Best gaming monitor buying guide: On the market for a spiffy new monitor for gaming? Then you’re in luck, as we’ve tested all the latest products on the market to create a detailed list of the best currently available.
But before you reach for your wallet, make sure to think if you really need a new gaming monitor right this second. With 2018 upon us we’ve already seen a wealth of cool new monitors and technologies get unveiled.
The most interesting of these are Nvidia’s new wave of Big Format Gaming Displays (BFGD). Nvidia unveiled its new BFGD tech at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. They’re a new standard of 65-inch, 120Hz, 4K-resolution monitors that will meet HDR10 standards.
There’s no word on pricing or availability just yet, but with big names including Acer and Asus confirmed to be making BFGD monitors, they could radically shake up the market when they launch.
In the meantime, if you’re on the market for a monitor now, take a look at our in-depth explainer on refresh rates and motion blur, which goes into lots of detail about how refresh rates and other technology could affect your experience. Then jump into our definitive list of recommended gaming monitors, where we’ve highlighted the best currently available.
For a few extra pointers on what to look out for when buying a gaming monitor, read on below.
What about FreeSync and G-Sync?
FreeSync and G-Sync are two technologies that aim to address the issues of tearing and stuttering. Both occur as a result of the fact that monitors normally run at a fixed refresh rate while graphics cards simply churn out frames as fast as they can.
Tearing is where the monitor outputs an image made up of several frames
You can read more about how the technologies work in our FreeSync review – but, essentially, they ensure that the monitor keeps in sync with the speed at which the graphics card outputs each new frame. This eliminates tearing and stuttering, making games look better and run more smoothly.
As such, for those who are simply after a gaming monitor for pure competitive advantage neither is essential. But if you’re also concerned with having a more immersive, visually pleasing gaming experience, then either tech is well worth investing in.
*** Note : £1 = $1.40 (correct at time of post)
- 27-inch 2560 x 1440-pixel display
- 144Hz refresh rate
- FreeSync 2
- HDR support
- 600 nits maximum brightness
- Backlight strobing blur reduction
- Curved screen
- Review price: £600
The Samsung CHG70 is the first FreeSync 2 monitor we’ve seen. FreeSync 2 is just regular FreeSync with HDR slapped on top, but the results are quite spectacular. You can read more about how the HDR on the Samsung CHG70 works on the second page of our review, but the short version is this: HDR computing is in its infancy and needs tweaking to get the best results.
Elsewhere, this is an outstanding monitor. The slight curve and high-quality panel means every part of the screen looks great, and it can cover a huge number of colours. Couple this with massive contrast and very high maximum brightness, and you have an absolute peach in terms of image quality.
Its 144Hz refresh rate and FreeSync compatability as well as 1ms ‘perceived’ response time. It’s certainly fast enough for our tastes and only hardcore eSports players might look to 240Hz panels instead.
You pay for it, but the Samsung CHG70 is a superb gaming monitor with all the trimmings.
- 24-inch, 144Hz TN panel
- Height, rotation and pitch adjustment
- AMD FreeSync
- Review price: £280
ViewSonic’s gaming screen is a virtual checklist of all the essential features for an eSports gamer. Not only do you get a super-fast 144Hz panel with 1ms response times, you don’t have to compromise on practicality thanks to the fully adjustable stand. AMD’s excellent FreeSync is also built in, so if you have an AMD graphics card you can enjoy tear-free gaming at super-smooth frame rates.
There are compromises, of course; the monitor uses TN panel technology in order to get those super-fast refresh rates, so viewing angles and colours don’t quite match the best screens on this list. And we weren’t huge fans of the red highlights ViewSonic’s added as a form of go-faster stripe.
Still, for the money, it ticks the essential boxes for eSports gamers who don’t want to spend a fortune.
- 144Hz, 24-inch curved panel
- Full HD resolution
- FreeSync support
- 1800R curve
- Review price: £300
With one of the most impressive on-paper specifications we’ve seen in ages, the C24FG70 was a winner before it left its box.
Its amazing maximum brightness, 144Hz refresh rate and massive colour coverage (thanks to its new quantum dot layer) makes it very desirable.
In practice, it’s as good as we imagined with a couple of quirks. First, that tight curve really doesn’t do all that much on such a small screen. It actually results in a slight dark reflection on both the left and right edges of the monitor, which is a little disappointing.
We feel it would have been a better bet to save the curve for the larger, 27-inch screen (C27FG70, £400).
Still, with great adjustability, excellent on-screen menus and a relatively stylish build, this is a top choice for someone in search of a small gaming monitor.
- 27in, TN LCD panel
- 2,560 x 1,440 resolution
- 144Hz refresh rate
- Review price: £450
- PRICE RISE: £550
The Dell S2716DG is, plain and simple, one of the cheapest 27-inch monitors available featuring Nvidia’s G-Sync technology. It also happens to be Dell’s first ever attempt at a gaming monitor. That might all suggest the S2716DG is riddled with compromise – but in fact, it has plenty going for it.
For a start, it’s one of the smartest-looking monitors you can buy. Its simple silver and black colour scheme and clean design means that it will happily look at home in a swanky boardroom or your home office. It also has one of the latest panels with a super-slim bezel, giving the display an even sleeker look.
When it comes to gaming, it’s very capable too. The fast TN panel can keep up with the quickest of movements, while the addition of G-Sync keeps everything smooth and tear-free.
The panel is also true 8-bit colour, so it’s technically more capable than the cheapest TN options in terms of colour accuracy.
However, there are two key things of which you should be aware. The first is the obvious poor viewing angles of TN panels. Far more important is that Dell has completely messed up the gamma setting on this display, so that dark colours always look grey and washed out. It’s fine for competitive gaming, but is poor for general desktop work and watching video. You can tweak the setting in software, but that can make for blocky-looking colours.
Still, for a pure performance gaming monitor, it’s a good value, smart-looking option.
Asus ROG Swift PG279Q
- 27in, IPS LCD panel
- 2,560 x 1,440 resolution
- 165Hz refresh rate
- Review price: £699
Arguably the most sought after 27-inch display of the past year or so, the PG279Q packs it all in and delivers where it counts. With G-Sync, a 165Hz IPS panel and a premium design, there’s little else it could include.
Starting with that design, the primary feature is the use of a panel with a super-slim bezel, resulting in a display that looks far sleeker than chunky-bezelled rivals. The overall build quality and styling of the black plastic chassis also looks great – in a slightly aggressive, gamer-style way.
There’s an illuminated ring around the base of the stand and a ROG logo on the base itself. You can set the brightness – or choose to turn it off entirely – but you can’t change the colour from red.
The only obvious limitation of this screen is connectivity: since G-Sync can handle only two inputs, you get only one HDMI and one DisplayPort. You do get a four-port USB 3.0 hub for your peripherals, too.
When it comes to image quality, this display really delivers. Right out of the box it produces accurate colours, offering great contrast and viewing angles. Only professionals needing the very best in colour accuracy will need to look elsewhere.
There are a couple key items of note, though. One is the price: at around £700 it’s expensive, nearly double that of the Acer XF270HU, for instance. It’s worth considering your priorities, since a few compromises could result in substantial savings.
More importantly, there have been quality control issues widely reported concerning backlight bleed. The two samples we’ve seen displayed acceptable levels, but many users have reported needing to return several samples before finding a satisfactory one.
If you’re willing to take the plunge and accept that you may have to go through the process of several returns before you find a model that doesn’t suffer from too much backlight bleed, the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q is up there with the best 27-inch monitor you can buy right now.
Asus ROG Swift PG348Q
- 34in, curved IPS LCD panel
- 3440 x 1440 resolution
- 100Hz refresh rate
- ROG logo under lighting
- Review price: £1099
If Asus’ PG279Q is the finest 27-inch gaming monitor you can buy then the the PG348Q is arguably the best 34-inch example. This 34-inch curved IPS panel’s gargantuan display boasts a whopping 3440 x 1440 resolution, it can run at up to 100Hz, and features G-Sync too.
What’s more, it’s quite the looker. Asus has opted for an almost robotic vibe with the styling, melding a silver finish with shapes and patterns that resemble circuit boards and extraneous wires. It’s a look that will likely divide opinion, but it’s certainly striking.
Also likely to raise an eyebrow is the presence of a light on the stand that projects an Asus ROG logo onto your desk. It’s purely for show, and has a certain cringe factor to it. As is the case with the PG279Q, the light is only available in red – but it can be turned off.
Elsewhere, you’re getting an impressively sleek-looking panel, thanks to its use of slim, low-profile bezels.
Like other G-Sync models, connectivity is limited to just one HDMI and one DisplayPort, but you do also get a four port USB 3.0 hub.
And when it comes to image quality, the PG348Q really delivers. Displaying accurate-looking colours, deep contrast and great viewing angles, this ultra-wide, curved panel is fantastic for watching widescreen movies and playing games alike – it really draws you in.
For gaming, the 100Hz limit is noticeable when compared directly to 144Hz+ models, but it still offers a nice step up from 60Hz – only the most elite FPS players should worry about going higher.
This display is hugely expensive – but if you want the ultimate then it really does deliver.
- 27-inch IPS 2560 x 1440-pixel screen
- AMD FreeSync
- 144Hz refresh rate
- 4ms response time
- Trusted Reviews Monitor of the Year 2016
- Review price: £390
- PRICE RISE: £500
It might not look like much, but the Acer XF270HUA provides some serious bang-for-buck. Ignoring the rather dull design, it’s the high-quality IPS panel that does all the talking here.
The panel looks great right out of the box and we didn’t have to worry too much about performing additional calibration to get the best from this panel. The 144Hz refresh rate and relatively low response time make it ideal for gamers who want smooth performance and decent image quality. If you have an AMD graphics card, FreeSync will make things even smoother.
The only downside is that this monitor has now increased in price since we originally reviewed it, making it less of the bargain it once was. It’s still a decent shout, but no longer outstanding value.
- 49-inch 3840 x 1080-pixel panel
- 144Hz refresh rate
- 1ms response time
- Review price: £1299
Super-wide monitors are nothing new, but Samsung takes things up a notch with the CHG90. This enormous 49-inch display has an aspect ratio of 32:9, which is the equivalent of two Full HD 27-inch monitors sitting side-by-side.
This is one mighty monitor, but it looks great, too. With a slight curve, a lit-up rear and a clean design it’s everything you’d want from a premium piece of design.
Because of its size, the resolution isn’t as huge as it might appear. Indeed, if you treat this like a normal monitor, things might even look a bit low-res. However, you should sit a little further back when using this panel to make the most of it, so it shouldn’t be a big problem.
You can look at full colour performance information on the second page of our review, but the cliffnotes are as follows: It delivers colours with accuracy, although it won’t reach the extremes of the Adobe RGB gamut so it won’t be suitable for people working with physical media such as print. It also has HDR, but on Windows 10 things are a bit flaky so perhaps don’t buy this monitor if you’re just after HDR; there’s some way to go before HDR is ready for the PC primetime.
For gaming, this monitor is fantastic. Not all games will support such a crazy wide resolution, but most modern titles should give it a good go nonetheless. Race and flight sims will benefit particularly well. There’s AMD FreeSync, too, so if you have an AMD graphics card you’ll get even smoother gaming.
A hugely expensive monitor, but one we think is worth every penny.