able to handle the frames of top GPU’s which is why FreeSync is a must use here.
- PRT: Competitive gaming takes a major hit here, considering how the response time is a mediocre 4 ms rather than 1-2 ms in most other gaming monitors, which isn’t too bad, but given that it is top-tier, much more is expected. It’s clear to see that BENQ prioritized display and picture quality over complete performance, but it’s still an acceptable compromise nonetheless.
- Price: The brilliance of the 4k Ultra HD display resolution does not come cheap understandably. So while it is still not too overpriced, all things considered, a little north of $700 is still a hefty investment to make in a VA gaming monitor that doesn’t even have a great refresh rate or response time.
- Ultra HD 4K resolution
- HDR10 support
- DCI-P3 color
- All necessary connectivity options included
- Accurate color & great contrast
- Versatile OSD
- A tad bit expensive
- Very average frame rate
- Weak response time for the price
8. Acer Predator Z35P Bmiphz- Curved Beauty
We’ve seen a lot of curved gaming monitors hit the scene recently as they’re becoming more widespread due to an increase in the trend. More and more manufacturers are mixing performance with the immersion offered by curved screens, but they don’t necessarily make it work that well. However, the Acer Predator Z35P is a perfect example of the few gaming monitors that have ‘aced’ the genre. The Z35P look as intimidating and aggressive as you’d expect from such a high-class gaming monitor.
It may not be the perfect fit for a workspace, but as far as gaming is concerned, it definitely looks the part with a beautiful QHD VA LCD panel that gets a max resolution of 3440 x 1440 with a great static contrast of 2500:1 and 16.7 million colors. Other features in the performance sector include a 100 Hz refresh rate, a 4 ms pixel response time and NVIDIA’s G-Sync tech, which altogether get the sharpest of visuals and frames.
As far as the actual size is concerned, it’s almost perfect for most users as the 35 inches 1800R curved screen area and 21:9 aspect ratio is not big enough to go well beyond a comfortable field of vision yet still wide enough to enable a very immersive and realistic gaming experience.
You also get almost all the connectivity options you could need like HDMI 1.4 (HDMI 2.0 is unnecessary with a 1440 p display), display port, USB slots and Aux with supported built-in speakers. Adjustability is another improvement out of many when compared to the original Acer Predator Z35P since it even has a swivel, a height adjustment, and extra rotation.
The Acer Predator Z35P ‘Bmiphz’ has done a lot to improve over its predecessor, the Acer Predator Z35P, but it still fails in almost the same areas.
- The price is still too much for the kind of specs offered, despite the fact that it is a curved VA panel. Although the resolution is a lot better than the standard Z35P’s 1080p, it’s still a bit behind others in the same $900 – $1100 price category that is upgrading to Ultra HD, which in itself is still a bit too much to pay for a gaming monitor.
- The refresh rate has decreased from the standard Z35P with a dip from 200 Hz to 100 Hz, which is a big compromise in terms of performance and is well below the norm in this category of gaming monitors.
- The response time, though decent, may not suffice for very competitive dynamic gamers and could very well be a deal breaker, considering the price tag which does not exactly validate it.
- The resolution is a definite improvement over its predecessor, but it still is not good enough.
- Fully immersive gameplay
- Brilliant QHD picture quality and detail
- Wide Viewing Angles
- Decent response time
- Aggressive Design
- Increased adjustment and connectivity options
- Design limited to gaming
- Weak PRT and refresh rate for the price
- No HDR or other elite features
7. ASUS ROG Swift PG35VQ – A Gamer’s Dream
Giant, curved display screens are everywhere today, and gaming monitors are no exception as we have come to see. Some companies take on the challenge of the advancing tech in order to revolutionize gaming, fewer actually succeed at making gaming more immersive with these curved displays. ASUS is one such company and the ASUS ROG Swift PG35VQ is one of the many curved gaming monitors boasted by the gaming tech giant.
The ASUS ROG Swift PG35VQ is, for some gaming enthusiasts, a dream of a gaming monitor, and it’s clear to see just why it’s so popular. The 35-inch mega-screen with a 1800R curvature boasts an ultra-wide 3440 x 1440 Quad HD display of an AMVA panel type, capable of providing 172 horizontal and 178 vertical viewing angles for a 16:9 aspect ratio. The ROG Swift PG35VQ leaves no stones unturned, obliterating the competition in terms of performance and aesthetic since it manages to give a refresh rate of 200 Hz and a minimum response time of 4ms, which is almost unheard of to be accompanied by a brilliant HDR Quantum Dot supported the display.
The insane picture quality is only enhanced due to the HDR and 1.07 billion colors, with 2500:1 static. Some overkill features include Anti-Glare coating, versatile connectivity options, a decent OSD, HDCP, Aura Sync, Flicker Free tech and NVIDIA G-Sync support.
It’s understandable why the ASUS ROG Swift PG35VQ is the belle of the ball when it comes to gaming community discussions and why it really is the dream gaming monitor for most eager gamers. However, dreaming is as far as it goes for the majority of the gaming population due to one really, really big obstacle.
- The Price: Probably the biggest reason why most potential customers are harshly turned away is that of the insane price tag on the luxurious piece of tech. The ASUS ROG Swift PG35VQ sells for a little north of $1500, far exceeding most other gaming monitors and, not to mention, gamer’s budgets. So with most of its features being great, but not that much better than gaming monitors costing about $600 – $900, is it really worth it?
- The resolution is nowhere near what you’d expect from something that may very well be literally worth its weight in gold. An AMVA 1440p panel is just not good enough for the price.
- Gamers looking to make the most of their purchase of the monitor, given that they actually manage to buy it, will be left disappointed by the weak minimum response time.
- Great resolution and detail
- Immersive gameplay
- Fantastic contrast and color production
- High refresh rates = 200 Hz Max.
- G-Sync, Quantum Dot, HDR10
- Wide viewing capacity
- All needed connectivity options
- Great design and backlight
- Full adjustability
- Extremely pricey
- Disappointing refresh rates
- Relatively weak resolution
6. BenQ EX3501R – Technological Brilliance
The BenQ EX3501R, an updated upgrade from the original BenQ EX3501 which was released about 3 years prior, is certainly a top contender for the best gaming monitor out there. The gaming beast checks out most boxes for the average gamer with a really good GPU. The 100 Hz refresh rate and the 4 ms response time isn’t the flashiest combo we’ve ever seen but considering how it is a VA panel with an unreal level of picture quality performance, it is more than adequate, with AMD’s FreeSync compatibility for good measure.
The resolution maxes out at a3440 x 1440, which has become a standard at this price range. That, partnered with a static contrast ratio of 2500:1, High-Dynamic Range, 100% of the RGB color gamut, and a huge, ravishing, 35 inch, 1800R curved display makes for one of the best viewing experiences you can get out of a QHD gaming monitor.
The design is very impressive, aside from the display itself, with a compact stand that doesn’t take much space and supports vertical and rotatory adjustments, VESA wall mount, and a number of relevant inputs like HDMI, DisplayPort, USB 3.0, USB Type-C, 3.5mm audio jack and a power port. Moreover, it looks really elegant paired with its slender frame and LED backlight, fit for both gaming and professional work.
The BenQ EX3501R is a thing of beauty without a doubt, but everything has drawbacks, but if its anything you’re okay with, the BenQ EX3501R is a solid recommendation.
- The BenQ EX3501R is definitely one of those monitors that leave you tears, and not just because of how beautiful it is, but because of how much it costs. It’s one of the world’s top-tier gaming monitors so it’s fair to see its valuation be somewhere around $900. Whether or not it’s worth it isn’t that important if the investment needed is just too much for a gaming monitor.
- The brightness is poor for the cost too, providing just 300 nits, which doesn’t really validate the monitor’s claims of having HDR since it is adversely affected. Hence, the BenQ gaming monitor isn’t exactly true HDR.
- FreeSync, although useful, makes little sense since AMD doesn’t have many GPU’s powerful enough to make use of it, so NVIDIA’s G-Sync would have been a way better option, and for that, you’ll have to pay even more. What a bummer.
- The frame rate, although satisfactory for the most part, isn’t exactly top-notch. And ‘satisfactory’ just doesn’t quite cut it for a $900 monitor. Same could be said for the 4 ms response time.
- The OSD’s buttons are physical and easy to use, but very confusing and difficult to navigate. Not at all a deal-breaker though.
- Beautiful display
- Great picture quality and contrast of colors
- Wide viewing angles
- Great connectivity options
- Compact, space efficient
- Elegant and versatile design
- Tons of extra features
- Very expensive
- Limited FreeSync
- Relatively low refresh rate
- Relatively weak response time
- Not true HDR due to the brightness
5. Alienware 34 CURVED GAMING MONITOR: – Otherworldly Performance
It’s not the least bit surprising to see Dell make a statement in the gaming monitor business with the outstanding AW3418DW, considering their huge presence in the world of computer tech and laptops, especially with their line of gaming tech called ‘Alienware’. The Alienware 34 CURVED AW3418DW is one monitor you shouldn’t take lightly, with specs and features only the very few best of the best are able to match. These include a stunning 34 inch, curved, almost bezel-less, IPS LCD display with a native resolution of WQHD 3440 x 1440. It’s a dazzling display, with the widescreen effect and 1000:1 static contrast making for great picture detail and quality.
It packs a punch performance wise too, with a 120 Hz refresh rate paired with the ever-needed NVIDIA G-Sync, meaning you’re in good hands since the monitor is meant to be used by top-notch GPU’s that only NVIDIA can provide. Moreover, the 4ms response time is amazing considering how we’re dealing with an IPS gaming monitor.
Features like anti-glare, most of the necessary inputs like HDMI and DisplayPort, and fully adjustable setup with the help of the height-tilt calibrator and swivel make for a great overall gaming monitor beast.
Dell has done a great job in trying to create the perfect gaming monitor, suitable for most genres of gamers, but it still has a few shortcomings, some more subtle than others.
- Contrast: Despite having an amazing IPS 3440 x 1440 display that’s able to produce vibrant and eye-watering imagery, it surprisingly doesn’t have HDR (High Dynamic Range) which means it doesn’t manage to get those extra high levels of detail and clarity you would expect from such a high-end gaming monitor.
- The Alienware 34 CURVED AW3418DW could really do a lot better than its 4ms PRT, given its other elite features. However, most people really aren’t too concerned about it since 4ms is still pretty decent for an IPS display.
- The price, despite the monitor’s merits, is still a relatively huge investment, which settles somewhere in the range of $1200 – $1300 which is well and truly beyond the average gamer’s gaming war-chest capacity.
- Beautiful Display
- Almost no bezels
- Compact and lightweight
- Spectacular Design
- High refresh rate
- Immersive Wide-screen experience
- A decent number of connectivity options
- No HDR
- Very Expensive
- Average Pixel Response Time (Not too bad though)
- Average contrast ratio
4. ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – A Dethroned King
Leading the Alienware 34 CURVED AW3418DW by one spot, quite deservingly, is the fast and beautiful ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q. Asus is absolutely killing it in the gaming monitor business since they’re able to offer the most competitive features for equally competitive prices. The ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q is no exception, also considered by many to be the ‘King of Gaming Monitors’.
It’s true that many would go as far as putting the PG279Q at the number 1 spot due to its offered value for money but, shockingly, we’ve actually seen better, but only a few. The King boasts a 4 ms response time (GTG) and a 165 Hz refresh rate, which is beyond impressive. The display itself is a 27 inch, 2560 x 1440 WQHD IPS display, capable of 1000:1 contrast ratio, 16.7 M colors, 350 nits of brightness, 100% of the sRGB color gamut and a 178 viewing angles, which may not be very special, but giving a true 2k gaming experience for significantly less than most other gaming monitors is worthy of praise nonetheless.
G-Sync is a pretty expected and welcome feature, along with many others like 6 Game Modes, Trace Free Tech, Flicker Free, HDCP, 2 speakers, and a well-equipped input Hub. A short look at the on-paper capabilities makes it really obvious why the ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q is so popular in the gaming community.
Sure, the PG279Q is one of the greatest we’ve seen, but there’s a reason it was dethroned. It’s because there are some areas the PG279Q just couldn’t perfect.
- Although the price is still a lot lower than most top-tier gaming monitors with equal or even lesser capabilities, the $800 investment is still a lot to ask for, regardless of its qualification.
- Similar to the Alienware 34 CURVED AW3418DW, the lack of HDR, a prominent feature of elite gaming monitors, is a major drawback for the PG279Q, since the lack of contrast and brightness means that you won’t be able to make the most out of the gaming monitor or the GPU.
- Brilliant design that favors functionality and aesthetic appeal
- Lightweight, compact
- 2K 1440p resolution
- 165 Hz refresh rate for extra sharp motion display
- Decent response time
- All necessary inputs
- Adaptive positioning
- Premium Features
- Lack of HDR and high contrast
- A bit pricey for a gaming monitor, regardless of qualities
- Confusing OSD
3. AOC AGON AG352UCG6 – Gaming Monitor Beast
One of the few gaming monitors that came close to making it to the top spot in this list is the AOC AGON AG352UCG6, a spectacular piece of machinery, specially designed to outperform the very best out there. The perks include a 3440 x 1440 QHD resolution, 21:9 MVA LCD display with WLED backlight. The AGON maintains a 120 Hz refresh rate for a crisp display of imagery with zero ghosting and blur. The 4 ms response time is quite good for an MVA type panel which is quite power efficient and effective in color reproduction.
The AGON may not have HDR but the contrast ratio of 2500:1 and 300 nits will suffice in providing extra detail and depth to images displayed. Its 35-inch curved widescreen size with 178 viewing angles is a sight to behold, giving a pure, immersive gaming experience without compromising on gaming ability or comfort as is the case with most other curved widescreen gaming monitors. It has G-Sync enabled for controlling screen tearing, which is a much-needed feature since the monitor is meant for elite GPU’s.
Moreover, the complete adjustability in terms of height, tilt and wall mount along with HDMI and DisplayPort inputs allows better options in terms of versatility for users. These features, all coming at around $700, a way lower price tag than the majority of the elite gaming monitor class, is a major reason why the AGON is a force to be reckoned with.
Even though the AGON offers one of the best bangs for the buck deals you can get in terms of features, it still has some areas that could need improvements that would make them runners-up in the list or even the best one there is.
- Despite being one of the best 2k gaming monitors in the game, HDR is something that’s felt missing to make that QHD resolution really stand out, and even though the contrast ratio is decent, the picture quality could have been improved. Moreover, more brightness is essential for that to work too.
- Even though it’s one of the cheaper gaming monitors in our list, it still seems a bit pricey for many, but serious gamers still know its true worth.
- Great Resolution for 2k gaming
- Wide Viewing Angles
- Immersive Gaming
- Huge Display
- Good refresh rate
- Decent response time
- Fully Adjustable
- Great value for money
- No Hdr
- Low Brightness
- Not exactly cheap
2. Samsung CHG70 – The King of Them All
The gaming monitor to give the best bang for the buck which consequently gets it the top spot on our list of the best gaming monitors. This curved masterpiece is a 31 inch VA panel, 2560×1440 resolution display that supports HDR for a static contrast ratio of 2400:1, so the images are as clear and crisp as you could possibly want.
Moreover, the refresh rate hits 144 Hz while the response time goes as low as 1 ms, which is beyond impressive. The brightness reaches 350 nits, well enough to enable true HDR. Viewing angles are 178/178 while the display colors of 1.07 billion colors cover 125% of the sRGB gamut so you get maximum vibrancy of images and the smoothest gaming experience possible. G-sync makes sense since only great GPU’s can fully harness the power of the CHG70 which would make screen tearing a problem otherwise.
You can expect all the necessary inputs and fluid ergonomics that come with such a complete gaming monitor. All in all the Samsung CHG70 is easily one of the best in the business, and being available at around only $600, you just cannot get a better deal anywhere.
As the number one gaming monitor on the list, there’s not a lot to criticize for the price. Even if the CHG70 cost a $200 or even $300 more than what it is, it’d still be a great deal for an impressive gaming monitor.
- Probably the only thing stopping it from being the perfect gaming monitor is the panel type being VA, which doesn’t have a color production and picture quality as good as the IPS type.
- Just about everything except for the panel type
- VA type screen
1. ASUS ROG SWIFT PG27UQ – The God of Gaming Monitors
Now think about all the great things you would want in a gaming monitor. If you could dream of the perfect one that has almost no shortcomings in any department whatsoever, what would it look like? If you’re having trouble picturing it, look no further than the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ.
As far as specifications and features are concerned, there probably is no monitor better than the ASUS PG27UQ, which is why it is referred to by some as the current god of gaming monitors, and rightfully so. One of the few gaming monitors to have 4k gaming on a 3840 x 2160 resolution, the ASUS PG27UQ is an absolute thing of beauty. Mix that up with a 27 inch IPS display, one that’s capable of 1000:1 static contrast and a 50000:1 dynamic contrast with HDR, along with 1.07 billion display colors for 99% of the AdobeRGB color gamut, and you’ve got complete eye candy for a gaming experience.
If you think that’s impressive, the 1000 nit brightness, 144 Hz refresh rate and G-Sync, along with countless other features, is just complete overkill. Without a doubt, the ASUS PG27UQ is the most powerful gaming monitor currently available.
Now you may be wondering why the most powerful gaming monitor in the market isn’t in its rightful place on the throne of this list as the god of all gaming monitors. But, it may just be too good to sound true. And that’s exactly why the god of the gaming monitors isn’t even the king of the list.
- The biggest problem with the ASUS PG27UQ is the totally ridiculous price tag, going somewhere north of $2000! What is the point in having such a powerful machine when you can’t even afford it to begin with? And that’s exactly why the PG27UQ couldn’t land the number one spot.
- The Pixel Response Time could still be a lot better than 4 ms considering the price tag, despite the fact that it is an IPS panel.
- Amazing 4k resolution
- IPS panel
- Great color reproduction
- Elite frame rate with overclocking
- All needed connectivity options
- Wide viewing angles
- Numerous features
- Outrageously overpriced
- Disappointing response time
How to buy the best gaming monitor in 2018
So now that you’ve gone through the list, you should have an idea of the what the best of the best in the gaming monitors series look like. They’re bold, big and absolutely beautiful, allowing you to appreciate gaming as more of an art form than a mere hobby. However, you still need to pick! And that’s the hard part, even after we just narrowed it all down to 15 contenders.
They’re all great in their own right, some better than others, but there’s still a criterion that needs to be set in order for the average buyer to get an idea about the right purchase. What kind of factors need to be given special attention to when deciding which one to buy. This detailed buying guide aims to do exactly that, buy not only going through and explaining the different aspects of a gaming monitor but giving you all the possible options as well, letting you make a better, more informed decision.
By referring to the following guide, you can feel more confident when setting out to buy that final piece in your supreme gaming puzzle, without any second thoughts or regrets. So without any further ado, let’s get started with the eight most important points to remember in our buying guide.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. You can only buy as good as a monitor as your bank account allows you to. Plain and simple. There’s no point in looking towards elite gaming monitors like the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ when you barely have $400 to your name. It’s simply illogical. Then you, obviously, try to get the best one that’s available in your budget. What may not be obvious is the budget allocation. If you have an amount of money to make a gaming pc, you need to allocate different funds in different aspects of gaming, and so the monitors need extra-special consideration. Usually, the graphics card is the limiting factor, so if you have a powerful graphics card like the GTX 1080 Ti, a powerful and more expensive monitor will probably be able to do it justice while a cheaper and weaker monitor won’t avail the full potential of the graphics card.
Additionally, if you get a weak graphics card and a high-end monitor, the graphics will simply not be able to cope with the monitor’s display demands. Assuming that you plan to buy the graphics card and the monitor together, the budget for your pc needs to be allocated in a way that the two complement each other and work optimally together.
However, the price is not necessarily an indicator of quality as there may be a monitor better suited to you than one that costs you a bit or a lot more. So if some good monitors come in your price range, shortlist them and then individually judge them.
This is probably the most important factor to pay attention to when buying a monitor since it’s the one aspect of a monitor that can truly determine the maximum potential of a GPU. Gaming monitors currently on the market offer a range of display resolutions, i.e. the pixel count of the display which translates visual quality of the images displayed on the monitor.
The higher the resolution, the better the graphics. Simple as that. But it costs a lot with every upgrade, so it’s best to choose the resolution according to your GPU. It’s only logical to have a monitor that can do the GPU justice, but more importantly, the GPU needs to be able to supply enough frames to be able to maintain a stable 30 frames per second at least. Hence, the greater the resolution, the more powerful the GPU you would need to employ in order to maintain smooth gameplay. That’s why different levels of GPU’s accommodate different ranges of resolutions. The resolutions include:
- HD = 720p
- Full HD = 1080p
- QHD (2K) = 1440p
- UHD (4K) = 2160p
As a result, only the best and most recent graphics cards on the market like the GTX 1080 can manage to keep up with UHD displays with 60 fps, which is still considered to be pretty new technology. The resolution here is unmatched in terms of picture quality and is yet to enter the mainstream gaming monitors community. QHD or Quad HD is the resolution found in most high-end gaming monitors today where decent to good graphics cards like the Radeon RX 480 can maintain respectable fps between 30 and 60 frames per second. These resolution types can easily support mid-range GPUs as well.
While 720p gaming monitors are considered obsolete for gaming and can pretty much run on anything, the 1080p ones can offer the highest frame rates on decent GPUs, all the way up to 3 digit fps. Not to mention, 1080p ones are a lot cheaper than its successors, so gamers, especially competitive ones who prefer fps over anything, usually opt for these since aesthetic for them isn’t that much of a priority since a 1080p panel would do the job. Figure out what category your GPU falls in and decide the resolution accordingly.
Pixel Response Time
If you’re not a tech savvy or a gaming enthusiast, you’ve probably never heard of this and never actually cared about this specific quality either, but real gamers know just how important this is when judging a gaming monitor. The pixel response time is the time a single pixel on the screen takes to go from it’s whitest white to its blackest black. The pixel response time (the lesser the better) indicates how well the display reacts to changes in display, so a better pixel response time means better visuals for moving objects which appear to be more realistic and less blurry.
The difference between high-end gaming monitors that shorten the p.r.t to 1 ms and the regular ones of 2 – 4 ms is not that significant unless you play fast-paced competitive games like first-person shooters or MMORPGs, or if you’ve been using 1 ms monitors for a long time. We’d recommend you not spend a bit too much extra for that 1 ms if you’re fine with 2 – 4 ms pixel response time, but then again, the lesser, the better.
Not to be confused with similar sounding geek term ‘frame rate’, the refresh rate is the number of times that a display refreshes and updates its image per second. Frame rate, on the other hand, has nothing to do with the monitor since that is the number of frames sent by the GPU to the monitor per second. The effects of the refresh rate aren’t visible on the image quality but on the motion resolution and input-output interval of the monitor. The higher the refresh rate, the more up to date each consecutive frame is and, hence, the smoother and sharper the motion imagery is, with the decreased amount of blur.
Nowadays, monitors come in a variety of refresh rate capabilities, ranging from 60 Hz to 120 Hz, 144 Hz and even 240 Hz monitors in some of the newest models. The difference between 60 Hz and 120 Hz monitors is pretty clear to most users as the motion quality is visibly improved, but it becomes increasingly subtle if you go higher, with most people unable to tell the difference between 144 Hz monitors and 240 Hz monitors. What does improve though with higher refresh rates is less screen tearing and less lag. Screen tearing occurs when a monitor is unable to keep up with the frames being sent by the GPU, which usually occurs when a very strong GPU is paired with a weaker monitor of low refresh rate, leading to some frames (entire sections of the screen) to be mismatched. A higher frame would usually resolve this but now more solutions like V-sync are available (more on that later). The higher refresh rate also means lesser intervals between input and output, consequently decreasing the amount of lag in the display by up to 50%, and that’s great because nothing is more infuriating to a gamer than the slightest bit of lag.
Nonetheless, it’s better to focus on improving screen resolution and picture quality than it is to improve motion quality, so that’s usually why most people tend to settle for 120 Hz or even 60 Hz if they have a limited budget, but the more the merrier applies to the refresh rate as well.
Display Panel Type
The displays also come in many different panel types that range from LCD to LED panels and are currently all available on the market, but differ in many aspects such as price, performance, resolution, refresh rates and response times. The three most used and preferred types are:-
–TN (Twisted Nematic) Panels: These are really popular because of a multitude of reasons. Firstly, they’re super cheap, costing much lesser than IPS or MVA panels. They offer the lowest response times of 1 – 2 ms and are also very power efficient. The drawbacks, however, are aplenty, including weak picture quality because of very low contrast ratios, narrow viewing angles and some having connectivity options limited to VGA. These monitors are only recommended for very low budgets or when response time is a top priority for people like competitive gamers. The TN panels are now usually found in office computers or security monitors and hence pretty outdated as far as gaming is concerned.
–IPS Panels: These are pretty much the norm nowadays in gaming monitors and highly recommended since they offer beautiful color gradients, high picture quality and the highest possible contrast ratios (<1000:1). The only compromise here is the cost since they cost a lot more than the TN or MVA panels because of the better hardware, and the pixel response time, which isn’t really a compromise, so to speak. It usually ranges from 4 – 5 ms, but now 1-2 ms have been achieved in most models, so the difference between IPS and TS in this aspect is quite negligible.
–MVA Panels: It’s good in some respects, very bad in others, and not a lot cheaper than the IPS ones. Consequently, it’s not a very popular choice among gamers either. The MVA panels try to offer a middle ground between the two extremities that are IPS and TN panels, but considering how they only offer very high contrast ratios and equally poor response times, it only caters to few genres of gamers and is absolutely loathed by dynamic competitive gamers. Therefore, not highly recommended for most gamers.
People usually only care about the size when it comes to buying displays, especially television sets. It may have a lot to do with the status symbol associated with having a humungous flat screen in your living room or the old-fashioned concept of ‘what’s bigger is better’. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple with monitors, considering how their usage is a lot different from tv. Things like room size, viewing angles, the range of vision, pixel resolution and display type come into play here. Gamers prioritize picture quality and close screen view over display size and hence tend to buy gaming monitors that offer the best possible resolution and contrast.
The size of the screen becomes less relevant and begins to cost a lot more if increased. Therefore, manufacturers usually sell gaming monitors as combinations of display size and resolution that aim to keep the pixel density as high as possible so as to reduce image degradation, such as 1080p for the size of around 24 inches, and 2160p for monitor sizes close to 34 inches. These combinations aren’t fixed and may differ slightly from model to model. Display types also have an effect, since more expensive displays like IPS cost a lot more per increase in inches as compared to TN types.
Furthermore, it also depends on the types of games you play. More fast-paced and dynamic games tend to shift your focus more often. A screen that is significantly larger than your field of vision would pretty much be a pain in the neck and back because of all the constant head movements. In that scenario, it’s better to get a monitor that’s comfortable to play on with the range of vision not being exceeded by the monitor dimensions.
Remember the part about screen-tearing. Well, that usually happens when a GPU is too powerful for its monitor buddy, and an overload of frames supplied by the GPU caused a ‘tear’ in the screen with overlapped and mismatched frames. Adaptive sync technology is a solution to that very headache since it puts a cap on the fps of the GPU to match with the refresh rate on the monitor, making them coherent and finishing screen tearing.
Although V-sync was usually the go-to adaptive sync, new dynamic v-sync technologies like the G-Sync and the FreeSync automatically keep changing the cap according to the corresponding fps at every second. The dynamic sync is preferred over traditional vsync as vsync would limit the ability of the GPU since it limits fps rendering. Dynamic sync in the FreeSync and the Gsync, on the other hand, helps in maximizing performance without allowing any screen tearing.
-However, FreeSync is an AMD tech and only work with AMD graphics cards. Moreover, FreeSync is free of cost with the monitor as the name suggests so if you have an AMD GPU then you should get a monitor that supports FreeSync.
-Similarly, NVIDIA G-Sync only operates with NVIDIA GPU’s. but it isn’t free like Freesync since G-Sync still costs an additional $100 premium, so even if you have an NVIDIA graphics card, the G-Sync option still needs to be thought through. All of these factors need to be taken into account before getting any of these adaptive sync systems.
Connectivity / Inputs
We wouldn’t blame you if you thought that a wire or two is all you need to operate a gaming monitor, in addition to the power cord. And you’d be correct too. But these inputs differ too in many regards, and a monitor may have more or fewer connectivity options than another. It’s important that a monitor should have all the important input options, but it’s better to have as many as possible since technical failures may block some inputs entirely so it’s good to have an alternative. The main connectors used today are:
– Display Port: Probably the best input option used today is the Dp 1.4 that offers the best refresh and resolution ratios available. Most monitors and graphics cards support it too so compatibility issues are kept to a minimum. If you’re a pc gamer, you should definitely opt for Display Port.
– HDMI: It’s the most popular input used today in both tv’s and monitors, for both consoles and pc. The HDMI 2.0 supports the 2k+ resolution in addition to being the only connection that can transfer audio, so there’s no surprise why this is generally the most used connection input.
– DVI: It’s almost the same as HDMI, but less versatile and lacking audio transferability, so people don’t really select this as their main input.
– VGA: Only capable of supporting a maximum resolution of 1080p, the VGA connectivity is completely outdated and should only be used if the others aren’t working. We highly recommend having other connectivity options if you intend to use your monitor for gaming purposes.
Other connectivity options include 3.5 mm – 5 mm audio outputs in case you need to connect to headphones or speakers, audio inputs in case the monitors have built-in speakers, and USB ports for other various uses.
Well, that’s about as much as we can tell you about the best gaming monitors currently out there this year. Each of the models we mentioned has been handpicked as the best performers in the monitor business, however, each of them tends to suit a different requirement, budget, and genre, so it all depends on how you intend to make the most of your gaming experience.
Hopefully, with the help of our buying guide and list of worthy warriors, you’ll be able to make an educated and informed decision about your future monitor. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be any gaming monitor in the given list. As long as you are confident in knowing what kind of monitor you’ll need to make your gaming experience as amazing as possible, the entire article would have been worth it. Hope it helps!