Shopping for Black Friday gaming monitor deals is a distant cousin of playing bingo, in that both involve hunting for lines of specific letter and number combinations. 27″ 4K VA 144Hz? 24″ 1440p IPS 240Hz? Any winners? Can your eyes still focus?
Let them rest, because I'm calling bingo now on the 27″ Gigabyte M27Q for $279.99 ($40 off the highest recent price) and the similar but pricier 27″ Samsung Odyssey G5 for $399.99 ($100 off the list price). It's a double bingo! (I don't think that's a thing in bingo, but it is in monitor deals.)
Both displays feature 1440p IPS panels, with the Samsung screen hitting 165Hz and the cheaper Gigabyte display refreshing slightly faster at 170Hz. Those are all the letters and numbers we like to see in a row when shopping for monitors.
IPS panels offer premium color reproduction and response time, and 1440p is still the resolution we think most gamers should use. If you have a high-end GPU like the RTX 3080 Ti, then consider going 4K, but 1440p is the baby bear's porridge: just right. It's a noticeable upgrade from 1080p, but you'll have to turn down fewer graphics settings to hit 120+ fps, which is where you'll start to really appreciate a high refresh rate.
If you're still using a 60Hz display, you'll just have to trust me when I say that you'll never want to go back after upgrading to 144Hz or higher. The other day I told someone that I'd throw up if I had to go back to playing Rocket League at 60Hz, and I'm not entirely sure how hyperbolic I was being.
Gigabyte M27Q | 27-inch | 1440p | IPS | 170Hz |
$359.99 $279.99 at Newegg (save $80)
A surprisingly good spec sheet for the price: 170Hz, FreeSync Premium, IPS panel, fast response time. It got high marks from our sister site, Tom’s Hardware. Also available on Amazon.
The Samsung Odyssey G5 also advertises a 1 ms GTG response time, though I really prefer to trust independent testing when it comes to response time claims. It's a pretty new display, but RTings.com has tested it and says it has an “incredible response time,” which makes it easier to recommend.
(If you stray to the other sections of that review, note that the middling “HDR gaming” score is because IPS displays don't have the contrast of VA panels or OLED TVs. It's not that this IPS panel is bad, but that no IPS panel with HDR support will be the best at it.)
It's also nice that the Samsung advertises both FreeSync and G-Sync compatibility, so you don't have to do any Googling to determine whether your AMD or Nvidia GPU will be able to take advantage of its adaptive refresh rate, which eliminates screen tearing in ideal conditions—either will work. The cheaper Gigabyte display advertises FreeSync support but has not been given Nvidia's official G-Sync compatibility blessing, although our friends at Tom's Hardware did get G-Sync working on it (here's how).
Samsung Odyssey G5 | 27-inch | 1440p | IPS | 165Hz |
$499.99 $399.99 at Amazon (save $100)
Pricier that the Gigabyte above but with similar specs. For the extra money, you get a better stand which swivels and pivots, certified G-Sync support, and according to one reviewer, a little less glare.
I like the cheaper Gigabyte M27Q's simple-looking build, though it doesn't swivel or pivot to portrait like the Samsung. RTings also likes the Gigabyte, although it scored it lower than the Samsung on screen glare and text clarity, and very slightly lower on response time. In other areas, such as viewing angle, the Gigabyte is rated higher.
Even at $400, the Samsung Odyssey G5 isn't a cheap monitor, and I don't know if I'd recommend it at its $500 list price. For its Black Friday price, though, it's a good, brand-new 2021 display with everything I'd want from one. For comparison, back in April 2020 I spent $495 on a similar Acer Predator with a 144Hz refresh rate. I overpaid a little given that it's now $380 at Amazon, but it's a good monitor if you want something priced between the Gigabyte and Samsung.
The Gigabyte M27Q technically isn't discounted by as much as the Samsung. It's been a year since it actually sold for its $360 list price, so it's $20 off, not $80 off like Amazon says. But with such good specs for just $280, it's hard to look away from. By focusing on just the gaming essentials, Gigabyte has put together a great budget pick.
We'll keep hunting for new monitor deals as Black Friday transitions to Cyber Monday, but these are two good deals that I doubt will be significantly improved upon. For more research and recommendations, including for ultrawide and curved displays, head to our dedicated gaming monitor deals page and our 2021 ranking of the best gaming monitors.