PC gaming has been more of a niche thing until recent years, as it becomes more accessible, more affordable, and easier for people to get into. It’s no longer a realm dedicated to only the most super of nerds, anybody can build their own computer, and choosing the right parts is always getting easier thanks to websites like PC Part Picker, online forums for advice, and in-depth reviews. One thing that can get overlooked from time to time is the monitors themselves, although they’re crucially important to the overall experience.
One of the big advantages of PC gaming over consoles is that you aren’t stuck using your boring old family television, you can use incredible displays that will drastically enhance not only the visuals, but the performance and how well you’re able to play. It might not be the biggest difference in the world, but going from a 60hz monitor to 144hz can be a significant improvement, especially for very fast paced games that require precision, like first person shooters.
We’ve checked out tons of different gaming displays to help you find the very best options for right now.
If you were doing video editing or graphic design or some other type of workflow, you’d be looking for a monitor with different traits than if you’re planning on playing games, so we’ve filtered out all of the monitors that aren’t specifically meant for gaming to bring you the best picks. So, find one below that fits your budget, is the correct size, and a resolution that your graphics card can handle, and you’re all set. The higher the resolution you’re playing at, the more pressure it will put on your graphics card, so if you don’t have the newest GPU, you might want to stick to 1080p or 2,560 x 1,440 resolution.
What to look for in a monitor for gaming:
As we just mentioned, the resolution is the first thing to look for. 1080p monitors are going to cost less than 1440p or 4k, generally speaking. Higher resolution requires a better graphics card, and will look more crisp.
The size of the monitor is the next thing to keep in mind. 24 inches is pretty standard, 27 is a good upgrade from that if you want something bigger, and beyond that you’re getting into the higher end of things, especially when the monitor has all of the other traits of a good gaming monitor (Namely a high refresh rate.)
The refresh rate is going to make a difference when it comes to gaming, look for one that’s at least 144hz, they’ve been coming down a lot in price lately making them much more accessible.
With similar benefits to the refresh rate, you’ll also want a monitor with a very low response time so that your movements are captured as close to instantly as possible.
Next up, make sure the monitor has video inputs that are compatible with your GPU. If you also want to connect a gaming console, that’s something else to keep in mind, too. Some monitors will also have a jack for your headphones and mic, USB ports for controllers or charging things, and more.
Then you’ll want to consider things like the contrast ratio and other traits, that aren’t necessarily as paramount to gaming performance, but can still make a difference between a really nice monitor and a not-as-nice one. Perfect color reproduction is something you’ll find on monitors that are more geared towards design, and those typically don’t bother having faster refresh rates, but you can still find gaming monitors with brilliant colors on them.
Finally, what’s your budget? If you want to spend under $200 or $300, you’re going to be more limited and you’ll have to make certain sacrifices. If you want a very modern monitor with a super fast refresh rate on the cheaper side of things, chances are you’ll have to sacrifice in size and go for a 21 or 24 inch, for example.
Here’s the Top Gaming Monitors of 2018:
Here’s a look at 10 different gaming monitors that made some big waves in 2018 and beyond. We’ve also added a few additional categories to help you quickly find the best 4K gaming monitor, the best freesync monitor, and the best budget gaming monitor if you don’t want to spend too much.
1. ASUS MG28UQ 4K/UHD 28-Inch FreeSync (4k)
Let’s start with a real heavy hitter. You’ll want to make sure you have a high-end GPU if you plan on gaming in 4K. The MG28UQ from ASUS is our top pick at the moment because it comes a large screen size (28 inches), a great response time (1ms), 4k resolution, some other useful features, and a great price.
For inputs, you’ll get two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort, and two USB ports.
You can tilt it sideways to make it easier to work on spreadsheets (or browse reddit.) It also has a built-in framerate display, an option for custom crosshair overlays, the ability to have a timer overlay, and other features that are very specific to gamers.
The downside is that it doesn’t have a super thin bezel, so if you’re doing a multi-monitor setup there will be a little extra space in between. Other than that, this is an exceptional value when you’re looking for a 4K gaming monitor.
2. ASUS MG279Q WQHD, 178° 27-Inch (FreeSync)
This epic FreeSync monitor by ASUS, the MG279Q , has a 178 degree viewing angle, it’s 27 inches, and has FreeSync. It’s less expensive than similar G-Sync monitors in the same class, and has a 144hz refresh rate.
If you’re using an AMD card with a monitor that supports FreeSync, this is your best bet, hands down. It has come down in price, too, making this a great time to pick it up.
The max resolution is 1440p, but you can go lower if you need to in order to max out your graphics settings on an older GPU. It’s been out for a couple of years already, so it’s priced a lot less than the current “top of the line” options with the latest tech, but it’s still a fully capable monitor with great specs, the only different is that now the price makes it almost impossible to pass up.
3. BenQ ZOWIE 24 inch Full HD (Budget)
Looking for something that’s solid, but not as expensive as some of the other top picks? We’ve got you. The ZOWIE by BenQ is 1080p, which is a big part of why it’s less expensive than the others we’ve featured so far. Also, it’s 24 inches, which is still a great size for a desk, but not so much if you plan on sitting at a distance from the monitor (like if you want to be gaming from the other side of the room on a couch or something.)
It has a lighting-fast 1ms response time, full-tilt adjustment to get it sitting just right, the ability to mount it, and a nice place on the base to rest your controller.
You’re missing out on some of the specs from a high-end monitor, but you’re also getting something very capable for under $200. All things considered, this is our top pick for a budget gaming monitor. We’re still got 7 more to go, so we’ll be looking at other affordable options.
4. ASUS ROG SWIFT PG348Q 34″ (Curved)
With larger monitors, a slight curve can make the viewing experience a little easier than having to practically look from one side of your room to the other to see the whole monitor at once. This ASUS monitor has a 34 inch curved screen, which looks absolutly stunning sitting on your desk, and gives you a great field of view for gaming. It has G-SYNC along with features to help reduce strain on your eyes.
It comes with DisplayPort and HDMI inputs, it has an IPS panel, and an intuitive joystick for adjusting controls, along with an assortment of other features that appeal to gamers in particular.
It comes with a 3 year warranty with free cross shipping, so if you do end up having to send it in, they’ll have a new one on its way towards you as quickly as possible. It’s like ASUS recognizes you take your gaming seriously if you buy this monitor, and knows you won’t put up with anything but the best service, and we commend them for that.
On the downside, it has a 100hz refresh rate, which is GOOD, but not as good as 144hz or more. Still, if you’re buying an epic 34 inch curved display, you’re probabally totally fine with losing a few hz in the grand scheme of things.
5. AOC – G2260VWQ6 21.5″ 1920×1080 75Hz
Next up let’s take a look at another solid budget monitor. This is the cheapest one we’re going to be featuring, so you’ll definitely be making some major sacrifices in certain areas, but overall if you don’t have a lot to spend, this one will still definitely get the job done better than a monitor that wasn’t designed for gaming at all.
With a 75hz refresh rate, it’s better than 60hz. It’s only 1080p, but you can still get some amazing visuals, especially since the size is 21.5 inches. 1080p stretched out on a massive 32 inch monitor isn’t going to look as crisp as 1080p on a smaller size screen, and if you’re sitting close to it anyways, this is a good opportunity to save some dough. It’s certainly an entry-level option that’s lacking in some areas, but it earns points for the 1ms response time which you don’t usually see at the lower-tier price. It comes with D-Sub, HDMI, and DisplayPort connectors.
You can find cheaper monitors in this size, or even larger, but they usually start around 5ms response time and 60hz. Like we’ve said, there are going to be certain sacrifices to make regardless of which option you go with. There’s only so much they can do with a cheaper monitor, so pick the stats that are most important to you and use that as your starting point. If you want a very fast response time, this is your best bet for a cheap gaming monitor.
6. Acer GN246HL Bbid 24″ 16:9
Here’s one that’s slightly more expensive than the one we featured at #5, but it’s also larger and still has the 1ms response time, and is still just 1080p. If you don’t have a super new high-end GPU, playing at high settings on 1080p is probabally going to be better than having to lower your graphics settings to play on 1440 or 4k, anyways, so a 1080p monitor is still an excellent value.
The big plus to this monitor is the 144hz refresh rate, which is a huge step up from the #5 monitor by AOC hich is 75hz. Technically speaking, this one should be ranked higher, but we also took price into consideration. This monitor is also availiable in a 27 inch version for less than $100 more.
7. AOC U2879VF 28” 4K UHD 2160p LED-Backlit
Here’s a step up from the last couple monitors. The AOC brand can be a good way to get solid specs while spending a bit less, but it’s also not a bad idea to get a protection plan, depending on where you buy it from.
This monitor featurds AMD FreeSync tech, it has ports for HDMI, VGA, DVI-D and DisplayPort, along with USB.
It features 4K resolution, and a 1ms response time. The knock on this one is the 60hz refresh rate, which is less than ideal. You get a higher resolution, extra ports, but suffer in the
8. Acer Predator XB271HU bmiprz 27-inch WQHD
Looking for something a little bigger? Here’s a 27 inch from Acer with 1440p resolution, a 144hz refresh rate, and a 1ms response time, which is really good across the board and perfectly capable for gaming.
One area where it lacks, that may or may not be relevant to you, is that it only has 1 display port and 1 HDMI 1.4 port. If you plan on using one of those to connect it your computer, you’ll still have the other one available to connect something else to the monitor like a gaming console, but if you need more ports then it could be an issue. Most people don’t need more ports, and only use their monitor for one thing – their computer – so in that case this one still leaves them with an open slot, but it’s worth mentioning either way, since there really isn’t much else to complain about with this gaming display.
9. LG 34″ Class UltraWide IPS 34UM57-P
Looking for something a little bigger? Here’s an LG 34 inch ultrawide monitor with an IPS display. The IPS will give you great color accuracy, making this an excellent option for design and work, too. The wide aspect ratio means you can have multiple windows open side by side for productivity, and a wide field of vision for gaming.
The resolution is 2560 x 1080, so it’s like 1080p except wider, with a 21:9 aspect ratio. This 28 inch gaming monitor 2 HDMI ports and 1 DisplayPort.
Where it falls short from some of the other options is the 60hz refresh rate, but it makes up for that for some users by being a good multi-purpose monitor for design, development, productivity, along with gaming. Once again, it’s all about finding the balance that suits you the best. The monitor that show up lower on our list aren’t necessarily worse than any others, they just fit a more narrow series of use-cases.
10. Samsung C32HG70 32-Inch HDR QLED Curved (144Hz / 1ms)
Last but not least, here’s a curved gaming monitor from Samsung. The 1ms response time and 144Hz refresh rate are both excellent for gaming, as is the giant 32-inch size that it boasts, along with the slick curve it has. Not to mentoin the stand looks pretty great, too.
There are some downsides to this 1440p gaming monitor, however. You may need to fiddle around with some of Window’s settings in order to get crispy looking text on your screen. The display itself has been described as “beautiful”, however you’ll need to get it adjusted just right, since you’ll want to be looking at it dead-on for an optimal experience.
Final Thoughts on Buying a Gaming Monitor
All of these are perfectly capable, above-average gaming monitors. The differences between them really come down to what you’re looking for, and what your budget is. If you don’t have a higher-end gaming PC, a 1080p monitor should be more than sufficient so you can spend the money you’ll save on getting a bigger size, or on other features that matter more to you. If you have a top of the line GPU, you’ll want to take full advantage of it with at least a 1440p resolution, but probabally 4k if your system can handle it. That’s why you should look at the price and the specs, moreso than just where it landed on this list, becasue any one of these monitors could be the perfect fit, it just depends on what you need.
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