Along with the usual 'bottle-necking' information you might use to choose your next monitor—price, screen size, curved or flat and so on—an underrated but important way could be to identify the best way to team a monitor with your rig. And by this we mean, matching the screen and its tech, to your machine and its graphics tech, as if you’ve got an Nvidia graphics card then you really want to aim for a G-Sync-enabled monitor.
G-Sync is Nvidia’s display technology is all about enhancing the speed and smoothness of your monitor's display. It synchronizes display refresh rates to those of your PC and the game you're playing to, ultimately, eliminate tearing and stuttering altogether. This will give you a sharp and smooth performance and display. However, its not as standard on all monitors so it pays to check which ones have it or not. Or better still check here for one of the best G-Sync monitors going.
In addition to those that have G-Sync tech in them, Nvidia graphics cards now support some monitors that have FreeSync—the 'alternative' to G-Sync technology—through a driver download released in January 2019. This will make the tech a bit more open and widespread, but is limited to a number of monitors currently. To keep you abreast of the possible options, you’ll find some FreeSync monitors on this page too.
1. Asus ROG Swift PG279Q
Best G-Sync monitor for gaming at 1440p
Screen size: 27-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Response time: 4ms | Refresh rate: 144Hz (overclocks to 165Hz) | Weight: 15.4 lbs
We think this is not only the best gaming monitor with G-Sync that you can get your hands on at the moment, but the best gaming monitor period. This 27-inch monitor has a 2560x1440 resolution which we think is just about perfect for high-end gaming: offering much more than a standard HD display, but not being as potentially draining or demanding as a 4K screen. This results in super sharp looking games that won’t demand a ridiculous GPU setup. Plus you can still get the ‘usual’ refresh rates as standard that we’re all used to which is still a bit lacking in 4K screens (unless you have a seriously healthy budget to burn). However, the IPS panel can be overclocked to a hyperfast 165Hz.
As for its more utilitarian qualities, its inputs include DisplayPort 1.2a as well as HDMI 1.4 (one of each), a nice addition over our previous best monitor pick. If you want the best performing screen at the highest resolution, but without the staggering price tag (see: Acer Predator X27—though this is an excellent screen) then this is the monitor for you. It’ll last you ages and get you a fast, responsive display, with a great resolution and with that great G-Sync tech thrown in too.
2. Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ
Best G-Sync monitor for 4K HDR gaming
Screen size: 27-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 **Response time:** 4ms | Refresh rate: 144Hz | Weight: 28 pounds
This is a great G-Sync display, packed with features and goodness that does demand a high price of admission, but remains a monitor we get behind and can recommend as one of the best G-Sync monitors going. It is an incredibly high-specced 27-inch display that has both glorious 4K resolution and HDR technology within it providing some of the crispest images you'll see on a monitor, and the inclusion of G-Sync means it’ll be as smooth as anything too—even at 144Hz. This makes this a truly wonderful screen that, providing you have the machine to make the most of it, will give you probably the best images you can get on a gaming monitor.
Coming with the ports that you need—an HDMI 2.0 input, DisplayPort 1.4, 3.5mm audio and two USB 3.0 ports—its one detractor is a criminally high list price. This might cause others to look elsewhere, but if you dive into this and commit, you’ll be set for years and delighted with your purchase.
3. Acer Predator X27
Best G-Sync monitor for well-rounded rigs
Screen size: 27-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Response time: 4ms | Refresh rate: 120Hz (overclocks to 144Hz) | Weight: 27.12 lbs
Nevermind G-Sync monitors, this is one of the best monitors you can buy overall. Housing Nvidia’s screen tech alongside a 4K resolution and HDR tech means that this is an absolute beast of a monitor that will give you the best of, well, everything. And by everything, we mean everything. Its 144Hz IPS panel is made better by Acer’s own integrated VisionCare technology that will aims to protect your retinas—plus it looks damn good. This is one for those who want everything, now and who also want to future proof them into the years ahead.
It almost seems too good to be true, and how can you know for certain it makes good on its promises? Well, the G-Sync technology will allow the monitor to refresh at a variable rate, syncing with your in-game refresh rate, further limiting the chances of tearing. It really is a top-performing behemoth of a display. You’ll have no problem with connectivity either with a whole host of ports covering the back and left side: the side has two USB 3.0 ports; the rear has another two USB 3.0 ports as well as HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4 out. The drawback, inevitably, is the X27’s price tag—it’s very high indeed. However, we still cannot recommend it highly enough and it is certainly one to have in mind, particularly if it ever goes on sale.
4. Acer Predator XB321HK
Best G-Sync monitor for high-end graphics setups
Screen size: 32-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Response time: 4ms | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Weight: 24.91 lbs
The obstacle or challenge that has to be addressed when searching for a new display—especially in the 4K panel realm—is the trade-off a higher refresh rate for a greater pixel count. This is again the case here with the Acer Predator XB321HK with its refresh rate of 60Hz, the same as most 4K TVs.
The 32-inch, IPS panel, is laudably bright and clear, giving you vivid images and a large enough screen to make the most of the 3840x2160 resolution. It doesn’t have HDR, however. And while you’d probably expect that on a 4K TV, its non-appearance here is not really a problem, and only serves to keep the cost down. At the end of the day, Acer is offering a sublime value for a 4K, G-Sync monitor. If you’re not put off by the compromise in refresh rate, this is still a great gaming G-Sync monitor that’ll be a worthy upgrade option.
5. Alienware AW3418DW
Best G-Sync monitor for reliability
Screen size: 34-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3440 x 1440 | Response time: 4ms | Refresh rate: 120Hz | Weight: 16.02 lbs
A tremendous curved option, the Alienware AW3418DW is on the more compact end of the spectrum. It’s of course G-Sync enabled, has a 100Hz refresh rate—that can be overclocked to 120Hz—and it boasts a gorgeous 34-inch display, ideal for playing all the latest games beautifully and smoothly.
Away from the cold hard specs, this is one of the monitors that really wins on the design. It’s very sleek and impressive in its design aesthetic, with its ultra-thin bezels and a stand that doesn’t impose on your desk in finish or size. If you’re after a super smooth and sleek G-sync monitor from a recognised manufacturer with high standards then Alienware's screen is undoubtedly worth your consideration.
6. AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition
Best G-Sync monitor for gaming on a curved display
Screen size: 35-inch | Panel type: VA | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3440 x 1440 | Response time: 4ms | Refresh rate: 120Hz | Weight: 26.01 lbs
It’s not unreasonable to say that, right now, the sweet spot for gaming is at a 1440p resolution—in fact that’s what we currently think. Whether it’s the usual 16:9 ratio or at super-wide 3440x1440, the crispness provided by that mid-ground between 1080p and 4K is absolutely ideal, providing the best way to enjoy the the latest big-name games. This is what the AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition offers.
Mixing the widescreen resolution with some of the latest tech, it's a quality product worthy of consideration for that upgrade. It has that glorious VA panel, a decent 4ms response time, G-Sync and has bumped its refresh rate to 120Hz, enabling frame rates to be of an impressively high level, given its got that widescreen resolution. On top of that it has a flicker reduction setting and a blue light mode, reducing the strain of those long, nighttime gaming sessions.
This all results in a monitor that produces excellent colours on a widescreen setup; and it still has that decent refresh rate of 120Hz. It’s also simple in its design: it’s lovely curved screen is supported by a two part aluminum base; itself having three legs providing stability—this is fine, but there are certainly better looking monitors out there, if that's a point of contention for you.
Best FreeSync alternatives
The best Freesync gaming monitor
Screen size: 27-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Response time: 4ms | Refresh rate: 144Hz | Weight: 15.9 lbs
We think this is absolutely the best FreeSync monitor going right now. All of its specs and characteristics combine into one beautiful display that has no compare for those wanting a FreeSync display. It's a 1440p IPS screen that can refresh up to 144Hz, like many G-Sync monitors, but it costs less—perhaps in part due to using the more open FreeSync technology.
The IPS screen ensures colors and pictures look fantastic from every angle, and in terms of design and build quality we are impressed too: the bezels are fairly thin all over, which is most pleasing nice for a 27-inch monitor; and its base is sturdy (and allows for plenty of adjustments about lots of axis). The contrasts you get are also great, and its chock full of inputs, making it able to support multiple inputs that makes this a great option for those who have a busy setup, or more than one system, like an extra gaming console, perhaps. The MG279Q is unmatched on specs by other FreeSync monitors, so this is a great option for anyone looking for a top notch FreeSync monitor.
Freesync and 4K-enabled
Screen size: 24-inch | Panel type: TN | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Response time: 1ms | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Weight: 24 lbs
Combining some of the latest tech to make it into gaming monitors, and teaming it with FreeSync, this ViewSonic display has a massive, gorgeous 4K resolution. Assuming your machine can cope with the massive and excellent resolution, and at 40+ frames per second as thats when the FreeSync kicks in, then this monitor will have you gaming in tear-free, 4K glory long into many a night. While there would be a trade off with overall refresh rate with this monitor, if you're looking for picture quality and 4K resolutions, and play games perhaps that don't require such speed-focussed tech then this may well be for you. Plus, 4K resolution and pictures at 60Hz should be enough to make most of today's games look very good anyway.
On the utilitarian side of things there's no worries in the connections department: it comes with a DisplayPort, a mini DisplayPort, a normal 3.5mm audio out and a bunch of HDMIs and USBs—three of the former, five of the latter. Offering this many connections means you shouldn’t have any problems hooking this into your setup. On the whole it's a great FreeSync monitor and the ViewSonic XG2700-4K’s overall responsiveness, 4K quality and clarity make it a worthy one to consider.
Testing gaming monitors
There are two main ways to test out our screens to determine the best gaming monitor. The first is by playing games on it, obviously. Subjectively testing the gaming performance of each panel isn’t necessarily going to give you the lowdown on the specific technicalities of a particular screen, but it will let you test the functioning aspect ratio, native resolution, and any particular gamer-centric technologies they’re sporting.
Side-by-side comparative testing in this manner is also incredibly valuable for keying into the sometimes subtle differences between each panel. When you use a screen in isolation it’s easy to become blind to its comparative faults as you simply get used to them. Testing screens back-to-back allows us to discover and highlight specific issues between them.
Objective testing can be great, but it's also far more difficult. To do it properly, you need hardware for testing the true latency, color accuracy, and other metrics. Most gamers don't have access to any of this, but you can do a semblance of objective testing using the LCD calibration pages here. This site offers several test screens you can bring up on any web connected panel to make some qualitative assessments. The days of actual retail space for such things are dwindling, but if you can get a look at a screen before purchasing it, hooking it up to a notebook or desktop PC and checking out the Lagom pages is a critical effort.
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