For those times when you work at a desk, whether it’s on a desktop or a laptop, a high-quality monitor makes all of the difference. After all, this is the one device that you’ll actually be staring at for hours on end. Making the right choice can be difficult, with the market flooded with ultra-cheap monitors at one end, and super-expensive models at the other end. Fortunately, we’re here to help with our complete guide to monitors. We’ve listed our Best Buy models at the bottom of this article, but we’re starting off with our in-depth buying guide to help you choose which features are important to you.
General Purpose monitors for under £150
These monitors aren’t outstanding but, for the price, they can deliver excellent performance for all your basic office and multimedia tasks
1. ViewSonic VX2363mhl-W
At its current price of £100, the ViewSonic VX2363mhl-W is an extremely attractive bargain. With a 1,920×1,080 IPS panel, image quality is pleasing and there’s plenty of space on the screen for multiple windows side-by-side. The white plastic design won’t be for everyone, but if you can stomach it, it’s superb value and one of the best screens for this price. The only downside? There’s no DVI port, which may upset some people with multi-monitor setups.
Price when last updated: £100. For the latest prices
2. Iiyama ProLite XU2390HS-B1
This 23in Full HD monitor uses an IPS panel and consequently very good performance for the price. It has a decent selection of inputs formultiple devices including DVI, HDMI and VGA connectors. It doesn’t have an adjustable stand and can be a little bit wobbly, but it’s a decent piece of no-frills design.
Perhaps its most attractive selling point is its very small bezels, which make it suitable for multiple monitor setups with minimal wasted space between screens. For under £130, it’s a decent buy.
Price when last updated: £128. For the latest prices
QHD,4K and Ultrawide monitors from £220
These screens offer astounding image quality and plenty of pixels so your high-resolution photos and videos look great. What’s more, with so much screen real estate, there’s loads of room to put more programs side-by-side or see more in your games if you have the graphics card to handle it. WQHD generally means 2,560×1,440 pixels, while 4K monitors get you 3,840×2,160. Ultrawide screens vary: usually either 2,560×1,080 or 3,840×1,440.
1. AOC Q2778VQE
This 27in QHD monitor is the cheapest we’ve ever reviewed. It may only use TNtechnology for its panel and it’s certainly not the prettiest, but if your main priority is more onscreen real estate then there’s no competition. Despite its TN panel, the AOC has decent vertical viewing angles, which is often a problem on other TN monitors.
We were also pleased to see decent colour coverage of 98.9% and while overall accuracy was better than we expected. A peak brightness level of 322 cd/m2 and black levels of 0.33cd/m2 were also very good for the money. Our main concern here is a slightly high input lag figure, which we measured at 38ms. This is too high for twitchy gamers but is fine for most other uses. If you want a high-performance 2,560×1,440 pixel monitor, the rather more expensive Acer Predator XB270HU below is a better bet.
Price when reviewed: £220.
Screen size: 27in, Resolution: 2,560×1,440, Screen technology: TN, Refresh rate: 60Hz
2. BenQ GW2765HT
BenQ’s GW2765HT is a 27in WQHD panel using IPS technology. The price of the screen is impressively low, especially when you consider the adjustable stand. It’s astoundingly bright and has excellent contrast levels of 1,064:1. There’s plenty of options to adjust in the onscreen menus to get the screen set up how you want it, too.
Our only two complaints are the slightly cheap-looking stand and the fact that blacks appear a little lighter than we’d like. If you’re looking for a cheap WQHD screen, though, this is a great choice.
Price when last updated: £289.
Screen size: 27in, Resolution: 2,560×1,440, Screen technology: IPS, Video inputs:VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort
3. Samsung S32D850T
The Samsung S32D850T achieves the impossible with a superb physical design, great stand and outstanding image quality, all for under £500. Oh, and it’s a 32in screen. Yes, it only has a WQHD resolution, but this is more than made up for by the quality of the VA panel that has superb colour coverage and high contrast levels. It’s a great general purpose screen for gaming, photo editing and general work. 32in is huge, though, so make sure you have enough space to sit slightly further away from it than you would with a smaller screen.
Price when last updated: £439.
Screen size: 32in, Resolution: 2,560×1,440, Screen technology: VA, Video inputs: HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort
4. Asus PB279Q
The PB279Q is easily the best 4K monitor we’ve reviewed for under £1,000. It uses a 27in AHVA panel that shares some characteristics with VA and IPS screens. The result is a supremely accurate monitor serving up stunning Ultra HD images at a reasonable price. There’s a generous array of inputs, although it’s a shame there’s no USB hub. Still, it’s a gorgeous panel that’s well worth the cash.
Price when last updated: £598.
5. AOC U3477PQU
If ultra wide screens are more your bag, the AOC U3477PQU is the best we’ve tested so far. With a 3,840×1,440 resolution, there is loads of space on screen to fit windows side-by-side, and it’ll give your games cinema aspect ratio moves an extra degree of immersion. Image quality is stunning, and its design and build is excellent, too, and the USB3 hub is a very welcome added bonus. If you’re after a 4K ultra wide display, this is the one for you.
Price when last updated: £591.
6. Philips Brilliance BDM3490UC
Some see curved monitor as something of a gimmick, but we happen to think that a nice curve on a large, ultrawide monitor works very well. Enter the Philips Brilliance BDM3490UC, which has a subtle but effective 3800mm curvature radius. It focuses your eyes into the screen and makes the extreme edges of the monitor eeasier to find. This monitor comes loaded with connections including three HDMI ports, a DisplayPort connector and four USB3 ports. It also comes with a 7W speaker in the base. It’s not brilliant, but you could forego a set of desktop speakers and not feel like you’re missing something. It’s very expensive, sure, and you’ll find 34in, non-curved screens (such as the monitor above this one) for much less cash. But if style is your thing, it’s a great choice.
Price when reviewed: £670.
Gaming monitors from £200
Gaming screens typically have higher refresh rates and other useful features to get gamers to spend a bit more money than they otherwise would on a standard monitor.
1. Acer Predator XB270HU
The Predator XB270HU comes at a serious cost, but for that £680 asking price you get the most technically advanced gaming monitor we’ve ever seen. It comes with G-Sync, Nvidia’s adaptive sync technology, but that’s only a side show for the true star of the show: the panel.
Using IPS-like AHVA technology, this screen produces high contrast, vibrant images in a huge 2,560×1,440 resolution. Not only that, it refreshes at 144Hz, which is the first time we’ve ever seen a screen with such great colours also manage to refresh at a rate that hardcore gamers will actually want. Essentially, it’s the best of all worlds. Its only downfall is a G-Sync limitation: it only has one DisplayPort input and nothing else. Aside from that, if you have an Nvidia graphics card and a whole lot of money to spend on a monitor, this should be on your shortlist.
Price when reviewed: £680.
2. Acer Predator XB271HK
If the XB270HU doesn’t have quite enough pixels for you, Acer’s XB271HK is a massive 4K resolution at its disposal as well as Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, allowing you to pack even more detail into your games. The one thing it doesn’t have is a high refresh rate, instead sticking with the traditional 60Hz rather than 144Hz.
However, you’re not missing out on image quality, as the XB271HK’s stunning IPS panel was already covering the full sRGB colour gamut out of the box and only needed very mild tweaking to bring its colour temperature inline. It also has more ports than the XB270HU, as it has both HDMI and DisplayPort inputs as well as a USB3 hub. Add in an adjustable stand, and the XB271HK ticks all the right boxes for Ultra HD gaming.
Price when reviewed: £600.
3. Iiyama ProLite GB2488HSU-B1
Iiyama’s not-so-catchily-named gaming screen is about as no-frills as you can get. As a result, though, it’s very cheap and one of the cheapest 144Hz monitors you can buy at the moment. It’s a TN panel, which means image quality isn’t perfect, but for the price it’s very good indeed. The 144Hz refresh rate results in silky smooth gameplay and reduces screen tearing to almost nothing, and the Full HD resolution and 24in form factor means you can see plenty of detail, too. It’s not much to look at, but if you’re a gamer on a budget, it’s a great choice.
Price when last updated: £200.
4. Eizo Foris FS2434
Eizo’s monitor doesn’t have fancy high refresh rates, instead it packages an IPS panel with great image quality into a good-looking frame with tiny bezels. It has most of the things you’ll be looking for from a monitor, minus an adjustable stand. It has a USB hub, a remote control and some excellent Windows software to make fine adjustments to image quality to multiple monitors, if you plump up the cash to buy more than one.
Price when last updated: £239.
Professional monitors from £779
These monitors are hugely expensive, but they have the colour accuracy and versatility to match their sky-high prices.
1. BenQ PG2401PT
This BenQ monitor may not have the highest resolution, but thanks to near-perfect sRGB and Adobe sRGB coverage, a great build and a sub-£1,000 price, it’s a good buy if you need accurate colours. It’s easy to navigate and adjust and you also get a hood in the box to protect the screen from glare. In addition, thanks to built-in hardware calibration you can calibrate its colours using any compatible colorimeters.
Price when last updated: £779. For the latest prices
2. Samsung U32D970Q
This 4K, 32in monitor from Samsung is the ultimate designer’s monitor. It has some design quirks, but the one thing you can’t fault it for is its colour accuracy and versatility. Expect 100% sRGB and 99.7% Adobe RGB coverage out of the box, with plenty of hardware and software calibration to boot. It’s also very pretty to look at when it’s switched off, which is an added bonus.