Best Gaming Monitors Under $500– Buyer’s Guide

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Having a well-rounded gaming monitor is a prerequisite for winning. The good news is, at $500 or less, you can get an excellent gaming monitor having most, if not all, of the features you need in order to win.  

For example, the monitor should have a high refresh rate and a low response time. Some monitors even have a technology that brightens dark spots so that you can clearly see during any dark scene.

Because we know that finding the best gaming monitor under $500 is not easy, we have made you a list of the best models on the market. You’ll also find a buying guide with some of the crucial features that should be on your checklist. 

Comparison Table: 

Gaming Monitor Size Resolution Panel Refresh rate 
ViewSonic ELITE XG27027”1920 x 1080 IPS240 Hz
LG 27GL85027”2560×1440IPS144Hz
LG 34GL750 34” 2560 x 1080IPS144Hz
Samsung C27HG70 27”2560×1440VA144Hz
BenQ ZOWIE RL2755 27”1920 x 1080TN 60Hz 

The 5 Best Gaming Monitors Under $500 in 2020

1. ViewSonic ELITE XG270 – Best Overall 

ViewSonic ELITE XG270 is an excellent 240Hz gaming monitor with an IPS panel. Just a few years ago, if you wanted a 240Hz monitor, you had to accept the drawbacks that come with a TN monitor such as narrow 160°/170° viewing angles and poor image quality due to bad color reproduction. So let’s celebrate that a lot of IPS monitors are just as fast as TNs now. Moreover, thanks to the IPS panel, you’ll enjoy wide 178° viewing angles and vivid colors. 

This monitor enjoys a resolution of 1080p and can keep up with a 240Hz refresh rate for resolution and image clarity. 

Sadly, since the 1080p resolution is paired with a screen size of 27″, the image won’t be as crisp as that on monitors of 24” for example, That’s because the pixel density you will receive is 82 PPI, which is rather mediocre. Moreover, there is going to be visible trailing behind fast-moving objects because the pixels cant be updated as fast as the image. 

However, the PureXP MBR (Motion Blur Reduction) technology makes up for that as it improves motion image clarity in fast-moving objects by strobing backlight. 

Note that backlight strobing cannot be active at the same time as FreeSync. It also reduces the maximum brightness of the monitor while it’s active as well as introduces screen flickering. 

This is a minimal drawback that I wouldn’t have normally mentioned, but it’s essential to warn you that if you’re sensitive to screen flickering, you might experience headaches or eye strain. So, enable this feature only when playing fast-paced games.

What’s more, you can eliminate screen tearing and stuttering up to 240Hz/FPS (Frames per Second) thanks to AMD’s FreeSync technology that allows you to synchronize the monitor’s refresh rate to your GPU’s frame rate. 

The ViewSonic XG270 also supports HDR (High Dynamic Range), but it’s software-emulated. This means that it accepts the HDR signal but needs software manipulation to emulate the HDR picture quality. Such a feature usually means that you can ignore the HDR support because it won’t improve the quality of HDR content.

You’ll also enjoy the frameless design of ViewSonic ELITE XG270 as it features a three-sided ultra-thin bezel that shows more of the game. This is also why it’s perfect for multi-monitor setups. 

Plus, it has full ergonomic support including 120mm height adjustment, -5°/20° tilt, +/- 90° swivel, 90° pivot, and VESA mount compatibility. 

Besides, it supports laptops, PCs, Macs, PlayStation, and Xbox with HDMI, USB, and DisplayPort inputs. And it comes with an ELITE hood, power cable, AC/DC Adapter, DisplayPort cable, and USB 3.1 cable. 

This monitor features lots of connectivity options, including two HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.2, two primary built-in speakers, a headphones jack and a USB 3.0 hub (1 upstream + 3 downstream ports).

Pros:

  • Three-year warranty 
  • Ergonomic design 
  • Quick response rate 
  • Many connectivity options 
  • IPS panel and vibrant colors 

Cons:

  • Low pixel density 

Bottom Line 

ViewSonic ELITE XG270 is one of the best 240Hz gaming monitors under $500 owing to many reasons such as the full ergonomic support, rich connectivity, vibrant colors and quick response time. 

2. LG 27GL850 – Runner-Up 

Owning a 240Hz-monitor is not essential for many gamers. If that’s the case with you, go for the excellent 144Hz LG 27GL850. It’s worth mentioning that the difference between 140Hz and 240Hz monitors isn’t as apparent as that between screens of 60Hz and 140Hz. This means that you will still enjoy vivid colors, smoothness and responsive performance. 

Unlike the ViewSonic ELITE XG270, the pixel density of LG 27GL850, which is 108 pixels per inch (PPI) is fantastic because this 27” monitor has the perfect screen size for the 2560x1440 screen resolution. You’ll experience no scaling while enjoying sharp and precise details. 

Moreover, the display doesn’t only boast LG’s Nano IPS panel technology, but also has an impressive color gamut of 98% DCI-P3 and 10-bit color depth support, making the colors consistent, and vibrant. 

Like the ViewSonic ELITE XG270, you’ll most likely ignore HDR because it lacks local dimming for a higher contrast ratio and deeper blacks. However, you’ll love the response time of 1ms as it means that there is no chance for any ghosting. This way, you can enjoy a responsive and life-like gaming experience. 

What’s more, LG 27GL850 features the NVIDIA G-sync, which synchronizes refresh rates to the GPU inside GeForce RTX and GTX-powered PCs. As a result, there is no screen tearing, stutter or input lag.

The design is not as ergonomic as that of ViewSonic ELITE XG270 because there is no swivel to the left/right, but it supports VESA mount compatibility, tilt, height, and pivot adjustments. 

As for the connections, you’ll find two HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.4, a headphones jack and a dual-USB 3.0 hub at the back of the monitor. Note that the HDMI 2.0 supports 1440p up to 144Hz, but the FreeSync range is limited to 48-100Hz on this monitor over HDMI.

Pros:

  • Vibrant colors 
  • Good pixel density
  • Low response time
  • Many connectivity options 

Cons:

  • No swivel option
  • Limited FreeSync range over HDMI

Bottom Line 

LG 27GL850 is the one to go for if you’re looking for an impressive 144Hz monitor with IPS panel technology. It offers clear images with vivid colors and highlighted details. 

3. LG 34GL750 – Best Ultra-wide Monitor 

This 34” ultrawide screen delivers ultra-performance with 21:9 Curved WFHD display of 2560×1080 resolution, all of which provide gamers with an amazing visual experience.

Plus, you’ll enjoy excellent image precision thanks to Radeon FreeSync that ends choppy images, video playback and broken frames with a fluid, artifact-free performance at virtually any framerate.

The IPS panel of the monitor doesn’t have a high contrast ratio like that of Samsung C27HG70 that we’ll discuss shortly. However, you’ll still enjoy vibrant colors, wide viewing angles and a fast response rate of 1ms. Also, thanks to the pixel response rate, you can say goodbye to ghosting or motion blur at 144Hz. 

Gamers will enjoy brightness and highlights with deeper shadows because LG 34GL750 can highlight details in bright and dark parts of high dynamic range contents as it’s compatible with HDR10. 

Additionally, you’ll experience motion clarity like never before because the monitor supports backlight strobing via its 1ms Motion Blur Reduction technology. 

What’s more, LG 34GL750 is NVIDIA-tested and G-SYNC compatible, so that gamers can enjoy a smooth and fast gaming experience. Plus, AMD FreeSync is supported over DisplayPort and HDMI with 50-144Hz VRR range and 60-144Hz range, respectively. 

As for the design, you’ll find the height adjustment up to 120mm and tilt by -5°/20° pretty convenient. Plus, you can mount it on a wall. Sadly, you don’t have the option to pivot or swivel the screen, but it supports VESA-mount compatibility. 

The connectivity options of LG 34GL750 are not as plentiful as those of the above models as it only includes DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0 ports and a headphones jack.

Pros:

  • Quick response time 
  • Ultrawide screen 
  • Height-adjustable stand 
  • Vibrant colors 

Cons:

  • Lower contrast than that of VA panels 

Bottom Line 

LG 34GL750 is the best 34” ultra-wide gaming monitor on the market. With it, you’ll experience unprecedented motion clarity and image precision thanks to the combination of 1ms Motion Blur Reduction technology and Radeon FreeSync. 

4. Samsung C27HG70 – Best HDR Monitor 

While the HDR feature wasn’t at its best with the three previous monitors, I’m glad to inform you that Samsung C27HG70 is the best HDR monitor under $500.  

When Samsung C27HG70 detects HDR content, it boosts its brightness from typical 350-nits up to stellar 600-nits, making the details more vivid. 

Moreover, the monitor has VESA’s DisplayHDR 600 certification because it supports localized dimming that consists of eight zones. These zones can dim the parts with dark content only without affecting the areas that need to remain bright.

What’s more, it features a VA panel, which has the best contrast ratios of all panel types. However, its response time is not as good as that of IPS panels. To illustrate, it has a static contrast ratio of 3,000:1 and a response time of 4ms. This ratio means that the black spots will be deeper and the white spots brighter. Consequently, the relation between them will be more apparent. 

Besides, the Quantum Dot technology of Samsung C27HG70 will make the gaming experience feel so life-like that you’ll forget it’s only virtual as it extends the color gamut to 95% DCI-P3 (125% sRGB).

C27HG70 supports FreeSync Premium Pro, allowing the simultaneous use of FreeSync and HDR without lag. It also gives gamers twice the brightness offered by the sRGB spectrum without distortion or visual distraction. Moreover, it works with NVIDIA’s cards with a 48-144Hz VRR range.

Besides, thanks to the combination of the advanced motion blur reduction technology with the superior VA panel, this curved monitor has 1ms motion picture response time (MPRT), preventing motion blur and smearing. 

It features many connectivity options such as DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0b inputs, a dual-USB 3.0 hub, a headphones jack and a microphone jack.

Like the ViewSonic ELITE XG270, it has full ergonomic support with up to 145mm height adjustment, +/- 15° swivel, 90° pivot, -5°/15° tilt, and 100x100mm VESA. However, it’s a bit bulky. 

Pros:

  • Rich connectivity options
  • Full ergonomic support 
  • Life-like gaming experience with Quantum Dot technology 
  • DisplayHDR 600

Cons:

  • Bulky stand 
  • Narrow viewing angles
  • Minimal ghosting 

Bottom Line 

The Samsung C27HG70 offers excellent visuals and great performance. Moreover, it’s the only monitor that has VESA’s DisplayHDR 600 certification as it supports localized dimming. 

5. BenQ ZOWIE RL2755 – Budget Choice 

BenQ ZOWIE RL2755 is an excellent choice for any gamer who doesn’t want to pay much for a gaming monitor but still wants one with excellent performance. Featuring a TN panel is the main reason why it’s the cheapest option on our list. If you don’t already know, TN panels are known to be the most affordable yet the fastest among other panel types.  

With a size of 27” and a resolution of 1920 x 1080, this monitor produces sharp images. Plus, thanks to its 65Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time and lag-free technology, it shows every moment in real-time with no lag. This is critical for serious gamers because if the screen lags, you lose.  

Playing a game with a lot of dark scenes? No problem! BenQ ZOWIE RL2755 features Black eQualizer color engine technology that brightens the dark scenes to give you unprecedented visibility without over-exposing the bright areas. This way, you can easily spot your enemies no matter how dark the scene originally is. 

What’s more, the manufacturers of this monitor have the comfort of hardcore gamers in mind as they have upgraded the RL-Series to eliminate flickering at all brightness levels. If you buy BenQ ZOWIE RL2755, you can say goodbye to eye fatigue and headache no matter how many hours you stare at the screen. 

Unlike any of the above models, you can customize gaming modes because the monitor comes with multiple configurations such as FPS or RTS modes to improve the gameplay.

As for the connections options, it’s equipped with two HDMI ports. Besides, you can connect it to a console and another HDMI device at the same time without having to change the connections frequently. 

Last but not least, the monitor is compatible with console and PC platforms. It’s also equipped with a compact slip-resistance base that you can use to store your controller. Moreover, you’ll enjoy the full tilt adjustment, VESA compatibility and built-in speakers.

Pros:

  • Low response time 
  • Built-in speakers 
  • High refresh rate 
  • Affordable 
  • Easy to assemble 

Cons:

  • Might experience a dead pixel over time 
  • Speakers sound quality is not that good

Bottom Line 

BenQ ZOWIE RL2755 is an excellent option that won’t break the bank. It’s low response time and high refresh rate combined with the lag-free and Black eQualizer color engine technologies ensure you won’t lose. Moreover, its ability to eliminate flickering is a huge plus. 

How to Pick the Best Gaming Monitor Under $500 

Picking a gaming monitor is a bit challenging, so you need to have a checklist with the most important features to consider. This way, you can rest assured that you’ll tick off all the essential features and get an excellent gaming monitor. 

The Panel Technology

There are three types of panels; namely, TN (twisted nematic), IPS (in-plane switching) and VA (vertical alignment). The main differences between them lies in the fact that IPS panels are excellent for offering high visual quality. In other words, they produce more vibrant and more accurate colors. They also provide better viewing angles. As for the TN panels, they support faster response times, where VA panels have the longest response times. However, VA panels are known for offering the best contrast and image depth. 

Response Time 

Pixel response time represents how much time a pixel needs to switch from black to white or between shades of grey. This time is measured in milliseconds (ms). For an excellent gaming experience, choose a low response time because it leads to smoother camera movements. 

Contrarily, high response time leads to motion blur because the pixels don’t have enough time to switch between colors when the camera moves quickly. High response time also results in ghosting. 

Plus, I should tell you that the difference between 1ms and 4ms may go unnoticed unless you compare them side by side. 

Refresh Rate 

The refresh rate measures the number of times a monitor can refresh the displayed image per second. And it is measured in Hertz (Hz). It also determines the number of frames that the monitor can display per second. 

You can get a monitor with a refresh rate of 60 Hz, 144Hz or 240Hz. If you’re going for high refresh rates (144 Hz- 240Hz), make sure that the graphics processing unit (GPU) can run the games you want at such high frame rates.

Adaptive Sync 

To avoid any screen tearing while you’re playing games, you should either go for FreeSync or G-SYNC. AMD FreeSync is pretty affordable as it adds no extra cost to the base price of the monitor, and it’s only compatible with AMD graphics cards. On the other hand, NVIDIA G-SYNC adds around $150 to the base price of the monitor and only works with NVIDIA cards.  

Connectors 

A modern gaming monitor will usually have the following inputs and outputs: 

DisplayPort 1.4

This is the best one for video/audio transfer on PC. It also supports refresh rates at high resolutions. 

HDMI 1.4/2.0 

This one doesn’t support refresh rates as high in higher resolutions as DisplayPort 1.4, but it’s excellent for mid-range resolutions. Plus, it transfers video and audio. 

5mm Audio Out

If you want to connect your headphones or speakers to the monitor itself instead of the motherboard’s back panel or the case’s front panel, this connector is for you. 

A monitor may have other connectors, but those mentioned above are the most important. For example, it may also have a 3.5mm audio input and one or several USB ports of varying types.

Moreover, since most graphic cards come with one or more DisplayPort or HDMI ports, video/audio compatibility is not really an issue as they can both transfer sound. 

Screen Size 

The screen size is not a deal-breaker since you’ll most likely be sitting close to the monitor anyway. Nonetheless, most of the gaming monitors fall between 21” and 27”, striking the perfect balance between visual clarity and viewing comfort. Usually, if you go for smaller sizes, you’ll fall short on the resolution, and if you go for larger ones, you’ll have to view it from afar. 

Going with whatever size is absolutely up to you. However, It’s important to tell you that it’s best not to go larger than 24” if you’re going with a 1080p monitor because the lower pixel density leads to lousy resolution. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Does The Monitor Make a Difference? 

Of course, it does. If you want to have an excellent gaming experience, get a monitor that does not show any blurred images and eliminates flickering and tearing. This way, you can be sure that you’ll enjoy fast-action games such as FPS (first-person shooters). 

What Is The Lowest Acceptable Refresh Rate? 

The higher the refresh rate is, the better because it makes the image smooth and less choppy. However, if you must go low, do not go lower than 75Hz, unless you’re playing a game whose sole focus is on the scenery, like open adventure games or ones that tell stories like L.A. Noire or Until Dawn. Also, make sure that the monitor supports a speedy response time.

Final Thoughts 

Hopefully, you’ve already found the best gaming monitor under $500. But since we know it’s a bit challenging, we’ve decided to spot the light on some of them. 

On the top of our list comes ViewSonic ELITE XG270, which is the best 240Hz 1080p gaming monitor for many reasons. One of which is its IPS panel that allows you to enjoy wide 178° viewing angles and vivid colors. Also, thanks to AMD’s FreeSync technology, there won’t be any screen tearing or stuttering because you’ll have the ability to synchronize the monitor’s refresh rate to your GPU’s frame rate. 

In case you don’t want a 240Hz monitor, go for the terrific 144Hz LG 27GL850. It features NVIDIA G-sync, which synchronizes refresh rates to the GPU inside GeForce RTX and GTX-powered PCs. This way, you can say goodbye to screen tearing and input lag. What’s more, it boasts LG’s Nano IPS panel technology and displays vibrant colors.

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