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Best Gaming Monitor Under 200 (We breakdown which one is in the Lead!)

best gaming monitors under $200

Don’t underestimate the importance of a decent monitor when you’re gaming. In the lower-budget ranges, you won’t get anything that’s top of the line today, but you can get a great monitor that would have been considered top of the line a few years ago, and frankly it’s still going to be a huge upgrade over a basic desktop monitor like your Grandma uses.

The difference between a ‘regular’ computer screen and a gaming monitor can be significant. Even when it comes to cheap gaming monitors, there are a few specs to keep an eye out for, since they’ll have the biggest impact on gaming. Now, when you’re looking at cheaper options, you do have to make sacrifices in certain areas when it comes to certain specs. How do you decide which stats are the most important? It has a lot to do with not only your budget, but also of which types of games you plan to play, and what else you’re going to be doing with your monitor.

When putting together this list and testing out different monitors, we wanted to choose one that is very versatile, that gives you INCREDIBLE bang for your buck, and despite the lower price tag, it totally workable for even higher-end gaming with modern titles.

The refresh rate, the resolution, the contrast ratio, the type of panel it has, the response rate, the size of the screen in inches, the inputs, and a handful of additional features are all things that you’ll want to look for if gaming is your priority. With a cheaper option, you might be able to find a great response rate and refresh rate, but you’ll be looking at a smaller size, or lower resolution, or what-have-you. It’s kind of like a tug of war in a sense. You gain a little ground, you lose a little, depending on which specs matter to you the most.

image via extremetech.com

The trick here is to find a monitor that ticks off as many of the spec boxes as possible, while also making as few sacrifices as possible. Depending on what your priority is, the perfect monitor to meet your needs might be different than the next person’s. None the less, in the lower budgets, you can’t be as picky or choosy, but you don’t have to be – this monitor’s got everything you need.

Usually you have to choose between things like a good response rate for gaming (1ms), a good refresh rate for gaming (144hz), a large monitor (24 inches), not to mention additional features like support for 3D gaming, especially when you’re dealing with a budget under $200 – but we’ve managed to pull off a miracle. We found a monitor that strikes off all of the important checkboxes when it comes to choosing a great monitor for gaming.

Now, let’s cut the suspense and get right into the nitty gritty of it. Is this the very best gaming monitor in the world? Nope, it’s not, but it’s also a fraction of the price of what you’d pay for a state of the art, high-end monitor, and when you’re dealing with the latest and greatest, you end up paying a huge premium for that extra little higher-end of performance. By going a little further down the ladder, the value you get grows exponentially, until you hit the perfect mix of value, price, and performance… and we’ve hit that mix perfectly with this upcoming recommendation. Check it out:

Acer GN246HL

We’re going to go over the specs and the features one by one in this Acer GN246HL review. If you’re wishing it was 27 inches instead of 24, you’re in luck, because if you’re willing to push your budget a little bit further, Acer also makes this monitor in a 27 inch version.

Typical monitors on the market that aren’t geared towards gamers may have a response time of 6ms, 14ms, or even higher. That’s not good enough for gaming, where every split second counts and you want your screen to display any type of change that takes place in the game as quickly as possible. A lower response time is what you’re looking for here, and this monitor offers up a 1ms time, which is excellent. We’re off to a great start. It’s all about finding something that’s fast enough that you won’t be able to tell the difference, without spending a fortune on a high-end monitor. 1ms is as low as one could hope for, it’s the standard for gaming monitors even today, so this is a huge win in this category.  Let’s keep going…

The refresh rate describes how often an image on your screen is refreshed, and it’s measured in hertz. A higher number means it refreshes more times per second, which means the overall gaming experience will be a lot smoother with a higher refresh rate. 60Hz is pretty standard for regular monitors, and it’s certainly do-able to use them for gaming, but it’s far from ideal. The second box that the Acer GN246HL checks off is having a 144Hz refresh rate for silky-smooth gaming. There’s an old myth that the human eye can’t see higher than 30 frames per second, and that even Hollywood blockbuster moves are below 30FPS, so anything over 30Hz is overkill. That’s not true, don’t listen to people who say that, you can absolutely tell a different between 30Hz, 60Hz, 144Hz, and so on. It makes a difference. Having said that, anything 60Hz+ is fair to expect for a budget gaming display, but being able to pull off 144Hz is our favorite aspect of this monitor in particular. Another checkmark in the win column!

The resolution is 1920 x 1080. That’s full HD, but it’s not compatible with 4K. Finding 4K or 1440p resolution, along with all of these other features, just isn’t in the cards without spending a lot more money. 1080p has been around for a while, but it’s still going to look great, especially since the monitor is 24 inches instead of 27, so those pixels won’t be too stretched out. 

This is the one area where you’ve got to sacrifice a little bit in order to stay under $200, but unless you have a really high-end graphics card, you probabally wouldn’t be able to run most games on high settings at 1440 or 4K anyways, so you’re better off with maxing your graphic settings on 1080p with a mid-range graphics card, or if you have a super high-end card – spend a lot more on your monitor to really take advantage of what it can do.

This Acer gaming monitor comes with 3 different inputs. It has DVI, VGA, and HDMI, one of each. You can have it plugged into your graphics card with the DVI port, have a console or your laptop plugged into it via HDMI, and still have one slot left open. 

Before you buy: We just need to point out that in order to use the 144Hz refresh rate at 1080p, you’ll need a Dual Link DVI cable (like this one).

We’ve heard from a lot of people over the years who are wondering why they can’t selected 144Hz in their system settings, and often it comes down to using the correct cable. You need the Dual Link DVI, even if you have another cable that still fits in the port, if it’s not a DL-DVI, it’s not going to unlock the full range of features that this monitor supports.

All That, And It Even Has 3D

If you want to try out 3D gaming at some point, you’ll be able to do that becasue this monitor supports it. They totally didn’t have to include support for this in this monitor, it already hit every other important note for a great gaming monitor, and is super reasonably priced, but low and behold, they went and made it a 3D gaming monitor just for kicks.

All around, this is a very impressive offing from Acer. Do we wish it was a little bit larger? Sure, but there’s a 27 inch version you can upgrade to, so that takes care of that. Do we wish you could go a little higher with the resolution? It doesn’t hurt, but for the most part, anyone who has an enthusiast-tier graphics card is going to want to buy a beefing monitor anyways, and is probabally going to spend closer into the $500 range on a screen.

So, all things considered, we did pretty good, hey? We found a monitor with a super low response time, a great refresh rate, a solid 24 inches, multiple inputs, and 3D… all for under $200.

If you were looking for the best gaming monitor under $200, you’ve found it.

If something more competitive and better comes along down the road, we’ll update this post, so whenveer you’re reading this – rest assured that we’re bringing you an option that has GREAT value, an amazing price, and epic specs that’ll take your gaming experience to the next level. All that, and you can even have your consoles hooked up to it, too.

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