Best Gaming Monitors: The finest 144Hz, G-Sync and FreeSync screens for gamers

What’s the best monitor for gaming? We run you through the basics and then present our best-reviewed gaming screens, from under £300 to £1000.

Until recently, when it came to selecting a gaming monitor, the options were pretty limited. You had a choice of between two or three screen sizes but only a TN display type – that was the only LCD panel that could provide the fast refresh rates that are key to a gaming monitor.

Before you start, take a look at our in-depth explainer on refresh rates and motion blur, which goes into lots of detail about how refresh rates and other technology could affect your experience.

Related: Best graphics card

So whether you’re looking for the most cost-effective way to raise your game, or you simply want the one monitor to rule them all, we’ve highlighted the best out there over the coming pages.

For a few extra pointers on what to look out for when buying a gaming monitor, read on below.

Coming soon: HDR Gaming

This is the next big thing in gaming monitors. If you’re buying a screen right now, you don’t need to worry about HDR, but as 2017 wears on we’ll see a lot more about it.

Still, having seen HDR monitors in the flesh, the appeal of screens with 1000-nits brightness and the ability to individually light tiny sections of the screen for simply incredible contrast levels is very high indeed. As soon as we’ve looked at these new monitors in detail we’ll be back with more in-depth analysis.

The vast majority of gaming monitors sold this year probably won’t be HDR-compatible, though, and the extra tech required to make an HDR monitor will make them very expensive.

What about FreeSync and G-Sync?

FreeSync and G-Sync are two technologies that aim to address the issues of tearing and stuttering. Both occur as a result of the fact that monitors normally run at a fixed refresh rate while graphics cards simply churn out frames as fast as they can.

Best Gaming Monitors
Tearing is where the monitor outputs an image made up of several frames

You can read more about how the technologies work in our FreeSync review – but, essentially, they ensure that the monitor keeps in sync with the speed at which the graphics card outputs each new frame. This eliminates tearing and stuttering, making games look better and run more smoothly.

As such, for those who are simply after a gaming monitor for pure competitive advantage neither is essential. But if you’re also concerned with having a more immersive, visually pleasing gaming experience, then either tech is well worth investing in.

Key features:

  • 24-inch, 144Hz TN panel
  • Height, rotation and pitch adjustment
  • AMD FreeSync
  • Review price: £280

ViewSonic’s gaming screen is a virtual checklist of all the essential features for an eSports gamer. Not only do you get a super-fast 144Hz panel with 1ms response times, you don’t have to compromise on practicality thanks to the fully adjustable stand. AMD’s excellent FreeSync is also built in, so if you have an AMD graphics card you can enjoy tear-free gaming at super-smooth frame rates.

There are compromises, of course; the monitor uses TN panel technology in order to get those super-fast refresh rates, so viewing angles and colours don’t quite match the best screens on this list. And we weren’t huge fans of the red highlights ViewSonic’s added as a form of go-faster stripe.

Still, for the money, it ticks the essential boxes for eSports gamers who don’t want to spend a fortune.

Read the full Viewsonic XG2401 review

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Key features

  • 144Hz, 24-inch curved panel
  • Full HD resolution
  • FreeSync support
  • 1800R curve
  • Review price: £300

With one of the most impressive on-paper specifications we’ve seen in ages, the C24FG70 was a winner before it left its box.

Its amazing maximum brightness, 144Hz refresh rate and massive colour coverage (thanks to its new quantum dot layer) makes it very desirable.

In practice, it’s as good as we imagined with a couple of quirks. First, that tight curve really doesn’t do all that much on such a small screen. It actually results in a slight dark reflection on both the left and right edges of the monitor, which is a little disappointing.

We feel it would have been a better bet to save the curve for the larger, 27-inch screen that should be arriving next year.

Still, with great adjustability, excellent on-screen menus and a relatively stylish build, this is a top choice for someone in search of a small gaming monitor.

Read the full Samsung C24FG70 review

BenQ XL2730Z

3 of 9

Score

Key Features:

  • 27in, TN LCD panel
  • 2,560 x 1,440 resolution
  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • FreeSync
  • Review price: £430

BenQ’s flagship gaming monitor is packed with features, including a pop-out headphone stand, FreeSync, 144Hz refresh rate and more.

Also included is a wired remote control for controlling the on-screen menus, plus all the ergonomic adjustments have dials that you can set in order to instantly get back to your perfect setup.

This isn’t an IPS panel, however, and as such the TN panel results in poor viewing angles and colour accuracy. For purely gaming purposes, though, it’s great.

The BenQ isn’t the finest-looking bit of kit, either, but as simply a gaming tool this monitor is a great option for AMD gamers.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £317 | Amazon.com from $536

Read the full BenQ XL2730Z review

Dell S2716DG

4 of 9

Score

Key Features:

  • 27in, TN LCD panel
  • 2,560 x 1,440 resolution
  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • G-Sync
  • Review price: £450

The Dell S2716DG is plain and simple one of the cheapest 27in monitors available featuring Nvidia’s G-Sync technology. It also happens to be Dell’s first ever attempt at a gaming monitor. That might all suggest the S2716DG is riddled with compromise – but in fact, it has plenty going for it.

For a start, it’s one of the smartest-looking monitors you can buy. Its simple silver and black colour scheme and clean design means that it will happily look at home in a swanky boardroom or your home office. It also has one of the latest panels with a super-slim bezel, giving the display an even sleeker look.

When it comes to gaming, it’s very capable too. The fast TN panel can keep up with the quickest of movements, while the addition of G-Sync keeps everything smooth and tear-free.

The panel is also true 8-bit colour, so it’s technicalily more capable than the cheapest TN options in terms of colour accuracy.

However, there are two key things of which you should be aware. The first is the obvious poor viewing angles of TN panels. Far more important is that Dell has completely messed up the gamma setting on this display, so that dark colours always look grey and washed out. It’s fine for competitive gaming, but is poor for general desktop work and watching video. You can tweak the setting in software, but that can make for blocky-looking colours.

Still, for a pure performance gaming monitor, it’s a good value, smart-looking option.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £503 | Amazon.com from $584

Read the full Dell S2716DG review

Acer XF270HU

5 of 9

Score

Key Features:

  • 27in, IPS LCD panel
  • 2,560 x 1,440 resolution
  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • FreeSync
  • Review price: £520

Boasting an IPS panel that can run at up to 144Hz and AMD’s FreeSync technology, this is just about the perfect 27-inch monitor for AMD gamers.

Taking on the likes of the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q and Acer’s own Predator XB271HU, both of which use G-Sync, it doesn’t have the premium look and feel of those displays but does have the features and image quality. Plus, it beats Asus’ FreeSync rival – the MG279Q – hands down.

Also included is a fully adjustable stand, and a better selection of connectivity than its rivals, with two HDMI and one DisplayPort. Meanwhile, the IPS panel means viewing angles are excellent and it produces accurate-looking colours with good contrast.

Fire up some games and the combination of FreeSync and 144Hz bring games to life, making them look great and respond lightning-fast.

This certainly isn’t the fanciest gaming display you can buy, but if your priorities are practicality, image quality and gaming performance then it certainly delivers – and does so for a bargain price.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £412 | Amazon.com from $584 

Read the full Acer XF270HU review

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Key Features:

  • 27in, IPS LCD panel
  • 2,560 x 1,440 resolution
  • 165Hz refresh rate
  • G-Sync
  • Review price: £699

Arguably the most sought after 27-inch display of the past year or so, the PG279Q packs it all in and delivers where it counts. With G-Sync, a 165Hz IPS panel and a premium design, there’s little else it could include.

Starting with that design, the primary feature is the use of a panel with a super-slim bezel, resulting in a display that looks far sleeker than chunky-bezelled rivals. The overall build quality and styling of the black plastic chassis also looks great – in a slightly aggressive, gamer-style way.

There’s an illuminated ring around the base of the stand and a ROG logo on the base itself. You can set the brightness – or choose to turn it off entirely – but you can’t change the colour from red.

The only obvious limitation of this screen is connectivity: since G-Sync can handle only two inputs, you get only one HDMI and one DisplayPort. You do get a four-port USB 3.0 hub for your peripherals, too.

When it comes to image quality, this display really delivers. Right out of the box it produces accurate colours, offering great contrast and viewing angles. Only professionals needing the very best in colour accuracy will need to look elsewhere.

There are a couple key items of note, though. One is the price: at around £700 it’s expensive, nearly double that of the Acer XF270HU, for instance. It’s worth considering your priorities, since a few compromises could result in substantial savings.

More importantly, there have been quality control issues widely reported concerning backlight bleed. The two samples we’ve seen displayed acceptable levels, but many users have reported needing to return several samples before finding a satisfactory one.

If you’re willing to take the plunge and accept that you may have to go through the process of several returns before you find a model that doesn’t suffer from too much backlight bleed, the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q is the best 27-inch monitor you can buy right now.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £510 | Amazon.com from $791.99

Read the full Asus ROG Swift PG279Q review

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Key Features:

  • 34in, curved IPS LCD panel
  • 3,440 x 1,440 resolution
  • 100Hz refresh rate
  • G-Sync
  • ROG logo under lighting
  • Review price:1099

If Asus’ PG279Q is the finest 27-inch gaming monitor you can buy then the the PG348Q is arguably the best 34-inch example. This 34in curved IPS panel’s gargantuan display boasts a whopping 3,440 x 1,440 resolution, it can run at up to 100Hz, and features G-Sync too.

What’s more, it’s quite the looker. Asus has opted for an almost robotic vibe with the styling, melding a silver finish with shapes and patterns that resemble circuit boards and extraneous wires. It’s a look that will likely divide opinion, but it’s certainly striking.

Also likely to raise an eyebrow is the presence of a light on the stand that projects an Asus ROG logo onto your desk. It’s purely for show, and has a certain cringe factor to it. As is the case with the PG279Q, the light is only available in red – but it can be turned off.

Elsewhere, you’re getting an impressively sleek-looking panel, thanks to its use of slim, low-profile bezels.

Like other G-Sync models, connectivity is limited to just one HDMI and one DIsplayPort, but you do also get a four port USB 3.0 hub.

And when it comes to image quality, the PG348Q really delivers. Displaying accurate-looking colours, deep contrast and great viewing angles, this ultra-wide, curved panel is fantastic for watching widescreen movies and playing games alike – it really draws you in.

For gaming, the 100Hz limit is noticeable when compared directly to 144Hz+ models, but it still offers a nice step up from 60Hz – only the most elite FPS players should worry about going higher.

This display is hugely expensive – but if you want the ultimate then it really does deliver.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £982 | Amazon.com from $1,182

Read the full Asus ROG Swift PG348Q review

Score

Key Features:

  • 27in, IPS LCD monitor
  • 165Hz refresh rate
  • 2,560 x 1,440 resolution
  • G-Sync
  • Review price:£599

The Acer XB271HU is a direct rival to the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q, and as such displays both the same excellent features and drawbacks.

One thing it can’t quite match the Asus for, however, is design. It looks okay, with its slim-bezelled frame and largely smart design, but the bright red feet are certainly an acquired taste. Overall build quality falls just a touch short of the Asus, too, with its height and other ergonomic adjustments feeling a little stiffer.

Connectivity is identical, with one HDMI, one DisplayPort and a four-port USB 3.0 hub. In fact, the ports on this display are slightly easier to reach, which is a bonus.

Overall image quality is fantastic, with great colours and contrast and superb viewing angles. Fire up some games and the combination of G-Sync and a 165Hz refresh rate just can’t be beat.

There are also fewer reports with this display regarding issues with backlight bleed, although considering it uses exactly the same panel, I do wonder whether this is simply because fewer people bought the display in the first place.

In some ways, the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q is the better of the two displays as a result of its stand design, but a slightly cheaper asking price for the Acer means it’s still one of the best options out there.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £587 | Amazon.com from $769

Read the full Acer Predator XB271HU review

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Key Features:

  • 34in, curved IPS LCD panel
  • 3,440 x 1,440 resolution
  • 100Hz refresh rate
  • G-Sync
  • RGB under lighting
  • Review price: £1000

By now you may be sensing a theme – basically, Acer and Asus are dominating. That’s because no other brands are currently using the fast IPS displays used by these to companies, so other models simply can’t compete. However, this is the last on our list before we hit some other brands.

The Acer X34A is the direct rival to the PG348Q, boasting a huge 34in, 3,440 x 1,440 resolution IPS panel that’s curved and refreshes at up to 100Hz.

Crucially, though, I think it looks better. Not from the rear, admittedly – the glossy black used here looks cheap – but the slender stand, slim bezels and overall cleaner look is sure to have wider appeal. What’s more, while the Acer also boasts under-lighting, it’s used in a far more subtle, practical manner.

Running along the underside of the display’s frame are nine LEDs that can be set to a choice of colours and brightness levels. Many will choose to keep them off, but they can be used to provide subtle under-lighting that proves useful on occasion: for instance, when you don’t have a backlit keyboard and are otherwise gaming in the dark.

Elsewhere, it offers the same connectivity – one HDMI, one DisplayPort, four USB 3.0 – and, like the Acer XB271HU, the ports are easier to reach than on the Asus alternative.

All that and it delivers when it comes to image quality, too. Whether gaming, watching movies or just working on your desktop, this monitor excels. Just be prepared to pay for the privilege.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £949.99 | Amazon.com from $1,243

Read the full Acer Predator X34A review

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