The best 4K gaming monitor makes way more than games look great. It's a big upgrade to any system that can showcase its potential. But games, in particular, make the best argument for the swap to 4K, showcasing how vivid modern games can look at such a high resolution.
Right now, the best 4K gaming monitor is the LG UltraGear 27GN950-B. It's got the best color, speed, and size for a 4K gaming. Of course, you'll want a top-end GPU like RTX 4080 to get the most from a 4K monitor; even last gen cards like Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT can be surprisingly capable when it comes to 4K, especially if you don't feel the need to run at max settings.
We've also seen massive OLED 4K monitors hit the scene as a viable option. Even more so, if you're looking for an alternative to one of the best gaming TVs, the Aorus FO48U is a great large 4K gaming monitor that uses the same OLED as the most popular TVs at a lower price, to boot.
Spending a bit more on one of the best 4K gaming monitors is worth it, especially when you consider it should see you through a decade of action-packed, next-gen gaming. It'll be able to produce breathtaking visuals for all those years, spanning many iterations of your Theseus’ ship of a PC. For those who want to make the leap, the 4K monitors below are some of our favorite 3840 x 2160 displays that we've tested and absolutely love.
Best 4K gaming monitors
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The LG UltraGear 27GN950 is a frankly fabulous gaming panel. The LG UltraGear 27GN950 is an infuriatingly flawed gaming panel. Take your pick because it's all true. And it sums up everything that’s variously great and yet also a little grim about today’s gaming monitor market.
Compared to similar but pricier screens, the most obvious shortcoming involves HDR implementation. The 27GN950 does support HDR, including local dimming, and comes complete with VESA’s DisplayHDR 600 certification. However, the local dimming comprises 16 edge-lit zones, which doesn’t bode well for a true HDR experience.
Pixel response is another tricky area. LG proudly touts that the 27GN950’s NanoIPS panel delivers 1ms responses. But that claim comes with various caveats regarding the precise GTG response profile in question and only applies when the monitor is running in the most aggressive of its three-pixel overdrive modes.
That 1ms response claim may be qualified, but LG’s NanoIPS panels are still the quickest in the IPS sector. What’s more, with both 10-bit color and a very impressive 98 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 gamut, the 27GN950 is a seriously high-fidelity monitor. LG reckons it’s as good for content creation as it is for gaming.
The specs certainly back that claim up. And thanks to support for Display Stream Compression, you can have that full color accuracy at the same time as running at 144Hz refresh and native 3840 x 2160 resolution.
Hop in a game, and it’s just as impressive. We’ll never tire of the buttery smooth goodness that is 144Hz. But combined with the crazy-sharp detail that with the 4K pixel grid, well, it’s pretty special. The catch, of course, is that you’ll need one heck of a GPU to make the most of the 144Hz refresh while running at 4K, though that just got a little more realistic with the latest graphics cards from both Nvidia and AMD.
Compared to similar but pricier screens, the most obvious shortcoming involves HDR implementation. The 27GN950 does support HDR, including local dimming, and comes complete with VESA’s DisplayHDR 600 certification. However, the local dimming comprises just 16 edge-lit zones. This is a much more convincing monitor taken as a really excellent SDR panel. As an HDR display, it's disappointing.
The LG UltraGear 27GN950-B bags you a terrific panel with exquisite IPS image quality and, despite the lesser HDR capabilities, beautiful colors and contrast in your games too. G-Sync and Freesync support ensure stable pictures and smoothness in games, and the speedy refresh rate and response times back this up too.
Were it up to us, we’d be tempted to strip out the limited HDR support and save a little cost. But then we could say that about an awful lot of current monitors with poor HDR implementations. As it is, this is a very fine, but slightly flawed, gaming monitor that leaves us wanting just a little bit more for what is a significant amount of money.
Read the full LG UltraGear 27GN950 review.
The Acer Predator XB273K is a cousin of the revered Predator X27 and brings with it a certain sense of excitement. Inspecting the specifications on paper, it seems a close cousin of the X27. Very close. So close, from appearance to specs, that it is very hard to tell the difference. Nonetheless, given the Acer’s Predator series' reputation, there's a good reason to be optimistic here.
And given the price difference between the XB3 and the X27—a whopping nearly-$1000 price gap—there’s a desire to see if that difference is measurable in performance too. Putting it bluntly, if the XB3 can hold its own, particularly in the face of the X27, we may have a new 4K sheriff in town.
The XB273K’s gaming pedigree is obvious the second you unbox it: it is a 27-inch, G-Sync-enabled, IPS screen that boasts a 4ms gray-to-gray response rate, and a 144Hz refresh rate. Oh, and a 4K resolution. And it's got HDR. As a starting reference point, those are the same specs as the X27 behemoth. If a monitor can offer all these and get it right, then it is quite something (if you have the rig to make the most of all of the specs).
Elsewhere, the XB273K gives you a good range of options within its menu to deploy those gaming specs, ranging from different gaming presets (Acer’s GameView options) to blue light settings you can adjust to save your eyes. There is definitely enough here to rely on for plugging and playing and creating a perfect setting yourself, whatever you’re into. The buttons to access the menu are easy enough to use, and the main stick makes it particularly simple to navigate. And the available ports increase your ability to either plug and go or adapt to your machines’ needs: an HDMI, DisplayPort, and five USB 3.0 ports are at your service.
With the privacy shield setup (reducing screen glare and reflection), I booted up some games to test the monitor. The glorious Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is just that: glorious. The game is incredibly vivid and has the crispest image qualities to boot; no blurred or smudged edges to see, and each feature looks almost perfectly defined and graphically identified. Particular highlights are the way water effects, lighting, reflections, and sheens are presented, but there is equal enjoyment from landscape features, the people, and urban elements. All further benefiting from widespread excellence in color, contrast, shades (and shadows), and tones.
Playing Apex Legends on the XB273K at max settings, seamlessly traversing and smoothly running around the map, is one of the best Apex Legends experiences I’ve had when it comes to monitors. Not only did the image quality from the other games remain, but the speed and smoothness of the monitor provided me with a wonderful, smooth picture at 144Hz. The screen's speed means no loss in quality, even when you’re spinning on the spot frantically trying to find your enemies or flitting between shots in cover.
Having used the Acer Predator XB273K for many hours of gaming and then using the monitor as a day-to-day work screen, there really aren’t any significant shortcomings. The price tag is still high for a gaming monitor (usually about $1000). Still, at $1,000 cheaper than the X27—supposedly the leader in the field—the XB273K offers serious value for a screen that is likely to future-proof you for years.
Read the full Acer Predator XB273K review.
4K has been a prohibitively expensive venture in PC gaming for many years now. That comes down to a simple truth: it's a helluva lot of pixels to be moving around all at once. Pixel-pushing power equals money—you need a graphics card capable of the task and a gaming monitor able to display the final result to experience 4K at its best. And neither has come cheap for the longest time.
That's all starting to change, though, as the Gigabyte M28U proves by its superb value and excellent 4K feature set. Not only is this a great monitor for PC gamers either, as support for HDMI 2.1 makes it a great option for Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 owners too.
The Gigabyte M28U contains a 28-inch IPS panel within its four slim bezels. The IPS panel tech delivers exceptional color depth and clarity and performs well in most other regards, especially viewing angles. Most especially black and white levels, where even the slightest dip, in contrast, was noticeably discernable on-screen during testing. That clear delineation in black levels is also awfully impressive for an IPS, especially one without a seriously impressive contrast spec such as this. The M28U is rated to 1,000:1, and there is also a touch of that tell-tale IPS glow around the edges on dark images, though neither is all that noticeable while gaming.
This monitor is also rated to DisplayHDR 400, though its brightness is the fairly standard 300 cd/m2. I wouldn't consider its HDR capabilities a big deal either way, and I definitely wouldn't recommend you pick up this monitor specifically for its HDR capabilities. It's not going to show off everything HDR has to offer. Not to mention HDR on Windows PCs is still not that fun an experience.
The M28U offers a rich canvas for gaming not just in picture quality, however, but also in response and refresh rate. With response times of 2ms MPRT and 1ms GTG, the M28U is quite quick.
The big sell though is the 144Hz refresh rate, as you no longer have to forgo high frame rates for the full-fat 4K resolution. The key thing here is having a GPU capable of driving such high frame rates in most games, which is no simple feat. AMD's Radeon RX 6900 XT managed just fine in my experience, but when I was testing the Asus GeForce RTX 3070 Noctua OC Edition, I found it was often struggling at 4K with high presets enabled—you really want to get all that detail on the screen, as well.
What makes the M28U an even bigger deal is that it's actually rather affordable. It's still quite a lot of money to throw down on a monitor alone, but considering what other 4K monitors with this sort of feature set are going for, it's as close to a steal as you're going to get at 4K.
Read our full Gigabyte M28U review.
Looks like Eve has actually pulled it off. The crowd-created Eve Spectrum gaming monitor is an outstanding 4K, high refresh rate display, finally bringing HDMI 2.1 connections to our desktops. Who would have thought? Or rather, the question you might have is: Who the hell is Eve?
It's a potentially loaded question depending on how you feel about the company's first venture, the Eve V. That was a 2-in-1 tablet that was supposed to crush Microsoft's Surface, but ran into production delays, and, finally, problems with its distribution partner which resulted in some people never actually receiving the device they'd paid for. And in some cases, they struggled to even get their money back. Not a good look for anyone.
So there's a certain amount of ill-feeling towards the company because of this, but that hasn't stopped it from going full-bore at creating what it hopes will be the best gaming monitor. And that's not just based on its own theories about the subject, the Eve Spectrum(has been designed by committee, with the company asking for feature requests and feedback on potential prototype designs all the way through the process.
The Spectrum also rocks HDMI 2.1 support to deliver its full 144Hz promise across PC and next-gen consoles at 4K, something you previously needed a DisplayPort connection to do.
Running around a camp in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, dimly lit by flickering torches and campfires, it was almost impossible to see what the hell was going on. Valhalla actually also highlighted the issue again with the animated saving logo looping over a black screen, causing the bleeding effect to be even more noticeable.
Like any 4K/144Hz screen you could mention, the price tag is potentially prohibitive. But gaming monitors are investments, and this screen will outlast your current PC and potentially your next one too. So it's always worth spending what you can possibly afford on a new screen.
As an IPS panel you are getting a 5ms response time, but if you want to go hard on the overdrive settings you can push that down to the 1ms point. At the 'normal' overdrive setting there is no visible ghosting or inverse ghosting that I can see.
Another symptom of the use of an IPS panel, over something like a VA one, is the black levels aren't anything to write home about. They are possibly among the best I've seen on an IPS display without specific tuning effects enabled, though, but not like OLED-good.
In standard SDR mode, however, the Eve Spectrum is a fantastic monitor. It's already brighter than most, and the impressive way it handles contrast means games can really pop on it. The pin-sharp 4K resolution, especially at 27-inches, is gloriously detailed—and with the refresh rate at 144Hz it flies with hardware capable of driving it to those extremes.
The product has been made, is shipping to customers, and the company is nailing down contracts to supply its screens to actual retail stores. That ought to give you the confidence that it has banished its nightmarish past to the annals of history.
Read our full Eve Spectrum review.
The Aorus FO48U is a 48-inch 4K 120Hz beast of an OLED gaming monitor and exactly the last thing I needed to complete my little office/gamer dad den.
After spending some time with the FO48U, I think I made the right choice. I first got back into Fortnite, my first time playing since its shift to Unreal Engine 5. My Master Chief looked great, beating up a bunch of Rick and Mortys with a giant gravity hammer. OLED displays shine when showcasing games or videos with vivid colors, and a chromatic game like Fortnite pops on it.
Of course, I’ve been on a sports-anime kick and watching way too much Blue Lock, which has many bright colors and effects. My slow watch of HBO’s The Last of Us was great for showing off the TV's contrast. Because it’s an OLED, you’re looking at near-perfect blacks and little to no blooming around bright objects on the screen. It makes two vastly different viewing experiences equally incredible.
I was torn between this, the LG 48GQ900-B, and the very popular LG OLED C1 TV, which often ends up in the top spot on our best gaming TVs page. All three are pretty close in specs and picture quality and have similar glass panels.
What ended up being the deciding factor was that Aorus has DisplayPort (which supports G-Sync and FreeSync), which plays nicer with my gaming PC than an HDMI 2.1 port, though it is nice there are two of them, leaving room for PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch.
Another feather in the FO48U’s cap is some of its extra features that aren’t available on the LG (and other TVs for gaming) and are better for me as a PC gamer. One of them is a black equalizer, a dashboard that displays critical PC info (FPS, CPU/GPU temps, etc.), and a KVM switch if I ever decide to mount this thing above my current monitor for kind of an epic workstation set-up.
Like any other OLED display, the only real downside to Aorus is the risk of permanent burn-in with static images. This means I have to leave it off even when using it as a second PC display when I’m not using it simply.
The only real downside to Aorus, much like any other OLED display, is the risk of permanent burn-in with static images. This means even when using it as a second PC display, I have to be sure to leave it off when I’m not using it.
I also wish it had more HDMI ports than just the two HDMI 2.1 inputs because it makes it hard to choose which two game consoles to have plugged in at any given time. The FO48U’s front-facing speakers leave a lot to be desired, too.
Best 4K gaming monitors FAQ
Is a 4K gaming monitor worth it for PC gaming?
The biggest thing to consider is whether you have a PC capable of making a 4K gaming monitor worth it. Upgrading to one of the best graphics cards will ensure your machine will not just be rendering a gaming slideshow with the step-up to 4K. It would help if you also aimed for a larger screen size too. These new 4K gaming monitors now come in higher than 60Hz refresh rates to accommodate the higher frames these new GPUs can generate.
How do we test 4K gaming monitors?
There are two main ways to test a screen to determine whether it's the best gaming monitor material. The first is by playing games on it. Subjectively testing the gaming performance of each panel isn’t necessarily going to give you the lowdown on the specifics of a particular screen. Still, it will let you test the functioning aspect ratio, native resolution, and any specific gamer-centric technologies they’re sporting.
Side-by-side comparative testing in this manner is also precious 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 get used to them. Testing screens back-to-back allows us to discover and highlight specific issues between them.
We also use a heap of standardized tests produced by Lagom to ensure levels and saturation are visually up to our standards.
Should I go for an IPS, TN, VA, or OLED panel?
We would always recommend an IPS panel over TN. The clarity of image, viewing angle, and color reproduction are far superior to the cheaper technology, but you'll often find a faster TN for cheaper. VA tech is the other alternative, less expensive than IPS and better than TN. The colors aren't hot, but the contrast performance is impressive. OLEDs offer incredible color contrast and speedy response times but aren't as bright as their TV counterparts.
Should I go for a FreeSync or G-Sync monitor?
In general, FreeSync monitors will be cheaper. It used to be the case that they would only work in combination with an AMD GPU. The same went for G-Sync monitors and Nvidia GPUs. Nowadays, though, it is possible to find G-Sync compatible FreeSync monitors if you're intent on spending less.
What aspect ratio should I go for?
Today's movies and games are best enjoyed in a widescreen format at a 16:9 aspect ratio or above. In 4:3, those cinematic moments will look stunted with black strips along the top and bottom. There are a host of minute variations on each ratio, but at the end of the day choosing between these depends entirely on your personal preference.
And the very far-out option, if you have a little extra cash to blow, is ultra-wide aspect ratios like 21:9 and 32:9 and their variants. These will provide a much more immersive, encompassing experience. Or literally, encompass yourself with a curved monitor, up to you.
Plenty of games support these ultrawide resolutions, and while not often full 4K, they do demand nearly as much out of your GPU and deliver a similarly high-fidelity and immersive experience.
Jargon buster - gaming monitor terminology
Refresh Rate (Hz)
The speed at which the screen refreshes. For example, 144Hz means the display refreshes 144 times a second. The higher the number, the smoother the screen will appear when you play games.
Graphics tech synchronizes a game's framerate with your monitor's refresh rate to help prevent screen tearing by syncing your GPU frame rate to the display's maximum refresh rate. Turn V-Sync on in your games for a smoother experience, but you'll lose information, so turn it off for fast-paced shooters (and live with the tearing). Useful if you have an older model display that can't keep up with a new GPU.
Nvidia's frame synching tech that works with Nvidia GPUs. It basically allows the monitor to sync up with the GPU. It does by showing a new frame as soon as the GPU has one ready.
AMD's take on frame synching uses a similar technique as G-Sync, with the biggest difference being that it uses DisplayPort's Adaptive-Sync technology which doesn't cost monitor manufacturers anything.
When movement on your display leaves behind a trail of pixels when watching a movie or playing a game, this is often a result of a monitor having slow response times.
The amount of time it takes a pixel to transition to a new color and back. Often referenced as G2G or Grey-to-Grey. Slow response times can lead to ghosting. A suitable range for a gaming monitor is between 1-4 milliseconds.
Twisted-nematic is the most common (and cheapest) gaming panel. TN panels tend to have poorer viewing angles and color reproduction but have higher refresh rates and response times.
In-plane switching, panels offer the best contrast and color despite having weaker blacks. IPS panels tend to be more expensive and have higher response times.
Vertical Alignment panels provide good viewing angles and have better contrast than even IPS but are still slower than TN panels. They are often a compromise between a TN and IPS panel.
High Dynamic Range. HDR provides a wider color range than normal SDR panels and offers increased brightness. The result is more vivid colors, deeper blacks, and a brighter picture.
This refers to the maximum brightness of a monitor or television and is measured in nits.
Shorthand for monitors with aspect wider aspect ratios like 32:9 or 21:9
The number of pixels that make up a monitor's display, measured by height and width. For example: 1920 x 1080 (aka 1080p), 2560 x 1440 (2K), and 3840 x 2160 (4K).