Sure, it's 2023 and 1080p monitors seem like old news, but they are still relevant and worth the investment. 4K gaming monitors, 1440p models, and now even 8K options are becoming more mainstream and can give you loads of detail in terms of resolution. However, those higher resolutions put a strain on even the best graphics cards and your wallet, too. This means you may miss out on a big piece of game detail: motion. The simple fact is that 1080p is always going to be easier for your computer or console to render than high resolutions, and that means you can get higher frame rates and smoother visuals. That's no small concession.
At 1080p, you get very affordable monitors that'll deliver a 144Hz refresh rate for smooth gaming. But, 1080p monitors still go a lot faster than that. There's no shortage of 165Hz options, and even 240Hz versions are becoming standard. If that weren't enough, new 300Hz and 360Hz are making their way onto the scene. These speedy 1080p monitors make for a great pairing with modest graphics cards like the Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti or even the older Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti, but they can even be a reasonable output for a high-end system geared to get a competitive edge in esports.
There is a boatload of 1080p monitors out there, and we've narrowed down your search, giving you the best of the best for a variety of needs. So, if you're looking to play PC games with a buttery frame rate, these monitors are ready to deliver a great experience, and it gets even better when paired with Nvidia’s G-Sync or AMD’s FreeSync – and click here to see them in the UK.
TL;DR – These are the Best 1080p Gaming Monitors:
- Asus TUF Gaming VG279QM
- Asus TUF Gaming VG259QR
- ViewSonic Elite XG251G
- Dell 27 Curved Gaming Monitor (S2721HGF)
- ViewSonic Elite XG240R
- Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor (AW2521HF)
Asus TUF Gaming VG279QM
Best 1080p Gaming Monitor
For a solid mix of affordability and impressive functionality, grab the Asus TUF Gaming VG279QM. Coming in at $300, you get a screen that delivers an overclockable 280Hz refresh rate, a one-millisecond response time, and low input lag for some insanely smooth motion. FreeSync support and G-Sync compatibility also ensure your monitor and GPU are on the same team for visuals that look great without tearing.
The 27-inch display is a reasonable size for 1080p, but there may be some pixel peeping in exchange for a more immersive viewing experience. Going for an IPS panel rather than TN, you’ll also get decent viewing angles and color reproduction. A 400 nit brightness makes the monitor perfect for bright rooms, and it has DisplayHDR 400 certification. But given there’s no local dimming and a mediocre contrast ratio, we don’t recommend it for HDR gaming.
Asus TUF Gaming VG259QR
Best Budget 1080p Gaming Monitor
You've been working on a wallet-friendly PC build, so you need a quality budget gaming monitor to keep your spending in check, and the Asus TUF Gaming VG259QR is exactly that. At slightly over $200, this monitor still rocks a 165Hz refresh rate and G-Sync compatibility for butter-smooth frames in all your games. There’s also a speedy one-millisecond response time to keep those visuals on point, while a shadow boost feature helps expose enemies lurking in the shadows.
On top of its stellar gaming specs, the 24.5-inch monitor offers a wide viewing angle of 178 degrees and a height-adjustable, pivoting stand to ensure the screen is at the perfect eye level. Its display brings crisp, clear images in 1080p with an anti-flicker feature and ultra-low blue light to prevent eye fatigue, letting you game for hours. However, the display isn’t the brightest and has a less-than-stellar contrast ratio, but those flaws can be forgiven given the low price tag.
ViewSonic Elite XG251G
Best 1080p Gaming Monitor with G-Sync
By going 1080p, you can hit much higher frame rates, and the ViewSonic Elite XG251G is one beast of a display, hitting up to 360 fps. To keep screen tearing and stuttering to a minimum, you get full G-Sync support from 1-360Hz, making it one of the few true G-Sync monitors available. A speedy one-millisecond response time helps to combat any motion blur, while ultra-low latency ensures virtually no delay for insanely responsive gameplay.
The ViewSonic Elite XG251G boasts a bright 25-inch display that can hit 400 nits, and when you combine that with the thin bezels and a highly adjustable stand, it makes for easy viewing from just about any angle. The IPS panel also offers solid color performance, making it easier to scope out enemies. There's even some RGB lighting built in for a flashier setup. Just be prepared to spend a bit more, as this monitor will set you back just under $600, making it pricier than most of our other picks.
Dell 27 Curved Gaming Monitor (S2721HGF)
Best Curved 1080p Gaming Monitor
For the most immersive gaming experience, a curved monitor is often the way to go, and the best option with a 1080p resolution is the Dell 27 Curved Gaming Monitor (S2721HGF). This display offers 27 inches of screen real estate that wraps around your field of view with 1500R curvature. Its VA panel also delivers great contrast for deeper blacks to bring more depth to scenes, and bold, vibrant colors make for a more enjoyable viewing experience.
The Dell S2721HGF is ready to game. You get a 144Hz refresh rate with adaptive sync technology baked in to eliminate screen tearing. A quick response time also helps cut back on motion blur. However, given the 1080p resolution, the display has a low pixel density, so aliasing is an issue.
ViewSonic Elite XG240R
Best FreeSync 1080p Gaming Monitor
The best FreeSync monitors come at a much more affordable price than G-Sync, and that makes the ViewSonic Elite XG240R an excellent value. You can snag this monitor for under $230 and experience super smooth frame rates even during the heat of battle. The 144Hz refresh rate is nothing to rave about, but it pairs perfectly with the FreeSync support and a one-millisecond response time, so you'll always be fully immersed in your game.
With the ViewSonic Elite XG240R, you get a 24-inch TN panel with a decent 350-nit brightness level. It may not have the best viewing angles, but you'll have an easy enough time finding a good view thanks to a highly flexible stand. This monitor also throws in an exciting extra with RGB lighting on the back to provide some stylish bias lighting, a pleasure and a comfort to your eyes.
Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor (AW2521HF)
Best 1080p Gaming Monitor for Esports
If you’re playing esports titles, you likely know that the advantage of 1080p is how much easier it is to reach high speeds. With that in mind, you’ll want the Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor AW2521HF. This monitor makes it really easy to see all the action as it's bright, clear, and wicked fast. You get a 24.5-inch 1080p display that hits a solid 400 nits of brightness. It has even been designed for optimal ventilation, so you can ensure your monitor remains cool even during the most heated moments of battle.
The best part of the Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor AW2521HF is its speedy refresh rate of 240Hz. Better still, it’s shockingly affordable for a 240Hz display, so you can take the money you save and put it toward the gaming internals that’ll help you hit 240fps in your games. Whether you’re hitting exactly 240fps won’t be a major concern, though, because you can enable FreeSync or G-Sync to avoid screen tearing and stutter. With a 1ms pixel response time on the display, you won’t have to worry about smearing either. If you like the looks and want even more speed, you can also check out the 360Hz Alienware AW2521H.
Where to Get the Best 1080p 144Hz Gaming Monitors in the UK
Getting that delightfully smooth experience while gaming is important no matter what continent you're on. UK readers should be happy to hear all the brilliant monitors we've mentioned across the length of this article, are also available on the British side of the pond. You've got a few options to choose from here, with our favourite currently the Asus TUF Gaming monitor, perfect for those fast-paced gaming experiences. But, all the options on show will impress even the most avid gamers, so take your time and consider the options.
Why you should consider a 1080p Gaming Monitor
By sacrificing resolution, you gain speed. A 1080p monitor isn’t as crisp as a 1440p monitor, and it hardly holds a candle to a 4K display. However, without a powerful graphics card at the heart of your gaming PC, you probably won't have an enjoyable, or even playable, frame rate at those higher resolutions. Keeping things at a Full HD resolution means you can enable some more graphical effects like tessellation and ambient occlusion.
Refresh rate is a measure of how fast a monitor can display a new image. A 60Hz monitor redraws the image 60 times a second, and a 144Hz monitor does so 144 times a second. Variable refresh rate is important because it puts a cap on how many frames per second you can achieve when syncing your GPU’s output to your monitor’s refresh rate via G-Sync or FreeSync to prevent tearing.
If you play fast-twitch shooters or engage in Esports competitions, then refresh rate is often a more important figure than a monitor’s pixel count. A refresh rate of 144Hz is in the sweet spot between the two most common 60Hz, which are too slow for serious gamers, and 240Hz gaming monitors, which you should only consider if you have a super high-end GPU that will let you push frame rates to their limits.
Variable Refresh Rate and You
A fast 144Hz refresh rate (or faster) isn't the only thing you need for smooth gaming. All that speed can lead to some ugly screen tearing. Screen tearing is when your GPU and screen are out of sync, and you see a partially-drawn frame before the previous frame is gone.
You've no doubt seen this effect before, especially if you played games on older consoles. You can turn on V-Sync in most games to eliminate the problem, but in the process, you add an extra strain on your hardware. A variable refresh rate monitor eliminates the hardware strain while making sure the only complete frames are drawn on your display.
G-Sync is Nvidia's proprietary solution and works with Nvidia graphics cards. FreeSync is AMD's solution and works with its GPUs, but unlike G-Sync, it doesn't require special hardware built into the monitor.
Well, at least that was the way it did until January 15, 2019, when Nvidia announced it was enabling G-Sync on select FreeSync monitors. So, there are loads of officially G-Sync Compatible FreeSync monitors.
The waters on compatibility are a bit muddied now because even if some monitors aren't officially recognized and listed as being G-Sync Compatible, they still might be.
Just look at our roundup of the Best FreeSync gaming monitors for Nvidia GPUs, and you'll see we've picked quite a few that aren't on Nvidia's list of G-Sync compatible displays. That said, we've tested and confirmed that every FreeSync monitor on our list will support Nvidia's version of variable refresh rate.
If you're really worried about getting the best possible experience with a fast monitor, you're going to want a G-Sync or certified G-Sync Compatible monitor.
Danielle Abraham is a freelance writer and unpaid music historian.