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Written By Chris Coke

Updated May 2, 2023 8:09 AM

Every PC and console needs a home, and a great gaming desk can be where you build up a dynamic, ergonomic arsenal. There are so many options to choose from, including hundreds of dedicated desktops. A good one can live with you for years and shape your PC gaming experience with a stylish surface and helpful features like built-in USB ports, LED lighting, and extra storage. Not all gaming desks are created equal, though. Let’s talk about what’s special about the best gaming desks and how to pick the right one for you.

How we chose the best gaming desks

Over the last 17 years, I’ve set up gaming rigs using everything from folding tables to expensive solid wood standing desks. I pride myself on creating battlestations that are as eye-catching as they are reliable. As a member of the tech press for the last eight years—writing for sites like IGN, Reviewed, and Tom’s Hardware—I’ve had more opportunities than most to build systems and create gaming areas for friends, family, and colleagues. With all that hands-on time building PC gaming setups and testing out high-performance laptops, I’ve developed a good eye for what makes a good desk for gaming.

To make these recommendations, I did extensive research, pulling recommendations from the PC gaming community and cross-checking them with user impressions of the products and manufacturers. There is no best gaming desk for every user, but every selection in this list is at the top of its class and well worth your consideration.

The best gaming desks: Reviews & Recommendations

Unlike most gaming-focused gear, the world of gaming desks doesn’t have an established set of trusted manufacturers. They come in countless shapes and sizes, ranging from cheap to exorbitantly expensive. Now that you know what to look for, you’re ready to pick a gaming desk on your own. To help you get started, take a look at our current favorites.

Best overall: Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk

Why it made the cut: The Secretlab Magnus blends high-quality craftsmanship, style, and an innovative design to deliver class-leading quality.

Specs

Desktop dimensions: 59 x 28 inches (width x depth)

Height: 29 inches 

Special features: RGB lighting, cable management, magnetic accessory kits (sold separately)

Maximum supported weight: 220 pounds

Price at time of publication: $549

Pros

Great build quality

Very stylish

Effective cable management system included 

Plentiful options for desktop customization

Cons

Desk mat not included

Accessory kits cost extra

The Secretlab Magnus sets the standard for the modern gaming desk. It features an exceptionally sleek style with its dark, gunmetal body, but takes that a step further with an RGB strip hidden in its real cable tray. With a durable steel frame, this desk is sturdy enough to hold over 200 pounds of gaming equipment. Even with a decked-out gaming PC and massive monitor, you’ll never need to worry about it wobbling or collapsing.

Apart from its understated aesthetic and strong build quality, the Magnus desk has a uniquely attractive key feature—modular upgrades that magnetically latch onto the desk’s steel frame. The magnetic “ecosystem” of attachments runs the gamut from cable anchors and sheaths to headphone hangers to a magnetic desk mat.

Best computer desk: Cooler Master GD160 ARGB

Why it made the cut: The Cooler Master GD160 RGB brings standing desks and gaming desks together in a stylish and functional package 

Specs

Desktop dimensions: 63 x 30 inches (width x depth)

Height: 25.6-51.4 inches

Maximum supported weight: 220.5 pounds

Special features: RGB lighting, USB charging port, cable management, motorized adjustment for sitting/standing

Price at time of publication: $799

Pros

Wide surface area

Front and rear RGB

Cable management

Full height adjustment

Cons

Expensive

Complicated assembly

The Cooler Master GD160 ARGB brings a full range of features to play, including RGB lighting, a USB-charging port, and the ability to adjust from seated to standing and back on the fly. Its dual-motor provides fast and quiet lifting power up to 220 pounds while reducing wear and tear that builds on a standard standing desk motor. Short of laying on the desk, you’ll never have to second-guess whether you’re overloading the frame.

Cooler Master’s signature purple accents are immediately eye-catching, but it’s the desk’s integrated RGB lighting that really steals the show. Customizable front and rear lighting elements shine throughout your gaming room, lighting up the wall behind your desk. An included cable management tray keeps your cables hidden and your setup tidy. It lacks some of the smaller flourishes, like a headphone hanger and cup holder, but features an extra useful perk: a USB-A port behind the control pad to charge your phone.

It’s an exceptional desk, but it has an exceptionally high price to match: $799. The GD160 ARGB is expensive, even compared to other standing desks. On top of that, the standing desk mechanics make this a tough build. If you’re willing to spend the money and have a friend to help you put it together, it has the perks to satisfy players who invest.

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: Add this simple monitor stand to any desk to incorporate standing-desk functionality on a budget.

Specs

Desktop dimensions: 37.5 x 18 inches (length x depth)

Height: 4.8-20 inches

Special features: 33-pound lift assist

Maximum supported weight: 33 pounds

Price at time of publication: $189.99

Pros

Spacious enough for two monitors

Lift assistance makes adjustments fast and easy

Keyboard tray preserves desk space

Limited assembly

Cons

Bulky

Doesn’t look great

If you’re interested in trying a standing desk but don’t want to buy a whole new piece of furniture, a monitor stand like the VIVO Extra Wide Desk Converter can help you get the best of both worlds on your current desk. The 37.5- x 18-inch surface is large enough to hold two reasonably sized monitors (or maybe one ultrawide curved one), with plenty of room for pictures, chargers, and other essentials. Once it’s in place, a lever triggers a pneumatic piston to easily raise or lower its spacious surface up to 20 inches above the surface of your desk. With only a few minutes of assembly, you’ll be able to find the perfect position for your gaming rig and stay competitive even when it’s time to stand up and stretch your legs. Not every folding or portable desk is perfect for gaming, but this one is.

Want to make things even easier? VIVO also sells a larger, motorized version for only $100 more. Since it’s an add-on for an existing desk rather than a new piece of furniture, we feel the pneumatic version will make more sense for most people. To get the full experience with a motorized standing desk, there’s no substitute for a desk designed for that purpose from the ground up.

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The ODK L-Shaped Gaming Desk combines two desks into one, and comes with extra accessories.

Specs

Dimensions: 47 x 59 inches (Length x Depth)

Height: 29.83 inches

Special features: Spacious surface area, headphone hanger, monitor riser, and additional storage cubby included

Maximum supported weight: N/A

Price at time of publication: $118.99

Pros

Huge surface area

Sturdy metal frame

Added storage

Useful accessories

Affordably priced

Cons

Lacks gaming flair

Challenging assembly

No cable management

ODK’s L-Shaped Gaming Desk offers outstanding value, whether you’re a gamer or just in need of a massive corner desk. It combines two surfaces: a long surface for your traditional PC setup and a shorter right side where you can put your computer tower, game consoles, or have a secondary space for other things. It doesn’t scream “gamer,” but has plenty of functional benefits for PC players.

In addition to its expansive surface area, the ODK gaming desk has many accessories that enhance its functionality, including a moveable monitor stand, an iron headphone hook, and an attachable storage bin for controllers and cables. This desk isn’t just about added space; it’s about creating functional space.

At $118.99, this desk borders on shockingly cheap, partly because ODK isn’t a well-known brand. That said, this desk has earned glowing reviews from users, who praise its durability, overall quality, and value. It has also attracted some negative feedback as well, namely that it is not easy to assemble.

If you like the design of the OKL but want a little bit more color and extra “gaming” flair, the Bestier L-Shaped Gaming Computer Desk features a similar frame, plus features like LED lighting and a cup holder, for a slightly pricier $161.99.

Best standing desk: Eureka Ergonomic 62-inch Standing Desk

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Eureka Ergonomic Standing Desk has a huge surface and gaming-first features.

Specs

Dimensions: 27 x 62 inches (Length x Depth)

Height: 29.92-48.43 inches

Special features: Wide surface area, dual headphone hanger, cup holder, custom desk mat

Maximum supported weight: 220 pounds

Price at time of publication: $499.99

Pros

Well-priced for size and features

Included accessories designed around gaming

Extra desk space compared to most gaming desks

Aggressive aesthetics 

Cons

Complicated assembly 

Limited height range

Limited RGB settings

We have something you need to see if you’re looking for an exceptionally large standing desk designed for gaming at a surprisingly reasonable price. At 62 by 28 inches, the Eureka Ergonomic 65-inch Standing Desk is wide enough to comfortably seat two people for side-by-side co-op. If you’re more interested in solo play, that extra space makes room for speakers, a tower, a big-screen gaming monitor, or multiple displays to truly make a showpiece battlestation. Knowing that you’re likely to have extra wires with the larger desk surface, Eureka has included two cable grommets that lead to an included cable management tray to keep the desk looking clean and tidy.  

Along the left and right sides, you’ll find a headphone hanger and cup holder, as well as customizable LED strips to position your own lighting elements. There’s also a rack to hold your favorite games and a pair of controllers, doubling as a USB hub. Topping it off, a custom-fit desk pad spans the entire desk surface without blocking the two wire grommets. Little details like that really make this desk feel like it’s designed specifically for PC gaming.

The standing functionality really feels like icing on the cake. Using the included control pad, the entire desk can raise up to 48 inches or lower to 30 inches for standard seating height. That’s a smaller range than other gaming desks with standing adjustability, including the Cooler Master GD160 ARGB. Standing-desk maker Autonomous has found that the average standing desk height for 5’11” users is 44 inches. Likewise, a standard desk for a user around this height is roughly 30 inches. That means you may need a taller chair to use this desk sitting down.

Even for a standing desk, this Eureka desk requires much time to build. Nothing with this desk comes pre-assembled, even the desktop. You’ll need to do everything from bolting both halves of the desk to piecing together the frame, connecting the wires, and screwing on the accessories. However, given all this desk offers, the end result is worth the extra effort upfront.

Best with storage: GIKPAL Computer Desk with Drawer

Why it made the cut: This spacious desk has enough shelves and drawers to hold all your accessories, so you can always work on a clean desktop.  

Specs

Dimensions: 19.7 inches x 47.2 inches (Length x Width)

Height: 33.8 inches

Special features: Two drawers, two shelves, a raised desktop-computer space, a built-in monitor stand, integrated USB ports and power outlets

Maximum supported weight: N/A

Price at time of publication: $149.99

Pros

Multiple storage areas

Integrated USB ports and oulets

Built-in monitor stand

Cons

Company does not provided maximum supported weight

Anyone who uses the same desk for work and gaming knows the importance (and difficulty) of keeping your space clean. Tech accessories, pencils and pens, plates, glasses, and everything else end up cluttering up a place that should be used for work and play. GIKPAL addressed all of these issues with its gaming desk, which has shelves, drawers, and a very clever integrated cable management system.

This desk’s drawers are the perfect place to store controllers, external hard drives, battery packs, carrying cases, games, or any other peripheral that isn’t always necessary. You can even use them to store your mouse and keyboard if you prefer to play PC games with a controller or have a console hooked up to the same monitor. If you play games on a desktop PC, you can make use of this desk’s bottom-right shelf, which was designed for this style of computer. Keeping your desktop elevated will make it easier to reach and provide a buffer if your computer room floods.

If you’ve struggled with cable management before, GIMPAL has you covered. The company has built a three-outlet power strip into the top of this desk, which also features a pair of USB-A ports for charging your devices. You can snake the power strip’s cable down the leg of the desk and into an outlet behind your setup. If you have a lot of tech accessories that require power or opt to keep a console between the desktop and monitor riser, this is a key feature.

GIMPAL declined to provide a maximum weight limit for this desk, but that’s less of an issue because it’s designed to let you distribute your on multiple shelves instead of keeping everything on top. If you want to clean up your setup with a gaming desk, this is the one to get.

Best budget: SEVEN WARRIOR Gaming Desk

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: This affordable desk offers a lot for little, providing ample space, attractive aesthetics, and plentiful accessories. 

Specs

Dimensions: 55 x 24 inches (Length x Width)

Height: 29.5 inches

Special features: Full-size waterproof desk mat, dual headphone hanger, cupholder, game and controller rack

Maximum supported weight: 400 pounds

Price: $139.99

Pros

Lots of included accessories

Sturdy steel frame capable of holding 400 pounds

Enough space for most gaming setups

Carbon fiber texture

Cons

Desktop comes in two pieces 

Inconsistent quality control

No cable management tray

SEVEN WARRIOR may not be a brand you’ve heard of before, but it’s made a splash in the affordable gaming desk space. And this desk is a prime example of why. At $139, it offers a great balance of features and functionality for a very affordable price.

Available in 44-, 55-, and 60-inch surface sizes, you can find a size that fits your space. The desk is finished with a waterproof carbon fiber texture and includes a size-matched waterproof desk mat, making spills easy to clean up. At 24-inches deep, it’s on the shallow side but still gives you plenty of room for a full gaming PC setup. Two cable grommets allow you to route wires out of sight, but you’ll need to bring your own cable runner if you care to keep things tidy underneath the desktop. SEVEN WARRIOR also throws in a cup holder, dual headphone hanger, and a combination game and controller rack that doubles as a USB hub.

The vast majority of reviews on this desk are overwhelmingly positive. Customers routinely remark on its easy setup and durability. When users are unhappy, though, it’s always for one reason—inconsistent quality control. Many users have reported that their desks came with misaligned parts or, worse, were missing pieces entirely. Sadly, this story is not uncommon with cheaper, lesser-known furniture brands. If the price is right, make sure to double-check all the parts before putting the desk together.

Things to consider before buying a gaming desk

Before you pick out a gaming desk, or a desk with PC gaming in mind, knowing what features to look for before you start is helpful. With so many different options to choose from, knowing what measurements and features you personally need can help you form a solid game plan to narrow down your options.

What is a gaming desk, exactly?

Gaming desks are very similar to any other kind of desk, but some core differences set them apart. While many desks feature wood grain or solid-colored finishes, gaming desks are designed to show off bright colors, decals, and stylized metallic surfaces like carbon fiber. It’s also more common for gaming desks to come with integrated features tailored to enhance your gaming station, including custom-fitted desk mats, headphone hangers, cupholders, and cable management solutions to keep your wires hidden. These aesthetic and utilitarian flourishes make a gaming desk; It’s all about style and convenience.

Size

Its surface area is the most important quality of any desk used for gaming (or work). Gaming desks come in all shapes and sizes, so consider how much space you’ll need. Desks come in many sizes, but a full-size desk surface typically measures around 60 inches wide—side-to-side—and 30 inches deep–front to back. That’s more than enough for a full PC setup.

That said, it may also take up more space than you have in your home office, bedroom, or wherever you plan to set up your gaming rig. As with any furniture purchase, your first step should be to take measurements and determine how much space your desk can fill. Before settling on a purchase, consider exactly what you plan to place on it. Here are some questions to consider before deciding on the right size for you:

Will your computer tower be on the desktop or on the floor? 

How big is the monitor you will be using? 

How much space will you need to move your mouse?

What else would you also like to place on your desk?

Answering these questions and measuring out the dimensions of your PC, monitor, and peripherals will give you a good idea of what a comfortable width would be. One more tip: When planning where to put your desk, ensure there’s enough room for a gaming chair.

Knowing how your desk space fits into your home is important, but you shouldn’t stop there. Take a minute to consider everything you would like to place on the desk. Placing your gaming desktop on your desk looks flashy but can take up a significant amount of space you may need for your mouse and mousepad, peripherals, or any other things you want to keep within reach. Figuring out where you plan to place the key components of your setup—the PC, as well as a monitor, mouse, keyboard, and possibly a router—will help you pick a gaming desk capable of realizing your vision.

Adjustability

Some desks come at a specific set height, but others feature some amount of adjustability. Certain dedicated gaming desks, in particular, feature electric motors that allow you to adjust the height of your desk on the fly so you can swap between standing and seated configurations when you want. Some also allow you to adjust the angle of the desktop, though this is less common. 

When shopping for a gaming desk, consider its specified height and how that would fit with the height of your chair. Ideal seated posture and desk layout are important to prevent muscle strain, eye strain, and repetitive stress injuries. According to the New York Times, it’s important to ensure that the desk you choose allows you to sit with your arms at a 90-degree angle for typing and that your eye level is several inches below the top edge of your monitor. Many gaming desks allow several inches of movement up or down to find the perfect position for your body. Even desks without on-the-fly adjustability may offer some amount of adjustability during assembly.

Assembly and reliability

Few, if any, gaming desks come preassembled out of the box. Before committing to a purchase, consider whether you have the time and resources to put your desk together. Cheaper desks often take longer to assemble, as part of the savings comes from limiting the assembly being completed at the factory. Even expensive desks can have their challenges and require multiple people to complete, though.

Since desks aren’t professionally reviewed as often as gaming PCs, user reviews are crucial for determining whether a desk is well-made. Poor craftsmanship often becomes clear during the assembly process, and user reviews will hopefully alert you to specific red flags. Users are also quick to point out when parts of the product break or wear out early, both of which should be key factors in your decision-making process.

Accessories

One thing distinguishing a “gaming desk” from universal designs is a bevy of integrated features and included accessories that many players buy second-hand to add to their setup. Many gaming desks come with attachable hooks for headphones and cup holders. Others feature RGB lighting built into the desk frame, custom-cut mouse pad surfaces, and integrated cable management. It’s less common, but an especially luxe gaming desk may come with monitor stands or additional storage. 

While many of these extras may seem superficial since you can purchase them separately, getting a desk with these elements included will save you some time and may save you money. It also ensures that your accessories fit and match your desk, which isn’t always the case if you buy them after the fact. That said, you can get most of them elsewhere, so you shouldn’t pick a desk with flashy accessories over one that perfectly fits you and your space.

FAQs

Choosing the right gaming desk can be, forgive the pun, game-changing. A good desk draws you in and makes you want to use it. It becomes a highlight of the room and puts your gaming station center stage. Finding the right choice can be intimidating when there are so many options, but taking the time to select the best choice is well worth the investment. 

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

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The Best Gaming Pc Cases: Top Picks For 2023

CoolerMaster MasterBox 5+

Corsair Obsidian 500D

The 500D is a gaming PC case for the grown-ups. Unlike the SE version (which is much more expensive) this has an aluminium front panel instead of glass, and the tinted glass sides let you see the interior lighting but not all the detail, so it’s a lot subtler than the in-your-face designs.

It’s also nice that the doors hinge open for easy access: they’re held shut by magnets.

There’s plenty of room for water coolers: a 360mm unit behind the front panel and 240mm or 280mm in the top section.

Cables can be routed tidily thanks to a well-thought-out system that hides the bulk of the cables even on the right-hand side of the case behind the motherboard tray, where there are mounts for three SSDs and two 3.5in hard drives.

Usefully the front panel has two USB 3.1 ports and a USB-C port as well. There are removable dust filters beneath the power supply and in the top and front panels, too.

Note that the included pair of 120mm fans are un-lit: if you want the full RGB experience, you’ll have to buy those separately or go with the 500D SE.

It’s a little more expensive than others here, but the build quality makes it well worth it. We found it for just £119.95 at Scan.co.uk.

Bitfenix Aurora

Best Prices Today:

Riotoro CR500 TG

The Riotoro name isn’t particularly well known as of yet, but that is set to change over the next few years. The company was started by ex-employees of well-known brands such as Nvidia and Corsair so the pedigree Is certainly there.

This particular case is targeting the same area of the market that the MasterBox 5 inhabits. It combines excellent build quality, a basic by effective cooling and filtration system and substantial fan support.

The chassis itself contains a tempered glass panel, impressive acoustic performance all around and the ability to hold three 120mm fans.

This case is extremely good value for money, giving the market leader in CoolerMaster some very serious competition.

Silverstone Redline Series RL06

Silverstone has a long standing reputation for high quality, stylish products. Offering everything from power supplies to fans and coolers, their Redline Series RL06 is no exception to their already outstanding reputation.

Aesthetically this case catches the eye right away, with the white on black contrast making it look very striking.

The case is of steel construction with a plastic front-facing panel. The top panel has a magnetic metal-mesh filter, which just under has space for two 120mm or 140mm fans.

The top of the case has two USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, headphone jacks, a hard drive activity LED and a power button. Behind the front panel you’ll be able to fit three 120mm intake fans.

The fan filtration system for the case is basic but functional. The locations of the filters at the top and front panels make cleaning them easy, whereas the bottom filter must be accessed by turning the PC on its side.

The Redline RL06 is fantastic value for such a well presented high quality case.

Be Quiet Dark Base 700 RGB

On the face it of it the Dark Base 700 is a very good case. It offers plenty of room for a top end gaming rig build, has built in RGB led strips which flank the front edges of the case, has a built-in fan controller and a tempered glass panel.

It comes with a pair of near-inaudible 140mm fans and space for up to a 360mm water cooler in the top panel. However, the panel itself has only a couple of exhaust vents at the rear, which isn’t ideal for cooling.

The front connectors include a pair of USB 3.0 ports, a switch for the fan controller, a button to change six preset colours for the LEDs and – handily – a USB-C port. It’s a slight shame the port is fitted into a USB-A-size hole though.

With a full-length PSU shroud and plastic covers over the five hard drive bays, it’s possible to build a very neat PC in the Dark Base 700.

The Best Ultrawide Gaming Monitors In 2023

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Written By Eric Frederiksen

Updated Apr 17, 2023 12:03 PM

If you want to completely lose yourself in a video game, an ultrawide gaming monitor is one of the best ways to expand your PC gaming setup. Standard widescreen is great, but ultrawide displays eliminate the need for a secondary display with a giant screen that stretches all the way across your field of vision. Just as with any other category of monitors, though, there are tons of options to choose from, and not all of them will get you what you need. We’ll walk you through the detailed decisions that go into picking the best ultrawide gaming monitors, then highlight some of the best options available in the space.

How we chose the best ultrawide gaming monitors

For a long time, the biggest change in PC monitors was the shift from old CRT screens to flat panel displays. In the last five or 10 years, though, they’ve begun to evolve at a breakneck pace. There are more options than ever now. I’ve been covering both display and GPU technology for the last five years, in addition to building my own PCs and paying attention to new developments in graphics technology as a personal hobby.

To make our selections, we drew upon our monitor testing program, sourced opinions from critics at multiple publications and user impressions from across the internet, and leveraged our general knowledge of display technology. We looked for interesting monitors to fit a few different categories. There’s no price limit on our picks, which means these displays can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand.

The best ultrawide gaming monitors: Reviews & Recommendations

Flat or curved, big or small—it’s time to figure out the best ultrawide monitor for your gaming rig, whether a desktop PC or a laptop. After doing our homework, we think these are top options you can get right now, from the best overall to the very best that money can buy to the best for less, as well as an option that was announced earlier this year that we’re really looking forward to taking for a spin.

Best overall: BenQ Mobiuz EX3415R

Why it made the cut: The BenQ Mobiuz EX3415R has all the big bells and whistles we look for without the heavy price tag.

Specs

Panel type: IPS

Native resolution (Aspect Ratio): 2560×1440 (21:9)

Panel style: Curved (1900R)

Color depth: 10-bit

Refresh rate: 144 Hz

Response time: 1ms

Max brightness: 200 nits (typical) / 400 nits (max)

Ports: 1 x DisplayPort 1.4; 1 x HDMI 2.0; 2 x USB 3.0 Type-A

Ergonomics: Tilt, Height, VESA 100mm mountable

Variable refresh rate: Nvidia G-Sync Compatible/FreeSync

HDR: HDR10, VESA HDR 400

Pros

Loud built-in soundbar

Robust feature set

Lots of color options

Great value

Cons

Low brightness

The BenQ EX3415R has it all. This IPS panel offers a 144 Hz refresh rate for fast response in games, 10-bit color to display images accurately, and a gentle 1900R curvature for easy viewing. Add a good set of ports and both G-Sync and FreeSync compatibility, and you have a more or less complete package.

It was hard to pick between the EX3415R and the Alienware AW3420DW—another excellent curved ultrawide display—but the BenQ panel wins out thanks to a higher refresh rate and higher peak brightness. Both models offer great performance and incredible value, though: To get bigger or sharper, you’ll have to spend a lot more money.

Best super ultrawide: Samsung Odyssey Neo G9

Why it made the cut: The Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 outshines every other ultrawide with its giant, rich display … and its sky-high price tag.

Specs

Panel type: VA

Native resolution (aspect ratio): 5120 x 1440 (32:9)

Panel style: Curved (1000R)

Refresh rate: 240Hz

Response time: 1 ms

Max brightness: 420 nits (Typical) / 2000 nits (Max)

Ports: 1 x DisplayPort 1.4; 2 x HDMI 2.1; 2 x USB 3.0 Type-A; Earphone Jack; Audio line-out

Ergonomics: Height, Swivel, Tilt, VESA 100mm mountable

Variable refresh rate: Nvidia G-Sync Compatible/AMD FreeSync

HDR: HDR10+

Pros

Massive screen

Top-tier gaming features

HDMI 2.1

Cons

Super expensive

If you can afford the $2,500 price tag, the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 is as good as it gets when it comes to ultrawide displays. The 49-inch, 32:9 screen is quite literally the same screen (and desk) real estate as two displays pushed together, and the 1000R curve allows the display to surround you with bright, vibrant colors whenever you boot up a game. The G9 has tons of ports, including two HDMI 2.1 ports—the only screen on this list that offers them (so you’ll want to pick up the best ultra-high-speed HDMI cables). You could put this screen in almost any category on this list and have it make sense. It’s just that good. You just have to come up with the money to bring it home.

Best for consoles: MSI Optix MPG 341CQR

Why it made the cut: The MSI Optix MPG 341CQR is the only ultrawide gaming monitor with console-minded features.

Specs

Panel type: VA

Native resolution (aspect ratio): 3440 x 1440 (32:9)

Panel style: Flat

Color depth: 10-bit

Refresh rate: 144 Hz

Response time: 1 ms

Max brightness: 400 nits

Ports: 1 x DisplayPort 1.4; 2 x HDMI 2.1; 3 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A; Earphone Jack

Ergonomics: Height, Swivel, Tilt, VESA 100mm mountable

Variable refresh rate: Nvidia G-Sync Compatible/AMD FreeSync

HDR: VESA HDR 400

Pros

Console optimization

Robust features

Good price

Cons

Consoles don’t support ultrawide aspect ratios directly

I’ll be blunt: We do not recommend pairing a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X with an ultrawide gaming monitor. Right now, only the PS5 supports ultra-wide monitors at 1440p, and it only gained support for variable refresh rates in mid-2024. Many TVs for gaming are far more optimal.

That said, we do have an option if you feel compelled. MSI claims that the Optix MPG 341CQR is optimized specifically for PS5. According to the company, it will accept a 4K signal and downsample it to 1440p rather than upscaling a 1080p signal. This display also supports 120Hz gameplay at 1080p over HDMI—a nice feature for the small but growing number of console games that support it. 

Beyond its PS5 compatibility, the Optix MPG 341CQR is a generally solid display. It offers good color depth, a high refresh rate, lots of USB ports, and a VA panel for good contrast in both well- and dimly-lit rooms.

Ultrawide screens are generally not a good fit with game consoles. If you need to play a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series console into a display, this is your best bet.

Why it made the cut: Alienware made the first QD-OLED gaming monitor, and they put it on a 21:9 display.

Specs

Panel type: Quantum Dot OLED

Native resolution (aspect ratio): 3440 x 1440 (21:9)

Panel style: Curved (1800R)

Refresh rate: 175Hz over DisplayPort, 100Hz over HDMI 2.0

Response time: 0.1 ms

Max brightness: 250 nits (typical) / 1000 nits (max)

Ports: 1 x DisplayPort 1.4; 2 x HDMI 2.0; 4 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A; Earphone Jack; Audio line-out

Ergonomics: Height, Swivel, Tilt, Slant, VESA 100mm mountable

Variable refresh rate: Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate

HDR: VESA DisplayHDR True Black 400

Pros

OLED display

Great HDR support

Lots of ports

Cons

Burn-in might be a concern

Organic light-emitting diode display technology—OLED, for short—is arguably the king of the gaming television space right now, monitor manufacturers have been slow to bring the panels to the world of PCs. (For an in-depth explainer on why check out our list of the best OLED TVs.) In fact, Alienware just launched the first QD-OLED gaming monitor, the AW3423DW, giving PC gamers the chance to experience the heightened fidelity OLED displays can provide.

With an OLED display, you get perfect contrast thanks to the fact that every pixel is individually-self lit instead of being backlit or edgelit like traditional LED screens. That means pure blacks and vibrant colors, as well as super-fast response time. The Alienware AW3423DW seems to have its specs locked down, ensuring a gaming monitor worthy of the “first OLED” mantle.

While OLED screens are bright and beautiful, there are reasons for PC players to be skeptical. OLED TVs have historically been deeply susceptible to “burn-in,” a visual distortion where pixels become stuck displaying a certain shape after displaying it too long. Since many elements of a PC desktop are static on Windows 11 and macOS, there’s good reason to question whether OLED monitors would have a shorter lifespan than conventional monitors. 

With Alienware launching an OLED screen, though, it seems like burn-in isn’t the worry it once was. One YouTuber attempted to burn an image into the new Nintendo Switch OLED’s screen but only created faint ghosting after 3,600 hours of showing the exact same image. In other words, if you use a screensaver or let your display sleep, you’re almost certainly fine.

Best for Mac: LG 34WQ73A-B

Why it made the cut: The inclusion of a USB-C port makes it a breeze to connect this monitor to a Mac.

Specs

Panel type: IPS

Native resolution (aspect ratio): 3440 x 1440 (21:9)

Panel style: Curved

Refresh rate: 60Hz

Response time: 5ms

Max brightness: 300 nits

Ports: 1 x USB-C (90W), 2 x USB-A (2.0), 1 x USB-B, 1 x Ethernet RJ45, 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x 3.5mm Audio Out

Ergonomics: Height, Swivel, Tilt, Slant, VESA 100mm mountable

Variable refresh rate: N/A

HDR: HDR 10

Pros

USB-C port with video and charging

Height and tilt adjustment

USB-A ports make this monitor a hub

Cons

Non 4K resolution

We know what you’re thinking: Macs aren’t good machines for gaming, but that’s definitely not as true as it once was (have you even seen the Mac Studio specs). The Apple Arcade library and new-to-Mac titles like Resident Evil VII mean the Mac is steadily becoming a more competent platform for casual and AAA games. This is possible because the company’s M-series processors are far more graphically capable than the Intel machines the company shipped over the past five years or so. Unfortunately, one of its other design decisions holds the Mac back when it comes to connecting them to an external display.

Apple went all-in on USB-C with the release of its 12-inch MacBook in 2024, and many of its current-generation laptops can only connect to accessories using this port. This means most Mac owners who want to plug their computer into an external display must buy an adapter. LG’s 34WQ73A-B is a notable exception. This curved monitor has a USB-C port, allowing you to plug your MacBook directly into it using a single cable. The 34WQ73A-B’s USB-C port serves a dual purpose, too: The cable can charge your MacBook at a rate of up to 90W while it’s connected, so this is a true single-cable solution.

LG outfitted this monitor with a pair of HDMI ports, which can plug in a media streamer or game console like a TV. The 34WQ73A-B’s USB-A ports will allow you to connect accessories—think webcam or external hard drive—to your machine without a hub. Gamers who use this external display will appreciate its support for HDR 10 and the ability to display 99% of the sRGB spectrum. Height and tilt adjustment will allow you to position this monitor in a place that’s comfortable for you without the need to attach it to a VESA mount. Its resolution is less than 4K, but that’s true for most ultrawide monitor. What you give up in vertical pixels, you gain in horizontal ones.

The 34WQ73A-B’s USB-C port is the reason we’re recommending this monitor specifically for Mac owners, but it’s also a solid choice for Windows machines. Many PCs have started shipping with USB-C or Thunderbolt 4 ports—they’re the same shape, and the latter can send more data more quickly—which means they’d reap the same benefits with this monitor as Macs. Apple has released its own 5K monitor for the Mac, but the $1,499 Studio Display is nearly five times as expensive as LGs. If you want a relatively inexpensive monitor with Mac-friendly features, this is the one we recommend.

Best budget: Gigabyte M34WQ

Why it made the cut: You won’t find a good ultrawide display cheaper than the Gigabyte M34WQ.

Specs

Panel type: IPS

Native resolution (aspect ratio): 3440 x 1440 (21:9)

Panel style: Flat

Color depth: 8-bit

Refresh rate: 144Hz

Response time: 1 ms

Max brightness: 400 nits

Ports: 1 x DisplayPort 1.4; 2 x HDMI 2.0; 2x USB 3.0; 1 x USB Type-C

Ergonomics: Height, Swivel, Tilt, VESA 100mm mountable

Variable refresh rate: Nvidia G-Sync Compatible/AMD FreeSync

HDR: VESA HDR 400

Pros

Killer price

USB Type-C port

A bright IPS display

Cons

8-bit color depth

Skip the HDR

The Gigabyte M34WQ is the definition of a budget pick: It delivers strong features for just $500 but comes with some technical compromises. The M34WQ offers a solid set of gamer-focused features like a 144Hz refresh rate and compatibility with both G-Sync and FreeSync. 

The cost of that low price is color depth. Most displays on this list feature 10-bit color, translating to over 1 billion colors. This is an 8-bit display with just 16.7 million. It’ll still look good, but you’re more likely to see color banding in some images. And don’t bother turning on the HDR. All that said, curved ultrawide gaming monitors don’t come cheap. You will be hard-pressed to find a better option at this price.

Things to consider before buying an ultrawide gaming monitor

There are a few things to remember as you pick out an ultrawide gaming monitor. Ultrawide displays, by definition, come in different aspect ratios than your average 16:9 widescreen monitor. Movies will feature black bars on the sides. Many apps, including games, will also if they don’t specifically support your screen size. Even when using apps that should work, ultrawide monitors require more tinkering than your average display. If the benefits still appeal, these are some things you should think about as you compare ultrawides.

Aspect ratio

Until the last couple of years, it was just a given that you’d want a standard widescreen display with a 16:9 aspect ratio. But now there are more options. In addition to 16:9, you’ll see lots of 21:9 (ultrawide) and a few 32:9 displays (super ultrawide) displays. Super ultrawide displays tend to be more expensive than ultrawide displays, and there are no cheap options: The prices start at $800 and go up rapidly. What you go with here comes down primarily to personal preference and budget. If you plan to game on this monitor, chances are that if your game supports 21:9, it will support 32:9 as well. 

Do you want a curved display?

With that said, curved screens are a bit of an acquired taste. They require more work to set up and optimize for individual games and software. They may also be more susceptible to glare than flat panels. The impact of both the upsides and the downsides comes down to personal taste. If you can, we recommend popping into your local electronics retailer and checking out a couple of curved monitors for yourself before making a decision.

Finding the right curve

If you decide to go with a curved display, you’ll need to think about how deep a curve you actually want. Some curved monitors bend lightly, giving you only the slightest sense that the screen forms around you. Others have a deep curve that makes you feel like you’re sitting in a cockpit. A monitor’s curve is measured by the radius of the monitor (R). 

It may be counterintuitive for those who’ve forgotten high school geometry, but a lower radius indicates a more pronounced curve. The Samsung Odyssey Neo G9, for example, sports a 1000R curve, making it one of the most deeply curved screens. Most ultrawide monitors sport a curvature of 1500-1800R, but very lightly curved displays reach as high as 3000R.

The radius of the monitor also indicates the recommended viewing distance, or how far away you should sit from it for the ideal viewing experience. Viewing position is especially important for curved displays, as sitting at the right distance, in front of the center of the display, guarantees that you see the full effect of the curve.

Brightness, color depth, and HDR

Beyond curve-related considerations, there’s a range of specs to consider when picking any gaming monitor. Picking among ultrawide gaming monitors limits your options for many display considerations, making them a secondary concern. That said, it never hurts to check and compare.

Gaming monitors are made with three different types of LCD panels—Vertical Alignment (VA), In-Plane Switching (IPS), and Twisted Nematic (TN). When shopping for ultrawide displays, you’ll typically find IPS or VA panels. IPS panels offer brighter, more vibrant colors, while VA panels typically have better contrast. Both panel types have great refresh rates. If there are any TN panels on Ultrawide screens, we didn’t find them during our research. Those panels have the fastest refresh rates but have poor viewing angles and color reproduction, making them ill-suited to this particular task.

Brightness is also a major concern; look for something at least 300 nits(cd/m2) for peak brightness. Any lower and you may struggle in particularly dark scenes of games. High-Dynamic Range, or HDR, isn’t widely implemented on ultrawide gaming monitors. Fewer than one-third of the ultrawide monitors on Newegg feature HDR support. On top of that, HDR isn’t always implemented as well as it is in TVs. Regardless of screen size, Windows isn’t as good at knowing when to switch between HDR and SDR. As a result, HDR is a nice luxury, but shouldn’t make or break your monitor selection.

For more in-depth explanations of monitor specs, including brightness, HDR, panel type, and more, check out the things to consider in our rundown of the best cheap gaming monitors.

Use case

Even when buying “gaming” gear, not many people use our PCs just for one thing. Are you going to use this computer for gaming primarily, or will you also be using it for work? If your monitor will just serve up games and the web, you can focus purely on refresh rate and gaming-focused features. If you’re creating content or using it for office work, you should also consider technical elements, such as color accuracy or blue light reduction. In general, it pays to take a holistic approach to picking out gear rather than focusing on one specific use, even if that use is more fun.

FAQs Q: Are ultrawide monitors good for gaming?

Ultrawide monitors can be great for gaming, especially curved displays. A curved display will fill your field of vision more completely and, in theory, requires less head movement to view completely.

Q: Do 4K ultrawide monitors exist?

Not really. The term 4K refers to a specific resolution, 3840×2160, which you can only create with 16:9 displays. Thus, 4K and Ultrawide are two separate categories of display that can’t really meet. There are a few 2160p Ultra widescreen displays, but they have a wider resolution of 5120, so they don’t count as 4K. That said, you could display a 4K image on that screen without distortion.

Q: Is a 34-inch ultrawide monitor big enough?

Definitely. Most displays on this list measure 34 inches, and the only one bigger is classified as a Super Ultrawide. If you’re buying an ultrawide monitor, it’ll likely be 34 inches.

Q: How much does an ultrawide monitor cost?

This will depend on its features, but many ultrawide monitors cost under $500.

Q: Is it better to have two monitors or one ultrawide?

A two-monitor setup is more efficient for creative workflows—photo or video editing, writing, and general computing tasks—as it’ll allow you to dedicate an entire separate screen to chat or e-mail apps that need to be monitored while you’re working. Gaming is a single-screen activity, so a single ultrawide monitor makes more sense.

Q: What is the best size for an ultrawide monitor?

Most ultrawide monitors are between 32 and 34 inches in size, which are well-suited for gaming. A larger monitor will be more difficult to see.

Q: Does ultrawide affect FPS?

No, the graphics card and processor in your computer and the games you play will have the biggest impact on your game’s performance. That said, the monitor’s refresh rate is also a big factor: A 60Hz display won’t be able to play cutting-edge games at their full speed.

Final thoughts on the best ultrawide gaming monitors

If you have the cash, an ultrawide gaming monitor can be a great way to expand your desktop without using two displays. The options run the gamut from affordable daily drivers to premium monsters. The Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 and Alienware QD-OLED are especially appealing options if you want to spend whatever it takes to get the best. For everyone else, our top and budget picks give you most of the same benefits, albeit with less impressive color space. Any of these options should make most any gamer a happy camper.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

Best Asus Laptops 2023: Best Overall, Best For Gaming, And More

So to make your search for a laptop as easy as possible, we’ve curated a list of the best Asus has to offer. Below you’ll find our best overall pick, as well as recommendations for best display, best gaming laptop, and more. For more information about our methods for choosing these laptops, check out the section on how we test below the recommendations.

Also, be sure to visit our complete guide to the best laptops to see our recommendations for the very best from among all the notebook makers.

Updated 06/06/2023: To include the Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED as our new choice for most portable. Read more about this excellent featherlight OLED ultraportable in the summary below.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 – Best overall

Pros

Powerful CPU and GPU performance

Compact and attractive design

Newly added webcam

Cons

Semi-upgradeable RAM

Keyboard backlighting is subpar

Best Prices Today:

The ROG Zephyrus G14 is both lightweight and powerful. It weighs just a little over three pounds, which makes it a capable traveling laptop. Thanks to the AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor and AMD Radeon RX6800S GPU, you can expect strong performance as well. The only weakness is the keyboard, which our tester describes as “meh.” It feels a little mushy and the backlighting is rather unimpressive. Nitpicks aside, the Zephyrus G14 is well worth it. In addition to the strong performance, the 1600p display produces vibrant images and the audio is decent. If you’re in the market for a portable Asus laptop that delivers zippy performance, this laptop is a phenomenal pick.

Read our full

Asus VivoBook Pro 15 OLED Ultra Slim Laptop – Best OLED display

Pros

Good productivity performance

Superb display

Rugged design

Great battery life

Cons

Boring aesthetics

Unimpressive 720p webcam

Unreliable fingerprint scanner

Poor port selection

Best Prices Today:

Back in the days of old, laptops with OLED displays were something of a far-fetched dream. Nowadays, they’re more mainstream and the Asus VivoBook Pro 15 is one such example. According to our review, the Pro 15 has an “outstanding 15.6-inch 1080p OLED non-touch display at an affordable price.” Wild, right? Shadows are deep and wonderfully rich while brighter spots are super vivid. The color performance is fantastic as well. If you’re looking for a laptop that makes games look great and also satisfies productivity needs, the Pro 15 is a great choice.

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Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 – Best premium gaming laptop

Pros

Excellent CPU and GPU performance

Robust and innovative design

Comfortable and customizable keyboard

Cons

Trackpad requires some pressure

Very high price

Best Prices Today:

The Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 is a gamer’s ultimate dream. This laptop features lightning-fast GPU and CPU performance plus a stunning 17.3-inch 4K display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The rugged all-metal chassis, six speaker sound system, and customizable keyboard really adds to the premium experience as well. However, you’re going to pay out the nose for it. If you’ve got a flexible budget and you won’t settle for anything other than the best of the best, the Zephyrus S17 is truly the bees knees.

(See our roundup of the best gaming laptops for even more options.)

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Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition – Best midrange gaming laptop

Pros

Outclasses every CPU in competing laptops

Radeon RX GPU outclasses similarly-priced GeForce GPUs in conventional gaming.

Surprisingly good audio quality

Cons

No webcam

Very bulky 280-watt power brick

Nvidia GPUs outclass Radeon in ray tracing and content creation.

Best Prices Today:

Granted, the premium Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 can be out of range for many people’s budgets. Coming in at a more palatable price point is the Asus ROG Strix G15 Advanced Edition, another all-AMD laptop that delivers fast CPU and GPU performance without busting your wallet. It’s packing an AMD Ryzen 5900HX processor, an AMD Radeon RX 6800M GPU (comparable to an RTX 3070 or 3080), 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. According to our review, the GPU “doesn’t outpace higher-wattage RTX 3080 laptop GPUs, but it’s a worthy competitor for conventional gaming tasks.” Unsurprisingly, the Strix G15 is one chunky machine, measuring 28mm at its thickest part. Although the additional thickness allows more space for cooling components, it’s not very portable. But, as long as you don’t plan on taking this laptop everywhere you go, it’s a powerful gaming rig that’s well worth the money.

(You can find more midrange gaming laptop options in our roundups of the best gaming laptops and best gaming laptops under $1,000.)

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Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED – Most portable

Pros

High-quality build

Gorgeous screen

Excellent battery life

Diverse port selection

Competitive performance

Cons

Obnoxious bloatware

High-pitched fans

Physical trackpad button instead of a linear motor

Best Prices Today:

Thin-and-light laptops have come a long way in recent years and the Asus Zenbook 13 S OLED is a perfect example of how increased portability doesn’t have to mean decreased performance. It features the latest Intel Core i7-1355U 10-core processor, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD for storage, and a gorgeous OLED screen. That’s a lot to pack into a laptop that is less than half-an-inch thick and weighs a featherlight 2.2 pounds.

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Asus ROG Flow Z13 GZ301 – Best detachable

Pros

Big performance in a small package

Bright, crisp display

Compatible with XG Mobile for GPU boost

Cons

Versatility doesn’t come cheap

Detachable keyboard poor fit for gamers

Best Prices Today:

If versatility and portability are your bag, the Asus ROG Flow Z13 is a worthy option. With its detachable keyboard, you can easily convert the Flow Z13 from a 3-pound ultraportable clamshell into a 2.6-pound tablet. In both instances you’ll benefit from the the Z13’s bright, crisp 1920×1200 IPS touch display. It’s Core i9-12900H CPU and GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics make it suitable for gaming, though you’d probably want to invest in an external keyboard and mouse for the best experience. It’s a unique combination of qualities that’s admittedly not for everyone, but if you’re looking for maximum flexibility, it’s a capable performer, albeit at a premium price.

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Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED – Best for content creation

Pros

Stunning primary display and easy to see secondary display

Excellent I/O options and wireless connectivity

CPU / GPU power meets the needs of content creators

Cons

The battery life is lacking for a productivity laptop

The trackpad is small and awkwardly placed

Rear orientated ports can be hard to reach

Best Prices Today:

Not surprisingly, the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo takes the place of its predecessor as the best Asus laptop for content creation, and it does so with thoughtful improvements that make it an even better product. What makes this laptop uniquely suitable for content creators is its dual-display design, and in this latest model, both screens get an upgrade: The 14.5-inch primary screen is a taller, brighter 120Hz OLED; the 12.7-inch secondary ScreenPad Plus, which sits just above the keyboard, is now tilted at more of an angle for better visibility. Together they enable more flexible work organization and multi-tasking.

Add to that 12th-gen Intel CPUs and up to an Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti GPU, a large and comfortable keyboard, generous port selection, and a stylish look, and you can see why we recommend this Asus laptop in particular is ideal for creators.

(For even more options in the content-creation space, see our roundups of the best laptops for graphic design and best laptops for video editing.)

Read our full

The PCWorld team puts each and every Windows laptop through a series of benchmarks that test GPU and CPU performance, battery life, and so on. The idea is to push the laptop to its limits and then compare it against others we’ve tested. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of each test and the reasons why we run them.

Windows laptops FAQ

1.

What kind of laptop is best?

When looking for a laptop, the first question you should ask yourself is what kind of laptop you’re looking for. There are traditional clamshells, 2-in-1’s, and much more. The displays on convertible laptops (aka 2-in-1’s), for example, can swing around 360 degrees, or in the case of the ROG Flow Z13 above, detach from the keyboard altogether. This allows you to use the laptop like a tablet. They can also be propped up like a tent for viewing movies or participating in video calls.

2.

What CPU should I get?

3.

Should I go with discrete graphics or integrated graphics?

You’ll want a discrete graphics card for hardcore gaming or editing videos. It’s separate from the CPU, so you can expect higher performance out of it. Integrated graphics, on the other hand, are attached to the CPU and use less power as a result. This is perfectly fine for everyday tasks, especially if you’re not doing anything that’s graphics-intensive.

4.

How much RAM should I get?

8GB of RAM is fast enough for general use. However, if you’ve got a gaming laptop, 16GB of RAM is the way to go, and content creators will want even more.

5.

What size display is best?

If you’re a video editor or someone who does a lot of multimedia work, you’ll want a display that’s anywhere from 15 to 17 inches. The sweet spot is really anywhere from 13 to 14 inches, though. The bigger the display, the heavier your laptop is going to be. A 13- or 14-inch display is the best in terms of portability and value.

6.

What should I expect as far as battery life is concerned?

If you plan on taking your laptop anywhere with you, aim for something that can last 10 to 12 hours on a single charge. That’s more than a full work day, so it should theoretically get you through long flights or a day of classes. Obviously, more is always better. Just know that the bigger the battery, the heavier the laptop.

7.

What kind of laptop is recommended if I’m on a budget?

8.

What ports will I need?

A wide array of ports is always a plus in my book, as it eliminates the need for an adapter. I’d recommend a laptop that has both USB-C and USB-A. An HDMI port is good, too. This is especially useful for when you want to hook up to an external monitor.

Curious to learn about our other laptops best picks? Check out more of our best laptop roundups to help you make the right decision:

What Is The Best Dpi Settings For Gaming?

Every piece of gaming gear you have makes a huge difference in how well you play, especially if you want to compete professionally or become a streamer. Since some pieces of equipment matter more than others, it’s imperative to know the pieces whose quality you cannot compromise, starting with the gaming mouse.

There are a lot of features, such as a good DPI range, that combine to form a quality gaming mouse. Even if your mouse comes with a wide DPI range, you still need to know the suitable settings for your performance to be great.

However, is DPI significant, and if so, what are the best settings to enforce? That is the purpose of this article.

DPI is an acronym that stands for ‘linear dots per inch.’ In simple terms, it’s used to describe the number of pixels your cursor will travel through per every inch of mouse movement.

For context, if your mouse has a DPI of 600, it will mean that the cursor will move across 600 pixels every time you move the mouse an inch. For that reason, if the mouse has a low DPI, you will need to move it for more inches than someone whose mouse has a high DPI.

While this may sound like a great idea, avid gamers know a high DPI is not always the best setting.

The market is full of options when it comes to quality gaming mice. This makes it easy for you only to consider catchy features instead of what matters.

For example, most gamers only focus on checking the DPI range. However, it’s imperative also to check the standings of other features that ensure the DPI settings translate smoothly to your gaming experience.

Some of the features/settings in question include:

Before buying a gaming mouse or adjusting the mouse to a high or lower DPI, you will need to consider your monitor’s resolution. For context, assume the two scenarios below are real life.

Scenario one: 

Display resolution is 1000p, and you have set your mouse to a DPI of 500. Therefore, you will only need to move the mouse two inches for it to move from the top to the bottom of your screen.

Scenario two:

Your monitor has a 4K resolution, and the mouse has a DPI of 500. Therefore, you will need to move your mouse for 4 inches for the cursor to travel across all linear pixels lined up from the top to the bottom of the screen or vice versa.

Considering the two examples above, the person in scenario two will need to move their mouse 4x the distance that the person in scenario A has moved to achieve the same results. Therefore, they can get by with a high DPI as it won’t make the cursor ungovernable.

If the person in scenario one tries to use the same high DPI settings as the other person, they will struggle because the cursor will be moving faster than most gamers can handle.

The polling rate is the number of times per second that a mouse reports back to the display. Typically, polling rates are counted in hertz. So, if your mouse has a polling rate of 500 hertz, it will report the cursor’s position back to the display 500 times per minute.

As per the above explanation, it is in your best interest to ensure that the mouse has/ is set to a high enough polling rate before deciding on the DPI standings. This is because it will be no use if you can move your cursor across a high distance in a few minutes, but it takes the display a bit more time to react.

However, a high polling rate isn’t always the best option especially if you have a wireless mouse. This is because it will drain your battery faster, which can be quite inconvenient.

Sensitivity is one of the most critical DPI multipliers. As the name suggests, sensitivity is basically how sensitive your mouse is to touch. However, unlike DPI which is mostly determined by hardware, sensitivity depends on the settings you have personally enforced.

By having control of mouse acceleration, I mean that irrespective of your DPI, the cursor speed will depend on how fast you move the mouse. So if the DPI settings dictate that it should have moved across 500 pixels, you will find the cursor only moved across 450 pixels.

On the other hand, precision will depend on the average distance the computer thinks you would want the cursor to land, depending on your patterns.Therefore, altering the default settings will lead to inconsistencies which will, in turn, hinder your performance.

Every game will require you to employ different skills; therefore, you will need to alter the DPI settings accordingly. No two games will offer you the same performance rate using the same settings.

Some games ignore the windows mouse settings and set their own to level the field. In contrast, other video games allow you to employ your desired settings combination.

Rarely will a newbie gamer come into the scene and defeat the people who have been perfecting their craft. Therefore, to decide on the best DPI settings, you need to strongly consider improving your muscle memory.

Due to preference, there are three different ways professional games hold their mice and where you fall on the list will influence the best DPI setting. So assume that you grip the mouse with the palm, you will benefit from having a low DPI setting, as it will offer you more accuracy which is important when aiming at targets.

On the other hand, if you grip the mouse with your claws/fingertips, you will benefit from a high DPI, as you need precision and speed to aim correctly. Of course, the settings you settle for will depend entirely on what the game consists of, but the point is to factor in your skills before deciding the ideal DPI settings.

In as much as no two gamers can produce the same performance using the same DPI settings, people still like to compare their metrics regardless of how different their hardware is. This is especially common for professional players who want to compete or newbies looking for a suitable range to build from.

For this reason, there is a suitable comparable metric known as EDPI, an acronym for ‘effective dots per inch.’ To calculate your EDPI, you need to multiply your in-game sensitivity by your DPI.

So, assume you are player one and are trying to gauge the difference of the EDPI of your felow gamers; here is how to go about it.

Player 1: 500 DPI x 2 in-game sensitivity = 1000 DPI

Player 2: 250 DPI x 4 in-game sensitivity = 1000 DPI

Player 3: 1000 DPI x 2 in-game sensitivity = 2000 DPI

As per the settings used by players one and two, both will have a somewhat similar feel and precision level, even though they don’t have the exact setting. So if the three players were in a league together, player three would need to adjust their settings to be closer to the other players.

Sadly, no specific DPI setting is considered the best for gaming. While it all boils down to preference and muscle memory, other factors, such as hardware, contribute to the overall result. Therefore, it makes more sense to find out in what settings you perform the best and improve from there.

If your mouse offers a DPI of 800 and above, chances are that is all you will need. However, considering a high DPI means you can move your cursor from one point to another in record time, people assume it’s the better option which isn’t true.

A high DPI with a low sensitivity rate is an excellent setting if you are playing a game requiring sudden reflexes, for example, running from a crossfire. This is because you can make your move quickly, and since the character doesn’t need to turn at an exact degree, you can get away with extremely high DPI settings (with ample practice).

With that said, this setting is perfect for RPG and MMO games which require you to move the camera quickly, among other things.

In specific scenarios, you need a low DPI and high sensitivity setting. For example, if you are playing a game that requires you to aim and shoot characters, you need to be able to adequately focus on your target, which is best done on a low DPI.

However, please note that if the DPI is too low, it will take you longer than necessary to aim and shoot, which then negates the purpose of the whole setting.

With that said, this setting works best for FOMO and other similar games.

If you are wondering how and where to go check and alter your mouse DPI setting, you are lucky, as the process is often easy to follow. Even though all gaming mice are different, most modern ones are equipped with software for adjusting your preferred settings.  

All you need to do is open the proprietary software in question, navigate the Sensitivity and DPI settings, and adjust accordingly. Alternatively, some mice allow you to alter the DPI settings by toggling the roller button according to your preference.

As you toggle the DPI setting, a scale will appear on your display to inform you of the changes you are making. Typically, toggling the button forward will increase the DPI, while toggling it back will reduce it.

As stated in the sections above, no one correct DPI setting will work for everyone, let alone for every game. As an avid gamer, you will need to keep adjusting the DPI and in-game sensitivity accordingly until you find a combination that works perfectly for you.

However, one thing is certain: if the DPI is too high or too low, you will find it difficult to control your cursor completely. Also, the DPI setting only makes sense when considered in a broader context because certain aspects, such as screen resolution and in-game sensitivity, significantly affect the DPI settings’ performance.

While all gamers prefer different settings combinations, most oscillate around the 400-800 DPI range.

Yes, it is. A DPI range of 1000 – 1600 is ideal for MMOs, RTGs, and RTS games. However, you will still have to tweak it until it suits your gaming style and skill set.

Everyone will benefit from different things, but you should start with low DPI and high in-game sensitivity. In this scenario, you will have more control over aim and the slow cursor movement reduces your chances of missing the target.

The Best Tablets For College Students In 2023

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Written By Fiona Tapp

Published Mar 14, 2023 5:01 PM

Tablets made for college students offer the power and usability of a laptop with the versatility and portability of a much smaller device. Whether you’re researching topics, typing up essays, making presentations, or using design tools, choosing the right tablet for college can make all the difference. These devices excel when taking notes, reading textbooks, and staying organized. However, with so many options available on the market, it can be a daunting task. We’ve scoured the internet to make our list, considering factors such as battery life, screen size, processing power, and price. Whether you’re a freshman, a senior, or a parent shopping for your college-aged child, our comprehensive guide will help you make an informed decision when selecting the best tablets for college students. 

How we picked the best tablets for college students

Tablets truly lend themselves to college work. They’re easy to carry around, offer tons of battery life, typically cost less the high-powered laptops, and they pull double duty as content consumption devices. In our quest for the perfect tablet for college students, we surveyed the entire tablet market from major manufacturers. There are tons of cheap and less-reliable options out there, but for a device that’s going to be so crucial to work and recreation, we want to recommend something durable and reliable.

We relied on a mixture of research, personal experience, spec comparisons, user reviews, and editorial opinions to come up with a list of devices that offer a solid mix of price and performance. We also gave extra credit to devices that work with a wide variety of accessories, so they’re easier to customize to a student’s own personal requirements.

The best tablets for college students: Reviews & Recommendations

The iPad may seem like the obvious choice here (and it is for a number of users), but needs vary and so do devices. Here are some options to consider before you plunk down that college cash.

Best overall: Apple iPad Air M1

Why it made the cut: With their iPad, Apple has cornered the tablet market for good reason. The iPad Air M1 is simply a great piece of tech. Slimline, powerful, and equipped with a powerful camera, this is our top-rated choice.

Specs

Display Size: 10.9-inch

Storage: 64GB/256GB

CPU: Apple M1

Pros 

Powerful

Lightweight

Great design

Cons 

Expensive

With the additional choice of a Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil (sold separately), the iPad Air M1 is capable of handling almost any academic task. Apple Pencil allows you to mark up documents, draw, or take notes, which are then translated from your handwriting into typed notes ready to share or save to the cloud. The Magic Keyboard has a trackpad and responsive keyboard to take your tablet to the next level and make typing comfortable even during those seemingly endless classes.

Thanks to its M1 chip, it’s a performance powerhouse with speeds up to 60 percent faster than previous generation models. The liquid retina display and 8-core GPU provide crisp images and fast graphics across video calls, gaming, content creation, and design apps. An impressive 12-megapixel camera includes an automatic pan feature to keep you in shot no matter how fast you move around. The back camera is perfect for scanning documents and shooting videos. It comes in five colors and boasts long-lasting battery life.

Particularly power-hungry students could step up to the iPad Pro to get even more processing oomph and an upgraded screen. While the upgrades are nice, they’re likely only necessary for students who want to do a ton of media creation or other resource-intensive activities.

Why it made the cut: Small but perfectly formed, this handheld tablet features an edge-to-edge screen and vivid colors. Ideally suited for note-taking with the optional Apple Pencil that magnetically attaches to the side of the screen.

Specs

Display Size: 8.3″

Storage: 64GB/256GB

CPU: Apple A15 Bionic

Pros 

Touch ID-enabled

Very compact and portable size

Sharp display

Cons

Expensive

No headphone jack

This very small and portable tablet slips easily into your bag or even a pocket. It fits comfortably in the hand but offers a better screen size and performance than simply using your cell phone. Gameplay, photo editing, and content creation are more than possible because of the impressive A15 bionic chip. You’ll be able to stream content without slowdowns and download quickly with 5G connectivity. You won’t be able to use the magic keyboard with this size iPad but can use it with a separate Bluetooth keyboard to expand its use beyond simple note-taking or entertainment. 

Available in four elegant muted colors including space gray, pink, light purple, or starlight, a champagne tone. Choose from a range of complementary different color smart folios (sold separately) to suit your unique style. The 12MP webcam helps you stay in touch with family back home or log in for virtual classes or group seminars. 

Why it made the cut: Fast speeds, impressive battery life, and a large screen make the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 a great choice for students who prefer Android products. 

Specs

Display Size: 12.4”

Storage: 8 GB/128 GB

Weight: 17.6 ounces

Pros 

Included S pen  

Large storage included in the base model

Bright screen

Cons 

Expensive

Unlike Apple tablets, this option’s base model comes with an included S pen and 128GB storage, making it a great value choice without having to purchase additional products and extra memory. It has a large and bright display featuring a 12.4-inch AMOLED screen. The battery life helps you work, and watch for hours, and when you do find it running low, it recharges at a lightning speed. 

Expect beautiful graphics with high resolution, and super quick processing speeds to make all your school tasks, including content creation, photo editing, surfing the web, and lab work easy to complete. If the included 128GB isn’t enough space for your documents, photos, and schoolwork, the micro-SD card slot allows for further upgrades. The ultra-wide camera produces great shots and clear video calls for remote learning or catching up with friends. Choose from three colors, including graphite, silver, and pink gold.

Best laptop replacement: Microsoft Surface 9 Pro

Why it made the cut: A true replacement for even the top laptops for college, this powerful and versatile tablet offers excellent gameplay and graphics with a high-resolution display for a premium experience. 

Specs

Display Size: 13”

Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

Weight: 31.3 ounces

Pros 

Preloaded with Windows 11 

1080p webcam

Excellent performance

Cons 

Very expensive

This incredibly capable and powerful tablet can easily replace a laptop and make an excellent investment for academic use. The responsive and comfortable keyboard allows for extended typing and note-taking during lectures. A stylus is available for a separate purchase and it comes equipped with Windows 11. Although it is one of the more expensive tablets reviewed, it really offers the most bang for your buck and is regularly on sale for discounts of at least a couple of hundred dollars of the list price. 

The battery can last an incredible 15.5 hours, more than enough for class use and homework after hours. The versatile edge-to-edge touchscreen and adjustable built-in kickstand ensure you get the perfect angle for media viewing or video calls. The two USB-C ports allow you to transfer documents, dock to monitors, or connect and charge various devices and accessories, so you’re ready for any task.

Best budget: Amazon Fire 10 HD

Why it made the cut: This budget-friendly option makes a great educational addition if you already have a more powerful laptop for most of your school work.

Specs

Display Size: 10.1″

Storage: 32GB/64GB

Weight: 16.4 ounces

Pros 

Affordable 

Compatible with Alexa

Good battery life

Cons 

Not compatible with Google apps

Perfect for loading up books, and after-class entertainment, this affordable tablet is more than worth the modest investment of less than $150. The battery life of up to 12 hours works well for a day of learning, followed by surfing the web or watching your favorite shows. 

This tablet doesn’t support Google products so you’ll need to switch over from G drive and docs to the Microsoft Office suite of products if applicable. Compatible with Alexa straight out of the box, it can also be used as an organizer and personal assistant. Optional extras include Bluetooth keyboards and standing cases to improve functionality and ease of use. 

This tablet is definitely not the most powerful or responsive around, but at this very low price point, it makes an excellent option for cash-strapped students. It can also work as a solid secondary device for consuming content and reading (textbooks or anything else) to save wear and tear as well as battery life on a main device.

Things to consider before buying the best tablets for college students Assess your needs

When you’re selecting any of our top tablet picks, you’ll want to make sure your tablet works well with all the apps and platforms you regularly use. For example, if you prefer a particular data management, file storage, or design program, you’ll want to make sure your new tablet is compatible. The way you intend to use your tablet will also dictate which model you opt for. For example, you’ll want to consider whether you need a keyboard if you intend to play games or stream movies, and your preferred screen size for optimum viewing comfort.

Price 

Students are often on a budget, so the cost of your new tablet is an important consideration. Luckily, there are lots of choices for top tablets under $500. However, that doesn’t always mean the cheapest option is the best. Consider how you’ll use your new piece of hardware and how long you want it to keep working to make sure you plan ahead and buy the best model to meet your needs and price point.

FAQs Q: How much does a tablet for a college student cost?

Depending on features and storage size, a tablet for a college student will cost between $135-$1,350.

Q: Do students need keyboards for their tablets?

It really depends on how you’ll be using your tablet. If you intend it as an addition to a laptop, a keyboard may not be essential. However, if it’s your only way of taking notes and completing coursework, a keyboard may be a must-have feature. 

Q: Do tablets come with pre-installed operating systems?

Whether you choose Windows, Android, or Apple iOS products, most tablets come preloaded with their associated operating system. 

Q: Do I get a pencil for a tablet?

The touchscreen on tablets allows you to swipe, enlarge and control what you see on the screen with your hands. However, a stylus or pencil can give you more control and opens a world of design and artistic possibilities. They can also be very useful for photo editing, especially very fine and small details.

Final thoughts on the best tablets for college students

Balance your needs as a student with price concerns, and make sure your tablet pick is lightweight and easy to transport from your dorm to the classroom and back again. Tablets can be an excellent choice for college students, especially as many of our top picks are powerful devices capable of research, data management, and content creation to help you meet all your academic targets. 

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

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