Update: We’ve added an economic choice for business users that even packs a handful of unexpected surprises. Read on to number 7 to find out more about the subdued yet savvy Philips S-Line 243S7EHMB!
The rise of devices with built-in displays may have you thinking computer monitors are on their way out, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Even with laptops and all-in-one PCs becoming more prominent, there are still tasks that are best handled on a separate display.
When you buy your monitor apart from the rest of your computer, for instance, you can be sure that the screen tailors as specifically to your needs as the computer itself does. Those more concerned about budget than size and resolution may be drawn to the Asus MG248Q while devout gamers will feel right at home with a massive and ultra-wide AOC Agon AG352UCG.
Then again, if you’re pairing your monitor with a laptop and dragging it into work everyday, perhaps you prefer something a little more discreet such as Asus’ recently announced ZenScreen portable monitor. At any rate, you can rest easy knowing that we’ll help you find the best monitor for you, regardless of personal preference.
Below is a list of the top 10 monitors on the market, 100% curated by the editors of TechRadar:
Philips’s Brilliance BDM3490UC should be your top pick if you’re looking to watch movies or work from home. Its IPS display is bright and inviting, effectively replicating the experience of going to the cinema (just make sure you bring the popcorn and close the curtains). The 21:9 curved display can be a bit disorienting, sure, if you’re accustomed to standard flat screen displays. Still, this one takes the cake for gaming. Notably absent, though, are both G-Sync and FreeSync, so don’t forget to tick the vertical sync box in all your games. Plus, as long as you’re set on a 21:9 cinematic panel, the Brilliance is competitively priced as well.
Read the full review: Philips Brilliance BDM3490UC
The AOC Agon AG352UCG has a lot in common with the aforementioned Philips Brilliance monitor. For one, they both share the same 21:9 aspect ratio paired with a resolution of 3,440 x 1,440. The main advantage this monitor has is G-Sync, meaning if you’re sporting an Nvidia graphics card, you don’t have to worry about screen tearing inhibiting your games. The response time, too, is significantly better here, reducing latency exponentially to improve multiplayer games, like Battlefield 1. On the downside, the AOC Agon is excessively bulky, weighing in at 26 pounds (11.8kg) total. In that case, just be sure your desk can handle the weight.
Cinematic monitors are a great alternative to their 4K counterparts when it comes to gaming. In fact, you might say they’re even better due to their ultrawide 21:9 aspect ratio. The Acer Predator X34 certainly looks the part, featuring an eye-catching aluminum bezel and angular, crow’s foot-shape stand. It comes with a number of gaming mod cons in tow, including Nvidia’s G-Sync frame-smoothing tech, an immersion-boosting curved shape and fantastic color reproduction that brings games to life. Short of strapping on a virtual reality headset, the Predator X34 is about as immersive as gaming gets – save for the lackluster speakers and missing ports.
Read the full review: Acer Predator X34
If your PC can’t afford 1440p or 4K gaming, the Asus MG248Q is the next best thing. Despite exhibiting a mere 1080p twisted-nematic, or TN, panel rather than IPS, the Asus MG248Q makes up for any shortcomings with lightning fast response times and Adaptive Sync. The latter reduces screen tearing if you have an AMD graphics card, a clear demonstration that the MG248Q tailors to the budget gamer. On the other hand, even Nvidia fans can rejoice at the 144Hz refresh rate. But, without the right GPU equipped, you might be better off saving for the G-Sync equivalent Asus ROG Swift PG248Q.
Read the full review: Asus MG248Q
A 4K display that’s factory-calibrated for great color accuracy and image quality, the Samsung UD970 is ideal for digital designers, CAD/CAM engineers and videographers who aren’t put off by the high-price tag. The matte finish only adds to the appeal of the Samsung UD970 by giving it a smudge-reducing, glare-reducing face for the absolute best work environment possible. Samsung also includes Picture By Picture (PBP) support on the UD970, which makes for the ultimate multi-tasking scenario if you have multiple inputs connected to your display at the same time. Just make sure it’s worth the high cost of entry if you aren’t using it for 4K production.
Read the full review: Samsung UD970
You’ll normally shell out an arm and a leg for a 4K display, but that’s not the case with Acer’s S277HK. In terms of pricing, this bezel-less beauty hits the sweet spot. With a 1,000,000,000:1 contrast ratio, a color gamut of 1.07 billion and a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, the Acer S277HK is better seen than heard about. Unfortunately, because of the way Acer designed it, there’s no way to mount it onto a wall for everyone to appreciate, nor is the height adjustable. But, and this is a huge but, if you prioritize high pixel density, reasonable cost and “zero frame” over malleability, this is a monitor to shoot for.
Read the full review: Acer S277HK
If you care more about frame rate more than graphics or resolution, this one’s for you. Because of its mind-blowing 180Hz refresh rate capabilities, the Asus ROG Swift PG248Q takes the 60fps gold standard for gaming and triples it – provided you’re equipped with a rig that can handle the extra stress. While you’re unlikely to enjoy Forza Horizon 3 at 180fps on Ultra settings given its high demand, a higher refresh rate is more than welcome in fast-paced, competitive games that don’t necessarily depend on a wealth of resources. Plus, as one of the most affordable G-Sync displays on the market, it helps that you can rely on the monitor to prevent screen tearing, too.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Swift PG248Q
Not exactly glamorous or high-end when it comes to both specs and appearances, gamers and graphics professionals will wince at the Philips S-Line 243S7EHMB just before realizing it’s not for them. That’s because this monitor was crafted specifically with business users in mind. That’s right, this panel is designed to replace that old clunker of a screen you have set up in your office right now. And, with both VGA and HDMI connections intact, you can expect it to be compatible with virtually any PC – whether it’s brand-new or collecting dust. Plus, although it’s not enabled by default, Philips’ LowBlue mode makes this monitor pretty easy on the eyes too.
Read the full review: Philips S-Line 243S7EHMB
Though it won’t win any fashion shows any time soon, the Viewsonic VP2772 is the perfect match for beyond-HD gaming or high-end photo editing. With a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, it won’t dazzle as much as some of the more lavish 4K screens on our list, but what it lacks in pixels, it excels in color accuracy. Featuring a palette of 1.07 billion colors and gray scales, covering 99% of the Adobe RGB space, the Viewsonic VP2772 is both sharp and vibrant. On the downside, it’s not the best choice for those switching back and forth between Windows and Mac, no thanks to the distortion produced when used with macOS.
Read the full review: Viewsonic VP2772
With the UltraWide 34UC97, LG has added not only a curved design to its impressive lineup of cinematic monitors, but an Ultra HD resolution as well. A hulking goliath of a monitor, LG’s best UltraWide melds a commendable sense of fashion with the specs you need to effortlessly get through your day to day tasks. Though it takes some extra effort to assemble, LG makes it well worth your time with vivid color accuracy, radiant backlighting and contrast that keeps shades dark enough to tell them apart from everything else onscreen. It’s pricey, but with all its posh characteristics, we can’t complain.
Read the full review: LG UltraWide 34UC97
If you’re a CAD/CAM professional who occasionally dabbles in gaming, congratulations, this monitor was made for you. Featuring a 27-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 panel, the BL2710PT should be forgiven for looking a little “boring.” Sure, a 109 ppi may not seem like a lot when compared to the latest in 4K, or even 5K, offerings, but it’s also intended to be paired with powerful hardware that can render high quality 3D models in real-time. What’s more, this IPS screen boasts viewing angles of 178 degrees, a 100% coverage of the sRGB color space and a wealth of ports that make it the perfect pairing for any computer.
Read the full review: BenQ BL2710PT
- Find a monitor? Consider pairing it with a Surface Pro 4
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article