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Best Overall: Dell Gaming Monitor S2417DG at Amazon
"Bursts to life with just about all the features and performance a PC gamer could ask for."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Asus VG248QE at Amazon
"A very popular choice that can provide gamers a nice edge at a decent size and price."
Best Budget: AOC G2460 at Amazon
"Still able to support faster refresh rates than the typical 60-Hz monitor."
Best for Esports: BenQ Zowie XL2546 at Amazon
"You get a remarkably fast, blur-free, responsive experience all around."
Best Budget for Esports: ViewSonic XG2402 at Amazon
"Able to satisfy serious gamers with its speedy 1-ms response time, low input lag, and 144-Hz refresh rate."
Best for Console Gaming: BenQ Zowie RL2460 at Amazon
"Designed with console gaming in mind."
Best Design: Asus ROG Strix XG258Q at Amazon
"Fits right in to the bold aesthetic with its dark-gray-and-red color scheme."
Best 4K: LG 24UD58-B 4K Monitor at Amazon
"Offers an affordable way to get into 4K gaming with a solid balance between gaming features and superior image quality."
Best Curved: Samsung CF396 at Amazon
"The 23.5-inch screen has a fairly aggressive curve radius rated at 1800R."
Courtesy of Amazon
At first glance, it may look like any other modern-day office monitor. But fire it up and the Dell S2417DG bursts to life with just about all the features and performance a serious PC gamer could ask for. Its blazing-fast 165-Hz overclocked refresh rate and 1-ms gray-to-gray pixel response time let you see more frames of the crisp action with minimal blur or ghosting. You also avoid screen tearing and stuttering, thanks to Nvidia’s G-Sync variable refresh rate technology, which matches the display’s refresh rate with the frame rate on a compatible graphics card. The screen’s very low input lag means a very responsive experience.
As a bonus, while most monitors at this size come at a 1080p resolution, the S2417DG’s 23.8-inch-diagonal screen offers a 2560 x 1440-pixel native resolution (also known as Quad HD, since it has four times the pixels of 720p HD). That means more pixels per inch and more digital real estate for any purpose, while still allowing for high-level performance.
It also excels in terms of adjustability and ergonomics, with a full range of tilt, swivel, and height adjustments that can make a big difference in your comfort over time and across long gaming sessions. It even pivots 90 degrees if you want to use it in portrait orientation.
You can also check out our other picks for the best 24-inch LCD monitors and best G-Sync monitors.
The Asus brand is well-known for its excellent gaming monitors, including ones with premium features and larger sizes. The Asus VG248QE doesn’t have all the highest-end features — most noticeably missing variable refresh rate technology like G-Sync or FreeSync — but still remains a very popular choice that can provide gamers a nice edge at a decent size and price.
The 1080-pixel displays provide good image quality, though the TN panel technology (or twisted nematic panel) used in most gaming monitors doesn’t offer as wide of color ranges or viewing angles as other types. But TN panels run the fastest, and the VG248QE’s 144-Hz native refresh rate provides a smoother experience than the standard 60-Hz rate. It also has the 1-ms pixel response time competitive gamers need to keep things clear during fast action, along with one of the lowest input lag times around.
The VG248QE does have some extra game-oriented features, like a custom crosshair you can add in games that don’t already use one, an on-screen countdown timer, and LightBoost technology that can bump up the LED brightness and help reduce motion blur. It also benefits from the adjustability the comes with most Asus monitors, capable of swivel, tilt, height adjustment, and 90-degree pivot.
Monitors tend to start seeing a price jump at 27 inches and up, which makes the 24-inch size a smart choice for gaming on a budget. The AOC offers a number of affordable and effective 24-inch Full HD options, starting with the G2460VQ6. As the lower-priced, lower-powered model, its 75-Hz refresh rate is lower than the top gaming monitors, but still able to support faster rates than the typical 60-Hz monitor. It’s more than enough if you’re playing on a console or with an older graphics card, and with AMD FreeSync support, you can match frame rates to avoid stuttering and screen tearing. Combined with its 1-ms response time and low input lag, the majority of gamers won’t have any complaints with its performance.
You can also take a step up with the G2460PF, a variation with specs similar to the VQ6 but a little brighter, more adjustable, and, most significantly, with a faster 144-Hz refresh rate. It also supports FreeSync, but if you have an Nvidia graphics chip and need G-Sync instead, you can opt for the G2590FX model (which bills itself as 25 inches due to its 24.5-inch diagonal). These two 144-Hz versions are more expensive but still fall within a reasonable budget price range.
For other options at a variety of sizes, see our article on the best budget gaming monitors.
If you’re trying to rank up in a competitive first-person shooter (FPS) or eSports environment, you’ll want a display that can give you every advantage you can get, and you’ll get plenty of it from the BenQ Zowie XL2546. The 24.5-inch 1080p esports-focused monitor delivers top-of-the-line gameplay fluidity with its 240-Hz refresh rate, which is as fast as native refresh rates get today. And with minimal 1-ms response time and low input lag as well, you get a remarkably fast, blur-free, responsive experience all around. Just note that you’ll need pretty high-powered PC gaming hardware to put the high refresh rate and other technology to full use.
BenQ’s Zowie line of gaming monitors includes a similar XL2540 model with AMD’s FreeSync, but the XL2546 itself doesn’t support any variable refresh rate features at all. Instead, it uses exclusive Dynamic Accuracy (“DyAc”) technology to add to the smoothness and clarity, and most users find the difference noticeable when the mode is turned on. The XL2546 also includes color vibrancy settings that let you adjust the color palette to your preference, making it easier to spot enemies and other elements you need to see.
The monitor’s design is all about competitive gaming too, with a stand that’s easily adjusted on the fly and privacy shields on either side to help block out distractions and stay in the zone. There’s also a small S-Switch controller for quickly switching between different customized display profiles.
See our guide to the best high-end gaming monitors for other alternatives.
Keeping up in the world of fast-paced eSports doesn’t necessarily have to be a bank-breaking proposition. Today’s monitors can have competitive specs while still being relatively affordable, including options at the 24-inch size. The ViewSonic XG2402 is a prime example, able to satisfy serious gamers with its speedy 1-ms response time, low input lag, and 144-Hz refresh rate. It’s also equipped with FreeSync technology to dynamically synchronize with the frame rates from a compatible AMD graphics card or Xbox One console.
The Full HD display comes with pre-set Game Modes you can quickly switch between, optimized for specific genres like FPS and MOBA. There’s also an Elite RGB version (the XG240R) available that can add a colorful LED glow to your gaming setup—its RGB lighting effects behind the monitor sync to other RGB accessories you might have. But this, of course, would tack extra dollars onto a price tag that offers great value for great performance.
If you’re using your monitor for gaming on a console like Xbox One and PS4, their native outputs max out at 60 frames per second, so a higher refresh rate like 144 Hz or 240 Hz won’t do you too much good. BenQ’s Zowie RL2460 is designed with console gaming in mind, able to run at 60 Hz to match console rates or be set to a slightly faster 75 Hz, both at Full HD 1080p resolution. Its 1-ms response time and low input lag will cut down on ghosting and keep up with your controls. This model also features a “head-to-head combat station” setup that lets you connect multiple monitors lag-free to the same source, so each player can see the game on his or her own display (for a fighting game, for example) with no additional input lag.
A few other features are included in the RL2460 to help gamers out, like one that boosts visibility in dark areas. Flicker-free display technology helps avoid eye strain during long sessions, and the bezels around the screen are designed in a way that reduces the amount of distracting light that reflects off of them.
Sometimes, a mark of a premium gaming monitor is its flashy, intimidating design, and the 24.5-inch Asus Strix XG258Q is a case in point. As part of Asus’s Republic of Gamers line of gaming hardware, it fits right into the bold aesthetic with its dark-gray-and-red color scheme and a glowing ring of RGB lighting on the back. It sits on a sleek yet sturdy tripod-shaped stand that projects a customizable red light effect down on the surface below it. This is a monitor for serious gamers, and it’s not afraid to show it.
There’s a function to the XG258Q’s design, too, giving you flexibility in your gaming setup. It can swivel fifty degrees in either direction, tilt five degrees down and twenty degrees up, adjust almost four inches in height, and pivot to portrait mode. It supports VESA-compliant wall mounting and has a wide selection of inputs, including a DisplayPort and two HDMI ports.
Of course, the high-end design needs high-end performance to match. The XG258Q leaves no doubt that it’s up for the task with its top-of-the-line 240-Hz native refresh rate, minimal response time, minimal input lag, and G-Sync support for tear-free gaming.
A monitor with 4K, or Ultra HD, resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) will definitely provide a noticeable improvement in detail and clarity over 1080p. The trade-off for serious gamers, though, comes when trying to get speedy performance at the same time—it takes much more hardware power to stay quick and responsive at such high resolution.
The LG 24UD58-B offers an affordable way to get into 4K gaming with a solid balance between gaming features and superior image quality. Its 23.8-inch in-plane switching (IPS) panel gives it better color reproduction, viewing angles, and overall picture than most dedicated gaming monitors are capable of, so you’re sure to get a rich, vibrant experience whether you’re gaming or enjoying other media.
On the performance side, its 60-Hz refresh rate isn’t meant for top-end PC gaming, but support for AMD FreeSync (only through DisplayPort) helps the games you play stay free of screen tearing or stuttering. LG includes gamer-oriented settings like Black Stabilizer to help with dark scenes and Dynamic Action Sync for fast action. There are also three pre-set game modes: two are optimized for FPS games and one is for real-time strategy.
For more Ultra HD monitors for a variety of purposes, see our article on the best 4K monitors.
While you’ll usually find curved screens on larger, wider monitors that really enhance the effect, you can still add an extra touch of immersion to your gaming experience with a curved 24-inch monitor like the Samsung CF396. The 23.5-inch screen has a fairly aggressive curve radius rated at 1800R, which helps wrap the gameplay more sharply around you at the fairly close distance you’ll be from your monitor. With its vertical alignment (VA) panel, you’ll also get excellent contrast and better colors and viewing angles than the TN panels on most gaming displays.
The CF396 has a standard 60 Hz refresh rate, so it’s not built particularly for esports or competitive gaming. It does appeal to gamers with its FreeSync support, though, and along with its decently quick 4-ms pixel response time, it will still keep your gameplay very smooth and clear and steady as a whole.
Check out other top picks in our roundup of the best-curved monitors.