G-Sync, 144Hz, 4K and more.
For a long time now shopping for a gaming monitor was a simple affair because there weren’t a lot of options. Every monitor was rectangular-shaped and ran at 60Hz, so the only question to answer when it was time to upgrade was how big of a monitor you could get for your budget. Those days are long gone, and nowadays there’s almost too many options when looking for a gaming monitor. Now you’ve got ultrawide monitors, high refresh rate monitors, 4K gaming monitors, ultrawide 1440, and pretty soon we’ll have high-refresh rate, 4K HDR G-Sync monitors to consider as well. It’s a lot to figure out, and we’re here to help.
We’ve reviewed a smorgasboard of gaming monitors over the past year or so, so we went and plucked the top-scoring monitors from each category and dropped them into this list for you for easy consumption. Our only piece of advice is make sure your video card can handle whatever monitor you’re considering, as that’s a huge factor here.
The Best (and Only) 4K G-Sync HDR Monitor – Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ
Ever since 4k gaming came on the scene people have been waiting for the “next level” of performance, and the monitor you see above is it. It’s the first monitor ever made to not only do 4k resolution at higher than 60Hz, and it’s also the first 4k monitor to do “true” HDR thanks to its insane brightness and 384 individual backlight zones. On top of all of that it also supports Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, making it the Holy Grail of gaming monitors (for Nvidia GPU owners, at least).
There are some drawbacks though. The first is the price, because at $2,000 it’s simply outrageous. Add to that the fact that no single GPU that exists today can run any recent game at 4k and 144Hz, and well, you have to ask if you really need a monitor this decadent. There’s also not many HDR games available, and activating HDR in Windows caused some issues for us, as it’s still new technology. Both Asus and Acer are offering monitors with this particular panel, so if the Asus “gaming beacon” lighting is a bit too much for you, check out the Acer version.
The Best Curved Gaming Monitor – Asus ROG Swift PG348Q
This bad boy has all the features we want in a gaming monitor, and looks just aggressive enough to satisfy us without going over the top, or being bland. It’s a 34-inch panel with a 3440 x 1440 resolution, runs at 100Hz refresh rate, and has Nvidia’s G-Sync as well. There are other gaming monitors with similar specs out there, but the Asus throws in a cool light-show in the form of a ROG logo that is beamed down from the neck, and it also features an intuitive joystick controller for the OSD.
This curved gaming monitor also rocking an IPS panel with full sRGB support, so it’s good for professionals as well as gamers. It’s fast, beautiful, accurate, and huge without being too huge. With this monitor, you get what you pay for.
The Best 32-inch G-Sync Monitor – Acer Predator XB321HK
If you want a really big 4K monitor with Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, you’re going to have to cough up a decent chunk of change, though it’s a comparative bargain compared to Asus’ 27-inch 4K HDR monitor. The Acer Predator listed here is the only currently available 32-inch panel with a full 3840 x 2160 resolution, so it’s pretty special. There’s not a whole lot of special features beyond that, though it does offer Nvidia’s G-Sync, so if your GPU can’t quite run games at 4k and 60Hz, that should help smooth things out a bit. This is the monitor for people who say a 4K monitor has to be at least 32-inch in size, and have an Nvidia GPU.
The Best 27-inch 4K G-Sync Monitor – Acer Predator XB271HK
Acer’s excellent Predator XB271HK isn’t cheap, but it’s actually around the same price as the best 1440p monitors. Of course, running triple-A games at 4K requires a beefy graphics card, and those 1440p monitors have the benefit of super-high refresh rates without the crazy costs of a 4K 144Hz gaming monitor.
A couple of its USB ports can be a little hard to reach, and the on-screen display for adjusting settings is awkward. But for great visual quality and performance at a reasonable price, you can’t beat it.
Best 1440p G-Sync IPS Monitor – ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q
The Asus PG279Q is what we call a “sweet spot” monitor here in 2018 as it’s a 2560 x 1440 panel with a 144Hz refresh rate (overclockable to 165Hz), so most high-end GPUs can tackle that in AAA titles. It’s got Nvidia G-Sync, is fully adjustable, has super-thin side bezels, and we actually like the red/black color scheme as well. For most gamers with a GTX 1080 or 1080 Ti, this is the monitor to get right now.
The Best 1080p 144Hz Gaming Monitor – LG 24GM79G-B
The LG 24GM79G-B excels in all the areas you’d want in a gaming monitor (although FreeSync isn’t going to do you much good if you have an Nvidia card). It’s fully adjustable, has excellent overall performance, and a smattering of gaming-specific features that help elevate it above the monitor world’s riff raff. We particularly liked its joystick-activated OSD, its input lag reducing Dynamic Action Sync, and its Black Stabilizer for lightening dark scenes. And as we mentioned above, it’s got AMD’s FreeSync as well, so if you’re rocking an AMD GPU it’s a must-have for 1080p gaming.
The Best Cheap FreeSync Monitor – ASUS VG245H
If you want an AMD FreeSync panel and you’re on a strict budget, the ASUS VG245H wins our pick as the best 24-inch value gaming monitor available right now. You get a 1080p display with accurate colors and very good (1ms) response times that supports AMD FreeSync at 75Hz. The monitor includes 2W stereo speakers and Dual-Link DVI along with two HDMI ports so you can connect two devices at once. For a few more bucks, the 144Hz version is a very good deal as well.
The Best Cheap G-Sync Monitor – Dell Gaming S2716DGR
If you can find this Dell for around $450 it’s a screamin’ deal. The 27-inch TN panel has a response time of 3ms, but setting the response time speed in its menu to “Fast” gets that down to the 1ms Holy Grail target. The 144Hz refresh rate with G-Sync enabled is fantastic and runs very well at the native 2560×1440 resolution, which is a great resolution for the screen size for everyday readability without needing any scaling. It has extra non-gaming features too, like a USB 3.0 hub. Asus makes a monitor with similar specs that sells for $200 more, so if you can find this for $450 or so we suggest you grab it.
The Best 240Hz Monitor – Alienware AW2518HF
Alienware was the first company we were aware of to jump into the 240Hz eSports market with the FreeSync AW2518HF, and it’s a beauty as long as you can find it on-sale, as its $500 sticker price is a bit extreme. Luckily you can usually find it for about $329 or so. Aesthetically, it’s tripod-style base and RGB lighting on the back of the chassis absolutely screams Alienware. It has a USB hub for peripherals, two of which are easily accessible under the bottom bezel. A G-Sync model is also available, but of course it includes the G-Sync tax.