Best gaming monitor 2019 (August) | PCGamesN

Best gaming monitor 2019 (August)

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

Black Friday gaming monitor deals

The best gaming monitor is as important a part of your overall PC setup as a brand new graphics card. Indeed before buying a new GPU it’s important to know what screen you want to plug it in to. But what make the top 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? 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? 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.

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:

Best gaming monitor - Asus ROG Swift PG279q

Winner: Best gaming monitor

Asus ROG Swift PG279Q

Approx. $600 | £644

SWIFT PG279Q specs

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
Amazon
$699.00
$582.03
View
Adorama
$619.00
View

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

ACER PREDATOR XB271HU

Approx. $549 | £566

acer XB271HU specs

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
Amazon
$699.99
$549.99
View
Adorama
$564.99
View
Walmart
$699.00
$593.00
View

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

Cons
Cross Still rather 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.

LG 32GK850G review

RUNNER-UP

LG 32GK850G

Approx. $570 | £629

LG 32GK850G specs

A quality G-Sync capable flat screen gaming monitor, with a rather high refresh rate.

  • Panel size32-inch
  • Native res.2560 x 1440
  • Max refresh rate165Hz
  • Panel techAMVA
Amazon
$849.99
$568.00
View
Walmart
$838.96
$699.00
View
B&H Photo Video
$719.00
View

Pros
Tick Large, flat screen
Tick 165Hz refresh rate
Tick Glitter-free, anti-glare coating

Cons
Cross Not the brightest screen

There are a whole mess of curved gaming monitors hitting the market, so it’s actually kind of refreshing to have a resolutely flatscreen gaming monitor coming out of the LG skunkworks. And you know it’s gaming ‘cos of that ring of RGB LEDs on the rear of the panel.

Aside from that it’s actually a rather reserved-looking gaming monitor, but one that comes packed with solid gaming features. There’s the Nvidia G-Sync compatibility and that 165Hz refresh rate, but it’s also sporting an excellent AUO AMVA panel, which is crisp clear and great for gaming.

Read the full LG 32GK850G review.

Asus ROG Strix XG32VQR

Runner-up

Asus ROG Strix XG32VQR

Approx. $580 | £510

STRIX XG32VQR specs

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

  • Panel size32-inch
  • Native res.2560 x 1440
  • Max refresh144Hz
  • Panel techVA
Amazon
$599.00
$579.99
View

Pros
Tick Superb VA panel
Tick Responsive 144Hz refresh rate
Tick AMD FreeSync 2 HDR

Cons
Cross PC HDR is a colossal fustercluck

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.

Read the full Asus ROG Strix XG32VQR review.

Best 4K monitor - Philips Momentum 436M6

Winner: best 4K monitor

Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB

Approx. $690 | £510

436M6VBPAB specs

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
Amazon
$999.99
$909.99
View
Best Buy
$999.99
View

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 - Asus ProArt PA32U

Runner-up

Asus ProArt PA32U

Approx. $1,999 | £2,040

PROART PA32U specs

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
Amazon
$1,999.00
View

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 - Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ

Runner up

Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ

Approx. $1,750 | £2,199

SWIFT PG27UQ specs

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
Amazon
$1,999.00
$1,749.00
View

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

Cons
Cross Insanely expensive
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.

C49RG90

WINNER: BEST ULTRAWIDE MONITOR

SAMSUNG C49RG90

Approx. £1,200

Samsung C49RG90

Ultrawide royalty fit for anything you can throw at it. Be that gaming, productivity, or creative work.

  • Panel size49-inch
  • Native res.5120 x 1440
  • Max refresh rate120Hz
  • Panel techVA
Amazon
$1,099.99
$991.39
View

Pros
Tick 32:9 aspect ratio
Tick Picture-By-Picture
Tick HDR1000

Cons
Cross Expensive

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….

Read our full Samsung C49RG90 review.

Best ultrawide monitor - Samsung C49J89

RUNNER-UP

Samsung C49J89

Approx. £772

C49J89 specs

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

  • Panel size49-inch
  • Native res.3840 x 1080
  • Max refresh144Hz
  • Panel techVA
Amazon
$313.00
View

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 Fortnite 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

Asus ROG Swift PG348Q

Approx. $769 | £799

SWIFT PG348Q specs

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
Amazon
$999.00
$768.98
View
Newegg
$899.99
$829.99
View

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

BenQ EX3501R

Approx. $674 | £570

EX3501R specs

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
Amazon
$673.99
View
Walmart
$1,281.69
$649.99
View
B&H Photo Video
$749.99
$649.99
View

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 cheap gaming monitor - BenQ GW2270H

Winner: Best cheap gaming monitor

BenQ GW2270H

Approx. $89 | £80

GW2270H specs

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
Amazon
$149.00
$119.99
View
Walmart
$204.87
View

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

AOC G2590FX

Approx. $189 | £201

G2590FX specs

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
Amazon
$229.99
$199.99
View
B&H Photo Video
$199.99
View
Best Buy
$249.99
$219.99
View

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.

Read our full AOC G2590FX review.

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

Runner-up

LG 24MC57HQ-P

Approx. $179

24MC57HQ-P specs

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
Amazon
$136.99
View

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 £134, 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…

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