A 4K monitor is the best choice for gaming is still up for debate and will depend heavily on your preferences and use case. If you’re after something that is versatile for both gaming and desktop productivity work, a 4K monitor can be a great choice, especially as GPU hardware has become more powerful, upscaling technologies are now more mature, and 4K gaming monitors themselves have gotten a lot cheaper. Plus, for desktop apps, it’s hard to beat the resolution and sharpness of a 4K display. But I wouldn’t say 4K is the slam dunk obvious choice right now either, as 1440p monitors still have a lot to offer. So that’s something you’ll have to weigh up.
In this article, we are purely going to be talking about 4K gaming monitors, which means we are not talking about any 60Hz displays. 120Hz is the minimum. I know some people do still buy those super cheap 4K 60Hz displays, but I’d recommend that you don’t do that for gaming. I also will be mostly talking about products that I’ve reviewed and tested myself, so I know they are good, rather than guessing or looking at spec sheets.
27-Inch 4K Gaming Monitors
If you’re after a 27-inch 4K high-refresh-rate gaming monitor right now, pricing and the quality of options are the best they’ve ever been. It was only a few years ago that $500 would have gotten you just a 1440p 144Hz monitor. These days, at the same price, you are getting 4K instead For the majority of buyers, the 4K monitor that makes the most sense to buy also turns out to be the best value.
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1. Gigabyte M27U
Gigabyte’s new M27U, with the current price tag of just $470 U.S., offers outstanding bang for the buck and a product that’s well balanced across a lot of key areas. This isn’t the only 4K gaming monitor worth considering at this size, but it’s hard to go past something offering such great value.
The M27U offers an excellent balance across all areas of performance, from response time speed to color quality. Motion performance is similar to that of other modern IPS LCDs, and the panel is decently well-optimized for variable refresh rate gaming. There are no glaring flaws here. We’re looking at a wide gamut experience, great brightness, reasonable factory calibration, and, of course, the excellent resolution of a 4K panel that’s well-suited to productivity work as well as gaming.
There are no areas of performance that especially stand out, but there are also no deal-breaker flaws. Priced below $500, you’re just not going to get this sort of bang for buck and value from other products that we’ve tested. Usually, this sort of experience starts at a higher price range, often in the $550 to $600 range or even higher at times. It’s not the perfect product; the contrast ratio could be better, and there’s no meaningful HDR capabilities. But as far as 27-inch 4K 160Hz IPS LCDs go, this is definitely one to consider.
2. Gigabyte M28U
Pretty close in performance to the Gigabyte M27U is the Gigabyte M28U, which uses a different panel but is a product I’ve highly recommended in the past for a similar reason—it’s excellent value. Depending on when you look and the region you’re in, the M28U is often at a similar price to the M27U, and for that reason, it’s still definitely worth considering.
Compared to the M27U, the M28U is a little better tuned for high-refresh-rate gaming, around the 120 to 144Hz range. It has superior factory calibration, especially in the sRGB mode, and a somewhat higher contrast ratio. The M27U is much brighter, consumes less power, and has a slightly higher refresh rate. Plus, it’s a little better tuned for variable refresh gaming. Overall, there’s not much difference between them, and both are great value choices.
3. LG 27GR93U
Also worth considering is the LG 27GR93U, but only outside of the US, where currently, this monitor is far too expensive. In some other regions like here in Australia, the 27GR93U is similarly priced to the M27U and M28U, making it an excellent value proposition. Again, performance is similar to the M27U and M28U, but with a few extra capabilities like hardware calibration support and slightly better response time tuning.
Depending on the price in your region and how much you value those features, I’d even consider getting this over the M27U. However, the mediocre US price is a bit hard to swallow.
4. MSI Optics MAG281URF
I’ll also give an honorable mention to the MSI Optics MAG-281URF, which uses the same IPS LCD panel as the Gigabyte M28U and offers very similar performance overall. I’ve tested a few other products that use this panel, but it’s really only the MSI and Gigabyte that are priced well these days. With the MSI model often hovering around $500 to $550, you should be on the lookout for this one at its current price, as it could end up being better value than the other monitors I’ve been talking about in your region.
Relative to the M28U, the MSI model isn’t as well calibrated but offers nearly identical response time performance and higher bandwidth HDMI 2.1 ports. So at around $500, it’s absolutely in contention.
32-Inch 4K Gaming Monitors
If you’re after a 4K 144Hz gaming monitor but think 27 or 28 inches is a bit too small, well, luckily there are 32-inch models available these days. The 32-inch 4K market has improved a bit compared to previous years, where the quality of 32-inch panels was a noticeable downgrade relative to 27-inch panels. That’s no longer the case, although upgrading in size still comes with a hefty price premium. Right now, there are several options worth considering in this category.
1. LG 32GR93U
The leading candidate in this category is the LG 32GR93U, a 32-inch 4K 144Hz IPS LCD monitor. This monitor is a bit more expensive than some other similar products, priced at $800 US. However, it does offer a notable performance edge that, in many situations, is worth paying for.
The 32GR93U performs well across a range of different areas. It delivers good response times, and LG has tuned it well to offer a smooth overdrive mode experience. While it’s not the absolute fastest product at 144Hz, it’s optimized to avoid inverse ghosting artifacts. Among 32-inch LCD monitors, this is one of the best displays in terms of motion quality, which is especially important as older 32-inch models from a few years ago weren’t very impressive in this regard.
This performance is complemented by great factory color tuning, an excellent sRGB mode, hardware calibration support, strong DCI-P3 color space coverage, and good brightness. It offers fantastic versatility for those who want to game and use the nice large 32-inch 4K panel for productivity work. It’s a really nice dual-use monitor.
The main drawback here is that you aren’t getting any real HDR hardware capabilities at its $800 price point, which is a bit disappointing given the more premium positioning of this display. However, I still think this is one of the best 32-inch 4K gaming monitors you can get if you want great performance across most key areas without any major deal-breakers.
2. Lenovo Legion Y32P30
Also worth considering is the Lenovo Legion Y32P30, which is often a little cheaper than LG’s equivalent, sitting more in the $700 to $750 range. In fact, I’ve seen it for as low as $680, which is certainly very tempting. The Legion is quite similar to the LG model, though not quite as strong in its tuning and optimization, a little weaker in response time performance, not as wide of a color gamut, and not as well calibrated. However, we’re talking about small differences here.
The Lenovo model isn’t massively behind the LG; it still performs well in general. For a $100 discount, I would definitely consider it, especially if you don’t require hardware calibration or the best accuracy from the factory.
3. Gigabyte M32U
And lastly, in this category, it’s still worth talking about the Gigabyte M32U, which was the previous best choice for those after something 32 inches. This variant is on the cheaper end of the spectrum, typically being priced between $650 and $680, which I think is fair given the performance on offer.
Response times aren’t as well tuned as the Lenovo or LG models, its contrast ratio isn’t as good, and it lacks the same level of wide gamut support and factory calibration as the LG, in particular. However, it’s still a solid monitor for gamers after something with good bang for the buck. Given that it’s roughly $20 cheaper than the 32GR93U, I think it’s worth considering.
Standard Size 4K HDR Gaming Monitors
If you’re after a normal-sized 4K monitor that can also deliver full true HDR, these days there are some great options for you to consider.
1. Samsung Odyssey Neo G7
The Samsung Odyssey Neo G7 is a 32-inch 4K 165Hz gaming display using VA LCD technology with a 1196-zone full-array local dimming backlight. Thanks to this backlight and the use of a high-contrast VA tech, the Neo G7 offers a true HDR experience that gets the closest to OLED of any LCD monitor tested so far. It doesn’t quite match OLED for its richness, shadow detail, and viewing angles, but there’s no doubting the impressive HDR experience it offers.
The Neo G7 is one of the fastest LCD monitors tested in terms of response times, and while motion clarity isn’t as good as OLED displays, it still provides a strong gaming experience, especially at 4K. The HDR experience is very good as well, with minimal blooming and high peak brightness exceeding 1200 nits.
Being a more traditional gaming display, the Neo G7 has some advantages. It uses VA LCD tech, eliminating the risk of burn-in, and has a normal subpixel structure that works well with desktop apps and text. Additionally, its 32-inch size with this resolution is fantastic for desktop use.
However, there are some drawbacks. The 1000R curvature is very aggressive and doesn’t add much to the experience. Input latency with G-Sync enabled is unimpressive, and poor viewing angles require you to view the display head-on for the best HDR experience. These flaws are relatively minor and shouldn’t take away from what is otherwise a great HDR gaming experience.
The Neo G7 has an MSRP of $1300, which is quite expensive. However, it has regularly gone on sale for $1100 and, more recently, an astonishingly good $900.
2. Samsung Odyssey Neo Neo G8
Regarding the Neo G8, while this display does bump up the refresh rate from 165 to 240Hz, the Neo G8 ships with deal-breaking issues such as scan lines at the highest refresh rate. I would opt to save the small amount of cash and just get the Neo G7, which works pretty well.
Large Format 4K HDR Gaming Monitors
A final category in this article is for the best large-format 4K HDR monitor. There are two reasons why this category is included: one, for some people, 32 inches is too small, and they want something larger and super immersive, and two, in my opinion, the overall best 4K HDR monitor for gaming right now is in this category.
1. LG C2/C OLED
When you don’t factor in screen size, the overall best 4K HDR monitor for gaming is, in fact, a larger format display, namely the LG C2 or C3 OLED in its 42-inch size option. This is at least until those 32-inch models arrive next year. OLED panels bring several advantages over LCD, such as per-pixel local dimming, faster response times, and better viewing angles. So, a display like the LG C3 isn’t just a nice large format for immersive gaming; it also delivers excellent image quality, with each pixel able to individually illuminate itself.
The LG C3 OLED offers unparalleled dimming and the ability to show bright and dark objects close together with no blooming or haloing issues. It gets extremely dark for shadow detail, displays true zero-level blacks, and is capable of bright highlights over 700 nits in real-world content. It also has a glossy screen with great reflection handling, which makes colors pop and HDR shine.
Response times are lightning-fast on the C3, and while the Neo G7 is a fast monitor, the C3 is an order of magnitude faster. This helps compensate for its rather low 120Hz refresh rate compared to 165Hz for the Neo G7. Despite this difference in motion clarity, the C3 can actually be better at times simply due to how fast it can transition. 120Hz is still plenty of speed for visual extravaganzas and other single-player titles, which are the best examples of HDR today.
The C3 also has a few other advantages that put it in the top spot and make it a great buy. It has a flat panel with excellent viewing angles, it’s a massive display that is very immersive without being so large that it’s impractical for desktop usage (though it is big enough that it won’t be suitable for all setups). It offers full Smart TV functionality, four HDMI 2.1 ports, and Dolby Vision support, making it a great option for console gaming and other forms of content consumption, like video playback.
Of course, being an OLED, there are some downsides. The monitor is not suitable for desktop usage or productivity work due to its low SDR brightness, non-standard subpixel layout, automatic brightness limiter, and the risk of permanent burning. However, none of these are significant concerns if your primary use case is gaming or watching videos. It also only offers HDMI; no DisplayPort connector is included, so you’ll need an HDMI 2.1 compatible GPU for the best experience.
The main question here is whether you should get the LG C3 OLED or the older C2 OLED that we reviewed in a 42-inch size. Our friends over at TFT Central have tested the C3 and found it performs very similarly to the C2, so there isn’t a clear choice between the newer and older options. Based on this, we’d recommend getting whichever model is cheaper.
That said, it’s becoming much harder these days to find the C2 at an excellent discounted price; stock has pretty much run dry, leaving just the C3 as an option for many. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, as the 42-inch C3 is priced at $1100 these days, which I feel is quite fair. It performs similarly to the C2, and on top of that, LG will likely continue to discount it across the next few months, so you can always wait if you’re after the ultimate best deal on that particular display.
So that’s it for this 4K gaming monitor recommendation video. There are lots of great options on the market right now, and prices have become cheaper for 4K panels. We’re set for a big 2024 with the impending launch of new OLED gaming monitors at sensible sizes. There’s never been a better time to enter the 4K gaming ecosystem, and it’s only going to get better from here.