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Best Gaming Monitors 2019: 4K, Budget and More

(Image credit: Shutterstock / OHishiapply)

Now's the time to look for the best Cyber Monday tech deals. We're on the hunt and are currently keeping track of hot monitor sales over at our best Cyber Monday PC monitor deals, so be sure to take a look.

The gaming monitor arena is getting more and more crowded, in terms of vendors as well as different features. It's an exciting time for PC gamers, but it also means picking a new display for your rig is more difficult than ever. Options are overwhelming, from screen-smoothing adaptive fresh technologies (Nvidia G-Sync vs. AMD FreeSync), to visually stunning refresh rates that are set to climb to a mind-blowing 300 Hz. Then there are pixel-packed 4K (aka UHD) screens that are as tough on the wallet as they are on graphics cards. Anyone else feeling like a kid in a candy store?

There are also different panel types vying for your eyeballs—IPS, TN and VA—which each have their own benefits and drawbacks. And don't forget about screen size and aspect ratio, which impact your view, desk space and, again, your bank account. How's a PC gamer to choose?

For a deep dive into how to choose a monitor--gaming or otherwise--check out out PC Monitor Buying Guide. And if you're only interested in 4K displays (lucky you), visit our Best 4K Gaming Monitors page.

Below is a list of the best gaming monitors out right now, based on our independent testing. 

Quick Shopping Tips

When buying a PC gaming monitor, consider the following:

  • G-Sync or FreeSync? G-Sync only works with PCs with Nvidia graphics cards, while FreeSync only works with those using AMD ones. FreeSync monitors tend to be cheaper, but performance is comparable. For a detailed comparison of the two technologies’ performance, see our Nvidia G-Sync vs. AMD FreeSync comparison article
  • For image quality, TN < IPS < VA. Generally speaking. Typically, TN monitors are the fastest but cheapest, due to weaker viewing angles. IPS displays have slightly slower response times but better color than VA monitors. VA monitors have the best contrast but slower response times.
  • Refresh rates: bigger is better. This tells you the number of times your monitor updates with new information per second—stated in hertz (Hz)—and therefore how many frames per second (fps) the monitor can display. Bigger numbers equal smoother images. Refresh rate is especially important for gamers, so you’ll want to shoot for a monitor with at least 75 Hz (most monitors designed for gaming offer at least 144 Hz), combined with the lowest response time you can find.
  • 4K is expensive, but image quality suffers with FHD (1080p) screens larger than 27 inches. 4K gaming monitors are hot these days since 4K is the highest resolution you can get in a good gaming monitor right now. But to game at 4K, you’ll want at least a 1070 Ti or RX Vega 64 graphics card. FHD is the lowest acceptable resolution for serious gaming (and doesn’t demand as powerful a graphics card) and provides the the highest framerates, but image quality can suffer if the monitor’s too big. Our sweet spot is 32-inch QHD, which offers good pixel density and isn’t too taxing for mid-priced graphics cards.
  • Curved or non-curved? It depends on your preference. Curved monitors are supposed to seem more immersive, but some see the difference more than others. You may dislike a curved screen's look when mounted to a wall (it’ll stick out more) or widescreens, which most curved monitors are. Some say curved monitors smaller than 30 inches are pointless, which has price implications. Unsure? Try one, and see if you notice any difference.

Best Gaming Monitors

Best Gaming Monitor

Aorus CV27Q (Image credit: Aorus)

Aorus CV27Q

Best Gaming Monitor

Screen Size & Aspect Ratio: 27 inches, 16:9 | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 @ 165Hz | Panel Type: VA | Refresh Rate: 165Hz | Response Time (GTG): 1ms

Contrast
Color accuracy
Speed and responsiveness
FreeSync & G-Sync (unofficially) with HDR
Build quality
Inaccurate sRGB mode
No image controls for HDR

The Aorus CV27Q is the best gaming monitor for most. Ticking all the boxes for performance gaming, it delivers excellent color and high contrast coupled with a reliable 165Hz refresh rate and adaptive sync. Ultimately, games pop with realistic with depth and textures.  Add HDR and extended color, and you have a winner for less than $500.

Note that the CV27Q has a lower-resolution sibling, the Aorus CV27F. With 1920 x 1080 resolution, you can expect better framerates from the CV27F, but unless you're a highly competitive gamer you won't notice the difference. That monitor also showed lower (worse) black levels in our testing and 2ms longer input lag than the QHD CV27Q.

Bonus: The CV27Q has a successful active noise cancellation feature for fighting background noise when you plug in a headset and RGB lighting on the back. 

Read Review: Aorus CV27Q

Best 4K Gaming Monitor

&nbsp;Acer Nitro XV273K&nbsp;

 Acer Nitro XV273K  (Image credit: Acer)

Acer Nitro XV273K

Best 4K Gaming Monitor

Screen Size & Aspect Ratio: 27 inches, 16:9 | Resolution: 4K @ 144Hz | Panel Type: IPS | Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Response Time (GTG): 4ms

Super bright at over 500 nits
Accurate DCI-P3 color gamut
144Hz refresh rate
FreeSync
G-Sync Compatible (without HDR)
Solid build
No dynamic contrast means HDR only looks slightly better than SDR
Inaccurate white point in sRGB mode
Expensive

The Acer Nitro XV273K is our best 4K gaming monitor. With FreeSync and G-Sync Compatibility, you can use adaptive sync with either AMD or Nvidia graphics cards to fight screen tears. In our testing, it kept up with its 144Hz rivals with just a little more input lag that only the most keen competitive players would notice. 

Image quality looks great with the Nitro’s high pixel density of 163 pixels per inch (ppi), and the extra boost of color from its DCI-P3 gamut adds to fantastic image depth. It lacks the HDR quality of a display with a full-array local dimming (FALD) backlight dimming, like the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ or Acer Predator X27. But it’s also significantly cheaper than those aforementioned displays. 

Read Review: Acer Nitro XV273K 

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Best 144Hz Gaming Monitor

Razer Raptor 27 (Image credit: Razer)

Razer Raptor 27

Best 144Hz Gaming Monitor

Screen Size & Aspect Ratio: 27 inches, 16:9 | Resolution: 4K @ 144Hz | Panel Type: IPS | Refresh Rate: 144 Hz | Response Time (GTG): 4ms

Excellent HDR contrast
Saturated color
Near-100% DCI-P3 coverage
Fantastic style and build quality
FreeSync & G-Sync Compatible
144Hz refresh rate
No true sRGB color mode
User must manually switch between SDR and HDR modes

The Razer Raptor 27 is the type of monitor that’ll make any gamer you know jealous. With premium touches like an RGB stand and flat green cables for cable management its build quality is drool-worthy. Plus, HDR delivery is some of the best we’ve seen in an edge-lit panel yet. 

Our testing showed the Raptor 27, despite having a 144Hz refresh rate, is able to stay competitive with 165Hz monitors. There isn’t significant motion blur, but the finicky pro-level players will have to choose between dealing with it or activating the backlight strobe, which limits you to 120Hz, cuts brightness by 40% and grays out FreeSync and G-Sync Compatibility. 

Read Review: Razer Raptor 27 

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Best 240Hz Gaming Monitor

 Samsung 27-inch CRG5  (Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung 27-inch CRG5

Best 240Hz Gaming Monitor

Screen Size & Aspect Ratio: 27 inches, 16:9 | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel Type: VA | Refresh Rate: 240Hz | Response Time (GTG): 4ms

Good contrast and color accuracy
240Hz VA panel
Superb gaming performance
No USB or speakers

If you’re all about speed, it doesn’t get better than a monitor with a 240Hz refresh rate. Usually, that level of speed requires two things: settling for FHD resolution and a TN panel. But the Samsung 27” CRG5 (there’s also a 24-inch CRG5) is special by managing that speed in our favorite type of LCD panel, VA. Not only does it deliver the high contrast and saturated color of VA, it’s the fastest monitor we’ve ever tested.

Flaws here are limited. Image-wise, the biggest is an inaccurate HDMI Black Level setting. And keep in mind that adaptive sync is limited to G-Sync Compatibility. But besides those small caveats, our gaming experience was a record-breaking pleasure.

Better yet, the monitor is currently enjoying a Cyber Monday discount and is on sale for $300, $100 off its original price. 

Read Review: Samsung 27-Inch CRG5

Best Budget Gaming Monitor

Acer XFA240

Acer XFA240

Best Budget Gaming Monitor

Screen Size & Aspect Ratio: 24 inches, 16:9 | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel Type: TN / W-LED edge array | Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Response Time (GTG): 1ms

Out-of-box color accuracy
Smooth rear-free gameplay
FreeSync and G-Sync Compatible
Good build quality
Low pixel density
Gamma slightly off the mark

At this price, there is nothing we know of that can beat the Acer XFA240 in color accuracy, gaming performance and features. Although its pixel density is lower than we’d like (91ppi), that flaw’s easy to ignore when rocking our favorite first-person games at 144 FPS.

Here's another FHD monitor that still manages to make games look detailed and richly saturated with color, thanks to  its small size. The XFA240 is alsoresponsive. In our testing, we experienced no input lag, blur or judder, and overdrive worked to the max with no ghosting, 

For Cyber Monday, this monitor is at its lowest price ever. It's $170 on Amazon, compared to $200 when we reviewed it in September. 

Read Review: Acer XFA240

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Best Curved Gaming Monitor

(Image credit: ViewSonic)

ViewSonic Elite XG350R-C

Best Curved Gaming Monitor

Screen Size & Aspect Ratio: 35 inches, 16:9 | Resolution: 3440 x 1440 | Panel Type: VA | Refresh Rate: 100Hz | Response Time (GTG): 3ms

Excellent contrast and accurate color
FreeSync (and can run G-Sync unofficially)
Fast response from 100 Hz refresh rate
Good build quality
Loud speakers
No additional contrast in HDR mode
No extended color

The tight 1800mm curve radius on the 35-inch ViewSonic Elite XG350R-C immerses you in the display's beautiful image quality. Its high resolution means it's easy to sit close to the display and fill your peripheral vision with games, movies or work. 

The display has vivid and accurate color that makes textures pop and skin tones look natural. Everything just looks more realistic. And gameplay is smooth without artifacts and with swift response.

If you want a noticeable boost with HDR (or to use HDR with adaptive sync), you'll have to look elsewhere. But the Elite XG350R-c is less expensive than many other 35-inch ultra-wides, including ones with fewer features. And the RGB on the back doesn't hurt either. 

Read Review: ViewSonic Elite XG350R-C

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Best Ultrawide Gaming Monitor

LG 34GK950F

LG 34GK950F

Best Ultrawide Gaming Monitor

Screen Size & Aspect Ratio: 34 inches, 21:9 | Resolution: 3440x1440 | Panel Type: IPS | Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Response Time (GTG): 5ms

FreeSync 2
Out-of-box color accuracy
Accurate sRGB mode
DCI-P3 color
HDR10 support
Good blur reduction
No HDR calibration option
Slight gamma errors

There aren't many ultrawide monitors with a 144Hz refresh rate. The LG 34GK950F has all that and then some, representing one of the rare ultrawides that manage to keep up with 16:9 144Hz monitors. With a 1900mm curve radius, it's a little less curvy than our favorite curved gaming monitor above. 

The 34GK950F also features wide gamut color coverage and low framerate compensation (LFC). We also appreciate this display's out-of-box accuracy. And its HDR production isn't too bad either, with highlights appearing a little brighter and color notably more saturated. 

Read Review: LG 34GK950F

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Best Big Screen Gaming Monitor

HP Omen X 65 Emperium

HP Omen X 65 Emperium

Best Big Screen Gaming Monitor

Screen Size & Aspect Ratio: 64.5 inches, 16:9 | Resolution: 4K | Panel Type: VA | Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Response Time (GTG): 4ms

G-Sync
Pro-level color accuracy
Excellent SDR and HDR contrast
Built-in soundbar delivers excellent audio quality
Sturdy build
Very expensive

This ginormous, but expensive, monitor features a bevy of features, including a built-in Nvidia Shield box with plenty of gaming, TV and movie streaming options and a full-array WLED backlight with zone dimming for brilliant HDR.  The HP Omen X 65 Emperium is no one-trick pony; while great for gaming, the Omen is also accurate enough for photo and video work. 

If you can manage the hefty price tag, this BFGD lives up to its promise to gamers. When we played on the display, we enjoyed hiccup-free gameplay amplified by realistic images. In addition, the 120-watt soundbar -- which has four woofers, two tweeters and two passive radiators -- elevates the immersion of your favorite titles. 

Read Review: HP Omen X 65 Emperium

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Best 240Hz Gaming Monitor

Acer Predator XN253Q (Image credit: Acer)

Acer Predator XN253Q

Best 240Hz Gaming Monitor

Screen Size & Aspect Ratio: 24.5 inches, 16:9 | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 @ 240Hz | Panel Type: TN/W-LED | Refresh Rate: 240Hz | Response Time (GTG): 0.5ms

Superlative gaming performance,
Good color after calibration
Nice build quality
ULMB
Contrast is only average
Below-average out-of-box color

240Hz gaming is all about the ultimate in speed, and the Acer Predator XN253Q certainly fits the bill. Even less competitive gamers will notice the benefits of blur-free gameplay and low input lag. Indeed, when we got our game on, we found reacting to sudden action much easier, thanks to the monitor's responsiveness. 

Naturally, to maintain this refresh rate the Predator XN253Q keep its resolution low (1080p). Its contrast and black levels also have room for improvement, and we'd like greater pixel density than the monitor's 90ppi. But if speed is a greater priority than the best image quality for you, the Predator XN523Q won't disappoint. 

Read Review: Acer Predator XN253Q

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All Monitor Content

  • shrapnel_indie
    waiting for a review on this one: Asus MG28UQ: (Going for as low as $513.54 USD right now) UHD, FreeSync, USB 3.0 that can charge devices, HDMA 2.0 & HDMA 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2? 1.3?


    EDIT: Yay! you did review it! (recently too): http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/asus-mg28uq-28-inch-uhd-freesync-gaming-monitor,4683.html
    Reply
  • Verrin
    I own an Acer XG270HU, great monitor. You have to be careful when buying it though, because some of their early production models had a firmware bug that prevented the overdrive from working properly, leading to some nasty ghosting/blur. I had to send mine in to get the firmware updated, and it wasn't a fun process. But once I got it back, I've been nothing but happy with the quality and features of this panel. IMHO FreeSync/G-Sync is probably the greatest development in gaming in the last decade.
    Reply
  • rahulkadukar
    When are you planning to review Acer XB271HU, next year ?

    This list is a joke, arguably the best gaming monitor in the world is not even on the list.
    Reply
  • mortsmi7
    I guess I'm the only one who desires an increase in picture quality/pixel density over screen realestate. I'll take my cheaper 1440p 27" IPS instead of a 1440p 32" LED any day.
    Reply
  • apertotes
    I wish that you had added contrast to the chart. The same can be said about the professional monitors article. I really believe it is the single most important attribute on a monitor.
    Reply
  • Achoo22
    I threw up in my mouth a little when I read the first line of the Asus PG279Q review: "Users looking to build a no-holds-barred rig can literally create an all-Asus system made up of premium components that deliver only the highest performance." Guerilla marketing with sponsored content much? Shame on you, Toms, for being complicit.
    Reply
  • SinxarKnights
    18202963 said:
    When are you planning to review Acer XB271HU, next year ?
    It is the same monitor with more inputs (really, it is exactly the same except the inputs).

    Glad I picked the Acer XB270HU, So good. Sadly mine has already developed two dead pixels in the lower left corner. Unfortunately it doesn't count as a defect for the Acer warranty and B&H won't exchange it after 90 days for dead pixels.

    Reply
  • MorningstarZero
    The link and pricing you have for the AOC G2460PQ in the article is wrong. The link takes you to Amazon for the AOC G2460PQU, a similar monitor to the AOC G2460PQ except for one small problem... the PQU DOESN'T have G-Sync. The pricing appears to be closely made off the PQU which is currently $228 (I'm guessing the price changed after this article was written.)

    Here's the link for the G2460PQ: https://www.amazon.com/AOC-G2460PG-24-Inch-LED-Lit-Monitor/dp/B00SIZ8QDM/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1467372059&sr=1-1
    It's currently selling for $414.
    Reply
  • sunny420
    You mention in the updates, "This month, LG makes the cut with its 34UC98..."
    I'm not seeing any information about this monitor in the article.
    Reply
  • Mopar63
    I daily use the Nixeus NX-VUE24A and the BenQ XL2730Z, I ditched my IPS gaming monitors for the amazing smooth game play I can get with both of these. While they are TN panels the game play experience in no way suffers and the Freesync implementation in both is outstanding.

    I wanted to love the Acer XR341CK and bought one, then promptly returned it. Early reviews got cherry picked samples, general consumer buying was a lottery and most ended with an issue. Attempts to get support where treated with bored indifference and I know two different people that went through 3 RMAs before getting a monitor with few enough issues to keep. (They had to pay for shipping each time and Acer would not offer to compensate after the first RAM was a failure as well) Seeing all these horror stories I chose the refund route.

    I am hearing that the QA issues have finally been resolved but I feel that for the price point quality should not be a crap shoot, but the norm.
    Reply