Monitors with an HDMI 2.1 connection can be a good option, especially for owners of a PS5 or Xbox Series X. For example, if there is not enough space for a TV or if you prefer to gamble on the gaming monitor. Here you can find out what to look out for with HDMI 2.1 – and we recommend five monitors with the connection.
You need to know that about HDMI 2.1
HDMI 2.1 has so far been marketed by many technology manufacturers as the current HDMI port with the latest functions in 2021 and 2022. Including 4K gaming at 120 Hertz, VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) and ALLM (Automatic Low Latency Mode). The industry association HDMI Forum specifies which properties connection and cable must meet in order to qualify as HDMI 2.1. Unfortunately, this association has meanwhile integrated HDMI 2.0 into HDMI 2.1 and softened all criteria .
The magazine TFTCentral writes with reference to HDMI.org, which administers the standard for the HDMI Forum:
- The functions of HDMI 2.0 now count towards HDMI 2.1.
- All new functions associated with HDMI 2.1 are optional (including VRR, ALLM, higher bandwidths).
- If a device is referred to as HDMI 2.1, the manufacturer has to name the specific functions.
So if you read "HDMI 2.1" you don't know what's behind it. This can mean any properties from HDMI 2.0. We have chosen more useful criteria for this list. The monitors we recommend with HDMI 2.1 offer :
- 4K gaming at 120 Hertz : You can play with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 images at 120 frames per second, provided that the console or PC and game support this. PS5 and Xbox Series X offer this option for some games.
- VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) : Serves to synchronize the image output of the console or the PC with the image display of the monitor for a smooth and tear-free image.
- HDR10 : The monitor must be able to display HDR10 content. You can find out how well he can do this in our description texts for the monitors.
Pure PC users should note: Usually they don't need HDMI 2.1, because DisplayPort 1.4 is good for the same purposes. Exceptions are extreme scenarios and potential future applications, which in practice will not play a role for the foreseeable future, even for professional users. DisplayPort 1.4 has the advantage that it has clearly defined properties that are identical for every connection and cable. Here are the differences:
|HDMI 2.1 (maximum features)||DisplayPort 1.4|
|10K resolution at 120 Hertz||8K resolution at 60 Hertz|
|Up to 32 audio channels||Up to 32 audio channels|
|Up to 48 Gbit / s transfer rate||Up to 32.4 Gbit / s transfer rate|
Gigabyte M28U: Top monitor with a good price-performance ratio
Gigabyte M28U Image: © Gigabyte 2021
The 4K monitor Gigabyte M28U has two HDMI 2.1 connections . With this 144 Hertz screen, the maximum transfer rate is limited to 24 Gbit / s instead of the maximum 48 Gbit / s of HDMI 2.1. That doesn't make a practical difference though, with PC, Xbox Series X and PS5, 4K gaming works at 120 Hertz and HDR10. Only Dolby Vision is not an option because the monitor does not support this HDR format. FreeSync Premium ensures a smooth image.
Buy now from Gigabyte M28U
PC gamers can also connect the monitor via DisplayPort 1.4. There is also a USB-C connection, three USB 3.0 ports and a headset connection. The monitor also offers a KVM switch . This means that you can use the keyboard and mouse alternately with two different devices such as a laptop and desktop PC. You have to connect the second device such as a laptop or tablet to the USB-C port. The KVM button on the monitor is used to switch.
The Gigabyte M28U comes highly recommended by various testers, including Rtings and Hardware Unboxed . It offers an excellent response time, supports VRR and on top of that it is very well color calibrated from the factory, so it is also suitable for image processing – even for professional image processing – in the sRGB color space. It can also display the DCI P3 color space relevant for HDR content quite comprehensively and precisely.
But there are also weaknesses: apart from the good color representation, HDR content doesn't look too impressive, there is also a lack of brightness and a technology such as full array local dimming for better contrast. Accordingly, the monitor only has a DisplayHDR 400 certification. The contrast of the monitor is generally rather low, which is typical for IPS panels. Although the monitor can be adjusted in height and tilted, it cannot be rotated.
Alternatively, a 32-inch version called the Gigabyte M32U is available, which is similarly good and, above all, slightly larger.
Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ: With DisplayHDR 600
Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ Image: © Asus 2021
The Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ offers two HDMI 2.1 ports with the full transfer rate of 48 Gbit / s . It can display PC games uncompressed at 144 Hertz in 4K resolution, both PS5 and Xbox Series X games work with up to 120 Hertz in 4K resolution and with HDR10. Thanks to the size of 32 inches there is a lot of space on the desktop and the high resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels ensures a sharp picture when playing and working. In addition to FreeSync Premium, the monitor offers "G-Sync Compatible" certification.
Compared to the Gigabyte M28U and M32U, the display of HDR content is slightly better thanks to the DisplayHDR600. There are 16 lighting zones with edge-lit technology and a brightness of over 600 nits. At least a difference to SDR content becomes visible, but compared to full array local dimming or even mini-LED there is still a lot of room for improvement. The comprehensive coverage of the sRGB, DCI-P3 and AdobeRGB color spaces should be mentioned positively. In addition to the two HDMI 2.1 connections, there is a DisplayPort 1.4 as well as two USB-A 3.0 ports and a headset connection.
According to the test by Hardwareluxx , the monitor is set up quite cool, and buyers may want to make a few fine adjustments here. The testers also criticize the slight streaking when gaming, so the panel could react a little faster. The monitor can be tilted, adjusted in height and rotated, but there is no pivot function for vertical use. But gamers don't need them either.
Overall, the Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ is a great 4K monitor with full HDMI 2.1 support.
Gigabyte Aorus FI32U: Fast-paced gaming monitor
Gigabyte Aorus FI32U Image: © Gigabyte 2021
The 32-inch Gigabyte Aorus FI32U is a good alternative to the Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ. It offers two HDMI 2.1 connections with 24 Gbit / s. The refresh rate of the 4K monitor is 144 Hertz and, in addition to VRR, it also supports FreeSync Premium Pro. The HDMI 2.1 ports are joined by 1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x USB-C, 2 x USB 3.0 and an audio input and output. A KVM switch like the one in the M28U is also on board.
In contrast to the Asus monitor, the Gigabyte only offers DisplayHDR400. In the Rtings test , he was able to get the most out of it and was enthusiastic in the areas of response time, input lag and color fidelity ex works . The monitor can be tilted, rotated and adjusted in height, so the ergonomics are successful. The only weaknesses are the low contrast typical of IPS and the HDR display due to the rather average brightness and the mediocre dimming function. However, it can display the HDR colors quite well.
If you are looking for a 32-inch monitor for gaming with a PS5 or Xbox Series X , you will not go wrong with the Gigabyte Aorus FI32U.
Gigabyte Aorus FV43U: 43-inch giant with good HDR display
Gigabyte Aorus FV43U Image: © Gigabyte 2021
If you like it bigger than the usual 32-inch monitor, the Gigabyte Aorus FV43U has a 43-inch screen. So it is as big as a small television – perhaps too big for some people to use on a desk. The monitor offers two HDMI 2.1 ports with a transfer rate of only 24 GBit / s. Nevertheless, gaming with PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X is possible in 4K resolution and with HDR at up to 120 frames per second. PC gamers are happy about FreeSync Premium Pro, unofficially, according to the PCGH test , the monitor is also compatible with G-Sync.
Buy now from Gigabyte Aorus FV43U
According to the Kitguru test, the screen convinces with an excellent contrast, an enormous brightness of over 800 nits for SDR content and an even higher level for HDR content, very good color fidelity ex works and even decent integrated speakers. The DisplayHDR 1000 certification promises good HDR performance. The colors and brightness are right, but according to the test by Rtings , the full array local dimming works with only 8 zones. That makes the HDR display more impressive than with the other monitors on our list except for the AOC Agon AG274QXM with mini-LED technology – but an average mid-range TV still does better.
In addition to the HDMI 2.1 ports, DisplayPort 1.4 and an audio input and output are offered. A USB-C port joins two USB-A 3.0 ports. You can connect a laptop or tablet to it and use your mouse and keyboard with them. The monitor can be tilted, but due to its size there is no possibility of adjusting it in height or rotating it.
Gigabyte Aorus FO48U: Huge OLED monitor
Gigabyte Aorus FO48U Image: © Gigabyte 2021
The OLED technology offers self-luminous pixels, enormous contrasts and an extremely fast response time. The Gigabyte Aorus FO48U with two HDMI 2.1 ports (24 Gbit / s each) uses the technology known from televisions in a gaming monitor. The catch: the screen is huge at 48 inches , probably too big for many to use as a computer monitor. When using a PC, there is also a higher probability that OLED screens will burn in after a few years, i.e. that static content such as HUD ads from games will continue to shine ghostly on the display and can no longer be removed.
Another OLED weakness for desktop use is the low brightness of large white areas – according to the Techspot test, the Gigabyte is only 127 nits. And white areas are not uncommon when looking at documents and websites. Even a 10 percent large window can only shine brightly up to 555 nits with HDR content – OLED TVs such as the LG C1 can do that better, which is up to 775 nits bright.
Those who can come to terms with all of this receive the finest picture quality . The monitor offers two HDMI 2.1 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4, one USB-C and two USB 3.0 ports. FreeSync Premium is used in addition to VRR for smooth gaming. You can also use the Xbox Series X and PS5 to exhaust the 120 Hertz of the monitor when gaming in 4K resolution. According to the Techspot test, the monitor covers 97 percent of the DCI-P3 color space for HDR content and the colors are better matched ex works than on the LG C1.
Unfortunately, the Gigabyte cannot be used well for watching films , it neither supports Dolby Vision nor playback at 24 frames per second, which is the norm for films and series. Overall, 48-inch OLED TVs are worth considering alternatives to the Gigabyte Aorus FA48U, as long as it does not have to be a DisplayPort connection. A price comparison is also an option. We recommend the LG OLED 48C and the upcoming Philips JZ 980, both of which have HDMI 2.1 ports and decent gaming features for the next-gen consoles.
LG OLED 48C Buy now at
Other monitors with HDMI 2.1
- Acer Nitro XR383 CURP : 37.5-inch ultrawide monitor with a resolution of 3,840 x 1,600 pixels, DisplayHDR 600 and two HDMI 2.1 ports. Unfortunately, there are no tests yet and the monitor is listed for a rather expensive 1,500 euros.
- Samsung Odyssey G7A : Basically a good monitor, but according to the Rtings test, it can only be operated at up to 60 Hertz with the PS5. So he doesn't meet the criteria for our list. With PC and Xbox Series X, 4K gaming is possible with up to 120 frames per second.
- ASUS TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A : A good alternative to the Gigabyte M28U, but according to testers like Hardwareluxx it has a mediocre color match from the factory. In addition, it costs more money and is currently not available.
- Acer Predator XB323QKNV : Could be a good alternative to the Gigabyte M32U, but costs a lot more money and there are no tests yet.
- AOC AG324UX : Good alternative to the Gigabyte M32U, more on this in the TFTCentral test. However, the monitor is likely to cost a lot more money and is not yet available.
- ViewSonic Elite XG320U : Could be a good alternative to the Gigabyte M32U, for more information see the IGN test . However, the price is significantly higher.