Best gaming monitor 2018

We’ve tested the top 1080p, ultrawide, 144Hz, and 4K monitors to help you find the best gaming monitor

The best gaming monitor can make almost as much difference to your gaming experience as a new graphics card. But what is the best gaming display? That’s a tough question right now, because there are so many different kinds of screen around it can be difficult to say what is the absolute best.

There are serious questions you need to ask yourself first. Do you favour image quality over lightning-fast pixel response? Do you need Nvidia’s G-Sync or AMD’s FreeSync? Are you into the pro-gaming, competitive esports world and crave the super-high monitor refresh rates of TN tech rather than a quality panel? Do you want a traditional 16:9 screen or have you been seduced by the ultra widescreen beauty of a 21:9 aspect ratio? Or does it absolutely, positively have to be 4K? And, finally, how convinced are you by the prospect of high dynamic range gaming?

We’ve lovingly tested the best Samsung, BenQ, AOC, Acer, LG, Philips, and Asus monitors to find out who really stands atop the lot with the absolute best displays. And it’s important to make sure you get the best gaming monitor, because it’s likely to outlast every component in your PC.

For too long we’ve been severely limited in our choice of gaming display – previously we simply picked the largest screen with the highest native resolution as our bank accounts could cope with. Technology simply didn’t move as quickly as the rapid iteration which followed almost every other component in our gaming PCs.

But as the technical options have grown it’s now harder to know what the best gaming monitor is for you. And that’s where we come in, with our expert eyes and obsessive hunger for the very best panels. you’re welcome.

The best gaming monitors are:

Check out the best gaming monitor prices at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Best gaming monitor - Asus ROG Swift PG279q

Winner: Best gaming monitor

Asus ROG Swift PG279Q

Approx. $688 | £670

Vital stats

Still the best gaming monitor you can buy, even with the 4K G-Sync HDR Swift finally seeing the light of day.

  • Panel size27-inch
  • Native res.2560 x 1440
  • Max refresh rate165Hz
  • Panel techIPS

Pros
Tick Vibrant colour and solid black levels
Tick 165Hz refresh rate
Tick Nvidia G-Sync

Cons
Cross Expensive

It may be horrifically expensive for a 27-inch 1440p monitor, but the Asus Republic of Gamers PG279Q comes rocking absolutely the best gaming panel ever made: the AU Optronics Advanced Hyper Viewing Angle (AHVA) display. It looks absolutely gorgeous. The clarity is excellent, colours are vibrant and accurate, and white and black levels are genuinely impressive.

The slimline bezel frames the monitor beautifully, the stand is solid and the controls, via five-way joystick, are the best you can find in monitors today. It’s also clocked a little higher than its Swift brethren too, coming in at a maximum 165Hz refresh rate – before you say anything, you genuinely can tell the difference between 144Hz and 165Hz with the naked eye. And the PG279Q is still running G-Sync too. You won’t find a gaming panel as beautifully calibrated this side of a ludicrously priced $3,500 Dell OLED.

Best gaming monitor runner-up - Acer Predator XB271HU

Runner-up: Best gaming monitor

Acer Predator XB271HU

Approx. $685 | £599

Vital stats

Using the same basic panel as the Swift above it, the Predator is only very marginally behind the Asus.

  • Panel size27-inch
  • Native res.2560 x 1440
  • Max refresh165Hz
  • Panel techIPS

Pros
Tick Fantastic AVHA panel
Tick 165Hz refresh rate
Tick Nvidia G-Sync

Cons
Cross Expensive

Unless you had this Acer Predator sat side-by-side with the Asus Swift PG279Q you’d be hard pushed to find any difference in the quality of image between them. That’s maybe not much of a surprise given they use the exact same AU Optronics panel.

The Asus has been better set up out-of-the-box, though, with its stand and surrounds being more pleasing. But, try as I might, I couldn’t get the Acer display to look as good as the Asus. That said, if you can find the Acer for significantly cheaper than the Asus, you’ll still have a beautiful monitor to game on.

Best gaming monitor runner-up - Asus ROG Strix XG32VQ

Runner-up: Best gaming monitor

Asus ROG Strix XG32VQ

Approx. $664 | £500

Vital stats

An outstanding FreeSync screen, with a vast 32-inch panel, that's capable of delivering silky smooth gaming.

  • Panel size32-inch
  • Native res.2560 x 1440
  • Max refresh144Hz
  • Panel techVA

Pros
Tick Superb VA panel
Tick  Responsive 144Hz refresh rate
Tick AMD FreeSync

Cons
Cross LED lighting can be hit-or-miss

The Asus Strix screen is one of the finest FreeSync gaming monitors we’ve ever tested. It’s VA panel is bright and colourful, with a crisp 1440p native resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate that makes gaming silky smooth.

It’s also cheaper than the IPS G-Sync screens surrounding it on this page, despite being a lovely, big 32-incher. And, y’know, it’s got all those lovely RGB LEDs on the rear of the monitor and shining brightly from under the stand. What more could one ask for? A curve? Well, it’s got that too.

Read the full Asus ROG Strix XG32VQ review.

Best gaming monitor runer-up - AOC AGON AG271QG

Runner-up: Best gaming monitor

AOC AGON AG271QG

Approx. $570 | £549

Vital stats

The AGON is almost as good as the 27-inch G-Sync Predator and Swift monitors, though not quite as vibrant.

  • Panel size27-inch
  • Native res. 2560 x 1440
  • Max refresh165Hz
  • Panel techIPS

Pros
Tick Rich colour
Tick Responsive 165Hz panel
Tick Nvidia G-Sync

Cons
Cross IPS panel isn’t as vibrant as some

The AOC AGON AG271QG is a great little monitor, very much in the same vein as the extremely 165Hz IPS similar monitors above. It’s also sporting an AU Optronics IPS-a-like panel, capable of outputting at 165Hz, so it might as well be an identical screen.

While it’s not quite as bright or vibrant as the others it is still a beautiful monitor with a lovely fluid motion to its gaming performance. It’s also a little bit cheaper than the others, possibly because of its slightly more basic design. But it’s still a 1440p IPS G-Sync panel so it’s never going to be cheap.

Read the full AOC AGON AG271QG review.

Best gaming monitor runner-up - Samsung C24FG70

Runner-up: Best gaming monitor

Samsung C24FG70

Approx. $414 | £220

Vital stats

Samsung's Quantum Dot tech may not be quite as deep and rich as OLED, but it's mighty close.

  • Panel size24-inch
  • Native res.1920 x 1080
  • Max refresh144Hz
  • Panel techVA

Pros
Tick Quantum Dot
Tick Fantastic contrast and colour
Tick Responsive

Cons
Cross A lot of money to spend on 1080p

A 1080p monitor for how much?! Yeah, I’ll admit it would be a lot of cash were it just a standard 1080p screen, but this Sammy was one of the first Quantum Dot monitors to hit our desktops. As such, the colours and contrast levels are as detailed and crisp as they are stunningly vibrant.

The curved screen is practically irrelevant at this small scale, but with a 144Hz refresh, 1ms response and AMD’s FreeSync support you get unbelievably smooth gaming performance from this Samsung monitor.

Read our full Samsung C24FG70 review.

Best 4K monitor - Philips Momentum 436M6

Winner: best 4K monitor

Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB

Approx. £745

Vital stats

A massive, great-value 4K HDR panel that delivers on all fronts. It can even pull off decent HDR.

  • Panel size43-inch
  • Native res.3840 x 2160
  • Max refresh rate60Hz
  • Panel techMVA

Pros
Tick Massive cinematic visuals
Tick HDR capable
Tick A solid monitor / TV hybrid

Cons
Cross TV tech tops out at 60Hz

When you’re talking about the added benefits of 4K gaming then bigger is definitely better. That’s one of the reasons the 43-inch Philips has drawn me to it. For cinematic single player games it’s tough to beat, especially if you can take advantage of the MVA panel’s HDR capabilities.

It’s a quality panel too, delivering decent black levels, excellent white saturation, and quality contrast. Essentially the check list for good HDR performance. But it’s the fact that this package comes in at just over £700 is fantastic. It doesn’t have the G-Sync tech installed, but does have a mix of adaptive-sync and low input lag too.

Read our full Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB review.

Best 4K monitor runner-up - LG 27UD68P

Runner-up: Best 4K monitor

LG 27UD68P

Approx. $399 | £400

Vital stats

A genuinely affordable, decently sized, IPS, 4K gaming screen with FreeSync-y smoothness built in.

  • Panel size27-inch
  • Native res.3840 x 2160
  • Max refresh60Hz
  • Panel techIPS

Pros
Tick Affordable 4K IPS panel
Tick Crystal clear visuals
Tick Thin bezels

Cons
Cross Too small to capitalise on all 4K has to offer

If you were looking for an affordable 4K monitor until recently that meant opting for a TN panel. Things have changed, though, and this impressively-affordable 27-inch LG is a great 4K monitor at a great price. It uses LG’s own IPS technology to deliver the typically outstanding colour reproduction you’d expect from that panel tech, matching it with superb contrast levels too.

There is, of course, the issue that 27-inches feels a little small for a 4K display to really show the high-resolution imagery to its best. But it makes up for that somewhat with AMD FreeSync support and the stylish curved stand. This allows for a full range of monitor adjustment and the edgeless bezel makes for a very slimline surround for your games too.

Best 4K monitor runner-up - Asus ProArt PA32U

Runner-up: Best 4K monitor

Asus ProArt PA32U

Approx. $2,000 | £1,999

Vital stats

Not quite the perfect 4K HDR panel you might expect for 2k, but one of the best professional panels we've used.

  • Panel size32-inch
  • Native res.3840 x 2160
  • Max refresh60Hz
  • Panel techIPS

Pros
Tick Affordable 4K IPS panel
Tick Crystal clear visuals
Tick Thin bezels

Cons
Cross Insanely expensive

I’ve fallen a little bit in love with Asus’ professional 4K screen. And yes, you’ll probably have taken a look at that price tag and spluttered out your coffee all over your keyboard. The PA32U has a great panel inside it, using genuine IPS instead of AU Optronics AHVA technology, featuring 384 zones of local dimming, 1,000 cd/m2 peak luminance, and full Rec.2020 colour support. It’s a HDR panel too, with genuinely stunning clarity, colour, and brightness.

It took a little getting used to, as it’s got some bizarre sharpness setting as default, but once that was gone my desktop looked sharp and colourful. Unfortunately it’s not the perfect 4K HDR gaming screen because, like with the Asus PG27UQ, IPS and AHVA tech struggles with black levels. That means it can’t deliver much detail in the darkest HDR scenes. It’s also limited to 60Hz, which might be a deal-breaker in terms of gaming, especially if you’re spending this much cash.

Best 4K monitor runner-up - AOC AGON AG271UG

Runner-up: Best 4K monitor

AOC AGON AG271UG

Approx. $471 | £570

Vital stats

A seriously well-priced 4K gaming monitor, especially when you add in the fact it comes with G-Sync.

  • Panel size27-inch
  • Native res.3840 x 2160
  • Max refresh60Hz
  • Panel techIPS

Pros
Tick Excellent IPS panel
Tick Great brightness and clarity
Tick Nvidia G-Sync

Cons
Cross 27-inch is a little small for 4K

AOC’s gaming 4K monitor comes with a great spec, rocking both an excellent IPS panel as well as Nvidia’s G-Sync technology inside that unassuming chassis. It’s bright, crisp and clear and isn’t a bad price considering the premium that’s always added alongside the GeForce frame-synchronising hardware.

Our only real issue is that it’s still a lot of money to spend on a 4K screen that’s only 27-inches across the diagonal. At this high-end resolution you need a little more screen space to take advantage of the visual fidelity 4K gaming can offer.

Read the full AOC AGON AG271UG review.

Best 4K monitor runner-up - Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ

Runner up: Best 4K monitor

Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ

Approx. $1,830 | £2,200

Vital stats

We were hoping the 4K G-Sync HDR panels would deliver us the perfect monitors. Sadly, they're just not there.

  • Panel size27-inch
  • Native res.3840 x 2160
  • Max refresh144Hz
  • Panel techAHVA

Pros
Tick 4K G-Sync 144Hz HDR
Tick Incredible colour

Cons
Cross Contrast needs work
Cross Thick bezel

In terms of the 4K gaming monitor with the most advanced technology inside it the PG27UQ takes the award. It’s using the first panel to offer Nvidia’s 4K G-Sync 144Hz HDR technology. It offers a lovely image in both SDR and HDR, so long as you’re talking about colours. If you’re talking contrast then, like the beautiful-looking PA32U, it’s pretty dodgy. The PG27UQ is a bit better in-game, and doesn’t just lose all detail in the darkness, but there’s not a lot of definition.

And, while it does offer great colours and smooth gaming, it’s still only 27-inches, which is too small for a 4K gaming screen, and is the most expensive panel around. It’s also a first-gen option and that means it’s one for the 4K HDR early adopters only.

Read our full Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ review.

Best ultrawide monitor - Samsung C49J89

Winner: Best ultrawide monitor

Samsung C49J89

Approx. £858

Vital stats

Probably the most useful gaming monitor for Fortnite, giving you a broader FOV than most other monitors.

  • Panel size49-inch
  • Native res.3840 x 1080
  • Max refresh144Hz
  • Panel techVA

Pros
Tick Ultra-ultrawide
Tick Great VA panel
Tick Good viewing angles

Cons
Cross 1080p letterbox display

Okay, on the face of it a 49-inch monitor might seem overkill, especially if you’re stretching it out over a 32:9 aspect ratio, but if you’re going ultrawide then you might as well GO ULTRAWIDE. This Samsung screen sports a VA panel, a 5ms response time and a 144Hz refresh rate. But it’s not rated as a ‘gaming’ screen despite all that.

With a 1080 pixel high native resolution, however, it’s not particularly great on the desktop for productivity stuff, but where it excels is in-game and in-particular in competitive games such as Fornite where being able to see more than your opponents can be one hell of an advantage. It’s a genuinely stunning monitor and a big advantage in games that support its expansive resolution.

Read our full Samsung C49J89 review.

Best ultrawide monitor runner-up - Asus ROG Swift PG348Q

Runner-up: Best ultrawide monitor

Asus ROG Swift PG348Q

Approx. $899 | £885

Vital stats

Using a 100Hz IPS panel, the ROG ultrawide delivers a genuinely stunning image across its full width.

  • Panel size34-inch
  • Native res.3440 x 1440
  • Max refresh100Hz
  • Panel techIPS

Pros
Tick Rich and vibrant IPS panel
Tick Immersive 21:9 aspect ratio
Tick Nvidia G-Sync

Cons
Cross 1440p, 100Hz ultrawides don’t come cheap

The G-Sync-toting Asus ROG Swift, with its 100Hz refresh rate and typically brilliant Asus monitor controls, was our choice for the absolute best ultrawide gaming monitor until Samsung went massive. It’s still mighty expensive, but with recent price drops, and the occasional sale price, it’s competitive with the best of the rest of the 34-inch brigade.

The slightly extra price-premium is easier to justify now, despite one of the Acer screens below using the exact same panel, just without the extra 25Hz speed-bump and Nvidia frame-syncing silicon. The stunning Asus PG348Q will not disappoint especially if you’re a GeForce gamer looking for that G-Sync fix. There is a slight curve to the 3440 x 1440 IPS panel and, combined with that extreme 21:9 aspect ratio, it makes this one of the most immersive gaming monitors you can buy right now.

Read the full Asus ROG Swift PG 348Q review.

Best ultrawide monitor runner-up - BenQ EX3501R

Runner-up: Best ultrawide monitor

BenQ EX3501R

Approx. $799 | £625

Vital stats

It's delivering on its HDR promises, but the BenQ ultrawide is still a quality 21:9 gaming screen.

  • Panel size27-inch
  • Native res.3440 x 1440
  • Max refresh100Hz
  • Panel techVA

Pros
Tick Ultrawide VA with decent 100Hz refresh
Tick Little more affordable than competitors
Tick AMD FreeSync

Cons
Cross HDR implementation could be better

BenQ has produced one of the finest ultrawide FreeSync monitors around, but is holding back from calling it a gaming monitor because of its Zowie brand hogging all that limelight. But with the 21:9 VA panel, 100Hz refresh rate, and decent HDR chops, the EX3501R is a quality display for games.

BenQ has done a great job with the EX3501R. It looks great and its panel makes games look just as good. Probably better. Of course you have to pay for this wide a gaming screen, and especially if you want such a smooth experience, but it’s still more than half the price of the ultrawide HDR G-Sync screens.

Read the full BenQ EX3501R review.

Best ultrawide monitor runner-up - Philips Brilliance 349X7FJEW

Runner-up: Best ultrawide monitor

Philips Brilliance 349X7FJEW

Approx. £659

Vital stats

A stylish-looking ultrawide, without the classic, aggressive, gamer aesthetic. Unfortunately it's not the best panel.

  • Panel size34-inch
  • Native res.3440 x 1440
  • Max refresh100Hz
  • Panel techVA

Pros
Tick Affordable 100Hz ultrawide
Tick WQHD resolution
Tick AMD FreeSync

Cons
Cross Panel isn’t immediately stunning

The Philips Brilliance 349X7FJEW packs a 34” ultrawide 100Hz panel into a design that ditches the gamer aesthetic in favour of a sleek and professional white form factor. Despite the lack of gamer style, the 349X7 packs AMD’s FreeSync tech for a super-smooth gaming experience. Thanks to a 3440 x 1440 WQHD resolution, the 349X7 avoids the awkward letterbox feel often found with lower resolution ultra wide aspect ratio monitors.

But the WQHD panel does suffer some weaknesses despite its impressive specs. For all the hertz and FreeSync goodness, the panel doesn’t arrive particularly well-configured out of the box. The panel’s weakness knocks the monitor off the top spot compared to that crisp IPS found on the Asus ROG Swift PG348Q. But the Philips 349X7’s price tag slots the monitor into an entirely different pricing bracket than its IPS competitors.

Runner-up: Best ultrawide monitor

AOC AGON AG352UCG

Approx. $830 | £839

Vital stats

The AGON comes mighty close to the image quality of the ultrawide ROG Swift, but just falls short.

  • Panel size35-inch
  • Native res.3440 x 1440
  • Max refresh100Hz
  • Panel techVA

Pros
Tick Detailed and vibrant VA panel
Tick 100Hz ultrawide
Tick Nvidia G-Sync

Cons
Cross Expensive

AOC’s latest gaming ultrawide monitor may not quite have the IPS image quality of the super-pricey ROG Swift up top, but if it was much less expensive that wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately it’s not. But in terms of the image quality it’s close enough you’d struggle to see it unless they were sat cheek-by-jowl on your desktop.

The chassis may also be a bit more shiny plastic and chunky than the Asus, but you won’t care about that when you’re paying more attention to the crisp visuals on this wraparound panel. It also takes advantage of Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, so if you’ve got a GeForce card capable of driving this panel at 100 frames per second, that 100Hz refresh rate is going to come in rather handy.

Read the full AOC AGON AG352UCG review.

Best cheap gaming monitor - BenQ GW2270H

Winner: Best cheap gaming monitor

BenQ GW2270H

Approx. $107 | £90

Vital stats

A sub-$100 gaming monitor with a decent, non-TN panel. For a full HD screen you can't ask for more.

  • Panel size21.5-inch
  • Native res.1920 x 1080
  • Max refresh60Hz
  • Panel tech VA

Pros
Tick Affordable as heck
Tick VA panel
Tick Easily outperforms budget TN panels

Cons
Cross Low-level contrast is poor

You can get some seriously cheap 1080p monitors these days, but our recommendation would be that youshouldabsolutely steer clear of anything labelled as a twisted nematic (TN) panel unless it’s one of the latest 25-inch versions. TN is the cheapest screen technology to manufacture, but also massively sacrifices image quality over other options. This BenQ GW2270H is one of the best-value, non-TN, Full HD screens you’ll find and is capable of presenting an impressive image too.

You get a decent vertical alignment (VA) panel, the next best thing after a bona fide IPS display. The colour reproduction is not quite as vibrant as the pricier tech, but has much greater clarity and depth than you’ll get with even the best TN monitors, with none of the washed-out look which blights that cheaper screen technology. Because it is only 21.5-inches the 1080p native resolution gives you a nice, tight pixel pitch, almost on par with the likes of a 27-inch 1440p monitor.

Best cheap gaming monitor runner-up - AOC G2590FX

Runner-up: BEST CHEAP GAMING MONITOR

AOC G2590FX

Approx. $200 | £192

VITAL STATS

The best TN gaming monitor we've tested. Great 144Hz 1080p performance but too pricey to be truly budget.

  • Panel size24.5-inch
  • Native res.1920x1080
  • Max refresh144Hz
  • Panel techTN

Pros
Tick Affordable gaming performance
Tick One of the best TN panels to date
Tick AMD FreeSync

Cons
Cross A little too pricey to be a true budget monitor

From the genuinely impressive TN panel, which doesn’t often warrant praise, to the price-conscious build that somehow still offers slim bezels, the AOC G2590FX is one of the best all-round budget gaming monitors we’ve had in for review.

The AOC G2590FX covers the entire breadth of functionality you should want from an affordable, high-performance, 1080p gaming monitor. It has a 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, AMD FreeSync support, and a TN panel that has even the most twisted of nematic sceptics truly impressed. A convincing monitor if you can stretch your budget.

Best cheap gaming monitor runner-up - LG 24MC57HQ-P

Runner-up: Best cheap gaming monitor

LG 24MC57HQ-P

Approx. $133

Vital stats

A pretty impressive price for a 24-inch full HD IPS panel, and that makes for a tasty budget gaming display too.

  • Panel size23.8-inch
  • Native res.1920 x 1080
  • Max refresh60Hz
  • Panel techIPS

Pros
Tick Great value
Tick IPS panel

Cons
Cross Only two ports: HDMI and VGA
Cross Very cheap stand

This 24-inch LG screen may not be the sexiest screen around, but it’s a great price for a genuine IPS panel. The only issue you might have is the lack of inputs – it only comes sporting a single HDMI and one VGA connection.

It’s also not available in the UK either, but there is a similar LG 24MP58VQ available for just £129, which again comes with a 24-inch, 1080p IPS panel, but also gives you a DVI connection as well as HDMI and VGA.

Best gaming monitors

It’s a lot to digest, which is quite amazing considering that monitor technology had been one of the slowest-moving sides of PC gaming hardware for many years. But now there are so many different options on offer, and some that are entirely dependent on what graphics card you happen to be running in your rig at the time.

For our money, the Asus PG279Q is still just about the best gaming monitor out there, though there are some fantastic options that use the exact same panel. The Acer Predator XB271HU, now it’s just £499 in the UK, has arguably made itself the better option, however.

In 4K terms we’d hoped the 4K G-Sync HDR Asus PG27UQ would be the ultimate gaming monitor, but we’ve tested much cheaper 4K HDR panels, with 1,000cd/mpeak luminance ratings, perform far better in HDR gaming. It’s actually been a bit of a disappointment, made more interesting by the fact Acer seems to have entirely forgotten to release its version…

At the lower level, you can actually buy some stunning non-TN panels for less than $200 / £200 now, giving you fantastic 1080p visuals to go with your gaming PC.

But, as ever, spending money on your monitor is a worthy investment, it’s likely to outlast your current PC and graphics card, so take into account planning for your next rig too…