Tech

The Best 1440p Gaming Monitors

A few short years ago, we’d be discussing 1440p 144Hz displays as “high refresh rate” monitors, but with new 240Hz options out there, that’s not truly accurate anymore. Of course, 144Hz is still far superior to the 60Hz monitors of old, and if you’ve never tried something with this sort of refresh rate, it’s well worth an upgrade.

Today’s 144Hz displays don’t usually top out at just 144Hz, with most of the best options giving you 165Hz, or even 180Hz, along with full adaptive sync variable refresh rate support for all GPUs. For this reason, we are not focusing heavily on “G-Sync” or “FreeSync” branding as realistically all of these monitors work perfectly with variable refresh rate support on both Nvidia and AMD GPUs.

If you’re after the best 1440p 144Hz-class display on the market, you’ll need to fork out $400 to $500, which is less than on previous years — always nice to see things getting cheaper over time. You’ll also be looking exclusively at IPS displays, as neither TN nor VA is particularly competitive in this category, either in overall performance or value. The wide range of high quality IPS options today keeps nudging things further along with each release.

Our two top picks in this category are the LG 27GP850 (read our full review), or the MSI MAG274QRF-QD. The LG is typically priced around $450, while the MSI model is around $420, and they both have different strengths and weaknesses, which is why I didn’t side with either as the absolute best, but I think between these two displays you’ll find what you are looking for.

The LG 27GP850 uses a Nano IPS panel with updated overdrive optimization to squeeze the most out of this technology. It’s a 27-inch 1440p display with a maximum 180Hz refresh rate, accessible through the built-in overclocking feature, and a wide color gamut, around 96% DCI-P3 in our testing. It’s the successor to the highly popular LG 27GL850 and is improved in many ways.

The major strength to the 27GP850 is response times. This is one of the fastest monitors in its class, with an impressive 4.7ms average response at 180Hz, and 4.6ms across the refresh range. It delivers a good single overdrive mode experience and LG are pushing the panel right up to its limits, with virtually no visible overshoot artefacts using optimal settings. It also includes a functional sRGB mode, so despite having wide support of DCI-P3, you don’t have to suffer through oversaturation while watching standard content like YouTube videos, so you get this nice balance of performance in games, along with color accuracy.

I also like this display’s build quality, viewing angles, decent brightness and low input latency. However the contrast ratio is poor, so it wouldn’t be my first choice for a monitor to use in darker gaming conditions under dim lights. Also consider the LG 27GP83B which is a $50 cheaper version of the 27GP850 without some features, like the USB hub, 180Hz OC and backlight strobing.

The MSI MAG274QRF-QD is a similar monitor in many ways: a 27-inch 1440p option with a 165Hz maximum refresh rate and 97% DCI-P3 coverage. The difference between 180Hz and 165Hz is negligible in my opinion. However it uses a different AU Optronics panel which may be better suited to your use case.

Unlike the 27GP850, the MSI model has decent contrast for an IPS panel, 28% higher than the LG’s. It has an even wider color gamut, supporting 99% of the Adobe RGB color space in addition to great DCI-P3 coverage, which makes it more versatile for content creators, especially if you can calibrate it. And for gamers, MSI offers better backlight strobing with a clearer result and no artifacts like red fringing, which makes it better suited for competitive gaming.

What the MAG274QRF-QD lacks in comparison to the LG model is a functional sRGB mode, so calibrating this display using an ICC profile is a must, and even then not every aspect to this display’s oversaturation when viewing sRGB content is fixable. It’s also somewhat slower in terms of raw response time, though it’s still competitive and offers a single overdrive mode experience, minimizing the need to fumble around in the OSD. Either way you go, you’ll end up with a very solid monitor and with pricing so close, there’s no clear winner in terms of value. Do the research on what is available in your region and go from there.

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