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Buying a new monitor is an investment, whether you are a serious gamer, or someone getting into gaming. It’s the most important visual component of your battle station, and directly affects your gameplay in a major way.
A speedy 144Hz option can be an excellent upgrade to your current monitor, and anyone using a TV will see an instant difference in response time as soon as they switch over to a designated gaming monitor where lag is noticeably lower. These options are also compatible with G-SYNC – NVIDIA’s (literally) game-changing tech that significantly reduces screen slowdowns. But speed alone isn’t everything, so before you buy, here’s what you need to look for.
What Are the Best G-SYNC Gaming Monitors?
There are a number of good G-SYNC monitors available online so you’ll want to take a look at what you’re using your monitor for and how often you’ll be using it, when shopping for the best G-SYNC gaming monitor for you. Here are some other factors to consider.
Aspect Ratio: This is the ratio of width compared to height, and is used to describe the proportions of a screen. You’ve no doubt seen this before, such as 16:9 for example, where for every 16 inches of width, you’d get nine inches of height. For this, consider the size of the space you’ll be using the monitor in, and how far back you’ll be sitting from it. If you’ve got the space, a wider horizontal monitor can enhance your gaming and make it more immersive.
An ultra-wide monitor is a bit different, however, since it’s keeping the same height as a smaller monitor and only adding more pixels to the width (for example, 21:9), effectively widening the diagonal measurement without ultimately affecting the pixel density. An ultra-wide monitor is supported by newer games, as its popularity among gamers catches on, and offers a wider field of view, including for movies as well, since you’ll get edge-to-edge screen with no black bars squeezing it from the top and bottom. The newest option out there right now is 32:9, a “super ultra-wide,” which is essentially the same as doubling up two regular monitors but in one lengthy screen that’s not chopped in half.
The most common ratio you’ll likely find though, and the same as your TV, is 16:9. It’s compatible with movies, games, and most other media, and is an overall safe bet.
Pixels: Aspect ratio plays into this as well, affecting the pixel rate of a monitor. The larger the monitor you go with, the higher resolution you want. For monitors generally under 28 inches, 1080p is usually fine, but 1440p works better for a bigger 32-inch, and if you’re really going all-out, then 4K is the way to go. Pixels can’t be stretched – only added to the resolution to change the aspect ratio, so be sure to check if your favorite game is going to support your new monitor and all its benefits.
Resolution: Simply put, a higher resolution means more pixels, and more pixels means clearer and sharper graphics. This is measured in the number of pixels a screen can display horizontally by vertically, such as 1920 x 1080 (also known as 1080p). Size of the monitor also plays into this, and if you’re going large, the resolution should match up to scale; otherwise the quality of your images will be stretched too thin. 2K is a step up, with 4K Ultra HD being among the best available right now, offering about eight million pixels compared to 1080p’s two million.
Refresh Rate/Frames per Second: As a gamer, this is vitally important, since every second matters and one little lag can kill your character. The amount of times a monitor will refresh itself per second is measured in Hertz, while FPS is how many frames per second the video card can create and send to the monitor. Standard refresh rates to choose from are 60Hz, 120Hz, 144Hz, and 240Hz. An average monitor is equipped with 60Hz, or 60fps (frames per second), which is higher than a TV, but still on the slow-end when you’re in a game where accuracy is everything. For a solidly speedy screen, 144Hz is noticeably better and smoother, while 240 is a world of difference right before your eyes, but may exceed your budget. Higher is always better, but you’ll need a good graphics card that supports G-SYNC to power it up and reach its full potential, in order to display your game in the real-time your monitor wants to display it in.
Flat or Curved: Aspect ratios still apply whether flat or curved, and there are even various angles of curves to choose from. Some gamers report that a curved screen can be especially helpful when you’ve got an extra-wide monitor, since you’re always the same distance from the screen wherever you turn to look.
Panel Type: This is a whole other deep-dive to research when buying a new monitor. But basically, panel type is responsible for color accuracy and the light source behind the screen, and there are typically four to choose from: Twisted Nemantic (TN), In-Plane Switching (IPS), Vertical Alignment (VA), and Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED). Each offer their own positives and negatives, such as refresh rates, color accuracy, and power consumption. For devoted gamers, TN is the oldest and has typically been the most popular, thanks to its high responsiveness and accessibility. But where TN lacks, such as color reproduction and viewing from angles where the colors invert, others pick up the slack. VA has the highest contrast ratios (but slowest response time), while OLED has the best High Dynamic Range (HDR) compatibility, but isn’t really designed for heavy gaming.
Backlighting: Another attribute worth looking into is backlighting. There are two types: backlit and array. Backlit provides a single light source around or behind the screen, where any adjustments affect the whole screen all at once. Array lighting places lots of little LEDs behind the screen, controlled in specific zones, and creating a nice constant contrast between lights and darks. They’re more expensive, and better for bigger screen images, as the backlit often has trouble lighting a small and specific area if you’ll need precision and accuracy.
One more pro-tip we’ve found while researching these: when first plugged in, computers tend to default the monitor to a 60Hz refresh rate, often leaving gamers misled and disappointed with the picture quality of their new purchase. This can easily be fixed by going into settings and switching it to whatever the max refresh rate is. It also helps to make sure it’s in Game Mode if that’s an optional setting, in order to improve your input lag (and then adjusting contrast, color, etc).
1. LG UltraGear 27-Inch Monitor
LG has been a trusted name in electronics for decades, and this UltraGear monitor holds up to their expected high standards.
With a 144Hz refresh rate, the response here is super fast, and a crisp 2560 x 1440p resolution makes this a perfect match for gamers.
At 27 inches, it’s an ideal size for a desk, with a small footprint, thin frame, and skinny bezels on the top and sides leaving more room for your screen’s images. The semi-gloss finish diffuses reflections across the screen, while the powerful brightness means you’ll be able to see your targets even in bright daylight.
It’s also compatible with NVIDIA’s G-SYNC, a new technology in monitors that provides the smoothest gameplay to date, making lag a thing of the past.
Ports are plentiful here, with two HDMIs, Display, two USB 3.0s, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Tilting, pivoting, and flipping this around is easy, plus it’s wall-mountable too.
2. Acer Predator X25
Considerably newer to the lineup is the Acer Predator X25 which has a 24.5-inch Full HD display and refresh rates as high as 360Hz.
The design features thin bezels for maximum visibility and the sturdy yet minimal base means your monitor will always stay in place, without taking up too much space on your desk.
It’s got NVIDIA G-SYNC and a 0.3 millisecond response time for fast-paced action games or tournaments. There’s also NVIDIA’s Reflex Latency Analyzer which measures the amount of time it takes for the click of a mouse button to display on-screen. This is crucial for E-sports professionals as they’ll want to tune the setup accordingly for faster performance.
Even though the display is just Full HD (to maintain high refresh rates) there is HDR available for vivid color and contrast accuracy. Other on-display features can also be adjusted including variable backlight, brightness, dark boost and more. There are also VisionCare features to keep eyestrain to a minimum even when you game for hours.
There are multiple ports as well including both HDMI and USB ports, so you’ll be able to connect this monitor to the rest of your gaming setup.
3. ASUS ROG Swift PG259QN
Another great screen that hits 360Hz refresh rates is the ASUS Rog Swift PG259QN. It’s got an FHD display, one millisecond response time, and the NVIDIA G-Sync processor for smooth, tear-free gaming.
There’s even IPS technology for better visuals from all viewing angles, allowing you to game no matter where on your desk this monitor is situated. Like the Acer Predator, there’s support for NVIDIA Reflex, making this another top choice for hard-core gamers.
It’s also easy on the eyes, featuring flicker-free tech, which will keep your screen looking clear and glitch-free for longer. You’ll even be able to swivel and tilt this monitor as you please to make sure it’s at the right angle for you.
Other than that, there are also tons of OSD (on-screen display) features including backlight adjustability, contrast, color temp, brightness and more. This monitor is also compatible with AMD Freesync which is great for Xbox players.
4. ViewSonic Elite XG270Q
Hitting 400nits of brightness and offering refresh rates of 165Hz, the ViewSonic Elite XG270Q is a solid option. It’s also G-SYNC compatible for a seamless and smooth gameplay.
The 27-inch display features a WQHD resolution (2560x1440p), higher than most other options on this list. There’s also 95% DCI-P3 color coverage, which offers more vivid, cinema-accurate visuals, plus HDR for better contrast.
Like other monitors, you can easily adjust the height or tilt and swivel the screen to your liking. Response times are quick too at one millisecond, and there are both USB and HDMI ports available (even a Display Port option if you need that).
The slim design is great too with ultra-thin bezels and a relatively compact stand that will blend right into your gaming setup.