We live in fantastic times. Gamers no longer have to carry around big and heavy CRT-monitors when attending LAN’s. We also no longer have to suffer through the ghosting that plagued the earlier TFT panels back in the early 2000’s.
Today it’s more about what type of game you are playing, what your ambitions are with your competitive play. And finally how much money are you willing to pay, both on your monitor, and in your PC performance overall.
Follow along in the article below to find the best gaming monitor for your needs!
This is the first release of this article and it was published on August 17, 2017
Best Gaming Monitor 2017: Asus PG279Q
The ultimate monitor for most people. The Asus PG279Q has almost all the features any gamer could ask for.
Large 27″ screen with 165 Hz refreshrate, G-Sync and 2560x1440p resolution. The panel is IPS for unmatched color reproduction.
If you play many different games, and maybe do a little content production, the Asus PG279Q is the best monitor currently available.
The screen also features a wide variety of picture-improving settings in order to fully optimize intense gaming sessions.
Best Esports Monitor 2017: BenQ ZOWIE XL2546
This recently updated version from BenQ ZOWIE features improved motion blur reduction in BenQ DyAc.
The refresh rate of 240 Hz is still best in class. Screen size is the optimal 24.5″ with a resolution of 1920×1080.
Other esports features include physical shields to protect from distractions, Black eQualizer mode for improved vision in dark areas, and Color Vibrance to increase saturation in the picture.
Why you need the best monitor
What games are you playing? Different competitive games require different specifications. Fast FPS games demands the highest refresh rate possible, while slower games like World of Warcraft has a higher emphasis on detail.
The competitive market is tougher than ever. Having a gaming monitor with inferior performance will make you miss that headshot, and lose that important game.
Having smooth frame rates is crucial in competitive gaming. Being able to have the most direct interaction with the game is need to stay on top. The standard today is 144 Hz, if you have less than that you are effectively playing slower than your opponent.
Keep in mind that you need a good computer in order to perform the high FPS numbers in order to drive the monitor. Most esports titles are not that demanding to begin with, but make sure you have a PC that can handle at least 144 fps, with your preffered settings at all times.
Most professional esports players use a 24″ inch monitor. While it may be tempting to buy the biggest most immersive screen on the market, remember why you are playing competitive games. It’s harder to keep focus on the important stuff when you have a larger monitor.
How we found the best monitor
Finding the best monitor for gaming is different from finding the best mouse or keyboard. Monitors can be good or bad, it’s not as much about look and feel as with other parts of your gaming setup.
We have done extensive research to find the most popular screens. Analyzing a huge amount of the best esports, and competitive players from around the world. These players use this gear to make a living, and we have every reason to believe that they are very careful with what they chose.
We have read and dissected as many articles and reviews as we could find online. Comparing the results to isolate trends and differences between the most popular gaming monitor models.
Asus ROG Swift PG279G Review -The best monitor for gaming 2017
What could go wrong with an immersive 27 inches, 165Hz refresh rate, IPS-panel, 2560×1440 resolution and nvidia G-sync as icing on the cake? Turns out not so much – this is a fantastic piece of equipment and the best monitor for gaming 2017 overall according to us.
We are having a hard time finding bad reviews for this majestic monitor. While it is not the fastest one we have seen, it probably the most feature rich.
Take a look at the quotes below from some of the best reviewers in the business. Many regards the PG279Q as the best monitor they have ever used.
“We really did like the PG279Q and we’ve now found our new reference gaming screen! The gaming performance was excellent, and second to none at the moment.” – Simon Baker, Tftcentral
If you are looking for the best all round gaming monitor, this is it. The size of 27 inches allows for immersive gameplay, and the color reproduction from the IPS are best in class.
165 Hz allows for super smooth gameplay. With 144 Hz being the standard for competitive gameplay this is even better.
“After my time with the ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q, I came to fall in love with it completely. I was a huge, huge fan of the original ROG Swift PG278Q, but the PG279Q fixes all my faults with the PG278Q (and it’s not like that list was huge).” – Anthony Garreffa, TweakTown
Most reviewers were quite happy when Asus launched the PG279Q with IPS, or AHVA panel. The only real critique towards the older PG278Q monitor was the fact that it used a TN-panel despite being a flagship product.
Nvidia G-Sync gives people with slower computers some head room to maintain super smooth frame rates in the newest titles. After all the monitors 2560×1440 resolution is quite demanding for the GPU to drive!
“Improvements in IPS-type technology have enabled the latest generation of screens to have extremely high refresh rates that are a natural fit for gamers. The PG279Q is a manifestation of such technology. It’s hugely impressive in the right environment[…]” – Tarinder Sandhu, Hexus
The only remark we can find is that one on the price. The Asus PG79Q is truly a premium monitor. If you play mostly esports titles and want best possible focus you may also take a look at our monitor below.
BenQ ZOWIE XL2546 Review – The best monitor for esports 2017
Please note that most of the reviews we have found are for the Benq ZOWIE XL2540. The only difference is the implementation of DyAc, a huge improvement. We think this makes the never version a definite upgrade.
The XL2546 is the latest (and greatest) esports monitor from BenQ ZOWIE. Everything with this gaming screen is built for performance to win tournaments.
24.5 inches and 1920 by 1080 resolution might seem low in comparison to the specification monster above. However in esports focus and speed is the only thing that matter.
And the XL2546 has plenty of speed, 240 Hz to be exact. Also the smaller screen allows for more focus on the action because the eyes does not have to travel as long between interface and the target.
“Our time with the BenQ Zowie XL2540, across a wide range of eSports titles, has shown that, if your hardware is up to it, there’s no better way to enjoy truly fast-paced gaming for the enthusiast or aspiring eGamer.” – Tarinder Sandhu, Hexus.net
This monitor was built with esports in mind. Beside the pure technology aspects of 240 Hz etc, the screen is also equipped with shields on both sides. These shields are meant to reduce distractions beyond the monitor during tournaments.
While we think the shield look quite cool, they can easily be tucked away when playing at home. Hopefully there is not too much going on inside your gaming room where you live.
“240Hz is very smooth and awesome, and this reduces blur even further.[…] For now, this is probably the best out of the BenQ Zowie range. I’m still happy with the XL2540 though… 240Hz, with or without DyAc is great.” – Zy, Rocket Jump Ninja
Again, the only complaints we could find for the old model was regarding motion blur. The option to limit the motion blur was hidden away in the service menu, and some reviewers said the implementation was not as good other alternatives. This has now been solved with DyAc.
Because the XL2546 is so new, we have not been able to identify that many pro’s using it just yet. Over the last year we have seen a ton of the best players to move to the XL2540 though, and we expect most of them to embrace the newer, improved version.
At the time of writing this we have been able to find at least 15 CS:GO pros using this monitor and 12 for Overwatch. It is certainly best for fast FPS games, and the popularity of hence lower for MOBA’s and other esports titles.
The monitor competition
Certain categories above was especially hard to research. The competition between brands is furious.
While we have listed the monitors that we think are the best in each specific category. However there are plenty more options if you have specific needs, let’s take a look at the more interesting models.
This monitor has almost the same specifications as the XL2546 from BenQ ZOWIE, with the additions of G-Sync. We really love G-Sync for what it can do with modern more demanding titles.
However for a 1080p monitor, and for esports, we believe that it’s barely necessary. G-Sync have also seen some additional input lag in certain occasions, which is bad. We are still investigating if this is a real problem.
The higher price does not justify the purchase according to our research. Maybe in the future if we see esports titles with higher system requirements, where the user can’t count on having a constant FPS of at least 240.
The future of gaming monitors
We expect the gaming market as a whole to continue moving into 4k. This will of course put the pressure on monitor makers to create better 4k screens, with higher refresh rates.
Both Asus and Acer have announced 27″ models with 4k resolution, HDR, IPD and 144 Hz refresh rate. Both manufacturers recently had to delay the release until Q1 2018.
This tells us that the technology is not ready for prime time just yet. We will have to sit back and wait. In the meantime upgrading our PCs for the tremendous performance the monitors will require.
Since many esports professionals chose to play with very low resolutions and most graphical settings in any case, we don’t expect anyone to try 4k anytime soon. Examples from Seagull and Olofmeister in-game settings below.
The gaming monitor guide
Many pro’s like to use a gaming monitor with the same refresh rate as the ones used as tournaments. This is a problem if the tournament organizers are using 144Hz while certain players have access to 240Hz at home.
When it comes to refresh rates above 60Hz, it’s all about what you feel is best. 144Hz is good enough and it plays a lot different from the newest 240Hz monitors. Be prepared to spend some time getting used to the change.
I may take some time to get used to a different refresh rate. It is also one of those thing that you don’t realise you need before you have tried it, and then go back to something else.
An adaptive refresh rate technology developed by Nvidia. Because of licensing, gaming monitors featuring G-Sync often comes with a premium price.
This is an open adaptive refresh rate technology led by AMD. Because AMD’s graphics cards have been quite lacklustre lately, Freesync is overshadowed by G-Sync in the media. This might change with the release of the Vega architecture.
Choosing the perfect monitor size can be tricky. While it is tempting to always go for the bigger screen. Keep in mind than a larger surface makes it harder to keep focus on the action.
Games such as World of Warcraft has a high emphasis on user interface. It can be a good idea to have a higher resolution to keep ui-elements away from the center of the screen.
In esports we have found that many of the best players in the world use a 24-inch monitors. Despite having access to the best models on the market, performance is often higher on a small screen.
It may be tempting to jump on the hype train to 4k (4820×2160), but remember that such resolution requires an incredible amount of horsepower to drive. Even 2k or 2560x1440p can be really taxing on the GPU for newer titles.
If you are streaming keeping your resolution at 1080p can sometimes be preferred since that’s often the native resolution for sending video through OBS or Xsplit.
For esports we see that most pros, especially in CS:GO are playing with weird low resolutions. Add that to the point about smaller screen size from the section above and we realise that refresh rate is the most important factor when shopping for monitors.