Time for the ultimate gaming experience
When searching for gaming equipment, it’s almost too easy to overlook the importance of getting a good monitor. I know that I tend to get wrapped up in buying the perfect PC, so much so that a matching screen almost seems like an afterthought. Wrong! Not even the best PC will play games the way you want it to if you don’t have a great gaming monitor.
If you want to get the most out of your games, a 60Hz screen will just not do. 144Hz monitors are slowly becoming the new standard when you have a modern gaming PC. The question is, can you just blindly buy any monitor you find and hope it works well? You can, but the better question is, should you? Nope!
Many factors come into play when you’re buying a new 144Hz gaming monitor. I’m here to ensure you get the best value for your money by telling you all I know about the subject. I’ll also show you a few screens that I personally like the most. No time to waste — let’s jump right in!
An overview of the best 144Hz gaming monitors in 2021
- AOC 24″ Curved Gaming Monitor
- Acer 23.6″ TN Gaming Monitor
- LG 27 Inch Ultragear QHD IPS
- Samsung Odyssey G5 Curved Gaming Monitor
How to pick the best 144Hz monitor for gaming?
Monitors may all look similar on the outside, but the experience they provide can vastly differ between one model and the next. Choosing one is tricky — it’s like trying to settle the endless Intel vs. AMD debate: everyone will have their own opinion.
Luckily for us, some guidelines will help you pick the monitor YOU want, one that is specifically tailored to what you like to do best. Did you know that choosing your monitor is greatly affected by the games you like to play? Let’s look at this in greater detail.
144Hz monitors, like any other screen, come in three different panel variants: IPS, VA, and TN. The panel you end up going with will strongly affect your experience with your new monitor. I will tell you all about each of these and give you a quick recap of what they are best suited for.
TN (Twisted Nematic)
TN displays are probably the most common in the current market. These are LCDs built with a nematic liquid crystal nestled within two polarized glass sheets. They’re usually the cheapest, so when shopping for a new monitor, you’re likely to find that most of the offers include TN screens. Some manufacturers don’t even bother to state that it is a TN panel, so if you find a listing with no information about the display type, it’s safe to assume it’s a TN.
These types of screens are often the preferred option for competitive gamers. This is because they offer quicker response times and refresh rates with lower chances of smudging. However, TN panels typically don’t excel at color reproduction and image quality when compared to IPS and VA monitors.
Higher-quality TN monitors will still deliver on the image front — you should be able to get crisp video and pictures with adequate colors, lights, and darks. Unfortunately, even a high-end TN display will not offer the same viewing angles as IPS and VA. The closer you sit to the monitor, the more you will be able to spot this. While the center of the screen will look great, you may see something slightly washed out near the edges on large screens.
Ultimately, TN panels are used by competitive gamers who care about refresh rates. Think FPS and MOBA type of games. TN panels may not be the best choice if you’re into creative work or just want your games to look pretty.
IPS (In-Plane Switching)
IPS monitors are also LCD screens, but they’re made using a different technique. They were invented as a response to TN panels offering somewhat poor image quality. As a result, IPS monitors are known for their fantastic color reproduction and viewing angles.
IPS screens offer bright colors that retain their unique shades no matter what you’re doing. They’re distinct, vibrant, and have a decent amount of contrast. This makes these screens perfect for graphic design, video editing, and other creative workflows.
For gamers, IPS screens are kind of tricky. They certainly make the games look their best, and there’s a pronounced difference between IPS and TN both in gaming and in movies. However, IPS screens are notorious for their response rates. If you’re into FPS games, you’re better off with a TN or a VA screen. For all other types of gaming, IPS screens are favored by most users.
VA (Vertical Alignment)
VA panels are found in LCD screens. They use a mix of liquid crystals and electrical current to produce the image. They’re made similar to TN screens but with a set of adjustments that bring their quality closer to IPS panels. VA panels tend to produce deeper blacks and stronger contrasts than the other two. This is due to the fact that they’re better at blocking light from the backlight when it’s not supposed to be there.
Many experts will say that VA panels offer greater image depth than the other two panels. However, VA’s viewing angles are typically less broad than those on IPS panels. In addition to that, VA panels may have worse response times than TN.
VA screens are a good middle-of-the-road pick. You’re sacrificing a bit of response time, but not as much as you would in an IPS. You’re also getting less in terms of viewing angles, but you’ll retain excellent image quality. These screens are well-rounded and will suit most games, but most people generally choose IPS.
TL;DR — Which panel do you pick?
If you don’t have the time or energy to learn all about these three different panels, here’s a quick TL;DR to get you started.
- If you’re a competitive player and like to play FPS games, you should buy a screen with a TN panel. You’re trading duller colors and worse viewing angles for lightning-fast response times.
- Do you like when things look pretty? Do you work in a creative field? Do you watch a lot of Netflix? If you don’t play fast-paced games, you’ll like IPS panels for their superior image quality and viewing angles. They’re suited for most games.
- If you like to have the best of both worlds, VA panels make a good middle ground between TN’s fast response times and IPS’ beautiful colors and contrasts. I don’t recommend these for ultra-competitive gaming, but most other users will like them.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but trust me, many people run into this problem. Before buying a monitor, check the ports and connections to make sure it will suit your graphics card and/or motherboard. If it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world — you’ll just need to buy an adapter. Luckily, most monitors these days have a combination of ports that cover a wider range of technologies.
Resolution, curved vs. flat, and screen size
These parameters all play a part in the monitor’s cost and the way it feels when you game. Let’s take a quick look.
- The screen resolution affects the sharpness of the image. It also makes the image appear smaller, allowing more items to fit on your screen. You’ll notice this in games if you get a screen with a higher resolution. You’ll be able to fit more of the game UI or see more of the game beneath the UI than you did before.
Keep in mind that the higher the resolution, the better your computer needs to be. While most modern graphics cards can support a 1080p or 1440p screen, I don’t recommend using 4K until you have a powerful gaming computer.
- Choosing between a curved and flat display is a matter of personal choice. Curved screens are easy on the eyes and provide a bit of extra immersion. You’ll have a harder time viewing them from the side, though. In terms of performance, they’re the same as flat screens.
- When it comes to screen size, it’s also largely down to preference. A quick word of advice from me is to not buy a screen above 27-32″ if you sit close to your display. Your eyes, neck, and head will thank you for that self-restraint.
Related Post: Best Wireless Gaming Headsets Under $200
Which 144Hz monitor for gaming to buy in 2021?
You’ve got all the knowledge you need to get you started. Let me show you some of my favorite monitors so that you can start seeing your games in a brand new light (and refresh rate!)
AOC 24″ VA Curved Gaming Monitor
When I first saw the parameters of this monitor, I was intrigued. When I saw the price, I was shocked as I frantically rushed to put it in my cart.
- Panel type: VA
- Refresh rate: 165Hz
- Screen size: 24″
- Surface: Curved
- Screen resolution: 1920×1080
This AOC monitor comes with a 165Hz refresh rate, so you’ll be pulling 150+ frames per second and enjoying the speed. Like most monitors, it supports a range of refresh rates — in this case, 48-165Hz. Make sure that you set it to the highest setting once you get it.
It has a 1ms response time, which is really good for a VA panel. Speaking of which — the colors are beautiful, with deep contrasts and bright lights. However, I have to admit getting to that point took me a bit of fiddling with the settings. This is not a big deal. Most monitors need a bit of calibrating, and once you find what works for you, you’ll like this one.
AOC C24G1A comes with a curved screen, but it’s not very noticeable since this is a 24″ display. This makes it a good start if you want to try out curved but don’t want to go all-in right away. It’s also virtually frameless (only one bottom frame), so it does offer a really immersive gaming experience.
If you don’t mind playing around with the colors and you don’t need the rapid response times offered by TN panels, you’ll love the versatility of this AOC monitor.
- Highly affordable
- Fantastic color reproduction
- Adjustable stand
- Good response time
- Setup takes a while
- Colors out of the box are not that impressive
Acer 23.6″ TN Gaming Monitor
Although a bit on the smaller side, this TN monitor is going to be your best buddy if you like to play shooters.
- Panel type: TN
- Refresh rate: 144Hz
- Screen size: 23.6″
- Surface: Flat
- Screen resolution: 1920×1080
This monitor is for you if you care more about performance than having the brightest and best-looking colors. It’s quick, responsive, and made to offer smooth gaming without ghosting. It’s compatible with AMD’s FreeSync technology, so it’s especially good if your system runs a Radeon graphics card.
Both the refresh rate and the response time of this monitor can be overclocked, so you can get up to 165Hz with 0.5 ms. I definitely like this monitor for competitive gaming, as the lack of smudging and blur helps me aim properly and lets me see the action right as it happens. It’s a bit of a real-life cheat code — you’ll play better, and as a result, enjoy yourself more.
This is a TN panel, so the colors are not outstanding. They look a little washed out when you first get it, so I recommend playing around with them. This monitor has a decent level of brightness (300 nits) for a TN panel, but of course, it can’t rival an IPS.
This Acer monitor is not massive, but it does the job of helping you play your games at the best possible level. It’s a budget-friendly entryway into 144Hz gaming, so as long as the lower color display doesn’t bother you, go ahead and grab it.
- Fast response times
- It can be overclocked
- Tilt adjustment included
- Thick frame all around the screen
- The contrast is a bit washed out
LG 27″ Ultragear IPS Gaming Monitor
As long as you don’t mind spending a bit more, this monitor is going to take your breath away when you first try it out.
- Panel type: IPS
- Refresh rate: 144Hz
- Screen size: 27″
- Surface: Flat
- Screen resolution: 2560×1440
We’re entering the big leagues here with this LG Ultragear monitor — this is where games start looking amazing instead of just great. It’s not cheap, but it’s still cost-effective in the sense that it’s worth every penny.
The colors on this IPS panel all look beautiful. There’s a marked difference between this LG and the previous Acer. This monitor has wide viewing angles, a vibrant color palette, and only minimal IPS glow (which is simply glowing around the corners of an IPS monitor). In my case, this was limited to the bottom left corner when viewed at an angle, so it’s really negligible.
This screen is bigger than the two I previously described. I believe that 27″ falls within the optimal screen-size range for gaming. It’s not too big and not too small. In addition to that, this is a 2K monitor, so your games and even your operating system’s UI will simply fit better. There’ll be more space within those 27″ than there would be on a 1080p monitor of the same size.
For an IPS panel, I was really happy with the responsiveness of this monitor. You can successfully play just about any game on this screen. It’s not a TN, but it’s almost as good as an IPS can ever get. I recommend it for the beautiful display combined with 1440p gaming.
- 2560x1440p resolution
- Beautiful IPS panel
- Rapid response times for an IPS
- Dark colors appear slightly washed out
- Some models have a very light IPS glow
Samsung Odyssey G5 Curved Gaming Monitor
If you’re looking for a huge screen that will make your games look their absolute best, look no further. This is it.
- Panel type: VA
- Refresh rate: 144Hz
- Screen size: 32″
- Surface: Curved
- Screen resolution: 2560×1440
This monitor offers one of the most engaging gaming experiences you’ll find. It strikes a great balance between image quality and response times. With 1ms and 144Hz, it’s suited for gamers, but it doesn’t fail when it comes to colors and brightness either.
Samsung Odyssey G5 is curved, and the curve is much more noticeable than in the AOC I talked about above. However, it’s not oppressive. You can still use this monitor for day-to-day tasks. For me, the surface type has only been positive, and that’s not always the case with curved monitors.
2560X1440 resolution on a 32″ screen is simply glorious. You’ve never seen this much of your favorite games — just trust me on this one. I also find the colors to be fantastic for a VA panel. Yes, an IPS of the same price range will likely have a wider color gamut, but this VA panel doesn’t suffer from IPS glow. It’s a worthy trade-off. My one complaint is that text gets a bit blurry if you sit up close, so I recommend mounting this one at a bit of a distance.
As far as gaming performance goes, I was happy with this screen. It has quick response times and no smudging, so you can easily use it for most games. If you’re looking for the best overall experience and don’t mind the price tag, I recommend this VA monitor.
- The curve is very well made
- Large and bright 32″ screen
- Surprisingly fast for such a large display
- The colors are not as bright as on an IPS
- Slight blur on small text
It’s a whole new world of gaming out there!
I’m not even kidding. Playing your games on a proper monitor feels GOOD. It’s a massive, massive difference. Whether you have one of the best gaming PCs or not, you’re bound to see an improvement when you upgrade your monitor. It’s the single part of your setup that you see the most, and without it, you won’t be able to make the most of your desktop.
Let me give you a quick rundown of the monitors I talked about above.
- AOC C24G1A 24″ Curved Gaming Monitor is a ridiculously good deal. If you want to try the middle ground of a VA display, you’ll like this one.
- For competitive gamers on a budget, I recommend the Acer KG241Q 23.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) for its fast performance.
- LG 27GL83A-B 27″ G-SYNC Compatible Gaming Monitor has it all — beautiful colors with decent response times.
- The SAMSUNG Odyssey G5 Gaming Monitor has even more if the LG above has it all. This is hands down one of the most dazzling displays I’ve ever seen.
If you need something different, here are a few more recent screens that I can recommend.
- ASUS 24″ 1080P Gaming Monitor
- Sceptre Curved 27″ Gaming Monitor
- ASUS TUF Gaming 32″ 2K
- BenQ ZOWIE XL2411P 24″
- MSI Full HD 1ms 1080p
Let me know what monitor setup your rig is currently running and what are you going to get? More importantly — whether this new monitor will help you own people in shooters or allow you to immerse yourself in your favorite RPG, I hope you have a blast!