Best Computer Monitors for Work or Play

If you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, it pays to have one of the best computer monitors. The right monitor can shape your working or gaming experience, whether you’re using your computer for professional or general use. 

Choosing a new monitor can feel daunting: you need to consider monitor type, size, and resolution, and dive into specs like response time and refresh rate—all while keeping your budget in mind. With our options for working, gaming, and general browsing, the best computer monitor options ahead will make your desk setup better suited for your needs.

How We Selected the Best Computer Monitors

Methodology

Your monitor is the gateway to your PC and can have a major effect on how you interact with your computer. To find the right monitor for a wider audience, we chose the best computer monitor for most users in common categories, taking affordability and ease-of-use into account. We chose our categories based on common uses: on this list, we have monitors ideal for working, gaming, browsing, and editing—including some that work for all of the above. 

To narrow down our selection, we researched product specifications and reviews from trusted sources, while also checking consumer reviews to see how these monitors hold up to their claims in day-to-day life. We rated monitors based on their design, performance features, and value for the average consumer, all to find the best computer monitor options across a range of types, sizes, and prices.

Best Computer Monitors: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Computer Monitor Overall: Philips Brilliance 279P1

Convenient Features for Everyday Use. Philips Computer Monitors

Why It Made The Cut: With a variety of useful ports, a bevy of ergonomic features, and crisp 4K resolution, this monitor is a pleasure to use every day. 

Specs:
-Screen size: 27 inches
-Resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160)
-Refresh rate: 60 Hz

Pros:
-Versatile ports and USB hub
-Several ergonomic features to reduce body and eye discomfort
-Beautiful 4K resolution

Cons:
-Most ports are downward-facing, which can be a hassle to access

Made to master everyday tasks, the Philips Brilliance 279P1 is the best computer monitor that’s still ideal for daily use. It’s jam-packed with convenient features and displays stunning graphics. This 27-inch monitor features crisp and clear 4K resolution and an IPS panel, which means it has great image quality (IPS panels are known for having excellent color and wide viewing angles compared to other types of display panels).

A wide array of ports make this monitor ideal for both leisure and productivity. It includes a DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 input and USB 3.2 hub (with 4 ports), audio in/out, and gigabit ethernet ports. The USB-C docking port charges up to 65 watts so you can plug in a laptop or phone and charge it directly from the monitor. With built-in 3-watt stereo speakers, it’s also a convenient choice for watching videos and movies. 

For working or browsing all day, this monitor also has several comfort features. An adjustable base allows for height, tilt, rotation and pivot adjustments, while the Low Blue and EasyRead modes make the flicker-free screen easier on the eyes. Plus, with a 60 Hz refresh rate, this monitor performs perfectly for everyday tasks and is even suitable for casual gaming.

Best Gaming Computer Monitor: ASUS VG279QM

Quick Refresh Rate. ASUS

Why It Made The Cut: An impressively fast refresh rate, low response time, and HDR visuals make this monitor a top choice for serious gamers.

Specs:
-Screen size: 27 inches
-Resolution: 1080P (1920 x 1080 pixels)
-Refresh rate: 280 Hz

Pros:
-High refresh rate
-Fast response time (one millisecond)
-Excellent ergonomics

Cons: 
-Limited ports
-1080P resolution is not particularly impressive

At a minimum, most gamers want the best gaming monitor with a high refresh rate (of at least 75 Hz—but the higher, the better) and a low response time of five milliseconds or less. Designed for professional gamers, the ASUS VG279QM blows both of these specs out of the water. 

This monitor has a 280 Hz overclocked refresh rate and a one-millisecond response time, which means gamers won’t need to worry about choppy or lagging images during game play. The monitor features ASUS Extreme Low Motion Blur Sync (ELMB SYNC) technology and is also G-SYNC compatible for ultra-sharp gaming visuals. It has limited ports compared to some options, but includes a DisplayPort1.2 and two HDMI 2.0 ports.

With a 27-inch screen, this monitor is a suitable size for most desktops, while also being large enough for decently immersive game play. The High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology delivers excellent visuals and color performance, with a wide color range to bring out visual details. To make this monitor more convenient and comfortable to use, it features a flicker-free screen with four blue light filter settings. You can adjust the monitor’s height and tilt, as well as swivel and pivot the screen to accommodate your needs.

Best Curved Computer Monitor: Dell S3221QS

Immersive Viewing. Dell

Why It Made The Cut: Rich 4K visuals, a large 32-inch screen, and an appealing design makes this curved monitor an excellent reasonably-priced choice for most desks. 

Specs:
-Screen size: 32 inches
-Resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160)
-Refresh rate: 60 Hz

Pros:
-Attractive design that doesn’t overwhelm your space
-4K resolution
-Large screen for a reasonable price

Cons: 
-Limited ergonomic adjustments
-Lacks USB-C port
-Refresh rate is low for serious gamers

With sides that fill up more of your peripheral vision, having the best curved monitor provides a larger, more immersive screen for work or play. With a 4K resolution screen, the Dell S3221QS offers an enveloping and crisp viewing experience.

The screen features an 1800R curve (which means a 1800mm radius, from the edges of the curved screen to the center of an imaginary circle). This rather pronounced curve might take some getting used to, but provides more of a wrap-around viewing experience. A good curved monitor should have a wide screen measuring at least 30 inches. This monitor excels on both counts, with a 32-inch screen size and a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. 

With a flicker-free screen and a blue-light reducing ComfortView feature, this monitor is also easier on the eyes. For more relaxed viewing, you can adjust the height and tilt of the display. This Dell 32 Curved Gaming Monitor also features a three-sided ultra-thin bezel design that makes it look sleek and attractive on your desk. 

To keep its thin design, all of this monitor’s ports are on the bottom of the display. These ports include two HDMI 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort, a USB 3.0 upstream port, a USB 3.0 downstream port, and a USB 3.0 downstream with BC 1.2 charging. 

Best Ultrawide Monitor: BenQ EX3501R

Ergonomic and Comfortable. BenQ

Why It Made The Cut: This large ultrawide, curved monitor delivers fast gameplay as well as an immersive experience.

Specs:
-Screen size: 35 inches
-Resolution: 3440 x 1440
-Refresh rate: 100 Hz

Pros:
-Large 35-inch screen with a 21:9 aspect ratio
-100 Hz refresh rate is high enough for most gamers
-1800R curvature

Cons:
-Ports can be hard to reach
-Lacks swivel adjustment

For those who do almost everything at their desks, the best ultrawide monitor can be the secret sauce to your productivity, as well as just a great screen for gaming and watching movies. Whether you want to view documents side-by-side or have a gaming marathon, the BenQ EX3501R is a suitable screen for a range of common uses. It features an ultrawide 35-inch curved screen with an 1800R curvature and 3440 x 1440 resolution. The extra wide screen has a panoramic 21:9 aspect ratio to offer an even more immersive experience. 

The BenQ EX3501R is designed for gaming, so it has several speed and comfort features on top of its impressive size. The 100 Hz refresh rate and AMD Free Sync feature is suitable for most gamers, while the screen and HDR mode feature offers decent brightness and contrast levels for vivid gameplay. This monitor also has a zero-flicker screen and a brightness sensing feature, which adapts screen brightness and color temperature to the lighting in the room. 

A height- and tilt-adjustable stand makes it easy to adjust the monitor to your needs. This monitor has a modest range of ports, which includes two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort, two USB 3.0 ports, and a USB-C port. 

Best Portable Computer Monitor: Lenovo ThinkVision M14 

Lightweight With an Adjustable Base. Lenovo

Why It Made The Cut: This compact and lightweight portable monitor weighs in at only 1.26 pounds but is jam-packed with some impressive features for its slim size. 

Specs:
-Screen size: 14 inches
-Resolution: FHD (1920 x 1080)
-Refresh rate: 60 Hz

Pros:
-Slim, compact, and very lightweight
-5 to 90-degree tilt angle
-Full HD resolution

Cons: 
-Only has USB-C ports

The best portable monitors are a smart choice for many users. They tend to be more affordable and are useful for those who travel, work from different locations, or just want a monitor that’s easy to transport or tuck away. The Lenovo ThinkVision M14 is a top pick for workers on-the-go. This compact monitor has a 14-inch screen and weighs only 1.26 pounds, making it easy to carry. The monitor connects to your computer via one or two USB-C ports (a port is placed on each side of the screen to make it friendly to both right- and left-handed users). 

Despite this monitor’s slim 4.4 millimeter screen, it still packs in some excellent features. With a 60 Hz refresh rate and 6ms response time, it’s a pretty smooth option in a small package. This monitor also features Full HD resolution and IPS panel for excellent color and a crisp picture. The screen sits on top of an adjustable base, which allows you to tilt the monitor angle from -5 to 90 degrees. This wide angle range means you can adjust the screen to your liking, wherever you’re working. 

Things to Consider Before Buying  Computer Monitors 

The best computer monitor for your workspace will depend on your intended use. Consider if your monitor is primarily for working, gaming, or general use—this will inform the types of specs you should look out for.  

General computer users often value affordability, an appealing design, and a high-contrast, clear image. New lower performance monitors are plenty good enough for general users and come at a more accessible price. For professional use, depending on your work needs, you may opt a larger monitor with high color accuracy or a flicker-free screen. Gamers often look for fast response times and quick refresh rates to prevent any lag during gameplay. Regardless of your intended use, some specs to pay attention to include screen size, resolution, refresh rate, response time, built-in ports, and any ergonomic features. 

Screen Size

A computer monitor’s screen size is measured diagonally. Common monitor sizes range from under 20 inches to over 30 inches. When choosing a screen size, consider your available desk space, your intended use, and any portability needs. 

A large screen is nice to work and play on, but keep in mind that generally, the larger the screen, the higher the price. Also take aspect ratio into account: most monitors nowadays have a widescreen aspect ratio (16:9 or 16:10). 

If you want a wider screen, you can consider ultrawide (21:9 ratio) or even a dual-screen monitor setup. For a more immersive experience, consider a curved screen. Curved monitors have a larger field of view and can cause less eye strain because of reduced glare and reflections. They’re best used by a single person (not for watching movies with a group of friends) since they can have a glare when viewed from some angles.

Resolution

The higher the resolution, the clearer the picture. Resolution is measured in how many pixels the screen has, written as “width x height.” Most good computer monitors nowadays have a minimum resolution of 1920 x 1080 (1080p or Full HD) and range up to 5120 x 2880 (also known as 5K resolution). 

The most common resolution options (in ascending quality order) include Full HD, Quad HD, Ultra HD, 4K, and 5K. While a higher resolution sounds great, there’s no need to pay for a higher resolution than you need (high resolution monitors can come at a hefty price tag). Also keep in mind that a higher resolution monitor needs a higher processing graphics card, especially once you bump it up to Quad HD and higher, so you’ll want to make sure your PC can handle the job. 

Refresh Rate 

A computer monitor’s refresh rate refers to how many times per second the monitor updates the image on screen, measured in hertz (Hz). A higher refresh rate means more frequent updates and smoother images. 

Refresh rate is generally an important spec for gamers, but this spec may also be relevant for high frames-per-second video viewing or editing. Gamers should look for a refresh rate of at least 60 Hz (but over 75 Hz is much better), and most gaming monitors have 120 Hz or higher. For non-gamers, a 60 Hz refresh rate is often plenty.

Response Time

The monitor response time describes how long it takes for the monitor to shift from one color to another (usually referring to black to white). A shorter response time means a faster monitor, which is another priority for gamers. Response time can be as fast as 0.5 milliseconds, but under 5 milliseconds is adequate for gaming monitors and more than enough for general use.

Additional Features

Consider the monitor’s ports and connections to plug in your PC and other devices, like laptops, phones, consoles, and other devices. Most common ports include HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB connections. 

If you spend a lot of time at your desk, look for ergonomic features like adjustable tilt and height, swivel, and pivot adjustments. These features will make it more comfortable to use your monitor for hours at a time. 

FAQs

Q: What is the best brand for computer monitors?

There is no single best brand when it comes to computer monitors. All of the major players will have excellent products suited for different types of users. Instead of focusing on the brand, look at the monitor’s specs and reviews to get a better idea of if it’s a good fit for your needs—and if you can test out the monitor in person, that’s even better.  

Q: How do I choose a computer monitor?

Consider your main use first and start your search from there. Are you looking for a simple monitor for checking emails and social media? Or a stunning and speedy monitor for gaming or editing content? Narrow down the monitor type and specifications that will best suit your needs (and that are within your budget). Consider aspects like the monitor type, size, resolution, refresh rate, response time, color accuracy, ports, and any additional features.

Q: Which type of monitor is best for eyes?

Flicker-free monitors put less strain on the eyes. Monitors with blue light filters can be nice to have, especially if you have trouble sleeping after working late at night, but they aren’t a necessity; there are plenty of software programs that can help reduce blue light. You can also consider a curved monitor. Their wider field of view and curved edges can reduce eye strain by keeping everything on the screen at a similar focal distance from your eyes. 

Q: How much should I spend on a monitor?

There’s a huge price range when it comes to computer monitors, depending on the monitor features, target audience, and screen size. A good, general use monitor can come in at less than $300. For professional use or intense gaming, expect to spend several hundred dollars—depending on its specs, a monitor can cost thousands of dollars, so you can spend big as well. Consider your intended use and preferred specs and try to work within your budget from there. 

Q: What should I look for in an external monitor?

It depends on your intended use. For general use, the most important features to consider include the monitor type, size, and resolution. For intense gaming, fast response times and high refresh rates are also important specs. For simple work tasks like answering emails and typing, an ergonomic general use monitor is a suitable choice. But for work like photo and video editing and design work, you may opt for high color accuracy or a larger monitor. Across the board, affordability and an appealing design are also factors to keep in mind.

Final Thoughts on the Best Computer Monitors

With a versatile set of built-in ports and an ergonomic design, the Philips Brilliance 279P1 is an excellent monitor for daily productivity. For those looking to play as hard as they work, the ASUS VG279QM is an excellent gaming monitor with an impressive refresh rate and response time.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.

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