When it comes to gaming, your display matters. A good gaming monitor will not only provide enough color and brightness to immerse you in your favorite titles but also will be smooth and responsive enough to ensure that you always play at your best. For competitive gamers, having the right monitor can mean the difference between landing a game-winning Call of Duty headshot or a clutch Street Fighter combo and losing it all.
Of the monitors we've reviewed and tested, the BenQ RL2455HM is our overall favorite thanks to its fast performance, versatility and affordable price. Acer's B286HK is an excellent choice for folks looking to game in 4K, while those seeking a premium curved monitor should check out the company's Predator X34.
Some displays are optimized for console gaming or specific genres, and there are even portable displays such as the Gaems Vanguard that let you play anywhere. Display makers are constantly pushing monitors to new places, from Asus' 4K HDR PG27UQ to Samsung's CFG70, the first-ever quantum dot model. After testing a variety of monitors from the top brands in the market, we've selected our top picks for every kind of gamer.
What to Consider
Given how varied and specialized gaming monitors have become, it's important to consider your personal needs before buying one. Many monitors come in either 24-inch or 27-inch variations — the latter size makes it easy to see all the action at once, while the former allows for a bigger, more immersive picture. There are also curved, ultra-wide monitors for those looking to get fully sucked in.
The standard PlayStation 4 and Xbox One max out at 1080p resolution, so you'll be fine using them with a standard full-HD monitor. However, both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One S can output certain content in 4K. Likewise, if you have a high-end gaming PC that can play games at their highest settings, there are plenty of quad-HD and 4K monitors to suit your needs.
Refresh rate and response times are key: The former determines how many frames per second a monitor is capable of displaying, and the latter dictates how quickly it can react to input.
You'll want to check if a monitor supports Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync, which are technologies that allow the screen to sync up with your graphics card for smoother performance. It's also worth considering a display's inputs — some are limited to HDMI, while others offer more versatility via DVI and DisplayPort connections.
How We Test
As we do with TVs, we use our Klein K-10A colorimeter and SpectraCal CalMAN 5 software to extract a range of color, contrast and brightness data from each monitor's default display modes. Of the data we gather, we weigh brightness (white luminescence), color accuracy (Delta-E) and color gamut most heavily in our reviews.
We also use a Leo Bodnar Lag Tester to measure each display's latency, a key statistic for those looking for highly responsive monitors. For a deeper dive on our display testing methodology, check out How We Test TVs.
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