Best monitor 2018: Top gaming monitors and buying guide

Monitor buying guide header

Your monitor is one of the most important parts of your PC, so finding the best monitor to suit your needs and budget is vital. Take a look at the display section of any electronics retailer, though, and you’ll find hundreds of screens costing anything from £70 right up to £1500. The range of models and prices can be overwhelming, but this guide is here to help.

We’ll take you through everything you need to know about screen sizes, resolutions, refresh rates, panel types, inputs and adjustable stands, as well as provide a few recommendations of our own based on our own testing. By the time you’re done here, you’ll be fully equipped to find the best monitor for you. Let’s begin!

Below, we’ve got a list of our current best monitors, ranging from entry-level displays all the way up to fancy, high-refresh rate mega monitors. We’ll be adding more monitors to this list as we get more in for testing, but if you’d rather skip straight to our monitor buying guide, hop on over to page two at the bottom of the page.

Best budget 24in monitor: AOC G2460PF

Key features: 24in, 1920×1080, TN, 144Hz, AMD FreeSync

This 24in gaming monitor was a steal when it was just £170 over Black Friday, but even at its more regular price of £215, this is still an outstanding 24in display. Image quality is superb for a TN monitor, and its high 144Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync support help make games appear smoother and less juddery to play. It’s also got a full suit of inputs (VGA, DVI-D, HDMI and DP), a four-port USB hub and a flexible, height adjustable stand.

Read our full AOC G2460PF review.
Buy now from Amazon UK or Newegg

Best budget 27in monitor: Philips 273V5LHAB

Key features: 27in, 1920×1080, TN

The Philips 273V5LHAB is a pretty straightforward 27in Full HD monitor. While its resolution of 1920×1080 isn’t ideal for a screen this size, you certainly can’t argue with its price. At just £150, this is an excellent way to get a big screen without spending an arm and a leg on something like our current favourite 27in monitor, the MSI Optix MPG27CQ (below). Image quality is also excellent for a TN panel, and you’re unlikely to find a better-looking screen for less.

Read our full Philips 273V5LHAB review.
Buy now from Amazon UK or Newegg

MSI MPG27CQ

Best 27in monitor: MSI Optix MPG27CQ

Key features: 27in, 2560×1440, VA, 144Hz, AMD FreeSync

The MSI Optix MPG27CQ replaces the Acer XF270HUA as our new favourite 27in 2560×1440 monitor. Mostly because it’s a fraction cheaper at £435 in the UK and $450 in the US, but it’s also got an outstanding VA panel, offers plenty of adjustments in both the stand and its various picture options, and it’s also got added RGB integration for Steelseries fans. If all that wasn’t enough, it’s also got a 144Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync support.

Read our full MSI Optix MPG27CQ review.
Buy now from Debenhams UK or Amazon US

Philips 349X7FJEW

Best ultrawide monitor: Philips 349X7FJEW

Key features: 34in, 3440×1440, VA, 100Hz, AMD FreeSync

In my quest to find the perfect monitor for playing Final Fantasy XII on in a silly 21:9 aspect ratio (because why not, when the support’s there?), the Philips 349X7FJEW is the one that ticks the most boxes for me. While I’m not a huge fan of its white chassis, it is the cheapest 21:9 monitor by some margin these days, as most of the others have to pay the dreaded G-Sync tax. The Philips, on the other hand, has FreeSync support instead, and is still a fantastic monitor with excellent image quality.

Read our full Philips 349X7FJEW review.
Buy now from Amazon UK or Amazon US

BenQ EL2870U

Best budget 4K monitor: BenQ EL2870U

Key features: 28in, 3480×2160, TN, 60Hz, AMD FreeSync

The BenQ EL2870U is by no means the best 4K HDR monitor out there, but it is one of the cheapest, which makes its rather underwhelming HDR a bit more forgivable. Indeed, getting your hands on any kind of 4K HDR monitor these days is a bit of a challenge, but if you really can’t wait for something better to come along or don’t have the cash to splash out on something a bit fancier, then the EL2870U is currently your best bet.

Read our full BenQ EL2870U review.
Buy now from Amazon UK or Amazon US 

17 Comments

  1. Don Reba says:

    🤦 The article is tagged “g-sync”, but none of the listed monitors support it. And FreeSync is useless for most (85.3%) users.

    • wiper says:

      Presumably the tag refers more to page 2; the more general guide to purchasing monitors, which discusses g-sync and freesync (plus the potential for the list to be revised, of course).

      My main source of distress here is that the monitors start at 24″ screens. Having grown up with 12″ CRTs in the ’80s, expanding to 14″-15″ CRTs in the ’90s, eventually reaching the giddy heights of 19″ LCDs as we got into the new millennium, 22″ is a stretch I’m just about comfortable with, but anything beyond just feels excessive!

    • Walsh says:

      Yes, I think “best of” monitors should’ve been split between G-sync and FreeSync, at least for a few of the sizes.

    • TrashiDawa says:

      Agreed. I even scrolled back up to the top to look at the title thinking I missed the Best FREESYNC Monitors of 2018.

  2. OmNomNom says:

    Please mention blur reduction capability when writing about monitors, it matters more for me than g-sync or freesync – especially when on a non TN panel.

  3. Nolenthar says:

    Like it or not, Nvidia currently provides the best price/performance ratio and has the undisputed performance crown.
    Whereas it’s extremely useful to inform Gamers than Freesync is a generally good enough free GSync alternative, it makes no one a service if all the “best” monitor are targeting AMD users which are still by all standard a minority nowadays.

  4. BlacKHeaDSg1 says:

    1 month ago my friend bought IPS monitor (popular in our country) and it was rubbish. You actually saw a grid even from a far way.

    • battles_atlas says:

      Great story, sounds like your friend bought a terrible monitor. I have an IPS monitor and can’t see a grid even if I put my nose against it. Also a great story.

  5. morganjah says:

    Has anyone used a tv for their 4K monitor? Specifically the TCL 55P607 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV?

    • spacejumbo says:

      I have my pc in the living room connected to a 55 inch Samsung ks7000. Is great for gaming from the sofa or a chair pulled up closer for more ‘lean forward’ type games.

      If you’re prepared to wait though, the next generation of hdmi should bring higher frame rates and adaptive sync to normal TVs. Probably not until next year though.

  6. SquarePeg says:

    I don’t own this TV but it’s the one that is always recommended in the best value section of “PC gaming on a TV” articles. I was looking at the 43-inch 4K TCL myself. Seems a steal @ $299 for 4K 120mhz HDR.

    EDIT: This was meant as a reply to morganjah.

    • morganjah says:

      Thanks!

      I had read those too, bought one, but haven’t been able to get it out of the box yet. Ah, custody struggles.

  7. spacejumbo says:

    These hardware articles sadly continue to disappoint.

    I’ve been trying to get up to speed on monitors lately, planning to buy something good, currently playing on a 55″ HDR TV.

    What I’d find more interesting is a look at what is coming up this year that you might want to wait for – new Acer and asus flagships are overdue, both featuring HDR – and how they compare to current models. Especially given the article title.

    The first page had a bunch of underwhelming options, especially lacking in gsync, and the second page says va screens are rare these days in gaming monitors, which seems far from the truth. In fact, quantum dot va might be what’s used next.

    The problem is hardware will always be covered in more depth and more expertly and convincingly elsewhere. Maybe a good direction for RPS to take would be to write articles linking to interesting news and resources, curating a reading list for us?

  8. PiiSmith says:

    “Best monitor 2018: Top gaming monitors and buying guide”. I was looking for an in depth guide and an exhaustive list of monitors and features, which might or might not be interesting to me. Instead I got a short list, with barely any information at all and no real comparison. Buhh, this is very weak article.

  9. Carra says:

    Still using my 6 year old 27″ 2560×1440 IPS screen from Korea.

    Was a great investment of about €350 back then.

  10. Asurmen says:

    Wake me up when there’s a true accredited HDR Freesync 2 27″ 1440p or 4K high refresh monitor fast response, not curved without a massive stand.

    I am however never sure about panel type as they always have compromises.

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