Getting the best gaming monitor should be one of your top priorities when planning or upgrading your PC gaming setup. Whether you’re putting a Ryzen Threadripper and three of the most powerful graphics cards into your computer or just a modest Pentium and an RX 460, the end goal of your gaming rig is to display the games you’re playing, and your gaming monitor has the key role of showing the product of all your gaming hardware.
While you can have a good experience on a budget gaming monitor, you shouldn’t skimp on a good display if you’re forking thousands into a beefy gaming rig. All the same, you can get a good deal if you know what to prioritize in a gaming monitor to go with the types of games you want to play.
For highly competitive games like Overwatch or CS:GO, you’ll want to prioritize high refresh rates and low response times for snappy gameplay. If you’re all about having a beautiful pictures and enjoying the game world, you should consider resolution, panel type, color support and contrast ratio.
When you build your gaming rig or choose a pre-built computer, like the ones at the top of our list of the best gaming PCs of 2017, don’t let your monitor hamstring the quality of your video game experience. We’ve pulled together the best of the best in a number of categories, from 4K monitors and ultra-wide screen to blazing fast monitors with high refresh rates and negligible input lag.
How to buy the best gaming monitor in 2017
If you're on the hunt for what the best gaming monitor 2017 has to offer, then you should first make sure you know what to look for before you buy.
By looking at the following terms and specifications, you can make sure you buy the best gaming monitor for your needs – which also means you're not paying extra for additional features that you won't use.
Screen size: When buying the best gaming monitor, one of the most important things to consider is screen size. Larger screen sizes can lead to more immersive gaming experiences, as the action fills more of your field of vision, but you'll want to make sure you have the room to feature a large monitor. Larger screen sizes of gaming monitors also usually mean higher price tags.
Aspect ratio: The aspect ratio of a gaming monitor determines the width and height of the screen. Most widescreen monitors have an aspect ratio of 16:9, while older monitors had a more square 4:3, which will likely feel quite cramped these days. Ultra-wide monitors with aspect ratios of 21:9 are increasingly common – they offer a wide view of your games, and many ultra wides have made our list of the best gaming monitor 2017.
Resolution: Resolution is another important factor when looking for the best gaming monitor for your needs. The higher the resolution, the better the image quality, but also the more powerful the graphics card you'll need. Full HD resolution is 1,920 x 1,080, but many gaming monitors boast resolutions as high as 2,560 x 1,400 (WQHD) and 3,840 x 2,160 (4K).
Refresh rate: This is another important specification to consider when looking to buy the best gaming monitor. The higher the refresh rate, more frames per second (fps) it can display, leading to a smoother experience. A 60Hz refresh rate is most common, with refresh rates rising to 144Hz and 200Hz.
Response time: The best gaming monitors have low response times, which means the action remains fast and fluid, and there's no input lag. The fastest time response time for monitors is 1ms.
Panel type: This is where things get a bit techy. The type of panel the gaming monitor uses will have an impact on its response time and image quality. TN panels (twisted nematic) have the fastest response times, and they are usually cheaper as well, but they generally don’t have great viewing angles. IPS panels (in-plane switching) have excellent viewing angles and color reproduction. Meanwhile VA panels (vertical alignment) sit between the two, though the slow response times makes these panels rare in the best gaming monitors.
Viewing Angle: Generally, you should be positioned in front of a gaming monitor, but this may not always be the case. A monitor’s viewing angles tell you what angle you can look at the monitor from and still see what’s on the screen. The closer these numbers are are to 180, the better your viewing experience will be when standing further to either side of the monitor or looking at it from above or below.
G-Sync and FreeSync: You'll probably notice that many of the best gaming monitors in 2017 boast G-Sync or FreeSync technology – or both. This helps keep fps smooth, prevents screen tearing and reduces input lag. G-Sync is developed by Nvidia, so you'll need an Nvidia GPU, and the tech is built into the monitor, which can make them expensive. Meanwhile FreeSync was developed by AMD, but as it is free to use by manufacturers (as opposed to Nvidia's proprietary G-Sync technology), it is more flexible with what GPU you use – and the monitors can cost less.
Best gaming monitor 2017
Now that you know what to look for, here's our list of the best gaming monitors in 2017. This list is constantly being updated and reviewed, so you can rest assured that we're recommending only the very best gaming monitors for your needs.
The Agon AG352UCG from AOC is a 21:9 IPS panel that prides itself on its stately 3,440 x 1,440 resolution and G-Sync capabilities, making it our top choice for the best gaming monitor in 2017. This means when paired with an Nvidia graphics card, this monitor uses G-Sync to eliminate screen tearing without adding stress to your PC hardware. What’s more, you can expect better response times from the AOC Agon than with its closest competitors, meaning lower latency in games like Overwatch or Lawbreakers that rely on faster pacing. The only downsides are that the AOC Agon is rather bulky and quite pricey as well. Weighing in at 26 pounds (11.8kg) total, you’ll want to be sure your desk can support it.
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If you're looking for a budget gaming monitor, and don't mind making a few compromises (it features a 1080p resolution and twisted-nematic, or TN, panel rather than IPS), then you'll be very pleased with the Asus MG248Q. It makes up for any shortcomings with lightning fast response times and Adaptive Sync, making this the best budget gaming monitor in 2017. Adaptive Sync is of interest to gamers, as it reduces screen tearing if you have an AMD graphics card, a clear demonstration that the MG248Q tailors to the budget gamer. On the other hand, even Nvidia fans can rejoice at the 144Hz refresh rate. But, without the right GPU equipped, you might be better off saving for the G-Sync equivalent Asus ROG Swift PG248Q.
Read the full review: Asus MG248Q
You might not believe it at first glance, but the BenQ Zowie XL2540 is every bit the gaming monitor that the other monitors on this list are. And though it may not seem it from the outside looking in, it does its job remarkably well too, sacrificing dazzling lighting effects for a zippy 240Hz refresh rate and nigh-instantaneous 1ms response time. There’s no G-Sync or FreeSync, as this monitor assumes you already have a rig that’s plenty capable of eliminating screen tears on its own. Instead, this monitor keeps it simple by supplying you with lots of visual presets, an “S Switch” control pod for managing those presets and even a pair of adjustable light screens. If you're a professional gamer, then this is the best gaming monitor for you.
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Cinematic gaming monitors are a great alternative to their 4K counterparts when it comes to playing games. In fact, you might say they're even better due to their ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio. The Acer Predator X34 certainly looks the part, featuring an eye-catching aluminum bezel and angular, crow's foot-shape stand. It comes with a number of gaming mod cons in tow, including Nvidia's G-Sync frame-smoothing tech, an immersion-boosting curved shape and fantastic color reproduction that brings games to life. Short of strapping on a virtual reality headset, the Predator X34 is about as immersive as gaming gets.
Read the full review: Acer Predator X34
If you care more about frame rate than graphics or resolution, this one's for you. Because of its very impressive 180Hz refresh rate, the Asus ROG Swift PG248Q takes the 60fps gold standard for gaming and triples it – provided you're equipped with a rig that can handle the extra stress. While you're unlikely to enjoy Forza Horizon 3 at 180fps on Ultra settings given its high demand, a higher refresh rate is more than welcome in fast-paced, competitive games that don't necessarily depend on a wealth of resources. Plus, as one of the most affordable G-Sync displays on the market, it helps that you can rely on the monitor to prevent screen tearing, too.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Swift PG248Q
If you’re running games using AMD- or Intel-based graphics and want to get into ultra wide displays without spending a fortune, this is the gaming monitor to look out for. At 34 inches diagonally, the LG 34UC79G-B is equipped with AMD FreeSync for screen tear elimination and a 21:9 aspect ratio best suited for games and cinema. Despite the resolution being lower than a lot of other widescreen displays on the market, there’s no denying that the LG 34UC79G-B pulls off a crisp image nonetheless – and with stunning color accuracy at that. Plus, you can change the height, which is more than can be said for even some of the pricier 4K monitors available today.
Read the full review: LG 34UC79G-B
Thanks to its large size, the BenQ EW3270ZL is a great choice of gaming monitor if you're looking for the best way to immerse yourself in your games without paying for an ultra-wide gaming screen. Not only is it large, it has a great resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 and excellent color reproduction. It's not solely a gaming monitor, so response time is high and you don't get gaming-specific features such as G-Sync or FreeSync, but if you're looking for a big, budget gaming monitor, this is one of the best.
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The Lenovo Y27G is a gaming monitor that includes a curved screen with its regular 16:9 aspect ratio, which gives you some added immersion while you're playing. The 1080p resolution is a little on the low side, but it does mean there's less strain on your graphics card, making this an excellent gaming monitor for people who don't have the budget to buy the latest and greatest GPUs. It also means that, with the relatively low resolution, your GPU can concentrate on pushing high frame rates, with the Lenovo Y27G coming with a 144hz refresh rate and available with either Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync anti-screen tearing technology.
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- Looking for a more general monitor? Check out our list of the best monitors
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