Predator

Technology is always on the move, and there's no area where you can see the benefits of upgrading more than by going with a modern display. From FreeSync to 4K to ultra-wide, there's something new and better at every pricepoint! And for Spring 2020, our Monitor Buyer's Guide continues to feature all the latest and greatest offerings, a total of a dozen in all, spanning the gamut from home office PC monitors under $150 to ultra-elite gaming models at the $2,000 pricepoint!

The models we profile in this guide cater to various users, including home users, office users, designers, and gamers. They include models ranging in size from 23" to 65", and just about every resolution you can think of, from 1920 x 1080 to four times that (3840 x 2160 or 4K). But there's more to monitors than just size and resolution. Therefore, we've broken down our picks into two main categories:

  • Home- and Small-Office Monitors: The first five monitors on our list fit into this category, offering prices, features, and designs for any office environment. They start at around $100 and go up to $800.
  • Gaming Monitors: The last seven monitors on our list are gaming-specific monitors, which feature either frame syncing technology (AMD FreeSync or Nvidia G-Sync), much higher refresh rates (historically 144Hz, but they now go up to 200Hz), or both. While there's one brand that dominates this list, namely Acer, our absolute favorite pick comes from a newcomer to the gaming market, Samsung. Its massive CRG9, shown above, builds upon everything Samsung has learned as the world's leading TV manufacturer, and takes it up a notch for a discerning gaming audience. It's truly ground-breaking thanks to its double QHD resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and HDR1000 certification, and has proven so popular that it caught even Samsung by surprise!

Acer

Now, before we move onto our product recommendations, we should explain the concept of frame syncing. This method of displaying images on screen matches a monitor's refresh rate to frames rendered, rather than refreshing at a locked 60Hz. Sounds simple, but it's actually revolutionary. By eliminating lag and screen tearing caused by too many or too few frames being displayed, frame syncing provides truly fluid images. There are two types: Nvidia's G-Sync, which requires additional hardware in the monitor along with a licensing fee that drives up the price, as well as AMD's FreeSync, which uses capabilities built into the DisplayPort standard. While this led to confusion among gamers for years, we finally have some long-awaited good news for our readers: Nvidia has given up on its attempt to monopolize the market, unlocking FreeSync compabitility in its modern GPUs via drivers. That means gamers on a budget who want to experience frame syncing on their mid-range Nvidia GPUs no longer have to look exclusively at Nvidia G-Sync models!

As always, prices are shown in real-time from our preferred vendors in the U.S., along with country-specific links for our readers in Canada, the UK, and Germany. If you decide to purchase any of the models we profile, please support this site by using the links we provide.

Monitors - Spring 2020

Home/Small Office

  • The 24-inch General-Purpose Monitor:

    Sceptre E248W-1920

    Offering mind-blowing value in the mid-range segment, this monitor packs in all the features you've come to expect from $150+ monitors, but for a lot less money. That includes a high-quality 24" panel with excellent viewing angles, a 1920 x 1080 resolution, and a fast 75Hz refresh rate for smoother scrolling (up from the standard 60Hz).

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model can accept HDMI or VGA inputs, but not the common DVI input.

  • The 24-inch Small Office Monitor:

    Acer BW257 bmiprx

    This stylish 25" model from Acer is ideal for home or small office use. It features an ultra-narrow bezel, along with resolution of 1920 x 1200, which is extremely rare nowadays, despite its usefulness when actually working on long documents (think Word and Excel here, not YouTube). In addition, this model offers up extensive tilt, swivel, and height adjustments, along with portrait mode, making it ideal for just about any office environment.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Almost all competing monitors have a resolution of 1920x1080, which is great for movies and games, but not nearly as good for office work.

  • The 32-inch 4K Monitor:

    ViewSonic VX3211-4K-MHD

    Looking for the best under-$400 productivity monitor? This is it! It gives you a great view of your desktop, thanks to its massive 32" 4K panel! In its price range, it does battle against 27" 1440p models that are no longer even worth considering.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This monitor even features a curved panel, for greater immersion in your work.

  • The 34-inch Widescreen Monitor:

    LG 34WL750-B 34-Inch Ultra-Wide

    While 4K monitors have gotten all the press, the 21:9 screen format is making a name for itself among those who typically would run dual monitors side-by-side. With a breathtaking 3440 x 1440 IPS panel, this model provides a wholly-different view on the PC experience. It's ideal for anyone who needs to work on multiple documents at the same time.

    The Guru's Tip:

    There are two caveats to consider when choosing an ultra-wide monitor. First, the vertical viewing area is actually a bit smaller than a 27" 16:9 monitor, as so much of the 34" ends up being in the width. That makes it slightly less useful for scrolling through long documents. Second, ultra-wides require a lot of desk space. Due to their curvature, you have to sit further back from them than you would a flat screen, and due to their weight, they have large stands that tend to extend a bit further forward and backward than stands on smaller monitors. We recommend a desk no smaller than 3-feet from front-to-back to achieve a comfortable viewing distance.

  • The 32-inch Professional 4K Monitor:

    ViewSonic VP3268-4K PRO

    For a high-end content creation experience, step up to this 32" 4K beauty from ViewSonic. Think of it as a model directed at professionals, which is in keeping with its name! With its IPS 14-bit panel, it's able to achieve 100% of the sRGB and Rec. 709 color space, making it ideal for photo and video work. It also offers HDR10 certification.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We particularly like the PRO's stylish, highly-adjustable stand.

Gaming

  • The 24-inch 144Hz Gaming Monitor:

    Acer XFA240

    Taking the reins from older 144Hz monitors like the Asus VG248QE (which is inexplicably still a top seller despite launching in January 2013!), the cutting-edge XFA240 from Acer is the one to beat when it comes to a serious gaming monitor at a bargain price. The most important feature this model has is an ultra-fast 144Hz refresh rate, and take our word for it... if you're a serious gamer, you want that feature. We'd put it right up there with doubling your video card power in terms of the effect it has on gaming. Being a TN-based display, this model doesn't have quite the same viewing angles or color accuracy as an IPS-based display, but it's close, and if you're a gamer, speed is what matters. Also note that unlike most inexpensive TN-based models, this one has a full range of tilt and height adjustments, which any gamer will appreciate.

    The Guru's Tip:

    You get another fantastic feature with this model: AMD's FreeSync. When using AMD Radeon video cards attached via the included DisplayPort cable, you'll have variable refresh rates, leading to ultra-smooth gaming even when framerates drop. Nvidia users need not fear, however, as Nvidia has recently enabled FreeSync through its drivers, and this is one of the "pre-approved" models that Nvidia has tested in-house to ensure that it performs perfectly on an Nvidia GPU!

  • The Bargain 144Hz FreeSync Gaming Monitor:

    Acer XF270HU

    For an ultra-fast, big-screen gaming experience, look no further than this monitor, which offers a 27" screen with 2560 x 1440 resolution, a 144Hz refresh rate, along with FreeSync technology, which provides far smoother framerates than any fixed-refresh rate monitor can provide. And thanks to its TN panel, it still lands in the realm of affordability!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Nvidia has finally enabled FreeSync on its G-Sync-compatible graphics cards, so you can now take advantage of the much lower price of FreeSync monitors. This model is equivalent to a $450 G-Sync monitor, but at a much lower price!

  • The Gamer's Dream Monitor:

    Acer XB271HU

    While it may appear to have really similar specs to the monitor listed above, this model actually has an ace up its sleeve - an ultra-high-quality IPS panel. That means that it has much better colors and viewing angles than any TN-based model. It's also capable of up to 165Hz, while still offering G-Sync technology to keep those frames sync'd with your GeForce video card.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Despite being several years old, this monitor still sells out constantly, proving that it really is a favorite of gamers!

  • The 35-inch Widescreen Monitor:

    ViewSonic Elite XG350R-C

    Are you ready for the next big thing in gaming? Then feast your eyes on this 35" monitor from ViewSonic. This model uses a high-quality VA panel, has an 1800R curve, as well as a big 35"-diagonal ultra-wide 3440 x 1440 VA panel. But more importantly, it comes out of the box with a refresh rate of 100Hz, and uses FreeSync technology to keep your frames running smoothly. 

    The Guru's Tip:

    Just make sure that you have the video card to drive it, preferably an RTX 2080 Super model like the MSI GeForce RTX 2080 8GB Super.

  • The Ultimate FreeSync Gaming Monitor:

    Samsung CRG9 49" 5120 x 1440

    This super-ultra-wide monitor from Samsung offers bleeding-edge features at a very reasonable price. We're talking HDR-1000 for true high dynamic range output, with Samsung QLED technology delivering DCI-P3 95% wide color gamut, and an insane 5120 x 1440 double QHD resolution; that's like having two 2560 x 1440 monitors sitting side-by-side! All that and it runs at 120Hz - incredible!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model offers AMD's FreeSync2 frame syncing technology, which works not just on AMD GPUs, but thanks to a recent update in Nvidia drivers, all current Nvidia cards as well!

  • The Ultimate 4K Gaming Monitor:

    Acer Predator X27 bmiphzx

    If you'll accept nothing less than a true 4K gaming experience, and you don't want to sacrifice refresh rates and cutting-edge frame syncing to get there, then the Predator X27 is your monitor! Offering a refresh rate of up to 144Hz along with Nvidia's G-Sync, this is the most technologically-advanced 4K gaming monitor on the market!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that most gaming monitors have moved from 4K to ultra-wide resolutions, which typically offer fewer pixels over all, spread across a much larger screen. So if fine-grained detail is what you want, there is no comparison to the X27!

  • The Ultimate G-Sync Gaming Monitor:

    Acer Predator X35 bmiphzx G-Sync Ultimate

    While Nvidia and its G-Sync partner Acer has a first run at glory with the original X27 Predator 4K/144Hz monitor, the next generation has arrived. While the new X35 Predator sports a slightly lower resolution (3440x1440), everything else about it is superior (hence the much higher cost!). The super-wide VA panel offers G-SYNC Ultimate, true HDR 1000 output with 512 local dimming zones, a response time of 2ms, DCI-P3 90% wide color gamut, 10-bit color with Quantum Dot technology, and an absolutely mind-blowing 200Hz refresh rate!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Seriously, this monitor may not be 4K, but it's better for gaming in every way posssible!

  1. The 24-inch General-Purpose Monitor Sceptre E248W-1920 ($103.00)
  2. The 24-inch Small Office Monitor Acer BW257 bmiprx ($250.00)
  3. The 32-inch 4K Monitor ViewSonic VX3211-4K-MHD ($350.00)
  4. The 34-inch Widescreen Monitor LG 34WL750-B 34-Inch Ultra-Wide ($497.00)
  5. The 32-inch Professional 4K Monitor ViewSonic VP3268-4K PRO ($790.00)
  6. The 24-inch 144Hz Gaming Monitor Acer XFA240 ($170.00)
  7. The Bargain 144Hz FreeSync Gaming Monitor Acer XF270HU ($368.00)
  8. The Gamer's Dream Monitor Acer XB271HU ($475.00)
  9. The 35-inch Widescreen Monitor ViewSonic Elite XG350R-C ($660.00)
  10. The Ultimate FreeSync Gaming Monitor Samsung CRG9 49" 5120 x 1440 ($1200.00)
  11. The Ultimate 4K Gaming Monitor Acer Predator X27 bmiphzx ($1300.00)
  12. The Ultimate G-Sync Gaming Monitor Acer Predator X35 bmiphzx G-Sync Ultimate ($2000.00)