Best gaming monitors for every type of setup

Gaming & Accessories

In November 2012, display giant LG announced the world’s first monitor with a 21:9 aspect ratio. Nearly a decade later, ultrawide monitors are more popular than ever.

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Which gaming monitor is best for your setup?

The monitor is one of the most important parts of a gaming setup. After all, why spend your valuable time and hard-earned money on a powerful gaming computer only to play on a dull or low-resolution display? Luckily, there’s no shortage of great monitors for sale today, and you can even get your hands on some with high-end features that don’t cost a fortune. If you’re willing to make a somewhat larger investment, you can find some fantastic models that make games look even better than you thought they could.

Depending on your setup, there’s a variety of form factors to choose from. Whether you want one main and one secondary display, a single curved 16:9 monitor or a massive and immersive ultrawide, there’s something for just about everyone.

Important gaming monitor features

Size

Size is a good place to start when selecting a monitor, as a 34-inch ultrawide model takes up significantly more space and usually costs much more than a standard 24-inch monitor. Many gamers feel that 27-inches or 32-inches is the sweet spot for viewing across a desk. 

Resolution

Resolution is another basic and important thing to consider. If you go with a smaller monitor, 1080p will look just fine, but once you get into the 32-inch range, 1440p or more is almost a necessity to avoid rough edges. Ultra HD and similarly dense resolutions are especially worth it at that point, too, although 4K gaming requires a significant amount of processing power.

Refresh rates

There are plenty of advanced features to be aware of aside from size and resolution, though. In 2021, all worthwhile gaming monitors support variable refresh rates, and many work with both Nvidia and AMD GPUs up to about five years old. For that matter, almost all new gaming monitors boast refresh rates higher than the 60 or 75 hertz ratings that have been standard for decades. Some even offer blistering speeds of 360Hz, although those are very costly and limited by connection bandwidth to the 1080p resolution.

Color gamut

What not all panels have, though, is a wide color gamut. There are more models than ever with substantial support for the DCI-P3 color gamut, which is the one most movies are mastered in. Those do come at somewhat of a premium, but their prices are steadily dropping.

Ratio

There’s one class of monitors that’s expanding with impressive quickness. In years past, the most dedicated space and flight simulator fans had to set up three monitors side-by-side for an immersive experience, but now there are so many 21:9 and even 32:9 monitors that immersive simulation is easier than ever. These aren’t usually cheap, but they can be some of the most advanced gaming displays on the market.

Top gaming monitors

Asus ROG Strix XG27AQ

Asus ROG Strix XG27AQ

A 4K resolution on a 27-inch panel puts this one among the most crisp-looking models on the market, with an image so clear you can probably disable anti-aliasing entirely. On top of the impressive pixel density, it can operate at up to 170Hz and boasts DisplayHDR 400 certification as well as refined IPS technology for a remarkably low pixel response time.

Sold by: Amazon

Acer Predator X38

Acer Predator X38

Almost as immersive as anything else out there, this 38-inch model is as tall as a normal 32-inch model but inches wider. Its 21:9 aspect ratio demands quite a bit of processing power but can make games especially cinematic and suspenseful.

Sold by: Amazon

Samsung Odyssey G7

Samsung Odyssey G7

One of their highest-performing monitors to date, this 1440p option boasts a 240Hz refresh rate for just about the smoothest motion possible. Its aggressive 1000R curvature helps to put you inside the game and its QLED technology provides a color volume that few others can match. It’s one of the few monitors in its size with DisplayHDR 600 certification.

Sold by: Amazon

LG C1 OLED TV

LG C1 OLED TV

While it’s not technically a dedicated PC monitor, its HDMI 2.1 support makes it the perfect large-format choice for use with a recent GPU or high-end gaming console. Its OLED technology delivers just about the highest contrast ratio possible and its color volume is just about unmatched by anything else on the market. Plus, as long as you vary the content you consume and take a couple of special precautions like auto-hiding the taskbar, you shouldn’t have to worry about burn-in.

Sold by: Amazon

AOC CQ32G2S

AOC CQ32G2S

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice image quality or frame rate. This entry-level 32-inch monitor offers an impressive pixel response time that all but eliminates ghosting. Its peak variable refresh rate of 165Hz minimizes stuttering and can make you better at first-person shooters. Its impressive warranty even covers it against dead pixels for three years.

Sold by: Amazon

Samsung Odyssey Neo G9

Samsung Odyssey Neo G9

There’s currently nothing like the Neo G9 on the market. It measures a whopping 49-inches, but possibly the most notable part is its use of Mini-LED lighting zones for an unheard-of peak brightness of 2,000 nits as well as remarkably powerful local dimming. That, along with its quantum dot filtration, means it has some of the best HDR performance of any display ever released. The main drawback to this one is its price, but you can pick up the previous model, the Samsung Odyssey G9, for considerably less.

Sold by: Amazon

Sony X90J

Sony X90J

If you plan on playing console games with friends, want something that can pull double duty in your home theater, or just really like large and immersive displays, this mid-range LCD TV is an excellent choice. It’s compatible with HDMI 2.1 signals to support 4K video at 120Hz, gets significantly brighter than OLED TVs and is a bit less expensive. Refined contrast boosting affords it surprisingly deep blacks for an LCD and full-array backlighting enables powerful HDR playback.

Sold by: Amazon

Alienware AW2721D

Alienware AW2721D

This is one of the rare models with official G-Sync Ultimate certification. Instead of simply ensuring variable refresh rate support, this advanced classification guarantees a peak brightness of 1,000 nits, ultra-low input lag, local dimming and extensive DCI-P3 color space coverage. Despite this almost unrivaled set of features, it still costs less than $1,000.

Sold by: Dell and Amazon

Viotek GNV34DBE2 Ultrawide

Viotek GNV34DBE2 Ultrawide

It turns out that you don’t have to make a huge investment to get an ultrawide-format monitor. While they’re not particularly well-known, Viotek makes a variety of worthwhile monitors and several in the 21:9 form factor, like the GNV34DBE2. It has a 3,440 by 1,440 resolution, peak refresh rate of 144Hz and a guarantee of zero dead pixels for at least three years.

Sold by: Amazon

Asus ROG Swift PG259QNR

Asus ROG Swift PG259QNR

Competitive esports enthusiasts, take note: This is the fastest monitor yet released, able to display a borderline ridiculous 360 frames per second. It’s also equipped with Nvidia’s novel Reflex technology, which analyzes your system from mouse to monitor to ensure the lowest possible input latency and motion blur. Its 24-inch panel is the perfect size for keeping your enemies and teammates in your field of view at all times.

Sold by: Amazon

Gigabyte M32Q

Gigabyte M32Q

Despite its relatively affordable price, the M32Q offers many advanced specifications including a wide color gamut and HDR output rarely found on models in this range. It claims a pixel response time of less than 1ms and there’s a 27-inch version called the M27Q that’s every bit as good but takes up less space and has a higher pixel density.

Sold by: Amazon

AOC C24G1A

AOC C24G1A

If you’re on a tight budget or just don’t have much desk space, this reasonably priced model is a good choice. At 24-inches with a 1080p resolution, its image is surprisingly crisp, and nearly 120% coverage of the sRGB color space means it looks better than many others with similar costs.

Sold by: Amazon

 

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

 

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