You’d think being on a budget will reduce your chances of finding a worthy monitor that will give you an edge over your opponents. However, fortunately, we’re not in the 90s! As technology took a leap forward in the last few years, feature-loaded gaming monitors have become more affordable than ever.
Whether you’re just starting in the field, an amateur who’s gaming for fun, or a pro gamer who makes money out of it, you need a display with powerful graphics, high resolution, and super-fast refresh rates.
We’ve taken that in mind and compiled the best gaming monitors under $200 that will give you the best value for your money. So, warriors, sportsmen, and adventurers gather up. The fun is about to begin!
|Model||Size||Resolution||Response time||Refresh rate|
|AOC C24G1||24″||1920 x 1080 pixels||1 ms||144Hz|
|BenQ GW2780||27”||1920 x 1080 pixels||1 ms||60Hz|
|Samsung LC27F398||27”||1920 x 1080 pixels||4 ms||60 Hz|
|Sceptre E255B-1658A||25”||1920 x 1080 pixels||5 ms||165Hz|
The 4 Best Gaming Monitors Under $200 in 2021
1. AOC C24G1 – Best Overall
AOC recently launched this model that broke the records with its high ratings. So, let’s dig deeper and find out why.
C24G1 uses a VA panel, which represents the middle-ground between IPS and TN panels. It provides precise colors and wide viewing angles comparable to those of IPS panels, but with faster response time, though slower than that of TN ones.
The monitor is 24 inches in size and sits on a nice aluminum stand. It has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, so the image quality is adequate for a display of this size. It shows sharp and clear details along with a good amount of screen real estate, which allow for an enjoyable gaming experience.
The 1500R curvature, though not a game-changing feature, is an appreciated advantage for gamers who like to have a bit of extra depth and immersion in their game.
Ergonomically, it boasts a VESA mountable design that can rotate, tilt, or swivel, making it easy to adjust according to your sitting position.
With a refresh rate of 114 Hz and 1 millisecond response time, the monitor shifts quickly from one image to another with no ghosting of fast-moving objects. This makes it suitable for hardcore gamers and casual players alike.
For additional versatility, the screen is equipped with two HDMI 1.4 ports, a DisplayPort 1.2, a VGA port, and a headphones jack. It also supports AMD FreeSync, which is a feature that helps eliminate tearing and stuttering at the expense of an unnoticeable lag.
- Top-notch color accuracy
- 1500R curvature for a better viewing angle
- Sturdy and ergonomic
- Adaptive Sync support
- Perfect contrast and brightness
- Good value for the price
- High refresh rate and low response time
- VA panel has slower response time than that of TN ones
- No built-in speakers
- No USB port
- Aging OSD design
C24G1 is by far the best gaming monitor under $200. It’s a 114 Hz curved screen with AMD FreeSync and 1-millisecond response time that will provide you with exceptional performance when playing fast-paced games.
2. Sceptre E255B-1658A – Highest Refresh Rate
When it comes to gaming monitors, we trust Sceptre endlessly to produce the best products, and for a budget display, E255B-1658A exceeds expectations in every possible aspect.
The highlight of this monitor is its fast TN panel. Unlike VA and IPS panels, this type provides reliable and silky-smooth performance for eSports gamers to whom every millisecond makes a difference.
The model offers an input lag of 5 milliseconds and a response time of 1 millisecond, which are common only in high-end displays. These features help eliminate the trailing of fast-moving objects, which can be annoying when playing games like Overwatch and Apex Legends.
The peak refresh rate is 165 Hz, which is rare in a display under $200. Even average gamers will notice how this high rate makes a difference in their reaction speed.
Owing to the AMD FreeSync feature, you can synchronize the monitor to your PC’s GPU, which results in a variable refresh rate of 60-165 Hz. This helps eliminate screen tearing and stuttering without a hint of input lag.
On top of that, its FreeSync is compatible with Nvidia cards as well, so you won’t have to worry about the type of your hardware’s graphic card.
Measuring 25 inches, the screen displays high-quality images, better than that of other TN panels. The 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution allows you to reach the 165 Hz refresh rate, as it doesn’t require a lot of time to shift from one image to another.
To enjoy gaming for hours, it offers a backlight dimming option, which enables you to adjust the light to be easier on your eyes.
As for the design, it has a tilt-only stand, which limits its ergonomics. Yet, the whole unit is made of sturdy materials and offers many connectivity options, including a pair of HDMI ports, a DisplayPort, and a headphones jack.
- Excellent performance
- Fast response time
- Anti-flicker tech
- Low input lag
- FreeSync up to 165 Hz
- Great image quality for a TN panel
- Stand only tilts
- Poor color accuracy
- Speakers aren’t the best
- No USB port
If you’re a serious gamer on a tight budget, this model from Sceptre promises you a smooth gaming performance and outstanding picture quality even when playing demanding games.
3. Samsung LC27F398 – Best Viewing Experience
Curved panels are considered a luxury in the world of budget gaming monitors. However, this model from Samsung succeeded in integrating this high-end feature along with a plethora of amazing specs without burning a hole in your pocket.
It’s a 27-inch monitor with 1800R curvature for a panoramic view that improves the life-like experience of the game. It works with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, which provides high-quality images with no smudging, blurriness, or any imperfection that can get on your nerves when playing.
This image quality is complemented with the 4-millisecond response time and the Active Crystal Color Tech, which generates a 3,000:1 contrast ratio. This allows the screen to display the darkest black and the brightest colors effectively, thus improving its dark room performance.
Using a typical VA panel, it boasts unmatched color accuracy and improved viewing angles. Although we expected the slow pixel response that usually comes with this type of panel, we were surprised to find that they overcame this problem with the three-stage response time. This helped alleviate ghosting and visual trails when playing fast-paced games.
What’s more, the monitor incorporates AMD FreeSync mode, which, when enabled, allows the 60 Hz refresh rate to increase to 75 Hz, resulting in a smoother performance for serious gamers.
As a bonus, it has an eye-saver mode that helps reduce blue light emissions and eliminate flickers to guarantee safer long-duration gaming sessions. It also offers an HDMI and a DisplayPort input as well as a headphones jack for your gaming set-up.
- Stylish design
- 1800R curvature for a better viewing angle
- Clear and vibrant colors
- High-performance VA panel
- Supports AMD’s FreeSync
- Brilliant dark room performance
- Eye-saver mode
- No height adjustment
- No built-in speakers
- Fixed stand with basic ergonomics
If you’re looking for an unparalleled viewing experience that will increase your engagement in the game and grant you an advantage over other players, look no further than LC27F398 curved monitor.
4. BenQ GW2780 – Best for Beginners
Jumping to our last budget option that proves that obtaining excellent gaming monitors doesn’t require selling a kidney.
The 27-inch display has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Due to the larger size, it looks less clear due to the pixel pitch. However, the details are clean, and smaller objects appear larger, so you can ace your headshots.
Using an IPS panel, the unit provides accurate colors and a wider viewing angle. But, the trade-off is its response time, which is only 5 milliseconds. This may not be a problem for amateurs or light gamers, but irritating for those who play heavy and fast games like Call Of Duty and PUBG.
Furthermore, for a budget monitor, the 60 Hz refresh rate offers adequate visual quality for entry-level players.
An interesting feature in this model is its Patented Eye-Care technology. Since gamers spend an unbelievably long time in front of their screens, they can develop headaches and eye dryness. To prevent this problem, GW2780 allows you to adjust the brightness, reduce the blue light, and remove flickers, so your eyes feel relaxed even after long gaming sessions.
Moving to the build, it boasts a slim and sleek design. The frame comes in matte black that’s unscratchable, yet there’s a potential of smudges and dust getting under it. Although it can tilt, it’s not flexible enough to swivel or pivot and doesn’t have height adjustments, limiting your choices in the sitting positions.
Nevertheless, its whole build is sturdy, so you won’t have to worry if it falls or gets hit. Moreover, it’s VESA compatible via rear bolt holes so that you can hang it to a wall.
Although it lacks USB ports, it does include one HDMI 1.4 port, a DisplayPort and a VGA port. It’s also equipped with a pair of 2-watt speakers, which is something that C24G1 doesn’t have.
However, it’d have been better if it had FreeSync technology, which is essential for gaming monitors to prevent stuttering and reduce tearing. Other than that, the model offers captivating image quality, responsive gameplay, and versatile functions, all under the 200-dollar price point
- Low blue light and zero flickering
- Slim and sleek design
- Crispier and more colorful than TN panels
- Larger size
- Wide viewing angle
- Three-year warranty
- Low-quality speakers
- Relatively low response time
- No USB ports
- Dust can get under the screen
- No height adjustments
All in all, GW2780 is an affordable and versatile option that is suitable for gaming and other tasks as well, thanks to its IPS panel. It may not be ideal for hardcore gaming, yet it’s the best pick for beginners looking for a screen for casual gaming along with other visual-based work.
In case you want to invest in a bit more expensive monitor, check out the following guides:
How to Pick an Affordable Gaming Monitor
When we were searching for our first gaming monitor, we went through endless arguments and conflicts about which features are the best. Because we know the hassle, we’re going to spare you the difficult work and discuss the best specs you can opt for in this limited price range without compromising your gaming experience.
Monitors come in an array of sizes from which the smaller ones are the most preferred for gaming. That’s because gamers spend lots of time sitting in front of screens, so the larger the monitors, the more eye irritation and eye soreness they’ll experience.
Furthermore, the screen’s details depend more on the resolution rather than the size, so it’s no use choosing the biggest one. Hence, monitors between 24 and 27 inches in size are the best.
Also, consider the distance that’s going to be between you and the monitor. If you’re going to sit 3-4 feet away from the screen, opt for a 27-inch one. However, if it’s going to be an arm’s length away, a 24-inch screen or a smaller one would be sufficient.
The resolution refers to the clarity of your screen. Measured in pixels, the higher the resolution, the sharper the details. That’s why it’s incredibly critical in gaming monitors. In general, it should match with your screen size for an optimum experience.
At this price point, the options are pretty limited. It’s not easy to find a reliable 1440-pixel display under $200. Yet, there are many options with 1080-pixel resolution, which matches well with the size range we mentioned before.
This is the number of milliseconds taken by the display to shift from one image or color to another. When picking a gaming monitor, always choose a response time between 5 and 1 milliseconds.
Thankfully, at a price of less than 200 bucks, you can find monitors with 5-millisecond response time suitable for simple race or puzzle games as well as 1-millisecond ones, which allow you to level up and play fast-paced games like Fortnite and PUBG.
This indicates the number of times the display refreshes its image per second. For instance, a 75 Hz refresh rate means that the monitor updates the image 75 times per second. Higher refresh rates result in less blur and smoother gaming performance.
Due to the limited price range, the best you can opt for is anything from 60 to 144 Hz. Anything higher than that comes at higher prices.
The most common panel types in gaming monitors are: Twisted Nematic (TN), In-Plane Switching (IPS), and Vertical Alignment (VA) panels.
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The former is the cheapest and most preferred one by pro gamers for their fast response time, which helps eliminate the smearing of moving images and provides a smoother picture transition. However, it has a limited viewing angle and offers worse color reproduction.
Although an IPS panel is more expensive, it offers better color quality and a wider viewing angle. But the trade-off is that you get higher latency because high-quality displays take more time to shift from one image to another.
VA panels are the compromise choice. They provide the accurate colors and wide viewing angle of IPS panels, but with faster response time. However, it’s not as fast as TN ones.
If you’re purchasing the monitor for the sole purpose of gaming, opt for a TN or VA panel. Nevertheless, if you’re using the monitor for other reasons as well, an IPS panel would be a better choice.
Although High Dynamic Range is a feature that’s more abundant in high-end gaming monitors, some budget models succeeded in fitting it in, which increased the whole monitor’s quality.
If you find this feature, it means that the screen can get brighter and darker simultaneously, showing more shades and details, which in turn, maximizes your viewing pleasure.
G-Sync and FreeSync are methods that eliminate the screen tearing problem at high frame rates. In other words, they solve the problem of graphic distortion when the display and graphic processor are out of sync.
Before you make the purchase, ensure that the sync is compatible with your graphics processor. FreeSync is compatible with more GPUs than G-Sync. On the other hand, G-sync is only compatible with Nvidia GPUs, so it’ll limit your options and drive the monitor’s price up slightly.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is a 75-Hz Monitor OK for Gaming?
Yes! A refresh rate of 75 Hz is good for budget monitors. As long as your PC can run things at 75 FPS, then it will be fine.
Are Curved Monitors Good for Gaming?
That really depends on the gamer’s preferences. A curved monitor is more comfortable for your eyes as it provides you with a broader field of view. Some gamers prefer them for the life-like experience they offer. Yet, others just think it’s not a feature that’s worth the extra money.
Why Do Pros Use 24-inch Monitors?
Because that’s the standard size that LAN staff provide in many game tournaments. It’ll be pointless to get used to larger monitors at home when they compete on 24-inch ones.
Gaming is fun, but the wrong monitor can ruin your game. That’s why choosing the right display is a matter of life and death for serious gamers, and a budget of $200 can get you a neat monitor that may lack high resolution but doesn’t sacrifice image quality and performance.
From what we’ve seen, AOC C24G1 is the best gaming monitor for serious gamers and beginners alike. It’s packed with top-notch features that guarantee you the highest scores.
If you’re looking for an all-around display suitable for fast-paced competitive games, choose Sceptre E255B-1658A. Nevertheless, if you’re new to the gaming world, BenQ GW2780 is here to make your day.