Last Updated: 02/07/2021
Thanks to the arrival of new high-powered GPUs from both AMD and Nvidia – including a plethora of 4K-capable gaming consoles – the best 4K gaming monitor is now more sort after than ever before. With the ability to push 4K native resolutions at high frame rates, many gamers are scouring the web, trying to find the best 4K gaming monitors the market has to offer.
As it’s no easy job finding the best 4K gaming monitor in 2021, we’ll be lending a helping hand by doing all the research for you. We’ll be finding only the best monitors on offer, taking price, performance, aesthetics, and features into consideration as we do. We’ll also be ranking each monitor individually, letting you know which is the best value for money in its specific category.
So, with plenty to get through, let’s waste no further time and dive into the best 4K gaming monitors of 2021!
Our Top Picks
Watch Our Video Rundown
Best 4K Monitor For Gaming
The best 4K gaming monitor goes to the LG 27GN950-B, an impressive panel that not only offers the benefits of 4K screen resolution but also provides a fluid and tearless gaming experience.
As far as specifications go, it’s hard to say anything bad about this fantastic gaming monitor. Whilst every monitor in this guide offers a 4K resolution, not all of them can boast the same high 144Hz refresh rate that his one can. If you’re looking for a monitor that suits both enthusiast gamers and social player alike, look no further.
The ASUS ROG SWIFT PG32UQX is arguably one of the best monitors the market has to offer. If it wasn’t for the eye-watering price tag this monitor comes equipped with, it’d almost certainly be at the top of our list.
Like the top pick, the ASUS offers a 4K screen resolution alongside rapid response and a 144Hz refresh rate. It also supports G-Sync Ultimate – great for Nvidia GPU users looking for the most lucid gaming experience possible. For all intents and purposes, this monitor ticks all the right boxes – it’s just a shame its so damn expensive.
Console gamers, rejoice, we have you covered as well. The Acer Nitro XV282K is one of the first HDMI 2.1 displays we’ve seen – and boy it does not disappoint.
The XV282K is one of the latest monitors from Acer’s Nitro range, offering up a plethora of exciting features and benefits that is sure to boost your gaming experience. Alongside HDMI 2.1 support, the XV282K also offers an impressive 144Hz refresh rate, low 1ms (GTG) response time, and isn’t nearly as expensive as the option above.
Next up, we have our best budget 4K gaming monitor – the ASUS TUF Gaming VG289Q. Whilst this isn’t the best monitor in this guide, it still has a firm place in it – offering decent 4K performance at a much lower price point than others on offer.
The ASUS VG289Q is part of the TUF family, meaning it does tailor itself to budget-oriented individuals. And whilst it does have its downfalls, there are still positives to be drawn from this monitor’s arsenal – like the excellent color and picture quality right out the box.
Lastly, we have another impressive LG 4K gaming monitor – only this time, it’s in the shape of the 27 inch UK650-W. This one isn’t as fast as the top pick, but it still provides good input lag and an excellent gaming experience, for the most part.
Things aren’t quite so premium for the LG 27UK650-W, however, it still provides you with all the gaming performance you could need for single-player titles. It offers great input lag alongside excellent SDR peak brightness – making it more immersive than you’d expect.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what you should and shouldn’t look for, we’re going to break down some of the top tips for buying one of the best 4K gaming monitors.
Below are some of the most important buying tips that will help you find the right gaming monitor for your needs:
- Next-gen Console gamers should prioritize HDMI 2.1 support
- Whilst 4K 144Hz gaming monitors are great for PC gaming (and coming down in price), the best options on the market will still set you back over $700
- IPS panels offer the best color accuracy
- OLED displays are the most expensive but do offer the best color gamuts and contrast ratios
- Budget 4K gaming monitors will often have a max refresh rate of 60hz – not great for gaming
- 4K screen resolution offers the best image quality
Alternatively known as UHD (ultra high definition), a 4K display is any monitor capable of producing a 4K resolution. In physical terms, a 4K resolution amounts to 3840 pixels horizontally by 2160 pixels vertically – that’s twice the clarity of 1440p or four times that of standard HD’s 1080p. Whilst this is great for picture quality and general clarity, it does add a great deal of stress to your PC’s hardware – leaving many people asking the question, is 4K actually worth it?
Despite new hardware technology now having the ability to push native 4K resolutions at playable framerates, many individuals still find the best 4K monitors too overpowered for their gaming needs. Highly competitive esports players, for example, still favour quicker response times and less-intense resolutions over stunning picture clarity and increased levels of immersion. That being said, with decreasing costs and greater ability to run games at 4K resolution, many people are starting to consider a 4K gaming monitor as their next upgrade.
So, should you buy a 4K gaming monitor or not? Well, there are plenty of benefits that come with buying a 4K gaming monitor – the biggest being picture clarity. For those new to monitor technology, your screen resolution has a huge impact on picture quality and overall clarity. As we previously mentioned, screen resolution refers to the physical number of pixels your monitor can display at any given time. So, at 4K (3840 x 2160), the monitor displays 3840 pixels horizontally by 2160 pixels vertically. When comparing a 4K to a 1080p resolution (1920 x 1080), it’s easy to understand the benefits of 4K.
Also, with better picture quality usually comes greater levels of immersion. For gamers that like to play story-based games, immersion is a huge factor in their monitor selection. Luckily, 4K monitors are widely considered some of the most immersive on the market – only challenged by larger ultrawide monitors.
Furthermore, it’s not unusual to see 4K monitors offer wider color gamuts and generally better colors than other less-premium alternatives. 100% sRGB and wide coverage of both Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 are quite common in modern 4K panels. This not only makes them great for gaming but also makes 4K monitors fantastic for color-accurate work too. The increased screen real-estate will also allow you to multi-task more efficiently when using the desktop too.
Like any hardware purchase, buying a 4K monitor for your gaming needs comes with a number of expectations. Below are the most realistic expectations that come hand-in-hand with a high-resolution monitor purchase:
Refresh Rates: A monitor’s refresh rate is one of the most important specifications to look out for. A good refresh rate can be the difference between a smooth gaming experience and something much less enjoyable. In today’s market, monitors can vary from 60Hz to 360Hz – with higher being better for gameplay smoothness.
That being said, 4K monitors are slightly behind when it comes to refresh rates, only really reaching heights of around 144Hz. Whilst this is fine for most scenarios, competitive gamers that look to gain any advantage over their competition won’t be happy with anything less than the best – which in today’s market is 360Hz.
Lower Framerates: That leads us nicely onto frame rates. As we discussed earlier, a 4K monitor showcases a huge amount of pixels when compared to lower quality 1080p and 1440p variants. Whilst this is great for picture quality, it’s not so great when it comes to the demand that is placed on your PC.
A lot of people will understand the drop in performance when moving from 1080p to 1440p – it’s an undeniable drop in FPS output that is clear for all to see. Well, the same drop can be expected when going from 1440p to 4K – if not more.
Your PC is put under great strain when playing games in high resolutions – working the graphics card much more intensely. For that reason, expect to see large drops in FPS when switching from lower resolutions upwards.
Price: Lastly, we must consider the price. Unfortunately, high-resolution capability is one of the most cost-effective specs a monitor comes equipped with – and not in a good way. The average cost of a 4K monitor in today’s market is much higher than any 1080p/1440p alternative.
So, if you’re in the market for a 4K monitor, don’t expect to get a good one on the cheap – they usually start at around $300, gradually getting more expensive with every high-end spec they offer.
For everything else monitor related, why not check out our what to look for in a gaming monitor guide.
Best 4K Gaming Monitor
Excellent picture quality
FreeSync support and G-Sync compatibility
Exceptional response time
Wide viewing angles
Poor contrast ratio
Doesn’t handle reflections well
The LG 27GN950-B gets our best 4K gaming monitor pick and for good reason. Not only does it offer a stunning 4K resolution picture quality and screen real estate, but it also brings exceptional response and refresh rates to the table as well.
Looking at the design, the 27GN950-B looks pretty similar to the other monitors within the LG Ultragear lineup – offering a sleek design that is balanced nicely with a sharp, angular stand. The rear of the monitor doesn’t really offer too much in terms of design features, apart from a circular halo that is finished with red and silver. The stand itself is a little disappointing from an ergonomics standpoint – providing only tilt, height, and rotational adjustments. The stand does have a little cable management system though and is equipped with a quick-release button for fast switching of stands.
Design aside, the LG 27GN950-B really excels when it comes to gaming performance. The 27inch display is the perfect size for most gaming scenarios, allowing users to become immersed in their virtual reality whilst playing. The rapid response time paired with the impressive 144Hz refresh rate makes for a very enjoyable gaming experience. That being said, you’ll have to be using a powerful GPU and DisplayPort if you want to get the most out of this monitor as it doesn’t offer HDMI 2.1 support. That said, with FreeSync variable refresh rate support and G-Sync compatibility, the monitor is almost completely void of any screen tear or other visual artifacts.
It performs quite poorly in the contrast and local dimming departments, making it not an ideal selection for dark-room players. That said, the IPS panel utilized in this monitor does offer up great color recreation and excellent viewing angles.
World’s First Mini LED Monitor
144Hz Refresh Rate
DisplayHDR 1400 compatible
FALD with 1152 dimming zones
4ms response time
The best 4K gaming monitor runner up goes to the ASUS PG32UQX – the world’s first Mini LED gaming monitor. If this list was based purely on performance, there’s a strong chance the PG32UQX would be at the top of the pile – boasting a 4K screen resolution alongside a 144Hz refresh rate, low response time, and VESA DisplayHDR1400 certification. However, the price tag makes it hard to recommend to the mass public – especially when it retails for just shy of $3,000.
Like all premium ASUS monitors, the PG32UQX offers up a stylish design that definitely leans more towards ‘gamey’ than boring. The triad stand is nicely styled and offers good balance with very little wobble. The front of the monitor fairly featureless, however, it does come with a cool OLED display that can be customized within the monitor’s OSD. The rear of the monitor offers a new(ish) style of ROG branding, with a large ROG RGB logo being the main focus. Inputs for this monitor include HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4 (DSC), and a USB HUB.
As for performance, it’s hard to say a bad word about this monitor. With a 144Hz refresh rate, low input lag, and HDR1400 support, you really do get the best of both worlds with this panel. The colors are extremely vibrant (thanks to the peak brightness that the HDR supports) and gameplay is liquidy smooth – no matter what style of game you’re playing. It also offers G-sync support which helps eradicate nasty screen artifacts like tearing – giving you as a gamer an even more immersive experience. A 160% sRGB color gamut that has been pre-calibrated to a deltaE <2 also makes both gaming and everyday entertainment a real treat.
Ultimately, if cash is no issue, this monitor should be high on your list of considerations.
4K gaming at 144Hz
Great colour accuracy
VRR support for next-gen consoles
IPS panel with 1ms response time
Decent Value for money
Peak brightness is poor
Doesn’t offer HDR
For console gamers that have been waiting for a 4K 144Hz monitor that supports HDMI 2.1, look no further – Acer has you covered with one of the best 4K gaming monitors we’ve tested.
Starting with the design, Acer has kept things pretty simple with this monitor – giving it a fairly basic design that is neither ‘gamey’ nor boring. Whilst it doesn’t offer the same premium styling (or feel) as the Predator series, it still offers a decent aesthetic that can be used in more scenarios – including offices. The rear of the monitor doesn’t really offer much in terms of design features, with a cylindrical stand being the standout feature.
Moving onto performance, you’ll be happy to learn that the XV282K doesn’t really compromise on that many areas when compared to the previous iterations. It offers the same 4K screen resolution alongside the same 144Hz refresh rate. Better still, it actually has better input lag and greater colors than many of the market’s similarly priced alternatives. So where does it fall short? Well, that’s in the HDR department. Unlike other monitors in this guide that provides stellar HDR1000 support, the same can’t be said for the XV282K. It doesn’t offer nearly as much brightness as you might like, making it fairly poor in bright room scenarios. That said, it does offer decent dark room gaming and supports VRR for both PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Overall, a really impressive little monitor that is great for console gamers looking to take their gameplay to the next level.
Excellent price point
Stand offers good versatility
Good single-player 60Hz gameplay
Power input lag
Low refresh rate
Our budget 4K gaming monitor goes to the ASUS TUF VG289Q, a monitor that is both hit and miss when it comes to gameplay and entertainment purposes. Obviously, the main pro of this monitor is its price – however, with good colors and great picture quality right out the box, it also offers good value too.
Like all TUF Gaming monitors, the VG289Q comes equipped with a very subtle design that could be considered on the boring side – especially when compared to others in this guide. That said, when you consider the price point, it still feels extremely well built and provides good versatility for the most part. The stand comes equipped with height, tilt, swivel, and pivot functionality, allowing users to find the perfect viewing position no matter what the scenario.
From a gaming standpoint, the VG289Q probably isn’t the best in the world for fast-paced shooters like CS:GO and COD. That said, if you’re looking to play immersive single-player titles, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a slower monitor such as this. It provides great colors right out the box alongside that characteristic IPS picture quality. Contrast ratio isn’t the best on this monitor, but that’s to be expected from an IPS panel.
Overall, for the price, you’d can’t really knock the ASUS TUF VG289Q when it comes to basic 4K gaming on a budget.
Supports AMD FreeSync technology
Great color reproduction
Fantastic IPS panel with HDR support
Only 60Hz refresh rate
No USB port
The last recommendation in this guide is our value pick – and it goes to the hugely popular LG 27UK650-W. Despite this monitor not quite living up to others in terms of performance, it does have plenty of benefits to its name – including a very affordable price tag.
Starting with the design, you’d have to say this was one of the standout features of this monitor. The stand offers a curved base finished in a silver brushed style – a nice change from the more common ‘V’ shaped stands that we’re used to. The silver finish works nicely with the black frame of the monitor to create a stylish look that would suit most office environments. The back of the monitor is almost entirely white, not really offering anything in terms of gaming aesthetics. Ultimately, you’d have to say this monitor leans more towards an office style rather than gaming – but that’s not a bad thing.
Looking at gaming, this monitor performs well for anyone looking to play at 60Hz – last-gen console gamers spring to mind. It offers up very low input lag and great colors right out the box. The IPS panel allows for good SDR peak brightness and it even comes equipped with HDR support – albeit not the greatest standard. The 4K screen resolution offers very good clarity and overall picture quality – making single-player titles all the more immersive. As always, contrast ratio isn’t the best and blacks do look gray when playing in a dark-room environment. For the price, however, it’s still a very good monitor.
For some gamers out there a smooth gameplay experience takes priority, and with the introduction of sync technologies from the tech giants Nvidia and AMD, this became a reality some time ago. When a frame is drawn by your GPU, it normally has to wait for the monitors’ refresh cycle before displaying it. When the timing of this is off, it can appear on your screen as a screen tear which may only appear for a very short time but can annoy some gamers.
These sync technologies essentially cap your frame rates to match your monitors refresh rate to try and limit this tearing, and they tackle this issue in different ways which are often reflected in the price.
G-Sync, Unlike V-sync which caps the frame rate to match the monitors refresh rate, allows the monitor to work at a variable refresh rate matching the GPU and ultimately eliminating the chance of tearing and lag as it accounts for dips and peaks in performance. G-Sync modules often bring a higher cost and usually feature in the higher end monitors.
It’s worth noting while G-sync locks the frame rate to the upper limit of the monitor Freesync can bypass this and give you higher frames. This would result in some tearing as your frame rate and refresh rate wouldn’t match but would keep input lag very low.
In the past it was simple, to use G-Sync you needed an Nvidia graphics card and for Freesync you needed an AMD GPU. Now however some Freesync monitors are compatible with Nvidia’s G-Sync, opening the market up a bit for potential monitor choices.
144Hz is considered to be the optimal refresh rate for competitive players, and this is largely down to how responsive it feels when playing, which can give players the edge when it matters.
For the casual gamer where a competitive edge isn’t necessary, 144Hz doesn’t really matter as much, unless you want a higher frame rate when using technologies such as G-Sync. It is not uncommon for most 4K gaming monitors to be 60Hz, but they will often feature a decent IPS panel and give you a fantastic display to match the huge 4K resolution.
The refresh rate comes down to your gaming preference but know that the best of the best try and fit in as many key features into one monitor as they can, catering for the majority of gamers but at a higher cost.
It is worth noting that 144Hz does improve smoothness, and the jump from 60Hz to 144Hz is something you will definitely notice.
So, there you have it, our comprehensive guide on the best 4K gaming monitors for 2021. The technology around 4K monitors is only going to get better, so investing in a 4K gaming monitor is a future-proof idea. The only thing left to do is, decide whether or not a high-end 4K display is right for your specific needs.
Avid competitive players will usually opt for monitors with quicker refresh rates, making one of the best 240Hz monitors a more attractive prospect. However, if you prioritize picture quality and general immersion, a 4K monitor might be exactly what you’re looking for. Just remember, the extra pixels that come with a 4K monitor will put a lot more strain on your PC. The last thing you want is to buy a shiny new 4K monitor and only be able to push 30FPS in your favorite games.