The best gaming monitor 2019: the 10 best gaming screens of the year

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The best gaming monitors are becoming more and more necessary as PC games move to another level – whether you're playing that immersive RPG or playing a fast-paced round of Overwatch

However, before you go out and buy the flashiest gaming monitor on the shelf, there are certain things you need to consider. First, you need to decide what you're even looking for out of a gaming monitor – there are hundreds of displays out there, and the best option for you will depend on your favorite games.

For instance, if you're all about that single-player immersion in games like Assassin's Creed: Odyssey or even the upcoming Control, in all its ray traced beauty, you may be interested in a 4K gaming monitor with HDR. However, this won't be the best option for everyone.

If you play a lot of esports like Overwatch or Counter Strike: Global Offensive, you're going to want a gaming monitor with a high refresh rate and low response times. Especially as the best graphics cards and processors become more and more capable of high-refresh gaming, a 240Hz panel can really give you a competitive edge. 

At the end of the day, there are a ton of features you need to consider, which unfortunately makes it hard to find the best gaming monitor. However, we've spent an inordinate amount of time staring at gaming monitors in our time, and we've used our tech expertise to gather up the best gaming panels you can buy today. And, because we've reviewed every single monitor on this list, you can rest comfortably knowing you're not wasting your time or money. 

BenQ EX3501R

BenQ EX3501R

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

Great screen size
HDR
Menu can be tricky
Needs tweaking out of box

HDR has been a major selling point for the best TVs for a while now. And yet, the feature has yet to gain popularity in the best gaming monitors sphere. Luckily, the trailblazing BenQ EX3501R takes HDR and runs with it, creating a curved ultra-wide that is not only what we would call ‘gaming monitor goals,’ but a total stunner as well. BenQ bills this monitor as a ‘video enjoyment monitor.’ However, from the moment you start your go-to HDR-enabled games, you’ll know immediately why it’s number one on our list of the best gaming monitors.

Read the full review: BenQ EX3501R 

Alienware AW3418DW

Alienware AW3418DW

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

Highest refresh rate in an ultrawide
Alienware design and build quality
Expensive
Takes up a lot of space

The Alienware AW3418DW is one of the few gaming monitors that provide 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 fast 120Hz refresh rate, the AW3418DW gives you the best of both worlds. All these features do come with a steep price though, so budget-minded gamers might want to look elsewhere or start saving up. Still, it’s not difficult to see why it’s one of the best gaming monitors 2019 has to offer. 

Read the full review: Alienware AW3418DW

AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition

AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition

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

Phenomenal color performance 
120Hz refresh rate 
Clunky OSD menu 

The AOC Agon AG352UCG was one of the best gaming monitors we’d ever had the pleasure of using, so when we heard that a follow-up was on its way – one that comes with a higher refresh rate and better contrast – it was hard not to get excited. The AOC Agon AC352UCG6 Black Edition carries over the original’s best features but turns them up to 11, making it a dazzling display on which to experience ultra-wide gaming. It’s pricey, yeah, but if you have the hardware to back it up, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice by not investing.

Read the full review: AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition 

Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ

Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ 

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

G-Sync and HDR 
Fantastic image quality 
Prohibitively expensive 

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 boasts a stunning 4K Ultra-HD resolution and HDR, as well as G-Sync and a speedy 144Hz refresh rate. These specs add up to one of the most impressive gaming monitors that’s ever existed – and when you see it in action, it will blow you away. 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 

BenQ PD3200U

BenQ PD3200U

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

4K UHD resolution
Large Screen
Inexpensive relatively
Design is a little bland
Professional tools are niche
Takes up a lot of space

While originally designed for CAD professionals, the BenQ PD3200U is also excellent for gaming, making it 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 incredible viewing angles, which means that your friends can watch your game in comfort. And, unlike a lot of 4K monitors on the market, you won’t have to tinker around with the settings to get the best picture, since every unit is individually calibrated by BenQ before shipping. 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

MSI Optix MPG341CQR

(Image credit: Future)

6. MSI Optix MPG341CQR

MSI’s hot new 34-inch gaming monitor

Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 400 nits | Refresh rate: 144Hz | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 3000:1 | Color support: sRGB 105% | Weight: 21.16 pounds

Punchy VA panel
Great gaming performance
Really strong overall feature set
This class of monitor is expensive

While all of its extra frills make the MSI Optix MPG341CQR an even more appealing option for potential buyers, it does an excellent job of standing out on its own. The use of VA rather than IPS panel technology, for one, is a welcome advantage, offering punchier colors and better contrast. Plus, its superwide 1440p resolution and 144Hz refresh certainly give gamers an edge. The best part is, this display is also competitively priced, making it one of the best gaming monitors to consider in 2019.

Read the full review: MSI Optix MPG341CQR

BenQ Zowie XL2540

BenQ Zowie XL2540

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

High refresh rates
Easy setup
Expensive
Limited appeal beyond pro gamers

Don’t be put off by its limitations The BenQ Zowie XL2540 still definitely deserves its place right up there on the best gaming monitors list. It gives up 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 setup that’s capable of keeping up with this refresh rate, then this gaming display will blow you away. The BenQ Zowie XL2540 keeps things simple 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. This is one of the best gaming monitors to consider if you’re a pro or hardcore gamer.

Read the full review: BenQ Zowie XL2540

Samsung CHG90 QLED

Samsung CHG90 QLED

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

Flawless image quality
Impressive Color reproduction
Smooth 144Hz refresh rate
Expensive
Only 1080p vertically

With this monitor, Samsung not only brings QLED to gaming displays 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 goliath takes up a lot of space – expect it to jut out over the sides of your desk. However, with its spectacular 3,840 x 1080 resolution and HDR, you won’t be able to look away. 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 movies on the same screen. Its price tag is Herculean as well, but for a monitor this incredible, it may very well be worth it.

Read the full review: Samsung CHG90 QLED

AOC Agon AG322QC4

(Image credit: Future)

9. AOC Agon AG322QC4

A gaming monitor with a little HDR goodness

Screen Size: 49-inch | Aspect Ratio: 32:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 1,080 | Viewing Angle: 178/178 | Contrast Ratio: 3,000:1 | Color Support: N/A | Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Weight: 33 pounds

Punchy VA panel packs lots of contrast
Both 144Hz and FreeSync 2
Not really a ‘true’ HDR monitor

A bit of HDR is always a welcome treat, even if it’s not true HDR. And yet, the AOC Agon AG322QC4 has more aces up its sleeves. Those aces include a 144Hz refresh rate, FreeSync 2 and a 3,000:1 contrast ratio, making this among the best gaming monitors of 2019. And it offers users gorgeous, super smooth visuals, all while looking good doing so. It’s not exactly a steal, but the Agon AG322QC4 is still pretty affordable for gamers who aren’t shopping in the bargain basement.

Read the full review: AOC Agon AG322QC4

MSI Optix MAG271CR

MSI Optix MAG271CR

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

Fast refresh rate
RGB lighting
Expensive for 1080p

When you’re playing competitive first-person shooters like Overwatch or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, you’ll need speed more than anything in order to stay on top of the leader boards. That’s where displays like the MSI Optix MAG271CR come in handy. With a 1080p resolution, 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms of latency, you’re equipped with 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 in 2019 are all about the high refresh rates.

Read the full review: MSI Optix MAG271CR

How to buy the best gaming monitor in 2019

If in the market for the best gaming monitor 2019 has to offer, know that there are a few things to consider before choosing which display should grace your desk.

You’ll need to familiarize yourself with the following terms and specifications to help guarantee that you’re investing in the best gaming monitor that’s most ideal for you. It also means you won’t have to pay extra for additional features that you might not actually need.

Screen size: When looking for the best gaming monitor, one of the most important things to consider is the screen size. Larger display sizes can lead to more immersive gaming experiences as the game fills more of your field of vision, but you'll also need to make sure that you have the room to keep a large monitor. And, it goes without saying that the larger the monitor, the higher the price as well.

Aspect ratio: The aspect ratio of a gaming monitor helps determine 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 that might feel pretty dated in 2019. Ultra-wide monitors with aspect ratios of 21:9 are rapidly growing in popularity, as 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 crucial 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 mostly looking to play Counter-Strike and other first-person shooters like it, refresh rate is even more important. The higher the refresh rate, the more frames per second (fps) the monitor can support, leading to a considerably smoother gaming experience. A 60Hz refresh rate is most common in 2019, but refresh rates of 144Hz and even 200Hz are becoming more prominent – not to mention, more and more necessary.

Response time: The best gaming monitors offers low response times, which means you’re getting 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 vital 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 often more affordable, have the lowest response times but usually don’t have great viewing angles. IPS (in-plane switching) panels, on the other hand, have fantastic viewing angles and color reproduction, but 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 2019 come with either G-Sync or FreeSync technology – sometimes even both. These help keep frames per second (fps) smooth, combat screen tearing and minimize input lag. G-Sync is developed by Nvidia, so you'll need an Nvidia GPU. And, the tech is built into the monitor, which can bump up their price tag. FreeSync, on the other hand, was created by AMD. Since it is free to use by manufacturers, the monitors that have them are usually more economical.

Check out our HDR Explained video below.

Gabe Carey, Bill Thomas and Michelle Rae Uy have also contributed to this article

Image Credit: TechRadar

  • Looking for a more general monitor? Check out our list of the best monitors