The 10 Best Monitors

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This wiki has been updated 39 times since it was first published in May of 2015. Whether you’re working in design, crunching spreadsheets, or simply gaming during your free time, without a quality monitor, your experience will leave a lot to be desired. If you value a crystal clear picture, high refresh rates, accurate colors, or all of the above, you should be able to find something to satisfy your needs in one of these models, no matter your budget. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Dell UltraSharp U2720Q

2. LG UL500

3. BenQ EW3280U

Editor's Notes

July 30, 2020:

It can be tough to wade through the huge amount of monitors available today, but some definitely stand above others, depending on what you're using them for. Overall, the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q is one of the best-looking new models overall, and in fact it delivers visual quality that's consistently at the front of the pack. From Dell's performance division comes the Alienware 3420DW, which is one of the top ultrawide monitors on the market.

If you're looking for a ton of real estate in the standard 16:9 aspect ratio, the Asus ROG Strix XG438Q is worth a look, as it's quite large and can take advantage of the most advanced PC hardware on the market. Overall, the BenQ EW3280U is a good premium choice with few drawbacks, and the Philips 325E1C is a comparable mid-range option with only the minor limitation of a 75-hertz maximum refresh rate. The LG UL500 and LG QN600 also provide quite a bit of value for the cost, which is little surprise given that they come from one of the premier panel manufacturers on the planet.'

Speaking of premier, the Asus PA32UC offers more high-end technology than just about anything else out there, and with 384 local dimming zones, it's one of the few PC monitors that can actually compete with high-end TVs when it comes to HDR performance.

Quite different from the rest, though, if all you need is something that works, looks decent, and doesn't cost much, the Samsung R350 should probably be your first choice..

May 06, 2019:

There are tons of monitors to choose from these days, but some of the newest ones are clearly superior in terms of color reproduction, image sharpness, response time, and reliability. You'll notice a couple options highlighted from Dell; their HD model is both very attractive and very well-priced, and if you don't need to surpass HD resolution, it's almost certainly the right choice. On the other hand, their 27-inch 1440p model is an excellent marriage of function and affordability. If you want your games to pop and can afford the huge cost, Asus' top-of-the-line monitor is the one for you. Philips' Momentum is another good choice for gamers, and although it also costs quite a bit, it's the largest and one of the brightest PC monitors out there.

The Asus Designo as well as Samsung's QLED option are both highly immersive curved options; the Samsung offers jaw-dropping color, while the Asus has a few more advanced features as well as more viewing area. HP's Z27 is a fantastic choice for everything but gaming, as it's prone to above-average levels of motion blur. One interesting thing about the Z27 is HP's 3-year warranty on dead pixels; dead spots are a recurring issue in some panels, and that kind of reassurance is exceptional to have. If you're looking for the all-around nicest display, the LG UltraFine may be it, however it is pretty highly priced. If you want to spend half of what you would on that groundbreaking 5K display, check out the LG series that got the top spot. The two newest additions to that line are incredibly attractive displays; one has a mid-range price, and the other is surprisingly affordable for such a great monitor.

Special Honors

Apple Pro Display XDR There are very few that even come close to this high-end option, in both specifications and cost. If you can afford the investment, though, you can be certain that you'll have a premium and nearly perfect-looking display for years to come.

Samsung Odyssey G9 A large price tag isn't the only issue with this super-ultra-wide piece of kit; its footprint is big enough that it will hardly even fit in some rooms. Wherever there's space for and proper hardware to drive it, though, it will provide the equivalent of dual 1440p monitors sewn together seamlessly.

4. Philips 325E1C

5. LG QN600

6. Alienware 3420DW

7. Asus Tuf Series

8. Asus PA32UC

9. Asus ROG Strix XG438Q

10. Samsung R350

A Major Decision: Choosing The Right Monitor

At a resolution of 1920 by 1080, also known as 1080p or Full HD, individual pixels become jagged pretty quickly as size increases.

In recent years, computer monitors have undergone a series of rapid improvements. Gone are the days of massive vacuum tube monitors that weighed dozens of pounds and offered limited image clarity. Today's monitors boast sharp detail, amazing color fidelity, and are much slimmer and lighter weight than older models. Monitors have also become relatively affordable these days.

You can get a decent computer monitor measuring just under two feet in size (remember that screens are measured diagonally) without spending too much, but as sizes, resolutions, and the amount of advanced features increase, so, too, will the cost. Displays on the cutting edge can easily cost as much as your computer itself, or more.

When considering the right monitor for an office, gaming setup, or any other use, first think of the ideal size. You should never buy a monitor that is too large for the space it will occupy, whether this means a unit that will over crowd a desk or that will be too large for your easy viewing based on where you sit. Monitors between twenty four and thirty inches are the standard choice for most people.

Resolution, of course, is of prime importance when considering a display, and it's closely related to that size. At a resolution of 1920 by 1080, also known as 1080p or Full HD, individual pixels become jagged pretty quickly as size increases. Generally speaking, a 27-inch, 2560 by 1440p display at a desk's distance away from the face is just about at full fidelity, as is a 32-inch 4K; it's at roughly these distances where most viewers will be unable to pick out individual pixels.

A high refresh rate is another important factor that's becoming ever more prevalent in modern displays. Sixty hertz has long been the standard for PC monitors, but ever since the industry moved away from CRTs, even that 60 hertz can sometimes look choppy. Having a monitor capable of refreshing 100, 120, 144, or more times per second can improve the overall visual experience, sure, but it really makes a difference when viewing sports and cartons as well as when playing video games. Advanced gaming monitors often feature adaptive refresh, which comes in a few flavors that all do the same thing: they actively match a monitor's refresh rate to the frame rate of the game you're playing, which reduces motion blur, prevents screen tearing and stuttering, and often minimizes input lag.

Speaking of video games, pixel response time, or the time it takes each pixel to change color, is also important, as a low response time minimizes unwanted motion blur and prevents the phenomenon known as "ghosting," wherein some parts of images have a slight but often distracting after-image in the milliseconds after they should have disappeared.

Furthermore, if you plan on doing any meaningful photo and video editing, you'll want to focus on a monitor with a wide color gamut and high accuracy. There are also features like local dimming, which allows for hardware tonemapping when showing HDR content, and different panel types, which each have their strengths and drawbacks.

"Extras" Worth Your Consideration

If you use your monitor for nothing more than basic word processing, browsing the web, sending emails, and other simple tasks, than your primary concerns when looking for a computer monitors should indeed be nothing more than a good price, decent image clarity, and a reliability rating that means rare replacement.

Beyond the criteria covered above, the next thing to look for when considering a monitor is the amount and type of inputs it can accommodate.

For those people who use their computer for more specialized purposes, there are extra monitor features that are well worth consideration and might be worth their spending extra cash. Beyond the criteria covered above, the next thing to look for when considering a monitor is the amount and type of inputs it can accommodate. The more input types a monitor can handle, the more hardware you can connect; this can include computers linked via USB, Blu-ray players linked via HDMI, and gaming consoles, just to name a few items. Multiple inputs mean multiple devices can be connected at once and enjoyed when you wish without the need for juggling cords.

Most monitors don't feature built in speakers, but those that do can save you money on additional audio hardware or else can be a part of a great surround sound system, helping to fill the room with sound. Look for monitors with stereo speakers if listening is nearly as important as viewing to you.

And finally consider the range of viewing angle a given monitor offers. While not usually a concern for the mentor's primary user, a wide viewing angle can help many people enjoy the content on the screen at the same time. Look for monitors with that allow for clarity at more than 170 degrees of angle.

A Few Words On Ergonomics

Simply stated, the word ergonomics refers to the design and arrangement of the objects with which humans frequently interact. In practical terms, it means a conscientious approach to the development of furniture, furnishings, hardware, and even interior design that makes a workplace more productive, a home more comfortable, and generally makes life more efficient, safer, and more pleasurable.

Simply stated, the word ergonomics refers to the design and arrangement of the objects with which humans frequently interact.

The study of ergonomics began in earnest in the years following World War II, though the concepts underpinning the field date back centuries earlier. With the foundation of The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors in the mid 1940s and a subsequent body of publications and studies conducted by this group and others, researchers and designers around the globe began to take an interest in this new and unique field of study.

In the daily life of anyone who routinely sits at a desk and uses a computer, there are some components that contribute more ergonomics than others. These are the design, shape, and height of the person's office chair (assuming he or she has not opted for a standing desk), the type of computer keyboard and mouse, which can have a direct impact on issues like carpal tunnel syndrome, and the placement of the person's computer monitor.

This last factor alone can have a radical impact on both acute and chronic comfort. Monitor placement can have an effect on everything from neck and shoulder comfort to lower back pain reduction (or exacerbation) and can impact eyestrain, fatigue, headaches, and more. A monitor should be set up at approximately arm's length away from a person's eyes, and with the user's eyes level with the top of the screen when he or she is sitting upright. This allows for a comfortable, natural slight downward gaze. A slight tilt upward can make reading the entire surface of the monitor more comfortable, and a reduction in the brightness of the monitor (and the lighting conditions of the entire room) can allow for more relaxed reading and viewing.

Christopher Thomas
Last updated by Christopher Thomas

Building PCs, remodeling, and cooking since he was young, quasi-renowned trumpeter Christopher Thomas traveled the USA performing at and organizing shows from an early age. His work experiences led him to open a catering company, eventually becoming a sous chef in several fine LA restaurants. He enjoys all sorts of barely necessary gadgets, specialty computing, cutting-edge video games, and modern social policy. He has given talks on debunking pseudoscience, the Dunning-Kruger effect, culinary technique, and traveling. After two decades of product and market research, Chris has a keen sense of what people want to know and how to explain it clearly. He delights in parsing complex subjects for anyone who will listen -- because teaching is the best way to ensure that you understand things yourself.

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