There’s been a lot of upheaval in the world of best gaming monitors over the last twelve months. Not only have we started to see more 4K monitors arrive on the scene at ever lower prices, but HDR (or high dynamic range) also finally made its way to PC in 2018, setting new benchmarks for brightness and colour accuracy in the process. It’s still early days for HDR on PC at the moment, but with more and more of today’s best graphics cards coming with built in support for it, it’s only going to get better over the course of 2019.
To help you make sense of all the changing standards and find the best gaming monitor for you and your budget, I’ve put together this handy guide. Below, you’ll find all of my top recommendations for a variety of different screen sizes and resolutions, and I’ve also put together an in-depth buying guide on the second page of this article for everything else you need to know about buying a new gaming monitor, including in-depth explainers of all the different panel types, high refresh rates and adaptive frame rate technologies like Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync. If you’re in need of a new gaming monitor, you’re in the right place.
Best gaming monitor guide
The only gaming monitors you’ll find here are the ones I’ve had in front of my own eyeballs and tested with my trusty X-Rite Display i1 Pro calibrator. I measure each gaming monitor’s default colour accuracy (how much of the standard sRGB colour gamut it covers and, if applicable for HDR-enabled monitors, the wider DCI-P3 colour gamut), as well as brightness, black levels and contrast. I then go about tweaking each monitor’s various settings options to see if I can make them any better through calibration. Of course, this is an evolving list of best gaming monitor, and I’ll be updating this article as and when I find new gaming monitors that deserve a place on it. For now, though, these are the best gaming monitors you can buy today.
Best gaming monitor (24in FreeSync): AOC G2460PF
The AOC G2460PF is one of the most fully-featured 24in monitors you can buy today. It’s infinitely better than its successor, the AOC G2590FX, both in terms of colour accuracy and overall contrast, but stock levels seem to be rather low at the moment (at least in the UK), so it may well be on its way out or just experiencing a temporary shortage after the sales frenzy of Black Friday.
Either way, provided you can still find one in stock, this 24in screen gets you an excellent TN panel that covers 95% of the standard sRGB colour gamut (which is pretty good going for this type of panel technology), a 1920×1080 resolution, a generous 144Hz refresh rate, AMD FreeSync support for cutting down on tearing and stutter when you’ve got a compatible AMD graphics card, a full suite of inputs (VGA, DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort), a four-port USB hub and a height adjustable stand.
That’s a lot for a monitor of this size and price, and is actually better value for money than some of the larger screens further down on this list. You’ll need a fairly decent graphics card to take advantage of its high 144Hz refresh rate (see our rankings for more info if you’re in the market for one of those as well), but even if your graphics card isn’t quite up to the task of super high frame rate gaming, its AMD FreeSync support should at least give AMD graphics card owners a bit of a leg up when it comes to overall smoothness. It’s a fantastic all-round 24in gaming screen, so grab one while you still can.
Read our AOC G2460PF review for more info.
Best gaming monitor (24in G-Sync): Acer Predator XB241H
The Acer Predator XB241H is a lot more expensive than the AOC G2460PF (thanks, G-Sync tax), but this is by far the best 24in, 1920×1080 monitor for those with Nvidia graphics cards I’ve seen so far. Colour accuracy is just as high as the AOC out of the box, and even goes a bit higher if you tweak the colour temperature settings slightly.
What’s more, the XB241H has a super high refresh rate of 144Hz that can be overclocked all the way up to a massive 180Hz through the monitor’s onboard menu system. It doesn’t have quite as many ports as the AOC (just DisplayPort and HDMI), but it does have a very flexible stand that gives you plenty of height adjustment, swivel, tilt and rotation, making it easy to get it into the right position.
By all means go for the AOC if your budget doesn’t stretch this far (you’ll still get the benefit of the high refresh rate, after all – just make sure you’ve got a good enough graphics card to make use of it), but if you’ve got money to spare and want the best of the best 24in monitors have to offer for Nvidia graphics cards, then this is definitely the one to go for right now.
Read our Acer Predator XB241H review for more info.
Best gaming monitor (27in 1080p): BenQ EW277HDR
For those after something slightly bigger than the AOC G2460PF and Acer Predator XB241H without breaking the bank, the BenQ EW277HDR is the next best thing. This doesn’t come with as many features as its smaller rivals (or indeed as many ports or any kind of height adjustment), but it is a heck of a lot cheaper – at least for those buying in the UK.
The EW277HDR may not have a high refresh rate or any kind of variable frame rate technology incorporated into its 27in 1920×1080 VA panel, but it does come with HDR (or high dynamic range) support. This essentially allows the monitor to display brighter whites, darker blacks and more of every colour in between compared to a non-HDR monitor, meaning more vibrant, vivid and life-like images and games, as well as more detail in the light and dark areas of the screen.
There are, admittedly, better monitors out there for those after ‘proper’ HDR, which really go to town on the brightness side of things as well as the extended colour gamut, but you’re certainly not going to find any of those going for less £200 / $200 like the EW277HDR. It may not have the same brightness capabilities as those higher-end monitors, but what the EW277HDR does really well is the colour gamut part of HDR, displaying 99.8% of the standard sRGB colour gamut and an impressive 91.9% of the wider DCI-P3 gamut. For comparison, the AOC above can only show around 70% of this gamut.
That’s pretty damn good for such a cheap monitor, and while its 1920×1080 resolution isn’t exactly ideal for a screen of this size (things start to get a teensy bit fuzzy when you start stretching that many pixels across a 27in panel), it’s still an excellent way to get a big screen without spending an arm and a leg on something with a higher resolution like the MSI Optix MPG27CQ below. If even the BenQ is beyond your price range, however, then the Philips 276E9QJAB is another great 27in 1080p monitor that delivers HDR-like colours on a budget.
Read our BenQ EW277HDR review for more info.
Best gaming monitor (27in 1440p): MSI Optix MPG27CQ
If you really want to go all out on a 27in monitor with a 2560×1440 resolution, the curved MSI Optix MPG27CQ is certainly one of the better ways to do it. With a curved VA panel, height-adjustable stand and Steelseries RGB integration (those who aren’t firmly embedded in the RGB camp will be glad to know you can also turn it all off), this is one monitor that really commands your attention.
Picture quality is outstanding, too. Covering 100% of the sRGB colour gamut and a respectable 87.6% of the DCI-P3 gamut (which is pretty good going for a non-HDR monitor), pictures look rich and punchy at all times on its default User mode, and its intuitive onboard menu system means it’s easy to make any last minute adjustments or play about with its black tuner control.
If all that wasn’t enough, it’s also got a 144Hz refresh rate for high frame rate gaming (provided you’ve got a beefy enough graphics card, that is – which you’ll need if your target is 144fps at 2560×1440) and AMD FreeSync support to help eliminate tearing and judder for AMD graphics card owners. Round that off with two HDMI 2.0 inputs, one DisplayPort 1.2 and a two-port USB3 hub and you’ve got yourself one of the best 27in monitors around.
Read our MSI Optix MPG27CQ review for more info.
Best ultrawide gaming monitor (FreeSync): Philips 349X7FJEW
When I heard Square Enix were adding 21:9 aspect ratio support to Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, I knew what had to be done. No one needs to play Final Fantasy XII in 21:9, but hey, if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it on the Philips 349X7FJEW. Out of all the ultrawide monitors I’ve tested so far, this is the one that ticks the most boxes for me.
I’m not the biggest fan of its white chassis, all told, but it’s far by one of the cheapest 21:9 monitors out there these days, and its image quality is just as good as the considerably more expensive AOC AG352UCG and Acer Predator Z35p. Of course, part of the reason why AOC and Acer’s monitors are so pricey is because they come with Nvidia G-Sync support. The Philips, on the other hand, only has AMD FreeSync support, which won’t be much good to anyone with an Nvidia graphics card, but at least you’re saving yourself several hundred pounds / dollars in the process.
If you are after an ultrawide Nvidia G-Sync monitor, however, then you should check out the AOC AG352UCG, which you can find out more below. For those who’d rather save themselves from the dreaded G-Sync tax, however, the Philips is definitely the better value for money choice.
Read our Philips 349X7FJEW review for more info.
Best ultrawide gaming monitor (G-Sync): Acer Predator Z35p
As mentioned above, the Acer Predator Z35p is a lot more expensive than the Philips 349X7FJEW, but it does have the added advantage of Nvidia G-Sync support for those with compatible Nvidia graphics cards. Why have I picked this one over the AOC Agon AG352UCG, though? Well, that’s mainly because the AOC is now much harder to come by than when I first reviewed it, and its price is now roughly the same as the more fully-featured Acer – if you can even find it on sale anywhere.
Both monitors are equally excellent in their own right, but the Acer has a few more tricks up its sleeve that make it better value for money overall. For instance, you can overclock its 100Hz refresh rate up to 120Hz if you’ve got a beefy enough graphics card to take advantage of it, and it also with four USB3 ports instead just two like the AOC.
The Predator Z35p’s screen is also a lot brighter, making it more versatile in a wider range of lighting conditions, and its image quality is top-notch, covering 99% of the sRGB colour gamut. What’s more, I much prefer Acer’s onboard menu system, as the AOC’s is, frankly, a bit of a disaster. It’s expensive, yes, but it really doesn’t get much better than this in the ultrawide category.
Read our Acer Predator Z35p review for more info.
Best 4K HDR gaming monitor under £500 / $500: BenQ EL2870U
The BenQ EL2870U is by no means the best 4K HDR gaming monitor out there, but it is one of the cheapest, which makes its slightly underwhelming HDR a bit more forgivable. Indeed, getting your hands on any kind of 4K 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.
Picture quality is still pretty reasonable, but with an sRGB gamut coverage of 83% (and 62% DCI-P3), it’s not exactly brilliant either. Still, if your primary goal is having a lot of pixels at your disposal, the EL2870U has that in spades. With its 3840×2160 resolution spread across its 28in TN panel, the EL2870’s sharp pixel density of 157 pixels-per-inch (PPI) is significantly higher than any other screen on this list. A 27in 1080p monitor can only ever have 81 PPI, for example, while a 27in 1440p monitor is only a fraction better at 108 PPI. You’ll probably still have to employ some of Windows’ scaling settings to make things like text and desktop icons even remotely legible, but at least everything will look lovely and crisp in the process.
Admittedly, if you’re buying a 4K monitor to max out your 4K-capable graphics card, then there are probably better screens to spend your money on than this one. Really, I’d only recommend this as a 4K monitor for working purposes, and 4K gaming only if you’re on a particularly tight budget. Otherwise, I’d recommended taking a look at the monitors below.
Read our BenQ EL2870U review for more info.
Best 4K HDR gaming monitor under £1000 / $1000: Philips 436M6VBPAB
This jumbo TV-sized monitor is far too large to stick on your desk, but if you’re after an HDR monitor to replace your TV in your living room, it simply doesn’t get much better than the Philips 436M6VBPAB. Not only does it support HDR for both Nvidia and AMD graphics cards (a real rarity at the moment), but its picture quality is also absolutely brilliant straight out of the box. It’s one of the most user-friendly HDR gaming monitors I’ve ever tested, and you can pretty much start using it straight away without any extra time tweaking the settings in order to get the best out of it.
It’s also certified as an Ultra HD Premium and VESA DisplayHDR 1000 display, which means it’s got all the same brightness and colour accuracy chops as Nvidia’s two grand plus G-Sync HDR gaming monitors. That’s excellent considering the 436M6VBPAB costs a fraction of those displays, although you do have to make do with just a regular 60Hz refresh rate instead of a crazy high 144Hz one. There’s also the small issue that its adaptive sync technology only works with AMD graphics cards (as it’s essentially just an unbranded version of FreeSync), so Nvidia card owners may have to put up with the odd bit of screen tearing at times. Still, for me, it’s a small price to pay for such an excellent screen, and one that offers plenty of flexibility to boot.
Read our Philips 436M6VBPAB review for more info.
Best 4K HDR gaming monitor: Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ
It’s crazy expensive, but if you’re after the best that 4K HDR currently has to offer, the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ is the monitor to get – until I get my hands on Acer’s Predator X27, that is. With a crazy high peak brightness level of around 1000cd/m2, this is the finest implementation of HDR I’ve ever seen. It really brings HDR games like Final Fantasy XV and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to life, but you will need a graphics card that supports Nvidia G-Sync HDR in order to take advantage of it – i.e.: an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 or higher. For more info about what graphics cards support HDR and what PC games support it, click the link.
Admittedly, I was a bit cool on the quality of its panel in my initial review, but Asus have since told me that you have to enable its wide colour gamut support manually in a rather unobvious menu setting, which I didn’t know about when I first tested it. I’ll be getting it back in for another test very soon to give it a proper looking over, but as I mention in my HDR guide, it’s really the brightness part of HDR that makes the most impact, which it did in spades thanks to its phenomenal 384 dynamic backlight zones.
You also get a fully adjustable stand (with LEDs burning a ROG logo into your desk and your ceiling) with height, swivel, tilt and rotation options available for your trouble, and a bevy of ports, game modes and various display options.
Read our Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ review for more info.