Ask LH: What Cheap Gaming Monitor Should I Buy For My Console?

Dear Lifehacker, I need a new monitor that I can use to play console games -- Xbox One and PlayStation 4. I want it to be around 26 to 32 inches, and I don't want to pay more than about $300. Any suggestions? Thanks, Mark

Photo: YouTube

Dear Mark,

As luck would have it, you're looking right at the sweet spot of size, price and quality. If you want to buy a half-decent monitor at an affordable price these days, you'll want something around 24 to 27 inches, with 1920x1080p resolution, and with an IPS, PLS or TN panel. That suits console gaming very well.

What you don't need is a 1440p or 4K screen, any fancy G-Sync or FreeSync PC-specific dynamic refresh rate tech or 144Hz, or any high-res connectors like DisplayPort or MHL. You do probably want speakers, but at the bare minimum you'll want a screen that can output audio from its HDMI input through a 3.5mm headphone jack.

For gaming, especially on console where you're (usually) locked to 60Hz and 60fps frame rates, you absolutely want something with the lowest possible input lag -- this is one thing that you can't change too much in menu settings, short of a Game picture mode that cuts out the majority of image processing. This is the domain of high-speed TN panels and newer IPS screens.

If you look at the DisplayLag database -- which hasn't been updated in 2016, but still gives you a good guide to what screen technologies and brands to look at initially -- BenQ and Asus generally sit at the top of the pile, but Samsung's PLS monitors are also very well regarded.

My initial inkling was to suggest a 27-inch Dell UltraSharp to you, but Dell's cheapest 27-inch model is nearly $600 and way out of your price range. Instead, you should be perfectly happy with any of these choices below. I've linked to Victorian PC store Scorptec for all these, but you might be able to find a better price on StaticIce.

BenQ GL2760H -- for $300 you get a 27-inch 1080p monitor with a 2ms TN panel, HDMI input and headphone jack. This is a barebones, straightforward TN monitor -- no input lag, but not as pretty as a IPS or PLS screen.

Samsung S27D590P -- $380 gets you a 27-inch 1080p monitor with a 5ms PLS panel, two HDMI inputs and headphone jack. PLS is very similar to IPS, and has excellent viewing angles, decent response times and great blacks.

BenQ RL2755M -- this $350 "built for gaming" 27-inch monitor is a 1080p one, with a crazy low 1ms TN response time, dual HDMI, and inbuilt speakers as well as a headphone jack. This is your jack-of-all-trades choice.

Asus VC279H -- $350 gets you an IPS panel and 1920x1080p resolution, 5ms response times, and speakers in a really nice nearly frameless design. IPS has great viewing angles and this is one of the newest you can get.

If it was up to me, out of this list, I'd probably get the BenQ RL2755M for high-speed gaming -- it has speakers, excellent response time, and you can plug in both consoles (or a console and a PC) at once. If beautiful contrast is your number one deciding factor, the Samsung S27D590P probably takes that crown in this list.

We'd also like to hear from readers. If you have another suggestion, let us all know in the comments below.


    I'm after the opposite of the spectrum. Hooked up my old N64 to my 65" Sony Bravia and no setting was going to reduce the lines. Yes I know the N64 has a low resolution so will look pixilated no matter what I do. But short of switching to a CRT monitor, does anyone know of a current 27"+ monitor that could give the N64 and other old consoles justice?

      not a replacement monitor, but a mod for your n64. I know the guy who runs this site, and he is a great guy dedicated to high quality work.

        Wow! Thanks for pointing this out. I didn't even know this thing existed. Now one just needs to have these items in stock. This is something I'd seriously look at getting. Have since book marked to keep an eye on, thank you.

    If someone says "I don’t want to pay more than about $300" (this is a copy paste quote) that means that they want pirces $300 and under.

    I honestly dont know if you are bad at maths or if you are compleatly out of touch of those on a low budget, but maybe if someone asks a question you should answer the question asked.

    Even if the Kotaku editor originally asked you, that doesn't change the fact you compleatly disreguarded what was asked.

    And "might be cheaper if you shop around" is a cop out.

    Last edited 04/04/16 2:45 pm

      Well, they are all around $300, so in the ball park.

      If I asked the same question and a killer solution for $350 was omitted because of my arbitrary dollar value I would be all the lesser for it.

      There is good reason why they could have done that, I recently purchased a new gaming monitor in January, coincidentally same one recommended in this article (BenQ RL2755HM). I spent at least 2 weeks doing research for a good gaming monitor on a budget. And from what I found, anything under $300 just wouldn't suffice. My budget too was around $300...I got the monitor for $340 and its a great monitor, no regrets at all. Sometimes, you just need to push your budget just a little bit to make it 1000 times better than something that you would have bought for $250-300.

        "Sometimes, you just need to push your budget just a little bit to make it 1000 times better than something that you would have bought for $250-300."

        Which he should of said, if thats how he felt.

        If someone says their budget is $300 maybe the majority of the suggestion should be -$300 with one or two silghtly over $300 if a quality jump is visible for the extra cash.

        That way you can both answer the question and provide addional options outside the original parameters.

    is this the third time this article has been posted?

    Right on the verge of JB Hifi jacking up their prices due to slower market demand, I bought a $399 48in Soniq from them. Unsure why you'd go lower than 42in, unless you're actually using it at a desk. $350 TVs at that size can be found.

      Yes, these gaming monitors would be specifically for desk gaming. eg. myself... I game on PC and consoles, so I have all my platforms hooked up to the monitor. I personally prefer gaming on a monitor that a TV, so yea, hope this clarifies your comment :)

    IPS only - TN panels are hopeless. I would be surprised if there are any still on the market, given the proliferation of IPS panels nowadays.

      TN panels have better refresh rates than IPS. People who care about gaming want a TN panel.

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