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A 120Hz monitor is an excellent place to start if you want smoother gameplay and have been using a 60Hz display. The gameplay on a 120Hz monitor is more fluid and bereft of frame loss and tearing.
A high refresh rate at medium resolutions is preferred by gamers more than a lower fps count at high resolutions. With lesser time between each frame being displayed, the action on the screen appears much faster and snappier. If you have just upgraded your entry-level graphics card to a GPU, your old 60Hz monitor might not be enough for the higher fps count.
Here are the best 120 Hz monitors you can buy today.
Table of Contents
The Best 120Hz Monitors Compared
|Alienware AW3420DW NEW Curved 34-Inch Gaming Monitor||HDR: No HDR Support|
Brightness: 350 nits
Response Rate: True 2ms
Extra Features: Anti-Glare Display
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|SAMSUNG LC49RG90SSNXZA 49-Inch CRG9 Curved Gaming Monitor||HDR: HDR 1000 and QLED|
Brightness: 1000 nits
Response Rate: 4 ms
Extra Features: Flicker Free, Refresh rate Optimizer
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|AOC AGON Curved Gaming Monitor 49" (AG493UCX), Dual QHD Gaming Monitor||HDR: VESA Certified HDR 400|
Brightness: 550 nits
Response Rate: 1 ms
Extra Features: KVM Enabled, Extensive Warranty Support, Remote Control,
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|Asus ROG Strix XG438Q 43" 4K Gaming Monitor||HDR: VESA Certified HDR 10|
Brightness: 500 nits
Response Rate: 4 ms
Extra Features: Built-In Sonic Masters Speakers, Dynamic Dimming, Shadow Boost
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|Acer EI431CR 43" 1800R Curved DWFHD (3840 x 1200) VA Gaming Monitor||HDR: VESA Certified HDR|
Brightness: 400 nits
Response Rate: 4 ms
Extra Features: Built-In Speakers,
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We rate the Alienware AW3420DW as the best 120Hz monitor right now to game on. It has a superior build quality with neat cable management systems to hide the cables.
There is a panel on the rear side that covers the connectivity slots. It has a beautiful LED strip on the stands that can be customized. The Alienware logo and power button don customizable led lights as well. It has a highly flexible build where the monitor can be effortlessly tilted vertically as well as horizontally. Its height can be adjusted, and the viewing angle can be changed for better viewing.
The ports start with a version 1.2 compatible Display Port and 1 HDMI port conforming to 1.4 standards. Pretty bleak, we must say, but they get the job done. Next, we have two USB 3.0 ports completing what we might call a list of underwhelming ports at the back of the monitor. Additionally, there are two more USB 3.0 ports at the monitor’s bottom edge, mainly used for charging devices and connecting USB storage devices. A 3.5 mm audio jack sits between these two ports.
With a host of innovative features such as Nvidia G-Sync and IPS Nano Color Technology, this IPS panel monitor’s image and color reproduction set the standards for every other gaming monitor in the market right now. The monitor has a Variable Sync technology that allows the monitor to receive processed frames from the GPU and display them all at once, giving you realistic gaming and productivity.
The IPS panel display has minimal bezels and highly responsive button controls behind the screen on the right that draw out a detailed on-screen adjustment menu. Screen response time can be adjusted between 2ms to 4ms. The color accuracy attains a staggering 98 percent coverage with peak brightness at 350 nits. Cinematic games on the monitor deliver a breath-taking experience, although pitch dark environment shows a bit of backlight bleed and colors appear oversaturated.
- Excellent Color Reproduction
- High Response Rate
- Anti-Glare Display
This Alienware monitor is an appealing option for users looking for a device that will be an excellent fit for a good gaming rig. However, at an expensive price point, HDR support on this Alienware would be badly missed.
- Customizable and Sturdy Build
- Innovative Display Technologies
- Native Nvidia G-Sync Support
- Lack of HDR and KVM
- Connectivity could be improved
The Samsung CRG9, simply put, is two 27-inch QHD monitors put side by side. In terms of productivity and gaming, this Samsung 49-inch monitor is sure to drive your performance higher by quite a few notches. Dual Display support gives a user a massive advantage in multitasking as it is equal to having almost three standard productivity screens side by side.
It has a VA Panel with native AMD FreeSync 2 HDR support and works well in tandem with AMD graphics cards. It has a neat build with simple cable management grooves. The display is height adjustable and can be tilted forward or backward. It has VESA Standard mounts and can swivel as per viewing requirements.
The ports you get with the Samsung CRG9 support a wide range of sources. There is a single HDMI port conforming to Version 2.0. There are 2 Display Ports, version 1.4 and 4 USB Ports.
There is a glaring lack of KVM, which is almost an essential feature of big monitors. An inclusion of KVM could have propelled the Samsung CRG9 to be the best 120Hz monitor to buy right now. There is a headphone jack to connect headphones and a stand at the monitor’s rear to hang the headphones.
Flicker-Free image reproduction coupled with Eye Saver Mode reduces strain on the eyes when gaming for long durations. Although there is a motion blur (as in all VA panels) on fast FPS games, it can be countered quite a bit using Overdrive settings from the in-display settings menu. The immersive curve of this massive 49-inch display gives you a feeling of being at the center of the action.
The monitor settings allow users to activate a Game Mode which improves the blacks and dark scenes appear more vivid. A considerable advantage is HDR 1000, enabling the panel to produce life-like colors with dramatic contrasts and extra richness on HDR-supported games. The 1800R curved screen has an excellent contrast ratio of 3000:1, which is equally distributed throughout the panel. However, the aspect ratio 32:9 is very unconventional, and only a handful of games supports the resolution.
FIFA and Apex Legends are some of the games that can use the whole real estate of CRG9. Most other games would run on high resolution, but black bars would appear at the sides of these games with instances of stretched images due to the unsupported aspect ratio.
- 7 million Pixels Produces Stunning Images
- Content Dot Equipped VA Panel
- Supports Display from Multiple Sources
The Samsung CRG9 is a superb choice for users aware of the shortcomings of the VA Display Panel. It is an excellent value for money proposition in comparison to two QHD monitors used side by side. The downside of this monitor is its requirement for a pro-level graphics card to drive the 7 million pixels it packs in its 49-inch screen. Only a handful of games support the aspect ratio of 32:9, severely limiting its usage for casual gamers who play games from different genres.
- HDR 1000 Supported
- Flicker-Free and Eye Saver Mode
- Native AMD FreeSync 2 HDR
- Motion Blur on Fast FPS Games
- Top Tier Graphics Card Required to Drive the Maximum Resolution
AOC AGON 49 Inch curved monitor is a capable device and a strong mid-range contender in our recommended list. The 49 Inch size implies that it is equal to two 27 Inch QHD screens placed side-by-side, just like the Samsung above.
It carries the same resolution as Samsung’s 5120×1440 pixels, and the refresh rate is 120Hz. Where it differs is its response time of 1ms, which is sure to be sweetheart for gamers. The brightness, though comparatively lower at 400 nits, is VESA certified.
The panel deployed is VA, and the screen is virtually bezel-less, which means the bezels are set inside the glass top. The glass panel has a smooth 1800R curve across the diagonals. The height is adjustable up to 10 centimeters.
The stand is removable, and the monitor can be mounted on walls using a VESA wall mount. Cable management features are missing, and hence users may complain about wires messing up the looks of an otherwise good-looking monitor.
The AOC AGON has good connectivity with ports to support multiple sources for displays. There are 2 HDMI 2.0 ports, 2 Display Ports conforming to 1.4 standards, and a single USB C port. There are 3 KVM enabled USB 3.2 Generation 1 Type-A ports which is a huge selling point of the monitor.
This lets users connect removable devices directly to the monitor. There is a 3.5mm audio output jack and 2×5 watt speakers built-in; despite their relatively small size sound perfectly good. However, it is recommended to use headphones or standalone speakers for gaming and entertainment purposes. Additionally, there is a remote which lets you change the source or bring up the monitor settings menu.
In terms of picture quality, this monitor ticks all the right boxes. It is a huge gaming monitor with an excellent response time of 1ms. It is a boon for fast FPS gamers such as Apex Legends, which need rapid reactions from players in response to actions on the screen.
There is uniform color coverage and contrast ratio throughout the VA panel. Brightness at times is negligibly low at the corners, but it’s barely noticeable. Peak brightness reaches up to 450 nits. There are various display modes, and the brightness changes as per mode.
However, all games would not be supporting the super ultra-wide mode, just like the monitor we have above. FreeSync Premium Pro works flawlessly, and gaming with HDR enabled on FHD+ resolution with G-Sync works nicely in tandem with each other.
- Even Brightness Distribution
- Flicker-Free Display
- Good Contrast Ratios for a VA Panel
- Native AMD FreeSync Premium Pro
The AOC AGON is a superb monitor in terms of price to performance ratios. It sits nicely at a point where it ticks just the correct boxes and is affordable for the first-time user looking to try out a super-wide display. The supported resolution and widescreen are a blessing for multitasking, and with a 1ms response time, this monitor is a boon for first-time FPS enthusiasts. However, the setbacks this monitor suffers from are nothing different from other widescreen monitors. There is a need for a powerful GPU to drive the high resolution the display supports.
- VESA Certified HDR
- Flicker-Free and 1ms Response Time
- FreeSync Works Well with G-Sync Enabled on Nvidia Cards
- Has a Remote Control
- HDR Brightness Limited to 450 Nits
- Colour Accuracy Overdone: Reddish and Purplish Tones Visible
The Asus Rog Strix 43 Inch Gaming Monitor is solely for users not so fond of curved displays. It takes more of a traditional approach to impart joy than its curved counterparts. We get a 43 Inch, thin-bezel display supporting a massive 4K resolution at 120Hz. The combination does have its drawbacks that we will discuss as we move on. The unit is hefty and not a thin LED-type monitor as we have from our other offerings.
The stand is a proprietary metal stand with no swivel, minimal tilt, and zero height adjustment capabilities. It is not an ultra-wide panel like the others and can be easily mistaken for a 43 Inch 4K TV.
It supports VESA mounts, so you can mount it if you need more height or better adjustment options. The design has Asus’s ROG emblem at the back and gamer aesthetic lines, which add to the visual appeal of the monitor.
There is a single display port, version 1.4 at the back, and 3 HDMI 2.0 ports to address connection requirements. There is a USB hub at the back with 2 USB 3.0 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There are two 10-watt speakers which produce enough sound with acceptable quality. The setup suggests that the monitor can indeed function as a TV.
Playing games or watching TV shows should be a cakewalk on this monitor, even without headphones. The monitor has excellent OSD controls. The on-screen adjustment menu activates Shadow Boost to enhance dark areas for vivid gameplay.
The 43 Inch monitor supports 4K resolution. The HDR performance is very decent. The panel has a bit of ghosting and lag issue visible only to seasoned gamers.
Maximum brightness is good at 500 nits, and with HDR on, it goes beyond 650 nits. The color has been accurately well distributed with minute over saturations noticed while the contrast is superbly set at 4000:1. Brightness distribution is not even an issue only if you decide to go creative on this monitor.
The display is compatible with FreeSync Premium Pro and does a great job with Nvidia G-Sync too.
- HDR Brightness Shines at 650 Nits
- Shadow Boost and Adaptive Dimming Contribute to Good Gameplay
- Superb Contrast Ratios Set at 4000:1
- AMD FreeSync2HDR Support
The Asus Rog Strix XG438Q is a decent flat screen 4K monitor that can be used for gaming and mainstream entertainment. It is a good option for gamers who do not like curved screen displays and do not want to purchase a separate television for their homes. It is a good fit for a console gaming dem that doubles as a movie room.
- VESA Certified HDR 10
- FreeSync Works Well with G-Sync Enabled on Nvidia Cards
- Gamer Styling and In-Built Sonic Master Speakers
- Slow Response Time for FPS Games
- No KVM Support
Our last entrant is the 43 Inch Acer EI431CR Curved Gaming Monitor. While some contenders in our list require you to (perhaps) purchase a new desk, the monitor from Acer is probably here to sweeten the deal with similar specs in a smaller size. Here we have a no-fuss design from Acer with a simple stand and minimal cable management features. The viewing angles are good, and the display can be VESA mounted.
It can be tilted up to 15 degrees and can be swiveled to suit the viewer. The height is not adjustable like in other curved displays. The monitor does not employ fancy features and instead focuses on getting the basics right. Our budget picks for gamers looking to taste curved displays for the first time and do not want to break the bank.
We find 3 x HDMI ports, one with the latest 2.0 version and the other two conforming to HDMI 1.4 version and a Display Port which is ancient at version 1.2a.
A 3.5mm audio out jack completes the connectivity features of this monitor. There are no USB ports, and hence KVM support is undoubtedly missing.
There are two inbuilt 3-watt speakers on either bottom corner. The OSD lacks advanced features and ticks just the essential boxes.
The display uses a 43 Inch VA panel that produces pictures with a lot of clarity and color. The images are sharp, and colors do not appear washed out. The screen has an Anti-Glare coating which is pretty good for a budget gaming monitor. We see a 32:10 aspect ratio, and the maximum supported resolution is 3840×[email protected] Hz which is equal to double FHD side-by-side displays.
The EI431CR monitor supports Radeon FreeSync. This feature eliminates screen tearing and minimizes lag and latency during gameplay.
On this model, we have a VESA Certified HDR 400, which brings a lot of liveliness into the images rendered by the graphics card. Colors are strikingly accurate, and blacks are deep enough for exciting gameplay sessions. Brightness is poorly distributed, with uneven patches noticed arbitrarily, as in most VA panels.
- VESA HDR on an Entry Level Monitor
- VESA Mountable
- 3000:1 Contrast Ratio in an Entry-Level Monitor
- AMD FreeSync Support
The Acer EI431CR is an entry-level, curved gaming monitor with a curvature set at 1800R and a response time of 4ms. It is the perfect monitor for people looking to stop gaming on flat-screen monitors. The images produced are sharp with good contrast and color saturation. Entry-level HDR does the job with maximum brightness at 450 nits. There is an apparent shortage of advanced features such as Shadow Boost, Auto-Dimming, or KVM. However, native FreeSync support and blue light filter imply that you will be able to spend a lot of time gaming on this monitor and that too on a budget.
- VESA Certified HDR400
- FreeSync and Anti-Glare Support
- Refresh Rate can be Overclocked
- Uneven Brightness
- OSD Lacks Features and No KVM Support
Best 120Hz Monitors to Buy in 2021 – Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a 120Hz monitor for Consoles?
You can, but older consoles might not take advantage of it and will run a 60FPS —the current-gen Xbox Series X and PS5 work great with higher refresh rate monitors.
Is there a considerable difference between curved screen and flat-screen 120Hz monitors?
It depends on your preference. Both have their pros and cons. A curved monitor seems more immersive and places you in the center of the action as you have the display touching your peripheral visions. You need to move your head to cover the entire viewable area. Flat screens do better at keeping your head still, but the action might seem less realistic due to the presence of various visual elements in your peripheral vision.
Are curved-screen monitors fragile?
There is a misconception that it is not balanced due to the unconventional curved shape of the display. That is certainly not the case as manufacturers have done a lot of research and development with the physics of a curved screen, and they are as sturdy as their flat screen counterparts.
Are response time and refresh rate the same thing?
No, there is a clear difference between response times and refresh rate. Response time is the time taken by your monitor’s display to shift from one color to another. Since it happens in a flash, it is measured in milliseconds. The refresh rate is the ability of your monitor to display or update new images every second.
Which is more important, refresh rate or response time?
Both are equally important for good gameplay. Response times are good when low. It means the color switching is happening fast. Refresh rates are better when high.
The Hz value represents the number of times the image is redrawn on your screen in a second. A good gaming monitor should have both a low response time and a high refresh rate. They work hand in hand.
Do I need a fast graphics card to game on a 120Hz monitor?
It depends on the game. You need at least a good mid-range graphics card to take full advantage of a 120Hz monitor. A better graphics card processes images faster and sends them to your monitor to be displayed.
Are there monitors with more than a 120Hz refresh rate?
Yes, some monitors go up to 360Hz refresh rate. There are many monitors with their refresh rate set at 300hz or 240hz. It’s essential to keep in mind that a 240hz monitor won’t be twice as fast as 120hz.
Measuring the delay between the frame being created by the GPU and displayed by the monitor will show that the performance improvements start to diminish drastically after 144hz.