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Top
Tech

The Best Gaming Monitor of 2021

Aaron Alford

In recent years, the quality of gaming monitors has improved by leaps and bounds. There are so many unique high-quality options to choose from. Choosing the gaming monitor that is right for you can be difficult. The most important factors for gaming monitors are their refresh rate, resolution, color space, and response time.

The refresh rate is how often the panel refreshes with new information. While standard displays are often 60Hz, gaming displays can have 144Hz and 240Hz versions. Displays with higher refresh rates are better for gaming.  Gamers who use monitors with higher refresh rates have the advantage.

You can select from a variety of resolutions, including 1080p FHD, 1440p, and 4k resolution screens. Keep in mind though, higher resolution monitors require more processing power to run. If you don’t have a top-of-the-line system, you may struggle to run higher resolution screens at a decent frame rate.

Another important consideration in gaming is the color space on your monitor. The most common gamut is sRGB. Most gaming monitors feature a decently accurate color gamut. Though, color accuracy is not really the priority of a gaming monitor.

The final element to consider when looking for a new gaming monitor is the form factor. The traditional route is typically a 16×9 flat panel monitor. But lately, ultrawide and curved monitors have become more popular. Ultrawide monitors offer a huge amount of horizontal workspace, while curved monitors fill up your peripheral vision.

You can pick up a decent gaming monitor for around $400 if you are willing to sacrifice some features. Alternatively, you can spend as much as $2,000 on a higher-end model. The higher-priced monitors provide several hardware advantages. However, many professional players still use lower-end monitors which feature high refresh rates.

Best Gaming monitor

Best gaming monitor for designers

BenQ PD3200U DesignVue Designer

Resolution 3840x2160

Size 32 Inches

Refresh rate 60 Hz

Response time 5 MS

The BenQ designed this 4K monitor specifically for digital artists and designers. The large 32 inch, 3840×2160 resolution panel is perfect for detail-oriented work. The wide color gamut ensures the highest-grade reproduction of color. The PD3200U includes a few affordances that maximize accurate color reproduction.

It features a reference-grade 10-bit color panel, with a 100% Rec. 709 and 100% sRGB color space. This means that you can create and design content on this monitor with remarkably high color accuracy. BenQ also included three design-specific modes to assist designers that can be selected with the push of a button.

This monitor includes a built-in keyboard, video, and mouse switch. This feature allows you to display and control two different computers using the same monitor. The ability to switch between two computers on the fly won’t help most users. However, it’s still a cool feature for anyone using a dual PC setup.

The biggest downside to this monitor from a gaming perspective is that it only features a 60Hz refresh rate. In contrast, many other gaming monitors now feature 144Hz or even as high as 240Hz. Still, the BenQ is a good monitor for illustrators, designers, and editors who want to game on the side.

LG UltraGear 38GN950

Best large gaming monitor

LG UltraGear 38GN950

Resolution 3840x1600

Size 38 Inches

Refresh rate 144 Hz (Overclock 160Hz)

Response time 1 MS

The UltraGear 38GN950 is an ultrawide, curved monitor. It measures an impressive 38 inches across. This huge piece of hardware features LG’s proprietary Nano IPS display. It has a fast 1 MS response rate and a 144Hz refresh rate and can reach 160HZ when overclocked. This fully-featured gaming display is the largest top-tier monitor on this list.

The 1 MS response time rivals TN display speeds while keeping all the color fidelity benefits of an IPS panel. This monitor also includes compatibility for both NVIDIA’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync technology. Both G-Sync and FreeSync are designed to minimize screen tearing and maximize overall output quality.

As an added customization bonus, the UltraGear 38GN950 features a light on the back. This backlight can be synced to either sound or video effects for maximum immersion. The lighting effects can be accessed using LG’s included Sphere Lighting 2.0 software. For those who enjoy customizing their LED light setups, this is a nice feature.

Overall, this monitor has everything that a hardcore gamer is looking for in a display. With an amazingly fast response time, high resolution, and huge size, the LG UltraGear 38GN950 is one of the most fully-featured gaming monitors on the market.

Caution: This monitors needs a decent system to run well.

ASUS Rog Swift PG27UQ

Best gaming monitor for in game performance

ASUS Rog Swift PG27UQ

Resolution 3840x2160

Size 27 Inches

Refresh rate 144 Hz

Response time 4 MS

The ASUS Rog Swift PG27UQ is a state-of-the-art monitor that includes some of the best features in a gaming monitor. It comes in at a very steep $2,000 price tag, but it is definitely worth it. This 4k monitor measures 27 inches across and features a 144 Hz refresh rate. Having both a 4k panel and a 144Hz refresh rate is a rare combination. Both your GPU and CPU are going to need to be top-notch if you want to use this monitor to its full potential.

Another unique feature of this display is the ambient light sensor. It detects the light conditions around you and adjusts the brightness of your display accordingly. Though it’s not a revolutionary feature, it is a nice bonus option that can help relieve eye strain.

The display includes built-in ambient lighting which can be synchronized with Aura Sync-enabled components and peripherals. The back of the display also has a customizable light signature projection. These light signature projections can be customized to display several different symbols.

Acer Predator X34

Best curved gaming monitor

Acer Predator X34

Resolution 3440x1440

Size 34 inches

Refresh rate 100 Hz (180 Hz Overclock)

Response time 5 MS

The Predator X34 is Acer’s 2021 flagship gaming monitor that features a modest curve. The subtle curve angle doesn’t cause enough image distortion to be an issue. Though it’s not the cheapest monitor on the list, its excellent specs justify its price.

The Acer Predator X34’s Ultrawide 3440 x 1440 resolution and 1900R curve are designed to extend past your peripheral sight. This is designed for maximum immersion into your games. The refresh rate of the 34-inch display officially comes in at only 100Hz. However, it is capable of 180Hz if you overclock it.

This display comes with the FX Predator GameView software which provides useful adjustment options. Some features include a dark boost and lets you switch between the included action, racing, and sports gaming profiles. Finally, the back of the display comes with a complimentary, built-in set of 7-watt speakers built-in.

Dell UltraSharp 27

Best gaming monitor for productivity

Dell UltraSharp 27 U2719D

Resolution 2560x1440

Size 27 Inches

Refresh rate 60 Hz

Response time 5 MS

The Dell UltraSharp U2719D is a 27-inch 1440p display that is perfect for productivity and office-based tasks. While this monitor will certainly work for gaming too, it only has a 60Hz refresh rate. Still, the Dell Ultrasharp is clean and professional, with fewer bells and whistles than many of the dedicated gaming monitors.

This monitor comes with a decent quality color gamut of 99% sRGB, 99% rec709, and 85% DCI-P3. It’s can serve as an excellent budget option for video editing and other content creation tasks. Though, It obviously won’t be as good at these tasks as one of the design-focused monitor options on this list.

BenQ EX3203R

Best budget curved monitor

BenQ EX3203R

Resolution 2560x1440

Size 32 Inches

Refresh rate 144 Hz

Response time 5 MS

The BenQ Ex3203R is the best-curved gaming monitor you can get for less than $500. This 1440p display features a large 32 screen with a 1800R panoramic curvature designed to fill your peripheral vision. Its high 144Hz refresh rate is designed to deliver a fully engaging and smooth experience while gaming. Although, its 5 MS response time leaves something to be desired.

Unlike the other BenQ on this list, you probably won’t be doing too much design work on this one. It only features a 90% DCI-P3 color gamut. Meaning, it is less capable of accurately producing colors than the DesignVue Designer. It does still feature a Vesa HDR Display 400 certification and comes with BenQ’s image-balancing technology. So, the content on the screen will look crisp and vibrant.

This isn’t an incredibly special monitor, but it is fully featured. It has a high-quality panel, a curved form factor, and a fantastic refresh rate, all for less than $500. This is easily one of the best value curved monitors around.

Samsung Odyssey G7

Best value gaming monitor

Samsung Odyssey G7 LC32G75TQNXZA

Resolution 2560x1440

Size 32 Inches

Refresh rate 240 Hz

Response time 1 MS

The Samsung Odyssey G7 is one of the best value monitors on this list. It has some of the best features on the market for well under $1,000 USD. It features a 32-inch screen with a solid 1440p QHD display. Although, the resolution is a little low compared to some of the UHD options. What sets this display apart from the rest, however, is its lightning-fast 240Hz refresh rate. The Odyssey G7 supports both G-Sync and FreeSync. So, it should work well regardless of what type of graphics card you are using.

This monitor features the sharpest curve of any on this list, at 1000R curvature. As a result, this display achieves the highest level of in-game immersion by completely filling your peripheral vision. Unfortunately, this also means that there will be some image distortion. Therefore, this is probably not the go-to monitor for design or precision work.

The back of this monitor has an “infinity core” light adding a little extra flair to the visual design.

Acer Nitro XV340CK

Best budget ultrawide gaming monitor

Acer Nitro XV340CK

Resolution 3440x1440

Size 34 Inches

Refresh rate 144 Hz

Response time 1 MS

The ACER NITRO XV340CK is a fully featured ultrawide gaming monitor that comes in at less than $600. Solid features and a reasonable price tag make it of the best budget gaming monitors in the world. The Nitro features an exceptionally large display that measures 34 inches across with a 3440 x 1440 resolution. The refresh rate for this monitor is 144Hz with a response time is 1 MS. This makes it a highly responsive gaming monitor.

The color reproduction on this display is decent as well. It features an IPS display with a color gamut of sRGB 99%. So, this monitor will also work well for photo editing, design work, or video editing in a pinch. The Nitro is FreeSync compatible, but not G-Sync compatible, so it will work slightly better on an AMD card. Although this monitor doesn’t include many extra features beyond its solid specs, it performs very well considering its price point.

ASUS Pro Art Display PA278QV

Best budget display for designers

ASUS Pro Art Display PA278QV

Resolution 2560x1440

Size 27 Inches

Refresh rate 75 Hz

Response time 5 MS

The ASUS ProArt Display is another design monitor that is great for gaming. This 27-inch 1440p monitor features an IPS panel with a 75Hz refresh rate.

The biggest advantage of this monitor is its 100% sRGB and 100% Rec. 709 color gamut. This means that this monitor can reproduce the most visible colors with near-perfect level of accuracy. It also comes with the ASUS-exclusive ProArt preset and ProArt Palette, several color parameters you can adjust on the monitor.

The ASUS quick fit Virtual Scale allows you to align documents and designs to their actual sizes on your screen. It’s a useful feature for visualizing your content before sending it to be printed or to a client.

If you are a designer looking for a solid, color-accurate gaming display, the ASUS ProArt Display is a fantastic option.

ViewSonic Elite XG270

Best budget gaming monitor

ViewSonic Elite XG270

Resolution 1080x1920

Size 27 Inches

Refresh rate 240 Hz

Response time 1 MS

The ViewSonic Elite XG270 is the only FHD 1080p panel on this list. It makes up for its lower resolution with an affordable price tag, fast response time, and a fast refresh rate.

At 27 inches, this monitor features an IPS display that refreshes at 240Hz with a rapid 1 MS response time. Since the display is only 1080p, even moderate systems can take advantage of its rapid response and refresh rate. This monitor is G-Sync compatible, but not FreeSync compatible, so this will work better on an NVIDIA machine.

There are several affordances built into the physical frame of the Elite XG270. It has optional sight shields you can attach to the two sides of your screen. These shields help you focus on the game and block any reflections from the sides of your display. The ViewSonic Elite also has a built-in mouse anchor and an RGB light strip on the back. It also has a hook to hold your headphones.

It has many of the most sought-after features for modern gaming monitors, except for a higher resolution. If you are looking for a 240 Hz monitor for less than $400, this is your best option by far.

Frequently asked questions

Is there a difference between a gaming monitor and a regular TV monitor?

The major difference between TV monitors and gaming monitors is their refresh rates and response times. Televisions often feature low refresh rates, slow response times, and high levels of input lag. Your screen ends up a little bit behind what you are trying to do with your controller, resulting in less precision and a worse gaming experience. Gaming monitors feature high refresh rates and response times, as well as very low levels of input lag, for a more responsive gaming experience.

What size/Hz is best for a gaming monitor?

Anything around 27 inches is optimal for gaming performance. You can get larger screens but anything above 27 inches is going to require a more powerful gaming PC to ensure you maintain a certain frame rate. As refresh rates go, the more Hz the better. A higher refresh rate monitor is always going to be better in gaming, an activity that relies on your responding as quickly as possible. If you are buying a monitor for gaming specifically, you should look for a panel that is at least 144Hz. If you have to choose between resolution and frame rate, frame rate is more important when it comes to competitive gaming.

What gaming monitors do pros use?

Pros use monitors from many of the companies featured on this list. However, many professionals opt to use slightly lower specc’d monitors, often with a smaller 24-inch screen. They choose these, in most cases, because they prefer to maximize their frame rate and game performance over increasing the size or resolution of their experience.

However, this doesn’t mean the average gamer should buy a lower specc’d monitor. The advantage gained by running lower resolution and smaller sized monitors to maximize game stability will only be realized at the very highest levels of professional play. If you do choose a worse monitor you will be missing out on many of the most desirable features that come on modern gaming displays.

What is the difference between IPS, VA, and TN panels?

There are three major types of panels in use for gaming monitors: IPS, VA, and TN. All of them have their own advantages and disadvantages.

IPS stands for In-Plane Switching panels. This type of panel is generally slower than a TN panel, but it is better at portraying colors accurately. They are also the more expensive type of panel.

TN stands for Twisted Nematic panels. This type of panel is capable of higher refresh rates and faster response times, but TN panels feature more color distortion when viewed from an angle, making them worse for any design or color-intensive task. They are also the most affordable type of panel.

VA stands for vertical alignment panels, which exist somewhere between TN and IPS. They have a faster response time on average than IPS, but a slower response time than TN. They also have a tighter view angle than IPS, but a broader view angle than TN. VA panels’ biggest advantage is that they are capable of very high refresh rates.