The 7 Best Budget Gaming Monitors to Buy in 2018

You don't have to spend a fortune on an immersive gaming experience

PC gaming has arguably never been better. Some of the classics are still going strong and new titles that combine outstanding graphics and compelling storytelling are hitting the Web each week. Best of all, cross-platform support in many popular games allow you to play with friends and family regardless of whether they’re console or PC fans.

But enjoying the gaming experience is about more than just the title you’re playing. You’ll want a nice computer that can handle all the power that today’s games require and a monitor that can provide the visuals you need to immerse yourself in your favorite game.

A gaming monitor, however, requires some features standard monitors will not. For instance, in addition to high resolutions, gaming monitors should also come with faster refresh rates so you don’t miss any of the action. And if you haven’t yet invested in a full speaker system for your gaming, monitors that come with nice-sounding speakers are always a nice buy.

But you don’t need to spend serious amounts of cash to get a new gaming monitor. There are a variety of options available for $300 or less that come with high resolutions, great-sounding speakers and other key features that will make your gaming experience as appealing as it can be.

Read on for our round-up of the best budget gaming monitors to buy today.

Best Overall: Acer XFA240

Acer’s XFA240 gaming monitor has all the hallmarks of a high-end option for an affordable price that could surprise even the most serious gamer.

The monitor comes with a 24-inch display featuring a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution. The screen supports AMD FreeSync technology to ensure there’s no lag during gameplay, and you can take advantage of a 144Hz refresh rate. Using Display Port, you’ll find a response time of just 1ms. All of that translates to an outstanding visual experience that will keep you in the game and not expose you to any monitor-induced gaming problems.

To go easy on your eyes, Acer’s screen has a flicker-less design. There’s also a blue light filter that will reduce eye strain at night.

On the audio side, you’ll find two 2W speakers in Acer’s screen. And since you might be playing for quite a while, Acer’s screen has several adjustment options, including height, pivot, swivel and tilt, so you’re always comfortable while you’re taking on other gamers in your favorite titles. And if you’d rather view a game in Portrait mode, the screen can swivel 90 degrees from its standard landscape orientation.

Acer’s XFA240 has one Display Port, one HDMI, and one DVI port.

Best Budget: LG 25UM56P

Gamers looking for an affordable monitor that features an ultra-wide screen to boot should pick up the LG 24UM56P.

LG’s monitor is an ultra-wide screen option that comes with a 25-inch display featuring a pixel resolution of 2,560 x 1,080. Because it’s so wide, the screen has a 21:9 aspect ratio that will stretch your typical content in 16:9 aspect ratio. Be aware, however, that in some cases, when you decide to stretch content across the ultra-wide screen, you’ll lose some of your view at the top and bottom. In some games, that could be a problem. Still, you have an option to play games in 16:9 on the monitor and view letterboxes on the left and right.

Perhaps a better option for the LG monitor is to combine it with one, two, or three others and split the screen across a gigantic display. In fact, LG says that its monitor can support up to a four-screen split.

The screen itself is an LED and has LG’s Dynamic Action Sync for accurately depicting fast movement without lag. A Black Stabilizer feature is designed to keep your games looking good and blacks inky.

Best Widescreen: LG 29-Inch UltraWide

If you’re in the market for an ultra-wide screen and you’re willing to spend a few more bucks to get it, the LG 29-Inch UltraWide is a good place to start.

The screen features a 29-inch screen and a resolution of 2,560 x 1,080. With Screen Split 2.0 technology, you can combine four of the UltraWides together to create one big screen that will display all of your content.

Since the monitor is of the ultra-wide variety, you’ll find an aspect ratio of 21:9 that, depending on the game, might prove to be a good or bad feature. On the gaming side, the monitor supports AMD FreeSync to reduce lag time and ensure smooth visuals. There’s also a Black Stabilizer and 99 percent sRGB color representation to afford you good-looking graphics.

The display, which connects to your computer via HDMI, has a USB Type-C port for fast charging. You can’t adjust its height, but you’re able to tilt it to boost your comfort.

Best Curved: Samsung C27F591

Samsung for years has been selling curved monitors. And the company’s C27F591 is a nice-looking one that uses the curve to create an immersive gaming experience.

The monitor measures 27 inches and uses AMD FreeSync technology to reduce latency and stuttering when you’re playing. An Eye Saver Mode is built-in that will reduce blue light for viewing content at night and a flicker-less feature is there to keep your eyes strong all throughout the day. The monitor, which has a full-HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, also comes with a 3,000:1 contrast ratio for accurate white and black color representation.

Samsung’s monitor comes with five-watt stereo speakers that should be capable of delivering the kind of sound quality you’d expect from an immersive gaming experience.

Check out our other reviews of the best curved monitors available on the market today.

Best 3D: Acer GN246HL

Although 3D gaming hasn’t taken off to the degree many thought it might, Acer’s GN246HL is designed for those games that aim at making you feel like you’re entering the virtual experience.

The monitor has a 24-inch screen that features a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution. A 1ms response time will help with fast-changing game action, but should also prove to be an important component in recreating 3D content. Better yet, the monitor has a 144Hz refresh rate and with a 100 million:1 contrast ratio, white and black representation should be outstanding on the monitor.

For the 3D feature, Acer has bundled Nvidia 3D Lightboost. The feature uses what Acer calls “advanced active shutter” technology and promises to be about twice as bright as other 3D options.

One other tidbit: the monitor meets Energy Star requirements and has up to 68 percent power savings.

Best Design: Asus VG245H

Truth be told, budget gaming monitors aren’t always the best-looking devices on the market. But the Asus VG245H comes with a nice design that will look nice on your desk.

The monitor features a 24-inch screen and a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution to give you the full-HD visuals you desire. The screen has a 1ms response time to handle fast motion and there’s an Asus GameFast Input Technology feature included that aims at keeping your graphics smooth. And just in case you want to use the monitor on more than one machine, there are two HDMI ports on the back, allowing you to connect two PCs or one PC and a console.

Asus’ monitor, which comes with thin bezels, has an adjustable stand that lets you pivot, tilt and swivel the screen for the most comfort. To improve the visual experience and reduce eye strain, Asus has bundled GameVisual and GamePlus features that improve color recreation and control, as well as Asus EyeCare for flicker-free and blue-light filters.

Best for eSports: BenQ Zowie RL2755

BenQ makes a variety of gaming monitors. But the company’s Zowie RL2755 is designed for those who want to play eSports.

The monitor measures 27 inches and comes with a full-HD pixel resolution of 1,920 x 1,080. It comes with a 1ms response time and has “ultra-low input lag technology” that allows for fast action without any lag or “ghosting” that can occur inside some titles. The monitor features a color enhancer and black equalizer in order to offer better-looking visuals and both ZeroFlicker and blue-light features aim at reducing eye strain.

Interestingly, the BenQ Zowie comes with preset modes based on the kind of game you’re playing. So, if you’re playing a real-time strategy game, choose that mode. If it’s a first-person shooter or a fighting game you’re after, either of those preset modes are also available to you. The monitor will then adjust its settings to display the best experience based on what you’re playing.

BenQ’s monitor is compatible with both PCs and consoles. It also has a retractable hook and slip-resistant base for controller storage.

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