Buying the best 4K gaming monitor should be top of your upgrade list right now. The current generation of graphics cards are capable of delivering high 4K frame rates in the latest games deep into their lineups. Even the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT are surprisingly capable when it comes to 4K. Sadly, even those lower-tier cards are tough to find these days, but why not get a capable gaming monitor in anticipation of the shortage ending?
If you have managed to bag a higher spec Nvidia 30-series card—such as the RTX 3080, RTX 3080 Ti or RTX 3090, or the exceptional new RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT cards from AMD—the best 4K gaming monitor is the perfect thing to show off all that your new setup can do.
In most cases, you're going to want a VA or IPS gaming monitor, with a refresh rate above the 60Hz baseline, and some form of frame-syncing capability—either G-Sync or FreeSync. You also have to decide whether to up-size with one of the best gaming TVs instead, for deeper immersion. If you have space, that is.
A big screen 4K gaming monitor will reveal countless levels of detail that were previously hidden from you. In fact, pretty much anything above the 27-inch mark will make a big difference.
Spending that little more on one of the best 4K gaming monitors is certainly worth it, especially when you consider it might see you through a decade of action-packed, next-gen gaming. The best 4K gaming monitor will be able to produce breathtaking quality for all those years, spanning many iterations of your Theseus’ ship of a PC.
Best 4K monitors for gaming
4K gaming is a premium endeavor. You need a colossal amount of rendering power to hit decent frame rates at such a high resolution. But if you're rocking a top-shelf graphics card, like the GeForce RTX 3080, then this dream can be a reality at last.
The LG UltraGear is the first 4K Nano IPS 1ms gaming monitor that'll properly show off your next-gen GPU. This 4K 27-inch HDR monitor has a 144 Hz refresh rate and 1 ms response time—wild for a 4K monitor. What is most impressive about this LG is the Nano IPS tech that offers a wider color gamut and stellar viewing angles.
The LG UltraGear 27GN950-B bags you a terrific panel with exquisite IPS image quality and, despite the lesser HDR capabilities, beautiful colors and contrast in your games too. G-Sync offers stable pictures and smoothness in games, and the speedy refresh rate and response times back this up too.
A close cousin of the Acer Predator X27, itself once the top of this pile, the XB273K is a seriously excellent 4K monitor. It harnesses everything the X27 does, trading off very little to rehouse it in a far cheaper model.
Now often found sitting way below the $1,000 mark, it is immediately more tempting than the Acer X27, and the only real change is in the HDR; the XB273K has a slightly lower quality of HDR. But that's about it. And considering the still nightmarish state of HDR gaming on PC, that's not a huge miss.
You'll still get a truly excellent picture quality, with terrific color virbancy, contrast, and depth; the 144Hz refresh rate means it's excellent for faster shooters or online games too. G-Sync offers the best adaptive sync technology, an impressive array of ports covers you, and overall it offers such a well-rounded overall experience you'll have zero regrets.
Read the full Acer Predator XB273K review.
Perhaps a little obvious, but packing lots of top-end features into a display means it’ll come with a high price tag. The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ is an incredible display but it doesn't come cheap. That money does net you more features than any other display here and perhaps that's enough to set it apart. As well as the ridiculously clear, bright and detailed images that the PG27UQ’s 4K and HDR-enabled 27-inch display shows off, this monitor also incorporates Nvidia G-Sync tech, making this an absolute behemoth of a screen. Though we do wish the contrast was slightly better on this nearly perfect screen.
On the back, it’s a bit lean on the connections, but you should have everything you need: present are an HDMI 2.0 input, DisplayPort 1.4, 3.5mm audio, and two USB 3.0 ports. It’s also an incredibly well-designed bit of kit with the stand effectively funneling cables, as well as looking cool. I especially like the ROG eye that shines on the surface wherever you put the monitor.
The list price is very high, so it might well put people off, but it will not disappoint those who take the plunge.
Read the full Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ review.
I am utterly entranced by the sheer scale and majesty of Philips' 55-inch monitor behemoth. Outside of Nvidia's abortive BFGDs, there is no other PC monitor that can match this monster. But despite its impressive size and speed, there are still shortcomings which, while they're not deal-breakers, do need to be considered.
But first the good. This 4K VA panel rocks up with a DisplayHDR1000 certificate, and the ability to render its 3840×2160 native resolution at speeds of up to 120Hz. Sadly, for console gamers, its HDMI version is only 2.0 and so your next-gen game boxes will be restricted to 4K/60. The Series X will hit 120Hz at 1440p, however, though the PS5 still neglects that option.
For us PC folk that's no issue, as the Philips display supports DisplayPort 1.4 so we can get the full 4K res at a zippy 120Hz. Coupled with its bright, vibrant panel, that makes the screen great for smooth 4K gaming. And I'm still smitten by Philips' Ambilight technology, which rings the back of the display with RGB LEDs that can alter hues individually to match their corresponding color on the panel itself.
My only real reservations surround some of the response settings. To make the large panel responsive Philips offers different levels of SmartResponse, but the more aggressive you get on those settings the more inverse ghosting you tend to get on high contrast moving images. Playing FIFA at 4K and I could notice some issues around the edges of players. But if you're smashing through Doom Eternal, however, it's just going to be the smooth motion and vibrant colors that stand out. That and the gibs, obvs.
The LG 27UL650 is a killer 4K gaming monitor you can find for under $500. This IPS panel display has improved color and contrast over its predecessor and offers lower input lag for gaming.
Suppose you do more than gaming; this LG displays sports wildly precise color accuracy and HDR10, making watching movies and editing a worthwhile endeavor. The only real downside is the standard 60Hz refresh rate and the fact the monitor has no built-in speakers, so you'll have to invest in a good pair of headphones and/or desktop speakers, as well. But generally, we'd recommend that over pretty much any tinny display speaker anyway.
Best 4K gaming monitors FAQ
Q: What do I need to consider when thinking about a 4K gaming monitor?
A: The biggest thing is whether you have a gaming PC capable of making a 4K gaming monitor worth it. Upgrading to one of the best graphics cards will ensure your machine will not just be rendering a gaming slideshow with the step-up to 4K. It would help if you also aimed for a larger screen size too. The first 4K monitor we ever tested was glorious but was only a 24-inch panel, so we couldn’t quite appreciate the 8.3 million pixels we were generating.
Q: How do we test 4K gaming monitors?
A: There are two main ways to test a screen to determine whether it's the best gaming monitor material. The first is by playing games on it. Subjectively testing the gaming performance of each panel isn’t necessarily going to give you the lowdown on the specifics of a particular screen. Still, it will let you test the functioning aspect ratio, native resolution, and any specific gamer-centric technologies they’re sporting.
Side-by-side comparative testing in this manner is also precious for keying into the sometimes subtle differences between each panel. When you use a screen in isolation, it’s easy to become blind to its comparative faults as you get used to them. Testing screens back-to-back allows us to discover and highlight specific issues between them.
We also use a heap of standardized tests produced by Lagom to ensure levels and saturation are visually up to our standards.