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Best 2.1 HDMI Monitors for Next-Gen Gaming

Gaming monitors have been making huge strides in terms of both refresh rate and resolution, up to the point that they have hit a bottleneck in terms of bandwidth on previous generation interfaces. With next generation consoles also coming in with support for high refresh 4K gaming, HDMI 2.1 is coming in at a perfect time.

What is HDMI 2.1?

HDMI 2.1 is the latest revision of the ubiquitous HDMI connector, providing much greater bandwidth compared to HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 1.4. In particular, the 48Gbps transfer speeds allow smooth integration of 4K resolution at 120Hz or even higher. With the introduction of display stream compression, HDMI 2.1 can even do insane resolutions like 10K at high refresh rates. This means that no matter the monitors specs, bandwidth would not be a problem. 

HDMI 2.1 also brings a number of other features in addition to greater bandwidth, including dynamic HDR. This feature allows the application of frame-by-frame HDR, providing a much more effective impact. Support for eARC also allows greater bandwidth for audio return channels. There is also support for gaming features like Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and auto low latency mode. For console gamers this allows them to have less lag and stutter and a more immersive experience.

if you’re on a budget and looking for great gaming experience you can also check our best gaming monitors under $300 article.

Why does HDMI 2.1 matter?

If you plan on getting one of the next generation consoles, to fully get the best experience PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, you will need a display compatible with HDMI 2.1 to get full advantage of features like VRR and low latency mode, as well as run old titles in spectacularly high resolutions and frame rates. It’ll also help if you plan on using your console as a media consumption device alongside regular usage.

Here are a few upcoming HDMI 2.1 displays that’ll set you on track for a great gaming experience:

HDMI 2.1 Monitors

Eve Spectrum 4K 144Hz
Eve Spectrum 4K 144Hz 27”

This display uses a LG panel and comes with support for both HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4. The display also has a built in USB hub, that you can use with your computer. The 27” display has a 4K resolution and supports up to 144Hz.

It also has support for 10-bit HDR content, making it optimal for viewing media as well. It provides support for both FreeSync and GSync, as well as multiple overdrive presets.

The display also has simulated modes that improve the color accuracy for sRGB content. Overall, this makes the Eve Spectrum a fantastic monitor for both gaming and content creation.

ASUS ROG HDMI 2.1
Asus ROG HDMI 2.1 120Hz

ASUS announced one of the first gaming monitors to implement HDMI 2.1 connectivity, allowing it to support high refresh rate 4K gaming over HDMI.

The monitor is unnamed and not a lot of details are available. It features 4K resolution and a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. This makes it a perfect companion for next generation consoles. Details are yet to be announced but this monitor looks to be awesome. No word on the pricing yet either, however, meaning that this could cost you a pretty penny.

ViewSonic ELITE XG320U
ViewSonic ELITE XG320U​ 144Hz 32"

At this point of the list, the main specifications may start to seem familiar. The ViewSonic ELITE XG320U also features a 32” 4K panel with a 144Hz refresh rate, over a single HDMI 2.1 cable. That’s the main advantage of HDMI 2.1 for next generation consoles: you can get the full experience without having to deal with multiple cables and janky connectors.

The ViewSonic monitor also comes with some extra features like DisplayHDR 600 and 99% of the Adobe RGB spectrum. This makes it a great monitor for content creation. Variable refresh rate and additional HDMI 2.1 features make it great for gaming also.

The monitor has response times of as low as 1ms, making it a butter smooth experience. Aside from the fantastic display ViewSonic’s ELITE lineup introduces other QOL features like a mouse bungee, ambient lighting and some decent integrated speakers. This monitor will also be available in Q1 2021 if you’re looking to pick it up. Details about pricing and launch are yet to be announced.

Acer XV282K KV
Acer XV282K 144Hz 28” IPS panel

This is Acer’s first monitor with HDMI 2.1 support. The Aver XV282K features a 28” IPS panel with a 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution. The monitor can do up to 144Hz refresh rate and that’s not all.

DisplayHDR 600 support is present, though reports say that the maximum brightness only reaches about 550 nits, which isn’t bad by any means though. The panel offers a 1000:1 contrast ratio and 98% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space, making it ideal for both content creators and a great device for content consumption.

The monitor features an adjustable stand and bunch of connectivity options as well. USB 3.0 ports are abundant, and the port selection is decent overall. You can preorder this monitor right now for a hefty 1250$ but it will not ship till the start of next year. The price may be a lot, but most displays of this caliber will cost you and the Acer XXV282K is one of the best monitors in its class and an awesome.

Philips 328M1R 120Hz​ 32”

At 32” this display can be said to have the prime size for a 4K screen, providing a crisp experience without needing to rely on scaling, while still providing extremely high resolution. This monitor has been marketed to console gamers, as the next gen consoles can benefit from much of the feature set.

The display can range from 48Hz to 120Hz at 4K resolution and supports adaptive sync technologies as well. The display comes with DisplayHDR 600 support and can reach a peak brightness of 600 nits. This combined with local dimming make it a great display to view HDR content on.  One of the biggest advantages is the low input, with response times under 4ms being the target. This monitor does have a major drawback though, as it uses a VA panel instead of an IPS one.

While VA panels can certainly be of a high quality and have their own advantages, this means that viewing angles may not be as good as its IPS counterparts’. The monitor has slim bezels and a TV inspired design, making it ideal for console gaming. It’ll come out around the same time as the next gen consoles, with release scheduled for Q1 2021.

LG CX 48
LG CX 120Hz 48”​

If you want an option that’s a bit different, the LG CX might just be the one for you. This model isn’t a traditional gaming monitor, rather an OLED TV. However, it does come with HDMI 2.1 and a lot of gaming features, that might just make it the best option for your gaming setup. OLED gives you a bunch of advantages that plain old LCD simply can’t match. Deep blacks and awesome contrast ratios are just the beginning, OLED motion can also seem smoother when the refresh rates are similar. 

This model also comes with Dolby Vision and HDR10 support. Like the other displays on our list it has a 4K panel, and a 120Hz refresh rate. It also comes with GSync and FreeSync support, as well as for VRR support directly built into HDMI 2.1. One thing where it can lag behind a bit is that LCDs often have faster response times. However, on the Auto Low Latency Mode, the LG CX provides a smooth gaming experience. This mode isn’t great for general use however, as color accuracy takes a bit of a hit. It also comes with a built-in processor and LG Smart TV features, that other monitors may not come with.

If you’re looking for something to provide an awesome gaming experience while also being a center piece in your living room, this could be an awesome option. We’d recommend getting a 48” model but this is available in much larger sizes as well. The display will set you back 1500$ and you can get this right now. This is not much more than comparable IPS models and certainly gives you an awesome experience. If you’re looking for something similar, but cut down, the LG BX line also deserves a shout.

Conclusion

You might have noticed a pattern in the main specifications for these monitors. One of the best things about HDMI 2.1 and the next generation consoles is that they’ll support 4K at high frame rates allowing you to have a gaming experience not possible with even the Pro models of last generation consoles. Once, you have the main specs down, you can consider all of the additional features and bells and whistles included and of course, consider what matches your budget best. You can’t go wrong with any of these choices for a fantastic gaming display for next generation consoles.

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