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(Pocket-lint) - If you're a serious gamer, you'll have no doubt contemplated splashing out some serious cash on a nifty monitor - either to get the edge over the competition or just further immerse yourself.
There are a lot of choices out there, and you might be struggling to work out what the right monitor is for your needs and your budget. Not to worry, we've got you covered. We've been gaming with all manner of screens to bring you a list of our favourites, and the very best gaming monitors currently available.
- The best monitor: Top 4K, Full HD and Quad HD options for creatives
Of course, which monitor you choose will depend on your gaming preference - do you prefer high FPS counts and an ultra-fast refresh rate to match? Or, perhaps you want the very best graphics you can get. We've tried a number of monitors that tick numerous boxes.
We've gamed on these screens, but we've also used them to binge Netflix, browse the web and work day-to-day. So, you can be sure we're recommending what we'd use ourselves.
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What is the best gaming monitor? Our top recommendation is the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9. However, there are other options worth considering, if that's too huge for your gaming space. Others we think are worth checking out include the Asus Rog Swift PG259QNR, Corsair XENEON 32UHD144, Samsung Odyssey G7 (32-inch), MSI Optix MEG381CQR Plus and X= XRGB27WQ V2.
Our Top Pick: Best Gaming Monitor
Samsung Odyssey Neo G9
- Fantastically immersive super ultrawide gaming
- Useful features including picture-by-picture mode
- Super HDR and local dimming modes
- Rich colours and superb contrast ratio
- Some dimming issues in Windows outside of gaming
- The price tag may be too painful for many
- The sheer size of the thing
- Resolution 5,120 x 1,440, Screen Curvature 1000R
- sRGB Coverage 125%, Refresh Rate Max 240Hz, 1MS response time
- HDR2000, 2,048 local dimming zones
The Samsung Odyssey NEO G9 is an upgraded version of the 49-inch Odyssey G9 which was already awesome, but is now even better.
The Odyssey NEO G9 sports some serious specs that make it eye-wateringly good to game on. That includes upgrades like 2,048 local dimming zones, HDR 2000, Mini LED display and much more.
This 49-inch monster has a mini-LED display with a 32:9 aspect ratio, 5120 x 1440 resolution, 1ms response time and a 240Hz refresh rate. This is a fantastic setup for gaming as it creates an enormous immersive view of the gaming world with wonderful peripheral vision.
It's also responsive and rocks both G-Sync and Freesync compatibility too. For productivity, you can also set the monitor into a picture-by-picture mode and plug in two devices for split-screen working.
Of course, with these kinds of specs, you need a powerful graphics card in order to get the best frame rates. Technology like Nvidia's DLSS can help improve performance though. While ray tracing can really help make the experience even more gob-smacking.
If you've got the desk space, the NEO G9 is an incredible addition to your gaming area and once you've experienced super ultrawide gaming, you won't know how you managed before.
Gaming monitors we also recommend
Of course, our pick might be too much for some, whether because of the price tag or the enormous size of the thing. Don't worry, there are plenty of other monitors we'd recommend including a selection in more sensible sizes, specs and price ranges.
Asus ROG Swift PG259QNR
- Seriously high-end specs for pro-level gaming
- Support for Nvidia Reflex Latency Analyzer
- Easy to hit the FPS to make the most of the refresh rate
- A lot smaller than others on this list
- Mighty pricey
- 24.5-inch 1920x1080 display, 360Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time
- IPS panel with LED backlight
- 1000:1 contrast ratio, 10-bit colour, HDR10 support, Nvidia G-SYNC
- Nvidia Reflex Latency Analyzer
This is the cutting edge of ultra-fast refresh rate monitors. A 1080p fast IPS display with 1ms response time, 360Hz refresh rate, HDR10, 10-bit colour and more. It's a monitor designed for pro players and "professional esports gamers", with satisfying buttery smooth visuals and a superb refresh rate that should help give you the gaming edge.
Other highlights for us include the addition of a built-in Nvidia Reflex Latency Analyzer. This allows you to monitor your system and peripheral latency (assuming you have the right mouse) and cut down on issues that might hold you back from the most satisfying of wins.
It works by letting you plug in a compatible mouse directly to the monitor, and then tracking the time it takes for your click to register. Click your mouse and the latency analyser will then track the resulting muzzle flash from your weapon in games like Rainbow Six Siege, Overwatch and more. You can then monitor the GeForce Experience and optimise it to improve performance.
All these things combined result in a serious monitor for those that demand the very best from their display. It has great colour accuracy, good viewing angles, but, most importantly, it's ultra swift and smooth, too. If you take your gaming seriously, then this is the monitor for you.
Corsair XENEON 32UHD144
- Vibrant colours
- Smooth and responsive visuals
- Excellent for both gaming and working
- HDR looks a little washed out
- 32-inch, 3840x2160 resolution (16:9)
- 1ms MPRT, <12ms GtG response time
- 144Hz refresh rate, AMD FreeSync Premium and NVIDIA G-Sync Compatible
- 1000:1 contrast ratio
- VESA DisplayHDR 600
- 98% (DCI-P3), 100% (AdobeRGB), 100% (sRGB)
This Corsair monitor surprised us with its capabilities. It's a beautiful-looking monitor that's well-built and intelligently thought out.
It boasts a slim bezel design with a thin form factor but a solid stand and premium design.
Most importantly it looks great in various lighting conditions and provides a smooth gaming experience with a 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time.
It ticks many boxes for gaming but also for creative and productivity uses with 100% Adobe RGB and 98% DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage.
There are many different settings to play around with, including a text mode which makes it easier on the eye when working, but we didn't find we had to mess around with settings much to get it to look good. Which is refreshing.
HDR is a little bit washed out in some games, but that's often the case.
All told this monitor delivers the goods with superb visuals and plenty of appealing features that make it well worth your money.
Samsung Odyssey G7 (32-inch)
- A nice balance of features and specs
- A perfect sweet spot between the NEO G9 and the smaller monitors in this list
- Would have been better with a 4K display
- 2,560 x 1,440 QLED with 240Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time
- 31.5-inch visible screen,1000R curve, 16:9 aspect ratio
- G-sync compatible
- HDR600, 95% Colour Gamut, Quantum Dot Colour
The superb Samsung Odyssey G7 is the perfect choice for gamers who want a 32-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio that ticks a multitude of boxes. It boasts a fast refresh rate (240Hz) and nippy response time as well as some impressive specs that include G-Sync compatibility, HDR 600 and a satisfying 1000R curve.
There are two versions of the G7, the smaller 27-inch model and this 32-inch version. We've tried both and prefer the larger model as the curve isn't as noticeable. It boasts some vivid colours, satisfying visuals and all the goodness you'd expect from such a fast refresh rate screen.
Other highlights include a user-friendly design with a simple, single-button control interface and an easy-on-the-eye mode, which takes out the harsh blue light when you're not gaming. The G7 can also be used in both portrait and landscape modes, making it nice and flexible depending on your needs.
This is a great option for those who want more from their screen but have limited space or don't want to break into ultrawide aspect ratios.
MSI Optix MEG381CQR Plus
- Ticks many specs boxes
- An interesting mix of fast refresh rate and ultra-wide specs
- Nifty on-screen display
- 38-inch IPS panel with 3840x1600 (WQHD) resolution
- 21:9 aspect ratio
- G-Sync ultimate, 1ms response time, 175Hz refresh rate
- DisplayHDR 600
- 100000000:1 dynamic contrast ratio
This MSI monitor is an ultra-wide behemoth, with some serious specs that include a WQHD resolution, up to 175Hz refresh rate and much more besides.
It's interestingly mildly curved which we found to be far less aggressive than other large gaming monitors.
It also has an RGB lighting strip along the bottom that's compatible with SteelSeries Gamesense and MSI Mystic Light. Which is a curious, eye-catching addition.
There's also an additional on-body display that can show system specs such as CPU load, temps and more. A convenient control wheel also lets you change settings easily here too.
The MEG381CQR delivers great visuals, both in fast-paced games and in more intensive ones where you can soak in the wide visuals.
X= XRGB27WQ V2
- Insanely priced
- Great looking for gaming
- Good specs for the money
- RGB is underwhelming
- Not great for productivity use
- 27-inch 2560x1440 IPS panel
- 16:9, 165Hz refresh rate (120Hz on console)
- DisplayPort 1.2, DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0
- MPRT 1ms, GtG 5ms response time
- 1000:1 contrast ratio, 100% sRGB, 10bit colour
If affordability is the name of the game, then look no further than this 27-inch gaming monitor.
For a really reasonable price, you're getting a decent specifications line-up which includes 1440p resolution, 165Hz refresh rate, AMD Freesync and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility and more besides.
This monitor might have an awkward name but don't let that put you off as it's a surprisingly good gaming panel for the cash. We found that it's not really suited to productivity as much (you wouldn't want to work on it all day) but for gaming it's fantastic.
Plenty of options to play around with to get the visuals you're after and it's responsive as well.
The RGB lighting on the rear isn't particularly bright or impressive though, but we rarely find it is anyway.
Other monitors we've considered
When initially deciding what we believe to be the best gaming monitors currently available, we spent hours testing and researching. No matter the subject area, we always consider a range of factors when it comes to recommending devices - and apply the same process before a new device enters our top five selections. We don't just take into account our own testing, either, but also consumer reviews, brand quality and value.
In all of our roundups, there are also many products we test that don't make the final cut. Since they may be the right fit for some people, however, we've listed them below.
- AOC CU34G2X 34-inch ultrawide
- Acer Predator CG7 gaming monitor
- Acer Predator Z301CT with Tobii eye-tracking
- Samsung Odyssey G9
- MSI Optix MAG272CQR
How to choose a gaming monitor
There are quite a few options when it comes to gaming monitors. When considering a purchase it can be tricky to work out which is the best choice. There are some things that are worth considering:
Graphical quality and speed?
What's more important to you? Stunning game graphics, that are crystal clear and utterly immersive or a fast refresh rate with ultra-high FPS capabilities and low latency?
If you don't play competitive shooters and just enjoy casual single-player gaming experiences, then it makes sense to opt for a monitor that will make the most of that experience. 4K monitors are often the best looking and most eye-pleasing. UHD resolution is still hard to drive at a decent frame rate though. So you need a good gaming PC or ultra gaming laptop in order to still have a smooth experience.
The competitive edge
On the other hand, if you take your gaming seriously and want to play games to win, then a smaller (24 or 27-inch monitor) with a 1080p resolution and high 240-300Hz refresh rate is the better choice. These monitors are able to display games in a much more accurate way, with less latency and a more accurate representation of what's happening in-game, down to the millisecond.
If you're playing games like CS:GO, Rainbow Six Siege, Valorant and others that can manage 200-300FPS then these pro-level monitors make for logical choice. If you're always playing triple-A games on maxed out settings, then not so much.
The other thing to watch out for is HDR. High Dynamic Range adds another level of depth to your games, assuming they support it. Better colours and a wider range of light and dark elements make the right monitors really pop. Better colours and a more beautiful gaming experience are the obvious benefits of this.
Can you go wide?
There's a lot to be said for ultrawide gaming. These monitors are usually 21:9 or 32:9 aspect ratio, which means you have less vertical height but a wider peripheral view. These monitors give a much more immersive experience, especially in big open-world games where the environment is there to be enjoyed.
The downside is games at this resolution and aspect ratio are often not optimised for it so you end up with black bars in cut scenes and you can't stream games at this aspect ratio on Twitch, YouTube and Facebook Gaming without some tweaks. These monitors aren't great for streamers or competitive gamers, but they are fantastic if you just want to get lost in the game world.
More about this story
Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.
We've gamed on these monitors, we've worked with them, we've watched films and browsed the web. We've tried out all sorts of settings while trying these monitors too, testing HDR settings, G-Sync, local dimming modes and more. Poking all the settings to see what's best.
We've then selected the best based on all the features and the price to ensure it's good value for money, too.
As with any roundup, it's not possible to deliver a list that works for every type of user, but we lean on the experiences and opinions of the wider Pocket-lint team - as well as thoroughly assessing the areas above - in order to do our best in this regard.
What we always tend to avoid when compiling these picks are needless spec comparisons and marketing lines; we just want to provide an easy to understand summary that gives you an idea of what each monitor is like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely in the interest of brevity.
Writing by Adrian Willings and Cam Bunton.