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Best gaming monitor: the top monitors for gaming in 2020

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

Best gaming monitor

Snagging the best gaming monitor can make your gaming sessions that much more immersive for years to come. They have such incredible lifespans compared to much other hardware and many other types of peripheral – and they’re pretty damn central to the gaming experience, too! Finding one that suits your own needs is key. There’s rarely a ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to the best monitors for gaming.

There are serious questions you need to ask yourself first to narrow down your selection. Do you favour image quality over lightning-fast pixel response? Do you need Nvidia’s G-Sync or AMD’s FreeSync? Does it even matter now that Nvidia is supporting 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? Do you need a monitor so wide you can almost see those Fortnite enemies standing behind you? Or does it absolutely, positively have to be the best 4K gaming monitor so you can spot each individual blade of grass in The Witcher 3? And, finally, how convinced are you by the prospect of high dynamic range gaming?

It’s important to make sure you get the best gaming monitor, because it’s likely to outlast even the best graphics card and best gaming CPU. 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.

Here are the best gaming monitors:

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ASUS TUF Gaming VG27AQ

The best gaming monitor is the Asus TUF Gaming BG27AQ.

Don’t let the TUF branding fool you, the Asus VG27AQ is fitted with the latest and greatest monitor technology to deliver an exceptional gaming experience.

From the latest anti-ghosting feature and overclocked 165Hz refresh rate, to variable refresh rate technology and a stunning IPS panel, the Asus VG27AQ is the best monitor for gaming and will see you through a GPU generation or two. From competitive titles to triple-A stunners, this gaming monitor is as fit for service as even some $600 plus ones. The only downside is its HDR performance, or lack thereof, but Windows HDR is a bit naff, anyway.

What we like…
Tick Stunning IPS
Tick 165Hz refresh rate
Tick ELMB Sync

Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQ specs
Panel size 27-inch
Native resolution 2560 x 1440
Max refresh rate 165Hz
Panel tech IPS
Product Image 1
$578.99
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Read the PCGamesN Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQ review for our full verdict and score.

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Asus ROG Swift PG279Q

The best G-Sync monitor is the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q.

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.

What we like…
Tick Vibrant colour and solid black levels
Tick 165Hz refresh rate
Tick Nvidia G-Sync

Asus ROG Swift PG279Q specs
Panel size 27-inch
Native resolution 2560 x 1440
Max refresh rate 165Hz
panel tech IPS
Product Image 1
$671.46
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Asus ROG Strix XG32VQR

The best FreeSync monitor is the Asus ROG Strix XG32VQR.

This here Asus Strix screen replaces one of the finest FreeSync gaming monitors we’ve ever tested, the Asus ROG Strix XG32VQ, so you can be damned sure it’s a fine pick by today’s standards. With a superior VA panel to its predecessor, it offers a bright and colourful 1440p, 144Hz picture enhanced by HDR.

With Nvidia giving in to the pressures of adaptive sync, AMD Freesync panels like this one are of even greater value to gamers nowadays – even if HDR is still a big mess on Windows. And not to worry, it’s still got all those lovely RGB LEDs on the rear of the monitor and shining brightly from underneath the stand.

What we like…
Tick Superb VA panel
Tick Responsive 144Hz refresh rate
Tick AMD FreeSync 2 HDR

Asus ROG Strix XG32VQR specs
Panel size 32-inch
Native resolution 2560 x 1440
Max refresh rate 144Hz
Panel tech VA
Product Image 1
$1,122.99
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Read the PCGamesN Asus ROG Strix XG32VQR review for our full verdict and score.

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Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB

The best 4K monitor is the Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB.

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. This beast rightly takes its place as the best 4K gaming monitor.

What we like…
Tick Massive cinematic visuals
Tick HDR capable
Tick A solid monitor / TV hybrid

Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB specs
Panel size 43-inch
Native resolution 3840 x 2160
Max refresh rate 60Hz
Panel tech VA
Product Image 1
$799.99
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Read the PCGamesN Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB review for our full verdict and score.

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Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ

The best G-Sync HDR monitor is the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ.

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.

What we like…
Tick 4K G-Sync 144Hz HDR
Tick Incredible colour

Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ specs
Panel size 27-inch
Native resolution 3840 x 2160
Max refresh rate 144Hz
Panel tech AHVA
Product Image 1
$1,699.99
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Read the PCGamesN Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ review for our full verdict and score.

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SAMSUNG C49RG90

The best ultrawide monitor is the Samsung C49RG90.

The Samsung C49RG90 might just be our dream monitor. It’s ultrawide, 120Hz, comes with a 1440p vertical resolution so you don’t feel quite so claustrophobic, and it finally gets PC HDR in-game pretty spot on.

Samsung has also seen fit to kit this alluring tech out with FreeSync 2 HDR, which we’ve found works pretty darn well with Nvidia’s G-Sync too, despite its lack of official Nvidia validation. If you’re looking for a monitor that will serve you well for years to come, and which is sure to settle your monitor envy, the Samsung C49RG90 is the gaming screen you need. Although you will have to pay top dollar for the privilege….

What we like…
Tick 32:9 aspect ratio
Tick Picture-By-Picture
Tick HDR1000

Samsung C49RG90 specs
Panel size 49-inch
Native resolution 5120 x 1440
Max refresh rate 120Hz
Panel tech VA
Product Image 1
$1,499.99
$1,179.50
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Read the PCGamesN Samsung C49RG90 review for our full verdict and score.

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Asus ROG Swift PG35VQ

The best HDR monitor is the Asus ROG Swift PG35VQ.

The Asus PG35VQ is one of the first PC gaming monitors I’ve tested that genuinely make HDR gaming pop. It’s taken a mighty fine VA panel, with 512 zones of LED backlighting, and an eye-wateringly high price tag to manage it, but it’s there.

Admittedly there is some strange dynamic backlighting weirdness to deal with when running SDR content, but that’s easily disabled and the curvy ultrawide then becomes an absolute joy to game on.

What we like…
Tick Genuine 200Hz refresh rate
Tick Great HDR experience
Tick Excellent panel

Asus ROG Swift PG35VQ specs
Panel size 35-inch
Native resolution 3440 x 1440
Max refresh rate 200Hz
Panel tech VA
Product Image 1
$2,499.00
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Read the PCGamesN Asus ROG Swift PG35VQ review for our full verdict and score.

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BenQ GW2270H

The best budget gaming monitor is the BenQ GW2270H.

You can get some seriously cheap 1080p monitors these days, but our recommendation would be that you should 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. That’s why it’s the best budget monitor.

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.

What we like…
Tick Affordable as heck
Tick VA panel
Tick Easily outperforms budget TN panels

BenQ GW2270H specs
Panel size 21.5-inch
Native resolution 1920 x 1080
Max refresh rate 60Hz
Panel tech VA
Product Image 1
$129.34
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How to enable FreeSync with a GeForce GPU

Here’s our handy video on how to enable Adaptive Sync with an Nvidia GeForce GPU. PCGamesN also has a full guide on how to run AMD’s screen tech with a GeForce GPU.

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Gaming monitor buying guide

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.

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 that perform far better in HDR gaming. The Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB is a much better option for 4K for this reason.

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, just like the BenQ GW2270H.

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.

Gaming monitor price list

Product Image 1
$578.99
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Product Image 2
$671.46
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Product Image 3
$1,122.99
View
Product Image 4
$799.99
View
Product Image 5
$1,699.99
View
Product Image 6
$1,499.99
$1,179.50
View
Product Image 7
$2,499.00
View
Product Image 8
$129.34
View
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