The right gaming monitor can enhance your gaming experience and make your favorite games look even better. Choosing a gaming monitor can be challenging if you’re not familiar with the different performance specs. You might be wondering if you should invest in a 4K monitor or need a curved monitor for a more immersive experience.
We’ve put together a selection of the best gaming monitors you can buy in 2020 with some information about their specs and performance.
Best gaming monitors
- Best gaming monitor: Asus ROG Swift PG279Q
- Best 4K gaming monitor: Acer Predator XB3
- Best budget gaming monitor: Samsung CRG5
- Best ultrawide gaming monitor: Alienware Curved AW3418DW
- Best gaming monitor under $300: ViewSonic XG240R
Best gaming monitor: Asus ROG Swift PG279Q
Why you should buy this: This display provides a great visual experience for GeForce gamers, especially after overclocking the refresh rate for a DisplayPort connection.
Who’s it for: PC gamers with an Nvidia graphics card.
Why we picked the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q:
This Republic of Gamers-branded display from Asus has a 1,440p resolution, and a refresh rate you can overclock to 165Hz when using a DisplayPort connection. It’s the perfect sweet spot in the gaming monitor space, offering high-speed gaming at a great middle-ground resolution that isn’t going to tax your graphics card too hard. The panel has a decent brightness of 350 nits and has a decent response time of just 4ms too.
Other features packed into this display include a handful of port selections and built-in GamePlus components such as a timer, FPS counter, crosshairs, and more. GameVisual provides six presets that optimize the screen for different types of games and media, such as RTS/RPG, FPS, sRGB for photo/video edition, Cinema, and a few others. This panel is great for a multi-monitor layout too thanks to its super-narrow bezels and G-Sync support is handy for Nvidia gamers.
If you’re an AMD user, don’t fret, there’s an alternative for you. Thehas all the same features, but it’s FreeSync compatible, making it an ideal gaming solution for AMD fans.
Our full Asus Rog Swift PG729Q review
Best 4K gaming monitor: Acer Predator XB3
Why you should buy this: It’s a beastly 27-inch 4K G-Sync monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate.
Who’s it for: PC gamers who need a fast monitor to match a monster gaming rig.
Why we picked the Predator XB3:
While Predator monitors have consistently been some of the best gaming options, the 27-inch XB3 really goes out of its way to offer a great display complete with G-Sync, HDR, and a screen that you can overclock to a 144Hz refresh rate with the right connections. We were also very impressed with its brightness of 475 nits in our testing, and color specs, which show strong accuracy over a wide gamut.
The XB3 also makes sure that you have access to all the ports you may need, including two downstream USB-A 3.0, USB-A 3.0 upstream, USB-B, HDMI, and DisplayPort — though sadly no USB-C. The menu joystick and buttons, located on the back of the monitor, allow you to make adjustments and turn on modes like Dark Boost to further customize your experience.
If resolution is important to you, the XB3 offers a 4K experience without giving up too much on refresh rate and other key gaming specs, making it a particularly solid choice.
Our full Acer Predator XB3 review
Best budget gaming monitor: Samsung CRG5
Why you should buy this: It’s a 144Hz, 1080p display with a gorgeous curvature and FreeSync 2 support. You’ll find it hard to match at this price.
Who’s it for: Gamers on a budget who still want plenty of features.
Why we picked the Samsung CRG5:
It’s amazing how far monitor technology has come in recent years, not just because of the new and exciting display features we can enjoy at the top end, but because some of our favorite ones are more affordable than ever. One of those is high refresh rates, which we think go beyond higher-resolutions and even HDR, in making for a smoother, faster gaming experience.
The fact that Samsung’s CRG5 offers a 144Hz refresh rate for not far north of $200 is a perfect example of how much more accessible what were once high-end gaming features, have become.
Not only is it fast, but this 1080p screen has FreeSync 2 support, which means that it technically supports HDR. With a typical brightness of 250 nits, you aren’t going to see much benefit from that, but the lack of screen tearing is a nice bonus. The 1,800R curvature makes this an immersive gaming panel, even if it isn’t the largest, and it also enjoys all of Samsung’s quality of life features, like anti-blue light and flicker-free technology.
Best curved gaming monitor: Alienware 34 curved gaming monitor
Why you should buy this: Dell’s Alienware 34-inch gaming display can go head to head with the best flat and curved screens and almost always comes out on top.
Who’s it for: Gamers who want a more detailed alternative to the Samsung CHG90.
Why we picked the Alienware 34 curved gaming monitor:
Smaller than another favorite ultrawide of ours, the Samsung CHG90, the Alienware 34 curved gaming monitor may seem like a worse value proposition, but that would do it an injustice. At a resolution of 3,440 x 1,440 it has almost a million more pixels than the Samsung alternative and it does it in a smaller form factor, which means much greater pixel density for richer and crisper visuals.
With a 4ms response time and a 120Hz refresh rate that can be overclocked, this is a fast display that will be well suited to e-sports and AAA games alike. Its support of G-Sync technology also means Nvidia gamers can take advantage of its anti-screen-tearing features, too.
It lacks a USB-C port which is a shame, but the overall design is fantastic and with an excellent warranty, you can rest assured that your new screen will keep you happy for a long time to come.
Read our full Alienware 34 gaming display review
Best gaming monitor under $300: ViewSonic XG240R
Why you should buy this: ViewSonic has designed an affordable monitor with a surprisingly complete display package, ideal for gamers hoping to save some money.
Who’s it for: Busy gamers who are careful with their budgets.
Why we picked the ViewSonic XG240R:
The price of this ViewSonic monitor is enough to engage our attention, but the specifications are even more impressive. This budget screen is equipped with FreeSync, a 144Hz refresh rate, accurate colors, and even some RGB lighting on the design that you can play around with. It’s a surprising feature set at this price and makes the model an easy recommendation if you need to save money but still want a great gaming experience.
You can also customize the display appearance as well as those RGB lights, although you will need to download third-party software to do it (in this case, programs by Cooler Master, Razer, and others). Ports are a bit more generous: You get connections for DisplayPort, two HDMI, two USB-A 3.0, and a USB-B 3.0.
When it comes to design, the ViewSonic falters a little. The monitor looks uninspired and a little clunky. The speakers, in particular, are poor quality and should be supplemented with headphones or a separate set of speakers. However, there are so many good things going on under the hood here that this monitor is still an easy recommendation.
Our full ViewSonic XG240R review
Research and buying tips
- What type of monitor is best for gaming?
- Can you see the difference between 144Hz and 240Hz?
- Is there a big difference between 4K and 1080p?
- What is a good size monitor for gaming?
- Does response time matter for gaming monitors?
This very much depends on the type of games you want to play. If you play competitive, fast-paced games, high refresh-rate monitors are a must as they can reduce input lag and give you a smoother gaming experience. Higher resolutions and HDR are great for more cinematic, AAA experiences, while larger, curved screens add immersion for all sorts of titles.
Panel type is another question entirely and there is a lot of crossover between the three main types. But typically, TN panels are the cheapest and offer the fastest refresh rates and response times at the expense of color accuracy and viewing angles. IPS panels are more expensive and offer richer colors and contrast at a slightly slower response time. VA panels tend to sit somewhere in the middle.
Some can, some can’t. Those that do claim to see a difference suggest that once you’ve played a high-speed game on a 240Hz screen there’s no going back. Then again, you have to have a system that can actually push out framerates that high, so you’d better be packing an insanely powerful graphics card if you hope to see the difference.
If you’re passionate about competitive gaming, 240Hz can give you slightly reduced input lag, so even if you can’t see or feel the difference there is some benefit to be had with the fastest displays out there.
Absolutely, though it’s not as pronounced as going from lower resolutions to 1080p was. 4K is great for slower games or those where a wider view is of benefit, like RTS titles, but even the most powerful gaming PCs struggle to hit 100 FPS or above at that resolution. That’s why 1440p gaming monitors with a high refresh rate are still the sweet spot for affordable, high-end gaming in 2019.
The larger issue is, of course, performance. 4K gaming is really only possible at smooth framerates if you’ve got a powerful graphics card at your disposal. The majority of players still stick to 1080p to ensure they’re getting the most fluid gameplay possible.
Considering the pricing of modern LCD monitors, unless you are extremely limited on space, 24-inches is a great starting point, but about the maximum size we’d recommend for 1080p. 1440p looks great on between 24 to 34-inch monitors, while 4K really needs at least 27-inches to let you see the added detail all of those extra pixels deliver.
There are extremely ultrawide monitors that are built for gaming such as the 49-inch Samsung CHG90, which turns your entire desk into one massive command center. The immersive 21:9 aspect ratio isn’t supported by all games, but most newer games will offer you a far wider view of your surroundings.
If you need a system that can handle mobile gaming, however, it’s best to choose a powerful laptop that can serve as a desktop replacement, while also allow you to pack it up and move around when necessary. Naturally, larger 17-inch screens are best for this (although resolution is less important). We’ve even found that small 13-inch laptops are doing an impressive job of handling games these days.
Response time is typically rated in milliseconds, and highly rated monitors tend to have a 1-6ms response time, depending on factors like their size and panel type. While a short response time sounds good, the rating specifically means how long it takes a display’s pixel to go from totally white to totally black (or fully on to fully off).
The important part is that a millisecond is a really, really short amount of time. Even the twitchiest games still look very similar if a 1ms monitor and a 5ms monitor were side by side under the same conditions. Other issues, such as input lag and refresh rate, tend to make more pf a difference. However, low response times still tend to be more popular among the most serious gamers, because in some situations every millisecond matters.
- The best 144Hz monitors for 2020
- The best HDR monitors for 2020
- The best monitors for 2020
- The best ultrawide monitors for 2020
- The best G-Sync monitors for 2020