Best Gaming Monitor Under 500 USD For 2020 – Buyer’s Guide And Monitor Reviews

best value

AOC CU34G2X

aoc cu34g2x monitor
  • 3440x1440 144Hz
  • FreeSync and MBR
  • High contrast ratio
best overall

LG 27GL850

Lg 27gl850
  • 1440p 144Hz 1ms
  • AMD FreeSync
  • Vibrant colors

For under $500, you can get one of the best 240Hz displays for competitive eSports gaming, excellent ultrawide monitors, or impeccable 1440p 144Hz gaming monitors 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

TypeMonitorSizeResolutionPanelRefresh RateVRR 
Best 240Hz Monitor27”1920×1080IPS240HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Compatible)
Best 1440p 144Hz Monitor27”2560×1440IPS144HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Compatible)
Best HDR Monitor27”2560×1440VA144HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Unstable)
Best UltraWide Monitor34”3440×1440VA144HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Unstable)
Best IPS UltraWide Monitor34”2560×1080IPS144HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Compatible)

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.

Are you looking for a 4K monitor under $500? We don’t recommend any of the models that cost between $400 and $500. The best budget 4K monitors can be found in our best gaming monitors under $400 guide.

Other, more expensive 4K gaming monitors, can be found in our dedicated best 4K monitor buyer’s guide.

Now, 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 typerefresh ratescreen size, and resolution for you as well as what other 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 well 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 should work without any issues as they are certified by NVIDIA.

ViewSonic XG270 – Best 240Hz Gaming Monitor

Viewsonic Elite Xg270

About the Monitor

The ViewSonic Elite XG270 is one of our top recommended 240Hz gaming monitor!

It offers everything a high-end competitive gamer may want including a rapid response time speed, low input lag, AMD FreeSync with G-SYNC compatibility, and Motion Blur Reduction.

Image Quality

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 the 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 a 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.

Features

amd freesync logo

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

Viewsonic Xg270 Back

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, 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).

Alternatives

  • ASUS VG259QM – A 24.5″ 1080p 280Hz IPS gaming monitor with a higher pixel density than the XG270. However, its backlight strobing technology is not nearly as good.
  • BenQ XL2546S – A 24.5″ 1080p 240Hz TN gaming monitor with inferior image quality and viewing angles, but a higher pixel density and good backlight strobing implementation.
Want the fastest gaming monitor there is? Consider invest an extra $200 for the ASUS PG259QN with a 360Hz refresh rate!

The Pros

  • AMD FreeSync and MBR up to 240Hz
  • Low input lag and quick response time
  • Fully ergonomic design
  • Rich connectivity options
  • Vibrant and accurate colors

The Cons

  • Low pixel density

LG 27GL850 – Best 1440p 144Hz Gaming Monitor

Lg 27gl850

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.

Image Quality

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.

What makes the LG 27GL850 so good is its excellent pixel response time speed of 1ms GtG for zero ghosting which in combination with its gorgeous colors, high resolution, and wide viewing angles delivers both immersive and responsive gaming experience.

Features

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

lg 27gl850 monitor back

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.

Alternatives

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.

Alternatives such as the Aorus AD27QD, Aorus FI27Q-P, Razer Raptor, and the ASUS XV272U cost the same (or even more) as the GL850 yet they are based on a notably slower IPS panel by Innolux.

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.

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.

The Pros

  • Vibrant colors and crisp details
  • Quick response time
  • AMD FreeSync
  • Ergonomic design and rich connectivity options

The Cons

  • Limited FreeSync range over HDMI
  • Design lacks swivel option

Samsung C27HG70 – Best HDR Gaming Monitor

samsung c27hg70 monitor

About the Monitor

The Samsung C27HG70 offers the best HDR picture under $500. It’s a 1440p 144Hz gaming monitor based on a curved VA panel though, so it won’t have as vibrant colors and quick response time as the 27GL850.

Image Quality

The VA panel of the Samsung C27HG70 boasts a static contrast ratio of 3,000:1, so blacks will be deeper, whites brighter, and the relation between the darkest and the brightest tones will be more pronounced.

Further, it features a QDEF (quantum dot enhanced film) layer, which extends its color gamut to 95% DCI-P3 (125% sRGB).

While the colors won’t be as punchy and consistent as they are on IPS panels, they are still quite vibrant!

When HDR content is detected, the Samsung C27HG70 can boost its brightness from typical 350-nits up to stellar 600-nits! This will make details in highlights of the picture much more vivid.

That’s not all…

The monitor supports localized dimming, which consists of eight zones that can individually dim parts of the picture with dark content without affecting areas of the screen that need to remain bright.

By doing so, the Samsung C27HG70 provides you with even deeper blacks and an overall excellent picture quality, which is why this monitor has VESA’s DisplayHDR 600 certification.

Features

Thanks to its FreeSync 2 (FreeSync Premium Pro) support, you can use FreeSync and HDR simultaneously without any extra input lag added. It works with NVIDIA’s cards, too, with a 48-144Hz VRR range.

Unfortunately, some units of the Samsung CHG70 (and most other monitors based on Samsung’s VA panels) are affected by the brightness flickering issue when FreeSync is enabled.

This brightness flickering is mostly visible when your FPS fluctuates a lot or when it gets below 48FPS and triggers LFC. It doesn’t affect all units of the monitor, and it’s not visible in all video games.

You’ll also find the 1ms MPRT backlight strobing technology, which is really helpful for fast-paced games as it can eliminate a lot of smearing.

Other features include Black Equalizer, and pre-calibrated picture presets.

Design & Connectivity

samsung c27hg70 monitor back

The monitor is quite bulky and sturdy, but its bezels are ultra-thin!

You also get full ergonomic support with up to 145mm height adjustment, +/- 15° swivel, 90° pivot, -5°/15° tilt, and 100x100mm VESA.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0b inputs, a dual-USB 3.0 hub, a headphones jack, and a microphone jack.

Alternatives

The Samsung C27HG70 is also available as a 32″ variant – the Samsung C32HG70 which goes for a bit over $500.

If you’re looking for something similar (meaningful HDR image quality with deep blacks, vibrant colors, and strong brightness) but faster, you’ll have to invest ~$150 extra for the 27″ Samsung Odyssey G7.

The Pros

  • Wide color gamut and high brightness
  • High contrast ratio and local dimming
  • AMD FreeSync 2, DisplayHDR 600
  • Fully ergonomic design and rich connectivity options

The Cons

  • Moderate ghosting in fast-paced games, mainly in darker scenes

AOC CU34G2X – Best UltraWide Monitor Under $500

aoc cu34g2x monitor

About the Monitor

If you’re after something a bit different, the AOC CU34G2X is the best ultrawide monitor under 500 USD!

Image Quality

Thanks to its ultrawide format (21:9 aspect ratio), the AOC CU34G2X provides a more immersive viewing and gaming experience as well as an 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 isn’t very important 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.

Features

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.

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

Aoc Cu34g2x Back

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.

Alternatives

  • 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

The Pros

  • 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

The Cons

  • Minor ghosting in fast-paced games, particularly in darker scenes

LG 34GL750 – Best IPS UltraWide Under $500

lg 34gl750 monitor

About the Monitor

If you want an ultrawide monitor with smoother fast-paced gaming performance, the LG 34GL750 is the best pick under $500.

Image Quality

Unlike the AOC CU34G2X, this ultrawide monitor has a lower 2560×1080 screen resolution, which results in a considerably lower pixel density on 34″ sized monitors.

So, the picture quality won’t be as sharp and clear, but rather a bit pixelated.

To reduce this pixelated appearance, you can sit a bit further from the screen, which will make the individual pixels less distinguishable. Further, using anti-aliasing in video games will help.

While the lower pixel density is generally tolerable for gaming, watching videos, and other everyday use, we don’t recommend it for those who intended to use the monitor for work as you’ll get a lot less screen space in comparison to a 34″ 3440×1440 monitor.

The IPS panel of the LG 34GL750 also doesn’t have as high contrast ratio as the CU34G2X, so blacks won’t be as deep. However, you will get more vibrant colors, wider viewing angles, and, most importantly, a much faster response time speed!

Thanks to its quick pixel response time, you won’t get any prominent ghosting or motion blur at 144Hz! 

Features

Additionally, the LG 34GL750 is certified as G-SYNC compatible by NVIDIA, so you don’t have to worry about any issues regarding variable refresh rate.

AMD FreeSync is supported with a 50-144Hz VRR range over DisplayPort and 60-144Hz range over HDMI.

The monitor also supports backlight strobing via its 1ms Motion Blur Reduction technology for even better motion clarity.

Other features include On-Screen Control, Screen Split, Black Stabilizer, custom crosshairs, picture presets, and software-emulated HDR support.

Design & Connectivity

lg 34gl750 monitor back

The stand of the monitor offers height adjustment up to 120mm and tilt by -5°/20°. You cannot pivot or swivel the screen, but it is VESA mount compatible.

Although the screen of the monitor is curved, it has a rather subtle 3800R curvature while the CU34G2X has a notably steeper 1500R curve.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and a headphones jack.

Alternatives

If you mostly play fast-paced games, the LG 34GL750 is the best ultrawide monitor under $500 for you.

In case you prefer more graphically-oriented games, the AOC CU34G2X will provide you with a more immersive viewing experience.

Note that the LG 34GL750 uses the same panel as the LG 34UC79G.

The LG 34UC79G doesn’t support HDR, but it has a dual-USB 3.0 hub.

Further, it’s not certified as G-SYNC compatible, but FreeSync does work without any issues with compatible NVIDIA cards on it.

So, make sure to check both models and see which one is available for less money as they offer a pretty much identical picture quality and performance.

The Pros

  • Vibrant and consistent colors
  • Plenty of features including MBR and FreeSync up to 144Hz
  • Height-adjustable stand
  • Quick response time speed

The Cons

  • Low pixel density
  • Not as high contrast as that of VA panels

Conclusion

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.

If you don’t care for fast-paced performance, and would rather have a more cinematic HDR viewing experience, go with the Samsung C27HG70.

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.

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Rob Shafer
Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.