Best gaming monitors 2020: make games look amazing

Margaret


a man standing in front of a computer screen: Best gaming monitors 2020


© Provided by T3
Best gaming monitors 2020

T3’s best gaming monitors guide for 2020 has been crafted to make it as easy as possible to discover great screens to play games on.

Here at T3 our mission is to connect people with top hardware, and that means helping them find the best gaming monitor for them.

As such, in our gaming monitor guide you will find an expertly curated selection of specialist PC gaming screens that cover every budget and intended usage scenario.

These are monitors from the world’s best makers that deliver the features gamers need to make games look amazing. We’re talking high refresh rates like 144Hz and 240Hz, ghosting-killing response times like 1ms, and eye-popping HDR credentials that take in-game lighting to all new levels of immersion.

And, you can be sure that we’re testing these gaming monitors to the max, as T3’s test rig is equipped with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GPU, which is capable of running games at high resolutions, high frame rates and with all the latest eye candy like real time ray tracing turned on.

We’ve also stocked out best gaming monitors guide with a selection of different panel types, too. From ultrawide curved displays to 4K-ready screens, through to bargain 1080p heroes and QHD mid-range masters, there’s a monitor in here that will suit.

And that’s really important as, after all, not every gamer’s setup is identical, and it is super important in our mind to partner a suitable monitor with a system.

For example, if you’ve got a rig with a mid-range GPU, something like an RTX 2060, then you probably aren’t going to be gaming at a 4K resolution. So instead of wasting money on a needless pixels, it would be a much better ideal to get a 1440p panel that offers a super high refresh rate and HDR thrown in, too.

Here at T3 we are firm believers that, while nice to have, higher resolutions alone don’t equate to better gaming experiences. On the contrary, higher frame rates, refresh rates, and next-gen lighting effects like HDR and real time ray tracing have a much bigger impact on immersion, so it makes sense to prioritise them.

Don’t worry if you aren’t a PC gamer, though. Console gamers are also covered in our best gaming monitors guide, with recommendations here for the best gaming monitor for the PS4, the best gaming monitor for the Xbox One, and the best gaming monitor for the Nintendo Switch, too. All these monitors have HDMI ports, and some really are TV-sized in proportions, meaning that they are idea for console use.

Lastly, below our list of top gaming monitors, we’ve also included some concise buying advice, which relays what we feel a gamer should be looking out for when upgrading.

The best gaming monitors available in 2020

If you’re in the market for one of the best gaming monitors around, then you want superb colour and contrast, top-of-the-range response times, a high refresh rate and as many extras as you can throw in – and the LG UltraGear 27GL850 excels in all the areas that matter. You’ll struggle to find a better gaming monitor on the market right now.

The 27-inch IPS LCD panel runs at a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, with a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz. It supports both the AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync standards, and comes with a 1 ms response time that really shines in practice. HDR 10 is also supported, with details remaining clear in dark and light parts of the frame.

While you might quibble with the rather plain design, it’s the display itself that matters, and that shines – lag times are imperceptible, details are clear and crisp, and scenes come across with plenty of range in brightness and contrast. You’re not going to notice any motion blur here, whether you’re gaming or watching movies.

With two HDMI ports and one DisplayPort socket on the back, you shouldn’t be short of places to plug in your various boxes, and the LG UltraGear is absolutely worth a look whether you’re gaming on PC or console. It’s one of the best gaming monitors available at the moment, especially if you’re most concerned with lag and response times.

What a monitor this is! The MSI Optix MPG341CQR not only delivers a gaming monitor that looks like it has been sent back from the future, but one that delivers big in terms of screen tech and features.

A 34-inch VA panel begins its assault, which delivers incredibly punchy and vibrant colours with excellent contrast. Then it adds in a peak brightness of 400 nits, top viewing angles of 178/178, a 21:9 aspect ratio and a very welcome 144Hz refresh rate.

That super-wide ratio partnered with a 1440p resolution makes this a great gaming monitor choice for the mid-range and the high-end, while its gentle curve helps draw you into the screen, making games more immersive.

It is not the cheapest gaming monitor in our guide by quite a way, however considering the amount of top tech loaded into it, and it stunning build quality and aesthetics, we think it is absolutely worth the investment.

When it comes to 1080p 144Hz gaming monitors, ViewSonic has already made plenty of noise with the already impressive XG2402. But, in true monitor manufacturing form, the American firm is back at it again with an even better display offering – the Elite XG240R. It’s not a huge overhaul, with much of the same features as the previous model in residence, but the additions are welcome ones and serve to make an already impressive formula that bit better.

Which is interesting in itself considering this is a TN model, rather than an IPS or VA panel. Even without the colour depth or contrast of a VA, the XG240R has a super swift 1ms response time so your on-screen gaming is always going to have the best technical experience. When coupled with Adaptic-Sync, that 144Hz refresh rate and a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, this 24-inch display really performs really well. Colours are rich, blacks are deep and with a selection of viewing modes to choose from, it’s often incredibly easy to get the best out of your current setup and game.

Some of the biggest changes comes in the XG240R’s physical design. ViewSonic has gone for more of a ‘stealthy’ look this time around, replacing the red of the XG2402 with an all-black look that helps the thick bezels blend in with the rest of the monitor. The mixture of matte black plastic and brushed-effect plastic make for a decent if not particularly striking combo, but the overall design is elevated by the two arrowhead LEDs at the rear of the model.

The in-built menu system has also been given an overhaul of sorts, and it’s a much more intuitive experience than the one shipped with the XG2402. Flitting between picture modes and adjusting image quality to suit the game you’re playing and the console/PC you’re playing on is so much easier. Again, the display itself isn’t that far removed from the previous model, but with an adjusted responsiveness and an improved build quality, the XG240R is a quality and reliable display.

Say hello to the simply gigantic 49-inch Samsung CRG9, which is the biggest display in our best gaming monitor round-up, and which will give you a hugely immersive gaming experience (as long as you’re playing games that can work with a monitor this wide of course – otherwise you’ll have black edges on the left and right of your screen).

Besides its size – which is gigantic, in case you had forgotten – the monitor offers some very competitive specs: a 5,120 x 1,440 pixel resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, a 4ms response time, and a maximum brightness of 1,000 cd/m2 (the same as 1,000 nits). This isn’t a monitor that’s going to let you down in any major department.

When it comes to gaming, the Samsung CRG9 is more than capable of keeping up with the action, reducing lag and handling motion very well. Games look fantastic on this, with something like Red Dead Redemption 2 really enveloping you (and your peripheral vision) in the fantastic landscapes of the Wild West.

If you’re using the monitor for more everyday tasks, then the Samsung CRG9 scores highly here too, with text and images crisp and sharp thanks to that 1440p resolution. Colour reproduction is excellent and it’s also one of the brightest monitors around. There’s HDR and FreeSync support, and you get one HDMI and two DisplayPort ports for connecting everything up.

As we note in our BenQ Mobiuz EX2710 review, this monitor is a budget gamer’s dream screen, as it delivers top gaming tech like a 1ms response time, 144Hz refresh rate, and HDR for a low price point.

Indeed, many other monitors that cost hundreds more only deliver the same ballpark package, so the fact that this screen is so cheap new really does mean it will be ideal for many gamers.

Indeed, the only real things to consider before ringing it up is whether or not you are happy with a resolution limit of FHD, as this monitor cannot go higher that 1,920 x 1,080. Equally, this screen does not come with a curve, and is a traditional 16:9 aspect ratio affair as well.

Honestly, though, apart from those caveats it’s a great gaming monitor – so unless you need more or have a markedly bigger budget to spend, then the BenQ Mobiuz EX2710 should be one of the first screens you consider.

For gamers the Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB delivers simply astonishing gaming bang for your buck. 

For just a shade over £500 the Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB delivers a simply huge 43-inch, 4K, HDR panel that also boasts a crazy-high 1000 nits peak brightness.

A very tidy 4 ms response time, as well as Adaptive-Sync technology, mean that even the most frantic, high-speed gaming sessions remain lag and blur free, while the screen’s Quantum Dot tech means colours really pop, too.

A fantastic selection of connection options, including HDMI, DisplayPort, mini DisplayPort and USB-C, also means that no matter what type of gaming system you need to hook up then you can, while the inclusion of Philips’ Ambiglow lighting means the monitor can add to immersion with in-sync ambient colours.

A rock solid all-round performer that can be used for gaming, entertainment and productivity alike.

If your graphics card setup does not include a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, then chances are you aren’t going to be capable of gaming at a 4K resolution without watching the action crawl to a framerate halt. But just because you aren’t gaming at 4K doesn’t mean you don’t want a premium gaming monitor experience.

Enter the ViewSonic XG270QG, a stunning, high-tech gaming monitor that prioritise delivering the absolute best picture quality capable at a QHD, 1440p, 2,560 x 1,440 resolution.

It does this, largely, thanks to the sheer quality of its 27-inch IPS Nano Color, 98 per cent DCI-P3 colour space core panel, which also boasts a rapid 165Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and Nvidia G-Sync adaptive sync. And, let us tell you, these combine to deliver a truly excellent PC gaming experience, no matter whether you’re playing Red Dead Redemption 2 or Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot.

In terms of styling, the XG270QG appeals thanks to its three-sided narrow bezel frame and future-industrial lines.

The only thing the ViewSonic doesn’t deliver is the ability to display HDR content, with a peak brightness of 350cd/m2 impressive but definitely short of the level needed. Does this make a difference in terms of gaming on PC? In our opinion, no, not at all — the monitor looks very punchy and games really pop on it.

Simply put, if you’re looking for a premium gaming monitor and are rocking something like an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super or AMD Radeon RX 5700, then this is one of the absolute best gaming monitors on the market today that you should consider. It’s a PC gaming specialist, partnering a sharp, modern look with top gaming monitor tech.

The ViewSonic Elite XG270QG just bagged the Best Gaming Monitor award at the T3 Awards 2020, too, so we honestly can’t recommend this panel higher.

The HP Omen 27i isn’t flashy in terms of its looks, but we rather like its angular, subtle design – there’s lighting around the back and along the bottom lip of the monitor, which you can tweak as required using the accompanying software for Windows. It’s not quite as huge as some of the other screens here of course, but then again it is more affordable.

The 27-inch panel offers a 165Hz refresh rate and a response time of as little as 1ms with the right connections, and those are impressive specs that translate into excellent real world performance. This is a display that looks great for everything from gaming to movie watching, with a thin bezel design that ensures the focus is always on what’s being shown on screen.

It’s worth noting that there’s no HDR support here, although it doesn’t make a massive difference to the quality of the picture, and you’re limited to one HDMI and one DisplayPort input (though there are USB connections for your peripherals). HP has been in the electronics game for a long time, and that shows through in the quality of the HP Omen 27i.

The BenQ EX2780Q is absolutely packed with features that gamers are going to love – like that 144Hz refresh rate for super-smooth action, the HDRi (basically HDR with BenQ’s own tweaks), FreeSync support, 5ms response rate, and the extensive 27 inches (maximum resolution 2,560 x 1,440 pixels) of screen space. It’s immediately one of the best gaming monitors we’ve ever tried.

Design-wise, the monitor manages to be elegant without really blowing you away: we like the polished metal frame, though the buttons and control system take a few minutes of working out (you get a remote bundled with the package too). The two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort port, and one USB-C port are a little awkward to get to, but that’s par for the course with monitors like this.

The QHD picture is superb, with strong, vibrant colours, excellent viewing angles, and sharp, well-defined contrast. That HDRi we mentioned – which essentially adapts HDR to suit the ambient light – makes games and other content really stand out. The integrated 2.1 audio system is punchy and clear too, making this an excellent all-round package if you want your sound integrated with your visuals.

With the 10-bit panel capable of showing more than a billion colours across 95 percent of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, the BenQ EX2780Q impresses on paper, but it’s also a monitor that impresses in reality too – a combination you don’t always get. It’s a little on the expensive side, and there’s no 4K of course, but we’re happy to recommend it as one of our top choices for gamers and pros alike.

We’ve been very impressed with what the LG UltraGear 34GN850 has shown us during our testing: it has fantastic response times and refresh rates, very decent colour, brightness and contrast levels, and a respectable HDR mode that keeps the darkest and the lightest areas of a picture in view.

The main reason that you’re going to get this monitor, however, is that it’s a 34-inch ultrawide monster that will dominate your gaming centre (or your office desk). You get nearly 5 million pixels on show here, as well as coverage of 98 percent of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, so this is a display that isn’t messing around (and the price you’ll have to pay reflects that).

We also like the broad array of ports you get with the LG UltraGear 34GN850, and how easily those ports can be accessed around the back (though a little more cable management wouldn’t go amiss). All in all, one of the best gaming monitors around, especially if you need to use it for other stuff as well.

Whichever way you look at it, the Lenovo Legion Y44W-10 is a seriously impressive piece of kit: It’s one of the best-looking monitors we’ve come across in a while, with its huge 43.4 inches of curved screen space, 32:10 aspect ratio, and subtle blue trim at the bottom of the stand. Have no doubt about it, this is a beautiful beast.

In use, the display – 3,840 x 1,200 pixels – looks really good, with both games and more mundane apps like web browsers and spreadsheet programs appearing crisp and vibrant (the viewing angles are more than decent too). It’s really like having a dual monitor setup, without the gap in the middle, and both Windows and macOS make it easy enough to get your programs up side by side.

As far as gaming goes, the cutting edge 144Hz refresh rate, 4ms response time and AMD FreeSync 2 certification are all going to make gamers sit up and take note, and we noticed very little ghosting or lag in use, as well as excellent black and colour reproduction. You do need to find games that support that ultra, ultrawide 32:10 aspect ratio of course, otherwise you’ll get black bars down the side.

What you get with ports are one DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0, two USB-C and four standard USB-A 3.0 for connecting up and charging peripherals. That means you can have, for example, one computer and two consoles hooked up if you need to – it’s another tick in the positives column for the Legion Y44W-10.

The only real downside of the Lenovo Legion Y44W-10 is the price, which is quite substantial, but you do get a lot of gaming monitor for your money. It’s going to be too much for some people, but if you want the flexibility and room of an ultrawide gaming display, then get this somewhere on your shortlist.

Offering excellent gaming performance and from a line with excellent heritage, the 24.-5-inch Acer Predator XB3 works with both Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync, smoothing out your gaming experience by syncing the monitor’s refresh rate with the GPU in real time.

There’s plenty more to like here, even if this isn’t the biggest, sharpest or brightest gaming monitor that you’re ever going to come across. With a 240Hz maximum refresh rate, a 1ms minimum response time, and plenty of connectivity options, it might just be one of the best-value options for a gaming monitor out there on the market at the moment.

During our testing of the monitor, we found that it excelled in both gaming and everything else we tried, from watching movies to browsing the web.  It’s all available at a very reasonable price too, which is another reason we recommend it.

BenQ has established itself as one of the go-to names in gaming displays, with the excellent EX3203R offering a 2560 x 1440 resolution with a lovely 1800R curve, so it’s no surprise to see the Taiwanese manufacturer is making more waves with the release of the EX3501R. Combining an ultra-wide display ans support for HDR, this monitor is poised to upgrade your gaming setup for the better.

HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a feature that’s really taken off in console gaming and regular TVs, but it’s been less prevalent in gaming monitors. BenQ has included the utility in the EX3501R, giving colours and tones a sense of vibrancy and depth they simply didn’t possess before. Add in that impressive curve and you’ve got one powerful, if slightly fiddly, gaming monitor.

While the Philips 346B1C is built primarily for productivity, it can also turn its hand to gaming – helped out by impressive response times, refresh rates, and contrast ratios. While you can find other monitors that beat this one in terms of raw specs, the Philips 346B1C brings everything together well in one cohesive whole.

What you’re paying most of your money for is that 34-inch, 3440 x 1440 pixel display, which makes everything from games to spreadsheets look clear and immersive (there’s a 1500R curvature as well, if you’re into that). Despite the size and specs of the display, it’s actually available at a very reasonable price – check the widgets on this page for the latest online deals.

The Philips 346B1C comes packed with ports and connectivity options too: you can even charge your laptop from this monitor, or connect up a keyboard and mouse and use them with the display to switch between two different computers. All you need for productivity and for gaming.

Building on the already impressive performance and specs of the AOC Agon AG352UCG, the revamped and revitalised AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition comes out swinging with a improved refresh rate and those very on-trend ultra-wide angles.

Sure, it’s quite the outlay, with other monitors in this list retailing for under half the cost. But if you do pick up the 35-inch AG352UCG6 then you’re getting one of the best colour performances you can buy right now, which when combined with the monitor’s  3,440 x 1,440 resolution, tidy 4 ms response time and 2,500:1 contrast ratio, means that gaming picture quality is consistently top shelf.

And, with that super-wide 21:9 aspect ratio, you’ll be able to enjoy Spaghetti Westerns to the full, too. Clint would approve!

At over £3,000 the Dell UltraSharp UP3218K is quite insanely expensive, but when you look at what it delivers, that price suddenly seems more apt. That’s because the UP3218K is a 8K resolution monitor that not only delivers jaw-dropping fidelity and crispness, but also some of the highest quality colour reproduction available on any monitor.

Naturally, because it is Dell, build quality is also superb. Obviously it isn’t for everyone, the price largely sees to that, but if you’ve got the cash and the gaming setup to deal with outputting games at a resolution of 7,680 x 4,320, then this is the monitor for you.

Asides from the Asus ROG Strix XG27VQ gaming monitor only delivering a Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 resolution rather than something a little higher and more exotic (see the PG27UQ for that), there really isn’t anything else to dislike.

You get a rock solid 27 inches of screen to play on, which boasts a lush 1800R curve too, a high 144Hz refresh rate with Adaptive Sync and Free Sync for a super smooth gaming experience, and a varied selection of ports including DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI, too.

As it is a monitor geared towards gamers, you also get a pretty darn powerful LED lightning system, including a very bright downward firing base projection. A really futuristic and weighty stand with swivel, tilt, and height adjustability complete a very attractive package.

The successor model to the CG318-4K, Eizo’s CG319X takes an already incredible DCI-4K package to an even higher level by adding in even more features to the mix.

That 4096 x 2160 DCI-4K resolution comes with HDR gamma support as standard, so its 31-inch display as well a providing a very crisp and visually-arresting gaming experience, can also provide a cutting edge canvas for those working in professional video editing. It includes PQ (perceptual quantization) and HLG (hyper-log gamma), which work with those optimised gamma curves to render a true image on-screen.

Ideal for those editing HDR video content in a post-production setting, the CG319X comes with a set of sensor wings as well, which fit around the top and side of the display, and it can self-optimise in order to create the truest representation of your footage.

It’s a very high-end model for very high-end use, hence the eye-wateringly high price point. But if video post-production is your bread and butter, and you also are a keen PC gamer, too, then this model is the best gaming monitor you can buy today.

BenQ continues its run of good form in the world of gaming focused monitors with the EX3203R, which packs in a high refresh rate, a curved display and support for HDR. The latter ensures your gaming exploits have the brightest of colours and the deepest of contrasts for a vivid display on-screen. 

That 144Hz refresh rate offers a fluid performance, too, while the use of AMD FreeSync 2 technology eliminates choppy tearing and broken frames and ensures silky smooth gameplay. The EX3203R is also a looker, too, with a clean and minimalist aesthetic delivering a welcome dose of class.

The BenQ EX3203R also comes with support for USB-C, enabling SuperSpeed USB data transfer and 2K video delivery on one cable. Regardless of your game of choice, this robust 32-inch display will ensure you’re doing it justice, as well as deliver for you in terms of general use, too.

Alienware may be one of the biggest and most formidable names in gaming laptops, but it’s also proving a brand to be reckoned with in the world of gaming-focused monitors. 

The AW3418DW features a powerful 120Hz refresh rate, the highest you can get right now in the ultra-wide range, and with a lightning-fast 4ms response time this 21:9 display makes for one powerful monitor for all your PC gaming needs.

It comes with NVidia G-Sync as standard, which helps reduce screen-tearing, and four customisable lighting zones for that extra layer personalisation (this is Alienware after all).

How to choose the best gaming monitor for you

PCs do most of the pioneering when it comes to gaming graphics, but it doesn’t matter how packed with power your graphics card is if you don’t have a monitor that can keep up with all that pixel-pushing.

And be under no illusion, if you want to get serious about your gaming you need more than just a beefed up hard drive. You need a good a screen – after all, that’s what you’ll be staring at during your extended gaming sessions.

Naturally, a great gaming monitor has to look good, but most importantly it has to give you the specs that can give you a jump on your opponents: quick refresh rates, high picture quality and those all-important slick response times. The monitors that follow have these qualities and plenty more besides.

Do make sure you get a gaming monitor that comes with ports, modes, and connectivity options that you’ll ideally want to use. It’s no good spending money on a quality gaming monitor only to find out it doesn’t have a specific input or auxiliary function you need.

Gallery: The best Lightning headphones 2020 for your iPhone or iPad (Pocket-lint)

a close up of a black computer mouse on a desk: To listen to music on every iPhone since the iPhone 7, you either need a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones, a 3.5mm to Lightning converter (no longer included in the box for 2018 and later iPhones) or a pair of wired headphones that will connect to the Lightning port.Lightning headphones do have a special quality; they're capable of receiving lossless stereo 48kHz digital audio output from Apple devices and sending mono 48kHz digital audio input. They can also draw power from an Apple device (even if the device is asleep).Apple's Lightning port can also support headphones with integrated digital-to-analogue converters (DACs) and amplifiers, so audio travelling through the Lightning port will pass into the headphones digitally, thus avoiding typical analogue signal interferences you get with other headphones.We've picked some of the best pairs of Lightning headphones available now, comprising over-ear and in-ear models, at a variety of price points.

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