For under $500, you can get one of the best 240Hz displays for competitive eSports gaming, a decent 4K display, an excellent ultrawide monitor, or an impeccable 1440p 144Hz gaming monitor for the most balanced performance.
Deciding which one is the best for you depends on what type of games you mostly play as well as on your PC configuration. In this guide, we’ll help you decide which is the best gaming monitor under 500 USD for you!
Top 5 Gaming Monitors Under $500 For 2020
|Best 240Hz Monitor||27”||1920×1080||IPS||240Hz||FreeSync|
|Best 1440p 144Hz Monitor||27”||2560×1440||IPS||144Hz||FreeSync|
|Best UltraWide Monitor||34”||3440×1440||VA||144Hz||FreeSync|
|Best 4K IPS Monitor||27”||3840×2160||IPS||60Hz||FreeSync|
|Best 32” 4K Monitor||32”||3840×2160||VA||60Hz||FreeSync|
All of the gaming monitors in this table are available between $400 and $500. Depending on your budget, you may want to visit our other gaming monitor buyer’s guides:
- Best Gaming Monitor Under 100 USD
- Best Gaming Monitor Under 150 USD
- Best Gaming Monitor Under 200 USD
- Best Gaming Monitor Under 300 USD
- Best Gaming Monitor Under 400 USD
- Best Gaming Monitors Overall
In order to ensure you’re getting the perfect monitor for your needs and preference, stick to our guidelines and tips in the monitor reviews below.
Additionally, you can visit our comprehensive gaming monitor buyer’s guide where you can learn more about what’s the best panel type, refresh rate, screen size, and resolution for you as well as what features you should look out for.
Ideally, you should pick a FreeSync monitor if you have a FreeSync compatible AMD graphics card or a G-SYNC monitor if you have a G-SYNC compatible NVIDIA card in order to get variable refresh rate (VRR) which removes screen tearing and stuttering.
In case you have a GTX 10-series or newer NVIDIA GPU, you can also get VRR on FreeSync monitors. However, it won’t work equally good on all monitors.
Displays marked as ‘Stable’ offer stable FreeSync performance with NVIDIA GPUs whereas those marked as ‘Unstable’ will have certain issues or not work at all.
G-SYNC compatible FreeSync monitors will work without any issues as they are certified by NVIDIA.
ViewSonic XG270 – Best 240Hz Gaming Monitor
About the Monitor
Not so long ago, if you wanted a 240Hz gaming monitor, you had to go with a TN panel display as only that panel technology was capable of delivering a 1ms GtG response time speed.
This meant that you had to cope with drawbacks of TN monitors such as narrow 160°/170° viewing angles and inferior image quality due to poor color reproduction.
Nowadays, IPS monitors are basically just as fast as TNs!
While there are 240Hz gaming models with TN panels that are technically faster with specified sub-1ms response time, the ViewSonic XG270 is more than fast enough for 240Hz.
The pixel transitions can keep up with the 240Hz refresh rate thus providing you with minimal motion blur and visible trailing behind fast-moving objects. At the same time, the IPS panel offers wide 178° viewing angles and absolutely gorgeous and vivid colors!
Other panel related specs include a decent 400-nit peak brightness, a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, and 8-bit color depth support with ~99% sRGB color gamut.
Since the monitor has a 27″ sized screen and 1080p resolution, you get a rather mediocre pixel density of 82 PPI (pixels per inch). So, the image won’t be as crisp and sharp as that of a 24″ 1080p monitor.
The ViewSonic XG270 also supports HDR (High Dynamic Range), but it’s software-emulated only. Basically, you can completely ignore the HDR support here as it won’t improve the image quality of HDR content nor does it affect the monitor’s price.
AMD’s FreeSync technology allows you to synchronize the monitor’s refresh rate to your GPU’s frame rate which will eliminate screen tearing and stuttering up to 240Hz/FPS (Frames Per Second).
The variable refresh rate (VRR) range on the ViewSonic XG270 is 48-240Hz and it’s certified as G-SYNC compatible by NVIDIA.
Alternatively, you can use the PureXP MBR (Motion Blur Reduction) technology which when enabled, strobes the backlight for CRT-like motion clarity.
Note that backlight strobing cannot be active at the same time as FreeSync, and that it reduces the screen’s maximum brightness while active.
It also introduces screen flickering. Although the flickering isn’t noticeable, those sensitive to it may experience headaches/eye strain. So, enable this feature only when playing fast-paced games.
For most people though, just using the monitor at 240Hz with FreeSync/G-SYNC or uncapped frame rates will be more than quick and clear enough.
Other useful gaming features include Black Stabilization for better visibility in darker games, customizable crosshairs, pre-calibrated picture presets, Hertz Limiter, and five overdrive modes.
Design & Connectivity
The ViewSonic XG270 1080p 240Hz monitor has a robust and versatile design with full ergonomic support including up to 120mm height adjustment, -5°/20° tilt, +/- 90° swivel, 90° pivot, and VESA mount compatibility. It also comes with a mouse bungee, sight shields, a headphones hook, and RGB lighting!
Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.2, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a headphones jack, two basic built-in speakers, and a USB 3.0 hub (1 upstream + 3 downstream ports).
If you don’t care for image quality and just want the fastest gaming monitor, check out the Acer XF252Q which can be found under $400. It has a response time speed of 0.5ms as well as a higher pixel density due to its smaller 24.5″ screen size.
The Dell AW2720HF doesn’t have MBR, but it can sometimes be found for as low as $350 when on sale making it an excellent budget option.
The Acer XV273X goes for up to $500, but ViewSonic’s model offers better MBR implementation as well as generally better value for the money.
- AMD FreeSync and MBR up to 240Hz
- Low input lag and quick response time
- Fully ergonomic design
- Rich connectivity options
- Vibrant and accurate colors
- Low pixel density
LG 27GL850 – Best 1440p 144Hz Gaming Monitor
About the Monitor
For most people, 240Hz is not necessary.
The difference between 240Hz and 144Hz is not as noticeable as it is between 60Hz and 144Hz meaning that you can enjoy smooth and responsive performance as well as vivid details and better colors with a 1440p 144Hz IPS display.
The LG 27GL850 is hands-down the best 1440p 144Hz gaming monitor you can get.
First of all, the LG 27GL850 monitor has the perfect screen size for the 2560×1440 screen resolution as it hits the pixel density sweet spot of 108 pixels per inch (PPI) meaning that you get plenty of screen space as well as sharp and clear details without any scaling necessary.
Secondly, the display boasts LG’s Nano IPS panel technology with an exceptional color gamut of 98% DCI-P3 and 10-bit color depth support. The colors are accurate, consistent, and vibrant!
Just like the XG270, the LG 27GL850 supports HDR, but even though it has amazing colors, it lacks local dimming for a higher contrast ratio and deeper blacks. So, some HDR content may look a bit better, but you’ll mostly prefer HDR disabled.
For a really good HDR viewing experience, you would need to spend at least $1,000 more for a display with full-array local dimming such as the ASUS PG27UQ.
There are HDR monitors under $500, such as the Samsung C32HG70, which offer a decent HDR picture quality (better than the LG 27GL850, but not nearly as good as the PG27UQ), but they have flaws of their own such as severe ghosting due to the slow response time.
The LG 27GL850, on the other hand, offers an excellent response time speed of 1ms GtG – plus, it has gorgeous colors, crisp and sharp details, and wide 178° viewing angles.
AMD FreeSync is supported with a 48-144Hz VRR range over DisplayPort and it is certified by NVIDIA as G-SYNC compatible meaning that VRR will work without any issues with compatible NVIDIA cards.
Other useful features include Game Mode (FPS, RTS, Reader, sRGB presets + 2 customizable Gamer profiles), Black Stabilizer, Cross Hair, and advanced picture adjustments.
For the best performance, use the ‘Fast’ overdrive preset. For more information about the monitor, visit our LG 27GL850 review.
Design & Connectivity
The design has a fairly good ergonomic support with VESA mount compatibility, tilt, height, and pivot adjustments but no swivel to the left/right option.
At the back of the monitor, you will find two HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.4, a headphones jack, and a dual-USB 3.0 hub. HDMI 2.0 supports 1440p up to 144Hz, but the FreeSync range is limited to 48-100Hz on this monitor over HDMI.
We highly recommend the LG 27GL850 as the best 1440p 144Hz gaming monitor. It’s also available without the wide color gamut as the LG 27GL83A for a lower price.
The ASUS VG27AQ is another similarly priced 1440p 144Hz IPS model which is overclockable to 165Hz and has the unique ability to run VRR and MBR simultaneously via ASUS’ ELMB-SYNC technology.
Using this feature, however, has other drawbacks such as strobe crosstalk (double-images), reduced brightness, and introduced screen flicker which, although invisible to the human eye, can cause eye strain/headaches after prolonged use to those sensitive to it.
Besides, with the LG 27GL850 or the 27GL83A, there’s no need for backlight strobing of any kind as there’s no noticeable ghosting or overshoot anyway.
- Vibrant colors and crisp details
- Quick response time
- AMD FreeSync
- Ergonomic design and rich connectivity options
- Limited FreeSync range over HDMI
- Design lacks swivel option
AOC CU34G2X – Best UltraWide Under $500
About the Monitor
If you’re after something a bit different, the AOC CU34G2X is the best ultrawide monitor under 500 USD!
Thanks to its ultrawide format (21:9 aspect ratio), the AOC CU34G2X provides a more immersive viewing and gaming experience as well as extra horizontal workspace.
Further, it features a VA panel with a high static contrast ratio of 3,000:1 which makes for deep and vivid black shades. In comparison to IPS panels, the colors aren’t as accurate and consistent but they are vibrant and rich nonetheless with true 8-bit color depth and 119% sRGB gamut.
3440×1440 (UWQHD) resolution also provides a rich pixel density of 110 PPI on this 34″ screen thereby ensuring crisp details and plenty of screen real estate.
The viewing angles are somewhere in between those of IPS and TN. They aren’t quite as wide as that of IPS, but they are a lot better than the viewing angles on TN panels.
Generally, the main downside of VA panels is the response time speed; pixels take a bit longer to change from one color to another which causes noticeable ghosting, but it is negligible in most cases.
However, in fast-paced games where dark pixels are predominant in the picture, there is visible smearing of fast-moving objects which may be tolerable to some, but game-breaking to others.
Overall, if you mostly play fast-paced games competitively, you should avoid VA panels; otherwise, it’s not a big deal as you get an exceptional image quality for the price as a trade-off.
For casual and single-player FPS games, the amount of ghosting will not be an issue either. You can use the 1ms MBR technology to further eliminate the perceived motion blur.
With the AOC CU34G2X, you can even manually adjust the backlight strobing frequency from 0 to 20 in increments of 1 to find the perfect trade-off between image brightness and motion clarity for you.
The AOC CU34G2X supports AMD FreeSync up to 144Hz, however, when using FreeSync with compatible NVIDIA cards, there might be some flickering issues depending on your particular unit of the monitor.
Some CU34G2X units will work just fine while some may flicker only in certain games and in certain scenarios (for instance, only on loading screens or in menus), but it’s something to keep in mind.
FreeSync works without these issues when using a compatible AMD card and since this is a relatively new gaming monitor, a future driver update will most likely fix the flickering issues with NVIDIA cards.
If you have an NVIDIA card and get a unit of this monitor that flickers, you can try decreasing the VRR range to ~70-144Hz via CRU to reduce flickering or try using older NVIDIA drivers.
Other features include pre-calibrated picture modes (FPS, RTS, Racing, etc), custom crosshairs, Shadow Control (improves visibility in darker games), Game Color (saturation adjustments), and Picture in Picture/Picture by Picture. HDR is supported as well, but there’s no local dimming.
Design & Connectivity
Moving on, the AOC CU34G2X offers a sturdy and versatile design with up to 130mm height adjustment, -5°/23° tilt, +/- 30° swivel, and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility.
Connectivity options include two DisplayPort 1.4 inputs, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a quad-USB 3.0 hub, and a headphones jack. Keep in mind that HDMI 2.0 is limited to 100Hz at 3440×1440.
The screen has an aggressive curvature of 1500R which provides a more immersive viewing experience by extending your field of view.
- MSI MAG341CQ and Viotek GN34CB/W– Cheaper 3440×1440 100Hz ultrawide gaming monitors with a tilt-only stand and no 1ms MPRT
- Samsung S34J55W – A cheaper 3440×1440 75Hz FreeSync ultrawide monitor with a flat screen
- LG 34UC79G – A 2560×1080 144Hz gaming monitor with an IPS panel. Its faster response time provides a better fast-paced gaming experience, however, the lower resolution results in a more pixelated image quality
- Nixeus EDG34S – A more expensive 3440×1440 144Hz gaming monitor based on the same panel as the CU34G2X, but it doesn’t have any USB ports nor as an ergonomic stand. It has stable FreeSync performance with compatible NVIDIA cards though
- High contrast ratio and wide color gamut
- Plenty of features including MBR and FreeSync up to 144Hz
- Fully ergonomic stand and rich connectivity options
- Immersive gaming experience
- Minor ghosting in fast-paced games, particularly in darker scenes
- Possible flickering issues with G-SYNC on certain units of the monitor
LG 27UL650 – Best 4K IPS Monitor Under $500
About the Monitor
The LG 27UL650 is the best 4K monitor under $500 for overall use. It’s great for console gaming, PC gaming (if you have a good enough GPU), and content creation/consumption.
It’s based on an IPS panel with dithered 10-bit color depth, 99% sRGB color gamut, a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, a 350-nit peak brightness, and 4K Ultra HD resolution for crystal-clear detail clarity thanks to the 163 pixel-per-inch ratio.
The monitor also supports entry-level HDR, however, HDR content only gets a boost in brightness up to ~400-nits. There’s no wide color gamut support or local dimming, so the display only qualifies for VESA’s entry-level DisplayHDR 400 certification.
LG offers a bunch of useful features including On-Screen Control for adjusting OSD settings in a desktop application, Screen Split, Black Stabilizer for better visibility in darker games, and HDR Effect which simulates HDR for non-compatible content.
FreeSync is supported with a 40-60Hz range over both HDMI and DisplayPort which makes the LG 27UL650 the best 4K HDR monitor for Xbox One X under $500 since Xbox One supports FreeSync.
Additionally, FreeSync works with NVIDIA cards as well but only within the ‘Basic’ mode of FreeSync which limits the VRR range to 48-60Hz.
Design & Connectivity
The LG 27UL650 has a fairly ergonomic design with tilt, height, pivot and VESA mount adjustments, but no swivel option. As far as the connectivity is concerned, there are two HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.4, and a headphones jack.
Since the HDR support is only software-emulated on the LG 27UL650 due to the lack of display capabilities, you may want to save some money and go with the LG 27UL500 instead. It offers a slightly lower sRGB gamut (98%) and lower peak brightness (300-nits), but it’s $100 cheaper.
We have a detailed comparison between all LG’s UK- and UL-series of 4K monitors in our LG 27UK650 review which you should definitely check out if you’re interested in a 27″ 4K IPS monitor.
- Vibrant colors
- FreeSync over HDMI and DP
- Ergonomic design
- No wide color gamut
- Only entry-level HDR support
LG 32UK550 – Best 32" 4K Monitor Under $500
About the Monitor
If you want a bigger 4K monitor, the LG 32UK550 is the best 32-inch 4K gaming monitor under $500.
Unlike the LG 27UL650, the LG 32UK550 has a VA panel with a higher contrast ratio (3,000:1) but not as accurate colors. So, it offers a more immersive viewing experience, but it’s not as good when it comes to content creation. It also has more ghosting and smearing in fast-paced games, but it’s tolerable for casual gaming.
Moving on, the LG 32UK550 supports HDR and has a wide color gamut with 95% DCI-P3 color space coverage. It offers the same features as the UL650 including Screen Split, On-Screen Control, Black Stabilizer, and AMD FreeSync (40-60Hz range over both HDMI and DP, but 48-60Hz for NVIDIA cards).
Design & Connectivity
You can adjust the height of the screen, tilt it, or mount it using the VESA pattern. Connectivity options include two HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.2, a headphones jack, and dual 5W integrated speakers.
- LG 32UD59 – Older version of this monitor without HDR support nor built-in speakers
- LG 32UD60 – Same as the UD59 but with built-in speakers
- Samsung U32J590 – A cheaper 32″ 4K VA monitor without HDR, height-adjustable stand, speakers, nor wide color gamut
- BenQ EW3270U – A more expensive 32″ 4K monitor with some additional features such as built-in sensors and more stable G-SYNC performance
- High contrast ratio
- FreeSync over HDMI and DP
- Height-adjustable stand
- Minor ghosting in fast-paced games, but tolerable for casual gaming
Still not sure what monitor to get? Leave us a comment below, and we’ll gladly help you out.
All in all, you can’t go wrong with the LG 27GL850. It provides the perfect balance between image quality and performance.
For a more immersive gaming experience, the AOC CU34G2X is the perfect pick and an exceptional monitor for the money while competitive gamers will certainly be satisfied with the ViewSonic XG270.
Finally, the two 4K monitors offer incredible detail clarity and striking image quality regardless of which model you pick, but the PC gaming performance won’t be as smooth due to the low refresh rate.