No matter which components you have, or how powerful they might be, the end result will be displayed on your monitor, making it one of the most important parts of your gaming experience. In the past, fast response times for gaming were extremely expensive, meaning a high-end monitor would cost as much as the GPU or CPU of a powerful rig. Now, advancement in technology has allowed for some strong options, even at the relatively ‘budget’ level.
This article will take a closer look at that sub-$200 price point, and try and find the absolute best value gaming monitor on the market today. We will focus on the refresh rate, responsiveness, the adaptive sync technology, and the type of panel. Of course, build quality and picture quality will also be important, but as those are mostly similar as many manufacturers use the same base panels, we want to focus on the aspects of a monitor that make it well suited to gaming. We might not find a 1440p 144hz IPS panel at our hard $200 limit, but that does not mean we can’t find an absolutely beautiful display that will ensure you can have the best gaming experience possible.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at our recommendations for the best gaming monitors under $200:
Best Gaming Monitors under $200 – My Recommendations
Best 1080p 144Hz Gaming TN Monitor under $200
Within this price point, the most simple and efficient recommendation is for a 1080p, 144Hz TN-panel monitor. And there is very good reason for this, as TN panels remain the most responsive in terms of avoiding ghosting and motion blur, on top of being the most affordable for pure specs. Yes, TN panels might not offer the blackest of blacks, the way an IPS panel will. Nor will it have the viewing angles of an IPS panel. But it will offer a great gaming experience, especially with a high refresh rate like 144hz and adaptive sync technology to avoid screen tearing. So for this category, likely the most popular category for the majority of gamers, we recommend the AOC G2590FX.
AOC is a well-known producer of monitors, combining great value with good features and reliable build quality. This particular monitor is no different, offering strong features like G-Sync compatible Freesync and the blazing fasts 1ms response time we expect from a TN-panel, as well as a great stand and nice built in features like blue-light limiting and dynamic contrast. But the best part of this monitor is that it is significantly below our $200 limit, offering the same high-refresh rate as some of our other options at a nice discount (due to the TN panel). At $160, the value and quality of this monitor are very tough to beat, which is why we recommend it as our best TN panel under $200.
Best 1080p 144Hz Gaming IPS Monitor under $200
Now, for many, TN-panels just don’t cut it anymore. As IPS panels have become more prevalent, their prices have started to fall to affordable levels. And the major advantage of TN-panels, the response times, has been largely negated as 1ms IPS panels have entered the market. But, the fact remains that IPS panels can be expensive, especially with high-refresh rates and adaptive sync included in the monitor as well. Luckily, even at our modest $200 limit, 1080p-144hz panels exist. So for this category, we recommend the Acer Nitro VG240Y.
The fact that we have a sub-$200 144hz Full HD IPS panel is amazing. And then, when you consider that Acer is one of the top monitor producers, the Freesync adaptive sync technology, the good VESA-compatible stand, and the Zero Frame (no bezel) display, this becomes a steal. IPS panels are not always recommended for gaming because of the slower response times, but this one uses a new 1ms IPS panel (although when FreeSync is enabled, the response time slows some) and has minimal motion blur according to most reviews. Same as the panel above, the 24” size is perfect for 1080p and is very crisp, even for those sitting pretty close to their monitor. At only $40 more than our TN-panel recommendation (so $200 total), this is a great monitor for any gamer that wants better colors or plans on watching movies or doing some light photo/video editing as well.
Best 1080p 144Hz Gaming Curved Monitor under $200
Alongside the advancements in IPS tech, curved monitors have seen a massive increase in market share in the past five years. VA-panels saw an increase around the same time, perhaps with a correlation as many curved panels use VA. VA-panels are the ‘happy medium’ between TN and IPS, offering better colors than TN (but not as good as IPS), and offering better responsiveness than IPS (but not as fast as TN). Curved panels are interesting because of the decrease need for large eye movements, which decreases fatigue for some gamers. Others simply enjoy the ‘immersive’ experience and find the curve to help them truly get into the game. This tends to be truer and truer as the size of the monitor increases, so for this category, we recommend the 27” Pixio PXC273.
Pixio is a smaller name than AOC, Acer or other big players like LG/ASUS, but they also produce some great value displays that use high-quality panels. They also have high-quality VESA compatible stands in most of their products, including this one, and have been reactive for customer service according to most reviews when there is a problem. For this monitor, the advantage is in the size (27”), Freesync, Full HD, and a curve that is aggressive enough to be interesting, but not so aggressive as to be a half circle.
The VA panel should offer a great mix of responsiveness and color reproduction, but without going to the same price as the newest IPS panels that have low response times. In fact, at $200, this monitor is around $100 less than even the most competitive similarly spec’ed IPS panels, showing jus why it is so valuable, and why we recommend it as our best gaming curved monitor under $200.
Best 1440p Gaming Monitor under $200
Some of you might see the title of this category and think, no way there is a QHD (1440p) monitor in this price range. And that would be wrong! But mainly because you are almost definitely thinking of 144hz 1440p monitors.
In that case, you would be right. Essentially, at this price point, a 1440p 144hz display is just not happening without some sort of major sale event, but that’s ok! For gamers that prefer single-player games or RTS/non-FPS games, 144hz is often overkill. Instead, a 1440p 75hz monitor will offer a crisper picture than can take advantage of the visuals in some of the single-player games, while 75hz will still provide a very smooth gaming experience. So for anyone that falls into this group of gamers and is looking for resolution over refresh rate, we recommend the Viotek FI24D.
Viotek is very similar to Pixio as a company; it is slightly less known than the big players, but producers some good bang-for-your-buck displays that use high-quality parts without the corresponding high price tag. The FI24D is the epitome of this, offering an ultra-crisp QHD panel in a 24” package with a VESA compatible stand, a top-notch warranty, G-Sync compatible Freesync technology, and to top it off: an IPS panel. With this refresh rate and targeted gamer group, the combination QHD and IPS panel will lead to absolutely stunning visuals in all games, and the 75hz refresh rate won’t hold you back the way it could in some fast-paced multiplayer FPS games. And as refresh rate seems to drive prices higher more than resolution does, this monitor is eminently affordable at $170. For anyone that wants a beautiful picture more than they need the fastest specs available, the FI24HD is a top option.
As you can see, the monitor depends on the use-case as much as the price point. Even at a firm limit of $200, there are some stellar options, each offering different advantages or disadvantages. If you need speed and plan on playing mostly online multi-player FPS games, a 144hz TN panel like the AOC G2590FX will not let you down. On the other hand, at the other end of the spectrum, a 1440p 75hz IPS panel like the Viotek FI24HD may be more adapted for a gamer that focuses on single player games, or really wants stunning visuals.
The bottom line is that the choices of IPS, TN, or VA panels, combined with weighing the importance of resolution (1080p vs 1440p or even 4K) and refresh rate (75hz vs 144hz) should all be taken into consideration. Try not to let others decide for you, as many will push you towards options that are best suited for them rather than for the games you like to play.
But once you’ve decided, our four options above are all strong options that will help you get the best display possible, and make the most out of your rig, without going above the $200 price point.