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The best 4K monitor for gaming for 2020

best 4K monitor for gaming for 2020
(Image credit: Future)

The best 4K monitors for gaming offer excellent picture quality and are great for open-world games such as The Outer Worlds or The Witcher 3. And the good news is that they are becoming far more accessible to your average PC gamer as their prices start to come down. Some of the more recent models also offer HDR (High Dynamic Range), which can add even more immersion to your favorite games.

There are a few things you'll want to consider before leaping to one of the best 4K monitors for gaming. While these panels do offer stunning picture quality, they often have slower response times and lower refresh rates. So if you've got your heart set on 120fps or higher, or if you favor fast-paced, fighting games or twitch shooters, this could be a potential issue. On the other hand, if you've got plenty of cash to spend, some 4K monitors will offer both 144Hz and a 4ms response rate, but these come at a steep price point.

Of course, there's a bit more to 4K gaming than just picking up a monitor and plugging it in—you'll need to make sure your PC is up to snuff. Ideally, your machine should be packing one of the best graphics cards, but if you're not sure whether yours is up to the challenge, our high-end PC gaming build guide should give you a good idea. Taking the time to research and invest in a 4K monitor isn't going to do a lot of good if you're not going to get the most out of it.

We've chosen our favorite 4K monitors for gaming and listed them below, along with a handful of reasons we think they deserve to be on this list.

Best 4K monitors for gaming

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1. Acer Predator XB273K

The best 4K monitor for gaming, offering quality and value

Screen size: 27-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Response time: 4ms | Refresh rate: 144Hz | Weight: 15.9 pounds

Brilliantly detailed pictures
Offers fast refresh and response times
Excellent value for a high spec monitor
HDR is not mind-blowing

A close cousin of the Acer Predator X27, once the top of this pile, the XB273K, is a seriously excellent 4K monitor. It harnesses everything the X27 has and does and trades off very little to rehouse it in a far cheaper model. At around the 1000 dollar and pound mark, it is immediately more tempting than X27, and the only real change is in the HDR; the XB273K has a slightly lower quality of HDR. But that's about it.

You'll still get a truly excellent picture quality, with terrific color quality, contrast, and depth; the speed of the monitor means it's excellent for faster shooters or online games too. G-Sync offering the best adaptive sync technology for your rig, a beautiful assortment of ports to have you covered, and offers such a well-rounded overall experience you'll have zero regrets. For reference, you may see it listed as the XB3 or XB273KP, depending on the shop and where you are in the world.

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2. Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ

The best premium-price 4K monitor

Screen size: 27-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Response time: 4ms | Refresh rate: 144Hz | Weight: 28 pounds

Cool design
Great image quality and includes Nvidia G-Sync technology
Wallet-destroyingly expensive
Requires a powerful machine to get best results

Perhaps a little obvious, packing many top-end features into a display means it’ll have a price to match its excellent quality and capabilities. The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ follows this pattern as it is an incredible display but expensive. The difference here is yet more features you can cram in—one in particular—that perhaps set it slightly apart from the rest. As well as the ridiculously clear, bright and detailed images that the PG27UQ’s 4K and HDR-enabled 27-inch display shows off, this monitor also incorporates Nvidia G-Sync tech, making this an absolute behemoth of a screen.

On the back, it’s a bit lean on the connections, but you should have everything you need (present are an HDMI 2.0 input, DisplayPort 1.4, 3.5mm audio, and two USB 3.0 ports).  It’s also an incredibly well-designed bit of kit with the stand effectively funneling cables, as well as looking cool and having its down-facing LED display. 

Providing you have the gutsy PC required to make the most of this beaut. It’ll give you some of the brightest, most vivid pictures going, a 144Hz refresh rate (in 4K resolution!), made smooth as anything by the G-Sync tech (provided you have an Nvidia GPU); it is an astounding end product. The list price is very high, so it might well put people off, but for those that take the plunge, it will not disappoint.

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3. Acer Predator XB321HK

A great 4K display without the HDR tech

Screen size: 32-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Response time: 4ms | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Weight: 24.91 lbs

Great size to soak up the 4K resolution
Vibrant colors and contrasts
No HDR to complement 4K; and lower refresh rate
Requires Nvidia graphics card to see the benefits of G-Sync

The above Acer and Asus monitor clearly shows that 4K-resolution displays come at a premium. Not only is it likely, though not a dead cert, to cost you an arm and a leg, it’ll also demand an enormous amount of power and grunt from your machine to make the most of it. You will need to be heading toward the top end of the cards, such as the 2080s and 2080 Tis (and sometimes a dual-card setup), to consistently get the best of it all. 

The elephant in the room when considering 4K monitors is that it will, almost without fail, mean a tradeoff between resolution and refresh rate—and we’ll see that here with this monitor’s sitting at 60Hz. However, given this, the Acer Predator XB321HK comes to the show delivering an impressive offering. It’s a 32-inch, IPS panel, so its colors are bright, and it has enough screen to put its 3840x2160 4K UHD resolution to good use quickly - but without deploying HDR tech. The Predator XB321HK’s price tag is on the high side, but it is cheaper than the X27 and so offers great value for 4K.

And while the compromise in refresh rate and the lack of HDR may appear tedious at first, this is still a luxury monitor that’ll perform exceptionally well, leaving you very pleased—mainly if you’ve spent a chunk on powerful graphics cards, and maybe can’t quite warrant stretching even further to the X27.

Best graphics cards | Best gaming motherboards | Best CPU for gaming
Best DDR4 RAM | Best Gaming PC build | Best gaming monitor 

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4. BenQ EL2870U

A truly superb budget 4K monitor

Screen size: 28-inch | Panel type: TN | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Response time: 1ms | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Weight: 12.6 lbs

Lovely 4K resolution and HDR tech
Overall picture quality is top drawer
Excellent price point
No G-Sync
Refresh rate only at 60Hz
Plain design

If you're on the lookout for a quality way into the field of 4K monitors but haven't got the cash to throw at the situation, then the BenQ EL2870U is one for you to consider seriously. The picture quality, overall, is some of the best we've tested in recent months, and seen on a TN monitor. There's also a delicate balance to the capabilities and offerings of the EL2870U with all things considered. Crispness and detail, with good contrasts and tones, are beautifully presented while it performs well from the lushest of environments on screen, to the dingiest.

As a budget-level monitor, it does top out the refresh rate of its glorious 4K resolution at 60Hz, but that's fine for most, and indeed excellent for the price and 4K-entry point it represents. Unfortunately, there's no G-Sync, but FreeSync is present to help smooth out the experience, while a 1ms response time gives it a speedy edge. Also present are BenQ's original screen techs incorporated to aid users' eyes when using the monitor for long periods. The eye-care technology consists of the Low Blue Light Technology, which removes harmful blue light that can damage eyes, and Brightness Intelligence + (B.I.+), which changes the brightness and color temperature of your on-screen images based on your surroundings.

We can confirm that these are not just gimmicks and do benefit you. Combine these with the brilliant picture quality and speeds the EL2870U offers as a whole package, and this is an impressive point of entry to 4K monitors and offers fantastic value with an impulse-purchase good price point.

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5. Acer Predator X27

An all-singing, all-dancing 4K HDR monitor

Screen size: 27-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Response time: 4ms | Refresh rate: 120Hz (overclocks to 144Hz) | Weight: 27 lbs

Produces brilliant and convincing 4K HDR graphics
Has a high refresh rate that can be overclocked to go even higher
Response time isn't not the best
Incredibly expensive

This is a premium monitor in every sense of the word. Avoiding any trade-off between technologies to get the best of everything, the Acer Predator X27 gives you, well, everything. The monitor is fabulous and has a 4K-resolution and is HDR-enabled, so ticks the main future-proof boxes right off the bat. But it doesn't stop there and also offers G-Sync and a high refresh rate. Its IPS panel comes with a refresh rate of 144Hz (when overclocked), so it's a bursting-at-the-seams bright-as-anything look, but the integrated VisionCare technology will take care of your eyes (Acer says).

The monitor has G-Sync, which enables it to refresh at a variable rate instead of being locked to its max of 144Hz, and it also syncs the refresh rate to your in-game framerate, removing any chance of stuttering or tearing. So, in terms of high-spec screen tech, you can have total confidence in its capabilities. When it comes to connectivity, there are several ports and connection opportunities on the monitor's back and left side. The rear sports two USB 3.0 ports as well as HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4 out, and the team has another two USB 3.0 ports. Despite the very high asking price, the X27 is such a great monitor that we'd recommend you consider it if you can. If it ever goes on sale, it'll be a delicious deal. 

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6. BenQ PD3200U

A well priced 4K monitor not built for gaming

Screen size: 32-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Response time: 4ms | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Weight: 19 lbs

Great value for 4K
Tremendous size
Design is a bit boring
Not really gaming-focused

Also embracing the 4K resolution-without-HDR approach, the BenQ PD3200U is, almost accidentally, a 4K monitor worthy of gamers' consideration. It's a wonderfully large 32-inch display that, while it's allegedly aimed at designers and creatives more than players, is incredibly competent for high-end gaming too. Its IPS panel is wonderfully clear, and the image quality is fantastic, enhanced by being in that beautiful 4K resolution. Additional features include its techs such as Low Blue Light and Flicker-free elements, which make using the monitor at night vastly more comfortable. And its connectivity is excellent, offering two HDMI 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort 1.2, mini DisplayPort, dual USB 3.0 ports and a 3.5mm audio port. The addition of an SD card slot is a bonus too. 

It's worth remembering that this isn't necessarily directly aimed at those who game, and its refresh rate of 60Hz reflects that. But the 4K resolution and excellent quality will negate that for most. This will also make it a prime screen for those who perhaps have a graphic design or video editing hobby or job, as well as those that have a console wired into their gaming room or setup, and its price will undoubtedly tempt some to give it a try.

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7. Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB

A PC-focused, TV-sized monitor

Screen size: 43-inch | Panel type: MVA | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Response time: 4ms | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Weight: 32 lbs

Robust and stable design
Great TV-esque size for a monitor
Basically too big for desk-bound gaming
Images appear grainy when sitting close

Very much appearing more like a TV than a monitor, the 43-inch 4K HDR Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB is almost cumbersome, but still very much worth a look. Being such a size may present a challenge in making sure it can fit on your desk safely and well enough for practical use, but it is also weighty enough to give you no worries about its stability. 

It's priced a bit higher than a regular 4K HDR TV of the same size, but it seems to put gaming—and PCs—first. It has a good haul of ports covering HDMI 2.0, USB-C, DisplayPort, and Mini DisplayPort, it has a backlight that glows according to what's shown on the front of the screen (called Ambiglow), and it's an MVA-type panel that boasts a 4ms response time. Given its size, it may appeal to those who also have a console hooked into their setup alongside a PC. Still, its 4K and HDR qualities are undeniable and, teamed with its TV-size, and the decent price tag will be very appealing—particularly to those who take a 'more is more' approach to displays.

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. 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 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.