Best Gaming Monitor Under $400– Buyer’s Guide

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People don’t always buy gaming monitors for fun. They may be professional gamers that get paid when they score better. Typically, if you’re seeking perfection, you may need to splurge quite a bit of money. That’s not really the case with gaming monitors, though. You can have a mind-blowing gaming experience without spending more than $400. 

Whether you’re the fun seeker or the professional gamer, you’ll love this article because we will give you a quick rundown of the best gaming monitors under $400. Let’s get started!

At a Glance:

  1. MSI Optix G27C4 – Best Overall
  2. Dell S2719DGF – Runner Up
  3. ViewSonic XG2402 – G and Free-Sync Compatible
  4. Viotek GN34CB – Best Ultrawide
  5. BenQ Zowie RL2455S – Best for Budget

Our Top Picks:

MonitorScreen SizeResolutionPanel TypeResponse TimeRefresh RateAdaptive Sync
MSI Optix G27C427 in.1080PVA1 ms165 HzFree -Sync 
Dell S2719DGF27 in.1440PTN1 ms155 HzFree-Sync
ViewSonic XG240224 in.1080PTN1 ms144 HzFree-Sync
Viotek GN34CB34 in.1440PVA4 ms144 HzFree-Sync
BenQ Zowie RL2455S24 in.1080PTN1 ms60 HzG-Sync

The 5 Best Gaming Monitors Under $400 in 2020 

1. MSI Optix G27C4 – Best Overall

Most pro gamers care about having a responsive monitor, even more than having high resolution, as they need to follow up with the game. If they lost their connection for a second, their score might be affected. 

The monitor has a 27-inch, curved display that won’t take much space in your room, yet gives you the feeling that you’re a part of the game as if it were real.

The MSI Optix may not have the best resolution, but it offers vivid coloring and excellent contrast, so if you prefer gaming in a dark room, the MSI Optix will offer you this privilege. It is with a VA panel, allowing the screen to view intense black colors.

Other advantages that contribute to a better image is the 165-Hz refresh rate and 1-ms response time that allows image-shifting with no motion blur or screen tearing. Plus, the backlight strobe helps in reducing motion blur.

If you set the settings to the “fastest” option, you’ll have a brighter screen with little overdrive, as the monitor will perform at its maximum refresh rate. 

Moreover, the MSI Optix is a Free-Sync monitor. However, people tried using it with an Nvidia card and a G-Sync, which worked out perfectly.

People don’t like the MSI Optix because they can’t adjust the screen’s height. You can barely tilt it on both sides. That’s why you may need to change your chair’s height to maintain a good viewing position.

Another disadvantage is that the 1080p resolution doesn’t match a 27-inch display. Although when professionals tried out intense games like Call of Duty and Tomb Raider, they said that once you get into the game, the MSI Optix makes you forget all about the poor resolution.

Pros:

  • Excellent motion handling
  • High grey uniformity
  • Low response time
  • High refresh rates 
  • High contrast
  • Low input lag

Cons:

  • No HDR
  • Poor viewing angles
  • Non-adjustable height

Bottom Line

The MSI Optix G27C4 may not have the best image quality, yet it’ll give any gamer the best gaming experience that they could find at $400. It provides competitive players with high-contrast, lag-free games.

2. Dell S2719DGF – Runner-Up

What’s commonly known about Dell products is their immortality. The recon blue Dell S2719DGF is very well-built and can be mounted in different ways for whatever gaming set up makes you feel most comfortable. 

The monitor is a perfect match for professional players, as it provides them with rapid-paced gaming due to its high responsiveness and a 155-Hz refresh rate. That’s why you’d never lose a game because of any latency or slow-shifting between images.

Sitting in a bright room would help improve your monitor’s display. It comes with a TN panel that works more on achieving fast responsiveness rather than maintaining good-quality images.

Also, try to sit at more than a 3-feet distance from the display to decrease the effect of poor viewing angles. Dell tried to fix the displaying problems by adding features like a dark stabilizer to increase the intensity of dark colors.

The screen’s smooth surface is an anti-glare one that doesn’t diffuse the emitted light, keeping the image colorful and vibrant. 

When you’re playing games that include muzzle flashes or sceneries, you might notice some dynamic interlacing patterns. This feature can be irritating to the eyes, although the monitor’s high refresh rates may overcome it.

Pros

  • Excellent refresh rates
  • Low input lag
  • Low response time

Cons

  • Poor viewing angles
  • Restricted to a certain viewing distance

Bottom Line

If you have a fixed home gaming setup, you might consider that durable Dell monitor to be the one.  It’ll give you a competitive gaming experience, and you won’t need to pay more than $300.

3. ViewSonic XG2402 – G-Sync and Free-Sync Compatible

It wouldn’t be fair not to give much credit to the fantastic ViewSonic XG2402, as it’s just as good as its previous counterparts. The reason for that is that companies compete to improve their device’s quality, yet without a significant increase in the prices.

As a newbie, you might want high resolution, yet you want to feel the urge to have a fast, smooth game. This monitor will help you achieve both needs, but it still has the same problem of poor viewing angles. 

It would also help if you considered placing the monitor in a room where it can get some sunlight to compensate for the ViewSonic’s weak brightness. The monitor has a relatively lousy contrast that changes all blacks into greys, leading to disappointing black uniformity.

The 24-inch monitor has a straight, light display that weighs about 3 Kg so that it won’t take much room on your desk. It comes with an easily adjusted stand to adjust the height to suit your viewing position and distance.

It has a low response time that works perfectly when the monitor performs at the highest refresh rates, giving a smooth transition from an image to another with absolutely no motion blur. 

If the frame rate highly drops, only then you may notice some latency, which is later on overcome by using the LFC feature in the Free-Sync monitor, eliminating any possible screen tearing.

Another exciting feature that the Sonic website didn’t mention is that the monitor can support both G-sync and Free-Sync if the Nvidia graphic card was used instead of the AMD one.

Pros:

  • G and Free-Sync compatible
  • Excellent refresh rates
  • Attractive design
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Terrible black uniformity
  • No HDR
  • Restricted brightness

Bottom Line

For $250, you can get an excellent, bit-flawed monitor, yet those flaws are acceptable. A gaming monitor is made to give an enjoyable gaming experience, and the ViewSonic is the best monitor to do so.

4. Viotek GN34CB – Best Ultrawide

For all gamers seeking a cheap ultrawide screen, Viotek made it happen. The Viotek GN34CB is a 34-inch screen with the most vibrant and ghosting-free display because of the VA panel.

The screen is too large that most people prefer mounting it on the wall; however, if you prefer fixing the screen on a stand, it is available, yet an unrecommended option, as the height is unadjustable. 

Also, it’s a curved one, and it gives you the feeling that you’re a part of the game, especially with such vivid contrast.

This monitor is multitasking with QHD resolution. You can use it for watching movies, as well as playing high-productivity games. Unlike all the previous monitors, this one has a VA panel, which gives excellent contrast and perfect viewing angles. 

Of course, some people may say that a VA panel isn’t as vivid as an IPS panel, and that’s when the cost-effectiveness of this screen steps in. Where can you find a $400 ultrawide screen with such remarkable performance?

Another advantage of the Viotek monitor is that you’ll enjoy the deep-intensity of the black color, giving the gamers a significant black uniformity.

The monitor has a 144-Hz refresh rate that, in addition to the bright screen, offers a smooth screen with no tearing or image blur. Since nothing is ever perfect, the monitor has a 4ms response time, which isn’t the best, yet a manageable one.

Pros:

  • Ultrawide screen
  • Vivid and colorful reproduction
  • High refresh rates
  • QHD resolution

Cons:

  • Comparatively high response time
  • Needs a lot of room
  • Non-adjustable height

Bottom Line

If you want to be the hero of your game and enjoy a big screen in your sitting room, then the Viotek GN34CB screen should be on the top of your list.

5. BenQ Zowie RL2455S – Budget Pick

The BenQ Zowie RL2455S is a mediocre monitor. It offers gamers an acceptable display, and it comes with versatile options that contribute to attaining a better resolution.

If you love gaming, but you can’t afford over-priced gaming monitors, yet you can’t find that adrenaline rush when you’re gaming on a TV, the BenQ Zowie is the deal-breaker.

You can enjoy the 1080p resolution that will give you a sharp screen with high brightness, allowing you to start your competitive gaming journey.

The BenQ Zowie supports a 1ms response time and a 60-Hz refresh rate, and that is just enough to play rapid-paced games with unnoticeable latency. 

It may have a lower resolution when compared to IPS Panels, but it’s the best that you can find at such a low price.

If you like playing colorful and fast-paced games, RTS1 mode in the BenQ Zowie will make the gaming experience much more comfortable, as it allows the screen to be brighter and sharper.

Another significant feature is the black equalizer that increases the brightness of the screen so that a  gamer can visualize every aspect of the game even in dark mode.

The BenQ Zowie RL2455S supports G-Sync, but some users tried using it with an AMD Free-Sync graphic card, and it provided an unexpectedly good performance.

Gamers that have an Xbox or a PlayStation 4 Pro may opt for higher titles; however, if you can’t afford it at the moment, the BenQ comes with 2 HDMI ports so that you can effortlessly switch from a device to another.

Pros

  • Best value for money
  • 2 HDMI ports
  • Low response time

Cons

  • Screen-tearing
  • Doesn’t offer the best resolution

Bottom Line

That’s the monitor for people with a budget lower than $200, and they can still enjoy a mind-blowing gaming experience. The BenQ Zowie RL2455S is always the start of something great.

What to Look for in a Gaming Monitor

Pro gamers follow a different perspective when they’re picking their go-to gaming monitors. Amateurs look for a good-quality screen without paying attention to actual essential details like the screen’s fast responses and high refresh rates.

Briefly, we will state several features that gamers should consider when they go monitor-shopping. These features could make or break the gaming process.

Screen Size

If you’re a gamer, you don’t necessarily need a large screen because reducing your eyes and head movements are vital aspects of having a good game. Also, eventually, if you get a large screen, you may experience some neck soreness and eye irritation.

Professional gamers usually opt for 24 or 27 inches because this size is just right for sitting 3-feet away from your screen so that the gaming setup doesn’t occupy much of your room.

Once you make up your mind about the screen size, you can choose the other features accordingly.

Panel Type

Choosing the panel’s type depends on your priorities as a buyer, whether you prefer fast-paced gaming or high-resolution screens.

For instance, if you’re a professional gamer who seeks high refresh rates and low response times, then the TN panels should be your top choice. Twisted Nematic panels can come with 1 to 5 ms response time, which is what a gamer wants.

On the other hand, TN panels don’t offer high-resolution screens because good-quality screens take a long time to shift from one image to another. 

If you’re buying a monitor to fill in some free time and care about resolution more than the operation itself, it’d be best to purchase an IPS panel. The In-Plane Switching panel has a higher response time ranging from 5 to 8 ms.

Another point to keep in mind is that TN panels are much cheaper than IPS ones.

Response Time

When you press a button, it takes the screen a particular amount of time to shift images and colors. This time is what we call the response time. Whenever you’re choosing a monitor, always go for one with the low response time.

Professional console gamers always look for response times ranging from 1 to 5 ms, which is good enough to give them a smooth, rapid-paced gaming experience. Otherwise, you may experience some latency while playing, leading to your loss.

Refresh Rates

The refresh rate is the number of times the screen updates the display in one second.

If you’re looking for a smooth-paced game with no lag or delay, you need to look for a monitor with a refresh rate between 144 and 240 Hz.

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

This feature controls the luminosity of the screen to give a clear image to the gamer. However, most players would rather have a lag-free game than a bright one. 

Of course, you can have both qualities; HDR and low response time, only if you’re willing to pay extra money.

Adaptive Sync

It would help if you ensured that the sync is compatible with your GPU before you purchased a monitor. 

If you went for a Free-Sync monitor, you may save some money and get a free-tearing screen. Also, Free-Sync monitors are compatible with more GPUs than the G-Sync monitors.

Getting a G-sync doesn’t mean that the screen will have low resolutions or lags, but it’s all a matter of compatibility. The G-sync is only compatible with Nvidia graphic cards, so it’ll limit your options and increase your expenses. 

Final Verdict 

Your final choice depends on your gaming preferences. If you’re a professional gamer with a tight budget, you may need to consider giving up a high-resolution screen to have one without tearing or stutters.

You can choose the MSI Optix G27C4 to enjoy some competitive online gaming that will get you the highest scores.

On the other hand, if you prefer the luxury of a QHD screen, and you’re ready to give up the low response time, you should opt for the ultrawide Viotek GN34CB
If you found all the previously mentioned options a bit pricey, the BenQ Zowie RL2455S is here to make your day.

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