8 Best Gaming Monitors Under $400 USD For 2020

Looking for the best monitor for gaming under 400 USD? We’ve picked out the absolute best choices available in the $200-$400 range including 144Hz, 240Hz, 1440p, ultrawide, and 4K models!

These are the best monitors under $400 for gaming, but some of the listed displays are also great for other activities including designing, editing, watching movies, etc.

All of the included monitors have proven reliable and flawless performance, and you can rest assured that they are worth the money; just make sure to follow our guidelines and recommendations and we guarantee you’ll pick the perfect monitor for your needs.

1: AOPEN 27ML1U

Many find 27″ to be the ideal size for a monitor while 2560×1440 is the perfect resolution for it, and the AOPEN 27ML1U offers unbeatable value for the price as a 27″ 1440p monitor thanks to its IPS panel and AMD FreeSync support.

The AOPEN 27ML1U offers the perfect screen size/resolution ratio; this ratio is referred to as pixel density which in this case amounts to 108.79 PPI (Pixels Per Inch). Basically, you get plenty of screen real estate as well as maximum details without any scaling necessary.

The IPS panel of the AOPEN 27ML1U display offers a quick 4ms response time as well as the 178-degree wide viewing angles. It also supports 10-bit color depth through dithering (8-bit + FRC) amounting to 1.07 billion colors.

Now – at this price range you can also get monitors with the following specs: 1080p 240Hz, 1440p 144Hz, and 4K 60Hz.

Go with the 240Hz model only if you just play competitive eSports titles. The 1440p 144Hz displays that we’ve included in this guide have either TN or VA panels meaning that you won’t get as accurate colors, but they have other advantages which we’ll get into later.

Lastly, the included 4K display will suit you better for content creation, but will also be significantly more demanding when playing video games. So, the AOPEN 27ML1U is the best pick for mixed-use.

The monitor also supports AMD FreeSync which provides a variable refresh rate that entirely removes screen tearing and stuttering. The range of that variable refresh rate (VRR) on this monitor is 48-75Hz, so as long as your FPS (Frames Per Second) rate is within that range, there will be no screen tearing or stuttering.

For FreeSync, you will need a compatible AMD graphics card. It also works with NVIDIA GTX 10-series and newer GPUs without issues on this gaming monitor.

Other gaming features include motion blur reduction, customizable crosshair overlays, Black Boost, and customizable picture presets.

While the monitor’s stand is tilt-only, it’s VESA mount compatible. Connectivity options include two HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.2, a headphones jack, and two 2W built-in speakers. FreeSync works over both HDMI and DisplayPort.

2: AOC Q3279VWFD8 – Best 32″ Monitor Under $400

If you want an even bigger monitor, the AOC Q3279VWFD8 is for you. It’s the absolute best 32-inch monitor under 400 USD.

The AOC Q3279VWFD8 monitor is based on an IPS panel with dithered 10-bit color support. You can also expect the impeccable 178-degree viewing angles as well as a rapid response time speed which you can increase to 5ms by adjusting the Overdrive setting in the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu.

Even though the screen size is quite big, the WQHD resolution provides you with a decent pixel density identical to what you’d see on a 24-inch 1080p monitor. So, you won’t have as much screen real estate as you’d on a 27-inch 1440p monitor, but the picture will be crisp and vibrant.

Additionally, the AOC Q3279VWFD8 packs a bunch of useful features for gaming including pre-calibrated FPS, RTS, and Racing picture presets as well as ‘AOC Shadow Control’ which increases visibility in dark areas of games. It also supports AMD FreeSync with a 48-75Hz dynamic range. FreeSync works well with compatible NVIDIA cards, just make sure you have the latest drivers installed.

The AOC Q3279VWFD8 32″ 1440p IPS monitor boasts a modern and sleek design that will suit any environment. It’s tilt-only by -3.5/23.5 degrees and not VESA mount compatible though. Connectivity includes DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4, DVI, and a VGA port which maxes out at 1920×1080.

Just like the previous monitor, the AOC Q3279VWFD8 is a decent monitor for aspiring designers and photographers as well due to the color accuracy and consistency of IPS panels.

The AOC Q3279VWFD8 is also available with a VA panel as the AOC Q3279VWF. The VA model offers a higher contrast ratio and it’s better for watching movies whereas the IPS model is better for content creation. However, VA displays also have slower response times, so they’re not as good for fast-paced games.

3: AOC AG271QX – High Resolution & Fast Response Time

The AOC AGON AG271QX is one of the rare gaming monitors under 400 USD that offers both 1440p and 144Hz. It is, however, based on a TN panel that provides inferior image quality, but it also has a rapid response time speed.

As already stated, the AOC AG271QX doesn’t have as vibrant colors as IPS panels nor as high contrast as VA displays, but it has the fastest response time speed of only 1ms.

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Other panel-related specs include a 350-nit peak brightness, a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, and an 8-bit color depth.

Such fast response time will eliminate virtually all trailing behind fast-moving objects which is why competitive FPS gamers prefer this panel technology.

Another downside of TN panels is the narrow viewing angles of 170° horizontally and 160° vertically which means that the image will shift in color and contrast when it’s viewed from skewed angles. As long as you are sitting directly in front of the screen though, it’s not an issue.

Overall, the image quality of the AOC AG271QX is decent thanks to its high resolution. If you put this monitor side by side with the AOPEN 27ML1U or a 4K IPS monitor, it will naturally look somewhat washed out in comparison, but good nonetheless. 

The AOC AG271QX offers plenty of gaming features including AOC Shadow Control (improves visibility in darker games) AOC Game Color (adjusts the saturation of colors), and pre-calibrated picture modes (FPS, RTS, Racing, and three custom profiles).

It also comes with an extra QuickSwitch keypad device which you can use to quickly and remotely change some of the monitor’s settings or toggle between different presets.

Further, the monitor supports AMD FreeSync with a wide VRR range of 30-144Hz over both HDMI and DisplayPort, and it works with compatible NVIDIA cards without any issues.

The design features premium quality with versatile ergonomics including up to 130mm height adjustment, 90° pivot, +/- 20° swivel, -4°/22° tilt, and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility. There’s also a headphones hook, a carrying handle, and a cable management system.

Connectivity options are very generous as well, especially considering the price of the monitor. There’s one of each: VGA, DVI, DisplayPort, and two HDMI 2.0 ports as well as a headphones jack, a quad-USB 3.0 port, a mini-USB port for the QuickSwitch device, and two 3W integrated speakers.

The AG271QX is also available as a 24″ variant for ~$50 less, the AOC AG241QX. 1440p on a 24″ screen looks even sharper, but you may run into scaling issues in some games/applications.

Now, for the best results in competitive FPS games, you should opt for a 1080p 240Hz monitor instead.

In case you play FPS games more casually, then we suggest you get a 1440p 144Hz monitor with a VA panel such as the AOC AG273QCX which we’ll get into next.

The AOC AG271QX is the perfect in-between option between 1080p 240Hz and 1440p 144Hz with VA/IPS panel.

If you want a flawless performance in eSports titles as well as a decent image quality without having to sacrifice the response time speed, the AOC AG271QX is the way to go.

4: AOC AG273QCX – 1440p 144Hz Curved Gaming Monitor Under $400

The AOC AG273QCX​ is a 1440p 144Hz gaming monitor based on a curved VA panel with high contrast for deep blacks. It’s perfect for those who want both immersive and responsive gaming experience.

The VA panel of the AOC AG273QCX monitor features a high static contrast ratio of 3,000:1, an excellent peak luminance of 400-nits, and 8-bit color depth support with a wide 90% DCI-P3 gamut.

It also supports HDR (High Dynamic Range) and carries VESA’s DisplayHDR 400 entry-level certification.

For HDR content, the monitor also supports 10-bit color depth which in addition to the high contrast, wide color gamut, and high peak brightness provides a notable improvement in HDR picture quality.

Of course, the HDR viewing experience won’t be as amazing as what you might see from a high-end HDR display with 1,000-nits of peak luminance and localized dimming, but at this price range, it’s more than good enough.

The colors are not as accurate as of that of the IPS models included in this guide, but they are vibrant nonetheless and the high contrast ratio and screen curvature of 1800R definitely help provide an overall immersive viewing experience.

Moving on, the response time speed is the weakest point of all VA monitors meaning that you can expect some noticeable trailing of fast-moving objects in faster games, particularly when dark pixels are predominant in the picture.

For casual gaming though, it’s totally tolerable considering the image quality and features you get for the price.

The AOC AG273QCX is equipped with the 1ms MPRT backlight strobing technology which can further reduce the perceived motion blur at cost of picture brightness.

You also get AMD FreeSync 2 support with a 48-144Hz VRR range. Now, using FreeSync with compatible AMD cards works without issues.

With NVIDIA GPUs, the VRR range is limited to 60-144Hz and the response time overdrive gets locked to ‘Off’ which causes more ghosting at higher frame rates. Additionally, some units may get brightness flickering when the FPS rate fluctuates.

Note that these issues may get fixed in a driver update by NVIDIA. The article will be updated in case that happens.

FreeSync 2 also ensures that you can run HDR and VRR at the same time without any perceptible input lag added.

Other features include pre-calibrated picture presets, RGB lighting, and AOC Shadow Control for gamma curvature adjustments.

The design of the monitor is exceptionally good considering the price. You get an ergonomic stand with up to 110mm height adjustment, +/- 30° swivel, -5°/23° tilt, and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility.

Connectivity options are rich as well and include VGA, two HDMI 2.0 ports, two DisplayPort 1.2 inputs, a headphones jack, a headphones jack, a microphone jack, two 5W integrated speakers, and a quad-USB 3.0 hub.

Note that DisplayPort 1.2 limits you to 120Hz at 1440p if you wish to use 10-bit color depth. Luckily, most games use 8-bit color anyway and the difference between 8-bit color and 10-bit color in video games is negligible.

Along with the monitor, you will also get an extra ‘keypad’ device which you can connect to the monitor and use it to quickly adjust certain OSD settings.

In case you want a 1440p 144Hz curved gaming monitor with a stable G-SYNC performance, you’ll have to invest ~$50 more for the MSI Optix MAG271CQR. Alternatively, you can get the cheaper AOC CQ27G1 monitor which works fine with NVIDIA cards when using FreeSync, but it has a lower peak brightness.

Note that the AOC AG273QCX used to sell for around $500 once it was released. Now, it’s available for less than $400. It offers the best value for the money out of all monitors in this guide and it’s our top recommendation if you have an AMD graphics card – unless you’re a hardcore competitive gamer in which case you should go for a 240Hz model.

5: Acer XF250Q – 240Hz Gaming Monitor Under $400

The Acer XF250Q is actually the cheapest 240Hz monitor you can get yet it offers a flawless performance with certified G-SYNC compatibility.

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As far as the picture quality is concerned, you get the same viewing experience as with the standard 25″ 1080p TN panels. This includes narrow viewing angles, inferior image quality to IPS and VA models, and since you also get a lower resolution, you won’t have as crisp and clear details as the 27″ 1440p displays offer.

Having said that, 1080p resolution does provide a decent pixel-per-inch ratio on the 24.5″ viewable screen of the Acer XF250Q and more importantly, it allows you to easily reach those high frame rates in the eSports titles.

The Acer XF250Q is certified by NVIDIA as G-SYNC compatible ensuring a flawless VRR performance with compatible NVIDIA GPUs. Other useful features include Black Boost and the Aim Point customizable crosshairs.

The Acer XF250Q 240Hz monitor features a fully ergonomic design with up to 150mm height adjustment, -5°/35­° tilt, +/- 60° swivel, 90° rotate, and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility.

Connectivity options include HDMI 1.4, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, dual 2W built-in speakers, and a headphones socket. FreeSync is supported over both HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 with a 48-240Hz variable refresh rate range.

If you mainly play undemanding eSports titles and can maintain over 240FPS, the Acer XF250Q will provide you with the smoothest performance under $400.

6: LG 29WK600 – UltraWide Monitor For Work & Light Gaming

The LG 29WK600-W is one of the best computer monitors under 400 USD, and not just for gaming but for everyday entertainment, productivity work, and even some entry-level designing.

At first, you may need some time getting used to an ultra-wide monitor. The LG 29WK600 29-inch monitor is as tall as a regular 23-inch 16:9 monitor, just wider.

The 21:9 format gives you a lot of advantages. In video games, you’ll have a wider field of view unless games don’t support ultrawide resolutions in which case, you’ll either have a stretched image or black borders at the sides. See a list of games that support 21:9.

The ultrawide resolution is also closer to the native format at which movies are shot, so you will be able to enjoy a more cinematic movie-watching experience. Lastly, all that extra horizontal space will come in handy for your spreadsheets when working.

The LG 29WK600 monitor uses an IPS panel with over 99% sRGB color gamut, a 5ms response time speed, and a 2560×1080 screen resolution which will provide you with a decent pixel density of 95 PPI.

There are plenty of useful features including Black Stabilizer, pre-calibrated picture presets, AMD FreeSync (40-75Hz range, G-SYNC works well), Dynamic Action Sync, Cross Hair, etc. It’s also factory-calibrated.

Finally, the monitor also supports HDR10 content though due to its lack of proper color gamut and brightness capability, it barely scratches the surface of a noteworthy HDR viewing experience.

While the LG 29WK600 29″ 1080p ultrawide IPS monitor is tilt-only, its stand is easily detachable, so you can mount it on the wall or a mounting arm using the VESA holes. The monitor has thin bezels and a matte screen coating which eliminates sunlight reflections. Turning to the connectivity, you’ll find two HDMI ports, DisplayPort, and two 5W built-in speakers.

7: Sceptre C305B – Best UltraWide Gaming Monitor Under $400

In comparison to the LG 29WK600, the Sceptre C305B-200UN offers a lot higher refresh rate of 200Hz as well as a higher contrast ratio, but not as accurate and vibrant colors.

The 3,000:1 static contrast ratio of the Sceptre C305B-200UN ensures a more vivid relation between the darkest and the brightest tones and true, deep blacks.

However, it was a bit limited color gamut (90% sRGB), so it’s not fit for content creation if you care about accurate colors. The colors don’t pop as they do on the LG 29WK600.

The main asset of Sceptre’s monitor is the 200Hz refresh rate. Unfortunately, such a fast refresh rate is bottlenecked by the monitor’s response time speed. At higher frame rates, the pixels won’t be able to keep changing as fast as the refresh rate demands which will result in prominent ghosting and black smearing.

Setting the refresh rate to 144Hz is more realistic for the pixel response time of the Sceptre C305B-200UN, but in some games, the 200Hz refresh rate will do just fine. This isn’t a big deal-breaker as we would highly recommend this monitor at this price even if it had a 144Hz maximum refresh rate.

Gaming features include pre-calibrated picture presets and AMD FreeSync support with a 48-200Hz range over DisplayPort (HDMI is limited to 165Hz) and stable G-SYNC performance.

The Sceptre C305B has a tilt-only stand but it’s VESA mount compatible by using the provided adapter. Other design features include two red LED strips at the back of the monitor, 1800R screen curvature, and ultra-thin bezels.

When it comes to connectivity, there’s one of each: HDMI 1.4, HDMI 2.0, and DP 1.2 as well as a headphones jack and two 3W built-in speakers.

Overall, if you use your monitor for editing and if your FPS (Frames Per Second) rate doesn’t exceed over 75FPS in video games, the LG 29WK600 will suit you better.

In case you enjoy fast-paced games and you can push high frame rates, the Sceptre C305B is for you. However, if you really want a nice ultrawide display, we suggest saving up an additional $50 and getting a 3440×1440 100Hz gaming monitor such as the MSI MAG341CQ instead. 

8: LG 27UL500 – Best 4K Monitor Under $400

If you’re looking for a 4K display, the LG 27UL500 is the best IPS monitor under 400 USD.

The 4K Ultra HD resolution provides an incredible picture quality with maximum details. The LG 27UL500 features an IPS panel with 10-bit color support (8-bit + FRC), a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, a 300-nit peak brightness, and factory-calibrated 98% sRGB color space coverage. So, not only will the picture be sharp and crisp, it will have vibrant and accurate colors fit for aspiring designers.

Unfortunately, PC gaming at 4K is quite demanding, so you will need a powerful system or to lower the picture settings in certain games. A good thing is that due to the high resolution, you won’t need to use anti-aliasing which will help with the frame rate performance.

Since the LG 27UL500 supports FreeSync, the monitor is best paired with RX Vega 56/64 and Radeon VII cards as the variable refresh rate can also greatly help with the performance, though the dynamic refresh rate range is only 40Hz-60Hz. Other features such as Black Stabilizer and Dynamic Action Sync are also available.

The monitor also supports HDR (High Dynamic Range), however, while it can accept the HDR signal and display it, it lacks display capabilities such as a wider color gamut, higher contrast, and higher brightness to actually improve the image quality. So, the HDR picture will just look washed out most of the time.

This software-enabled HDR support doesn’t really impact the monitor’s price, so it’s more of a bonus gimmicky feature than an actual reason to buy this display.

Since the LG 27UL500 is 27″ in size, the 4K resolution will result in a very high pixel density of roughly 163 PPI. This will make everything tiny, so you will need to scale up everything in order to make text readable.

Unfortunately, some applications (including some video games) don’t scale well, though that’s mostly the case with outdated software.

The LG 27UL500 4K monitor sports reasonably thick bezels and it’s VESA mount compatible, but tilt-only. Connectivity includes two HDMI 2.0 ports and DisplayPort 1.2. FreeSync is supported over both DisplayPort and HDMI with a 40-60Hz range. With NVIDIA cards, however, G-SYNC seems to work only within the Basic FreeSync range which is 48-60Hz.

How To Pick The Right Gaming Monitor

When choosing a monitor for gaming at this price point, there are several things you should take into account. We’ve already been through the most important features and specifications for each monitor, so here’s a quick sum-up.

60Hz vs 144Hz vs 240Hz – What’s The Difference?

The video above can give you a general idea about motion clarity and smoothness at different refresh/frame rates.

Generally, there’s a drastic boost in motion clarity when going from 60Hz/75Hz to 144Hz. To take full advantage of it, you will need to maintain ~144FPS as well.

The jump to 240Hz from 144Hz isn’t as noticeable as going from 60Hz to 144Hz, but the difference is certainly there. If you’re a competitive gamer and play undemanding eSports titles when you can maintain ~240FPS, 240Hz is for you.

In case you have a weaker PC system or you play more demanding games, a 144Hz monitor with a good backlight strobing solution such as the LG 24GL600F might suit you better.

1080p vs 1440p vs 4K

Unless you have a really powerful computer rig, we recommend against getting a 4K monitor for gaming. It’s simply too demanding and you will likely end up lowering picture settings in order to gain more frame rate which kinda defeats the purpose of a high resolution.

When it comes to 1080p 144Hz vs 1440p 60Hz, it solely depends on what type of games you play. For competitive first-person shooters such as CS: GO and Overwatch, a 144Hz monitor is an obvious choice – and if you play more graphically-oriented games, go for 1440p.

Since you can also get a 1440p 144Hz monitor at this price range, consider it as the perfect in-between option. You could play undemanding titles up to 144Hz at 1440p and still enjoy crisp graphics at 1440p and ~60FPS.

Is FreeSync Worth It?

You’ve probably noticed that most gaming monitors in the list feature AMD FreeSync. This technology allows those with compatible graphics cards to enable a variable refresh rate which eliminates screen tearing and stuttering within the dynamic range.

So, what about NVIDIA users?

NVIDIA’s variable refresh rate technology is called G-SYNC and, unlike FreeSync which is free, it adds a fee to the monitor’s price. So, you won’t find any G-SYNC monitors in this price range as the cheapest one will cost you around $400.

As of January 2019, G-SYNC works on FreeSync monitors as well. However, only newer NVIDIA graphics cards with DisplayPort 1.2a support it, and not all FreeSync monitors work equally good with G-SYNC. Find out more about G-SYNC compatible FreeSync monitors.

TN vs IPS vs VA

Moving on, IPS panels offer wide 178-degree viewing angles, a fast response time speed, and accurate colors. TN panels, on the other hand, have narrow viewing angles and inferior colors, so pick a monitor with a TN panel only if you want the best response time speed for minimal ghosting in fast-paced games.

Lastly, VA panels have the best contrast ratio for the deepest blacks as well as a superior relation between the brightest and the darkest colors. If you want a display with true blacks though, you will have to cope with some motion blur in fast-paced games.

UltraWide vs Widescreen

If one of the ultrawide monitors has caught your attention, there are some things you should keep in mind. First of all, ensure that video games you play the most support the 21:9 ultrawide format or you’ll play with black borders at the sides or a stretched picture.

Ultrawide monitors are great for watching movies as the 21:9 format is closer to the native aspect ratio of movies (2.39:1). Finally, the extra horizontal space makes for more enjoyable web surfing, working, multi-tasking, and other everyday activities.

Conclusion

There you have it! These are the absolute best gaming monitors under $400 you can get right now. We’ve carefully selected only the best models and made sure that you have a diverse selection.

For competitive gamers out there, the Acer XF250Q will deliver the best results, granted that you can push ~240FPS.

If you prefer better graphics and immersion over performance, the AOC AG273QCX (or the AOC CQ27G1, if you have a FreeSync-compatible NVIDIA card)offers notably better image quality and wider viewing angles while still ensuring an enjoyable fast-paced gaming experience.

In case you’re after something a bit different, the Sceptre C305B is an excellent ultrawide gaming monitor for the price.

Still not sure what monitor to get? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll gladly help!

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