Best Gaming Monitor 2020: A Buyers Guide for Gamers

The monitor is the unsung hero of PC gaming. There are many reasons why we neglect the thing we look at the most, and most of them have to do with perspective. Every monitor that works is a gaming monitor, but we only realize how good the best gaming monitors are when we try them.

Without this, there is no reference point that would tell you why one game looks better on one monitor than on another. You will attribute it to your GPU, or the game itself, and never think that it might just be the screen.

Once you realize that you need a new one, you could become overwhelmed by the possibilities and the options out there. Size isn’t the only issue anymore, and you should to take into account the resolution, refresh rate, and the sync possibilities with your GPU.

Finally, not every gamer will want the same screen. Those playing fast-paced FPS games and racers won’t care about the colors as much as the frames. Others, especially when playing RPGs, will want to adore the scenery on a big screen with stunning detail.

What is the Best Gaming Monitor?

ProductRefresh RateScreen SizeResolutionOur Rating
Dell S-Series S2719DGF155Hz27 Inches1440p4.7
LG 24MK430H-B75Hz24 Inches1080p4.2
Dell Gaming Monitor S2417DG YNY1D165Hz24 Inches1440p4.8
Asus VP28UQG60Hz24 Inches4K4.8
ViewSonic ELITE XG270240Hz27 Inches1080p4.8
LG 34GL750-B144Hz34 Inches1080p4.6
Samsung C32HG70165 Hz27 Inches1440p4.8
Acer XR342CK100Hz34 Inches1440p4.5
Acer Predator XB321HK60Hz32 Inches4K4.6
Acer Predator XB273K144Hz27 Inches4K4.7

The monitor market has expanded, mostly due to technologies invented for mobile phones. Whatever works on a miniature 5-inch screen can usually work better and cheaper on a 25-inch monitor.

But, not everything is as clear cut. In many cases, you will need to sacrifice specs on one side to bring them up on the other. And the few monitors that have both are usually outside of most people’s price range.

Thankfully, if you are willing to compromise and find a monitor ideal for your gaming requirements and style, you will be able to optimize your choice and find the perfect match without spending more money on the monitor than you did on the gaming PC itself.

Dell S-Series S2719DGF

  • Lighting Type: LED
  • Diagonal: 27 Inches
  • Resolution: QHD – 2560x1440p (2K)
  • Refresh Rate: 155Hz
  • Response Time: 1ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI 2.0 & Display Port 1.2
  • Synchronization: Free-Sync

When it comes to 1440p monitors, 2020 seems to be the year of heavy hitters. Even companies like Dell that are better known for their productivity-focused products have come out with several excellent gaming models.

The new S-Series 27-inch monitor combines some of the advances seen in earlier high-end office monitors with what is needed for excellent gaming.

Although the native resolution is 1440p, or 2K, the compact diagonal of the monitor means that you can comfortably game in 1080p. For those with older GPUs, this can be an important factor to get those top frames

With a refresh rate of 155Hz, you can easily see the difference in rank-level FPS games, even including some of the hardware-intensive titles. And for better-optimized games like Overwatch, these rates give an excellent experience.

Finally, with the response time of only 1ms, even the very bright and vibrant colors make no ghosting or visual artifacts. This makes this monitor highly enjoyable for even slower and more visually inclined games.

Pros

  • Good refresh rate
  • Very low response time
  • Excellent tilt capabilities
  • Can be turned to portrait mode
  • High resolution to diagonal ratio (PPI)

Cons

  • It could be slightly bigger
  • Relatively low contrast
  • Dell HDMI in the box doesn’t support the full performance

LG 24MK430H-B

  • Lighting Type: LED
  • Diagonal: 24 Inches
  • Resolution: Full HD – 1080p
  • Refresh Rate: 75Hz
  • Response Time: 5ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI & VGA
  • Synchronization: FreeSync

This model is probably the best example of how far modern gaming monitors have progressed. By its position on the market, it would be considered a budget option. But, it has all of the specs of a gaming monitor.

Generally, the Full HD resolution on a 24-inch diagonal is more than enough to have a very crisp and sharp picture. Combined with a good dynamic range of colors, it will show most games in the best light possible.

The refresh rate is nothing to write home about, and at 75Hz you won’t be able to reach the top competitive performance. But, for most games and abilities, this will be just enough.

Finally, the response time for this monitor is 5ms, which may be low on higher frame rates but combined with the refresh rate it will be enough not to have any tearing or ghosting.

Pros

  • Low power consumption
  • Has FreeSync
  • Good black contrast
  • Good color dynamics

Cons

  • Relatively low refresh rate
  • Relatively low response time
  • Some IPS glow

Dell Gaming Monitor S2417DG YNY1D

  • Lighting Type: LED-Lit TN
  • Diagonal: 24 Inches
  • Resolution: QHD – 2560x1440p (2K)
  • Refresh Rate: 165Hz
  • Response Time: 1ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI & Display Port
  • Synchronization: G-SYNC

It is quite probable that this model will find itself on multiple lists because it excels in several fields and it quite pleasant on the eyes.

For gamers, this monitor will offer competitive level specification at a reasonable price, simply because of the size. Even though there are monitors that will provide a better range of colors, for most FPS players this difference will be of no significance.

Most of the adaptability of this monitor comes from the fact that it is a 24-inch screen that comes with a 2K resolution. This allows you to experience the full extent of the details in a better-optimized game.

But, if you stumble upon a game that will make your GPU struggle, you won’t give a bad performance by switching down to 1080p and playing like that.

For many, this will be an ideal middle-branch monitor that will serve you between systems. It will work very well with a lower-end PC, and if you ever upgrade to something more powerful, this monitor will be able to show you the difference brilliantly.

Pros

  • Amazing refresh rate
  • Very low response time
  • Excellent resolution to size ratio (PPI)
  • Can be turned to portrait mode

Cons

  • It could be slightly bigger
  • Low contrast
  • Dell HDMI in the box doesn’t support the full performance

Asus VP28UQG

  • Lighting Type: LED – IPS
  • Diagonal: 24 Inches
  • Resolution: QHD – 2560x1440p (2K)
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz / 160 vertical
  • Response Time: 1ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI & Display Port
  • Synchronization: AdaptiveSync/ FreeSync

This monitor from Asus was made with gamers specifically in mind. While the build of the monitor follows many of its predecessors, what is on the inside will amaze everyone.

For one, this is a 4K monitor working at 2160p with only a 28-inch diagonal. This gives one of the best PPI (157) view images for anyone who has the system to pull it off. This is perfect as a pro PC or pro PS4 monitor.

But, even as games progress in hardware demands, with this size you can easily downsize to 2K or even Full HD and get a solid pixel density where you can game easily and with a sharp image on the screen.

This makes the expected life-cycle of this monitor very long because at 160Hz vertical refresh rate and 1ms response time you can game competitively with it. Being able to ensure that your frame rate will reach this hard-cap will come in useful for games that are yet to come in the future.

Also, this allows you to use this screen as a mid-way point in your hardware changes. Even if you have a rudimentary gaming system now, as you build up your PC you will be able to see the advancements.

Finally, the Asus flicker-free technology gives your eyes the needed stability, where you can game for hours without any damage from the changing light levels on the screen.

Pros

  • Excellent resolution and PPI
  • Excellent response time
  • Good connectivity
  • Good Sync Options

Cons

  • The back of the monitor heats up
  • Relatively low contrast
  • Some IPS Glow

ViewSonic ELITE XG270

  • Lighting Type: LED
  • Diagonal: 27 Inches
  • Resolution: Full HD 1080p
  • Refresh Rate: 240Hz
  • Response Time: 1ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI & Display Port
  • Synchronization: G-SYNC

If you want to win at CS:GO on a globally challenging level, then you don’t need 4K and huge screens, because the game isn’t capable of that. What you need are frames, lots and lots of frames.

With the low response time of 1ms and the incredible refresh rate of 240Hz, you will be able to take in more FPS than your conscious mind is able to process and start working on pure instinct, without any tears or breaking that might damage your performance.

This monitor is made for esports and it has been featured on multiple competitions all around the world for this purpose alone. For First Person Shooters, it is only surpassed in specification by monitors in a much higher price range.

And, with a 99% sRGB color dynamics, you will be able to differentiate those pixels very clearly and sense where the enemy is moving.

Finally, because the 1ms response time is working at its limits on 240fps/240Hz, there are anti-blur measures to prevent even the possibility of ghosting and motion blur. This will make you certain that your target is always in the place where you see it.

Pros

  • Amazing refresh rate
  • Very low response time
  • Anti-blur technology
  • Excellent color dynamics
  • Very appealing design aesthetics

Cons

  • Relatively low PPI at native
  • Relatively low contrast
  • Backside RGB

LG 34GL750-B

  • Lighting Type: LED – IPS
  • Diagonal: 34 Inches / 21:9
  • Resolution: WFHD – 2560x1080p
  • Refresh Rate: 144Hz
  • Response Time: 1ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI & Display Port
  • Synchronization: Adaptive Sync

Because of the increased hardware requirements without actually gaining any pixels per inch, most people avoid gaming on widescreen monitors. But, when it comes to MOBAs and MMORPGs, there is no substitute for the inches you get on the side.

On the center, this LG monitor is comparable to a 27-inch model with a 16:9 ratio, making it a good size for all kinds of gaming. In the worst-case scenario, if you get your GPU throttling, you can always disable the sides and play in a regular 1080p resolution

The combination of characteristics, including both the refresh rate and the native resolution, make this monitor ideal for games like League of Legends or DOTA:2, even for competitive play.

Finally, this monitor has very vibrant colors. This does help with gaming, but also allows you to watch a movie in fine detail, which is where the 21:9 screen ratio really does shine.

The same can be said for cinematic video games, which are enjoyed by many people as a favorite means of escapism.

Pros

  • Good refresh rate
  • Very low response time
  • G-Sync compatible
  • Curved slightly

Cons

  • Slightly lower resolution
  • Low contrast
  • Some IPS glow

Samsung C32HG70

  • Lighting Type: LED
  • Diagonal: 24 Inches
  • Resolution: QHD – 2560x1440p (2K)
  • Refresh Rate: 165Hz
  • Response Time: 1ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI & Display Port
  • Synchronization: G-SYNC

Samsung has obviously borrowed some of the technology from its smartphone division to create a vibrant and colorful monitor with top-level gaming specs. Because of this combination, this model became one of the few 32-inch monitors that are primed for all types of gaming.

Having a 2K resolution on a screen this size is just enough and will provide excellent performances with a lot more screen real estate.

Going past the diagonal, the 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time are ideal for gaming, and are even good enough for competitive FPS tournaments, provided that your GPU can force 140fps on 2K.

But, where these types of contrast and brightness shine are both RTS games and MOBAs, where the extra space gives better map visibility. This increases the responsiveness of your macro side of gaming, allowing you an edge over those with smaller screens.

Finally, unlike many other gaming monitors, this one is also good for productivity because of the good contrast and lighting, meaning that you can purchase it under this pretence should your household disapprove of your excessive spending on gaming equipment.

Pros

  • Good refresh rate
  • Very low response time
  • Excellent color depth
  • Good contrast

Cons

  • Some heating issues
  • Relatively low native PPI

Acer XR342CK

  • Lighting Type: LED
  • Diagonal: 34 Inches
  • Resolution: WQHD – 3440x1440p (2K)
  • Refresh Rate: 100Hz
  • Response Time: 1ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI & Display Port
  • Synchronization: FreeSync

This Acer is somewhat hardware intensive and will require a serious GPU to bring it to its fullest glory. But, those with deeper pockets will be allowed to experience MOBAs and driving games as never before.

Additionally, the monitor is slightly curved to allow for a faster overview, further immersing anyone playing the game. With some good speakers added to the mix, you can give yourself a truly enjoyable experience.

The ratio with the diagonal means that this is comparable with a 27-inch screen with a couple of inches added to each side. For shooters and strategies, this might be not as important, but when it comes to MOBAs those couple of inches really come in handy.

Also, shooters will suffer on a competitive level from a 100Hz refresh rate giving that hard cap on the frames per second. This is not a deal-breaker for playing an FPS, but it will cost you some points in a competitive match.

But, when it comes to drivers, especially with some good sound and a steering wheel controller, it becomes a relaxing and exciting sight to see at the same time. It is colorful, vibrant, and responsive.

Games like Forza Horizon 4 and Assetto Corsa both look stunning on this screen and it seems like they were made for each other.

Pros

  • Good pixel density (PPI)
  • Very low response time
  • Good Sync capabilities (FreeSync)
  • Very nice design

Cons

  • Mediocre refresh rate
  • Low contrast
  • No G-Sync

Acer Predator XB321HK

  • Lighting Type: LED IPS
  • Diagonal: 32 Inches
  • Resolution: UHD – 3840x2160p (4K)
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  • Response Time: 1ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI & Display Port
  • Synchronization: G-SYNC

Anyone who was carefully going through this list will notice instantly that the refresh rate on this monitor is capped at 60Hz, making those ultrahigh frame rates generally useless.

This is because this Acer Predator is not designed for shooters at all. This monitor is made to give you as many vibrant colors and pleasant contrasts to play RPG games for hours upon hours. And the size of the monitor helps with that.

Allowing for 60 FPS of actual full frames will be more than enough for adventure games, and they will run smoothly and without any tearing or ghosting. Games like Divinity 2 Original Sin or Pathfinder show amazing details on this monitor that makes them an even bigger joy to play.

Finally, because of the good contrast in this monitor, it will not tire your eyes.

This is good for gaming, but might even be a good choice for productivity. This range of utility makes this monitor a preferred choice for remote-work freelancers across the world.

Pros

  • Good pixel density (PPI)
  • Very low response time
  • Excellent design
  • Flicker-less technology
  • Good contrast

Cons

  • Low refresh rate
  • Some temperature issues
  • Somewhat heavy

Acer Predator XB273K

  • Lighting Type: LED IPS
  • Diagonal: 27 Inches
  • Resolution: UHD – 3840x2160p (4K)
  • Refresh Rate: 144Hz
  • Response Time: 1ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI & Display Port
  • Synchronization: G-SYNC

The only question when buying a monitor like the XB273K Predator is if there is even a system that can push this many pixels to use all of the features stored inside?

This is a monitor designed for the highest level of gaming, allowing for an incredibly high pixel-per-inch ratio and a wide range of other features further improving the experience.

The only downside of this monitor, the ever-present IPS glow, is being resolved with blinds on three sides, allowing you to play professionally in any lighting condition. If you have a dark room, these can be taken off.

As far as the specs go, everything is there. From the 144Hz refresh rate to the G-Sync capability, and even HDR400 which is currently supported by only a couple of games. Everything is there to ensure the best possible experience.

This will come at a price. But, for those who have already dished out wads of cash for a top-range gaming rig, this might be a good option to be able to see what your system is capable of in all of its full glory!

Pros

  • Excellent refresh rate
  • Very low response time
  • Glow blinds
  • Easy swivel and tilt
  • Range of color enhancement technologies
  • HDR

Cons

  • The hardware finish could be smoother
  • There are higher refresh rate monitors

Quick Buyer’s Guide for the Best Gaming Monitors

Trying to pick the best monitor for your gaming has one major hurdle that will be impossible to surpass in the near future. Namely, we all have only one set of eyes to see with, and we have never looked from other people’s eyes.

Because of this, experiences with the same monitor will vary for every individual. It is not certain that you will have the same results with one monitor as someone else.

That being said, there are some specs that we can measure. Even though color and resolution will be perceived differently, more will always be better.

Having more pixels that respond faster to the input by the GPU will always give a better experience, and that is where we can try to find our ideal monitor.

Also, we do know that some games pair better with certain types of monitors than others. Here, we can use the experiences of others who have tried different models to establish which is the best choice for the games we want to play.

Different Games, Different Requirements

When it comes to what monitors work best for them, games can be divided into three categories.

Primarily, there are First-Person Shooters and driving games that value framerates, refresh rates, and response time more than anything else. Especially for competitive gaming, every single changed pixel matters, and you should focus on getting as much of them as possible.

Even on the higher rates of over 120 FPS and over 144Hz, where your eyes might not notice the difference consciously, your brain will know. Your response time in-game will improve, as least slightly, giving you an edge over your enemies.

Next, there are RPGs and games usually marketed as ‘cinematic’. Generally, you can place Bethesda games like Fallout and Elder Scrolls in this category as well, where picture quality supersedes framerates.

For these games, you usually won’t notice anything over 90 FPS and 75Hz, but you will see the differences in resolution, especially when the game is using 2K or 4K models.

Finally, there are strategies like Civilization or most games that Paradox Interactive ever made. Here you will usually be looking at a single frame for a while, so FPS means nothing. However, the color depth and sharpness will mean the world when looking at maps for hours at a time.

What to Look for in a Gaming Monitor

  • Size – The diagonal of the screen in inches
  • Panel Type – The type of lighting used to illuminate the picture
  • Resolution – Number of pixels on the entire screen
  • Refresh Rate – How quickly the image on the screen can change expressed in Hertz
  • Response Time – How quickly the screen itself will respond to a drastic change in input expressed in milliseconds
  • Connectivity – How do you attach your monitor to your PC and if there are syncing options
  • Positioning – If you can see the monitor from different angles and adjust them

Additionally, there are aspects like color and contrast, which might change your experience from an aesthetic perspective, but won’t influence how you see or play the game.

Screen Size

You need to remember that in this case, bigger is not always better. Having a decently sized monitor is important, but only if it fits the ratio between the diagonal, the resolution, and the distance from your eyes.

For competitive gameplay, screens sized up to 27 inches have proven to work the best. Especially when they are in 2K resolution, these monitors can give an awesome picture without forcing you to look around too much.

Ideally, for most games, you don’t want to go over 32 inches. And, even at that point, a 2K resolution will be almost mandatory.

If you opt to go bigger, you will need to stay further away from the screen to see the whole picture without moving your neck. This might be okay for some games, especially strategies, but it will lower your performance and enjoyment when it comes to FPS, RTS, and driving games.

Panel Type

While every panel will work okay for gaming, some options will have other specs improved because of the option when it comes to lighting.

IPS LED monitors, including OLED and AMOLED screens, have a downside that to reach the best colors the finish needs to be glossy. This makes the screen have a glow in black areas, and be generally more reflective.

But, these panels also give the best refresh rate on the market and usually have the best color spectrum. Not to mention that they are, on average, 20% cheaper than the alternatives.

For most gamers, it would be better to take an IPS screen and make the room darker, than to lose performance for something that doesn’t matter once the sun sets.

But, if you need to work and write on your monitor as well, spending a bit more on a VA monitor that will have a better contrast ration and no glare. You will lose some response time here as well.

Resolution

Theoretically speaking, having a bigger resolution is better as far as the picture quality goes; you just need to make sure that your GPU can follow the climb in the number of pixels.

For monitors with a diagonal of 24 inches or less, when it comes to gaming, a Full HD (1080p) resolution is sufficient, and it will give you a good picture with all of the details you need. But, if you want to have the best visuals possible, going with 1440p or 2K is probably the best.

Your graphics card will need to push those extra pixels, so take into consideration the framerate drop. On average, you will have ~35% fewer FPS when gaming on 2K compared to Full HD.

Additionally, when pondering about a widescreen with a ratio different to 16:9, make sure that the games you want to play have an optimization for that resolution. You don’t want your screen to be cut with black lines.

Refresh Rate

When it comes to shooters, this is one of the most important factors in a monitor, especially when trying to game competitively.

In technical terms, this number shows how many times the color can change for any individual pixel inside a second, measured in Hertz. This includes all of the LED diodes illuminating the pixel.

In practical terms, this is a hard cap on your framerate. While you might see reduced tearing and slightly smoother transitions if you have more FPS than Hertz, the actual frame rate will always be the same.

For games where you need every frame, you don’t want to go below 144Hz, with more always being better. Larger framerates will bring diminishing returns, but they will bring returns.

Response Time

Contrary to popular opinion, the response time on your monitor is not how long it takes between you clicking and something moving on the screen, as that is input lag.

The same way as the refresh rate influences how quickly the color will change in a pixel, the response time influences how fast the lighting will change, or the contrast.

Usually, the larger the contrast in the monitor the bigger the response time will be, but with modern displays that might not always be the case.

When it comes to gaming monitors, you always want to have your RT below 5 milliseconds, with the optimal number being 1ms. This will prevent any ‘ghosting’ and visual artifacts shown from the object moving too quickly on the screen.

Connectivity

This is an often disregarded feature because nobody ever thinks about their cables before they realize they have nowhere to plug them in. Also, not all cables have the same capacity when it comes to transferring the signal from your GPU to the monitor.

The best thing to do is to find a monitor that will have the same port as your graphics card. Here, DP (Display Port) cables will be the best, followed closely by HDMI connections.

For anything up to 2K, you won’t see any issues with an HDMI. But, if you pass on to 4K or more you will either need to connect your monitor with multiple cables, provided that you have multiple HDMI support on your GPU, or by using the Display Port.

Positioning

Finally, while positioning isn’t crucial when it comes to choosing a monitor, it might just be a tiebreaker between two different models. Having your screen just where you want it might make the experience significantly better.

For one, you should be able to adjust the tilt of the screen to fit your height and seating arrangement. It is much easier to set your monitor this way than to move everything else.

And, if you are trying to create a complete setup, you will need to make sure that there is a VESA capability on the monitor. Thankfully, because screens are getting lighter each year, even larger models have this option.

Find the Best Overall

Although those with deeper pockets might be tempted to simply pick from the top of the pile and take the most expensive option, this is usually not the best choice overall.

Not only would you probably suffer from a case of buyer’s remorse and be less satisfied with your choice, but it also might not even be the best pick for the type of game you want to play. At the end of the day, your gaming satisfaction is all that matters.

But, if you assess your needs honestly, you will be certain to find something that will suit both your requirements and your budget. Even if you don’t get that top-notch pro-gaming experience, you will have good enough specs to game against anyone on an equal playing field.

Conclusion

For every gamer, your monitor will be the thing you look at the most during your gaming, so it might be a good idea to take some time to explore what option will bring you the most pleasure.

There are a lot of models that stand out, and new advances are happening every year, but only some aspects benefit gamers directly, and not all games will be affected equally by these differences.

But, if you know what you like to play, and you have a general idea of what is needed for those games, there are some awesome gaming monitors out there right now and you will be certain to find one that will be beautiful and competitive for years.