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The best gaming monitor 2020: the 10 best gaming screens of the year

Invest in one of the best gaming monitors to get the top PC games to look the way they truly should. No matter if you’re playing esports, ...

Invest in one of the best gaming monitors to get the top PC games to look the way they truly should. No matter if you’re playing esports, the latest open-world adventure, or doing some casual gaming, having a stunning display will bring those games to life and make you feel like you’re in the middle of the action.

The best gaming monitors are designed for gamers so they come packed with important features like rich and accurate colors, high resolutions, and speedy refresh rates. Since different types of gaming prioritize certain features, you’ll find one more suited to your favorite type of games. Just like with the best graphics cards and the best processors, your needs might be different than someone else’s, whether that means focusing on a monitor with 4K resolution or one with a 240Hz refresh rate.

It’s time to pair that gaming PC with a monitor that can truly let it shine, so we’ve collected the best gaming monitors here, which includes a few of the best curved monitors, to find the most ideal display for you.

Best gaming monitors on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming soon, quite a few of the best gaming monitors on this list are expected to get some massive price cuts, as they do every year. This means that you might be able to take home the monitor your gaming dreams are made of for much less, saving you more money to use for something else on your shopping list.

Whether you’re buying one for your gaming PC or planning on gifting one during the holiday season, it would be wise to wait until these major deal events of the year. Luckily, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday rolling around the end of November, you won’t have to wait for long.

Best gaming monitors at a glance

  1. LG UltraGear 38GN950
  2. Samsung CRG9
  3. Alienware AW3418DW
  4. AOC Agon AG352UCG6
  5. BenQ PD3200U
  6. MSI Optix MPG341CQR
  7. Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q
  8. Acer Predator CG7 
  9. BenQ Zowie XL2540
  10. AOC CU34G2X

LG UltraGear 38GN950

(Image credit: LG)

1. LG UltraGear 38GN950

A killer ultra-wide gaming monitor

Screen size: 38-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 1600 | Brightness: 450cd/m² | Response time: 1ms | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Color support: DCI-P3 98% | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Weight: 20.3 lbs

160Hz refresh rate
Super-responsive
Expensive
HDR can’t compete with high-end TVs

It’s hard not to be impressed by the LG UltraGear 38GN950. If you’re looking for the ultimate gaming monitor, this is certainly the one to beat, with a 144Hz refresh rate that can be easily overclocked to 160Hz, 1ms response time, spectacular image quality, and many other gaming features like G-Sync, an ultra-wide aspect ratio and DisplayHDR 600. If you’re serious about gaming and want lots of screen real estate, then this is the best gaming monitor to get – if you can afford it, that is.

Read the full review: LG UltraGear 38GN950

Samsung CRG9

(Image credit: Samsung)

2. Samsung CRG9

How big is too big?

Screen size: 49-inch | Aspect ratio: 32:9 | Resolution: 5,120 x 1,440 | Brightness: 600cd/m2 – 1000cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178°(H)/178°(V) | Contrast ratio: 3,000:1 | Color support: 1.07B

Great screen size
HDR
Menu can be tricky
Needs tweaking out of box

It may be very expensive and requires a killer gaming PC setup to run, but the Samsung CRG9 is completely worth it if you’ve got the extra cash laying around. This bigger-than-average 49-incher boasts bezels thinner than most gaming monitors and a picture by picture mode feature that lets you use two different inputs, simulating a dual monitor setup in a single monitor. And, that’s without mentioning that the Samsung CRG9 produces an out-of-this-world image right out of the box.

Read the full review: Samsung CRG9

Alienware AW3418DW

(Image credit: Alienware)

3. Alienware AW3418DW

The fastest ultrawide yet

Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 26 pounds

Highest refresh rate in an ultrawide
Alienware design and build quality
Expensive
Takes up a lot of space

The Alienware AW3418DW is one of the few gaming monitors that deliver a level of immersion that only a 21:9 aspect ratio can, while also offering up a high refresh rate. With a dense 3,440 x 1,440 resolution, ridiculously fast 4ms response times and a speedy 120Hz refresh rate, this ultrawide monitor gives you the best of both worlds. All these features don’t come cheap though, so budget-minded gamers might want to look elsewhere or start saving up. 

Read the full review: Alienware AW3418DW

AOC Agon AG352UCG6

(Image credit: AOC)

4. AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition

Blacker than black

Screen size: 35-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 2,500:1: | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 26 pounds

Phenomenal color performance 
120Hz refresh rate 
Clunky OSD menu 

The AOC Agon AG352UCG was one of the best gaming monitors we ever got our hands on, so when we heard that a follow-up was coming – one that comes with a higher refresh rate and better contrast – it was hard not to get excited. The AOC Agon AC352UCG6 Black Edition carries over the original’s best features but ramps them up to 11, making it a stunning display on which to experience ultra-wide gaming. It’s expensive, yeah, but if you have the hardware to back it up, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice by not investing.

Read the full review: AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition 

BenQ PD3200U

(Image credit: BenQ)

5. BenQ PD3200U

A large 4K screen for your desk

Screen Size: 32-inch | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Response Time: 4ms | Viewing Angle: 178/178 | Contrast Ratio: 1,000:1 | Color Support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 19 lbs

4K UHD resolution
Large Screen
Inexpensive relatively
Design is a little bland
Professional tools are niche
Takes up a lot of space

While originally made for CAD professionals, the BenQ PD3200U is also great for gaming. This is mostly thanks to its rock-solid focus on graphic design so it’s able to offer incredibly wide viewing angles, which means that your friends can watch your game in comfort. And, unlike most 4K monitors on the market, you won’t have to mess around with the settings to get the best picture, since every unit is individually calibrated by BenQ before shipping. This is definitely one of the best gaming monitors out there, even though it wasn’t actually designed for gaming.

Read the full review: BenQ PD3200U

MSI Optix MPG341CQR

(Image credit: MSI)

6. MSI Optix MPG341CQR

MSI’s hot new 34-inch gaming monitor

Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 400 nits | Refresh rate: 144Hz | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 3000:1 | Color support: sRGB 105% | Weight: 21.16 pounds

Punchy VA panel
Great gaming performance
Really strong overall feature set
This class of monitor is expensive

While all of its extra frills make the MSI Optix MPG341CQR an even more appealing selection for potential buyers, it does an outstanding job of standing out on its own. The use of VA rather than IPS panel technology, for one, is a welcome advantage, offering punchier colors and better contrast. Plus, its super-wide 1440p resolution and 144Hz refresh certainly give gamers an edge. The best part might be that this display is also reasonably priced, making it one of the best gaming monitors to consider in 2020.

Read the full review: MSI Optix MPG341CQR

Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q

(Image credit: Asus)

7. Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q

4K meets affordability

Screen size: 28-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 | Brightness: 350 cd/㎡ | Response time: 5ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: 90% color gamut, 1073.7M (10bit) | Weight: 7.6 kg

Incredibly affordable
Extremely flexible in viewing positions
Gorgeous, accurate colors
Some stuttering at higher settings
Not true HDR

With the Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q, you’re getting a lot of value for your money – especially considering the small price of entry. One of the most affordable 4K gaming monitors right now, this 28-incher can swivel, pivot and tilt practically however which way you need it (within reason, naturally) to serve your purpose. It also has deliciously thin bezels and a nifty cable management solution, as well as a few display settings to boost your viewing experience. Thanks to its rich vibrant colors, super sharp image quality and a design that is only subtly gaming-centric, this is among the best 4K monitors not only for gamers but for regular users who consume a lot of visual media as well.

Read the full review: Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q

Acer Predator CG7

(Image credit: Acer)

8. Acer Predator CG7

An epic screen

Screen size: 43-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 1000 cd/m² | Refresh rate: 120Hz | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 178°(H)/178°(V) | Contrast ratio: 4,000:1 | Color support: 16.7 Million

Responsive
G-Sync support
4K support
Expensive
Lacks some features
Too big for some, not big enough for others

An epic gaming experience awaits you with Acer Predator CG7’s 43-inch screen, 4000:1 contrast ratio, 1ms response time and 120Hz refresh rate. To be fair, there are bigger and badder gaming monitors out there, but for some people – particularly, those looking for a TV with gaming-level specs, this one’s a winner. It’s got some extra features as well – namely, a remote control, icons on that stand to encourage game controller storage, and RGB lighting that can sync to your music and games – so you’re getting your money’s worth, even if you are paying for a lot.

Read the full review: Acer Predator CG7 

BenQ Zowie XL2540

(Image credit: BenQ)

9. BenQ Zowie XL2540

A monitor tailored to the needs of professional gamers

Screen size: 24-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 400 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 240Hz | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: NTSC 72% | Weight: 7.5kg

High refresh rates
Easy setup
Expensive
Limited appeal beyond pro gamers

Don’t be turned off by its limitations. The BenQ Zowie XL2540 still absolutely deserves its place right up there on the best gaming monitors list. It forgoes flashy lighting effects for a blazing 240Hz refresh rate and rapid 1ms response time. This monitor is both FreeSync and G-Sync compatible, and if you have a setup that’s able of keeping up with this refresh rate, then this gaming display will blow you away. The BenQ Zowie XL2540 keeps things simple by supplying you with a ton of visual presets, an “S Switch” control pod for managing those presets and even a pair of adjustable light screens. 

Read the full review: BenQ Zowie XL2540

AOC CU34G2X

(Image credit: AOC)

10. AOC CU34G2X

AOC has another winner

Screen Size: 34-inch | Aspect Ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3440 x 1440 | Brightness: 300 nits | Viewing Angle: 178/178 | Contrast Ratio: 80M:1 | Color Support: 16.7 Million | Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Response time: 1ms

Superb performance
Immersive
Subtle design
Menu is hard to navigate
No G-Sync

The AOC CU34G2X walks that fine between gaming and non-gaming aesthetic with its black design with red trimmings. That’s something many folks can appreciate, especially those who like to maintain subtlety in their gaming setup. In terms of performance, this new AOC win delivers impressively, offering users that immersive experience that only a curved monitor with superb picture quality can. And, that 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time ensures futureproofing, so whatever future titles you throw at it will look just as incredible as the existing ones.

Read the full review: AOC CU34G2X

How to buy the best gaming monitor in 2020

If in the market for the best gaming monitor 2020 has to offer, know that there are a few things to keep in mind before choosing which display should grace your desk.

You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the following terms and specifications to help guarantee that you’re getting the best gaming monitor that’s most ideal for you. It also means you won’t have to pay extra for additional features that you might not actually care about.

Screen size: When looking for a gaming monitor, one of the most important things to consider is the screen size. Larger display sizes can lead to more immersive gaming experiences as the game fills more of your field of vision, but you'll also have to make sure that you have the space to keep a large monitor. And, it goes without saying that the larger the monitor, the higher the price as well.

Aspect ratio: The aspect ratio of a gaming monitor helps determine the width and height of the display. Most widescreen monitors have an aspect ratio of 16:9, while older monitors have closer to a square format of 4:3 that might feel pretty out of date in 2020. Ultra-wide monitors with aspect ratios of 21:9 are rapidly growing in popularity, as they offer a wider view of your games, which is why many ultra-wides have made our list of the best gaming monitors 2020.

Resolution: One other critical factor to consider when searching for the ideal monitor for your needs is the resolution. The higher the number, the sharper the picture. You will, however, require a more powerful graphics card for anything over Full HD (1,920 x 1,080), even if many gaming monitors feature resolutions as high as 2,560 x 1,400 (WQHD) and 3,840 x 2,160 (4K).

Refresh rate: When you’re mostly looking to play Counter-Strike and other first-person shooters like it, refresh rate is even more vital. The higher the refresh rate, the more frames per second (fps) the monitor can support, leading to a considerably smoother gaming experience. A 60Hz refresh rate is still the most common in 2020, but refresh rates of 144Hz and even 200Hz are becoming more prominent – not to mention, more and more necessary.

Response time: An excellent gaming monitor offers low response times, which means you’re getting fast and fluid actions, with little to no input lag. The lowest response time for TN monitors (we’ll get to this in the next section) is 1 millisecond, whereas the newer IPS monitors typically have slower 4ms response times. When you’re playing games competitively, it’s vital to keep this number as low as you can in order to avoid latency.

Panel type: This is where things get a little technical. The type of panel a gaming monitor uses will largely contribute to its response time and image clarity. TN (twisted nematic) panels, which are often more affordable, have the lowest response times but usually don’t come with great viewing angles. IPS (in-plane switching) panels, on the other hand, have fantastic viewing angles and color reproduction, but usually have higher response times. Meanwhile, VA (vertical alignment) panels are between the two, although its slow response times makes these panels rare in the gaming world.

Viewing Angle: While most people play games right in front of their gaming monitor, this isn’t always be the case, particularly when there is an audience. A monitor’s viewing angles tell you what angle you can look at the monitor from and still make out a clear image. The closer these numbers are to 180, the better your viewing experience will be when standing further to either side of the monitor or looking at it from above or below.

G-Sync and FreeSync: You've probably noticed that many of the best gaming monitors in 2020 come with either G-Sync or FreeSync technology – sometimes even both. These help keep frames per second (fps) smooth, combat screen tearing and minimize input lag. G-Sync is developed by Nvidia, so it requires an Nvidia GPU. And, the tech is built into the monitor, which can bump up their price tag. FreeSync, on the other hand, was made by AMD. Since it is free to use by manufacturers, the monitors that have them are usually more economical.

Check out our HDR Explained video below.

Gabe Carey, Bill Thomas and Michelle Rae Uy have also contributed to this article.

  • Looking for a more general monitor? Check out our list of the best monitors


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