Picking the right gaming monitor for a given build is one of my least favorite decisions to make. Not because the decision itself is particularly difficult, but because gaming monitors can get friggin' expensive! With my Acer G257HU Review, we'll find out of this monitor is any exception to that trend.
Before I get into the details though, let me be clear - I am 100% okay with shelling out extra money for quality products. I think most of us are. However, when you're on a tighter budget, it should still be possible to get decent quality peripherals and components.
That's why the fact that so many crappy monitors still run you over $300 drives me nuts!
Naturally, costs like that are difficult to stomach for most PC gamers - myself included.
The only real alternative (If your top concern is sheer quality) is to shell out over $600 for a high-end monitor and install a boatload of case fans just to take advantage of its power (Since you're going to need a pretty beefy video card!).
So how do we solve this problem? Are there actually any good budget monitors out there?
Fortuantely, there are. Paired with a solid budget gaming PC build, they can kick some serious butt without requiring you to shell out upwards of $600.
But to the main point of this article - the G257HU. Does it fall into the same low-quality, high-price trap that so many other PC gaming monitors do?
Acer G257HU Review - Product Overview
- Screen Size: 25″
- Resolution: 2560x1440px
- Response Time: 4ms
- Refresh Rate: 60hz
- Screen Type: IPS/LCD
- Excellent value for a 1440p monitor
- Rapid 4ms response time
- Attractive design with thin bezels
- 1440p looks awesome on a 25" screen
- Obvious cost-cutting in the stand - it's flimsy
- A 60hz refresh rate isn't terrible, but it isn't ideal for 1440p
Whether or not a given monitor looks good or bad is pretty subjective. That's why I don't typically like to go into too much detail on aesthetics.
However, generally speaking, most PC gamers seem to be into a more modern, clean aesthetic in their peripherals - including me! Heck, my favorite micro ATX case is the Thermaltake Core V21 - that thing is basically a small mesh box!
So, to that end, how does the G257HU measure up?
In my opinion, the design is pretty awesome. The bezels are very thin, giving the monitor a super slim profile. The slightly thicker silver bottom bezel also looks really good, especially when combined with the black coloring throughout the rest of this monitor.
Oh, also, the screen is matte instead of a glossy - another huge plus, in my opinion. It doesn't attract fingerprints as easily this way, and it helps a lot with glare from the sun/other light sources in your room or office.
I generally prefer round stands to X-shaped stands, but that's more of a personal preference than an actual complaint. I just find them less intrusive and easier to fit into smaller space (X-shaped stands take up way too much space, in my opinion).
In terms of ports/connectivity, the G257HU is pretty standard. You have 1 DVI port, 1 HDMI port, and 1 display port. Nothin' to write home about there!
Cost-Cutting Is Evident In The Stand
I don't really like to fault companies for doing a bit of cost-cutting in physical aspects of the monitor (Larger bezels, flimsier stands, etc.) when it benefits the rest of the monitor, but I felt it was important to go into details about the build quality this time around.
There are 3 major aspects of the monitor (Physically speaking) that were clearly sacrificed in favor of higher screen quality, and I'll go into details about each below.
To start with, though, let's talk about the stand.
The stand on the G257HU is wobblier than I'd like, but it's not horrendous. It's definitely noticeable while typing, but I've pretty much gotten used to it by this point.
However, if even a slightly wobbly stand turns you off to a monitor, I can't blame you for looking elsewhere. If you want to stick roughly around the budget of the G257HU, but want something a little different, here's my list of the 10 best monitors under $300.
The other two things that frustrate me about this monitor's overall design/build quality are pretty minor. First is the lack of swivel, height, or rotation functionality. Again, it's a minor complaint, but it can be annoying if you have a shorter (Or taller) desk than average.
The other annoying thing is the monitor's buttons - they suck. There's no indicators to tell you what they do, and the feedback you get when you press one is poor (No real "clicky" feeling).
But that's enough about the build quality - let's talk about the screen!
Decent Speakers For The Price
We might as well cover the speakers before going into too many other aspects of the monitor!
Most budget monitors either don't have speakers at all, or make them as awful as they possibly can just so they can say "Has built in speakers!" on the product page.
Fortunately, the G257HU's speakers are actaully pretty decent. They aren't going to blow your mind (Literally), but their clarity and overall quality are good enough to play music through while cleaning up your room or reading a book.
However, they are a bit too quiet for my tastes. If you're anything like me and like to keep yourself cool by running a desk or floor fan, you may have a hard time hearing audio through the speakers without cranking the volume up.
Again, though, they could be a lot worse than they are (Or even just not exist) and this monitor would still be worth the price due to the other things it has going for it.
Beautiful 1440p Screen
The screen is where this monitor really shines. Although I have a few minor gripes about it, it's really fantastic for the price.
1440p looks awesome on a 25" screen - way better than it does on a 27" screen (Which, unfortunately, is usually how 1440p is offered). In my experience, 25" is the perfect sweet spot between a given monitor being way too big, or way too small.
In other words, if you're looking for a solid high resolution monitor, look no further!
The colors are crisp and vibrant, and I've encountered no dead pixels or backlight bleeding whatsoever during my 12+ month time with this monitor.
The screen is also insanely bright! This is mostly a good thing, but it can be annoying when you're gaming well into the night - especially given how clunky the buttons and OSD menu are.
Speaking of the OSD menu, there's quite a bit of customization available with this monitor. Colors, contrast, brightness, etc. are all relatively easy to adjust to your liking.
The 4ms response time is also a huge plus, though it's not quite as fast as other gaming-grade monitors out there (Which can get as low as 1ms). Still, the difference will be hardly noticeable.
Unfortunately, this is where my complaints start.
The biggest frustration I have with this monitor's screen is the fact that it only has a 60hz refresh rate. Don't listen to what people say - the human eye can absolutely see past 60FPS. That's why 144hz monitors exist.
A 60hz refresh rate essentially means that you'll never see more than 60FPS on this monitor - no matter how high end your video card is. That's a massive bummer, but it also makes the G257HU really well suited to low or mid-range PC builds.
It's a tradeoff, at the end of the day.
Are The Trade-Offs Worth It?
In my opinion, yes.
You make trade-offs in certain aspects of the monitor for better quality in other aspects (A crappier stand for a better screen).
When you delve into the realm of budget monitors, this is a pretty common practice - the difference between the G257HU and other monitors in the price range is the fact that the G257HU makes those trade-offs in the right areas.
I've seen budget monitors decide that the quality of the stand is way more important than the quality of the screen (Spoilers: It isn't).
This means that you could easily pay the same price and get a 1080p, 24", 60hz screen.
Is It The Best Gaming Monitor?
It's tough to say for sure. I wouldn't say it's the absolute best gaming monitor of all time - the price is just too low for that.
However, is it a strong contender for the title of best budget gaming monitor? Absolutely! The G257HU has a lot going for it in terms of screen real estate, colors, and overall quality.
The downsides are pretty insignificant, in my opinion, but it's really up for you to decide whether or not they're dealbreakers.
At the end of the day, the G257HU is one of the best pc gaming monitors you can get for under $300, and I personally believe it's well worth the price.
But don't just take my word for it. Check out some reviews on Amazon and decide for yourself!
Oh, and if you're new to PC gaming, check out my guide on how to build a gaming PC! It'll get you started pretty quickly, and in plain english - no overly complicated tech-y talk here.