When it comes to gaming, CES 2021 always has new toys. The big tech manufacturers often show up with new TVs and screens for gaming, and even though COVID has made everything virtual, this year’s digital show has already delivered.

The biggest news so far is the potential of OLED gaming monitors, although we’re not likely to see those until probably 2022 at the earliest. Still, those looking forward to high quality 1440p and 4K screens should be more than happy: a ton of high-refresh rate monitors have been announced over the last couple of days, and there’s even some nice 32-inch or larger screens for those looking for the most immersive experience (that isn’t a giant TV).

Expect plenty of Nvidia Reflex esports screens to hit the market

Chatter about 360Hz screens started hitting the net last year, but it’s from 2021 that Australians will be able to start getting their hands on the displays. Interestingly, the first model from ASUS ended up being a much better 240Hz monitor — because the screen was the first monitor capable of supporting such a high refresh rate with motion blur reduction enabled.

What’s on offer now is a little more interesting. Acer announced some sweet 1440p/240Hz monitors last year, but those screens have gotten some upgrades since then. The XB323QK NV is a 1440p screen with a maximum response time of 0.5ms, but the real headline figure is a maximum refresh rate of a staggering 275Hz. It also comes equipped with the Nvidia Reflext Latency Analyser, an in-built piece of hardware to measure response time from your mouse clicks to the render point.

It’s listed as a HDR-capable screen, but the official release doesn’t mention what HDR spec or how many local dimming zones the XB273U has. So I wouldn’t really expect a lot on that front. Rather, this is the kind of esports-ready screen for those who play a ton of Counter-Strike, Call of Duty: Warzone and other FPS games, but they want a higher quality screen that doesn’t have the flaws of older TN panels.

The price for this one is listed as $US1099, so expect something around the $1500 or $1600 mark in Australia.

MSI’s Oculux NXG253R might actually be available before then, however. It’s a 360Hz IPS screen with a January release date, and it’s also got in-built support for Nvidia’s Reflex Latency Analyser. There’s also a MPG ARTYMIS 343CQR 34-inch ultrawide screen that runs at 165Hz, if that’s your thing.

Not to be forgotten, Alienware’s also got some new screens of their own. The AW2521H refresh will have 360Hz support, plus Nvidia Reflex inside. Samsung, on the other hand, is going a little bit further provided you don’t mind a bit of curve in your screens. Their new G75 curved monitor will supposedly support 4K and HDR 1000, although the only news I can find of it at the time of writing is via a listing on the CES 2021 Innovation Award page. (Searching for Samsung G75 brings up their current HDR 600/1440p/240Hz monitors, but the innovation listing for CES 2021 is specifically calling out 4K gaming and HDR 1000.)

Samsung typically doesn’t launch their gaming monitors until later in the year anyway — August/September has usually been their preferred window. I’ll keep you posted once we know more.

The cheaper brands are getting involved, too. Viewsonic’s XG271QG 27-inch 1440p screen will have 240Hz support and in-built Nvidia Reflex. If that’s not enough, there’s a 4K gaming option in the 31.5″ XG320U, which isn’t G-Sync compatible, but it will support 4K/144Hz/FreeSync Premium Pro, HDMI 2.1 and HDR 600.

‘Affordable’ 4K/144Hz, proper HDR gaming monitors are finally here

You’ve been able to buy high-refresh rate 4K screens in Australia before … if you’ve wanted to spend over $3000. The lack of competition has meant it’s taken years for good 4K gaming screens to drop in price, and that hasn’t been helped by the lack of 4K-capable GPUs.

But after the RX 6000 series and RTX 30-series launches — and the utility of technologies like DLSS — proper 4K gaming is much more viable. So there’s a greater need for screens to accommodate that, and LG, ASUS, Acer, Viewsonic and others have finally come to the table.

LG’s 27GP950 is one screen that’s already catching the eyes of keen gamers, with a maximum refresh rate of 160Hz (144Hz by default). There’s also 56 local dimming zones for HDR content, although that’s not really sufficient if you’re looking to recreate the same kind of HDR gaming experience you get from consoles and compatible TVs. It’s HDMI 2.1 capable, however, which is good for those who have their PC and console in the same place.

Viewsonic’s come to the party as well. The Elite XG321UG won’t have a four-sided borderless design like LG — only three sides — but it’ll support 4K/144Hz on a 32-inch screen and the actually-useful DisplayHDR 1000 specification:

  • Viewsonic XG321UG – 31.5″ 4K panel, G-SYNC Ultimate w/Nvidia Reflex, 144Hz, DisplayHDR 1000, 1400 nits brightness, mini-LED backlight w/1152 dimming zones, 1ms MPRT, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, available summer 2021

The lack of HDMI 2.1 is unfortunate, but the more important figure here is the dimming zones. This is a mini-LED screen, and with that maximum brightness I’d wager that this would actually be a much more useful screen for PC/console gaming than the HDMI 2.1 offerings with the HDR 600 standard. The extra dimming zones means HDR content will actually be displayed properly, instead of giving you a washed out, horrible image with a ton of pixel bleeding.

ASUS and Acer aren’t sleeping on 4K gaming, either. Acer’s Nitro XV282KV is a 4K/144Hz screen with HDR 400 support, while the Acer Predator XB323QK NV is a 4K G-Sync Compatible screen with 144Hz support and Acer’s Agile Splendor IPS technology. The XB323QK NV was first announced last year, but it won’t be officially available internationally until May 2021.

Acer’s got a mini-LED screen with HDR 1400 support — 1400, not 400 — but it’s been almost a year since we’ve heard anything about that screen. At the time of writing Acer hasn’t held their virtual CES conference, but expectations are we should see the 32″ X32 sometime this year, as AU Optronics began mass production of their high-end mini-LED panels last October. The X27 and X32 were some of Acer’s most expensive screens, so I’d expect the new X32 to cost around $4000 or so locally.

ASUS has already shown off their mini-LED 32-inch screen before Christmas. The ROG Swift PG32UQX has HDR 1400 support and a combo of 4K/144Hz, as well as HDMI 2.1. The monitor appeared in China for a staggering RMB 42,999, which is over $8600 Australian. I don’t think the monitor will cost quite that much when it lands here, although with recent tariffs hitting major tech components recently, who knows. ASUS should announce more in the coming days: their conference isn’t until later this week.

Brands are talking up bendable gaming monitors 

Bendable Gaming OLEDs Are Now A Thing

This one’s courtesy of LG, who has been working on bendable OLEDs for a while. The basic idea is that it’s a flat screen with a controllable bend that you adjust via a remote. This one’s more of a curvable OLED TV rather than an OLED gaming monitor, although with the popularity of the 48-inch LG CX OLED TV, I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few fans start going for TVs like this in a couple of years.


This story is being updated as more information is announced throughout CES 2021.

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