Gaming monitors are a vital component for any gaming rig. Essentially, monitors demonstrate the visual performance of PCs, so it’s crucial to select a monitor that can showcase a PC’s potential to the fullest. As a rule of thumb, high-end monitors require high-end graphics cards. For instance, a 4K monitor requires a high-end GPU to showcase maximum potential.
Refresh rate is the speed at which the screen refreshes. For example, 240Hz means the display refreshes 240 times a second. The higher the number, the smoother the viewing experience. High refresh rate also often correlates with low response time, which means faster pixel response times and better motion clarity. For competitive gamers, these are critical traits to consider when selecting a monitor.
Monitor refresh rate can range anywhere from 60Hz to an impressive 360Hz. Nowadays, most gaming monitors are at least 144Hz.
Here are the best high refresh rate monitors in 2021.
Best overall monitor
The Asus ROG Swift PG259QN is a solid fit for serious gamers, thanks to its 360Hz refresh rate, one-millisecond response time, low input lag, and Nvidia G-Sync. All of this displays on an IPS panel, which means rich, accurate colors paired with wide viewing angles.
When it comes to build quality and design, this monitor knocks it out of the park. The stand is sturdy and ergonomic, surrounding bezels are thin, and the overall look of this unit is the ideal blend of gamer and professional. The only sign of RGB is a large Asus logo that’s stamped on the backside. It also has a wide opening between the panel and base to assist with cable management.
A unique feature of this monitor is Nvidia ULMB, which stands for Ultra-Low Motion Blur. When initiated, ULMB reduces perceived ghosting by backlight strobing. For games that require close attention to detail at all times, like FPS titles, this feature proves beneficial. ULMB cannot be activated simultaneously alongside G-Sync, and it only works at fixed refresh rates of either 144Hz or 240Hz.
For the competitive gamers out there, this monitor is up to the task. Its low 1080p resolution and high price tag may be a turn-off for the casual players out there, though. However, it’s safe to assume that hardcore gamers are the primary demographic for this monitor.
Best competitive gaming monitor
The Alienware 25 AW2521H does a fine job of capturing style and performance, boasting an impressive 360Hz refresh rate and lightning-quick one-millisecond response times. The monitor and stand feature a matte-black, grayish look, with a stylish oval-like light on the back, giving the theme of the unit a futuristic yet clean design.
This panel demonstrates raw performance capabilities, paired with Nvidia G-Sync. The panel is bright, colorful, and delivers the performance that it promises. This monitor is a top choice for gamers looking for the highest frame rate possible at the sacrifice of 1080p resolution. In other words, this panel has “competitive multiplayer” written all over it. A larger panel with a higher resolution will be more fitting for gamers who gravitate towards single-player immersion, though.
The build quality of this monitor is top-tier, featuring user-friendly ergonomics. Switching the panel from landscape to portrait mode is simple. The v-shaped stand is sturdy, which makes sense because of its depth and thickness, which spans nearly 10 inches from front to back. So, a fair amount of desk space is required unless the panel is mounted. The interface buttons located around the backside require some playing around with at first to get the hang of because of the minimalist design and lack of subtle labeling.
For user’s who are willing to fork over the money for this 1080p, 360Hz gaming monitor and prioritize frame rate over resolution, the Alienware 25 AW2521H is a strong candidate.
Best minimalistic monitor
The Acer Nitro XV252Q F focuses on what matters to most gamers: sheer performance at a reasonable price. Coming in at a jaw-dropping 360Hz refresh rate with the option to overclock to 390Hz, this low-input lag, IPS-based panel is suited for the more competitive gamers out there. While the performance is impressive, the extra features and build quality might leave some users unsatisfied.
Although not the studiest monitor out there, the stand itself allows for a wide range of adjustments. The base swivels fully, so side-to-side and vertical adjustments are a breeze. The monitor also pivots a full 90 degrees, so good news for users looking to add a vertical display to their setup.
For gamers looking for top-of-the-line picture, speed, and clarity without all of the bells and whistles, this monitor is a sure-bet.
Best immersive monitor
Everything about the design and features of the Samsung Odyssey G9 49-inch curved gaming monitor aims for complete immersion. This panel highlights HDR, one-millisecond response time, 240Hz, and is G-Sync and FreeSync certified. This panel is geared toward users who desire an immersive experience and aren’t afraid to break the bank. Additionally, a beefy GPU is essential to maximize the enormous resolution and max out the refresh rate.
This monitor takes up massive desk real-estate, spanning 45 inches wide and 11.5 inches deep. Given the vast amount of monitor space, not every game will make sense on this monitor. Game performance will undoubtedly vary from game to game, so looking into what games can support the 5,120×1,440 resolution and 32:9 aspect ratio is essential before deciding.
Best value monitor
For players looking for a balance of speed and color at a reasonable price, this 240Hz curved monitor hits the sweet spot. This VA LCD panel delivers high contrast, color accuracy, and it’s quite fast.
Although not as high as most monitors on this list, a 240Hz refresh rate is no slouch. Additionally, buyers will be hard-pressed to find a VA panel running at 240Hz, which makes the CRG5 a rarity. It also features G-Sync compatibility, which prevents unwanted screen-tearing.
The CRG5 does a fine job of rounding up monitor performance perks, giving gamers a competitive advantage. Every little benefit adds up. The fact that this panel is only 1080p resolution means that it’s less demanding in-game, so the 240Hz refresh rate can be fully taken advantage of on a consistent basis, and a top-of-the-line GPU isn’t necessarily required to reap the rewards.
This monitor isn’t without a few shortcomings, though. There are no USB ports or speakers on this unit, which may be a dealbreaker for some. The design is clean and straightforward yet lacks any obvious “gamer” styling. As far as ergonomics go, this monitor is relatively fixed to the position that it comes in, unlike other panels on this best-of list, including the Acer Nitro XV252Q F that’s quite versatile.
The CRG5 offers value at a modest price point, especially when compared to many of the more expensive panels on this list. For those aiming for a high refresh rate monitor at a bargain, this panel this monitor might be of consideration.
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