The fastest, highest quality and smallest Full HD monitor for less than $400 can be called the Dell Alienware AW2518HF with FreeSync support. This is a 24.5-inch TN+Film 240Hz solution that can match the high level of its owner's game. If you are interested in similar solutions, but with G-Sync, then the choice will be between Alienware AW2518H and Asus PG258Q.


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2022 update: Best 1440p monitor under 300 - choosing the best gaming monitor

The number of displayed shades directly depends on the brightness of the backlight. A "regular" monitor or TV has a brightness of up to 300 nits - not enough to display 10-bit color. That is, even if HDR support is indicated on the box, this only means that the device is able to perceive a signal with the appropriate encoding (a good example is, but will not be able to display the content properly.


Monitors are certified by VESA according to HDR 400, HDR 500, HDR 600 and HDR 1000 standards. They differ mainly in peak backlight brightness, which means short-term flashes of individual points or the entire field of the screen during, for example, explosions. The maximum continuous brightness does not exceed 320‑600 cd/m2.

The list of games with HDR support (as of autumn 2019) consists of several dozen positions. Most use the open HDR10 standard, but a few, such as Mass Effect: Andromeda and Battlefield 5 (complete list), have received Dolby Vision certification (not to be confused with Dolby Atmos surround sound technology).

HDR is fully supported by GeForce 10, 16, and 20 series graphics cards and all Radeon RX models. The PlayStation 4 and the standard Xbox One support the HDR10 standard for games and movies, while the Xbox One X and Xbox One S also play Dolby Vison content.

Good HDR

A bad implementation of HDR does more harm than good, and good HDR in a monitor is a very expensive pleasure.

You may be surprised not to find such terms as “backlight uniformity”, “Glow effect” in the lists, but there is a simple explanation for this: absolutely all modern matrices of any type can demonstrate both good backlight uniformity and bad; both a strongly pronounced "glow" and a slightly noticeable one. There are no more leaders and outsiders. It is necessary to consider and evaluate not the type of panel, but the specific model of the matrix installed in the monitor.

By the way, if you have an Nvidia video card, and financial resources do not allow you to purchase a monitor with a G-Sync module, do not be upset - feel free to buy any other, including those with the declared support for AMD FreeSync, because this feature will not interfere with you. The same can be said for users of AMD video cards: if it so happened that the monitor you like is oriented more towards green fans, then this should not affect your choice in any way. Yes, in both cases, you will be left without hardware adaptive sync systems, but all the other advantages of the monitor will not go anywhere.

Connection interfaces

You are unlikely to choose a gaming monitor according to the available connection interfaces, but we could not pass by this column in the technical specifications. At the moment, all fast monitors are required to be equipped with modern DisplayPort and HDMI ports. With DVI-D and, especially, D-Sub, they said goodbye a long time ago.

For DP, version 1.2 is the minimum with support for high refresh rates at resolutions from Full HD to UWQHD and adaptive sync technologies. It is DP that is the main interface for game models. Graphics cards starting with the Nvidia GTX 960 and AMD Radeon RX 380 are capable of squeezing a stable maximum in refresh rate from modern monitors. Earlier solutions will introduce limits at about 160-180 Hz for Full HD and 120 Hz for WQHD.

Response speed, refresh rate, black frame insertion

Other things being equal, TN+Film solutions are still the fastest. They are followed by IPS-types, and all *VA-models receive bronze. It is definitely not worth focusing on the response time figures indicated by the manufacturers in the TX - this is still a profanity. The measurement techniques used, which evaluate 1-2 possible color transitions, never gave an idea of ​​the display speed, since in real use there are tens of thousands of possible transitions, and they all differ in time, sometimes by several times.

You should focus solely on direct comparisons of models (put side by side and run the same test), instrumental measurements and photo evidence (not the most accurate method, but better than nothing). You will be amazed when you see how different models with the same GtG (Gray to Gray) times can differ.

Gaming computers and monitors: see Wikipedia