Best Gaming Monitors 2018: The Best 4K, 144Hz, G-Sync and FreeSync displays compared

We’ve tested every gaming monitor we could find to offer you a comprehensive list of the best Free-sync and G-Sync monitors currently available. 

If you’re on the hunt for an insanely large 49-inch screen then the Samsung CHG90 is the best overall gaming monitor we’ve tested. If money and space are an issue you should check out the Viewsonic XG2401 which, with pricing starting at a modest £250 RRP, is the best-value gaming monitor currently on the market. Want a 4K monitor that offers true HDR, a top refresh rate of 144Hz and Nvidia’s G-Sync support? Then you need either the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ, or the slightly cheaper Acer Predator X27.

Editor's Pick

Samsung LC49HG90DMUXEN

If money is no object, this massive 49-inch monitor takes out overall pick. It has an aspect ratio of 32:9, which is the equivalent of two Full HD 27-inch monitors side-by-side. For games that make use of it, the ultra wide resolution is great, as is the AMD FreeSync support for smoother gaming.

£1,049.97

Before you go rushing off to part with your hard earned cash, though, note that top end displays bespoke made for gaming, like the stellar looking Philips 436M6VBPAB have started to hit the market. As with 4K TVs, we expect that once more 4K HDR 144Hz monitors hit shelves, prices will fall accordingly. We’ll soon be reviewing the BenQ EX3501R, a curved 35-inch 1440p monitor with HDR support – if that happens to top any of the monitors we’ve reviewed below, we’ll update the list accordingly.

We’ll be testing these and more in the very near future, so make sure to check back regularly for our latest buying advice.

best value gaming monitor

ViewSonic XG2401

The ViewSonic XG2401 is our pick for best value gaming monitor. It's got all the features any eSports gamer could possibly want with its 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response times. There's also AMD FreeSync for smoother gaming from an AMD graphics card that's bound to give you the competitive edge.

£257.77

How we test gaming monitors

We use a combination of our own experience of playing games along with more quantitative tools for repeatable tests. These tools include a Leo Bodnar input-lag tester to see how suitable each panel is for gaming, plus an X-Rite i1 Display Pro for getting brightness, contrast and accuracy figures. We also use this tool to calibrate screens to see what they’re capable of at their absolute best.

Samsung CHG90

Samsung CHG90

Pros: 

  • Incredible widescreen experience
  • Like having two monitors in one
  • Great gaming performance
  • Impressive HDR

Cons:

  • Resolution a bit low for its size
  • The price
  • Impractically massive

Super-wide monitors are nothing new, but Samsung takes things up a notch with the CHG90. This enormous 49-inch display has an aspect ratio of 32:9, which is the equivalent of two Full HD 27-inch monitors sitting side-by-side.

This is one mighty monitor, but it looks great, too. With a slight curve, a lit-up rear and a clean design it’s everything you’d want from a premium piece of design.

Because of its size, the resolution isn’t as huge as it might appear. Indeed, if you treat this like a normal monitor, things might even look a bit low-res. However, you should sit a little further back when using this panel to make the most of it, so it shouldn’t be a big problem.

You can look at full colour performance information on the second page of our review, but the cliffnotes are as follows: It delivers colours with accuracy, although it won’t reach the extremes of the Adobe RGB gamut so it won’t be suitable for people working with physical media such as print. It also has HDR, but on Windows 10 things are a bit flaky so perhaps don’t buy this monitor if you’re just after HDR; there’s some way to go before HDR is ready for the PC primetime.

For gaming, this monitor is fantastic. Not all games will support such a crazy wide resolution, but most modern titles should give it a good go nonetheless. Race and flight sims will benefit particularly well. There’s AMD FreeSync, too, so if you have an AMD graphics card you’ll get even smoother gaming.

A hugely expensive monitor, but one we think is worth every penny.

Buy now: Samsung CHG90 for £838 / $948 from Amazon

ViewSonic XG2401

ViewSonic XG2401

Pros:

  • Good gaming performance
  •  Decent overall image quality
  •  Plenty of features for the price

Cons:

  • Lacklustre design
  • A touch expensive

The ViewSonic XG2401 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 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.

Buy now: ViewSonic XG2401 for £243/ $241 from Amazon

 

Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ

Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ

Pros:

  • Fantastic image quality
  • Superb gaming performance
  • Stunning HDR
  • Incredible 4K detail

Cons:

  • Mind-bogglingly expensive
  • Still only a 27-inch display
  • 4K resolution too demanding

The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ offers up a holy trinity – 4K resolution, HDR support and a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz. How many other gaming displays out there right now can offer that? But with great power comes great RRP. The ROG Swift PG27UQ is insanely expensive. Inordinate, even.

Other downsides include its size at 27-inches, it’s not the biggest on the market, so if you’ve got room for something a little larger, you might want to check out something like the super-wide 49-inch Samsung CHG90.

The benefit of that extra detail is sometimes lost, too; because of the relatively small size of the screen, you’ll find yourself bumping things up to 150% scale for standard desktop use, losing some breathing room in the process.

Gamers playing titles where response times are key and as the ROG Swift PG27UQ gives you a response time of 4ms instead of the preferred 1ms, hardcore FPS players may pass and go straight for a faster (not to mention cheaper) TN monitor. So why are we recommending this?

Because when its good when you’re playing games or streaming content where HDR is supported it’s fantastic. If you’re generally playing non-competitive games and your rig’s got a graphics card that can comfortably handle 4K gaming, then you’ll want a ROG Swift PG27UQ to show off what your system’s truly capable of. 

Buy Now: Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ for £2,229/ $2,499 from Amazon

Acer Predator X27

Acer Predator X27

Pros:

  • Fantastic image quality
  • Great gaming performance
  • Stunning HDR

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Still only a 27-inch display
  • 4K resolution too demanding

If you’re in the market for a monitor which delivers the holy trinity of 4K resolution, actual HDR, and a 144Hz refresh rate, then you should investigate the Acer Predator X27. As it measures 27-inches across, that resolution of 3840 x 2160 is really packed in, giving you a pixel density of 163 ppi.

Thanks to its clever 384-zone backlighting system, the X27 can deliver the full extended colour range of true HDR content. Normal monitors use the sRGB colour space, which is equivalent to around 70% of the larger DCI-P3 colour space used for some HDR standards. HDR monitors must cover over 90% of the DCI-P3 colour space, which the X27 does.

We didn’t spot any dips in image quality when kicking up the refresh rate from the native 120Hz, either. In plain English, this means that streamed media, games, photos – even the thumbnails of photos – simply look stunning.

Downsides include its size and price. If 27 inches is enough for you, then that’s fine, but if you’re looking to upgrade, or you already have a 32-inch monitor, then moving to the X27 might feel cramped.

You also don’t get a big desktop area to play with. At the native resolution, things will often be too small to be comfortably visible.
It’s also expensive, at £2100. It’s a premium gaming monitor, sure, so you should expect to pay premium prices. All the same, this will be beyond the spending limits of some.

And, while the HDR performance is very good, it’s not quite on par with what we saw with the (slightly more expensive) Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ.

As with the PG27UQ, if you’ve got your eye on one of the new generation of Nvidia graphics cards and you want to get into 4K gaming, then this is a solid choice. Just make sure that when you enter your credit card details, you keep up with those repayments.

 

ViewSonic XG3240C

ViewSonic XG3240C

Pros:

  • Large screen for a low price
  • Good overall image quality
  • Decent gaming performance
  • Plenty of features for the money

Cons:

  • Over saturated colours
  • Not as good for gaming as IPS or TN displays

The ViewSonic XG3240C offers a lot of great features for a low price, and it’s one of the best Vertically Aligned (VA)-type gaming panels we’ve seen.

VA LCD monitors are usually passed over by gamers, wary of ghosting and slow response times, neither of which are as noticeable on the XG3240C. It feels much closer to the whip-smart IPS and TN gaming panels and the 144Hz refresh rate and FreeSync combo works as well as you’d expect.

The 3ms response time might put off more demanding gamers. For anyone who doesn’t need the fastest of the fast for gaming, the ViewSonic XG3240C will no doubt satisfy.

HDR content also looks great on the XG3240C. It’s not as comprehensive as something like the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ, but then again, the ViewSonic XG3240C is about a quarter of the price of that Asus monitor. If you don’t require bleeding edge response times for your games, the ViewSonic XG3240C is an excellent value choice. 

 

AOC AGON AG271QG

AOC AGON AG271QG

Pros:

  • Excellent overall image quality
  •  Great gaming performance
  •  Better value than competition

Cons:

  • Unexciting design
  •  Still a big upfront investment

AOC’s AGON brand is still fairly new, but this 165Hz gaming monitor is an excellent piece of kit for the money. The AOC AGON AG271QG undercuts many of its rivals by £50 at RRP, but comes with a full feature set that means it meets the demands of most gamers.

The 165Hz refresh rate is a nice-to-have, and G-Sync is an additional bonus for anybody with an Nvidia graphics card. With a 1440p resolution, it’s ideal for high-resolution gaming. It doesn’t have the fastest response time, but for most gamers who don’t need the ultimate in twitchy performance, this will be fine.

Our only complaint is the rather unexciting design but, beyond that, it’s otherwise an excellent gaming panel.

Buy now: AOC AGON AG271QG for £652 from Amazon

Samsung CHG70

Samsung CHG70

Pros:

  • Huge 3000:1 contrast ratio
  • True HDR performance
  • Stylish design
  • Great gaming performance
  • Plenty of features for its price

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Can’t quite match the very fastest gaming displays

The Samsung CHG70 is the first FreeSync 2 monitor we’ve seen. FreeSync 2 is just regular FreeSync with HDR slapped on top, but the results are quite spectacular. You can read more about how the HDR on the Samsung CHG70 works on the second page of our review, but the short version is this: HDR computing is in its infancy and needs tweaking to get the best results.

Elsewhere, this is an outstanding monitor. The slight curve and high-quality panel means every part of the screen looks great, and it can cover a huge number of colours. Couple this with massive contrast and very high maximum brightness, and you have an absolute peach in terms of image quality.

Its 144Hz refresh rate and FreeSync compatability as well as 1ms ‘perceived’ response time. It’s certainly fast enough for our tastes and only hardcore eSports players might look to 240Hz panels instead.

You pay for it, but the Samsung CHG70 is a superb gaming monitor with all the trimmings.

Buy now: Samsung CHG70 for £485 / $508 from Amazon

Samsung C24FG70

Samsung C24FG70

Pros: 

  • Great image quality
  • Super-fast refresh rate
  • Easy to set up

Cons:

  • Bezel is too reflective
  • Monitor too small to make use of curve

With one of the most impressive on-paper specifications we’ve seen in ages, the Samsung 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 (C27FG70, £400).

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.

Buy now: Samsung C24FG70 for £283/ $279 from Amazon

Dell S2716DG

Dell S2716DG

Pros: 

  • Consistently solid image quality
  • Smart, versatile design
  • Nvidia G-Sync included

Cons:

  • Rivals have higher quality
  • AMD FreeSync looks a better option

The Dell S2716DG is, plain and simple, one of the cheapest 27-inch 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 technically 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: Dell S2716DG for £528 / $474  from Amazon

Asus ROG Swift PG279Q

Asus ROG Swift PG279Q

Pros:

  • Excellent image quality
  • IPS quality and fast refresh rate in one
  • Good build qualitySuperb gaming experience

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Limited connectivity
  • Quality control issues

Arguably the most sought after 27-inch display of the past year or so, the Asus ROG Swift 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 up there with the best 27-inch monitor you can buy right now.

Buy now: Asus ROG Swift PG279Q for £717.99 from Amazon

Asus ROG Swift PG348Q

Asus ROG Swift PG348Q

Pros:

  • Great image quality
  • Outlandish, versatile design
  • Nvidia G-Sync
  • Huge size and resolution

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Cheaper rivals have the edge on quality
  • Awkward to build and set up

The Asus ROG Swift PG348Q  is one of the best 34-inch gaming monitors around. This 34-inch curved IPS panel’s gargantuan display boasts a whopping 3440 x 1440 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: Asus ROG Swift PG348Q for £940 / $1117 from Amazon

Those are our top picks of the best gaming monitors. If you want to know more about gaming monitors FreeSync and G-Sync technology read on.

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.