June 6 2019

The 5 Best Gaming Monitor Under $300

I remember the good old days of CRT monitors where a gaming monitor was basically just ‘a bigger screen’. Nowadays though, you have tons of features from motion blur reduction to low-blue light filtering. Not only that, but you can even get budget high-quality monitors that have a 144Hz refresh rate.

Either way, the point is that you don’t have to break the bank to get into PC gaming anymore, and there are some surprisingly great gaming monitors that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

So, what are the best gaming monitors under $300? 🎮 🖥️

Best Choice: AOC G2590FX

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Pros & Cons

  • Freesync and Gsync
  • Tilt-only adjustability

Specifications:

  • Screen Size: 25”
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Panel Type: TN
  • Refresh Rate: 144Hz
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Response Time: 1ms

AOC G2590FX Review

The first monitor on our list is probably one of the better-priced ones, mostly due to the fact that it’s not from a big brand name. Don’t let that put you off though, because it’s actually an excellent little screen. Probably the biggest selling point on the AOC G2590FX is that it has both G-Sync and Freesync, so whether you’re Nvidia or AMD, you’re going to get a lot out of this screen.

Thankful though, that’s not all, and the screen itself is pretty good. Color reproduction is good, although certainly not the best, with 96% coverage of the sRGB spectrum. It also doesn’t use any specific tech to regulate brightness, which sits at 400-nits, so you don’t get any flicker. Response time is excellent at 1ms, and input lag is also nearly imperceptible at 4ms.

In terms of menu and customization, you have the full range that comes standard with most monitors. Refresh rate can go up to 144Hz and all the way down to 30Hz if you want to enable variable refresh rates, which you can do with adaptive sync.

Similarly to the more price-intensive Dell S2716DGR, this means that you can play both low resources and high resource-intensive games without having to worry about tearing on your screen.

Connectivity is good, with one DisplayPort 1.2, two HDMI 1.4, a VGA port and a headphone jack. Unfortunately, adjustability is terrible with only a tilt option and no rotate or height adjustability. Thankfully it does have VESA mounts, so you can always use your own stand.

While the AOC G2590FX might have its issues, especially the tilt adjustability, it’s actually a really good monitor for the price you’re paying. If you’d like to dip your toes into gaming monitors, then this is the best one for your wallet.

Premium Pick: ASUS VG275Q 27”

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Pros & Cons

  • Freesync
  • TN
  • No G-sync

Specifications:

  • Screen Size: 27”
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Panel Type: TN
  • Refresh Rate: 144Hz
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Response Time: 1ms (VRB)

ASUS VG275Q 27” Review

If you want the best you can get for less than $300 then the VG275Q it is.

The big standout feature here is probably the TN panel which, while great, is made even more impressive by the 144Hz refresh rate and all at this price point. Not only that, but it’s a generous 27” screen, with a tiny bezel all around except the bottom. Of course, it is only 1080p, although, given a previous couple of sentences, you’d think this was a 4k monitor.

Color reproduction and quality are both excellent with the ASUS VG275Q. Furthermore, it utilizes the Game Plus function which will help you have more control over performance.

The 1ms VRB also helps a ton to remove motion blur and other image artifacts when playing fast-paced games (or watching fast-paced movies). What’s next? It also has some other gaming features, such as ASUS eye care and low-blue light filtering. This will certainly help take the strain of your eyes when gaming.

Connectivity is good with HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4a, and DVI, so you’re getting the latest standards for each. Of course, it would have been nice to have some upstream/downstream USB, but it’s not a deal-breaker.

All in all, the VG275Q boasts a bunch of great features for a really great price. The only other thing I could possibly ask from this screen is some form of low-blue light filtering. Maybe 4k and higher-end HDR would be nice, but given that it costs less than $300, I think it delivers really well and offers tons of value.

If you want to explore more 27″ screen options, check out our guide on the best 27-inch gaming monitors.

Best Value: Acer SB220Q

Pros & Cons

  • Freesync
  • Great value
  • Tilt only

Specifications:

  • Screen Size: 21.5”
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Panel Type: IPS
  • Refresh Rate: 75Hz
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Response Time: 4ms

Acer SB220Q Review

If you’re looking for literally the cheapest option possible, Acer has the answer for you. While this doesn’t have the most advanced gaming features it does have enough to wet your whistle.

For starters, we have an interesting 75Hz refresh rate. You don’t really see this often in monitors, especially IPS ones, but it can offer some value in terms of balancing out refresh rates from your GPU. This is helped along with AMD’s Freesync, which is included in the Acer SB220Q and together both the refresh rate and Freesyn help with reducing motion blur and flicker.

The Acer SB220Q also supports an IPS panel which means viewing angles are really good, although, with a screen this size, it might not matter much. Thankfully the response time is reasonably good at 4ms and the input lag is about standard at ~10ms. Either way, you shouldn’t really notice any difference in terms of speed and performance.

Heading to the back of the screen, I’m sad to report that the stand only has tilt functionality, no rotate or up/down adjustment. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have VESA mounts, so you’re pretty much stuck with the height the monitor comes with.

The misfortune doesn’t end there when you look at connectivity, with only an HDMI port and a VGA port. The DisplayPort is mysteriously missing from the Acer Sb220Q and I have to assume it was done as a cost-cutting measure. Regardless, the HDMI is enough to get you going with modern gaming PCs.

While the Acer SB220Q is absolutely bog-standard, it offers an avenue to acquire a gaming monitor without spending a ton of extra money. If you’re looking for more similar price options, check out our guide on the best budget gaming monitors.

Best Ultrawide: LG 29UM68-P

Pros & Cons

  • Great price for an ultrawide monitor
  • Tilt only adjustment

Specifications:

  • Screen Size: 29”
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Panel Type: IPS
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  • Aspect Ratio: 21:9
  • Response Time: 5ms GTG

LG 29UM68-P Review

It’s not often you find an ultra-widescreen at this price bracket, so the LG 29UM68-P is a nice little addition to this list.

Since this does push the edge of the price bracket somewhat, you can expect some really good performance. Coverage of the sRGB spectrum lies at a whopping 99% and combine with the IPS screen, you can be sure that you’re getting some crisp and clear color. Unfortunately, it does have a lower refresh rate at 60Hz, although that’s pretty common for IPS panels.

Interestingly, it doesn’t show much backlight bleed or IPS glow, which is pretty impressive for a monitor this cheap.

One other thing screen side which is interesting is the fact that you can split-screen it. While it is a standard feature in a lot of ultra-widescreen monitors, it’s nice to see it in one at this price bracket. This is doubly so if you also tend to do a lot of work-related stuff and would prefer not to purchase a second monitor.

But enough about the front and let’s look at the back. Connectivity is good with two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort and a headphone jack. Unfortunately, the LG 29UM68-P stand doesn’t have anything other than tilt adjustability, but it does have VESA mounts, so you can use your own stand solution.

Finally, I should mention that the base extends out somewhat from the monitor, so if you like to push your keyboard right up to the monitor, this might get in the way.

Whichever way you cut it though, the LG 29UM68-P is a great ultra-widescreen monitor for the money. Sure, it’s missing a few things here and there, but when you consider that higher-end screens of this type can cost double, and even sometimes triple the price, you’re getting quite a bargain.

If you’re interested in more of ultrawide options, check out our guide on the best ultrawide gaming monitors.

Best 4k: Samsung LU28E570DS/ZA

Pros & Cons

  • Cheap for 4k
  • Freesync
  • Freesync only works on Display Port
  • Tilt only adjustment

Specifications:

  • Screen Size: 28”
  • Resolution: 4k
  • Panel Type: TN
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Response Time: 1ms (GTG)

Samsung LU28E570DS/ZA Review

Along with ultrawide screens, 4k is another thing you don’t really see in this price bracket.

That being said, much like the LG, you will have to give some things up to get that 4k resolution. For starters, there’s the 60hz refresh rate which isn’t really great for gaming. This is made even more shocking by the fact that this has a TN panel and should be able to hit the higher refresh rates, even with overclocking.

Thankfully, TN panels have great response rates and that’s no difference here at 1ms. This means that things like ghosting and motion blur shouldn’t be too much of an issue, although, without that 144Hz, it might still be noticeable to some. It does have a little bit of help there in the form of its adaptive sync, although strangely it doesn’t work over HDMI, but only on DisplayPort.

Another possibly big annoyance is that this monitor is not HDCP 2.2 compliant, but only HDCP 1.4. If you don’t know what that is, it’s the latest in digital copyright protection that covers 4k content. So, you may very well have issues running anything that requires HDCP 2.2 and you’ll have to double-check that before you buy this monitor.

Moving on from the DRM annoyance, the LU28E570DS has low blue-light filtering as well as being flicker-free. Connectivity is ok, with the aforementioned two HDMI 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort and a headphone jack. I will also quickly mention the stand at this point to say that it only has a tilt adjustment, so you can’t adjust it up or down or rotate it, which is a bit of a pain.

Looking back, it may very well seem that I’ve made an argument to not buy this monitor, but much like the LG 29UM69G-B, this monitor has a few minor issues that don’t have to be deal-breakers. If you’re looking for a cheap 4k monitor for gaming on PC and/or console, then this is the one you should go for.

But if you’re looking for better 4k options, check out our guide on the best 4k gaming monitors.

 

Gaming Monitors Under $300: Buying Guide

Choosing a budget gaming monitor is mostly about choosing your compromise. Since gaming monitors, in general, are very expensive, when you get to the lower price bracket, you really are going to start giving up major features. With that in mind, here are a few things you should keep in mind before buying a budget gaming monitor. Don’t worry about the frequent LCD vs. LED debate, as they are practically the one and the same.

Panel Type

For the purposes of this article, there are two main types of panels: TN and IPS.

TN stands for Twisted Nematic and is the first and most common type of monitor you’ll find out there. They generally have really great response times and fast refresh rates and so are excellent for FPS gaming, or anything that is fast-paced. Unfortunately, they do have terrible viewing angles and color reproduction is not the greatest.

IPS stands for In-Plane Switching and was created as a sort of response to TN panels. IPS panels have amazing color reproduction, huge viewing angles, but unfortunately, they have low refresh rates.

ips and tn monitor difference

So, which one should you go for? That depends on your usage. If you plan to do more than gaming on the monitor, you might want to go for an IPS panel. If you mostly game, then a TN is probably better since they generally have 144Hz refresh rates. You should especially go for TN panels if you play a lot of FPS or fast-paced games, like anything in the racing genre.

Refresh Rate

Refresh rates dictate how many frames your monitor can show per second. The standard on the majority of monitors is 60Hz, with it going as high as 144Hz and even 175Hz if you really want to spend some cash.

refresh rate

Obviously, the higher the refresh rate you go, the better, but it isn’t always what’s needed. Again, a higher refresh rate will serve you best if you play a lot of shooters or other fast-paced games. If, on the other hand, you mostly play games like The Witcher 3, you don’t really need to worry about a higher refresh rate that much.

Response Time/Input Lag

Response time is different than the input lag.

Response Time is how fast each individual pixel changes from one color to the next. This depends a lot on the testing standard, whether it’s black to white, black to white to black, or grey to grey.

Either way, a lower response time means a smoother motion and not too much motion blur or ghosting.

Input Lag as it relates to monitors is the time it takes for the signal to go from your console or PC to the TV. The slower the input lag, the more sluggish the controls will feel because you see the action much slower.

Thankfully, this shouldn’t be an issue for the majority of people, and anything below 10ms is god, with below 5ms being ideal. 1ms is perfect, but that’s usually reserved for more expensive monitors and for ones targeted to e-sports.


Frequently Asked Questions: Gaming Monitors Under $300

Is a 5 ms Monitor Good for Gaming?

Absolutely, but it isn’t always required. Anything up to 10ms should be just fine for the majority of people, and only those who play FPS games or competitively should worry about 5ms or lower response times/Input Lag.

Does 144hz Make a Difference?

100%. It’s really impossible to describe the difference, aside to say that you get a much, much smoother image and overall experience. Unfortunately, powering 144Hz tends to require a lot of graphical power, so it’s not always the best and again, it’s not always needed if you don’t play a lot of faced paced games.

Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ Gaming Monitor

If you haven’t seen a 144Hz refresh monitor, you should see if you can try one in your local electronics or computer store, it’s amazing.

Are Curved Monitors Good for Gaming?

They’re a nice luxury to have but they aren’t necessary. They do give you much more immersion than a non-curved screen, but they have their own problems, such as being mostly made for just one person. They’re also generally quite expensive, especially once that also have 144Hz refresh rates and/or 4k, which is why you haven’t seen any on this list.


Conclusion

As you can see, gaming monitors can be both good and cheap, although it’s certainly a game of compromise. Hopefully, though, I’ve been able to navigate you through the somewhat treacherous waters of gaming monitors under $300 so that you can find the best fit for what you need.


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About the author

Matthew Lyons