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The best gaming monitors in 2022

The best gaming monitor on a blue background
(Image credit: Future)

The best gaming monitor will probably outlive the other components in your PC; whether as the primary window to your gaming experience or relegated to your second panel for Discord. The best gaming monitors really are the partner to your powerful gaming rig, and they should be able to deliver everything from accurate colors to low latency all in pixel-perfect high resolution.

Getting your head around the GPU-monitor symbiosis is essential for making the most of your money. A ridiculous 4K monitor with a high refresh rate would be overkill if you're still packing a GTX 1060; unless you're planning to upgrade to one of the best graphics cards (opens in new tab) soon, your new monitor won't be able to achieve its full glory. If you scored yourself a fancy Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti (opens in new tab) or one of those high-end AMD RX 6000 (opens in new tab) series GPUs, you've got plenty of options to choose from regarding gaming monitors. 4K panels are child's play for these cards, and that'll be doubly true of the upcoming next-gen GPUs.

And for the competitive gamer who values speed above all else, our list of high refresh rate monitors (opens in new tab) is the place to look. These sacrifice higher resolutions in favor of 240Hz and even 360Hz refresh rates, potentially giving you the edge in games.

We're constantly testing an exhaustive number of gaming monitors to make sure we've found the best gaming monitors for each budget bracket and performance needs. This list frequently gets updated as newer models pass our rigorous testing.

Best gaming monitor

At last, a true OLED gaming monitor for the PC.

Specifications

Screen size: 34-inch
Panel type: QD OLED
Aspect ratio: 21:9
Resolution: 3440 x 1440
Response time: 0.1ms
Refresh rate: 175Hz
Weight: 15.26lbs
Refresh rate technology: G-Sync Ultimate

Reasons to buy

+
Fabulous contrast and colours
+
Stupendous pixel response
+
Genuine HDR capability

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a great all-purpose panel
-
No HDMI 2.1

OLED has truly arrived on PC, and in ultrawide format no less. Alienware's 34 QD-OLED is one of very few gaming monitors to receive such a stellar score from us, and it's no surprise. Dell has nailed the OLED panel in this screen and it's absolutely gorgeous for PC gaming. Although this monitor isn’t perfect, it is dramatically better than any LCD-based monitor by several gaming-critical metrics. And it’s a genuine thrill to use.

What that 34-inch, 21:9 panel can deliver in either of its HDR modes—HDR 400 True Black or HDR Peak 1000—is nothing short of exceptional. The 3440 x 1440 native resolution image it produces across that gentle 1800R curve is punchy and vibrant. With 99.3% coverage of the demanding DCI-P3 color space and fully 1,000 nits brightness, it makes a good go, though that brightness level can only be achieved on a small portion of the panel.

Still, there’s so much depth, saturation, and clarity to the in-game image thanks to that per-pixel lighting, but this OLED screen needs to be in HDR mode to do its thing. And that applies to SDR content, too. HDR Peak 1000 mode enables that maximum 1,000 nit performance in small areas of the panel but actually looks less vibrant and punchy most of the time.

HDR 400 True Black mode generally gives the best results, after you jump into the Windows Display Settings menu and crank the SDR brightness up, it looks much more zingy.

If you're going to hook your PC up to a high-end gaming monitor, we recommend it be this one.

Burn-in is the great fear and that leads to a few quirks. For starters, you’ll occasionally notice the entire image shifting by a pixel or two. The panel is actually overprovisioned with pixels by about 20 in both axes, providing plenty of leeway. It’s a little like the overprovisioning of memory cells in an SSD and it allows Alienware to prevent static elements from “burning” into the display over time.

While we didn’t sense any subjective issue with this 175Hz monitor, there’s little doubt that if your gaming fun and success hinges on having the lowest possible latency, there are faster screens available. You can only achieve the full 175Hz with the single DisplayPort input, too. The Alienware 34 QD-OLED's response time is absurdly quick at 0.1ms, however, and it cruised through our monitor testing suite. You really notice that speed in-game, too. 

There's no HDMI 2.1 on this panel, however. So it's probably not the best fit for console gaming as a result. But this is PC Gamer, and if you're going to hook your PC up to a high-end gaming monitor, we recommend it be this one.

Read our full Alienware 34 AW3423DW review (opens in new tab).

2. LG 27GN950-B

The fastest, most responsive 4K gaming monitor

Specifications

Screen size: 27-inch
Panel type: Nano IPS
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Response time: 1ms
Refresh rate: 144Hz
Weight: 16.9lbs
Refresh rate technology: G-Sync Compatible, FreeSync Premium Pro

Reasons to buy

+
Bright vivid colors
+
G-Sync/FreeSync compatible
+
Excellent response time for a 4K monitor

Reasons to avoid

-
Oversaturated sRGB mode

4K gaming is a premium endeavor. You need a colossal amount of rendering power to hit decent frame rates at such a high resolution. But if you're rocking a top-shelf graphics card, like an RTX 3080 (opens in new tab) or RX 6800 XT (opens in new tab) then this dream can be a reality.

The LG UltraGear is the first 4K, Nano IPS, gaming monitor with 1ms response times, that'll properly show off your superpowered GPU. Coming in with Nvidia G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync adaptive refresh compatibility, this slick slim-bezel design even offers LG’s Sphere Lighting 2.0 RGB visual theatrics.

And combined with the crazy-sharp detail that comes with the 4K pixel grid, that buttery smooth 144Hz is pretty special.

While it does suffer from a little characteristic IPS glow, it appears mostly at the screen extremities when you’re spying darker game scenes. This isn't an issue most of the time, but the HDR is a little disappointing as, frankly, 16 edge-lit local dimming zones do not a true HDR panel make.

The color fidelity of the NanoIPS panel is outstanding.

What is most impressive, however, is the Nano IPS tech that offers a wider color gamut and stellar viewing angles. And the color fidelity of the NanoIPS panel is outstanding.

LG’s default calibration is virtually faultless, with impeccable detail in both black and white scales. Beyond the strict metrics, it’s a seriously vibrant and punchy display in terms of image quality on the Windows desktop. 

This screen pops.

Hop in game and it’s just as impressive. We’ll never tire of the buttery smooth goodness that is 144Hz. But combined with the crazy-sharp detail that comes with the 4K pixel grid, well, it’s pretty special.

The LG UltraGear 27GN950-B bags you a terrific panel with exquisite IPS image quality. Despite the lesser HDR capabilities, it also nets beautiful colors and contrast for your games too. G-Sync offers stable pictures and smoothness, and the speedy refresh rate and response times back this up too. 

And while the lack of HDMI 2.1 and USB Type-C are a little limiting, especially looking forward, right now it's one of the best monitors going.

Read our full LG 27GN950 review (opens in new tab).

The best FreeSync gaming monitor

Specifications

Screen size: 27-inch
Panel type: IPS
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Response time: 1ms
Refresh rate: 144Hz
Weight: 20.9lbs
Refresh rate technology: FreeSync Premium

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic picture quality
+
Excellent gaming performance
+
Lots of useful utilities

Reasons to avoid

-
Bland design
-
Only rocking DisplayPort 1.2

The G27Q proves that you don't need to spend a fortune for a decent IPS 1440p display. At around $330, Gigabyte's 27-incher packs in plenty of sought-after features, but more importantly, it provides rich color and smooth gameplay. 

As a flat, 27-inch display with a design that wouldn't stand out in an office environment, it looks pretty pedestrian. But it's actually one of the best gaming monitors I've had the pleasure of using. Not only does it have a gorgeous, vibrant IPS panel, with 8-bit color with 92% DCI-P3 coverage, it's also HDR capable.

As someone who loves visual fidelity, I appreciate this resolution for clarity and performance. Even the humble GTX 1660 Super in my desktop is comfortably driving games at 60FPS at high settings. If you spend all your time playing CS:GO or Valorant, then the 144Hz refresh could hold you back a bit, but that 1ms response time sure helps.

The Gigabyte G27Q handles gaming with aplomb thanks to adaptive sync via AMD FreeSync Premium. It's also G-Sync Compatible so whether you are team Green or Red, the G27Q plays nice. I didn't have an AMD GPU to test but I did use an Nvidia-powered desktop and laptop. Neither had any problems running games with G-Sync enabled.

It's a bit of a plain Jane compared to other more pricey options, but it packs plenty of useful features designed to enhance your gaming pleasure. 

It's also G-Sync Compatible so whether you are team Green or Red, the G27Q plays nice.

It gets eye-searingly bright thanks to its VESA Display HDR 400 Certification, but in gaming, sunny skies and other bright spots tend to blow out and lose definition at max brightness. Dark areas also sometimes get crushed.  

Movies and videos on Netflix and YouTube fair a lot better though. Sadly, my Xbox One X wouldn't recognize the G27Q as HDR-capable. But even the SDR mode on the G27Q is excellent, so I didn't miss much.

Connection-wise, you're looking at two HDMI 2.0 ports and a DisplayPort 1.2, along with a pair of USB 3.0 Type-A downstream ports and one USB 3.0 Type-B. Oh, and it also comes with a pair of 2W speakers integrated into the monitor.

The OSD on the G27Q opens you up to a ton of profiles and monitor settings. You navigate with the little joystick on the back and I love that you don't need to press the joystick to activate menu options. There's also the OSD Sidekick, a handy Windows app that gives you the same menu access but you navigate with your mouse instead of the joystick, which is neat.

Whether you use it for work or play, the G27Q excels with a sharp, vibrant, and smooth picture.

Read our full Gigabyte G27Q review (opens in new tab).

A classic, affordable mix of 27-inch frame and 1440p resolution

Specifications

Screen size: 27-inch
Panel type: VA
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Response time: 1ms
Refresh rate: 165Hz
Weight: 9.4lbs
Refresh rate technology: FreeSync Premium

Reasons to buy

+
1440p and 165Hz is a very nice combo
+
Strong inherent contrast from VA panel
+
Affordable for a gaming panel

Reasons to avoid

-
No HDR support
-
Adequate rather than excellent response

Much like the mystical ways of the Force, PC gaming is all about balance. There's little point weighting your system too heavily in one direction without paying attention to the whole package. Why bother pairing your RTX 3080 Ti with a 60Hz 1080p screen? Likewise, why spend big on a 4K monitor when you're only sporting a Radeon RX 6600?

The classic 27-inch Dell S2722DGM marries that screen real estate with a 2560 x 1440 native resolution, which gives you a great pixel pitch for fine detail. At 1440p it's also a decent resolution for getting high frame rates without the GPU demands of a 4K display. It's also capable of delivering that resolution at 165Hz, which is appreciated.

At 2ms GtG response, it's just a hair behind the 1ms and 0.5ms ratings of the best IPS panels, so you're covered when it comes to speed. That said, you can find quicker panels if you really want to chase speed. This VA panel does have a high contrast ratio, at least, given the technology's inherent strong contrast.

This Dell monitor is most importantly available at a great price.

As for picture quality, the Dell S2722DGM is a reasonably punchy and vibrant monitor considering it's a pure SDR panel. The strong inherent contrast certainly helps with that, ensuring you don't feel short-changed running games like Cyberpunk 2077, which support HDR, in SDR mode.

We'd steer clear of MPRT mode, which hammers the panel's brightness and vibrancy. 'Extreme' mode, which is rated at 2ms, does suffer from a whiff of overshoot, but that's only just visible in-game, while 'Super fast' resolves the overshoot but allows just a little smearing of darker tones.

USB Type-C connectivity doesn't feature. But the dual HDMI and a single DisplayPort connections are just fine, even if the HDMI ports top out at 144Hz rather than 165Hz.

This Dell monitor is most importantly available at a great price. Dell delivers high-quality gaming panels, with all the features you need and a few extraneous ones to bump up the price. And that makes it one of the best gaming monitors for most PC gamers today.

Read our full Dell S2722DGM review (opens in new tab).

The best super-fast 360Hz gaming monitor

Specifications

Screen size: 24.5-inch
Panel type: IPS
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Response time: 1ms
Refresh rate: 360Hz
Weight: 14.26lbs
Refresh rate technology: Nvidia G-Sync

Reasons to buy

+
Esports-tier refresh speed
+
Neat IPS colours
+
Some handy bonus features

Reasons to avoid

-
A lot of money for 1080p
-
Basic bezel and stand
-
Still feels like a trade-off

Refresh rate, resolution, black levels, panel size: pick two. That's been the PC monitor buyer's dilemma for several years now, since we collectively realised that yes, playing at a higher refresh rate does actually make you better at Counter-Strike. MSI's latest panel, bearing the catchy moniker Oculux NXG253R, aims to at least address the most common tradeoff in modern gaming panels: refresh rate for colour quality. 

Whereas the majority of high refresh rate panels are VA or TN screens with limited viewing angle and shallow colours, MSI's latest is built around an IPS panel, with all the inky blacks and rich colours that technology brings with it. Traditionally IPS has been slower to the party since it's costlier to manufacture high refresh rate panels, but evidently enough of us are sold on 120Hz and beyond. 

360Hz does look and feel smoother than 120Hz.

Way beyond, in fact. This is the first 360Hz monitor I've played on, and I must admit to being sceptical about whatever marginal gains I might see in performance. 60Hz to 120Hz is transformative, but 120Hz to 360Hz? Surely one's gaming performance doesn't increase exponentially. And don't eyes only see 60 fps anyway?

It turns out that while that performance gain might not exist on a linear curve, 360Hz does look and feel smoother than 120Hz, and the decreased ghosting of any targets in your shooter of choice does make them that bit easier to connect with. If your aspirations for online competition are pretty serious, that's really all you need to know.

At enthusiast level, there's still just a sense of pure enjoyment in watching Overwatch or Quake Champions zip along. Anecdotally, I found D.Va's out-of-suit pistol combat that bit easier with frames and refresh rate way up at 300 (the game's capped there) since my targets were always where my screen told me they were. In similarly frenetic Quake Champions matches, I pulled off Ranger's tricky teleport kill with a bit more ease, too.

But something to bear in mind: you still need the GPU to get your frame rate up there in the hundreds in order to feel the benefit of that 360Hz refresh.

This being an IPS panel with typically darker blacks, it definitely looks more vivid in-game than even a good TN screen, and the colours hold up at any viewing angle. You've got a few preset brightness and color balance modes to cycle between on the OSD, arranged by genre. FPS is super-bright and saturated, racing is a bit more subdued by contrast. Out of the box, the default colour and brightness settings are easy on the eye and really sell the IPS benefit. 

G-Sync itself is present here too, and although that won't be a big deal to competitive players due to the miniscule latency increase it adds to the signal chain, for the rest of us dropping this much on a 1080p monitor, it sweetens the deal. Whether or not it actually feels smoother than 300+ fps of non-v-synced gameplay is really in the eye of the beholder, but it has always been, and remains, a useful tool in one's armoury for those slower games, the Fallout 4s and Cyberpunks, who need all the help they can get to smooth it all out.

The Oculux NXG253R's mandate is sound, then, but there are still compromises made in this pricey 1080p monitor in order to optimise esports performance. The most obvious are the screen size and resolution, 24.5-inch and 1080p respectively. You could certainly argue that nobody's getting 360 fps at 4K in… well, anything outside of CS:GO or MOBAs, and quite rightly so. But spending this much on a monitor that won't even give you 1440p feels like a serious tradeoff, and that resolution dictates a smaller panel size. Nobody wants to see the individual pixels at 1080p on a 32-inch screen.

There's a real performance benefit here, and a sheer enjoyment multiplier. You just have to make peace with the idea of buying into a piece of specialist equipment, not an all-rounder.

Read our full MSI Oculux NXG253R review (opens in new tab).

Big screen gaming without a big price tag

Specifications

Screen size: 32-inch
Panel type: VA
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Response time: 1ms
Refresh rate: 165Hz
Weight: 16.4lbs
Refresh rate technology: FreeSync Premium

Reasons to buy

+
Awesome value for money
+
Decent all-round image quality
+
Reasonably quick and responsive

Reasons to avoid

-
"Only" 1440p
-
No HDR support
-
Not terribly punchy

We'd all love to have a thousand bucks burning a hole in our back pockets to blow on a new gaming monitor. But back in the real world, the Dell S3222DGM wants a crack at the kind of budget most of us actually have.

It's a 32-inch beast with a VA panel running at up to 165Hz and delivering 2,560 by 1,440 pixels. Yup, the tried and tested 1440p resolution, the sweet spot for real-world gaming according to many, the perfect balance between performance and visual detail. The catch is all that normally applies to 27-inch models. 32 inches? That makes for a pretty big panel for 1440p in terms of pixel density. 

To put an actual number on it, you're looking at just 93 pixels per inch.

Where the low pixel density hurts most is actually in Windows. If you like crisp fonts and lots of desktop real estate, this isn’t the monitor for you. For everyone else, well, it comes down to the value proposition. There are faster monitors. There are monitors with superior IPS-powered image quality. There are monitors with all kinds of HDR support not found here. And others with far more pixels or more dramatic aspect ratios. 

This is a gaming-centric monitor without any HDR support but based on VA panel technology. So, the peak brightness is 350 nits, static contrast is about as good as it gets at 3,000:1, and there's official AMD FreeSync Premium certification.

Rounding out the basics is a gentle 1800R panel curve.

Rounding out the basics is a gentle 1800R panel curve. It's a slightly odd, though not actually unique, feature for this class of display. Curvature is a more obvious and natural fit for ultrawide displays. On a conventional 16:9 panel? We still need a little convincing.

Dell quotes 8ms gray-to-gray in 'fast' mode, 4ms gray-to-gray in 'super fast', 2ms gray-to-gray in 'extreme', and finally, and somewhat confusingly, 1ms gray-to-gray in 'MPRT' mode. The 'MPRT' setting is, for us, a non-starter since it crushes brightness so comprehensively. 'Super fast' it is, then, and the result is good but not absolutely great response with no overshoot. Pretty much what you’d expect given the 4ms rating for 'super fast'.

But add in the 165Hz refresh and you have a pretty convincing monitor for response-critical online shooters. To be sure, if that is your number one priority, you’d be better off with a higher-refresh 1080p IPS monitor with faster response. If you want a larger panel like this, 4K isn’t an all-around win. It comes with a huge additional GPU load and that in turn requires mega-investment levels in a good graphics card

It's worth remembering that pricing for this class of display—a 32-inch 165Hz 1440p panel—extends all the way up to $800 in the Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 (opens in new tab). So, while the Dell S3222DGM isn't all that exciting from a technical point of view, for the money, it's pretty convincing.

Read our full Dell S3222DGM review (opens in new tab).

7. Pixio PX277 Prime

The best budget gaming monitor

Specifications

Screen size: 27-inch
Panel type: IPS
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Response time: 1ms
Refresh rate: 165Hz
Weight: 16.3lbs
Refresh rate technology: G-Sync Compatible, FreeSync Premium

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
165 Hz refresh rate

Reasons to avoid

-
Barebones feature set
-
Not the best contrast

The Pixio PX277 Prime is about as barebones as it comes in regards to gaming monitors. Designed with a sci-fi theme in mind, the base is sharp-looking, and a lot of thought certainly went into the thing's build quality. The thin bezel is always a plus in our book, too.

Here, this 27-inch panel provides frames at a stable 165Hz refresh rate, not the speediest but certainly workable for competitive gaming. The 1ms grey-to-grey response time doesn't hurt for gaming either. As a FreeSync certified monitor, AMD users can be sure of a tear-free gaming experience.

At 1440p you get a good pixel density for the size of the monitor, and the image is pretty sharp to boot. The screen itself is advertised as anti-glare and we're seen that it holds its own in most brightly lit environments, though doesn't do so well in dim spaces.

A great entry-level option for those looking for a larger screen.

The Pixio's contrast sits at 1000:1, which isn't the greatest, we admit, but the colors can be tuned to create a punchy and accurate image with a bit of fiddling. It would have been nice to see this out of the box, however.

The biggest selling point of the PX277 Prime, though, is its low price point. A great entry-level option for those looking for a larger screen with a high refresh rate and don't want to be left totally broke. 

While the build quality isn't as robust as a higher-spec screen, the Pixio panel is perfect for the budget gamer who doesn't mind missing out on some of the bells and whistles of a higher-end monitor but is keen on top performance.

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The affordable 4K gaming monitor to beat

Specifications

Screen size: 32-inch
Panel type: VA
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Response time: 1ms MPRT
Refresh rate: 144Hz (160Hz overclocked)
Weight: 17.9lbs
Refresh rate technology: AMD FreeSync Premium

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable 4K
+
Up to 160Hz refresh overclocked
+
Great panel performance
+
No frills approach
+
Handy USB hub

Reasons to avoid

-
Stand is pretty basic
-
DisplayHDR 400 isn't much

We're finally in an era of gaming where an affordable 4K monitor and a fast 4K monitor are one and the same. You could still buy a lower resolution panel for a whole lot less, but as the Gigabyte M32UC proves you can get a whole lot of screen for what feels like a fair price.

You can find this monitor going for as low as $600, which is an awfully competitive price tag for a speedy 4K gaming monitor at this size. Gigabyte has figured out a heady blend of features for that sort of money too, with two HDMI 2.1 ports, 1ms MPRT, FreeSync Premium Pro, and even a USB 3.2 hub.

The M32UC runs at a perfectly reasonable 144Hz out of the box—and you'll need a powerful graphics card to make the most of that at 4K. However, if you hook this monitor up via DisplayPort 1.4 you can also overclock the panel via the OSD. That bumps the refresh rate up to 160Hz, and while that's probably excessive for most, if you're going big with the rest of your rig (or plan to pick up a powerful next-gen GPU sometime in the future) then it's a decent option to have at the ready.

Fine details are well preserved and this panel doesn't struggle with saturation.

But something to consider with the M32UC's blend of resolution and refresh rate is that even a high-end GPU won't always make the most of it. That's what makes the M32UC's FreeSync capabilities so crucially important. Keeping this panel in sync with your graphics card when it's under the max refresh rate of the screen, as it is likely going to be at times, prevents a whole lot of screen tearing.

It should come as no surprise that the 32-inch panel running at 4K results in a stunningly crisp image while gaming. I've been playing arguably too much Destiny 2 right now and the M32UC is a stunning way to experience the game. Fine details are well preserved and this panel doesn't struggle with saturation, which makes for a luscious and vibrant image.

The M32U also offers a DisplayHDR 400 rating on the box, though I wouldn't consider it for its HDR capabilities. It's lacking much of what's required of a true HDR monitor, such as a higher brightness and local dimming. You also have to look past what is otherwise a fairly bland outer shell on the Gigabyte.

In terms of value for money, Gigabyte has hit the nail on the head with the M32UC. If you look around for competition with similar specs at around the same price, you'll often only find other Gigabyte models coming close, including a handful of often discounted Aorus models. That makes the M32UC a great choice if you're planning ahead for a next-gen 4K-capable gaming PC or if you already have a high-end GPU but are not yet making the most of it.

Read our full Gigabyte M32UC review (opens in new tab).

The best widescreen curved gaming monitor

Specifications

Screen size: 37.5-inch
Panel type: IPS
Aspect ratio: 24:9
Resolution: 3840 x 1600
Response time: 1ms
Refresh rate: 144Hz (175Hz overclocked)
Weight: 21lbs
Refresh rate technology: G-Sync Ultimate

Reasons to buy

+
Expansive resolution
+
Quality, responsive IPS panel
+
175Hz refresh rates

Reasons to avoid

-
Weak HDR

If your mantra for displays is 'go big or go home,' Acer hears you, and its Predator X38 is a massive 38-inch curved screen that looks stunning. It features a not-quite-4K QHD ultrawide panel with a 3840x1600 resolution. With an aspect ratio of 24:9, the IPS panel looks great, and the size means you have a lot of screen real estate for gaming.

This 37.5-inch display is expansive. It simply isn’t possible to take it all in without moving your head slightly. That means immersion, of the maximum variety. The skinny little bezels are just 2mm wide and blend into invisibility in use.

It’s curved a little, with a relatively relaxed 2300R bend, and comes with a sturdy, pre-fitted big metal stand—one that tilts back a full 35 degrees, exposing its display and power ports underneath for effortless, no-fumble plugging in.

The display also features G-Sync technology with up to 175Hz variable refresh rates. That's a huge boost over lower refresh rate curved gaming monitors, and Acer has overcome the big IPS downside of typically high response times, too. This beast has a 1ms GtG response, which is truly IPS coming of age and doing it all without the compromises of old.

With its DisplayHDR 400 certification, it’s good enough to deliver what you want in HDR effects, but it’s not dazzling like the HDR 1000 screens you can now buy, like the Asus PG43UQ.

Pushing the overclock to 175Hz yielded a perfect result with no ghosting visible.

Banding was pretty much non-existent and the backlighting was even, though with a faintly noticeable glow coming from the edges in dark scenes, but nothing to be troubled about and not noticeable at all while gaming.

Pushing the overclock to 175Hz yielded a perfect result with no ghosting visible. Small details like text were rock solid, too, with no shimmering. At such a huge resolution your graphics card will obviously be taxed in many games, and for me while testing this I generally left it at 144Hz, though for several days I used it on 175Hz for everything – including boring work, and it was rock solid and crisp all the time.

It's a big, bold, and beautiful-looking display. If you're looking for something to turn heads, this is one of the best widescreen gaming monitors out there. 

It's taller than the 27-inch 16:9 displays and nearly half again as wide, but the higher resolution means the dot pitch is slightly lower than, the lesser panels. And for games that properly support ultrawide resolutions, the surround effect of the XR382CQK is incredibly immersive—sitting at your desk, the 38-inch panel will fill your field of view.

Read our full Acer Predator X38 review (opens in new tab).

Super-super-wide PC gaming

Specifications

Screen size: 49-inch
Panel type: VA
Aspect ratio: 32:9
Resolution: 5120 x 1440
Response time: 1ms
Refresh rate: 240Hz
Weight: 32lbs
Refresh rate technology: AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, Nvidia G-Sync Compatible

Reasons to buy

+
Stupendous 49-inch, uber-curved VA panel
+
Outrageous peak brightness
+
Super-fast pixel response and refresh

Reasons to avoid

-
Mini-LED backlight implementation is clunky
-
Preposterously expensive compared with big screen TVs

The best just got a whole lot better. That’s surely a foregone conclusion for the new Samsung Odyssey Neo G9. After all, the original Odyssey G9 was already Samsung’s tip-top gaming monitor. Now it’s been given the one upgrade it really needed. Yup, the Neo G9 is packing a mini-LED backlight.

Out of the box, it looks identical to the old G9. Deep inside, however, the original G9’s single most obvious shortcoming has been addressed. And then some. The Neo G9 still has a fantastic VA panel. But its new backlight is what counts here—it offers far more than just edge-lit dimming.

It packs a cutting-edge mini-LED tech with no fewer than 2,048 zones. This thing is several orders of magnitude more sophisticated than before. As if that wasn’t enough, the Neo G9’s peak brightness has doubled to a retina-wrecking 2,000 nits. What a beast.

The problem with any backlight-based rather than per-pixel local dimming technology is that compromises have to be made. Put another way, an algorithm has to decide how bright any given zone should be based on the image data. The results are never going to be perfect.

Visible halos around small, bright objects are the sort of issue you expect from full-array dimming. But the Neo G9 has its own, surprisingly crude, backlight-induced image quality issues. Admittedly, they’re most visible on the Windows desktop rather than in-game or watching video. 

Graphics-heavy titles such as Cyberpunk 2077 or Witcher III are what the G9 does best.

If you position a bright white window next to an all-black window, the adjacent edge of the former visibly dims. Or let’s say you move a small, bright object over a dark background. The same thing happens. The small, bright object dims. Even uglier, if something like a bright dialogue box pops up across the divide between light and dark elements, the result is a gradient of brightness across the box.

All this applies to both SDR and HDR modes and, on the Windows desktop, it’s all rather messy and distracting. Sure, this monitor isn’t designed for serious content creation or office work. But at this price point, it’s surely a serious flaw.

Still, that 1000R curve, huge 49-inch proportions, and relatively high resolution combine to deliver an experience that few, if any, screens can match. Graphics-heavy titles such as Cyberpunk 2077 or Witcher III are what the G9 does best. In that context, the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 delivers arguably the best visual experience on the PC today.

In practice, the Neo G9’s mini-LED creates as many problems as it solves. We also can’t help but observe that, at this price point, you have so many options. The most obvious alternative, perhaps, is a large-format 120Hz OLED TV with HDMI 2.1 connectivity. 

Read our full Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 review (opens in new tab).

Best gaming monitor FAQ

Should I go for an IPS, TN or VA panel?

We would always recommend an IPS panel over TN (opens in new tab). The clarity of image, viewing angle, and color reproduction are far superior to the cheaper technology, but you'll often find a faster TN for cheaper. The other alternative, less expensive than IPS and better than TN, is VA tech. The colors aren't quite so hot, but the contrast performance is impressive.

Should I go for a FreeSync or G-Sync monitor?

In general, FreeSync monitors will be cheaper. It used to be the case that they would only work in combination with an AMD GPU. The same went for G-Sync monitors and Nvidia GPUs. Nowadays, though, it is possible to find G-Sync compatible FreeSync monitors (opens in new tab) if you're intent on spending less.

Should I buy a HDR monitor?

With a High Dynamic Range monitor, you can take advantage of the ever-growing list of games and apps that feature HDR support. It offers more vibrant colors and greater contrast but is going to drive up the price a little. Windows' native HDR function also leaves a lot to be desired, and you may find you have to fiddle in the settings to get HDR looking like it should.

What aspect ratio should I go for?

Today's movies and games are best enjoyed in a widescreen format at a 16:9 aspect ratio or above. In 4:3, those cinematic moments will look stunted with black strips along the top and bottom. There are a host of minute variations on each ratio, but at the end of the day choosing between these depends entirely on your personal preference. 

And the very far-out option, if you have a little extra cash to blow, is ultra-wide aspect ratios like 21:9 and 32:9 and their variants. These will provide a much more immersive, encompassing experience. Or literally, encompass yourself with a curved monitor, up to you. 

Jargon buster - gaming monitor terminology

Refresh Rate (Hz)
The speed at which the screen refreshes. For example, 144Hz means the display refreshes 144 times a second. The higher the number, the smoother the screen will appear when you play games. 

V-Sync
Graphics tech synchronizes a game's framerate with your monitor's refresh rate to help prevent screen tearing by syncing your GPU frame rate to the display's maximum refresh rate. Turn V-Sync on in your games for a smoother experience, but you'll lose information, so turn it off for fast-paced shooters (and live with the tearing). Useful if you have an older model display that can't keep up with a new GPU.

G-Sync
Nvidia's frame synching tech that works with Nvidia GPUs. It basically allows the monitor to sync up with the GPU. It does by showing a new frame as soon as the GPU has one ready.

FreeSync
AMD's take on frame synching uses a similar technique as G-Sync, with the biggest difference being that it uses DisplayPort's Adaptive-Sync technology which doesn't cost monitor manufacturers anything.

Ghosting
When movement on your display leaves behind a trail of pixels when watching a movie or playing a game, this is often a result of a monitor having slow response times. 

Response Time
The amount of time it takes a pixel to transition to a new color and back. Often referenced as G2G or Grey-to-Grey. Slow response times can lead to ghosting. A suitable range for a gaming monitor is between 1-4 milliseconds.

TN Panels
Twisted-nematic is the most common (and cheapest) gaming panel. TN panels tend to have poorer viewing angles and color reproduction but have higher refresh rates and response times. 

IPS
In-plane switching, panels offer the best contrast and color despite having weaker blacks. IPS panels tend to be more expensive and have higher response times. 

VA
Vertical Alignment panels provide good viewing angles and have better contrast than even IPS but are still slower than TN panels. They are often a compromise between a TN and IPS panel. 

HDR
High Dynamic Range. HDR provides a wider color range than normal SDR panels and offers increased brightness. The result is more vivid colors, deeper blacks, and a brighter picture. 

Peak Brightness
This refers to the maximum brightness of a monitor or television and is measured in nits.

Ultrawide
Shorthand for monitors with aspect wider aspect ratios like 32:9 or 21:9

Resolution
The number of pixels that make up a monitor's display, measured by height and width. For example: 1920 x 1080 (aka 1080p), 2560 x 1440 (2K), and 3840 x 2160 (4K).

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.

With contributions from
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