When you spend a lot of time online—whether working, gaming, watching videos, or just surfing the web—it helps to have a monitor to make the experience more comfortable and immersive. Depending on your intended use, you’ll want to assess features like resolution, screen size, speed, and color quality. Inventory of many monitors is low because so many people are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we still found the best options available for a variety of uses and budgets. While some are dedicated to productivity and others to gaming, quite a few are well suited to both, so they can pull double-duty in your home office.
Monitor Features to Consider
Before you buy a monitor, you should check all of its specifications to ensure it includes the features you want. If you can’t afford a 4K screen, you should aim for a wide 16:9 aspect ratio and Full HD display. Most of the best monitors are LCD with LED backlighting; however, OLED tech is finally coming—along with its self-illuminating pixels (no need for a backlight) and better contrast—to monitors as well. If you need color accuracy for work like photo editing, check for features like High Dynamic Range (HDR), a high contrast ratio, and In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels, which all help improve visuals.
If you’re a gamer, you’ll require a graphics card designed for faster action, such as AMD’s FreeSync or Nvidia’s G-Sync, which smooths the video and reduces latency. Ideally, the response time for gaming monitors will be about five milliseconds or less. Refresh rates of 60Hz are the most common, but the most premium gaming monitors may go up to 200. Whether you’re shopping for gaming or work or both, also make sure that the monitor has ports and cables that are compatible with your laptop and other accessories, or you’ll have to purchase adapters as well.
How We Selected
To choose these seven monitors, we surveyed the market and took into account user and professional reviews from trusted publications such as Wirecutter, CNET, and PC Mag. We evaluated each option based on value, performance, design, and connectivity to ensure a variety of options that will fit a majority of consumers’ intended uses and preferences.
Dell UltraSharp U2717D 27-Inch LED Monitor
This Dell UltraSharp monitor delivers a great balance of size, price, and performance. Its large 27-inch screen might even rival the monitor in your office, while the sleek stand won’t take over too much desk space. With a 16:9 aspect ratio, 2560 x 1440 resolution, and 60Hz refresh rate, the display offers great performance at a reasonable price for its size and capability. Plus, it’s hard to beat its adjustable stand, thin bezels, variety of ports, and three-year limited warranty.CURVEDSamsung CHG70 32-Inch QLED Curved Monitor
Curved monitors provide more immersive viewing of videos and games, and Samsung’s CHG70 monitor is a great value. Its features—like Quantum Dot (QLED), HDR, and FreeSync 2 technology—improve its color accuracy and contrast. With a refresh rate of 144Hz, it’s smoother than many other gaming monitors. Yet its large 32-inch design is still simple and sleek.
FOR WORK AND PLAYLG UltraGear 27-Inch IPS LED Monitor
Another gaming monitor with a design that won’t stand out in your home office, the LG UltraGear has serious color accuracy and sharp contrast with a 1,000:1 contrast ratio. Its features designed for gameplay—like a fast 144Hz refresh rate and one-millisecond response time—will also allow for smooth transitions between creative work like video editing or just watching movies and gaming. It also has two HDMI and DisplayPort inputs. If you work from home all day and play games at night, LG’s monitor will be easier on the eyes with its anti-glare screen, a wide range of viewing angles, and brightness. ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
PORTABLEAsus ZenScreen MB16AC 15.6-Inch Portable Monitor
Portable monitors like this Asus will free you from having to work at your desk. You may not be able to head to the local library or coffee shop now, but you can bring it to the couch for some extra screen space. The ZenScreen is one of the most popular portable options, since it weighs just under two pounds with a 15.6-inch display. It’s also slim enough to fit in your backpack along with a laptop, and includes a cover/stand and smart pen holder. With USB-C and Type A ports, it’s compatible with pretty much any laptop. Unlike traditional desktop monitors, it can switch between landscape and portrait mode. While its stand inhibits your ability to raise the monitor up to eye-level, it does reduce flickering and blue light to cut down on eye strain.FOR BUSINESSHP Business Z27 27-Inch LED Monitor
If you run your own business and/or work from home all the time, not just during stay-at-home orders, this HP monitor is a worthy investment. Wirecutter named it the best 4K monitor for most people thanks to its superior color accuracy, thin bezels, and adjustability. While it’s a bit pricier than many other productivity-focused monitors, professionals who need something for photography, video editing, and other design work won’t be disappointed. Its static contrast ratio is a decent 1,300:1, its brightness is a stunning 350 cd/m², and the 4K IPS display has an LED backlight for improved color range and contrast. In addition to the standard HDMI and display port, it also includes three USB 3.0 ports, one USB type C, and an audio-out port.