The Best 4K Gaming Monitors: Early 2022

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The Best 4K Gaming Monitors: Early 2022

This is the category that’s seen the biggest suite of improvements, especially high refresh models that are better performing and more affordable than what was available in years prior. Most of our recommendations from our recent best 4K monitors feature is still relevant today, so we’ll keep this one concise and you can always go to the dedicated 4K article for more information if you need it.

Right now we’d split up the 4K choices in two category sizes: 27 and 32-inch, with the expectation of getting at least a 144Hz refresh rate to make them future proof and great for gaming. In the 27-inch category we’d look no further than the Gigabyte M28U, which offers excellent performance at an affordable price point of $650, much lower than previous years’ best choices.

The M28U has very good response time performance, with an average transition of 4ms at 144Hz in our testing. It also offers good performance across the refresh range, so for those using adaptive sync variable refresh rates, you don’t need to tweak overdrive settings to get the best experience. Color quality is also strong, thanks to its IPS panel, so viewing angles are excellent and it does pack a wide color gamut – though not as wide as the best monitors of today. Factory calibration is above average, there’s a good sRGB mode for everyday use, and contrast is typical for an IPS panel. To top it off, Gigabyte includes a KVM switch and a height adjustable stand which are both neat feature additions.

An alternate option might be the Samsung Odyssey G7 S28 model, which is on sale at a similar price and uses the same panel, but we’re yet to test it so it doesn’t get a recommendation from us yet.

The LG 27GN950, and its newer variant the LG 27GP950, used to be my go-to choices. But I can’t justify the $800 to $900 price tag for what ends up being only slightly better performance. The same goes for the Eve Spectrum 4K and Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A.

Larger 32-inch 4K Options

At 32″ the quality of monitor offerings isn’t as good as it is at 27″, however the additional screen real estate is something many people want, and yes, 4K looks great at this size, too.

For most people we’d recommend the Gigabyte M32U, which is the affordable and essentially identically performing version of the Gigabyte Aorus FI32U. This monitor has decent response time performance and color quality, it’s not a leader in any one area but I think it will suffice for most buyers as a solid all-rounder. It’s also not too expensive, at $800, which is cheaper than most other 32-inch 4K IPS 144Hz monitors.

If you want a step up in terms of performance and features, then the MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD is great. Occasionally, we’ve seen it for as low as $750, down from the usual $900, which is a great deal if you can get it and a clear winner over the M32Q.

It’s not as fast as the M32Q and response times aren’t its strength, but it makes up for this with excellent color performance including a very wide color gamut, multiple well-calibrated modes for sRGB, P3 and Adobe RGB, full bandwidth HDMI 2.1 and backlight strobing with adaptive sync support simultaneously.

The MSI model is a great choice if you want something decent for productivity and creative work that can still function well as a gaming monitor through its 144Hz refresh rate, while the M32Q is more of a gaming-first option.

If you’re buying a 4K high refresh gaming monitor right now, by far the best category to invest into is the 27-inch category. 4K monitors around this size deliver the best performance, and are the most affordable, making them great buys for a wide variety of use cases. But it’s also important to grab something from this current generation of 4K panels, otherwise you will be missing out on key features.

One key feature is HDMI 2.1. Only the latest 4K monitors include HDMI 2.1, and honestly I wouldn’t consider buying something that doesn’t have it. HDMI 2.1 is required for 4K at refresh rates above 60 Hz, so if you have a PC you want to hook up over HDMI, or more crucially, a current-gen game console, then HDMI 2.1 is essential. There are lots of older 4K monitors we haven’t considered because they fail this basic check.

The best 27-inch 4K monitor to buy is actually 28 inches in size, and it’s the Gigabyte M28U. The M28U is typically available for $600 – $650, making it one of the most affordable 4K 144Hz displays you can buy. This monitor does support HDMI 2.1, but crucially, it’s not a run-of-the-mill 4K contender with average performance; the M28U’s Innolux panel is one of the best performers we’ve seen yet in this category.

The Gigabyte M28U has very good response time performance, with an average transition of 4ms at 144Hz. It also has good performance across the refresh range. For those using adaptive sync variable refresh rates, you don’t need to tweak overdrive settings to get the best experience. This IPS monitor delivers speed in the ideal range for the latest generation of IPS panels, so there’s no funny business going on here for motion performance, and this is complemented with great backlight strobing that works alongside adaptive sync. This is a better package than you get with some of our previous recommendations at 4K, like the LG 27GN950 and 27GP950.

Thanks to the IPS panel, color quality is strong and so are viewing angles, packing a wide color gamut — though not as wide as the best monitors of today. Factory calibration is above average, there’s a good sRGB mode for everyday use, and contrast is typical for an IPS panel, no major issues there. To top it all off, Gigabyte includes a KVM switch and a height adjustable stand which are both neat additions.

Also consider…

Those buying a 4K monitor to use with a PlayStation 5, we’d recommend the Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A instead. The Asus is very similar to the M28U, it isn’t quite as a strong performer and tends to cost more (about $800), however it has more HDMI 2.1 bandwidth that’s more compatible with the PS5, which gives it a leg up.

Also, if you need full DCI-P3 coverage for content creation, the Gigabyte M28U doesn’t have the best P3 coverage, even though it’s a wide gamut monitor. For this use case, you’ll be better off with the more expensive LG 27GP950.

There are several other variants that are quite similar to the Gigabyte M28U because they use the same Innolux 28-inch 4K 144Hz IPS panel, some of which may be worth considering depending on pricing in your region. Also, do note the M28U has terrible HDR performance — it’s not really an HDR monitor at all — so if you want proper HDR, that’s not the monitor for you. Be aware that getting true HDR will cost you 2x to 3x the MSRP of this monitor. Don’t be fooled by fake HDR monitors that add this capability to the spec sheet without including the required hardware.

If you’re buying a 4K high refresh gaming monitor right now, by far the best category to invest into is the 27-inch category. 4K monitors around this size deliver the best performance, and are the most affordable, making them great buys for a wide variety of use cases. But it’s also important to grab something from the current generation of 4K panels, otherwise you will be missing out on key features.

For most gamers, the 4K monitor that makes the most sense to buy also turns out to be the best value, typically sitting in the $600 to $700 range. Our recommendation hasn’t changed since our last guide update. We’ve reviewed several other 4K monitors since and the Gigabyte M28U still comes out on top from a value perspective.

The M28U has very good response times, with an average transition in our testing of 4ms at 144Hz. It also has very good performance across the refresh range, so for those using adaptive sync variable refresh rates, you don’t need to tweak overdrive settings to get the best experience. This IPS monitor delivers speed in the ideal range for the latest generation of IPS panels, this is complemented with great backlight strobing that works alongside adaptive sync. We get HDMI 2.1 support, which is essential when buying a new 4K monitor in 2022 – not all monitors have this feature, so make sure to get one that does.

The Gigabyte’s color quality is strong, viewing angles are excellent and it does pack a wide color gamut – though not as wide as the best monitors of today. Factory calibration is above average, there’s a good sRGB mode for everyday use, and contrast is typical for an IPS panel. To top it all off, Gigabyte includes a KVM switch and a height adjustable stand which are both neat feature additions.

There are a few worthy alternatives that we should also mention. The M28U is not an HDR monitor, so if you want proper HDR just be aware that getting true HDR will cost you 2x-3x the MSRP of this monitor, don’t be fooled by fake HDR monitors that add it to the spec sheet without including the required hardware.

For PS5 / Console Gaming: Samsung Odyssey

Those of you buying a 4K monitor to use with a PlayStation 5, the Gigabyte M28U is not the best choice because its HDMI 2.1 ports are limited to 24 Gbps, instead of the full 48 Gbps. In this case our recommendation goes to the Samsung Odyssey G7 S28, which does offer full HDMI 2.1 bandwidth.

The Odyssey G7 S28 is usually a little more expensive than the M28U, typically sitting at $700. Both monitors deliver very similar performance aside from HDMI 2.1, however recently we’ve found the Samsung going on sale for as low as $630. If the Samsung model is cheaper than the Gigabyte, we’d buy it instead.

The High-end Option: Eve Spectrum

The Eve Spectrum 4K is a really good 4K 144Hz monitor. It uses an LG panel, which has some benefits over the Innolux panel used in the Gigabyte M28U, such as a wider color gamut which is great for DCI-P3 usage and makes the display more versatile for both content creation and gaming.

The Spectrum also has elite factory calibration, better than any other 4K display we’ve tested, plus more customization options like its highly tunable overdrive and backlight strobing controls.

Now, we wouldn’t strongly recommend buying from Eve as a company. You can see our thoughts on why in our full Spectrum review, however since then Eve appears to be delivering on their promises and shipping monitors to customers in a more timely fashion. So we’re more comfortable with a recommendation here than we were when we bought our review unit.

Do note that the Spectrum 4K is more expensive than competitors and it’s hard to justify spending $900 (stand included), when the M28U and Odyssey G7 are available around $650 to $700 unless you specifically must have one of the additional features. We don’t think the Spectrum offers an extra $250 of value over top competitors, but it’s still worth considering if you want the best of the best.

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