Gaming monitors have been one of the best upgrades you could make to your gaming PC this year. In anticipation of the graphics card market finally evening itself out, and actual stock being available where it hasn't been all year, a gaming monitor has been a prime way to prepare your setup for the ultimate power to come. Especially since they're one of the few products hardly affected by all that's going on in the world.
We've seen plenty of worthy contenders for the best gaming monitor popping up over the past year, but we've somehow managed to narrow it down to just three of the best to vie for the crown. Each of these is a top-tier example of a gaming monitor, with ultra-low latency, high refresh rates, glorious image quality, and some kind of silky frame sync tech to reduce screen tear—but which of the three will tear the others a new one?
Perhaps it'll be the curved and sumptuous Dell S2722DGM VA panel, which hits the 1440p/165Hz sweet spot for current-gen graphics cards, but which is actually affordable; the vast, and ever so uncomplicated Asus TUF Gaming VG32VQ; or the illuminated and overclockable Gigabyte Aorus FI32Q.
Stay tuned for when we make the winners announcements on New Year's Eve, you may even be surprised about which one comes out on top... but which would take your fancy?
Best gaming monitor 2021: the nominees
For a VA panel, the S2722DGM has a rather strong inherent contrast. And coupled with a great 165Hz refresh rate, on a 1500R curved, 1440p panel that spans 27 inches across, it's one of those all-round winners you can get for very little cash. With AMD's FreeSync Premium, it's a great choice for those packing an AMD GPU. The only real drawbacks with this one include a lack of HDR support, and a 2ms grey-to-grey response, where most competitive gamers would regard 1ms GtG as the only option when it comes to gaming monitors. Still, for $270/£260, it's a really nice panel for the money.
Asus TUF Gaming VG32VQ
This candidate comes with AMD Freesync, together with a pretty effective Extreme Low Motion Blur (ELMB) feature. Paired with 144Hz refresh, this gently curved (1800R) panel has a lot going for it. Not only does it support HDR10, this 1440p, 32-inch panel is vibrant to say the least. Too vibrant for colour-accurate work, perhaps, but with a very nice 1ms GtG response for gaming. You forgo USB passthroughs with this one, but getting all that for under $400 in todays market is not to be sniffed at.
Gigabyte Aorus FI32Q
As the more high-end of the three contenders, this one also offers 1440p resolution at 32 inches across, but isn't curved like the others. It boasts a little more colour accuracy, however, along with boatloads of additional features. It's 165Hz refresh rate can be overclocked to 170Hz, in case that wasn't enough already. It's also got some rear RGB lighting effects going on, and although they're a little underwhelming it's a nice touch. Plus the monitor is quite gorgeous in and of itself. With both FreeSync and G-Sync compatibility, this is certainly a worthy challenger.
The winner of the PC Gamer Hardware Award for the best gaming monitor will be announced on New Year's Eve. It's all to play for, and any one of these three is completely deserving of the crown.