With great pixels comes great image quality. So it's not surprising that PC gamers drool over monitors with 4K resolution. A panel packing 8.3 million pixels (3840 x 2160) makes your favorite games look incredibly sharp and realistic. It also lets you see the most out of the best webcams, which is helpful if you're a streamer.
In addition to being the highest resolution you can find in a good gaming monitor these days, going 4K also offers the ability to expand to bigger displays while still retaining a sharp image. With a packed pixel army, you can stretch your screen size well past 30 inches without having pixels so big that you can see them. And the best graphics cards, whether from Nvidia's RTX 30-series or AMD's Radeon RX 6000-series, make a move to 4K even more tempting.
But that image quality comes at a steep price. Anyone who's shopped for a 4K monitor before knows they're not cheap. Yes, 4K is about high-res gaming (and other media), but you're still going to want solid gaming specs, like a 60Hz-plus refresh rate, low response time and your choice of Adaptive-Sync (Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync, depending on your system's graphics card). And you can't forget the cost of the decently beefy graphics card you'll require to game properly in 4K. If you're not ready for 4K yet, see our Best Gaming Monitors page for lower-res recommendations.
For those ready for high-res gaming (lucky you), below are the best 4K gaming monitors of 2021, based on our benchmarks.
Best Holiday 4K Gaming Monitor Deals
We're in the heart of the holiday season and that means discounts. Right now, you can score a 4K gaming monitor at a reduced price and give yourself the gift of high resolution gaming. We're tracking all the savings on our best holiday monitor deals page. As it turns out, there is even a current deal on our favorite 4K gaming monitor:
MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD 4K, Gaming Monitor: was $899, now $799 at Amazon
Our favorite 4K gaming monitor, the Optix comes equipped with a 32-inch, 4K IPS panel with a 144 Hz refresh rate and quantum dot tech that allows it to hit 117 percent of the DCI-P3 gamut.
Quick Shopping Tips
When seeking the best 4K gaming monitor for you, consider the following:
- 4K gaming requires a high-end graphics card. If you're not using an Nvidia SLI or AMD Crossfire multi-graphics card setup, you’ll want at least a GTX 1070 Ti or RX Vega 64 for games at medium settings or an RTX-series card or Radeon VII for high or greater settings. Visit our Graphics Card Buying Guide for help.
- G-Sync or FreeSync? A monitor’s G-Sync feature will only work with PCs using an Nvidia graphics card, and FreeSync will only run with PCs carrying an AMD card. You can technically run G-Sync on a monitor that's only FreeSync-certified, but performance may vary. We've seen negligible differences in mainstream gaming capabilities for fighting screen tearing between the two. Our Nvidia G-Sync vs. AMD FreeSync article offers an in-depth performance comparison.
- 4K and HDR go hand-in-hand. 4K displays often support HDR content for extra bright and colorful images. But for Adaptive-Sync optimized for HDR media, you'll want a G-Sync Ultimate or FreeSync Premium Pro (formerly FreeSync 2 HDR) monitor. For a noticeable upgrade from an SDR monitor, opt for at least 600 nits brightness. You can learn more from our glossary page on HDR and our buying guide for picking the best HDR monitor.
The Best 4K Gaming Monitors You Can Buy Today
The MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD offers an excellent combination of good performance that is backed by a wealth of features at a price tag that comes in below $900. In its favor, the 4K gaming display has excellent color saturation, is well-calibrated out of the box and it delivers stunning HDR quality at this price point.
In addition, it rocks HDMI 2.1 and a 144Hz refresh rate along with a 1ms GTG response time. We measured peak SDR brightness of 424 nits and over 700 nits with HDR content. Likewise, its color gamut came in at 117% of DCI-P3.
Although the Optix MPG321UR-QD was one of the most colorful monitors we've ever tested, we do wish that that monitor had gamma presets, and properly calibrating the display resulted in drop-offs for contrast and light output.
The Asus ROG Strix XG27UQ is the best 144Hz 4K gaming monitor and may be cheaper than you expect, as we've seen it listed for $800. Unfortunately, the XG27UQ doesn’t have a premium FALD backlight for beautiful HDR; however, HDR performance is still impressive, thanks to an effective edge-array backlight and the screen's Dynamic Dimming feature.
The ROG Strix XG27UQ stacked up well in our testing regarding both response time and input lag. The input lag test outperformed other 144Hz monitors, including the Acer Predator X27 and Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ, which went for about $2,000 each. And while the XG27UQ is listed as a FreeSync monitor, we could run G-Sync on it successfully.
A little more affordable than the other 144Hz options on this page, the Acer Predator XB273K is the best 4K gaming monitor at that ideal refresh rate for value-seekers. During fast-paced games with settings maxed, there was no blur. G-Sync worked successfully--with both standard and HDR content-- to fight screen tearing when paired with an Nvidia graphics card. The monitor kept up well with other 144 Hz displays during our testing and even beat the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ and Acer Predator X27, which are about $2,000 monitors when it came to input lag.
Regarding image quality, the Predator XB273K delivers pro-level color accuracy and contrast, reaching over 4,000:1, according to our testing, and over 2,000:1 after our calibration. HDR doesn't look as good as on monitors with FALD backlights, but we consider the Predator XB273K the next best thing.
For cheaper 4K displayers, see Best Budget 4K Monitors.
If you want the best 4K gaming monitor for HDR movies and games, the Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX is an expensive but impressive buy. This is the first gaming-focused monitor with Mini LED. Thanks to that advanced backlight, we recorded a fantastic HDR contrast ratio of 180,820.8:1. And while an OLED screen like the Alienware on this page can offer deeper, purer blacks, the PG32UQX can get much brighter. It hit 1,627 nits with HDR during testing.
We loved watching HDR films on the screen, but there’s no Dolby Vision support. This won’t affect many games, but 4K Blu-ray discs and content from Netflix often use Dolby Vision. On the other hand, you do get support for 24p film cadences.
And as a gaming monitor, the PG32UQX is no slouch either. It performed admirably against other 144 Hz screens in our response time and input lag tests, even besting some, including the HP Omen on this page, in the latter. And the nifty OLED screen on the bottom uniquely relays helpful information, like refresh rate and CPU and GPU temperatures.
You don’t often see the word budget associated with a 4K monitor, but the Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q isn’t just affordable; it’s a great gaming monitor too. Despite being available for $349 as of writing, it offers a tremendous amount of performance, making it a fantastic value for gamers looking to get to 4K without breaking the bank. We've even seen 4K monitors priced at $400 offer lesser gaming performance.
There was no ghosting when we gamed on the VG289Q, and overdrive successfully helped eliminate motion blur. SDR titles looked extra colorful, but there was hardly any improvement when moving over to HDR games.
With the VG289Q priced so low, it’s not surprising that its refresh rate is limited to just 60 Hz (FreeSync works down to 48 Hz). Of course, hardcore gamers will want more Hz, but casual players can make do with fast-paced scenes showing sufficient detail and excellent pixel density.
For more low-priced 4K screens, check out Best Budget 4K Monitors list.
The lines separating the monitor needs of gamers and professionals keep blurring. Besides that, there’s nothing wrong with a photo editor wanting to game during their free time, right? The Acer ConceptD CP271K is the best 4K gaming monitor for professionals because it boasts impressive gaming specs and accurate color space coverage.
Creative professionals can get work done with the monitor’s 110% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space, although the very meticulous will find that to be slightly too colorful. You can, however, reduce color with a software look-up table. You also get excellent HDR output with a FALD backlight that reaches 1,000 nits.
At the same time, the ConceptD CP271K offers gamers accurate sRGB coverage (96.3%) and powerful performance that kept up with 144 Hz gaming monitors in our response time and input lag benchmarking.
If you’re looking for a big 4K experience, the Aorus FV43U offers excellent image quality and gaming performance at a much lower price than screens with slightly lesser image quality. We've seen it for as cheap as $1,000, giving the $1,500 Asus ROG PG43UQ on this page a run for its money. The Aorus bested the Asus in our contrast (SDR and HDR) and max brightness tests, as well as in color coverage. However, the Asus beat the Aorus in our response time test by 1ms and input lag by 7ms. Still, unless you’re an extremely competitive gamer, it’s probably worth the price savings and slight image quality advantages.
The Aorus FV43U also offers USB-C connectivity, allowing you to hit 144Hz, two 12W speakers that sound better than most and a remote. HDR performance is also top-of-the-line, with our benchmarks recording 38,888.4:1 contrast and HDR games showing impressive depth and popping textures. A lack of 24p and Dolby Vision support hurt the FV43U’s chances as a full TV replacement, but there isn’t much else missing in a premium gaming monitor here.
We loved the Asus ROG Swift PG43UQ when we first saw it in June, but it’s been hard to find online ever since. We reviewed it at $1,500 but have seen it sell for more. However, if you can find this massive screen at the right price, you won’t be disappointed.
At 43 inches, the ROG Swift PG43UQ is a juggernaut that makes for a great TV replacement -- it even has a remote. From a 4-foot distance, it lends to a highly immersive experience that rivals a curved ultra-wide. And with DisplayHDR 1000 certification, HDR movies pack a punch. Games looked incredibly realistic and warm in HDR and also natural and vibrant in SDR.
Most importantly, the PG43UQ is spec'd for high-performance gaming. Response time competed well against other 144 Hz screens in our benchmarks, and the input lag was better than the equally priced Acer Predator CG437K. If you can't find the Asus in stock, the Acer's a fine substitution with a drop less performance for around $1,455.
The Samsung UR59C isn’t a gaming monitor exactly, but you’d be surprised at the speed it offers compared to other curved, 4K so-called gaming monitors. For example, the MSI Optix MAG321CURV, a 32-inch curved 4K gaming monitor, showed a 22ms response time in our testing and 71ms input lag, while the UR59C posted the same response time but a shorter 63ms input lag. So no, this is not a high-end gaming monitor. But 4K at 60 frames per second (fps) is much more attainable than 144 fps, which may make the lack of Adaptive-Sync acceptable, depending on your GPU’s capability. A low price makes this one of the best budget 4K monitors overall too.
We haven’t seen many curved 4K gaming monitors but found the UR59C’s 15000mm curve noticeable and effective in upping productivity with multiple windows open. The curve didn’t feel as extreme as it would on an ultrawide, but that also meant no distortion.
Games looked tear-free and without apparent lag when we paired it with a GTX 1080 Ti, while the VA panel’s high contrast 2,648.4:1 out of the box (according to our testing) made cut scenes feel like a movie and graphics, like trees and dirt, more realistic.
Read: Samsung UR59C review
It’s very rare to find an OLED-based gaming monitor. However, the Aorus FO48U brings the rich contrast and massive color gamut that OLED allows, while being brighter than the Alienware AW5520QF 55-Inch OLED, the only other gaming OLED monitor currently available. In addition, with a 120 Hz refresh rate and HDMI 2.1, the FO48U is also ready to connect to the PS5 and Xbox Series X and S and run their max speeds.
With a 120 Hz refresh and 1ms GTG response time, the FO48U kept up with 120 and 144 Hz rivals during our response time test but was 4ms behind the Alienware OLED when it came to total input lag. But for a much brighter screen (even if it doesn’t quite match a nice LCD’s max nits) and greater color gamut (107.7% DCI-P3), that’s a small price to pay.
Unfortunately, a lack of Dolby Vision and support for the 50p and 24p TV formats make it harder for the FO48U to replace your TV completely, but a pair of 15w speakers, plus a 20w one, take care of the audio.
More: Aorus FO48U review
If you’re a couch gamer, you need a monitor that’s fit for replacing your TV. With a 64.5-inch display, the HP Omen X 65 Emerpium is amply equipped to do just that. In addition, this juggernaut of a gaming monitor offers larger-than-life gaming. In testing, performance matched its high price tag with zero gaming hiccups and high frame rates at high settings.
HP also included some unique bonuses that make this monitor even more fitting for the living room. An included soundbar featuring four 4-inch woofers, two 1-inch tweeters and two passive radiators add to the feeling of immersion. The monitor also comes with Nvidia Shield Android-based streaming interface, which means gaming, TV and movie-streaming options are built right into your gaming display. A remote completes the living room package.
And if you’re into HDR, the Omen X 65 Emperium would make a great HDR display with high contrast, according to our tests and certification to play HDR at a minimum brightness of 1,000 nits.
Discounts on the Best 4K Gaming Monitors
Whether you're shopping for one of the screens that made our list of best 4K gaming monitors above or something else, you may find savings by checking out our best monitor deals page, along with our lists of Dell coupon codes, Lenovo coupon codes, LG coupon codes, HP coupon codes, Monoprice coupon codes and Newegg promo codes.
So you've made it this far and still haven't found something that seems like the right fit for your gaming desires? Well, we've recently looked at a couple of other 4K monitors that, while they don't quite make our best 4K gaming monitor list, are still worth considering.
Acer's Nitro XV282K is a compact 28-inch 4K gamer with 144Hz refresh, vibrant, accurate colors, plus other premium features. Its primary downsides are average contrast, light gamma and its $900 price.
And while not strictly a gaming screen, Asus' ProArt PA32UCG delivers a phenomenal, accurate image, excellent HDR (thanks to a Full-Array Mini-LED backlight and 1700-nit peak brightness) and 144 Hz refresh over its DisplayPort. The 5ms response time, though, will disqualify it from consideration for many gamers. And the $5,000 price also means it's likely to be a niche display for professionals who want to game on the side.
MORE: Best Gaming Monitors
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