The Best Gaming Monitor Under $200

Acer GN246HL Bbid 24-Inch 3D Gaming Display

Our Top Pick for 2016: Acer GN246HL Bbid 24-Inch 3D Gaming Display
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $188.83*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Gaming in the modern world is quite different than the gaming of decades past. With millions of polygons making up even the smallest the features of our avatars, the desire for a crisp gaming rig has become one of the primary pursuits of many industry enthusiasts.

One of the most important aspects of any gaming setup is the display. It’s here that you’ll witness the results of your GPU’s constant number crunching, it’s also here where you’ll be able to follow along with the Fallout 4: Far Harbor storyline, and finally it’s at the monitor level where you’ll coordinate with your team to take down the opposition. Without a good gaming monitor, all of these things become much harder to witness, so it’s important that when building a good computer system, that you consider the display as one of your most important choices. To make things easier for you, and to save your wallet, we’ve compiled some of the best gaming monitors on the market today; each costing less than $200.

Table of contents

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1080p Monitor With RTS Mode
1920 X 1080 Resolution
21:9 Ultrawide Full HD
1ms Monitor
Rapid 1ms Response Time
2560×1080 Resolution
Visual Clarity In Dark Scenes
Reduces Deviations In Transition Time
Dynamic Action Sync
D-sub, DVI-DL (Dual Link), HDMI x2, Headphone Jack, Line In
High-quality Moving Images
Black Stabilizer
Developed By Professional Gamers
Signal Inputs: x1 DVI, x1 VGA & x1 HDMI
4-screen Split Capable

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Acer GN246HL Bbid 24-Inch 3D Gaming Display

Acer GN246HL Bbid 24-Inch 3D Gaming Display Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $188.83*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerOriginally created in 1976 as Taiwanese company Multitech, Acer emerged as a brand in 1987 and has since lit the world of computing hardware on fire. Today, Acer has become the sixth largest personal computer vendor in the entire world. Their retail line of business extends from Android tablets to fully functional PCs; each new Acer product providing unique innovation and steadfast reliability.

As the manufacturer of our Gold Pick, Acer was sure to provide a great experience for gamers; at a very reasonable cost. The first feature of this monitor that is readily noticeable is the sheer thinness of the display. While most LED monitors are taking on a very slimline profile, this monitor is exceptionally thin, even for a newer display. The screen is mounted on an x-shaped base that is black on top and orange along its sides. The remainder of the monitor is comprised of a black, glossy plastic that unfortunately does have a tendency to pick up fingerprints and smudges.

This Acer unit is also a 24 inch model that sports a max resolution of 1920 x 1080 or standard HD. As a gamer there is one area where you’ll want consistent performance and that’s in a monitor’s graphical capability and graphically, this monitor really shines. The first feature that can really improve your overall graphical performance is the refresh rate on this monitor. Refresh rate is the rate in which everything on your screen can refresh. On consoles, you typically get a 60Hz refresh rate or 60 frames per second, which is decent. This monitor, on the other hand, has an accessible refresh rate of 144Hz. As long as you have the rig to support it, you’ll be able to get some great frame rates out of this display.

The second unique graphical feature that you’ll find in this model of display is the fact that it has built-in support for 3-D visuals. If you want your survival horror to feature zombies that actually seem to jump out at you, this is the perfect monitor for that. Coupled with its great, standard HD resolution and impressive refresh rates, you’ll truly have an immersive experience when you use the 3-D feature.

As our Gold Pick, you can typically expect that a product is appreciated by both consumer groups and critics; this does not mean however, that this product doesn’t have a few flaws. Unfortunately, since this is a budget conscious computer monitor, some things had to be obviously cut down in order to lower the price. The one that is most noticeable is the absence of some features on the stand. Frankly put, the only movement outside of actually moving the monitor that you’ll be able to adjust is the tilt of the monitors screen. There is no built-in rotation or height adjustability for this display, which can be an issue for taller users.

This is more of a slight foible rather than an outright weakness, but this monitor is amazingly bright. This is probably partially a result of the display’s massive contrast ratio (it has a 100 million:1 contrast) that really allows for deeper blacks and brighter whites. Fortunately, when not in use you can turn off the screen, but if you’re trying to sleep with this display on a page like Facebook, it’ll be like you have left the lights on in your room.

On Amazon, this Acer gaming display has an 81 percent positivity rating. This means that out of the 4,235 reviews on the site, a full 81 percent judged this monitor to be of at least a four star rating level of quality. Most reviewers were amazed at the low price tag, like this one:

“Excellent Monitor especially for the price! I have had no problem with this monitor in fact I’m planning on ordering a second one. I have it sitting next to an older monitor and it makes my old one unusable. The same with my laptop. I have no complaints it a fantastic deal on a great product.”

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): BenQ RL2455HM 24-Inch LED Console Gaming Monitor

BenQ RL2455HM 24-Inch LED Console Gaming Monitor

View it on Amazon for -*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerAnother brand that originates in Taiwan, BenQ actually spun off from our Gold Pick manufacturer, Acer in 2001. BenQ stands for “Bringing Enjoyment N Quality to life” and was initially set to become a mobile only brand, but in 2015 the company started to diversify their product offerings after acquiring gaming company. Today, BenQ offers several peripherals that enhance the gaming experience, our Silver Pick included.

Since taking up support for gaming, BenQ’s name has been showing up at a lot of gaming tournaments and events, most notably at those sponsored by Major League Gaming. As a matter of fact, this is one of the monitors featured in a recent Call of Duty tournament hosted by the organization. With this pedigree of usage, clearly this is a quality monitor that’s been designed with gaming in mind.

Aesthetically, there isn’t a whole lot of ornamentation on this monitor. It’s designed to provide a great gaming experience, so the only aesthetic conceit that BenQ included is a bit of red detailing on the monitor’s base. BenQ used a smudge-resistant matte finish on the body of the monitor; this is a great concession that keeps the device looking clean where other glossy monitors can look fingerprinted and greasy.

The base of this device is very easy to assemble, you simply slide the components into place and use a pen or other tool to depress the unlock button when you need to disassemble the stand. Like our Gold Pick, there isn’t a whole lot of articulation in this monitor’s stand, but the monitor more than makes up for this limitation in functionality.

Firstly, as you might have inferred from the fact that this monitor is used for Call of Duty, this is a device that’s designed with first person shooters in mind. Whereas many displays are designed with PC gaming firmly in mind, this monitor plays to serious console gamers as well. The first evidence of this is the fact that the monitor only has a 75Hz refresh rate. While this might seem downright slow for those PC gamers who are used to blazing fast frame rates in games like Overwatch, this frames per second limitation will ensure that console gamers will reliably achieve the fastest speed that is available on a console, which is typically 60 fps.

Secondly, there are actually two HDMI ports in the back of this monitor that are designed to let you display feeds from multiple consoles. This is a feature that works in almost perfect synchronicity with the on-board speakers which will seamlessly project the audio feed piped through the HDMI cables.

All of this isn’t to say that this display isn’t great for PC gaming, this is simply not true as this monitor has some very PC-friendly features like automatic brightening for dark in-game scenes, smart scaling for applications, and a full complement of PC connection options in the rear.
When it comes to reviews, this display has over 1,700 on Amazon alone. An astonishing 91 percent of these reviews are at a four or five star rating level. Here’s a testimonial from a first person shooter and fighting game enthusiast:

“The image quality is fantastic & highly adjustable the built in pretests for Shooters & Fighting games etc…Are quick & easy to select you will likely not even need to manually adjust settings cause one of the presets will work for what your viewing.”

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): LG 25UM56P 25 Class 21:9 UltraWide IPS LED Gaming Monitor

LG 25UM56P 25 Class 21:9 UltraWide IPS LED Gaming Monitor

View it on Amazon for $186.69*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardOur Bronze Pick is from the South Korean electronics juggernaut LG. LG has been producing consumer goods since the 1950s and has been producing electronics for the majority of that history. Today, LG is the second largest manufacturer of TVs and monitors in the world and their products are noted for their reliability and picture quality, so you know that this gaming monitor comes from a strong pedigree.

It’s easy to see that this monitor has a design major difference from the other device in our write up. This is an UltraWide model, so you’ll be operating at a wider viewing angle in your favorite games. This feature is amazing in MOBA games like Heroes of the Storm, or real time strategy games such as StarCraft because you’ll actually see a little more of the map than your opponents. This is because this 21 inch by nine inch monitor has a native resolution of 2560 x 1080, which will let you maintain HD levels of resolution at a wider angle of view.

This additional room isn’t always a boon though, as you may sometimes have issues in first person shooters, which aren’t designed for this wide a viewing angle. Nevertheless, it’s a very novel concept that can certainly come in handy during your gaming sessions.

Unlike our other monitors, this display is an IPS style of screen. This means that you won’t lose any of the monitor’s images if you are viewing it from different angles, and while this isn’t that useful for gaming, it’s certainly a great feature to have when watching media on the monitor. Also, as a result of this IPS nature, this monitor has some exceedingly vivid colors that will only enhance your gaming experience.

Unfortunately, IPS monitors can have ghosting issues when you game at a fast pace, though this monitor seems to have some decent safeguards against unnecessary blurring. Also, this might be another monitor best relegated to console gaming because it only has a native refresh rate of 60Hz. Further implicating this usage, the only connector that you can use with this monitor is HDMI, which certainly will limit the available frame rate threshold.

As of this writing, there are only 14 reviews for this monitor on Amazon, but of these reviews, 79 percent were of a positive nature. Most reviews indicate that this is a great Ultrawide monitor that will serve the majority of gaming needs, though some users have definitely noted the lowish refresh rate. Here is an example of a five star review:

“Beautiful 1080p gaming i was previously using a Vizio tv to game on but the response time and wide aspect ratio made it my top choice in gaming as well as multitasking. Plus LG has perfected ultrawide on a budget with this monitor.”

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): BenQ RL2240HE 22 inch Console Gaming Monitor

BenQ RL2240HE 22 inch Console Gaming Monitor

View it on Amazon for $180.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickThis very console-ready monitor has all of the features you need to get first person shooting, and it even can come in a very stylish color.

If you flip it onto its face, you’ll notice something pretty interesting about this monitor: it has a completely yellow body. This yellow coloration is used throughout the rear of the display, but also is featured along the outer edge of the device’s screen as well. The monitor itself is a bit thick in the middle, but its rounded design is also very stylish when viewed on a desk or in amongst your room’s décor.

Similarly to our Silver Pick, this display is optimized for first person shooters. It actually has several display modes that were designed by professional gamers to give its user an edge against the competition. While it is relatively small at only 21.5 inches diagonally, the pixel response is quick and the resolution is a crisp 1080p. Its contrast is also pretty good for its price point, though grays can seem a little bit washed out at the lighter end of the spectrum. Also, like our Bronze Pick, this monitor only has a refresh rate of 60HZ, so you might want a display like this if you intend to play a lot of console-based first person shooters. This is made easier by the display on-board speakers and HDMI connection.

Out of the 257 reviews on Amazon, 93 percent are positive. Here is a testimonial from an individual who uses this monitor to play competitively with Master Chief:

“So far I have had my BenQ for almost a month now, and as a competitive halo player I can say that this was a great choice! For the price and the value, it’s an excellent package, and I highly recommend this to any other competitive gamer for either RTS or FPS! I can play on this monitor for 8+ hours and my eyes feel fine! Very smooth frame rate, and phenomenal picture quality.”


Pre-purchase considerations

Ghosting

Who you gonna call? With some types of monitors; typically those with an IPS based display, you will get what is sometimes referred to as “ghosting” when the speed is cranked up in your favorite games. This effect is caused by slower response rate on the monitor itself. You can sometimes even witness this effect when you are on your desktop: simply move your mouse as quickly as possible. Is there a noticeable mouse trail? If you aren’t using a graphical mouse trail effect, then you may have a monitor that suffers from ghosting.

This unfortunate effect typically happens because your monitor runs at a higher response time than a purely gaming-based TN-style monitor, and you may have to get used to this effect on your graphical applications and media. If you are looking for a great gaming-ready display, then be sure that you pick a model that has high refresh rates in order to avoid the systematic blurring that can occur as a result of ghosting.

Black Levels and Contrast

With many modern games, and with the proper hardware, there is such an incredibly precise level of detail that you can almost see the pores of your digital avatar. With such a keen sharpness in the current crop of games, you really don’t want to miss a sometimes important detail. This need for precision is why having a good contrast is one of the most important considerations that you should think about when buying a dedicated gaming monitor. Contrast is the degree of variation that you’ll experience when going from your deepest black shades to your whitest whites.

Having a high contrast ration will ensure that all of the colors in between these limits are crisp and individualized; ensuring that you’ll be able to see all of the different details during the action.

Resolution and Refresh Rate

The standard of 1920 x 1080 resolution is one of the benchmarks of gaming that everyone considers the starting level. Also, refresh rates are important as well as they measure how fast your screen can refresh the image entirely. For fast-paced gaming, you’ll want a monitor that can accomplish 120Hz or more in order not to experience screen tearing and blur. With a high resolution and a refresh rate of over 120Hz, you will experience some very crisp gaming that will be intrinsically immersive.

In addition to standard HD displays that operate at the aforementioned resolution, there have been quite a few competitors high resolution displays as of late; especially with the development and gradual distribution of Ultra HD monitors, which are starting to become increasingly popular. These monitors operate at 3840 × 2160 pixels and feature an even greater degree of detail. When selecting a new gaming monitor, don’t forget to consider resolution and refresh rate when you make your purchase.

Monitor Size

Gaming can really be enhanced by the size of your display. Gone are the times when a 17 inch CRT monitor was a great screen to play on. Today, the majority of gaming monitors are 21 inches and above. This added size; especially with a flat panel display, will allow you to see more at your sides, have a better grasp on what’s happening above you, and allow you to, most importantly, see your enemy clearly since you won’t have to squint to pick friend from foe.

As a rule, even with the larger devices, monitor sizes can greatly vary. Some hardcore gamers play on behemoths that are 36 inches or more that will help them locate their team in Overwatch, while others prefer displays that have a wider angle that will help them have a larger field of view in order to keep an eye on any extra creeps trespassing into their lanes in League of Legends. In any situation, the size of your monitor can greatly affect the quality of your gaming session, so make sure you take into account what size of device you’ll need to game excellently.

Types of connections

All monitors will need to directly interface with either your motherboard’s onboard graphics processor, or with your dedicated gaming graphics card. Hopefully, you have a dedicated device that’s either manufactured by Nvidia or AMD, but in any case you’ll find that both monitors and graphics cards will have several potential interface options. Here are a few that are most common:

HDMI – This is quickly becoming the standard when it comes to HD connections. Everything from your HDTV to your computer monitor can incorporate this technology in order to deliver HD graphics and media. HDMI is unique because in addition to HD imagery, you can also pipe audio through this connection. The 2.0 version of this connection allows for quicker refresh rates and higher resolutions that span into the Ultra HD range of resolution. Fortunately, if you plan on using your new monitor for some console gaming, many new models come with a HDMI connector, just for this type of usage.

DisplayPort – DisplayPort technology is almost entirely exclusive to PC systems and won’t work with the majority of modern consoles or TVs but is a stellar choice if you are looking for a crisp HD display quality that reaches near Ultra HD levels of crispness.

DVI – Steadily becoming the legacy connection that is gradually being phased out, DVI connections still have a similar video streaming capability to HDMI connections. The chief difference is that you’ll seldom find a cable that will carry audio as well. One nice bonus to DVI is that you can actually screw your cabling into the graphics card.

VGA – This is an all but abandoned style of monitor connection that goes back several decades now. Still, many graphics cards manufacturers and even some monitor manufacturers at least include an adaptor for this type of graphics connection, though it’s rarely used.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Gaming on a dedicated gaming monitor can be a true pleasure; especially if you have a unit that has great resolution, is responsive, and provides you detailed visual information about your opponent. With the world of PC and console gaming constantly growing, having a dedicated monitor that is reliable and able to provide speedy frame rates is a great experience. We hope that our write up about gaming monitors makes your search for the perfect display much easier, and that our pre-purchase considerations help you find a monitor worth its gaming salt if the models that we selected don’t work for you.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. Stewie2252, Acer GN246HL 1080p 144Hz Monitor Review, Youtube, August 1, 2015
  2. Nayan Modi, Acer GN246HL Review – Full HD Widescreen 3D Monitor, Review Bucket, October 16, 2014
  3. Adeel Soomro, BenQ RL2455HM Professional Gaming Monitor Review, Display Lag, August 21, 2013
  4. Ajay Verma, BENQ RL2455HM GAMING MONITOR REVIEW, Ill Gaming, April 6, 2015
  5. BenQ RL2455HM Review: 1ms Response Time Monitor, The Gaming PC Guide
  6. Review LG 25UM56P 25 Class 21:9 UltraWide IPS LED Gaming, Best New Monitors
  7. John Delaney, BenQ RL2240HE, PC Mag, September 26, 2014

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