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Best Gaming Monitors 2021: Competitive Players Guide

Our top pick of displays for the Best Gaming Monitors 2021. From a basic budget 144Hz monitor to full-featured 360Hz behemoths.

When it comes to finding the Best Gaming Monitors 2021 for competitive gaming, there are a ton of options to choose from and as always, putting some thought into your selection is well worth the time.

You’ll find that this guide contains everything from a basic budget 144Hz monitor to full-featured 360Hz behemoths, so there should be something in here for everyone. All of these monitors are 1080p monitors. That’s because professional players don’t make any compromises when it comes to framerate; if you’re gaming on a 240Hz monitor it’s better to have a consistent 240 frames per second at 1080p than to have 190 frames per second at 1440p, for example.

What is the Refresh Rate?

Refresh Rate is the number of times a screen refreshes in a second to display a new frame. It is the most important specification to look for when buying a gaming monitor. High Refresh Rate is important for the best gaming experience. Although most monitors have a 60Hz refresh rate, a gaming monitor with a 144Hz/165Hz/240Hz/360Hz is recommended to play competitive videogames.

Panel Type

There are three major panel technologies, IPSTN, and VA. For competition and the best gaming experience, use a TN panel, as it has the lowest response time, e.g. 1ms. You can also use an IPS panel, which is almost the same as a TN panel in terms of response time and input lag.

You’ll see several main monitor-panel technologies used in various gaming monitors, and each has its pros and cons.

Twisted nematic (TN) panels are the most affordable and are popular among gamers because they offer fast pixel response times and refresh rates. Their biggest drawback? They are prone to color shifting when viewed from an angle.

Vertical alignment (VA) screens are known for their high native contrast ratios, robust colors, and ability to display deep blacks, but they are also known to produce noticeable ghosting effects, which can hurt gaming performance. (It depends on the model, and that is where reviews come in.)

In-plane switching (IPS) panels provide the best all-around color quality, strong grayscale performance, and wide viewing angles, but they can’t match the pixel response of TN panels and are subject to motion artifacts. They’re the best general-use panel type, but discriminating gamers or competitive esports types may take issue with IPS.

Top Picks for the Best Gaming Monitors 2021

Competitive gaming is all about speed and if you’re feeling like your standard gaming monitor isn’t cutting the cheese anymore, what you need is a 144Hz/165Hz/240Hz/360Hz gaming monitor. These extremely fast refresh rate monitors are all about letting you see the action unfold with smooth animations and each individual frame is completely crisp and clear. Of course, you’ll need a beefy graphics card to keep up, but luckily there are some really powerful and affordable GPUs to choose from like the Nvidia RTX 3080 and AMD Radeon RX 6800.

ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ

A 4K G-Sync monitor with HDR

ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ

Screen size: 27-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840×2160 | Response time: 4 ms | Refresh rate: 144 Hz | Weight: 20.2 lbs | Adaptive Sync: G-SYNC Ultimate

The ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ is the perfect gaming monitor thanks to its 4K at 144Hz and full HDR support, 384-zone FALD, and G-SYNC HDR technology. The ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ delivers otherworldly image quality and flawless performance. Moreover, it features a premium design quality and a selection of gaming features. It supports 4K up to 144Hz and offers NVIDIA G-SYNC as well as a captivating HDR viewing experience with full-array local dimming, stellar brightness, and wide color gamut.

The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ is one of the best gaming monitors because it’s heralding a new age of panels. It combines the high refresh rates of Nvidia’s G-Sync tech with 4K resolution and HDR (high dynamic range) support for exceptional image quality. You will also need a very powerful machine to run it. If you don’t have an Nivida 1080 Ti or higher, you really will struggle to hit 4K at 144 frames per second. And, of course, if you have an AMD card, you won’t be able to make use of the G-Sync features.

3/5

3/5

LG 27GN950-B

The fastest, most responsive 4K gaming monitor

LG 27GN950-B

Screen size: 27-inch | Panel type: Nano IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840×2160 | Response time: 1 ms | Refresh rate: 144 Hz | Weight: 16.9 lbs | Adaptive Sync: G-Sync Compatible, FreeSync Premium

The LG 27GN950 is the best 4K IPS monitor under $1000 if you need a display that’s great for color-critical work as well as gaming. It offers smooth performance thanks to its 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and variable refresh rate while its IPS panel ensures accurate and vibrant colors. Additionally, the monitor offers a gorgeous design with interesting RGB lighting.

The panel is dubbed “Nano IPS” and that refers to the panel’s sub-pixel structure. Its goal is to widen the color gamut, much like the Quantum Dot technology used by Samsung and others.

The LG 27GN950-B is impressive for gaming. It has a high 160Hz refresh rate and VRR support to reduce screen tearing. It has an incredible response time and low input lag whether you’re gaming at its max refresh rate or 60Hz. Sadly, it’s not a good choice for dark-room gaming due to its low contrast ratio and terrible black uniformity. If you have the hardware, the 27GN950-Bcan deliver 144 Hz with HDR and FreeSync Premium Pro over DisplayPort. That means it includes Low Framerate Compensation for speeds below 48 Hz. It also carries G-Sync Compatibility certification from Nvidia with the same capabilities.

3/5

3/5

ViewSonic XG2760

The ideal display for hardcore gamers.

ViewSonic XG2760

Screen size: 27-inch | Panel type: TN | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560×1440 | Response time: 1 ms | Refresh rate: 165 Hz | Weight: 19.8 lbs | Adaptive Sync: NVIDIA G-Sync

The ViewSonic XG2760 is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a monitor that’s capable of displaying your games in all their glory at 1440p but you still want to have the best possible performance (and response times) when playing said games. The ViewSonic XG2760 focuses on providing smooth and responsive visuals via its 165Hz TN panel and G-Sync which we’ve seen in fantastic products like the Asus PG278QR. Nowadays, most are looking to IPS and VA variants for better vibrancy, but TNs are still the undisputed kings of speed and affordability.

The ViewSonic® XG2760 is the ideal display for hardcore gamers who always crank their graphics settings to Ultra. This 27″ monitor renders every frame your GPU can output in breathtaking detail. Featuring an incredible 165Hz refresh rate with improved ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur) technology, as well as NVIDIA’s G-Sync Technology™, and a 1ms response rate, this monitor virtually eliminates screen tearing and stuttering so you can react instantly and in the moment. For a game-winning competitive edge, a Game Mode feature optimizes visuals for FPS, RTS and MOBA.

On top of that, a black stabilization function helps you target enemies lurking in the dark, while the monitor maintains brilliantly rich colors and contrast. With a gamer-inspired ergonomic stand that features an integrated headphone hook and cable management functionality, the XG2760 has all you need to conquer your gaming and entertainment quests.

3.5/5

3.5/5

AOC AGON AG273QCG

Curved 1440p gaming monitor.

AOC AGON AG273QCG

Screen size: 27-inch | Panel type: TN (Curved) | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560×1440 | Response time: 1 ms | Refresh rate: 165 Hz | Weight: 18.7 lbs | Adaptive Sync: NVIDIA G-Sync

The AOC AGON AG273QCG offers the lightning quick response time and refresh rate of a proper gaming monitor but in a larger, higher resolution form than your typical 1080p gaming display.

This 27-inch monitor has a 1440p resolution but still offers a 144Hz refresh rate (overclockable to 165Hz) and a 1ms response time. This should make it more practical for tasks other than gaming as well as providing a larger, sharper. First things first, I absolutely adore the design of this monitor. I know I’ve said before that I’m a sucker for anything red (it is, after all, the greatest colour of all time), but golly just look at that gorgeous scarlet red base. What a beaut.

For connectivity you get one DisplayPort 1.2 and one HDMI 1.4 along with four USB 3.0 ports and both headphone and microphone jacks that are all situated on the back of the display, facing downwards. It would’ve been nice to have some of the USB ports mounted on the side, where they’re easier to reach.

Finally we come to the screen itself which uses an AU Optronics M270DTR01.0 TN LCD panel that offers true 8-bit colour without dithering. Behind it sits a white-LED powered backlight that uses a non-PWM brightness control so doesn’t suffer from flickering.

3.5/5

3.5/5

Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor (AW2521HFL)

Most affordable 240Hz IPS gaming monitor

Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor AW2521HFL

Screen size: 24.5-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920×1080 | Response time: 1 ms | Refresh rate: 240 Hz | Weight: 7.8 lbs | Adaptive Sync: G-Sync, FreeSync Compatible.

The Dell AW2521HF is an excellent gaming monitor for the price. Thanks to its 240Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and AMD FreeSync, it ensures buttery-smooth performance while its IPS panel offers vibrant colors and wide viewing angles.

The Alienware AW2521HFL is a decent choice for those after a small, 240Hz gaming monitor that works with AMD and Nvidia graphics cards alike, but its IPS panel isn’t as good as some of its larger competition. The Alienware 25, in its so-called Lunar Light color scheme we tested (model AW2521HFL), is white and black, just like Alienware’s recent Aurora desktops (as well as the Sony PlayStation 5). The 25-inch screen is flat and has barely any bezel, with only a thin black band running along three edges. A narrow black strip on the bottom edge features the Alienware logo.

On the back, most of the monitor is white plastic, with black inserts where the ports can be found and on the joint where the stand connects to the screen. It’s a striking look, and a nice departure from the usually boxy, black look of most monitors, even many elite gaming ones. (That said, Alienware also offers a blacked-out version dubbed “Dark Side of the Moon,” model AW2521HF).

The Alienware AW2521HFL is an excellent monitor overall with better imaging results over the dark gray-colored Alienware. It fares considerably better in color accuracy and brightness with minimal tweaking, but the calibrated results are identical. The monitor’s agile pixel response time and FreeSync/G-Sync compatibility make it a compelling choice for competitive gamers.

4/5

4/5

Gigabyte Aorus FI27Q-X

Best QHD 240Hz Gaming Monitor

Aorus FI27Q-X

Screen size: 27-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560×1440 | Response time: 1 ms | Refresh rate: 240 Hz | Weight: 18.7 lbs | Adaptive Sync: G-Sync, FreeSync Premium Compatible.

One of the latest additions to the AORUS monitor lineup is the AORUS FI27Q-X Gaming Monitor. Aimed that providing a premium gaming experience, this premium monitor is one of the few 240Hz high refresh rate @ 1440p resolution monitor. In this review, we are going to take a closer look at the AORUS FI27Q-X Gaming Monitor and see if it really is worth considering. While the main specifications of the AORUS FI27Q-X may be impressive, it can easily be argued that there are many other similar monitors with 1440p resolution and 240Hz refresh rate as well. Specifications aside, the AORUS FI27Q-X Gaming Monitor wants to stand out from their crowd based on the additional features that aids in allowing gamers to better perform in their games.

For a start, the AORUS FI27Q-X Gaming Monitor supports AMD’s FreeSync Premium Adaptive-Sync Technology. If you are unaware of FreeSync technology, it essentially synchronizes the graphics card video output refresh rate and the monitor’s refresh rate. To the layman, this essentially means that you can enjoy a tear free experience and low latency.

With the FreeSync premium certification, this monitor can even support low framerate compensation when games can’t really reach that 240FPS for maximized compatibility with the monitor’s 240Hz display refresh rate. Moreover, the monitor also supports DisplayPort’s High Bit Rate 3 (HBR3) which provides 32.4Gbps worth of bandwidth between the graphics card and the monitor. This allows the monitor to support that high frame rate, HDR content and 8-bit color addressing all at the same time without the need for dedicated interfaces!

The monitor is also very versatile in terms of flexibility in the physical adjustment of the display. Firstly, the monitor stand is made in a full metallic material which gives the monitor a very solid and firm foundation. The unique stand also allows the monitor to swivel, pivot, tilt and also be height adjustable too! 

4/5

4/5

ASUS ROG Swift PG259QN 360Hz

Worlds first 360Hz Monitor | Extreme Performance

ASUS ROG Swift 360Hz PG259QN

Screen size: 24-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920×1080 | Response time: 1 ms | Refresh rate: 360 Hz | Weight: 15.7 lbs | Adaptive Sync: G-Sync, FreeSync Premium Compatible.

Gamers with the graphics and financial capabilities will flock to the Asus ROG Swift PG259QN. Its tremendous speed and response, courtesy of a 360Hz refresh rate and Adaptive-Sync, will make you a better gamer. With accurate color, solid contrast and decent HDR, it is one of the best pure gaming monitors we’ve reviewed to date. Asus achieves an extremely thin bezel around the top and sides, just 6mm. If you installed two or three PG259QNs, you wouldn’t have much line between images. The bottom trim strip is 18mm wide and features the ROG logo in a polished metal finish. Overall styling is distinctly Asus, with a smooth curve across the back and molded feature lines that look like the hull of a spaceship.

In back is a much larger ROG logo that lights up in different colors. The effect is called Aura RGB and is controllable from the monitor’s on-screen display (OSD). The light can breathe or flash and change color. If you engage Aura Sync and have compatible ROG hardware, you can sync the RGB effects.

Also in the back is a control joystick, plus four buttons. The lowermost key toggles the power, so take care not to click it by mistake. But the stick controls all functions with ease. Two of its directions are shortcuts programmable by the user.

To be honest, we think the experience will vary from person to person as to whether the difference from 240Hz to 360Hz is noticeable. To me, I can notice a small but perceptible gain on 240Hz, and even without a side-by-side comparison I was pleasantly surprised with how responsive this display feels to use.

What is very obvious though, is how much of an upgrade 360Hz is on 144Hz. It’s not as stark of an improvement as 144Hz is on 60Hz (a 2.4x increase to refresh rate), but if you’ve been using 360Hz for a while then go back to something merely 144Hz, you can feel the difference. With 240Hz you get some of this effect, but not to the same extent as with 360Hz

5/5

5/5

Alienware 25 AW2521H 360Hz

A futuristic-looking 360 Hz monitor

Alienware 25 AW2521H 360Hz

Screen size: 24.5-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920×1080 | Response time: 1 ms | Refresh rate: 360 Hz | Weight: 10 lbs | Adaptive Sync: G-Sync

Though priced at the premium level, the Alienware AW2521H delivers something almost no other monitor can: 360 Hz with a 3ms screen draw time. That means there’s no motion blur, period. If you have an equally premium gaming PC to go with it, you can’t get better performance from any other display that doesn’t run at 360 Hz.

The Dell Alienware AW2521H is an excellent gaming monitor. It’s one of the first few monitors released with an extremely high 360Hz refresh rate, which helps deliver an incredible response time with silky smooth motion. It also has an exceptionally low input lag and native G-SYNC variable refresh rate (VRR) support, but it doesn’t support FreeSync. It’s really well-built and offers great ergonomics, so you shouldn’t have any difficulty placing it in an ideal viewing position. It has an IPS panel with wide viewing angles, but that comes at the cost of a low contrast ratio, so blacks appear closer to gray when viewed in the dark. The smaller screen and 1080p resolution may be too limiting for office use, but the lower resolution isn’t too taxing on your graphics card when gaming.

The Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor AW2521H’s physical design is, at a glance, remarkably straightforward. There’s a plain, thin black bezel around a 25-inch screen, with a muted “Alienware” logo at the bottom. From the front, I adore how the AW2521H looks, as it’s just a simple monitor that puts its excellent screen front and center.

The Alienware AW2521H is a fantastic choice for E-Sports fans since it’s incomparably fast except for one other monitor, the PG259QN. The monitor offers a color-accurate IPS panel out of the box that doesn’t show signs of blurring or ghosting which makes it fantastic at fast-paced games like CSGO, Fortnite or even Warzone. It is also one of the best-looking display products out there, making it a great centerpiece for your sophisticated battle station at home.  

5/5

5/5

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