If you're looking for the best gaming monitor in 2023, Alienware's excellent 34 QD-OLED still takes the cake. However, it's not the perfect monitor for all gamers. We've reviewed dozens of monitors to find the top gaming displays you can buy right now, regardless of if you're chasing peak HDR experiences or high refresh rates for competitive titles.
We're focused specifically on gaming monitors here, which come with higher refresh rates and adaptive sync features like G-Sync and FreeSync. If you're looking for an all-around display, make sure to browse our list of the best monitors.
Alienware 34 QD-OLED
The best gaming monitor
- QD-OLED contrast is unbeatable
- Fantastic HDR performance
- Excellent color saturation
- Attractive, minimalist design
- Surprisingly affordable
- SDR brightness is a bit low
- Color accuracy isn't perfect
Why you should buy this: The Alienware 34 QD-OLED provides the best gaming experience you can buy in 2022.
Who's it for: Ultrawide fans who want to experience OLED with PC games.
Why we chose the Alienware 34 QD-OLED:
The Alienware 34 QD-OLED is the ultimate gaming monitor in 2022, and that's because it finally makes an attempt to shake up the massively stale market. How? Quantum Dot OLED. The Alienware 34 QD-OLED isn't content with poor HDR, washed-out colors, and low peak brightness. It wants to provide the best image quality possible.
And it succeeds. The Alienware 34 QD-OLED has stunning contrast due to the deep blacks that are characteristic of OLED displays. Games look stunning on the display, especially if you're playing one of the best HDR games available on PC.
The display gets everything else right, too. It's certified with G-Sync Ultimate for tear-free gaming, and it can top out at a 175Hz refresh rate. The resolution is great, too, with the 21:9 aspect ratio offering up a resolution of 3440 x 1400 across the 34-inch screen.
Although the ultrawide form factor may not be for everyone, the Alienware 34 QD-OLED is worth adjusting to. It offers the best image quality out of any gaming monitor you can buy, it's not too expensive, and it comes with the essential features PC gamers need.
Samsung Odyssey Neo G8
The best 4K HDR gaming monitor
- Fantastic HDR performance
- 240Hz is great for 4K gaming
- Solid stand and adjustments
- Moody CoreSync lighting
- Vibrant colors, if a little inaccurate
- FreeSync Premium Pro and unofficial G-Sync support
- Lazy cable management solution
- Few gaming PCs can take advantage of refresh rate
- A few random flickers on Windows desktop
Why you should buy this: It has a super-high refresh rate, excellent HDR, and impeccable clarity with a 4K resolution.
Who's it for: High-end PC gamers who don't mind spending up for the best of all worlds.
Why we chose the Samsung Odyssey Neo G8:
The Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 is a monitor that lets you have your cake and eat it, too. While most displays sacrifice image quality for refresh rate, or resolution for price, the Odyssey Neo G8 ticks every box. It's 4K, 240Hz, and comes with some of the best HDR you can get on a gaming monitor short of OLED.
Local dimming in over 1,000 zones create inky blacks and blinding highlights, providing dynamic range that most monitors can't handle. That makes it great for cinematic experiences like Cyberpunk 2077 and Horizon Zero Dawn, pushing HDR to the forefront.
It can do competitive game, as well. The 240Hz refresh rate provides better motion clarity than the stock 144Hz refresh rate most gaming monitors offer. It's not the highest refresh rate you can get on a gaming monitor, but considering the resolution and HDR performance, it's an incredible feat. We tested the monitor with Overwatch 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Rainbow Six Siege, and the display held up well in even the most competitive games.
The only downside here is price. At $1,500, the Odyssey Neo G8 is one of the more expensive gaming monitors you can buy. It's not unreasonable for how much Samsung is offering here, though, especially as displays like the Odyssey Neo G9 and Samsung Arkcost well over $2,000.
Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q
The best 1440p gaming monitor
- Fantastic color performance
- 576 full-array local dimming zones
- Wide range of stand adjustments
- 165Hz refresh rate
- Adaptive Sync support
- Weak cable management solution
- Poor black levels
Why you should buy this: It's one of the best HDR experiences you can get, and it's under $600.
Who's it for: Gamers who want fantastic HDR without breaking the bank.
Why we chose the Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q:
The Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q is a monitor that would've been impossible just a few years ago. Flagship HDR performance, G-Sync and FreeSync support, and a 1440p resolution for only $530? The Tempest GP27Q is able to deliver all of that for a low price given emerging Mini-LED tech.
The smaller lights allow the Tempest GP27Q to deliver 576 full-array local dimming zones, nearly six times as many as the Sony InZone M9. The high local dimming zone count leads to exceptional HDR performance that's normally reserved for monitors that cost well over $1,000.
It looks gorgeous, offering some of the deepest black levels and brightest highlights you can get in a gaming monitor right now. Cooler Master combines that fantastic HDR performance with a low response time and 165Hz refresh rate, making it a solid, if not perfect, option for competitive games that require lots of motion clarity.
There are some trade-offs, though. Most notably, the Tempest GP27Q isn't the most color accurate monitor. It's fantastic with HDR turned off, offering world-class color coverage and performance, but color accuracy takes a nosedive with HDR turned on.
Asus ROG Swift PG259QNR
The best 1080p gaming monitor
- Unrivaled motion clarity
- Ultra-low input lag
- Buttery smooth gameplay
- Superbly stable stand
- Includes desk clamp
- Only 1080p
- Limited mainstream appeal
Why you should buy this: It manages an insane 360Hz refresh rate for the most competitive gamers.
Who's it for: Competitive gamers who need the highest refresh rate possible.
Why we chose the Asus ROG Swift PG259QNR:
There are loads of budget 1080p monitors (we'll get to our pick there soon), so we wanted to focus on a premium 1080p option. The Asus ROG Swift PG259QNR is a monitor built specifically for competitive gaming, sporting a staggering 360Hz refresh rate.
That's the main draw, allowing you to see superb clarify in Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or even Fortnite (provided you have one of the best gaming desktops). The ROG Swift PG259QNR supports G-Sync all the way up to 360Hz, too.
Otherwise, the display is solid, if unremarkable. The IPS panel provides decent color accuracy, though not the wide gamut of the quantum dot monitors above. The 24.5-inch size helps the 1080p resolution not look too fuzzy, either, provided you want to sit up close to the display.
It's a bit of a glass cannon, but for some gamers, the Asus ROG Swift PG259QNR will be the perfect esports monitor.
Alienware 500Hz AW2524H
The best esports gaming monitor
- Extremely fast refresh rate
- Great motion clarity
- Nvidia Reflex analyzer built into the display
- Handy headphone stand
- Sturdy, low-profile base
- Very expensive
- Limited adjustments
- Lacking image quality
Why you should buy this: It's the fastest gaming monitor you can buy right now.
Who's it for: Highly competitive esports players looking for every advantage possible.
Why we chose the Alienware 500Hz AW2524H:
The Alienware AW2524H isn't for everyone. As a matter of fact, it isn't even for most people. It's expensive at $830, the image quality isn't great, and it's only 1080p. All of that is easy to overlook if you're among the most competitive esports players, though.
It's the first monitor to come with a 500Hz refresh rate, shaving milliseconds off of many of the fastest gaming monitors on the market. The Alienware AW2524H wholeheartedly focuses on esports players, providing an advantage to gamers who grind hours away in games like Overwatch 2 and Valorant.
If you step outside that audience, though, the Alienware AW2524H looks much less impressive. HDR performance is poor, image quality is lacking overall, and the small size is disappointing given how expensive the monitor is. But for that subset of gamers who only focus on competitive titles, the Alienware AW2524H delivers in a way no other monitor does.
The best budget 4K gaming monitor
- One of the only 32-inch 4K monitors with a high refresh rate
- Excellent post-calibration color accuracy
- Two HDMI 2.1 ports
- Built-in KVM switch
- Poor HDR performance
- Subpar stand
- Bad pre-calibration color accuracy
Why you should buy this: It comes with all of the features 4K gamers need, but at a price much lower than the competition.
Who's it for: 4K gamers on a tight budget.
Why we chose the Gigabyte M32U:
You can pick up the Gigabyte M32U for as little as $750, which is an insane price considering the specs. It's a 32-inch 4K monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate, and it even sports dual HDMI 2.1 ports so you can hook up a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X.
All of the specs are right, and Gigabyte goes further with an IPS panel that boasts surprisingly good color accuracy. The M32U even comes with a KVM switch, allowing you to hook up some peripherals through the included USB ports to use them between multiple systems.
It's in the odds and ends where the M32U lags behind more premium options. The stand is terrible and it doesn't come with any gamer flare. Throw the display on one of the best monitor stands, though, and those issues are easy to overlook.
Acer Nitro XZ272U
The best budget 1440p gaming monitor
- Excellent gaming performance
- Good contrast
- Suprisingly color-accurate
- Curved, but not too much
- Competitive pricing
- Lacking build quality
- Light smearing with fast motion
- Unimpressive color gamut
Why you should buy this: It hits the marks that 1440p gamers monitors should, but for about $100 less.
Who's it for: Gamers who want an optimal experience without spending too much.
Why we chose the Acer Nitro XZ272U:
The Acer Nitro XZ272U is a sweet-spot monitor, and it's easy to recommend. For around $300, you're getting a 27-inch 1440p display sporting a 1500R curve and a refresh rate of 165Hz. That's all you really need for gaming, as native 4K is prohibitively demanding in most cases.
Its VA panel doesn't come with great color coverage or contrast, but it still packs decent color accuracy out of the box. The display also comes with DisplayHDR 400 certification, though our testing shows the HDR experience isn't the best.
As is typical of VA panels, the Nitro XZ272U shows some black smearing when at overdriven refresh rates, but it's much less pronounced than competing options. And considering the panel's already fast 144Hz base refresh rate, you don't have to overdrive the display at all.
Acer Nitro XF243Y
The best budget 1080p gaming monitor
- Low input lag and response time
- Great gaming performance
- Poor stand
Why you should buy this: It's fast, accessible, and cheap.
Who's it for: Gamers looking for a feature-rich monitor for around $200.
Why we chose the Acer Nitro XF243Y:
The Acer Nitro XF243Y isn't the best monitor for gaming, but that's hard to expect for around $200. For that price, you're getting a 24-inch display with Full HD resolution and, critically, a 144Hz refresh rate. The display also supports FreeSync, allowing you to use adaptive refresh with an Nvidia or AMD GPU.
For specs, the Nitro XF243Y checks out. It shoots ahead with low input lag and an excellent response time, ensuring that you can hit your headshots and score your goals. The IPS panel means the display has solid color accuracy out of the box, even if it takes a hit when it comes to brightness and contrast.
The Nitro XF243Y doesn't support HDMI 2.1 for the latest consoles, and the stand doesn't offer a ton of room for adjustment. Still, it's hard to argue with the price of the Nitro XF243Y, especially when it carries excellent gaming performance in tow.
LG UltraGear OLED 27
The best OLED gaming monitor
- Vibrant colors and HDR
- Excellent motion clarity
- Fantastic matte finish
- Generous port selection
- Sturdy stand with plenty of adjustments
- Low SDR brightness
- Some text clarity issues
- Remote is necessary to control the display
Why you should buy this: It's the best and brightest OLED gaming monitor you can buy.
Who's it for: Premium gamers who want great responsiveness and image quality.
Why we chose the LG UltraGear OLED 27:
OLED has been available in TVs for years, but it's just starting to make its way to monitors. This panel tech, which allows pixels to turn fully off, offers the best image quality you can get out of a screen right now, with true black levels, vibrant colors, and searing highlights.
The UltraGear OLED 27 delivers on all fronts. It has the best HDR performance we've seen out of any gaming monitor, even surpassing the Alienware 34 QD-OLED. It doesn't get as bright, but that's actually a small advantage for the LG display. With lower brightness overall, the UltraGear OLED 27 is able to maintain much better color accuracy.
Great HDR performance is expected from OLED, but this panel includes a hidden advantage as well. Because individual pixels control their own brightness, response times are extremely low on OLED monitors. Combined with the 240Hz refresh rate of the UltraGear OLED 27, LG delivers motion clarity that can compete with displays with much higher refresh rates.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Yes, but it's very minor. Above 144Hz, refresh rates start to show diminishing returns, so most gamers won't notice a difference between 144Hz and 240Hz. The difference is that a 240Hz has less latency — it refreshes more often — which can make a difference in how a game feels, especially in a competitive setting.
Yes, there's a massive difference. 4K has more than four times as many pixels as 1080p (two million compared to over eight million). 4K displays look sharper and provide better clarity. You'll need a powerful gaming PC to render all of those pixels, though, so you may want to stick with a lower resolution if your rig isn't up to snuff.
The size of your monitor largely depends on what resolution it is. As the screen size gets larger, lower resolutions will become more pronounced. For gaming, we recommend a 24-inch monitor for 1080p, a 27-inch monitor for 1440p, and a 27-inch or larger monitor for 4K.
Keep in mind the aspect ratio, as well. Ultrawide monitors are wider, and the screen size isn't comparable to a standard 16:9 display. A 34-inch ultrawide monitor isn't as large as a 34-inch 16:9 one.
Yes, but not in the way you might assume. Response time on a monitor measures how long it takes from one pixel to transition to a different color, not the input lag. Faster response times provide clearer motion, so a low response time is ideal for gaming.
G-Sync and FreeSync are both adaptive refresh rate technologies. The main difference is that FreeSync is an open-source version, while G-Sync is exclusive to Nvidia graphics cards. That has largely changed in recent years, however, and most monitors with adaptive refresh will work with an AMD or Nvidia graphics card.
Yes, you can use a TV as a gaming monitor. TVs have similar options for refresh rates, resolutions, HDR support, and connections like HDMI — plus, HDMI 2.1 added support for the open Adaptive Sync technology, and some TV brands, like Samsung, support FreeSync as well.
However, TVs are generally much more expensive than monitors, so you will likely end up paying a lot more for similar specifications. TVs may also lack certain modes, menu options, and customization features that monitors have for gaming.
Absolutely. Look for a monitor that has HDMI 2.1 or later ports for the best results. The consoles support up to 4k resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate, so you can also be generous with specs and get great results.
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