Because your gaming rig deserves the very best.
By Josh Norem
Updated: October 2017
Monitors have been going through somewhat of a renaissance lately thanks to advancements in GPU technology. Instead of the boring 24″ 60Hz LCDs that have been around since forever, we now have monitors with higher refresh rates, adaptive refresh rate technology, quantum dot panels, eye tracking, and of course, more choices when it comes to larger size panels too. Back when GPUs were somewhat weak, there was no point in releasing a 144Hz 2560×1440 panel, or a 4k panel, for that matter, since GPU technology wasn’t up to the task. Times have changed though, and now even midrange GPUs can drive a 2560×1440 panel at 60fps, so it’s time to reassess what is the best monitor for gaming.
In our humble opinion, the new sweet spot is at 27″ at 2560×1440 since it strikes the perfect balance between panel size, desktop real estate, price, and features. Sure you could go for a 4k monitor, but most GPUs can’t run games at that resolution with all settings maxed, and on the other end of the spectrum 1080p is just too low-res for our tastes, though it is certainly good for high frame rates. Like the “three bears and three beds” scenario, the sweet spot is right in the middle between the older 1080 technology and newer 4k panels, meaning a 2560×1440 27″ monitor. Throw in a 144Hz refresh rate and adaptive refresh rate technology, and you have yourself quite the sweet setup for high-res, fluid gaming.
The Best 27″ Monitor for Gaming
ViewSonic XG2703-GS 165Hz 1440p G-Sync Monitor
The spec sheet for the Viewsonic XG2703-GS reads like a gamer’s wish list: 2560×1440 resolution, insane 165Hz refresh rate, AHVA “IPS-type” panel for wide viewing angles, G-Sync technology, and it even comes with green accents to match your Nvidia GPU. The proverbial icing on the cake is its long three year warranty, dual USB 3.0 ports, and it even has a little arm on its back to hold your headset. Sure, you need a muscular GPU to run games at this resolution anywhere near the refresh rate, but you already knew that. Also if you don’t like the black/green motif, check out our next contender below.
More Great Options
Asus ROG Swift PG278QR 144Hz G-Sync Monitor
The Asus ROG Swift PG278QR 144Hz G-Sync monitor is almost exactly the same as our top pick above, with the only major difference being the Viewsonic uses an AHVA panel while the Asus ROG sports a faster TN panel. This change makes the Asus monitor theoretically better for gaming due to its 1ms response time (the Viewsonic’s panel has a 4ms response time), but since the two monitors cost the same we prefer the Viewsonic’s wider viewing angles. Plus, in the real world we couldn’t detect any major differences in gaming between the two. The Asus also has a more traditional black/red color scheme, which looks traditionally awesome.
Acer XG270HU 144Hz FreeSync Gaming Monitor
If you’re on a budget, or running an AMD GPU, the Acer XG270HU is worth a look at it delivers 2560×1440 gaming with a blistering 144Hz refresh rate, and also has AMD’s FreeSync technology, all for about $450. You don’t get all the bells and whistles though, as it lacks any height or pivot adjustment, and there’s also no USB ports. Still, it’s an awesome monitor for the money and you can always just put a phone book under it.
Acer Predator XB271HK 4K G-Sync Gaming Monitor
Acer could have changed this monitor’s name from The Predator to The Precious, as it is indeed amazing and has specs that are as high as its price tag. This is the monitor to covet if you want glorious 4k gaming with G-Sync, but sadly its high resolution IPS panel has a lowly refresh rate of 60Hz, but that’s not a big deal since most GPUs can’t run games at 100fps at 4K anyway. The only drawbacks to the XB271HK are its clumsy OSD and $900 retail price, and the fact that you need at least a GTX 1070 to run games at this resolution. However, if you’ve got the GPU and some cash tucked away, it provides a captivating gaming experience. Pair it with a great headset and you’ll be in gaming nirvana.
Viewsonic VX2778 1440p Gaming Monitor
The Viewsonic VX2778 isn’t going to win any spec sheet battles but it gets you into the world of 1440p gaming for just $350. You’ll still need a potent GPU to run games at 60fps at that resolution, but you probably just upgraded your GPU and now are looking to do the same for your monitor. Though this monitor doesn’t have racing stripes or RGB lights, for a lot of people that’s a good thing, as its design is subtle and really nothing fancy. Its “IPS-type” panel is great for movies and photo editing too, so it’s good for more than just gaming too.