The 7 Best Gaming Monitors - Spring 2021 Reviews

Updated
Best Gaming Monitors
169 Monitors Tested
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When it comes to gaming monitors, there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach that works. Every user requires something different that's reliant on everything from the equipment you use to the games that you play. Some of the best gaming monitors have fast response times that produce very little motion blur and extremely low input lag to make sure every keypress matches what's happening on the screen. In recent years, new gaming technologies have emerged that have drastically changed the way we game, like variable refresh rate (VRR) support. Also, there are so many models out there with such a wide variety of features that it can be hard to choose.

We've tested over 160 monitors, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best gaming monitors for a variety of needs and budgets. For the best console gaming monitors, see our articles about the best gaming monitors for PS5, the best gaming monitors for Xbox Series X, and the best curved gaming monitors.


  1. Best FreeSync Gaming Monitor

    8.8
    Gaming
    Size 32"
    Resolution 2560x1440
    Max Refresh Rate
    240 Hz
    Pixel Type
    VA
    Variable Refresh Rate
    FreeSync

    The Samsung Odyssey G7 is the best gaming monitor we've tested with native FreeSync support. It's an excellent gaming monitor with great picture quality and exceptional motion handling to deliver an amazing gaming experience. While we tested the 32 inch model, it's available in a 27 inch as well, so you can get the one you prefer the most. The larger one feels more immersive, but it has the same 1440p resolution, so images don't look as sharp due to a lower pixel density.

    It has a 240Hz refresh rate and incredible response times, resulting in clear images in fast-moving scenes and outstanding responsiveness. It also has a Black Frame Insertion feature to further improve clarity, but it isn't usable while VRR is enabled. It supports FreeSync natively and is compatible with G-SYNC to reduce screen tearing, although the latter only works over a DisplayPort connection. Input lag is incredibly low, and it only increases slightly with VRR enabled, which shouldn't be noticeable to most people.

    Unfortunately, it has narrow viewing angles, so it isn't a good choice for co-op gaming as the image loses accuracy when viewed from the side. It's great for dark room gaming because it has a VA panel with a great native contrast ratio to display deep blacks. It's also a good choice for well-lit rooms because it has good reflection handling and gets bright enough to combat glare. All things considered, this is one of the best gaming monitors we've tested.

    See our review

  2. Wide Viewing Angle Alternative

    Size 27"
    Resolution 2560x1440
    Max Refresh Rate
    170 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    FreeSync

    If you prefer a monitor with wide viewing angles, then check out the Gigabyte M27Q. It has a lower contrast ratio than the Samsung Odyssey G7, but that's because it has an IPS panel that provides wide viewing angles instead, so it's a better choice for co-op gaming. It has a 170Hz refresh rate, outstanding response time, and incredibly low input lag, even with VRR enabled. Unfortunately, it has limited ergonomics, so it may be hard to place the screen in a comfortable viewing position. One thing to note is that it has a BGR sub-pixel layout that can cause blurry text in some applications, so it's something to consider if you plan on using it for work.

    If you're looking for the best gaming monitor with native FreeSync support, you can't go wrong with the Samsung, but if you prefer something with an IPS panel and wide viewing angles, check out the Gigabyte.

    See our review

  3. Best G-SYNC Gaming Monitor

    8.5
    Gaming
    Size 27"
    Resolution 2560x1440
    Max Refresh Rate
    165 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    G-SYNC

    The best gaming monitor with native G-SYNC support that we've tested is the ViewSonic Elite XG270QG. It's an excellent gaming monitor with a 27 inch screen and a 1440p resolution. It's well-built, and it has good ergonomics so that you can place the screen at an ideal viewing position. It has wide viewing angles, making it great for co-op gaming, and it provides good visibility in well-lit rooms thanks to its great reflection handling and high peak brightness.

    It has a native 144Hz refresh rate that you can overclock up to 165Hz for a smoother gaming experience. Input lag is exceptionally low, and enabling VRR doesn't increase it all that much. The response time at max refresh rate is fantastic, and it remains excellent even when gaming at 60Hz. It has a Black Frame Insertion feature to improve motion clarity, but it can't be used with VRR enabled, and the flickering might be bothersome to some people. Sadly, it doesn't support HDR.

    It has a few extra features, like built-in speakers, RGB illumination, and a USB hub so that you can charge your devices while gaming. Our unit has terrible out-of-the-box color accuracy, so you may need to get it calibrated to enjoy it to the fullest. That said, this can also vary between units. Overall, if having native G-SYNC support is important to you, this is one of the best gaming monitors we've tested.

    See our review

  4. Best Gaming Monitor For Esports

    8.6
    Gaming
    Size 25"
    Resolution 1920x1080
    Max Refresh Rate
    360 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    G-SYNC

    The best gaming monitor for esports is the Dell Alienware AW2521H. This is an excellent compact gaming model that delivers a remarkably responsive gaming experience for esports players. It's well-built, and it has a clean and modern design that fits easily into most setups. The stand allows for a good amount of ergonomic adjustments, and its IPS panel has wide viewing angles, making it great for playing co-op games.

    It has an incredibly fast response time and a 360Hz refresh rate, resulting in almost no blur trail behind fast-moving objects. It has a Black Frame Insertion feature; however, it only works within a narrow refresh rate range, and you can't use it while variable refresh rate is active. Regarding its VRR, it supports G-SYNC natively, but it isn't FreeSync compatible. One thing to note is that you can only get the full 360Hz over a DisplayPort connection, so it's important to make sure your graphics card has the same port.

    It supports HDR, but it can't display a wide color gamut and doesn't get bright enough to make highlights stand out. It has four USB 3.0 ports to charge your mobile devices, and you can add a virtual crosshair or timer on the screen. The backlight is entirely flicker-free, which helps reduce eye strain. All in all, it's an excellent choice for both casual gamers and professional esports players.

    See our review

  5. Best Ultrawide Gaming Monitor

    8.3
    Gaming
    Size 34"
    Resolution 3440x1440
    Max Refresh Rate
    160 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    FreeSync

    The best gaming monitor with an ultrawide screen that we've tested is the LG 34GN850-B. The 21:9 aspect ratio and 3440x1440 resolution offer plenty of space to deliver an immersive gaming experience. This fairly well-built monitor is packed with gaming features like VRR support, and its native 144Hz refresh rate can be overclocked to 160Hz.

    One of the stand-out aspects is its response time. It's exceptional at its max refresh rate, and it remains extremely quick at 60Hz. It has native FreeSync support, G-SYNC compatibility, and the input lag is very low. Its IPS panel provides fairly wide viewing angles, and its curved screen makes it easier to see the edges of the screen, especially if you sit up close. If you want to use it in a well-lit room, it has decent reflection handling and gets bright enough to combat glare.

    Unfortunately, it has poor ergonomics as it doesn't offer any swivel adjustment, so it may be hard to place in an ideal viewing position. Also, it has a low contrast ratio and no local dimming, so blacks look gray when viewed in the dark. It delivers a decent HDR gaming experience as it has decent HDR peak brightness and a good HDR color gamut. Overall, this is one of the best gaming monitors we've tested, especially if you want an ultrawide screen.

    See our review

  6. Super Ultrawide Alternative

    Size 49"
    Resolution 5120x1440
    Max Refresh Rate
    240 Hz
    Pixel Type
    VA
    Variable Refresh Rate
    FreeSync

    If you prefer an even wider screen, then check out the Samsung Odyssey G9. It doesn't have wide viewing angles like the LG 34GN850-B, and due to its large screen, the edges of the screen may look washed out if you sit too close. However, the Samsung has a higher 240Hz refresh rate, and the 32:9 aspect ratio offers even more screen space. The 5120x1440 resolution and 49 inch screen is the equivalent of placing two 27 inch, 1440p monitors side-by-side. For gaming, it has a very good response time at its max refresh rate, low input lag, and VRR support. It has a VA panel with decent native contrast, and there's a local dimming feature, but it's terrible and barely improves the contrast.

    If you want the best gaming monitor with an ultrawide screen, go for the LG, but if you prefer a super ultrawide option, check out the Samsung.

    See our review

  7. Best Budget Gaming Monitor

    8.6
    Gaming
    Size 24"
    Resolution 1920x1080
    Max Refresh Rate
    165 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    FreeSync

    The Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx is the best gaming monitor that you can get in the budget category. It's a well-rounded monitor with excellent gaming performance that competes with higher-end models. It has excellent ergonomics with a unique stand that rotates freely, allowing you to turn the screen a full 360 degrees. As is expected of most IPS panels, it has excellent viewing angles, so images remain accurate when viewed from the side.

    Its 24 inch screen isn't the most immersive, but it does increase the pixel density, which results in sharper images. Also, the lower resolution puts a lighter load on the graphics card, allowing it to push out higher frame rates. It has a 165Hz refresh rate and exceptional response times to deliver smooth motion with fast-moving content. The backlight is flicker-free, which is great for reducing eye strain on those long gaming sessions.

    It supports HDR10, but like most budget monitors, it doesn't deliver a true HDR experience because it can't display a wide color gamut, and its HDR peak brightness is just okay. Additionally, its low contrast ratio makes blacks appear gray when viewed in the dark. It has built-in speakers, but sadly, no USB ports. Nonetheless, this is one of the best gaming monitors we've tested, and best of all, it's easy on the wallet.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • LG 27GN950-B: The LG 27GN950-B is an excellent 4k gaming monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate, but it requires a graphics card that supports Display Stream Compression to reach its max refresh rate. See our review
  • Dell AW2721D: The Dell Alienware AW2721D is a native G-SYNC alternative to the Samsung Odyssey G7. It only comes in a 27 inch size, though, and it uses an IPS panel, so it isn't as well-suited for dark rooms. See our review
  • LG OLED48CXPUB: The LG 48 CX OLED is a TV that we tested as a monitor. It's excellent for gaming, but it's more costly than most gaming monitors, and the lack of ergonomic adjustments might be an issue for some. See our review
  • ASUS VG279QM: The ASUS VG279QM is an excellent 1080p gaming monitor that should be on the list. Get this if you don't think you can make use of the Dell Alienware AW2521H's 360Hz refresh rate. However, it has high input lag at 60Hz, so it isn't ideal for 60fps console gaming. See our review
  • MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD: The MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD is a great alternative to the Gigabyte M27Q if the latter's BGR subpixel layout bothers you, but it's a lot more expensive. That said, it also has better response times, and the stand allows for more ergonomic adjustments, so it might be worth it for some. See our review
  • Gigabyte G27Q: The Gigabyte G27Q is similar to the Gigabyte M27Q, but it has a slower response time, lower refresh rate, and it doesn't have as many features, like USB-C input and an integrated KVM. See our review
  • Acer Nitro XV340CK: The Acer Nitro XV340CK Pbmiipphzx is more budget-friendly alternative to the LG 34GN850-B, but it doesn't have as quick of a response time, and its low brightness might be a problem for some. See our review
  • Samsung C49RG9: The Samsung C49RG9/CRG9 is the predecessor of the Samsung Odyssey G9 with a 120Hz panel, and it currently costs less. Consider this if you don't need the 240Hz refresh rate. See our review
  • Dell S2721QS: The Dell S2721QS is the best budget 4k monitor for gaming that we've tested. However, it's designed as a productivity monitor and is limited to a 60Hz refresh rate. Also, it might be hard to find. See our review
  • ASUS TUF Gaming VG34VQL1B: The ASUS TUF Gaming VG34VQL1B is a budget alternative to the LG 34GN850-B with better dark room performance and a slightly higher refresh rate. However, it has slower response times, resulting in visible smearing behind fast-moving objects, which might bother some people. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Mar 31, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. No change in recommendations.

  2. Mar 01, 2021: Updated text for clarity; no changes to picks.

  3. Feb 12, 2021: Replaced the ASUS VG27AQ with the Gigabyte M27Q because it costs less; replaced the Acer Nitro XV340CK with the LG 34GN850-B because it has a quicker response time; replaced the Samsung CRG9 with its successor, the Samsung Odyssey G9.

  4. Jan 15, 2021: Replaced the ViewSonic XG2402 with the Acer Nitro XF243Y because the Acer performs significantly better and is less expensive.

  5. Dec 17, 2020: Switched Samsung Odyssey G7 and ASUS VG27AQ. Replaced ASUS VG279QM with Dell Alienware AW2521H, replaced ASUS VG279Q with ViewSonic XG2402.

  6. Nov 25, 2020: Replaced the ViewSonic XG2402 with the ASUS VG279Q; replaced the Samsung CHG70 with the Samsung Odyssey G7.

  7. Oct 26, 2020: Added the Acer Nitro XV340CK as 'Best Ultrawide Gaming Monitor' and moved the LG 34GN850-B to Notable Mentions. Added the Samsung Odyssey G9 to Notable Mentions.

  8. Sep 25, 2020: Removed the Samsung Odyssey G7, moved the ASUS VG27AQ to the Best Free Sync pick, and added the Samsung CHG70 as an alternative; removed the Dell S2716DG.

All Reviews

Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best PC gaming monitors currently available. They are adapted to be valid for most people, in each price range. Rating is based on our review, factoring in price, and feedback from our visitors.

If you would prefer to make your own decision, here is the list of all of our gaming monitor reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. Most monitors are good enough to please most people, and the things we fault monitors on are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.

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