Nothing beats using one of the best gaming monitors around whether you're rocking a cheap laptop or even the best gaming laptop. Gaming monitors come in all shapes and sizes, and they're really useful for providing more display real estate for games and freeing up your laptop screen for guides or Twitch chats.
There are a few things you should know, however, before buying one of the best gaming monitors. You'll have to choose between 4K, which gives you sharper images but lower refresh rates, and 1080p, which favors responsiveness over resolution. Everything in between lands on the middle of the spectrum. There's also High Dynamic Range (HDR), which nets you better color and brightness but at a higher cost.
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You'll have to choose a panel type, as well, which comes down to a choice between TN (twisted nematic) and IPS (in-plane switching). The former is cheaper and offers better response times, while the latter features better colors and contrast at the cost of response times and a hit to your wallet. Also, check if the monitor supports Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync, which is designed to sync up to your GPU for smoother frame rates (go with whichever branded GPU you have). Recently, we tested a 144Hz monitor and 360Hz monitor, then compared it to a 60Hz monitor to see what major differences we could spot.
If you need a gaming monitor to make the most out of Xbox Series X games and PS5 games in the future, make sure the monitor you get has either a 4K or 1080p, 120Hz display. We're currently waiting on the Asus ROG Strix XG27UQ monitor to arrive, so stay tuned for that review. Check out our recent review of the Dell Ultrasharp 27 4K U2720Q, which offers a gorgeous picture quality, a good range of ports and a flexible design all for a great value at $539.
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What are the best gaming monitors?
If you’re looking for the most well-rounded gaming monitor you can buy right now, then look no further than the Razer Raptor 27. It’s a decent size, at 27 inches, and it features a sharp 2560 x 1400 panel that’s super colorful and bright. It even supports both AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync to reduce screen tearing when you're playing a fast-paced FPS.
However, if you have money to burn, you could invest in getting a huge 55-inch OLED monitor, aka the Alienware AW5520QF. Overlooking that price for a second, the AW5520QF has a lot to offer, including a stunning 4K OLED panel, a sleek yet practical design and plenty of useful and easily accessible ports. But as you might have guessed, the AW5520QF costs a pretty penny.
The ViewSonic Elite XG270 gaming monitor comes in hot with all 27 inches of its colorful panel clocked at a 240Hz refresh rate topped off with numerous display settings. It's definitely a showpiece. That said, the Elite XG270's design is a little impractical if you have a small desk, and the speakers don't sound great. However, if you're looking to get into competitive gaming, the Elite XG270 is one of the best gaming monitors you can buy.
The best gaming monitors you can buy today
- Razer Raptor 27
- Dell 24 S2417DG
- ViewSonic Elite XG270
- Alienware AW5520QF
- LG 24MP59G-P
- Samsung CHG70
- Asus ROG Swift PG27A
- Acer Predator X34
- ViewSonic XG2401
The Razer Raptor 27 sports a 27-inch, 2560 x 1400 panel that covers 162.1% of the sRGB color gamut and emits 295 nits of brightness, which was vibrant and vivid in person. In terms of performance, it has a refresh rate of 144 Hz and a 1-millisecond response time.
The IPS panel supports HDR400, and it comes with a few display presets, such as FPS Game, Racing Game, MMO Game, streaming and default. Razer packs bright green flat cables with the monitor, and those line up with grooves in the back that help with wire management. Top that off with its modern, sleek and glowing design with some subtle RGB flair, this is easily one of the best-looking monitors and among the best gaming monitors you can buy.
See our full Razer Raptor 27 review.
The Dell 24 S2417DG is one of the best 1440p gaming monitors you can get for the price. Its 24-inch, Nvidia G-Sync panel covers 123 percent of the sRGB color spectrum and emits a solid 284 nits of brightness. It's also supereasy to pivot the display, and even turn it into portrait mode.
Dell's monitor did a great job showcasing the colorful crowds of characters in Heroes of the Storm, a hectic multiplayer battle arena game. The monitor's extra-rich RTS setting did an especially good job making the blue and red outlines around each character look extra pronounced, so it was easy to distinguish between friend and foe. The monitor offers several useful presets, like FPS, RTS and RPG mode, which all change the color and brightness of the display. Now, pack all those neat features in package with an affordable price, and you've got yourself a badass gaming monitor.
See our full Dell 24 S2417DG review.
For just $429, you can get the ViewSonic Elite XG270 gaming monitor, which presents a 27-inch, 1920 x 1080 display clocked at a 240Hz refresh rate with a 1 millisecond response time. It's one of the best gaming monitors you can get for eSports. We took a dive in Shadow of the Tomb Raider and found ourselves in… a tomb. Lara Croft's blue-and-gold tunic popped on the Elite XG270’s panel, and we could even spot the stitching on her sleeves. The monitor has great viewing angles, as our Editor-in-Chief could see the picture clearly while sitting far to the right the screen.
This IPS panel also comes with HDR10 support and is compatible with both Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync. It beat the 99% projected color rating, covering 132% of the sRGB color gamut and averaged 277 nits of brightness, which is pretty solid. If you're looking to play eSports games like Overwatch or CS:GO, this is a great monitor to buy.
See our full ViewSonic Elite XG270 review.
Once you're at 55 inches and boasting an OLED panel, can we really still call the Alienware AW5520QF a monitor? Regardless, whether you're looking for a TV or a monitor, the Alienware AW5520QF is the perfect machine to play your games on, especially if you have the money to spend, specifically a whopping $2,999. Sure enough, the screen did an excellent job keeping up as we slashed at a nasty golem in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Our character's movements were smooth, fluid and free of any screen tearing.
Along with the gorgeous 4K OLED screen, you get a screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, a 1-millisecond response time and AMD FreeSync. The Alienware AW5520QF also has a decent set of speakers on it, so you'll be able to hear separate sounds and place them around you. The Alienware makes ranks quick as one of the best gaming monitors.
See our full Alienware AW5520QF 55-inch OLED Gaming Monitor review.
As we sifted through the field of cheap gaming monitors, the LG 24MP59G-P stood out primarily because of its solid all-around features for the price ($150). Its 24-inch, 1920 x 1080 display covers 93 percent of the sRGB color gamut and hits a respectable 246 nits of brightness. This monitor also has one of the best lag times we saw in this price range. Additionally, it has a pretty wicked design and it's even compatible with AMD FreeSync.
Unlike many of the inexpensive gaming monitors we looked at, the LG 24MP59G-P has some visual flair, thanks to a two-toned red-and-black color scheme that will make it look right at home in your battlestation. The construction is stylish and sturdy, and a small four-direction joystick set into the bottom edge of the display cabinet lets you navigate menus quickly and also doubles as a power button.
Samsung's CHG70 curved gaming monitor blew us away with the full force of a rainbow. The 32-inch, 1440p, FreeSync display covers a wild 154 percent of the sRGB spectrum. When playing Grand Theft Auto V, we especially noticed how night scenes looked a little more true to life, with bright, glowing headlights and signs that popped against the low lighting. Colors were vibrant, including the blue in images of California skies and the red of a stolen sports car.
In SDR mode, the monitor averaged up to 365 nits of brightness in our testing, and in HDR mode, the specs say that the monitor can go up to 600 nits. To top it all off, the display sits on a super-ergonomic stand that can accommodate any setup you throw at it.
See our full Samsung CHG70 review.
The Asus ROG Swift PG27A is among the most beastly sub-$1,000 monitors, as it offers a 4K display with Nvidia G-Sync, a pair of solid speakers and an intuitive interface. This 27-inch champion covers a rich 130 percent of the sRGB color gamut. And while it stumbled slightly with its 234 nits of brightness, it offers a speedy 4-ms response time for a 4K monitor.
Playing Mass Effect: Andromeda on the PG27A's 27-inch, ultra-HD display was revelatory; the game's lush forests and imposing alien structures looked incredibly sharp and colorful. We could even make out the tiny scratches and patches of condensation on the character's helmet -- two details that we never really noticed before. It also neatly flips into portrait mode, as if it were meant to be viewed that way all along.
See our full Asus ROG Swift PG27A review.
As long as you're willing to drop the cash ($849), the Acer Predator X34 is hands down the best curved gaming monitor you can get. At 34 inches with a 3440 x 1440 resolution, it's incredibly immersive, covering 99 percent of the sRGB color gamut and a strong 261 nits of brightness.
Tactical shooter Rainbow Six Siege ran smoothly and played responsively, and in a game where a few shots can kill you, we appreciated having the extra field of view for spotting bad guys. Watching a 4K trailer for Elysium on the Predator made us feel like we were in a mini movie theater, from the sheer sharpness of the film's futuristic landscapes to the engulfing 21:9 aspect ratio. You'll even get the full dive with the Predator's crisp 7-watt speakers and its Nvidia G-Sync compatibility. This monitor just looks pretty badass, too, as if an alien artifact crash-landed on your desk.
See our full Acer Predator X34 review.
For just $200, the ViewSonic XG2401 is a sharp, 24-inch, 1920 x 1080 panel with a speedy 1-millisecond response time and AMD FreeSync compatibility for tear-free gaming. The XG2401 did an excellent job highlighting the lush forests, flowing rivers and colorful fantasy characters of Dota 2, making it easy for us to keep up with the action. The monitor's RTS and MOBA modes made the image almost excessively sharp — they didn't look especially pretty, but these modes created thick outlines around every character that could potentially help pro players better spot allies and enemies.
The ViewSonic averages 355 nits of brightness, while the color landed at 91 percent, which could be better. But for a monitor this inexpensive, the built-in speakers packed a punch when we cranked the volume up all the way, and this monitor even offers a neat headphone stand.
See our full ViewSonic XG2401 review.
How to choose the best gaming monitors for you
Choosing the best gaming monitors for you is dependent on a lot of factors, such as: budget, the size you want or space you have, the GPU you have and what kind of balance you want between resolution and refresh rate. If you’re looking for a good-sized monitor that features a great balance of everything, the Razer Raptor 27 has what you need, as it sports a sharp resolution and a decently high refresh rate all packed into a super color display.
However, if you want to hit a 4K resolution comboed with a high refresh rate, you better be willing to spend the money, because something like the Alienware AW5520QF is going to burn a hole in your wallet. But if you want to keep your budget relatively low and are primarily focused on playing eSports games, such as Overwatch and CS:GO, we recommend getting a high refresh rate monitor like the ViewSonic Elite XG270.
How we test the best gaming monitors
Firstly we put each gaming monitor through our standard benchmark testing. We use a Klein K10 colorimeter to detect the brightness, sRGB and DCI-P3 color gamut of the gaming monitor’s display. Then we evaluate each aspect of the gaming monitor, including its ports, performance, design and speakers.
When it comes to the display, we typically play around 3 games of varying genres to get a feel of what each kind of game looks like on the display. We’ll also watch a movie trailer to see how watching live action stuff is presented on-screen. During our testing, we go through all of the modes and settings to determine which is best for each viewing experience.
Not every display is going to be super gorgeous and colorful, so we keep in mind the price of the gaming monitor before we determine our scores and our impressions.