With new technology like OLED Flex, QD-OLED, and built-in smart platforms only in the last year alone, computer monitors continue to advance quickly. On top of that, there have been significant advancements in areas like color accuracy, image quality, size, and resolution. As a result, you have a wide range of options when choosing the finest monitor for you.
However, this might be challenging because you’ll need to sort through many devices with various feature sets. Currently, factors including HDR, brightness, color accuracy, kind of display technology, input lag, and more must be taken into account by buyers when purchasing computer monitors. Then there are the customary factors, such as size, adaptability, inputs, and so forth. We’ve looked into the newest models for all kinds of marketplaces to assist you with all of that, whether you’re a business user, content creator, multitasker, or gamer. Find out which computer monitor is perfect for you, especially considering your budget, by reading our buying guide below.
The starting point
The most affordable displays are still TN (twisted nematic), which are only suitable for usage in the workplace or by gamers. In addition to being reasonably priced, VA (vertical alignment) monitors have good brightness and a high contrast ratio. However, IPS (in-plane switching) LCD screens offer higher color accuracy, picture quality, and viewing angles, according to content creators.
A quantum dot LCD display is the way to go if maximum brightness is needed; these are often seen in larger displays. The greatest blacks and color reproduction can currently be found in OLED monitors, although they don’t have the same brightness as LED or quantum dot displays. Plus, they are expensive. Samsung’s QD-OLED, the newest variety of OLED monitor, was just released in 2022.
The biggest benefit is that it can get much brighter, with displays displayed at CES 2022 reaching peak brightnesses of up to 1,000 nits. High-end screens now frequently use miniLEDs. They are akin to quantum dot technology, but as the name implies, they make use of LEDs with a diameter of only 0.2 mm. As a result, producers may fit up to three times as many LEDs into a given space with more local dimming zones, producing darker blacks and sharper contrast.
Dimensions, resolution, and format of the display
These days, screen size is king. Currently, 27-, 32-, 34-, and even 42-inch monitors are used for entertainment, content creation, and even gaming, but 24-inch panels were formerly more or less normal (and can still be suitable for basic computing).
Previously, almost all monitors were 16:9, although 16:10 and other less common display geometries are now available. Curved and ultrawide monitors with aspect ratios like 21:9 are also becoming more common in the gaming and entertainment sectors. However, if you do choose to get an ultrawide display, be aware that a 30-inch 21:9 model is the same height as a 24-inch monitor, so you might have a smaller display than you had anticipated.
As a general rule, to acquire the vertical height you would anticipate from a model with a 16:9 aspect ratio, add 25% to the size of a 21:9 display.
For those who make material, a 4K display is practically a requirement; some people even go for 5K or even 8K. But bear in mind that a rather powerful computer will be required to drive all those pixels. In addition, a screen size of at least 27 inches is required for 4K resolution; otherwise, the difference between it and 1440p won’t be very noticeable. However, I wouldn’t purchase a device larger than 27 inches unless it was 4K because if you’re working closely to the screen, you’ll start to see pixelation.
Portable displays created to be carried and utilized with laptops are one new category to take into account. These normally range in size from 13 to 15 inches and have 1080p HD. Typically, they incorporate a foldable, lightweight kickstand support to keep things small.
Nowadays, HDR is the hottest monitor feature to have because it adds vibrancy to entertainment and gaming, but you should exercise caution before using it. Some displays that advertise HDR in their marketing materials don’t even adhere to the minimum requirements. You should choose a display with a DisplayHDR rating, where each tier represents maximum brightness in nits, to ensure that it at least complies with minimal HDR specifications.
The lowest DisplayHDR 400 and 500 levels, on the other hand, can let you down because of their poor color fidelity, washed-out blacks, and lack of brightness. The ideal monitor to choose, if you can afford it, is one with DisplayHDR 600, 1000, or True Black 400, 500, or 600. Maximum black levels in the True Black settings, which are intended particularly for OLED models, are.0005 nits.
Except for a few (extremely costly) models, the majority of PC displays only support the HDR10 standard, unlike televisions, which often support HDR10, Dolby Vision, or HDR10+. While HDR streaming on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other services won’t seem nearly as vibrant, it doesn’t really matter for content creation or gaming. With a few exceptions, the majority of devices supporting HDR600 (and higher) are gaming monitors rather than content creation monitors.
Particularly on gaming monitors, refresh rate is an important characteristic. Nowadays, 60Hz is the absolute least, and refresh rates of 80Hz and greater are much better on the eyes. The HDMI 2.0 protocol only supports 4K at 60Hz and most 4K displays can only run at 60Hz, so you’d need DisplayPort 1.4 (4K @ 120Hz) or HDMI 2.1 at the very least. The latter is currently offered on a variety of monitors, especially gaming screens. However, it is only compatible with the most recent AMD RX 6000-series and NVIDIA RTX 3000-series GPUs.
Color bit depth
A more expensive 10-bit monitor with billions of color options should be taken into consideration by serious content producers. If money is tight, consider an 8-bit panel (sometimes specified as “8-bit + FRC”) that uses dithering to simulate billions of colors. A standard 8-bit monitor with millions of colors can do just fine for entertainment or professional use.
The gamut is another feature of color. That describes the color gamut rather than merely the total number of colors that can be reproduced. The sRGB and Rec.709 gamuts, which were created for photographs and video, respectively, can be covered by the majority of high-quality displays today. However, for more difficult work, you’ll need one that can accurately replicate contemporary gamuts like AdobeRGB, DCI-P3, and Rec.2020 gamuts, which cover a larger spectrum of colors. The latter two are frequently utilized for HDR and cinema projection, respectively.
Modern display inputs mostly come in Thunderbolt, DisplayPort, and HDMI varieties. The majority of monitors made for PCs use the latter two, but a small number (mostly made for Macs) use Thunderbolt. To further complicate matters, depending on your display, you could require a USB-C to Thunderbolt 3 or DisplayPort cable adapter because USB-C ports may be compatible with Thunderbolt 3 and, consequently, DisplayPort.
Best monitors under $200
LG’s 24-inch 24GL600F if you don’t mind a smaller display and prefer to play video games. It has a fast frame rate of 144Hz, AMD FreeSync support, a 1ms response time, and less input lag. Additionally, HDMI and DisplayPort inputs are available, although unlike the T35F, there is no height adjustment.
Another excellent choice is Samsung 27-inch 1080p T35F. It is the best affordable monitor with a good balance of size, refresh rate, and color fidelity. The IPS panel and 75Hz refresh rate make it suitable for work, light gaming, and content creation. In addition, it has a clean, contemporary style. Of course, at that price you don’t get everything; for example, it just tilts and has an HDMI 1.4 connection.
Best monitors under $500
The M28U 28-inch 144Hz 4K gaming display from Gigabyte does a lot. It features a 94 percent DCI-P3 coverage IPS panel with a reaction time of 2ms (MPRT), DisplayHDR 400 certification, two HDMI 2.1 connectors, and support for FreeSync Premium Pro. Although it costs a little bit more than $500, we frequently see it on sale for less.
A superb 4K display for entertainment, creative tasks, and gaming is the 32-inch LG 32UN650-W. The 31.5-inch, 60Hz IPS panel supports AMD FreeSync for gaming and offers exceptional 95 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 spectrum with 10-bit color. Although it only has a maximum brightness of 350 nits, it also supports HDR. It offers tilt and height adjustments, DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 connectors, and even built-in speakers.
Best monitors under $1,000
The wired Ethernet connectivity and USB-C ports that provide up to 90W of power delivery for laptops make the Dell P3223QE 4K USB-C Hub monitor productivity-oriented. With a 178-degree viewing angle, 350 nits of brightness, and support for a billion colors (8-bit + FRC), it is a 4K IPS panel. It features DisplayPort/HDMI ports, a VESA mounting interface, height, pivot, swivel, and tilt adjustments.
ViewSonic ColorPro VP2786-4K
Brightness, resolution, and color accuracy are all available in this price range, but not all three. The $1,000 ColorPro VP2786 27-inch 4K HDR Monitor from ViewSonic has the best balance. The stringent Fogra print industry has approved the real 10-bit IPS panel for soft-proofing, which covers 98 percent of the DCI-P3 color space with an exceptional Delta 2 accuracy figure. It also provides HDR10 capability, but with a low output of 350 nits. Even a “ColorPro” wheel control for Adobe or Capture One programs is part of it.