With all the technological advances going on in the world of gaming, it’s becoming more and more important to find a monitor that can keep up with the game.
This could be a pretty tricky quest when you’re looking for a choice under $300, as a lot of technology is required to be integrated into the monitor in order for it to perform efficiently.
But, if you know exactly what to look for and what specs best suit the genre of game you’re playing, you can easily find the middle ground between affordability and great performance.
And that’s where this little guide comes in handy. I’ve listed the best gaming monitors under $300 on the market that suit different genres and allow you to enjoy every last bit of the game.
|Monitor/Spec||Screen Size||Resolution||Panel Type||Refresh Rate|
|Dell Alienware AW2720HF||27 in.||1920 x 1080 pixels||IPS||240 Hz|
|AOC C24G1||24 in.||1920 x 1080 pixels||VA||144 Hz|
|Dell S2417DG||27 in.||2560 x 1440 pixels||TN||144 Hz|
|LG 24MP59G-P||24 in.||1920 x 1080 pixels||IPS||75 Hz|
|Acer G257HU||25 in.||2560 x 1440 pixels||IPS||60 Hz|
The 5 Best Gaming Monitors Under $300 for 2020
1. Dell Alienware AW2720HF – Best Overall
The most impressive thing about the Dell Alienware AW2720HF is that it’s an IPS panel, yet it perfectly suits competitive gaming.
With a 240Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time, its specs are basically the same as gaming-focused TN panels. These specs leave no place for trailing or ghosting, even during fast-paced gameplay.
Simultaneously, it comes with 178° wide viewing angles and 8-bit color depth and standard 99% sRGB color gamut, providing the same visually pleasing experience that all IPS panels are famous for.
However, though it’s a 27-inch screen, it has a 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution, so its pixel per inch (PPI) ratio is only 82, which means that some images may look too pixelated.
Yet, I can see how this won’t be a huge problem if you view the screen from a distance -which is completely feasible thanks to its viewing angles. And although some IPS glow is visible, it’s nothing that’s not manageable.
Moreover, the Alienware AW2720HF supports AMD FreeSync with a 48 – 240Hz variable refresh rate (VRR) over both HDMI and DisplayPort.
What’s more, it’s even certified by NVIDIA as G-Sync compatible, which means that you could use FreeSync with compatible NVIDIA cards if you want to.
The Alienware AW2720HF comes with a flicker-free backlight and a low-blue light filter that prevent any headaches or eyestrain, even with long gaming sessions.
To make it more gaming-oriented, it comes with pre-calibrated picture presets, including FPS, RPG, Sports, MOBA/RTS, and three fully customizable profiles besides the Dark Stabilizer that brings out details and visibility of objects in shadows.
It even has an on-screen timer and FPS counter, but no crosshairs.
In terms of ergonomics, the AW2720HF comes with a matte finish, matte anti-glare coating, ultra-thin bezels, and a fully adjustable stand with tilt, swivel, and pivot adjustments, besides being 100x100mm VESA-mountable.
As for connectivity, you get a DisplayPort 1.2, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a headphone jack, an audio line-out port for external speakers, and a quad-USB 3.0 hub.
- Vivid and accurate colors
- Wide viewing angles
- Low response time and input lag
- FreeSync up to 240 Hz
- Plenty of connectivity options
- Ergonomic design
- Lacks gamma presets
- Doesn’t come with motion blur reduction
- Pixel density is rather low
The Dell AW2720 is an excellent gaming monitor overall. Although it’s an IPS, it goes beyond great visuals to cover incredible performance specs and suit competitive gaming.
2.AOC C24G1 – Best Curved Option
The AOC C24G1 is a pretty affordable gaming monitor, but not only that, it’s a curved one!
This design gives the user a fully immersive experience. It also comes with a stylish design that employs ultra-thin bezels at the top and sides to provide you with a cinematic view as well as open the possibility for a multi-monitor gaming setup.
This is only enhanced with the visual specs as the screen comes with true 8-bit color depth, an exceptional 3,000:1 static contrast ratio, 178* viewing angles, and 1920 x 1080p resolution, which, when spread on a 24-inch screen, results in little to no pixelation.
And since it’s a VA panel, it combines both visuals and performance.
With a high color depth and contrast ratio, you’ll get awesome aesthetics as the colors would look vivid, while the darker areas where enemies could be lurking would look more distinctive.
The AOC C24G1 comes with a 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time, which means that it gives you an experience that’s free from any trailing or ghosting. That is, as long as you stay out of the shadows. Although enemies and targets would look clear, they’d be harder to track. I’d say this one is for fast-paced action games where no stealth is required.
That’s especially true as the 1080p isn’t too demanding, so it’s easy to reach high frame rates even with a budget or mid-range GPU.
And although the AOC C24G1 comes with Motion Blur Reduction (MBR), it can’t be active simultaneously with FreeSync and reduces the monitor’s maximum brightness while active.
The fact that the AOC C24G1 comes with five response times overdrive options makes it super convenient for gamers. You can pick the off, weak, medium, strong, or boost option. The latter is only available with FreeSync off, enables MBR, and basically kicks your monitor’s competitive gaming performance up a notch.
With a variable refresh rate ranging from 48 to 144 Hz, this monitor keeps tearing and stuttering to a minimum. However, once your FPS drops below that you might face some trouble with the refresh rate doubling or tripling.
As a dedicated gaming monitor does, the AOC C24G1 comes with presets for FPS, RTS, and racing genres, as well as three profiles that you can customize.
What’s more, the C24G1 comes with flicker-free backlight (unless 1ms MPRT is enabled) as well as Low Blue Light mode to give you an enjoyable experience at night with no strain on your eyes.
As for ergonomics, this monitor comes with height, swivel, and tilt adjustments, besides being 100x100mm VESA-mountable.
On the back of the monitor, there are two HDMI 1.4 ports, DisplayPort 1.2, VGA, and a headphone jack. Both HDMI ports and DisplayPort support AMD FreeSync and 144Hz at 1080p, so you’re totally free to choose the set up that’s most convenient to you.
- High contrast ratio that brings out deep blacks
- Solid colors and viewing angles
- Quick response time
- Superb value for the price
- Sturdy and ergonomic design
- Dark pixels may cause some ghosting
- No joystick for OSD navigation
If you’re looking for the most immersive gaming experience, the AOC C24G1 would be the ideal choice for you. Its curved shape paired with a 1080p resolution on a 24-inch screen makes it absolute eye-candy. Not to mention, it gives you the possibility of a multi-monitor setup.
3. Dell S2417DG – AOC C24G1 – Best Curved OptionBest G-Sync Option
If you have a PC that can run 144Hz at 1440p, you can fully utilize it with the Dell S2716DG.
Since it’s a TN model, not only does it have a high refresh rate, but it also comes with a low response time of only 1ms.
This low response time eliminates any ghosting and motion blur, allowing you to fully enjoy a fast-paced gaming experience without missing your targets.
Not only that, but it also offers a decent variable refresh rate for NVIDIA G-Sync compatible graphics cards, ranging between 30 to 144 Hz.
Alternatively, you can disable G-Sync and use ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur), which inserts black frames between regular ones to reduce trailing and ghosting.
However, it admittedly doesn’t have the best image quality, especially with a 2560 x 1440p resolution on a 27-inch screen, which results in some pixelation. And generally, it has inferior color quality when compared with IPS and VA panels. Consequently, you’ll need to calibrate some settings after setting it up to ensure the best possible visuals.
It also has pretty narrow viewing angles, especially with a 160* vertical angle.
The screen is pretty ergonomic, with plenty of adjustability options, including height, tilt, and swivel.
The S2417DG’s OSD (On-Screen Display) menu is easy to navigate and allows to adjust settings like brightness, contrast, color temperature, TGB, and input source selection. It also has tilt, swivel, pivot, and height adjustments.
Not only that, but it’s also VESA-mountable, has an anti-glare coating, a cable management hole, and thin bezels.
Finally, the Dell S2417DG comes with two USB 3.0 ports, an audio line-out port at the back of the monitor, two USB ports, and a headphone jack on the side of the monitor.
It’s worth mentioning that if you have an AMD graphics card, you wouldn’t be able to use the G-Sync or ULMB features, so it’s better if you go for a monitor with AMD FreeSync technology instead.
- Super affordable for a G-Sync monitor
- Great performance
- Fully ergonomic design
- A myriad of connectivity options
- Needs calibration out of the box
- Images may look a little pixelated
The Dell S2716DG is the ideal choice for those who are seeking an affordable G-Sync monitor. Being a TN panel, it has great performance that suits fast-paced gameplay but doesn’t have the best visuals.
4. LG 24MP59G-P – Most Budget-Friendly
Since you’re on here, it’s safe to assume that budget is a concern of yours, and the LG 24MP59G-P is quite suitable for this concern.
Despite being the cheapest option on the list and one of the cheapest on the market, it still performs quite well, especially in terms of visuals.
It offers wide 178° viewing angles, 8-bit color support, and covers over 99% sRGB color gamut. These specs ensure vibrant colors while the Full HD (1920 x 1080p) resolution on a 24-inch gives you four times fewer pixels than popular 4K Ultra HD options. In other words, you won’t be bothered with any pixelation, and you’ll enjoy higher picture setting and frame rates in games as the 1080p is not demanding.
However, you’ll be limited to a 75Hz refresh rate and a 5ms response time, which aren’t quite helpful if you’re looking to enjoy fast-paced gaming with no trailing or ghosting. And the 1ms Motion Blur Reduction (MBR) does little to counter this issue.
The 24MP59G-P comes with AMD FreeSync to remove tearing and stuttering, but that’s only true if your FPS (Frames per Second) rate is within the dynamic refresh rate of the monitor, which isn’t quite that inclusive as it ranges from 40 to 75 Hz only. Like the Alienware, though, it can work with compatible NVIDIA G-SYNC graphics cards.
The best part about the LG 24MP59G-P is that despite being an IPS panel, it doesn’t suffer from the bleeding and IPS glow that these panels are infamous for.
To make it more gaming-oriented, LG manufacturers equip the monitor with OSD (On-Screen Display) settings, including a crosshair feature for better performance in FPS games, a Black Stabilizer that increases visibility, and Dynamic Action Sync to reduce input lag.
Similar to the Alienware, it comes with pre-calibrated gaming picture presets, two for FPS, one for RTS, and a customizable profile.
As for connectivity, it comes with an HDMI 1.4 port, DisplayPort 1.2, a VGA port, and a headphones jack.
However, it’s not quite ergonomic as its adjustments include only tilting. But you can VESA-mount the monitor if you wish.
- Crisp and vibrant colors
- Highly affordable
- Good connectivity range
- 1ms Motion Blur Reduction
- Not VESA-mountable
- Tilt adjustments only
The LG 24MP59G is a super affordable gaming monitor that provides pretty solid visuals. So, if you’re playing a thriller or an open-world game, it’d be pretty great. However, it’s not the best for competitive gaming.
5. Acer G257HU – Best Color Reproduction
If you’re more concerned about the pictures and images in your game than you are about performance with fast gameplay in action games, the Acer G257HU would be a pretty suitable choice for you.
As an IPS panel, it covers 99% of the sRGB gamut, supporting 16.7 million colors, comes with 178* viewing angles, and comes with a 2560 x 1440p resolution on a 25-inch screen, resulting in a high pixel density (around 93 PPI).
In other words, the images would look very clear, with no pixelation or backlight bleeding. Moreover, it’s equipped with Acer eColor that enables you to adjust display settings to suit whatever you’re viewing -data, media, photos, or movies. So, it goes beyond being just a gaming monitor.
The fact that it employs the Zero Frame design means that you’ll get more immersion into your game with no borders. Frameless designs also create a possibility of multi-monitor setups.
Admittedly, the 60Hz refresh rate and 4ms response time aren’t the best pair to keep up with fast-paced action games, so, if you’re a competitive gamer, steer away from this one.
The X-shaped stand provides the Acer G257HU with stability, but its ergonomics are limited to only tilt adjustments.
Finally, the monitor comes with DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA, and audio line-out ports.
- Consistency of image accuracy
- Sleek design
- Decent performance
- Good connectivity options
- Black uniformity isn’t the best
- Limited adjustability
- Distracting temporary image retention
The Acer G257HU is the kind of monitor that suits someone who’s looking for an aesthetically pleasing experience. Being an IPS panel means that you can’t count on it for fast-paced gaming, but it can definitely bring out the colors in your game.
How to Choose a Gaming Monitor Under $300
It’s no secret that it takes plenty of knowledge to understand the various specs of a monitor, especially gaming ones. If you’re at a loss when it comes to knowing how to choose, I’ve cooked up this guide just for you. So, let’s have a look at the basics.
Size and Resolution
I have to put those two together as they simply go hand in hand.
The rule of thumb is that the perfect size lies between 24 inches and 2 7 inches. If you’re a casual gamer, you can go for a bigger-sized monitor to enjoy a better visual experience, but that means you’ll be sacrificing some of the performance’s efficiency.
The resolution dictates the sharpness of the picture, and a higher one means more pixels are present, consequently creating a better picture quality.
With a budget gaming monitor, you’ll usually get a 1080p (1920 x 1080p).
A 2160p (3840 x 2160p, or 4K) would definitely provide better quality, but those are high-end options that will probably cost a lot more than any of the options on the list.
PPI (Pixels Per Inch)
The PPI or pixels per inch ratio of a gaming monitor can be determined through the size and resolution. It’s a measure of the density of pixels in a given area, which makes it a more reliable indicator of picture clarity than resolution. So, this is an aspect that you should really pay attention to if you’re highly concerned with the visuals of your gameplay.
Color Space Support
Color space support is the ability of your panel to display colors. And this is pretty straightforward, the higher the percentage, the better.
You can see different acronyms, like sRGB and DCI-P3, which stand for different standards.
For the average use, a 100% sRGB color space is high-end. On the other hand, professionals would look for a 100% DCI-P3 or 100% Adobe-RGB color space.
If you’re more concerned with how your monitor can keep up with fast-paced titles, you should focus on refresh rates.
A jump from 60 or 70Hz to 144Hz can really make all the difference in how you enjoy the fast action of the game.
But judging by the fact that the difference between 144Hz and 240Hz isn’t that significant, I’d say a budget 144Hz monitor would suit competitive gamers just fine.
Another aspect competitive gamers should focus on is response time. This refers to the monitor’s ability to display pixels.
Generally, you want to aim for a lower number, 1 or 2ms is just excellent for fast-paced gameplay.
But monitors with better visual specs can have 4 or 5ms response times, which is still not too shabby but doesn’t give you the full potential you could use for tournaments and competitions.
However, it’s worth mentioning that different companies and manufacturers use different standards to measure this aspect.
When your FPS ratio (frames per second) is considerably faster or slower than your effective refresh rate, this results in tearing. In other words, it divides your screen, where one half displays one frame, and the other displays another frame.
With VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) technologies, you can fix this issue. That is, as long as your monitor has VRR and a compatible GPU.
Current technologies used to reduce and eliminate tearing are G-Sync and FreeSync.
The latter is a lot cheaper to integrate into monitors, and that’s why it’s the one typically found on budget-friendly options.
However, G-Sync offers lower input lag and makes fast-paced gameplay a lot more enjoyable. However, it only works with NVIDIA GPUs.
Panel Technology: IPS, TN, and VA
Well, that has been a lot to take in, no? A good way to sum it all up would be through panels types.
Generally, you have three types: IPS, TN, and VA.
IPS (In-Panel Switching) panels are best for visuals, which is why they focus on viewing angles, color space support, size and resolution proportions, and PPI. Consequently, they provide the best experience for open-world games, MMOs, thrillers, and action-adventure games.
On the other hand, you have TN (Twisted Nematic) panels. Those focus on the performance specs like refresh rate, response time, VRR, motion or blur reduction, as well as eliminating ghosting and stuttering. They can reach 240Hz and 1ms, so they’re ideal for competitive games or FPS tournaments. If you want to be the next MVP on your team, TN panels are the way to get there.
Finally, VA (Vertical Alignment) panels are a good way to balance both visuals and performance. They offer decent viewing angles along with relatively fast response times. But, since a jack of all trades is a master of none, it doesn’t compare with IPS choices in terms of color reproduction or with TN ones in terms of refresh rates and VRR.
Now that you’ve read through the reviews of the best gaming monitors under $300, you should be closer to making a final decision. However, if you haven’t gotten there yet, maybe a quick recap would help.
If you’re looking for the best option overall, I’d highly recommend the Dell Alienware AW2720HF. This one comes with a decent resolution and high refresh rate despite being an IPS panel that’s capable of providing an excellent visual experience. You won’t miss out on anything.
The AOC C24G1 would be an awesome choice if you’re looking for a super immersive experience as it comes with a curved design. Not only that, but it also comes with ultra-thin bezels to easily allow you to create a multi-monitor setup.
Finally, the Dell S2417DG would be an ideal choice if you’re looking for very fast performance. This is thanks to its 144Hz refresh rate paired with G-Sync technology and a pretty wide VRR. In other words, it offers the smoothest gameplay with the least trailing or ghosting.