Best gaming monitor in 2021

The best gaming monitor might offer a 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time at 1080p for a great price, or it might boast 4K resolution in an ultrawide format. There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to monitors. Which genre of game you play the most, and what you really value in a screen, makes a massive difference. But a good monitor, just like the best gaming chair, has an incredibly long lifespan compared to many other components and peripherals, making it a great investment for your gaming PC setup.

There are serious questions you need to ask yourself first to narrow down your selection. Do you favour image quality over lightning-fast pixel response? Do you need Nvidia’s G-Sync or AMD’s FreeSync? Does it even matter now that Nvidia supports FreeSync?

Are you into the pro-gaming, competitive esports world and crave the super-high monitor refresh rates of TN tech rather than a quality panel? Do you want a traditional 16:9 screen or have you been seduced by the ultra widescreen beauty of a 21:9 aspect ratio? Do you need a monitor so wide you can almost see those Fortnite enemies standing behind you? Or does it absolutely, positively have to be the best 4K gaming monitor so you can spot each individual blade of grass in The Witcher 3? And, finally, how convinced are you by the prospect of high dynamic range gaming?

It’s important to make sure you get the best gaming monitor as it’s likely to outlast even the best graphics card and best gaming CPU. As the technical options have grown it’s now harder to know what the best gaming monitor is for you. And that’s where we come in, with our expert eyes and obsessive hunger for the very best panels.

Here are the best monitors for gaming:

  • MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD
  • LG 27GL83A-B
  • Asus ROG Strix XG32VQR
  • Eve Spectrum
  • Dell S3220DGF
  • BenQ EX3501R
  • Samsung CRG9
  • Acer Nitro VG240Y
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MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD

The best gaming monitor is the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD.

This 27-inch panel from MSI perfectly matches the definition of a gaming monitor with a 1ms response time and 165Hz refresh rate. Great image quality and a wide viewing angle come courtesy of the 1440p IPS panel with HDR support to really make those colours pop. While VA panels may traditionally give deeper colours, the Quantum Dot technology helps this IPS screen along.

Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync which is perfect for pairing with letting you stay locked to that 165Hz refresh rate without screen tearing, but without the latency you’ll experience with conventional Vsync. To hit these frame rates in the latest titles, you’ll want to make sure you have the right graphics card to match. In terms of ports, you get two HDMI and one DisplayPort, as well as extra USB inputs allowing your monitor to act as a USB hub for accessories.

What we like…
Tick Vivid colours
Tick Butter smooth 165Hz refresh rate
Tick Wide viewing angles

MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD specs
Panel size 27-inch
Native resolution 2560 x 1440
Max refresh rate 165Hz
Panel tech IPS

Read the PCGamesN MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD review for our full verdict and score.

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LG 27GL83A-B

The best G-Sync monitor is the LG 27GL83A-B.

This 27-inch, 1440p edge-to-edge IPS screen from LG is the best choice for a responsive, lag-free monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and LG’s own ‘Dynamic Action Sync’, which reduces input lag when enabled.

Not only has this monitor got a smooth picture – the display has outstanding visuals thanks to its HDR 10 support and a 99% sRGB colour gamut. If you do any kind of photo editing in addition to gaming then this is the perfect choice for you. Great ergonomics come from a fully adjustable stand for height and tilt.

What we like…
Tick G-sync support
Tick Colour accuracy
Tick HDR support

LG 27GL83A-B specs
Panel size 27-inch
Native resolution 2560 x 1440
Max refresh rate 144Hz
Panel tech IPS
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Asus ROG Strix XG32VQR

The best FreeSync monitor is the Asus ROG Strix XG32VQR.

This here Asus Strix screen replaces one of the finest FreeSync gaming monitors we’ve ever tested, the Asus ROG Strix XG32VQ, so you can be damned sure it’s a fine pick by today’s standards. With a superior VA panel to its predecessor, it offers a bright and colourful 1440p, 144Hz picture enhanced by HDR.

With Nvidia giving in to the pressures of adaptive sync, AMD Freesync panels like this one are of even greater value to gamers nowadays – even if HDR is still a big mess on Windows. And not to worry, it’s still got all those lovely RGB LEDs on the rear of the monitor and shining brightly from underneath the stand.

What we like…
Tick Superb VA panel
Tick Responsive 144Hz refresh rate
Tick AMD FreeSync 2 HDR

Asus ROG Strix XG32VQR specs
Panel size 32-inch
Native resolution 2560 x 1440
Max refresh rate 144Hz
Panel tech VA

Read the PCGamesN Asus ROG Strix XG32VQR review for our full verdict and score.

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Eve Spectrum 4K 144Hz

The best 4K monitor is the Eve Spectrum 4K 144Hz.

For years, 4K resolution has either remained burdened with a lower refresh rate or stuck with a cost that will make your bank account cry. Eve crowdsourced the funding to develop the Eve Spectrum to change all of this, introducing a monitor that’s ready and willing to show you all the frames your system’s capable of for a more palatable price tag.

One of three models to choose from, the Eve Spectrum 4K 144Hz is packed to the nines with features, including HDMI 2.1 support, VESA Display HDR600 with 700 nits of brightness, and FreeSync Premium Pro with certified G-Sync Compatibility; all hidden behind a 27-inch IPS panel. It might seem small, but we also have to give a special shout-out to the stand, which has the smallest footprint we’ve seen to date, and is entirely optional – saving you money if you simply want to clamp it.

 

What we like…
Tick Cinematic visuals
Tick HDR support
Tick 4K resolution at a high refresh rate

Eve Spectrum 4K 144Hz specs
Panel size 27-inch
Native resolution 3840×2160
Max refresh rate 144Hz
Panel tech Nano IPS
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Dell S3220DGF

The best HDR monitor is the Dell S3220DGF.

There’s nothing quite like HDR to brighten up your image and make the colours pop. If bright, vibrant living is your cup of the proverbial, then the 32-inch Dell S3220DGF might be the gaming monitor for you, with HDR combatting picture dullness and a VA panel for greater contrast. Immersion is the name of the game here, with crystal clear 1440p resolution and a nice 1800R curve to truly suck you into any game you play. If you’re running an AMD graphics card, you don’t need to worry about images falling apart, either, as FreeSync support prevents your screen from tearing.

It’s not just AMD users that can benefit from anti-screen tearing efforts, however, as G-Sync Compatibility even works without official Nvidia support. And despite all these features, none of them come at the expense of a low response time or the high 165Hz refresh rate, so you can still be at your competitive best.

What we like…
Tick Immersive with FreeSync 2 HDR on a curved panel
Tick High 165Hz refresh rate
Tick Near bezel-less display

Dell S3220DGF specs
Panel size 32-inch
Native resolution 2560×1440
Max refresh rate 165Hz
Panel tech VA
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BenQ EX3501R

The best 1440p monitor is the BenQ EX3501R.

BenQ’s EX3501R is the perfect monitor for an immersive 1440p gaming experience, with its 1440p curved VA panel, support for HDR, and a 100Hz refresh rate. AMD FreeSync support for compatible graphics cards reduces screen tearing without any latency hit, and while the response time is not the best here, at 4ms, it’s still decent for the ultrawide market.

A VA panel does have some advantages over IPS, despite the reduced viewing angle. VA gives you a much higher contrast ratio than an IPS panel, with darker blacks. Connections include two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort, and a single USB C port that lets you easily hook up your laptop for display and charging with just one cable.

What we like…
Tick Eye-popping colours
Tick 100Hz refresh rate
Tick Near bezel-less display

BenQ EX3501R specs
Panel size 35-inch
Native resolution 3440×1440
Max refresh rate 100Hz
Panel tech VA

Read the PCGamesN BenQ EX3501R review for our full verdict and score.

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samsung Odyssey g9

The best ultrawide monitor is the Samsung CRG9.

This monstrous curved 49-inch panel is great for a highly immersive experience in the latest open world games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Red Dead Redemption 2.

It has a 32:9 aspect ratio, and is basically the equivalent of two 27-inch 1440p monitors stuck together with a steep 1000R curve. It comes at a premium price, but it has more features than you can shake a stick at with an unprecedented 240Hz refresh rate, QLED panel, and HDR1000. Combine that with AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility, and it even gives out top pick a run for its money.

What we like…
Tick Massive 49-inch panel
Tick 240Hz refresh rate
Tick AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and Nvidia G-Sync support

Samsung Odyssey G9 specs
Panel size 49-inch
Native resolution 5120×1440
Max refresh rate 240Hz
Panel tech VA
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Acer Nitro VG240Y

The best budget gaming monitor is the Acer Nitro VG240Y.

This is a bargainous monitor from Acer, but don’t think that makes it unsuitable for gaming. You’re getting a 1080p 24-inch display with a top-class 1ms response time, and its 75Hz refresh rate offers an increase of 25% over a standard 60Hz panel. IPS technology means you’ll get great viewing angles and the best colour reproduction available, which is pretty impressive at this price – not to mention AMD FreeSync support.

Despite its low price tag, there’s no compromise on design, with a near bezel-less edge-to-edge screen and a swanky red and black stand – which can be adjusted for tilt for improved ergonomics.

What we like…
Tick The price
Tick Edge-to-edge screen
Tick IPS viewing angles

Acer Nitro VG240Y specs
Panel size 24-inch
Native resolution 1920×1080
Max refresh rate 75Hz
Panel tech IPS
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best gaming monitor deals

You don’t need to wait for those Amazon Prime Day deals to find a steal on a gaming monitor. The Alienware 25 is currently discounted in the US and UK, making it an enticing purchase. This 24.5-inch 1080p panel has an impressive 240Hz refresh rate for silky-smooth gameplay, along with IPS technology for superb viewing angles.

In the US you can save $33.64, with a new price of $360.10 compared to its $393.74 list price. There’s a discount of £40.99 in the UK, with a lower price of £279.

is 60hz good for gaming?

While 165Hz monitors like the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD are top-tier when it comes to helping aid quick reaction times in competitive multiplayer games, a 60Hz panel is still brilliant for gaming, especially if you’re not playing at a professional level. Also, if your GPU is on the older side and struggling to hit higher refresh rates, a 60Hz monitor is a better choice.

ips vs va

These are the two main panel technologies you’ll see used on the options in our best monitor guide, but both have their strengths and weaknesses.

IPS panels, as used on the Acer Nitro VG240Y, have great viewing angles and accurate colour reproduction. On the other hand, VA panels such as the one found on the Samsung CRG9 may have weaker viewing angles, but the colours tend to be much more vivid.

How to enable FreeSync on nvidia

It’s possible to use G-Sync on many FreeSync monitors, as the underlying technology is fundamentally the same. Here’s our handy video on how to enable Adaptive Sync with an Nvidia GeForce GPU. PCGamesN also has a full guide on how to run AMD’s screen tech with a GeForce GPU.

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