8 best gaming computer monitors
Get your gamer head on with our roundup of the best monitors that will enhance your experience
For those into your PC gaming, there’s no finer upgrade to make than investing in a proper monitor. With one of these – thanks to faster refresh rates and technologies such as G-Sync – games look smoother and feel more responsive, potentially providing a crucial advantage.
So what makes a monitor gaming worthy? Largely, it comes down to three things: refresh rate, response time and adaptive sync.
Refresh rate is the speed at which a display updates its image. Normal monitors refresh 60 times a second, or at 60Hz. Any improvement on this is worthwhile, with 144Hz being the refresh rate of choice for most gamers.
Next up is response time. This is the measure of how long it takes each pixel to change from one colour to another and is measured in milliseconds. Typical monitors are about 16ms while gaming monitors are generally either 4ms or 1ms, depending on the type of LCD panel being used.
Finally there’s adaptive sync. This is where the refresh rate of the monitor, which is normally fixed, varies in accordance with how fast your PC can update its image. If your PC can only manage to deliver 40 frames a second, the display will match this. This allows the display to eliminate the annoying problems of image tearing and image stutter.
There are two rival adaptive sync technologies: Freesync works only with AMD graphics cards while G-Sync works only with Nvidia graphics cards.
Otherwise, all the usual factors that you’ll want to consider when buying a monitor apply here too. So size, resolution and LCD panel type are all crucial. The latter is particularly important.
There are three main LCD panel types: IPS, TN and VA. TN is the cheapest and has the worst image quality but the lowest response time.
IPS has the best overall image quality and decent response time. VA generally has the slowest response time but has very high contrast. All the displays we’ve picked out below are either IPS or TN.
Elsewhere, it’s always worth looking out for extras such as USB ports, properly adjustable stands or any extra gaming modes or accessories that could improve your gaming experience.
AOC G2460PF: £179.98, Currys
The AOC G2460PF is one of the cheapest 144Hz gaming monitors you can buy, and that’s simply all that matters. You can pay up to £150 more for the same 24-inch, 1080p, 144Hz, 1ms configuration but it’s just not worth it.
This isn’t a bare-bones display, either. The stand offers height adjustment, it includes Freesync and there’s a USB 3.0 hub too. A great option for a dedicated gamer on a budget.
You do suffer the lower image quality and poor viewing angles of a TN panel, but that’s the nature of cheaper gaming displays.
LG 23MP68VQ: £111.42, PC World
The 23MP68VQ may not exactly be a model name that trips off the tongue but this modest 23-inch monitor has become a stalwart for those seeking a good quality, cheap gaming monitor.
For well under £150 you get a decent quality IPS panel with a 1080p resolution and fetching overall design, plus it has a couple of gaming extras.
A 75Hz maximum refresh rate gives you a modest boost over the 60Hz of most non-gaming monitors, while the presence of Freesync makes for a smoother-looking, tear-free gaming experience.
Acer XF270HU: £365.21, Box.co.uk
The 27-inch gaming monitor market is an odd one right now. There simply isn’t the range of affordable TN-based 1440p displays that you’d expect. As such, the low price of the Acer XF270HU makes it a fantastic buy.
This monitor uses an IPS panel but it still has a 144Hz refresh rate and 4ms response time that it combines with great overall image quality. It has a versatile, height-adjustable stand and plenty of connectivity.
Those that must have the 1ms response time of a TN panel should consider the AOC AGON AG271QX for about the same price.
BenQ XL2546 Zowie: £428.99, Overclockers.co.uk
For the elite gamers there’s another step up from 144Hz refresh rate displays: 240Hz. The difference is subtle but noticeable.
The BenQ XL2546 provides this along with a clever backlight-flickering option that further reduces the appearance of motion blur. You also get side wings that help reduce glare and improve concentration.
A fully adjustable stand and convenient wired remote for switching game modes further sweetens the deal. You only get a 1080p resolution and TN image quality but for the utmost in gaming performance, this display is the one to go for.
Acer XB271HU: £659.99, Ebuyer.com
Just like it’s cheaper sibling the XF270HU, the XB271HU is a 27-inch display that uses an IPS screen, has a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 and has a 144Hz+ refresh rate.
However, here there are a few key tweaks. The first, and most important, is the inclusion of G-Sync. This tear-and-stutter-reducing technology works the same as Freesync but is compatible with Nvidia graphics cards, which are the fastest on the market. This makes it a better fit for those with a powerful PC.
It also can refresh at a slightly higher 165Hz, and has an improved design and build quality.
Acer BX340CK: £549.97, Laptopsdirect.co.uk
The BX340CK may only have a refresh rate of 75Hz but in all other regards it’s a mighty fine gaming display. Most obviously, it’s a step up in size from most.
It measures 34 inches from corner to corner and packs in an impressive 3,440 x 1,440 pixel resolution. This ultra-wide display is fantastic for games and video, and is useful for work too.
Notably, this is one of the cheapest monitors of this type – cheaper ones tend to drop to a 2,560 x 1,080 resolution. Finishing things off are a stylish height-adjustable stand, excellent image quality from its IPS LCD panel, and Freesync.
Asus PG348Q: £939.49, Scan.co.uk
The Asus PG348Q is not only a 34-inch display with a 3,440 x 1,440 resolution, but it’s also curved. This means the angle at which you view the farthest edge of the screen matches that at the middle, making for a more even-looking image.
Plus, it fills the player's peripheral vision even more, adding to the sense of immersion. All this and the IPS panel produces fantastic image quality and can refresh at up to 100Hz, for more responsive gaming. The final feather in its cap is the presence of G-Sync.
Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ: £2,299.99, Scan.co.uk
The PG27UQ is the finest 27-inch gaming monitor you can buy right now, as you’d hope given its astronomical price. It combines a 4K resolution, a 144Hz refresh rate, G-Sync and HDR to produce a stunning level of image quality.
It’s simply mesmerising for gaming and watching video, and lends itself well to more mundane tasks such as general desktop work, and image and video editing.
The fact it’s only a 27-inch screen for such a high price and the occasional issues Windows has in dealing with the 4K resolution means it won’t be the ideal screen for everyone, but it’s still a fantastic all-rounder.
The Verdict: Best gaming computer monitors
Gamers on a budget should look no further than the AOC G2460PF or LG 23MP68VQ, depending on if pure performance or image quality is more of a priority for you. Meanwhile, the PG27UQ is something to behold, if you’ve a few thousand pounds burning a hole in your pocket.
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