What makes the best gaming monitors better for gaming, you ask? Well, everything ultimately boils down to what you want to get out of it. The market is full of many different types of monitors these days, and the best gaming monitor for you will depend on the kind of games you play.
The best PC games can take you to places, showing you things and worlds that you never thought were possible. This is why you must think about picking up one of the best gaming monitors to bring your gaming experience to the next level.
If you’re someone who just wants to get immersed in your favorite single player games like Devil May Cry V or Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, you may want a 4K Ultra HD gaming monitor with HDR. On the other hand, if you’re all about the esports life, playing Overwatch, you’ll want one of the best gaming monitors with a high refresh rate and low response time.
With so many options and a few features to consider, finding the best gaming monitor can be confusing, and that’s why we’re here. We gathered all the best gaming monitors we’ve tested and reviewed over the last year or so. No matter what kind of PC games you typically play, we’ll help you find the best monitor for your specific gaming needs.
1. BenQ EX3501R
HDR and Ultra-Wide together at last
Screen size: 35-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: : 300 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 100Hz | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 2,500:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 23 pounds
HDR has been a major selling point for the best TVs for sometime now, but the feature has yet to gain popularity in the best gaming monitors sphere. The trailblazing BenQ EX3501R takes HDR and runs with it, crafting a curved ultra-wide that is not only what we would call ‘gaming monitor goals,’ but a stunner as well. BenQ bills this monitor as a ‘video enjoyment monitor.’ However, from the moment you launch your favorite HDR-enabled games, you’ll know straight away why it tops our list of the best gaming monitors.
Read the full review: BenQ EX3501R
2. Alienware AW3418DW
The fastest ultrawide yet
Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 26 pounds
The Alienware AW3418DW is one of the few gaming monitors that offer a level of immersion that only a 21:9 aspect ratio can, while also boasting a high refresh rate. With a dense 3,440 x 1,440 resolution, lightning-fast 4ms response times and a speedy 120Hz refresh rate, the AW3418DW gives you the best of both worlds. All these features do come with a steep price, so it may not be the best choice for budget-minded gamers. Still, it’s not hard to see why it’s one of the best gaming monitors 2019 has to offer, and worth saving up for.
Read the full review: Alienware AW3418DW
3. AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition
Blacker than black
Screen size: 35-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 2,500:1: | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 26 pounds
The AOC Agon AG352UCG was one of the best gaming monitors we’d ever used, so when we heard that a follow-up was on its way – with a higher refresh rate and better contrast, to boot – we could hardly wait. The AOC Agon AC352UCG6 Black Edition brings back the original’s best features and turns those up to 11, making it a stunning display to experience ultra-wide gaming on. It’s expensive, yeah, but if you have the hardware to back it up, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice by not buying it.
Read the full review: AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition
4. Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ
The Rolls Royce of gaming monitors
Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 | Brightness: 600 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 144Hz | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 50,000:1 | Color support: Adobe RGB 99% | Weight: 28 pounds
The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ may just be the most advanced – not to mention, best – gaming monitor to add to your arsenal... as long as you have the budget for it. This display features a gorgeous 4K Ultra-HD resolution and HDR, as well as G-Sync and a whopping 144Hz refresh rate. These specs add up to one of the most incredible gaming monitors that’s ever existed – and when you see it in action, it will blow your mind. The only thing that holds this gaming monitor back from true greatness is its insane price tag. But, then again, if you have this kind of cash lying around, you should be able to afford a PC powerful enough to drive it.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ
5. BenQ PD3200U
A large 4K screen for your desk
Screen Size: 32-inch | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Response Time: 4ms | Viewing Angle: 178/178 | Contrast Ratio: 1,000:1 | Color Support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 19 lbs
Though primarily designed for CAD professionals, the BenQ PD3200U is also one of the best gaming monitors you can buy today. This is mostly thanks to its rock-solid focus on graphic design so it’s able to offer fantastic viewing angles, which means that your friends can watch you play in comfort. Plus, unlike a lot of 4K monitors on the market, you won’t have to mess around with the settings in order to get the best picture – every unit is individually calibrated by BenQ before it’s shipped. This is definitely one of the best gaming monitors out there, even though it wasn’t technically designed for gaming.
Read the full review: BenQ PD3200U
6. Acer Predator X27
The finest picture for the finest price
Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 | Brightness: 600 Nits | Refresh rate: 144Hz | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: SRGB 100%, Adobe RGB 99% | Weight: 27.12 pounds
There’s a certain group of PC gamers out there that need the absolute best hardware money can buy, and the Acer Predator X27 might be the best gaming monitor for them. The menu of high-end features packed into this display is almost as long as our arm – 4K resolution, HDR-10, G-Sync, 144Hz refresh rate – and you’d be hard pressed to find a more advanced monitor. Once you get a look at this monitor in person, you’ll be sold. That is, until you see the price tag – at around $1,600, only those with deep pockets need apply. Still, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming.
Read the full review: Acer Predator X27
7. BenQ Zowie XL2540
A monitor tailored to the needs of professional gamers
Screen size: 24-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 400 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 240Hz | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: NTSC 72% | Weight: 7.5kg
Don’t be put off by its blinders, the BenQ Zowie XL2540 definitely deserves its place right up there on the best gaming monitors list. It sacrifices flashy lighting effects for a lightning-fast 240Hz refresh rate, and rapid 1ms response time. There aren’t any adaptive sync options, unfortunately, but if you have a rig that’s capable of keeping up with this refresh rate, this gaming display will go a long way. The BenQ Zowie XL2540 keeps things effortless by supplying you with lots of visual presets, an “S Switch” control pod for managing those presets and even a pair of adjustable light screens. If you’re a professional gamer, then this is one of the best gaming monitors to consider.
Read the full review: BenQ Zowie XL2540
8. Samsung CHG90 QLED
The widest ultra-wide
Screen Size: 49-inch | Aspect Ratio: 32:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 1080 | Viewing Angle: 178/178 | Contrast Ratio: 3,000:1 | Color Support: N/A | Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Weight: 33 lbs
With this display, Samsung not only brings QLED to gaming monitors in a massive way, but also gets bragging rights to the widest ultra-wide monitor on the market today. Coming in at 49.5 inches, this behemoth may take up a lot of space – it’s likely to jut out over the sides of your desk – but with its impressive 3,840 x 1080 resolution and HDR, you will be blown away by the image. Even if you decide not to play in this resolution (it will require a beefy rig), you can still use all that extra real estate to browse the internet or watch Netflix on the same screen. Its price tag is monstrous as well, but for a display this premium, it may very well be worth it.
Read the full review: Samsung CHG90 QLED
9. Samsung CHG70 QLED
Gaming with all the colors
Screen size: 32-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,440 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 3,000:1 | Color support: 1.07B | Weight: 21.16 pounds
If you have a powerful graphics card that you want to take full advantage of, Samsung’s got something just for you. If you don’t mind missing out on 4K Ultra HD, the Samsung CHG70 is a curved 1440p monitor with a blazing fast 1ms response time and 144Hz refresh rate. Those specs make it one of the best gaming monitors you can buy in 2019. And, considering it’s regularly going on sale, this screen is a bargain as well, making it a solid investment.
Read the full review: Samsung CHG70 QLED
10. MSI Optix MAG271CR
Gotta go fast to save the world
Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 144Hz | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 178/160 | Contrast ratio: 3000:1 | Color support: SRGB 115%, 90% DCI-P3 | Weight: 9kg
When you’re playing competitive first-person shooters like Overwatch or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, you’re going to need speed more than anything to stay on top of the leader boards. That’s where monitors like the MSI Optix MAG271CR come in handy. With a 1080p resolution, 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms of latency, you’re going to have super fast, super smooth gameplay, as long as you have the hardware to drive it. After all, 60Hz panels are so 2014 – the best gaming monitors are all about the high refresh rates.
Read the full review: MSI Optix MAG271CR
How to buy the best gaming monitor in 2018
Are you in the market for the best gaming monitor 2019 has to offer? Before you buy, know there are a few things to consider before making a decision on what display should grace your desk.
By familiarizing yourself with the following terms and specifications, it will help guarantee that you’re choosing the best gaming monitor for your needs. It also means you're not paying extra for additional features that you might not actually need.
Screen size: When shopping around for the best gaming monitor, one of the most crucial things to consider is the screen size. Larger display sizes can lead to more immersive gaming experiences since the game fills more of your field of vision, but you'll also need to make sure you have the room to store a large monitor. Of course, it goes without saying that larger monitors will usually mean a higher price.
Aspect ratio: The aspect ratio of a gaming monitor dictates the width and height of the screen. Most widescreen monitors have an aspect ratio of 16:9, while older monitors have closer to a square format of 4:3, which might look pretty outdated in 2019. Ultra-wide monitors with aspect ratios of 21:9 are quickly growing in popularity, since they offer a wide view of your games, which is why many ultra wides have made our list of the best gaming monitors 2019.
Resolution: One other important factor to consider when looking for the best gaming monitor for your needs is the resolution. The higher the number, the sharper the picture. You will, however, require a more powerful graphics card for anything over Full HD (1,920 x 1,080), even if many gaming monitors feature resolutions as high as 2,560 x 1,400 (WQHD) and 3,840 x 2,160 (4K).
Refresh rate: When you’re mainly looking to play Counter-Strike and other first-person shooters like it, refresh rate is especially important. The higher the refresh rate, the more frames per second (fps) the monitor can support, leading to a much smoother gaming experience. A 60Hz refresh rate is most common in 2019, but refresh rates of 144Hz and even 200Hz are becoming more and more prominent.
Response time: The best gaming monitors feature low response times, which means fast and fluid actions, with little to no input lag. The lowest response time for TN monitors (we’ll get to this in the next section) is 1 millisecond, whereas the newer IPS monitors typically have slower 4ms response times. When you’re playing games competitively, it’s crucial to keep this number as low as possible in order to avoid latency.
Panel type: This is where things get a little technical. The type of panel a gaming monitor uses will largely contribute to its response time and image clarity. TN (twisted nematic) panels, which are typically cheaper, have the lowest response times. However, they generally don’t have great viewing angles. IPS (in-plane switching) panels, on the other hand, have fantastic viewing angles and color reproduction. They usually have higher response times. Meanwhile, VA (vertical alignment) panels sit between the two, although its slow response times makes these panels rare in the gaming world.
Viewing Angle: While most people play games directly in front of their gaming monitor, this isn’t always be the case, particularly when you have an audience. A monitor’s viewing angles tell you what angle you can look at the monitor from and still make out a clear image. The closer these numbers are to 180, the better your viewing experience will be when standing further to either side of the monitor or looking at it from above or below.
G-Sync and FreeSync: You've probably notice that many of the best gaming monitors in 2018 come with either G-Sync or FreeSync technology – sometimes even both. These help keep frames per second (fps) smooth, combat screen tearing and diminish input lag. G-Sync is developed by Nvidia, so you'll require an Nvidia GPU, and the tech is built into the monitor, which can bump up their price tag. FreeSync, on the other hand, was developed by AMD. Since it is free to use by manufacturers, the monitors that have them are typically cheaper.
Check out our HDR Explained video below.
Gabe Carey and Bill Thomas have also contributed to this article
Image Credit: TechRadar
- Looking for a more general monitor? Check out our list of the best monitors