You know the saying that goes something along the lines of a bad worker will always blame his tools? Whereas it probably doesn’t hold true for a lot of things and it depends on how talented the artisan or workman is, the same can’t be said for a gaming monitor.
We aren’t talking about the casual gamer who secretly logs on at the office for a quick game of Candy Crush or Bejeweled; we are referring to the gamer who lives and dies by their gaming. The one who has invested time and money into getting the very best gaming equipment and accessories together, from the ergonomically designed chair to the super-mouse and the keyboard.
Serious gamers know that investing in the very best monitor for gaming is the difference between conquering the zombie Frank West style in Dead Rising 4 or failing dismally at your mission like Amanda Ripley in Alien: Isolation. In our humble opinion playing with a below-average monitor for gaming is like jumping out of an airplane with a huge hole in your parachute; it is just dumb. And unnecessary.
The most important component for a gamer is his graphics card. You can take his freedom but you can never ever take his graphics card. But you still want a quality screen so you can get the very best out of your gaming experience; and given the amount of time you spend in front of your gaming monitor and how much they cost you want it to last a long time, at least the better part of a decade.
Finding out what is the best gaming monitor isn’t hard, it is near impossible. What with the constant updates and additions, the new features and the upgrades, it is difficult to keep your finger on the button, but that’s where we come in.
Our testing has been stringent, with our panel of experts putting in long hours. We have spoken to experts, and visited forums; we have looked at other reviews and made comparisons and we think it is safe to say that our guide to the best gaming monitor is probably the most definitive. If you don’t find something here to suit your needs and your budget we will spend a weekend playing Farm Heroes.
Nowadays gaming monitors are built for console gaming or specific genres and even though it isn’t included in this review there are even portable screens that go wherever you do. Manufacturers of gaming monitors are constantly upping the ante from the ultra-wide screens to new panel types and the challenge of keeping up with the changes and additions is enough, let alone knowing which gaming monitor has had what done to it.
For this purpose of this review we have looked at the best monitors for gaming across various categories and brands, including the best overall gaming monitor, the best 1440p monitor, the best 144Hz monitor, the best 4K, the best budget monitor, the best monitor under $300, the best monitor under $200, the best ultra-wide monitor, the best ultra-wide curved monitor, the best g sync monitor, the best BenQ monitor, the best budget 4k monitor and the best 4k ultra-wide monitor. We have also included a buying guide and we have tried to answer, to the best of our ability: ‘how do I know which monitor for gaming to choose?’, ‘what is refresh rate and why does it matter to me?’ and ‘how important is screen resolution?’
|Best Overall Monitor||ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q||27"||2560×1440||IPS||165Hz|
|Best 1440p Monitor||Acer XB270HU||27"||2560 x 1440||IPS||144Hz|
|Best 144hz Monitor||ASUS VG278HV||27"||1920 x 1080||TN||144Hz|
|Best 4k Monitor||Dell Ultra HD 4k Monitor P2715Q||27"||3840 x 2160||IPS||60 Hz|
|Best Budget Monitor||AOC G2460PQU||24"||1920 x 1080||TN||144Hz|
|Best Monitor Under $300||ASUS VG245H||24"||1920 x 1080||TN||75 Hz|
|Best Monitor $200||Acer R240HY||23.8"||1920 x 1080||TN||60 Hz|
|Best Ultra-Wide Monitor||ASUS PB328Q||32"||2560 x 1440||VA||75 Hz|
|Best Ultra-Wide Curved Monitor||Acer Predator X34||34"||3440 x 1440||IPS||100 Hz|
|Best G Sync Monitor||Acer Predator XB271HK||27"||3840 x 2160||IPS||60 Hz|
|Best BenQ Monitor||BenQ GW2765HT||27"||2560 x 1440||IPS||60 Hz|
|Budget 4k Monitor||ViewSonic XG2700-4K||27"||3840 x 2160||IPS||60 Hz|
|Best 4k Ultra-Wide Monitor||SAMSUNG S34E790C CURVED MONITOR||34"||3440 x 1440||VA||60 Hz|
Overall Best Gaming Monitor of 2017
The ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q
Things we really like:
- Excellent performance
- G-Sync included
- Very high refresh rate
- Incredibly low input lag
- Magnificent IPS color reproduction
- An adjustable stand
Things we didn’t like:
- Quality isn’t always guaranteed (according to some users)
There has been a lot of hype around the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q gaming monitor and we tried really hard to find something, anything that we could complain about with the latest addition to the Asus family and we did, but to be honest the things we found were small and almost not worth mentioning.
If you know anything about gaming you would have already heard about the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q. It’s like the holy grail of gaming monitors. Legend has it the price tag is a little on the heavy side but do we think it’s worth yet? Hell yes and here’s why.
Form and Function
Asus ROG Swift PG279Q, if it were legal to marry a gaming monitor in any one of our fine states we’d move there with our Swift PG279Q and live happily ever after. From the flawless design to its functionality the PG279Q is worth every penny spent and then some. The quarter thick bezel, large stand, red LED-backlit accents and the Republic of Gamers insignia might not be up everyone’s alley but we reckon it looks the part without being garish and over-the-top.
The neck of the stand allows you to adjust and move the screen around, whether you want to change the height, swivel it from left to right, tilt it up or down or pivot it into a portrait orientation and if you are a little like us you will appreciate the small routing cut-out in the neck that helps kbeeep clutter to a minimum.
With the Asus you also have the option of removing the stand completely by taking out the four screws that hold the panel in place.
The image quality of the Asus ROG Swift is incredible, in fact it is picture perfect. It comes pretty much fully assembled so there is very little to no setting up or configuration needed at all. Simply pull it out the box, plug it in and play.
While the resolution might not be as impressive as 4K we think 2560×1440 is a good choice for high-resolution gaming; it’s not too much, it’s not too little, it’s just right. It’s also the best computer monitor for gaming.
Besides the well-thought out resolution it has a refresh rate of 165Hz and our test panel also commented on the color accuracy and strong contrast, with a low response time and the minimum amount of ghosting.
Ultimate Gaming Monitor
The Asus ROG Swift PG279Q has very similar specs and features to the PG278Q but with one major difference: the new model has an IPS-type panel which offers a better overall performance. With the rest of the monitor they have opted to use old adage “if it ain’t broke why fix it?” They kept the 2560 x 1440 resolution, the fast response time, G-Sync support, the ULMB support as well as the style and build of their other ROG products.
Given the specs of the PG279Q you wouldn’t be amiss to think the monitor is aimed at the FPS 3D action type of gamer with a quicker refresh rate and an even lower response time but the team at Asus decided to build the best gaming monitor to suit as many gaming needs as possible.
Instead of the TN panel the IPS panel dramatically improves the color production and range as well as the viewing angles, however the tradeoff for the IPS panel is the response time, which is 4ms as opposed to the 1ms response time of the PG278Q TN.
When looking at other gaming monitors’ specs the ROG Swift PG279Q is the s*** and stands in a league of its own. From the refresh rate of 165Hz, a 4ms response time and a 3.25ms input lag time you soon understand why it costs as much as it does. And you are happy to pay it. As far as we are concerned there quite simply isn’t another gaming monitor like it and if you’re able to overlook the price then we highly recommend it as not only the best Asus monitor, but also as the best PC monitor for gaming. To put it simply, if you were to ask us what is the best monitor for gaming, we would tell you without hesitation it’s the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q.
The Best 1440p Monitor
What we really like:
- The 144Hz refresh rate
- 1440p resolution
- Excellent color accuracy
- Solid stand and design
What we didn’t like:
- The design of the monitor doesn’t match its price
- Very expensive
Although it is considered to be an expensive gaming monitor we think the XB270HU is well worth it when you look at its specs. With a 144 Hz refresh rate, 1440p resolution, an IPS panel, a 1ms response time, G-Sync, LED back-lighting and a 27 inch screen that’s on fleek we can say without a shadow of a doubt you are not going to find a monitor for gaming with these specs in this price range.
Form and Function
Like a lot of the best 1440p gaming monitors on the market the design is understated. It is almost as if far more attention was paid to what it can do rather than what it looks like, but even having said that it is by no means an ugly looking monitor. On the contrary; it is professional looking with a hint of orange at the base being the only indicator that this is more a gaming monitor.
We feel that given this price point ergonomic adjustments should be a standard feature so we aren’t going to go into too much detail, but suffice to say the screen can slide up and down, rotate on its base and swivel a full 90 degrees for portrait viewing.
The Finer Details
As we mentioned earlier when it comes to gaming monitors, gamers often find themselves compromising here and there; perhaps opting for a high refresh rate and foregoing the color quality, or choosing high resolution over the refresh rate, but the Acer XB270HU offers you a high refresh rate display with IPS panel and G-Sync that eliminates any tearing while you are busy playing. Need we say any more?
When we asked a few pro-gamers how the XB270HU actually performs as a gaming monitor the response was a unanimous one: they all agree that with the IPS for color accuracy and viewing, the 1440p for the impressive visuals and 144Hz for the smooth and responsive gaming it is without a doubt the ultimate gaming experience.
The biggest gripe is that the monitor won’t be winning any beauty competitions but this isn’t a pageant and given everything else this MOFO brings to your gaming experience – from the picture quality, the color, refresh rate and the resolution – we can guarantee that the last thing you are going to be looking at is the casing of the 1440p monitor. All in all this is the best 1440p monitor for gaming.
The Best 144Hz Monitor
What we really like:
- 144Hz refresh rate
What we didn’t like:
- Image quality
The VG278HV comes in under $500 and is considered to be one of Asus’ cheaper gaming monitor options but don’t let that fool you; it is packed to the brim with features and hardware you would usually find on monitors that cost two to three times more.
The Real Deal
The Asus VG278HV is a tournament ready 27-inch Full HD 1440p gaming monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time that minimizes input lag. It has dual built-in speakers and as far as the viewing angles go you adjust the height, swivel and tilt it.
The gaming monitor has excellent clarity but we need to say that with a color range of 72% it battles to compete with other monitors in this specific category. If you are a gamer who likes discussing all the features and specs over a morning coffee you won’t like that the there is no G-Sync or FreeSync but, and it’s a big but, it does have a 144Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time as well as Splendid Video Intelligence, a feature exclusive to Asus that analyzes where and what you are using your monitor for and adjusts the picture quality accordingly.
Is it the most exciting looking gaming monitor on the market? Probably not! However if you’re after quality rather than quantity then this is the monitor for you. This is definitely the best 144hz gaming monitor.
The Best 4k Monitor for Gaming
Dell Ultra HD 4k Monitor P2715Q
What we really like:
- Simple to use and intuitive on-screen controls
- Beautiful picture
What we didn’t like:
- Boring design
An overriding theme with 4k gaming monitors is the lack of time and thought given to their appearance. We aren’t sure what it is, maybe they think because it is a product aimed at guys the design isn’t important. Whatever the reason the Dell P2715Q is no different to the other displays already reviewed.
However if you take a look at the specs on paper you’ll see the P2715Q takes gaming very seriously.
No Frills Loads of Thrills
First of all the gaming monitor has a 27-inch screen with 3840 x 2160 resolution. No, you didn’t read it wrong. The Dell P2715Q has over 8 million pixels, with four times more detail than full HD. One user scored it 10 out of 10 across image quality, ease of set up and value for money and to be honest you will be hard pressed to find a serious gamer who doesn’t appreciate this monitor.
The on-screen control menu is simple to use and very precise. We like that everything is easy to find with a clear legible text rather than icons that could mean anything. If you enjoy fiddling you won’t like that you don’t have a lot of options to change things. With this being the best 4k monitor for gaming you can only tweak the contrast sharpness, brightness and RGB values, but having said that we also need to mention it doesn’t need much fiddling.
You won’t be disappointed with this 4K gaming monitor. Its IPS panel offers wide viewing angles, with awesome color and over 160 pixels per inch and if you decide on this one, you will have one beast of a unit.
The Best Budget Gaming Monitor
What we really like:
- It is reasonably priced
- Supports FreeSync and 144Hz
What we didn’t like:
- That pesky TN panel again
Let’s get real. Not everyone wants to (or can) spend in the upper hundreds or thousands on a gaming monitor. Thankfully over the last few years gaming displays have become far more accessible, allowing gamers on a budget to experience high-end features on affordable monitors.
More Bang for Your Buck
The AOC G2460PQU is a mid-sized cheap gaming monitor that comes in under $250 and we would happily recommend it if you are just getting into gaming or if you are looking for a well-priced option.
Clarity and quality on this low-priced gaming monitor is good and even though it is a TN panel we consider the color accuracy and range to be very good. Other features that we think add value to the G2460PQU is the picture mode with six presets and the ‘i-Care’ option which uses a sensor to automatically adjust the brightness of the monitor according to the brightness of the room.
Looking at its performance from the 144Hz refresh rate to the 1ms response time and its connectivity this budget-friendly gaming monitor gives you a smooth experience with very little blurring and flickering, zero lag and screen tearing; features you definitely wouldn’t expect on a budget gaming monitor that costs less than $250.
Unexpected but very cool is the hook at the back of the monitor which keeps the cables together and your desk clean. There are two USB ports on the right side of the panel and another two with the rest of the connectivity ports and just like its more expensive counterparts the screen can be adjusted height wise, and it can be tilted, pivoted and can be used as landscape or in portrait mode.
We asked our test panel what they really thought of the AOC G2460PQU and all agreed that nothing comes close to the price point for both 144Hz and FreeSync when looking for the best cheap gaming monitor. Of course there are those that didn’t rate it but we’re not sure if they were comparing apples with apples or rather budget monitors with budget monitors.
The Best Monitor Under $300
Things we like:
- Support for FreeSync up to 75 Hz
- Eye Care technology with flicker-free and blue light filter to minimize eye fatigue
- Exclusive GameVisual and GamePlus functions to enhance color performance and control
- FPS counter and Crosshair
Things we didn’t like:
- No options for DVI or DisplayPort
- Lacks G-Sync support
We are going to start off by saying you can’t go wrong with an Asus gaming monitor, regardless of the size and the specs and the Asus VG245H is testament to that. It is a 24-inch TN monitor with a maximum refresh rate of 75Hz and a fast response time of 1ms and it comes in under $300 making it arguably the best gaming monitor for the money.
Value for Money
The stand for the monitor has a hole in the middle for all the cables which doesn’t sound like a big deal but gamers know there are a lot of cables which get in the way and this is a nifty cable management system is a way of keeping them all together.
As with other gaming monitors that cost a small fortune, the VG245H can tilt and swivel up to 90 degrees and you can adjust the height up to 130mm. We like that you can tilt it forward, up to 5 degrees, or backwards up to 33 degrees for a more comfortable gaming session and viewing comfort.
The one drawback is the TN panel and as a result users have complained about the narrow viewing angles and the lack of poor color accuracy. To be honest we don’t consider it to be a deal breaker – the monitor performs well and considering the very reasonable price point it is a slight glitch that can be overlooked, especially when you’re barrel-deep in your FPS game.
By now you should already be sold on the VG245H with all the features we have mentioned but Asus saw fit to include their exclusive “Game fast input Technology” which eliminates any lag, as well as their flicker-free Eye Care technology and a low blue light filter that prevents eyestrain from too much monitor time, which is standard for gamers.
Another feature, exclusive to Asus is their Game plus Technology that includes a whole lot of tools to improve your gameplay. From the static crosshair that stays in the middle of the screen, a timer for those games that need precision timings, an FPS counter and an alignment tool to make sure what you see on the screen is aligned with the monitor.
The Asus VG245H monitor can be used for console gaming as well as PC. It is one of the few monitors for gaming in its price range with features like Freesync, built-in speaker, flicker free, blue light filter and is able to tilt, pivot and adjust the height.
Would we get it? Not at this point, only because we have been lucky enough to experience the technology and quality that comes with some of the best high-end gaming monitors but if we were given a budget of $300 then without a shadow of a doubt, this would be our top choice.
The Best Monitor Under $200
Things we like:
- Excellent value for money
- Great image quality and viewing angle
- Good response time
- Blue light filter
Things we didn’t like:
- No VESA-mounting; it has to be bought separately
- No support for AMD FreeSync or G-Sync
- Slight backlight bleeding present
While reading our review keep reminding yourself that this is the best gaming monitor under $200, so bear in mind its features will be lackluster compared to its prestigious competition. The Acer R240HY is unashamedly a low-budget gaming monitor and it doesn’t try to be anything else. However the features are normally found on monitors that cost a whole lot more.
It boasts flawless image quality with vibrant colors and impressive contrast ratio as well as 4ms response time that gets rid of ghosting.
The Acer R240HY monitor is energy efficient and only uses 19W of power in standard model; while in the ECO preset it is uses an impressive 12W. Your eyes are protected with the Acer’s ComfyView technology and the reduced flickering while the built-in blue light filter is adjustable and also helps with eye strain.
If you’re a photographer, designer or gamer you will appreciate the color accuracy and picture quality thanks to the IPS panel, which also allows you to watch the screen from any angle and distance without colors losing their quality.
This is an awesome gaming monitor regardless of its price and the added value features that come with the Acer R240HY puts it in the same category as other display screens that cost a lot more. The 4ms response time makes it worth the purchase alone, never mind the measured input lag of 9.5ms which means no ghosting, no blurring.
There are very few monitors for gaming under $200 that come jam-packed with the above mentioned features and as far as value for money and performance goes we think the Acer R240HY really is a no-brainer.
The Best Ultra-Wide Monitor
What we like:
- The black levels and color accuracy
- No calibration needed
- Responsive panel
- Low input lag
- OSD joystick
- Picture-in-Picture (PIP) and Picture-by-Picture (PBP)
What we didn’t like:
- Ordinary response time of 4ms
- Minimal ghosting (to be honest it was difficult to find something we didn’t like but we did have someone mention this)
One of the perks of our job is that we get to review a lot of high-end gaming monitors, ones that we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to. The reason we review them is because they often have the latest technology and features and it is usually a good indication of what is to come for the rest of the gaming industry. Think of it as ‘haute la technologie’.
Haute la technologie’
To date we haven’t come across the perfect gaming monitor but the Asus PB328Q is pretty darn close to it. The 32-inch QHD AMVA panel does everything well. It is as simple as that.
The high-end monitor features a wide color gamut with a10-bit display color and supports a 12-bit internal LUT for a smoother transition between hues. It has a 100,000,000 Asus Smart Contrast Ratio for enhanced image contrast.
Something not mentioned with our other monitors is the Picture-in-Picture (PIP) and Picture-by-Picture (PBP) features, which allow you to view images from different signals in various ways, and you can switch between the main and PIP source, including audio. The QuickFit Virtual Scale Function lets you preview documents and photos in their actual size before you print them and it comes with a choice of seven different background colors for you to choose from.
We felt a little cheated with the response time, a very ordinary 4ms, which you find on the most basic of monitors. It isn’t ideal for gaming but we do feel it is an area that needs to be relooked.
As with all Asus gaming monitors the Asus PB328Q comes with EyeCare Flicker-Free Technology, EyeCare Low Blue Light Filter and an ergonomic stand.
If you are a bit of a technophobe there is a good chance that all the features and specs won’t mean very much to you. Like our one tester’s partner who could only comment ‘how nice the photos look’ on the screen. However if you are a pro-anything (gamer, designer, photographer) you will appreciate that this is one helluva unit and deserves the many accolades it has already received.
The Best Ultra-Wide Curved Monitor
Acer Predator X34
What we liked:
- Awesome design
- Excellent color accuracy
- The curves boost gaming immersion
What we didn’t like:
- Underwhelming speakers
- Takes up a lot of space
Trust us you want to get your hands on Acer’s Predator X34. It is a curved ultra-wide gaming beast worth taming.
First of its Kind
The curved G-Sync gaming monitor is the first of its kind to truly immerse you in a virtual world. The ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio gives you a wider field and brings movies and gaming to life when compared with a flat display with the same measurements. The ZeroFrame adds to the entire experience and supports a seamless multi-monitor setup.
As far as the design of the monitor goes it is very clean with a discreet red-edged Predator emblem on the base. We think it looks the part and we like that they opted to go with physical buttons instead of finicky touch sensors that come with a host of issues of their own.
If we’re going to nitpick we need to mention the Predator not only guzzles your competitors on-screen, it also takes up a lot of desk space. And it just feels ‘in the way’ sometimes.
In terms of technology, the X34 isn’t lacking; from the high-definition resolution, the gentle curve and G-Sync as well as the 21:9 aspect ratio, but strip these away and you still have an amazing IPS panel.
We have established the exterior of the monitor is pretty awesome but when you switch it on the Predator comes alive.
We found that the entire picture across the screen is uniform; from the colors to the black levels across the entire 34-inch screen there is no IPS glow or any sign of a bleeding backlight. There are also a couple of smart built-in features that are expected like the blue light filter for your eyes.
If you are after super-smooth gameplay, and who isn’t, the Predator X34 is a dream come true. NVIDIA G-Sync synchronizes the refresh rate of the monitor to eliminate screen tearing, minimizes display stutter and input lag so scenes appear instantly, objects look sharper and there is little to no juddering.
We haven’t mentioned the sound quality on the other gaming monitors, and that’s because none are very good, but the Predator’ two built-in 7W DTS speakers put you smack-bang in the middle of the action with ear-shattering (in a good way) explosions, whizzing bullets you might actually dodge and breaking glass.
Overall the Acer X34 is an excellent gaming monitor with a lot of detail. From the curved screen and the solid stand with the aluminum base and cable management hole to the different lighting effects, it should come with the following warning: you could fall in love.
But, and you know what is coming, the Predator isn’t perfect. And with its hefty price tag you expect it to be. There is a small assortment of ports and we thought the speakers, although better than average, are still underpowered and need work.
Overall the X34 is a large display monitor that can be used for work and play and even with its flaws it is an unbelievable piece of technology that will look good in your office or man-cave.
The Best G Sync Monitor
Acer Predator XB271HK
What we liked:
- Great gaming performance
- Awesome design
- Solid color accuracy
What we don’t like:
- Surprise surprise, the speakers aren’t great
- It doesn’t come cheap
The Predator monitors from Acer are definitely their flagship range and for that reason a lot of them look very similar. In fact at first glance you would find it difficult telling the screens apart. The Acer Predator XB271HK fits perfectly in with the rest of range with its 4K gaming performance and its color accuracy, however even we were taken aback by its price tag and we didn’t like the settings menu.
This G Sync monitor has everything you have come to expect from the Acer stable; subtle red lining, the Predator crest, a screen that swivels from side to side, can be used in portrait mode and -5 degrees to 35 degrees of vertical swing positioning. Throw G-Sync in the mix and you’ve got a kick-ass gaming monitor that eats its competition up alive.
We loved testing the XB271HK: it is everything a gaming monitor should be and if it is a sign of what high resolution displays are capable of in the future all we can say is bring it on!
When you are paying a premium there are a few features you kind of expect, like zero screen-tearing, out-of-this-world image and color quality. And there are a few bonus features that justify the price tag.
If you’re one of the lucky gamers who has a new NVIDIA GTX 1080 graphics card and want a 4K gaming display that is unbeatable, the Acer Predator XB271HK has your name all over it.
With Acer you always know you are getting a good product and the Predator XB271HK is no different. If money isn’t a huge concern we highly recommend this as the best G Sync gaming monitor. It is turbocharged gaming with jaw dropping specs and game winning features. With the Predator as part of your arsenal you will be battle ready all the time.
The Best BenQ Monitor
What we like:
- Good contrast and color accuracy
- Consistent screen quality
- Versatile stand design
What we don’t like:
- No USB ports
- Not competitively priced
This is BenQ’s first attempt at a gaming monitor in the 1440p space and it isn’t all bad considering. Some of us felt it is a good all-rounder while a few panel members felt it was trying to be all things to all people, as opposed to focusing on one particular spec.
For us there are a few non-negotiables when it comes to a monitor specifically aimed at gamers and that is the response time (this monitor is 4ms), an adjustable stand that can swivel, turn and pivot and the least amount of input lag. The BenQ GW2765HT delivers on all of these, except for the lag and it caps out at 60Hz which isn’t great for competitive gaming.
The design is simple, bordering on plain, but that isn’t a major drawback given that a lot of gaming monitors have overlooked the aesthetics. It isn’t an ultra-thin monitor but the base is bulkier than others and it keeps this display steady and wobble-free. Besides being able to adjust it height wise as well as swivel, tilt and pivot it we like that it can be wall mounted with minimum fuss.
Something that we really didn’t like was the buttons located behind the screen and with zero indentations to help, you find yourself pressing random buttons until you hit the right one. Yup first world problems and all, but still.
The Not So Bad
This is the manufacturer’s first attempt at a gaming monitor in this space and they seem to have made the rookie mistake of trying to squeeze an IPS monitor and a gaming monitor into one product with a low price point. Although they haven’t been able to do this they have managed to get the important things right, like the color quality, the resolution, the contrast and brightness as well as a 4ms response rate but they have failed in other areas like the input lag.
Looking at the BenQ GW2765HT, warts and all, it really isn’t a bad unit but like we said before, instead of focusing on one or two features and getting those spot on, they have come out guns blazing and have sadly missed the mark. What we do look forward to is the day they get it all right, and deliver the mother of all gaming monitors.
For now though would we recommend the monitor? Absolutely. It’s the best benQ gaming monitor on the market. Just be sure you know what you are going to be using it for so there isn’t any post-purchase dissonance.
The Budget 4k Monitor
What we like:
- Consistently excellent image quality
- AMD FreeSync
- Versatile, solid stand
- Plenty of ports
What we don’t like:
- Windows scaling options required
- Rivals monitors look snazzier
Once again if it was a review based on looks the ViewSonic XG2700-4K would be left standing in the wings. It’s not an impressive looking panel at all but don’t let that fool you. The image quality is excellent, and if you are after a well-priced 4K gaming monitor you’ve found it.
The XG2700-4K’s key feature for gaming is AMD FreeSync. The technology behind this synchronizes the graphics card output with a refresh rate that guarantees your game runs smooth, and it works well – there is zero tearing or juddering regardless of what you are playing.
Alongside AMD Freesync the monitor features a gray-to-gray (GTG) response time of 5ms and a refresh rate of 144Hz, an awesome addition if you are big on FSP games. Just like the other monitors featured the ViewSonic has a height adjustment, swivel and tilt options as well as a portrait mode and it is also compatible with VESA mounts.
Things we Like
We like that there are touch-sensitive buttons instead of those tiny ones that are a challenge for adults with fingers bigger than a toddler’s. And we really like the multi-picture mode, a feature that lets you see feeds from up to four inputs, at the same time. If you consider yourself a multi-tasker you’ll enjoy catching up on the football highlights while walking through the streets of Gotham City. Where most gaming monitors have a two display set up, which is more than sufficient, it is easy to get spoilt with this niche feature on the ViewSonic and they have managed to keep input lag to a minimum.
When it comes to the 4K resolution there isn’t much room to complain. The monitor displays over 8 million pixels with a high pixel density so it goes without saying the monitor delivers exceptional image detail and stunning clarity. It has 4 times more pixels than Full HD resolution and you will get to experience the battlefield as if you were there.
Things We Don’t Like
Although not major issues we found the on-screen display graphics a little old-school on this gaming monitor, and not in a cool, retro way and there aren’t too many gamer-centric features, like FPS counters and crosshair targeting but it does have profiles for most of the games including FPS, MOBA and RTS.
Depending on your personal preference you might find the screen lacks brightness. We were ok with it but a few people mentioned that the output is a little dull.
Something else that might leave you wanting is the overall look. If you are after a sleek, contemporary design you aren’t going to like the XG2700-4K. There are far more sophisticated looking gaming monitors available but it still looks good on a desk. There are a few rough edges here and there and the plastic on the base should be relooked but they’re not major issues.
The ViewSonic is a fantastic choice if you are looking for a high-quality 4K gaming monitor and while it features a lot of the high-end features we still consider it to be well-priced.
The 4k Ultra-Wide Monitor
SAMSUNG S34E790C CURVED MONITOR
What we like:
- Stunning design
- Deep blacks
- Warm colors
- Great connectivity
- Calibration unlocks full potential
What we don’t like:
- Heavy and bulky
We have bemoaned the ugly or less than impressive looking gaming monitors time and time again, but every now and then a display hits the market that makes you sit up and take notice. Even if the Samsung S34E790C was an empty shell on your desk it would draw attention.
This isn’t the first 21:9 panel we’ve tested but it is one of the few curved screens and measuring an impressive 34 inches it is certainly among the biggest. The first thing you notice is the ultra-wide screen; it is impressive to say the least, and with the thin glossy black bezel around the display even the most jaded gamer (as if there is such a thing) stands in absolute awe. What we liked is that even though it swallows most normal sized desks it doesn’t take up a lot of space, which is a huge plus if you are using it for multiple purposes.
The monitor is already configured and you can pretty much remove it from its packaging and start playing straight away. The screen is capable of 99% of the sRGB spectrum, and 76% of the Adobe RGB spectrum. The brightness is a fairly mid-range 288 nit, which is more than adequate in a bright office or room.
This is a gaming monitor that can be used for work and play, but we need to tell you once you play on an ultra-wide screen you are not going to want to go back to standard aspect ratio.
It goes without saying the Samsung SE790C is a high-end gaming monitor; from the 1440p resolution and the curve in its display to the many benchmarks, there’s very little to complain about. And given the price tag there shouldn’t be.
Unless you have deep pockets you will do more than flinch when you see the $$$ but in the same breath it is in a league of its own and we feel it is actually well-priced for all that if offers.
On Samsung’s rear panel you will find two 7W speakers. They have got ample volume and are a clear step up from what you get built into most gaming monitors, but we remain unimpressed with the quality. The huge bass overwhelms the mid-range, and top-end tones are underwhelming. The music mode attempts to balance the range a little, but the results are still mediocre. If discrete speakers or headphones were available, we would opt for those instead.
It would seem that if you can come up with an awesome sound system for a gaming monitor you will make a few million dollars. Even this monster of a gaming monitor falls flat in the sound quality category. It has two 7W speakers and although they are better than what you find in most gaming monitors they still aren’t great. Please someone come up with a kick-ass sound system!
If you want a premium gaming monitor with all the bells, whistles and tap-dancing shoes then this is the gaming monitor for you. From the incredible screen, the image quality to the viewing angles you won’t find a lot of monitors that can compete. Also the high-resolution VA panel, the curve and bragging rights are reasons enough to part with your hard-earned cash.
The Samsung SE790C isn’t for everyone; it is a luxury gaming monitor for a niche audience but we are hoping we can convince the boss we need one in the office.
Monitor Mumbo Jumbo
Don’t be baffled with all the BS out there. Although people use jargon and ‘geek-speak’ we suggest you brush up on some of the common terminology used in the gaming world.
- Brightness – brightness is measured in ‘nits’ and most monitors have a maximum brightness of 300 nits or more.
- Black level – also using ‘nits’ the black level refers to how black a monitor can look. Ideally you want 0.5 nits or less. This is important when it comes to enjoying HD games and movies.
- Input lag – this refers to the time between moving your mouse and seeing it move on screen. It’s not normally a key decider unless you’re playing FPS games.
Our Buying Guide
If you are lucky enough to be upgrading your monitor or buying one for the first time there are a few essential features that will either enhance your gaming experience or leave you hanging, literally.
There are so many gaming monitors available on the market and they vary from their features to their prices, and while you may be tempted to buy the most expensive one believing it is the best we believe that with the right information you could save yourself some money, a little time and a lot of frustration during your search for the best gaming monitor.
Different monitors offer different gaming experiences and with the wide selection available there is one to suit your needs and more importantly, your budget.
Our up-to-date gaming monitor buying guide will hopefully be a quick reference for you to make sure the monitor you plan on bringing home with you is the right one.
Any gamer worth their salt will tell you the most important spec to look at is the response time. This refers to how quickly the screen updates and the lower the response rate the better it is. If you like fast-paced games you won’t want a gaming monitor with a response time higher than 8ms (milliseconds); under 6ms is even better while 2 and 1ms are ideal.
If you are playing a fast-action game and your gaming monitor’s response is higher than 8ms you will get lagging or ‘ghosting’, which is when the previous image can still be seen even when the image has changed. The better the response rate the less noticeable the blurring is.
A higher refresh rate gives you higher frame rates without graphical tearing. This is what happens when there is a discrepancy between your graphics card’s frame rate and the refresh rate of your screen. If this sounds a little technical all you need to know is most gaming monitors have a standard 60Hz refresh rate. This is fine for newbies or if it is what you can afford at the moment. Ideally you want a gaming monitor with a faster refresh rate, like 120Hz, 144Hz. If you can we suggest you look for the highest refresh rate you can afford so your PC can grow with you.
Nowadays you don’t want to go for anything less than 1080p (1920 x 1080). This is standard for most gaming monitors but just to be on the safe sound make sure you check. Screens that are 25 inches and bigger have 1440p (2560 x 1440p) and then there’s the 4K screen, but you need to make sure your PC can handle it.
Again if you’re on a budget 1080p is perfect for a monitor. It’s a case of the higher you go the better your hardware needs to be.
G-Sync and FreeSync
Ask an experienced gamer what they did before G-Sync and FreeSync and you will probably get a bit of lagging. Not many gamers can (or want to) remember what life was like before. To prevent tearing gaming monitors will have G-Sync or FreeSync, or both. What this means is the monitor and graphics card are synchronized for frames per second and refresh rates and you get that buttery-smooth gaming experience.
When it comes to the best monitor size for gaming, it really matters. Big is not always the best.
A 24-inch screen is more than adequate and if it has 1080p you are good to go. This is the perfect gaming monitor for people with a budget and serves its purpose brilliantly. If you have your eye on a 27-inch monitor then you need to make sure your graphics card can handle it and you don’t want 1080p – it is far too low for gaming. If you want a 27-inch screen then you want 1440p.
If money isn’t a concern you can look at the ultra-wide screens, however it is up to you to decide the best size monitor for gaming to suit your preferences.
Throughout the monitor reviews you would have noticed us mention TN panels, VA and IPS. A TN panel is known for fast response times, but the colors and angles are atrocious while VA offers brilliant contrast and great color quality but the downside is its slow response time. And then there is IPS. The response time is slower and it costs more but the viewing angles and color are great – can you see what’s happening? We compromise where we need to.
OLED is another panel type that isn’t used in a lot of gaming monitors and it is probably due to the cost. Everyone in the gaming world is waiting with bated breath for Dell’s UP3017Q, which is a 4K 120Hz 30-inch OLED but with an estimated price tag of $5000 we will only be looking at it from a distance.
Nice but Necessary
Nice-to-have features but not essential ones is having an LED monitor as opposed to an LCD. An LED monitor is pretty much standard these days and offers a brighter and sharper display. Also it is a thinner screen and has a lower power usage. We think it won’t be long before LCD monitors become obsolete, like a cassette player.
The contrast ratio of a gaming monitor adds to the picture quality. A high contrast ratio can produce deeper black levels, which means a sharper visual experience. But it isn’t always an accurate reflection of the image quality and there other factors that can affect it, so we suggest not using it in isolation when deciding on a gaming monitor.
How Do I Know Which Monitor To Choose?
As simple as this question is it is a hard one to answer. Finding the best gaming monitor that ticks all your boxes, looks good and comes in at what you want to spend is a lot to ask and will probably require some compromise along the way.
To date there isn’t a gaming monitor that is everything to everyone. While some monitors offer unbeatable image quality another will have 120Hz for brilliant fluidity and then there are the monitors that pack a 1440p punch into a 27 inch frame. For us image quality should be chosen over everything else. But that’s our opinion. Some gamers would have our head on a plate for saying that and would rather opt for a 120Hz to get the most out of their fast action games like Diablo 3.
What Is Refresh Rate And Why Does It Matter To Me?
We are so glad somebody addressed the elephant in the room. The term ‘refresh rate’ is thrown around often nowadays but to be honest very few people actually know what it is and what it does.
The refresh rate is the number of times per second a display refreshes the images. Simply put the higher the refresh rate the better the motion resolution, the less screen tearing and better responsiveness during a game. This is critical in your search for the best gaming monitor.
- Improved motion resolution
- Better responsiveness while playing
- Reduces screen tearing when playing
How Important Is Screen Resolution?
Another question that looks like it should have a simple answer is how important is screen resolution for a gaming monitor? To answer that let’s quickly explain what it is ad how it afects your monitor.
The image on your screen is made up of thousands or millions of pixels; themonitor screen creates the images you see by changing the colors of these tiny squares. The screen resolution refers to how many pixels your screen can display, so 1024 x 768 is 1,024 pixels horizontally and 768 vertically.
If you compare two screens that are the same size but with different resolutions, the higher resolution means screen will show you more of what you’re working on, which in turn means you don’t have to scroll too much.
So, the screen with more pixels will have sharper looking images but it also means that elements on the screen, like text and icons, will look smaller.
When choosing the best monitor for gaming don’t be guided by the resolution alone, brightness and color can and does vary across screens so we suggest sitting down in front of a few and deciding what works for you.
We think it is awesome that there are so many gaming monitors to choose from but in the same breath it can be as difficult as navigating your way through the latest version of Doom to find the one you like.
When choosing the best gaming monitor you need to remember that there is no such thing as the perfect screen and while we aren’t saying you need to settle but we are suggesting you decide what’s more important for you when it comes to your display.
More and more technology is being squeezed into gaming monitors and the prices of these monitors will invariably drop, which is a huge bonus for us. There was a time not long ago when the average gamer couldn’t afford a 4K display but here we are today looking at the best budget options and of course we think fondly back to that time when a 50-inch 720p plasma display would have set you back a mere $20k.
We hope our reviews and guide will assist you with your purchase to finding the best gaming monitor. It is an important one and could be the difference between you being a legend in the virtual gaming world or being a legend in your bedroom.
To read more about computer monitors, you can go to Wikipedia.