While they won’t make your computer run any better, the best monitors can improve your overall computing experience by making it easier on the eyes – which can improve your productivity. And, the way we look at it, the best monitors will be cost-effective, too, so anyone can find a decent monitor no matter the budget. With high resolutions, speedy refresh rates and every screen size you could think of, you can make your work smoother and strain your eyes less.
Whether you’re looking for a gaming monitor to keep up with the gaming PCs, or if you just bought a MacBook Air and you need one of the best USB-C monitors, you’ve come to the right place. And, you can trust our picks – we’ve tested and reviewed them all ourselves.
1. BenQ PD3200U
Top for (some of) the gamers and pros
Screen size: 32-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 8.5kg
Design may seem dull to some
Some features a bit niche
Now that the best PCs can handle 4K easier than ever, the best 4K monitors are becoming more common. This explains why BenQ has launched the PD3200U, a massive 32-inch Ultra-HD display, as a part of its Designer Monitor range. Marketed to creatives and professionals, BenQ has crafted, seemingly by mistake, a panel that gamers can get behind, too – as long as they can fit it on their desks. Then again, given the 4ms response time, the PD3200U is best suited for creatives. For instance, 3D designers will love the inclusion of a CAD/CAM mode, while everyone else will adore the factory-calibrated color accuracy.
Read the full review: BenQ PD3200U
2. AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition
Screen size: 35-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 2,500:1: | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 26 pounds
Phenomenal color performance
120Hz refresh rate
Clunky OSD menu
The AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition is marketed as a gaming monitor, but if you need an ultra-wide monitor, you really can’t do much better. With its sublime color support, strong contrast ratio and lightning-fast 120Hz refresh rate – everything you do on your PC is going to feel quick, snappy and it’ll look good while doing it. It’s kind of expensive, but this ultra-wide monitor can significantly boost productivity, so it’s totally worth it – it’s one of the best monitors you can buy today, as long as you have the hardware to drive it.
Read the full review: AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition
3. Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ
Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 | Brightness: 600 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 50,000:1 | Color support: Adobe RGB 99% | Weight: 28 pounds
Beautiful image quality
When it comes to the best monitors, sometimes we’ll come across something that manages to combine so many high-end features that it seems almost alien – the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ is one such display. Not only does this gorgeous display feature an Ultra-HD 4K display, but it tops that off with HDR and Nvidia G-Sync tech – a trifecta of high-end features that makes this the best monitor you can buy today, if you have the cash. If you’re doing any kind of photo or video editing work, you really can’t go wrong with this display.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ
4. Acer Predator X34
A gaming monitor with attitude
Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3440 x 1440 Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms G2G (grey-to-grey) | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 100 million:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 9.9kg
Perfect color accuracy
Limited port selection
When you start to grow weary of the same old 16:9 aspect ratio, nothing hits the spot like a cinematic 21:9 display. It’s probably not the best for watching Netflix or YouTube, but the Acer Predator X34 is a great example of what an ultra-wide monitor can do. Boasting an attractive aluminum bezel and polygonal stand that resembles a bird’s foot, this massive 34-inch monitor is a wonder to look at. More importantly, armed with Nvidia’s G-Sync tech, you won’t need V-Sync stressing out your graphics card. The Acer Predator X34 does all the heavy lifting for you. This is about as immersive as a gaming monitor gets.
Read the full review: Acer Predator X34
5. Dell UltraSharp UP3218K
Screen size: 32-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 7,680 x 4,320 | Brightness: 400 cd/m2 | Response time: 6ms | Viewing angle: N/A | Contrast ratio: 1,300:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 8.5kg
Stunning 8K resolution
Limited 8K content
We don’t often run into technology that’s so far ahead of the curve that we’re left dumbfounded. The Dell UltraSharp UP3218K is the most recent example. Finding a monitor that can reach the raw beauty this one does should be impossible. It’s not just the resolution, either – Dell went a long way to make sure that the build quality and color reproduction are the best in the business, and well, it is. The Dell UltraSharp UP3218K is aimed at professionals, obviously, so if that sounds like it’s up your alley, it’s probably the best monitor for you.
Read the full review: Dell UltraSharp UP3218K
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the BenQ PD3200U
6. BenQ EX3203R
Screen size: 31.5-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,440 | Brightness: 400 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 3,000:1 | Color support: DCI-P3 90% | Weight: 13.4kg
Great for gaming
Sub-par HDR implementation
If you’re looking for a great 1440p monitor with HDR for multimedia and gaming, the BenQ EX3203R might be the best monitor for you. This monitor is notable because it manages to bring in a ton of high-end features into a monitor that is extremely affordable. And, while 32 inches might sound like a bit much for a monitor, the 1800R curvature on this BenQ panel means that it’s easy to use, both for productivity and for immersion in your games and media.
Read the full review: BenQ EX203R
- This product is only available in the US at the time of writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Acer S277HK
7. Alienware 25
A ubiquitous solution to screen tearing
Screen size: 24.5-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 400 cd/m2 | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: sRGB 119% | Weight: 11.7kg
High refresh rate
Depending on your budget, it might break the bank – like any Alienware product – but Dell’s 25-inch gaming monitor will all but eliminate screen tearing. Whether you have an AMD Radeon VII or an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080, there’s a configuration for you. With G-Sync or FreeSync taking away some of the heavy lifting from the GPU that would otherwise be spent on VSync, the Alienware 25’s 120Hz refresh rate may actually be viable. And, the 1ms response time is just the gravy on top.
Read the full review: Alienware 25
8. BenQ Zowie XL2540
A monitor tailored to the needs of professional gamers
Screen size: 24-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 400 cd/m2 | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Color support: NTSC 72% | Weight: 7.5kg
High refresh rates
Limited appeal beyond pro gamers
You might not believe it at first glance, but the BenQ Zowie XL2540 is every bit the gaming monitor that the Asus Predator X34 is. And though it may not seem it from the outside looking in, it does its job remarkably well too, sacrificing dazzling lighting effects for a zippy 240Hz refresh rate and nigh-instantaneous 1ms response time. There’s no G-Sync or FreeSync, as this monitor assumes you already have a rig that’s plenty capable of eliminating screen tears on its own. Instead, this monitor keeps it simple by supplying you with lots of visual presets, an “S Switch” control pod for managing those presets and even a pair of adjustable light screens.
9. LG 34UC79G-B
A reasonable entryway to ultra wide and FreeSync
Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,080 | Brightness: 250 cd/m2 | Response time: 10.3ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Color support: sRGB 92.1% | Weight: 8.6kg
Curved 21:9 screen design
Lesser resolution than rivals
Ineffective gaming modes
If you’re running games using a weaker GPU and you’re looking to get into ultra-wide displays without spending a fortune, you might want to check the LG 34UC79G-B out. This monitor, measuring in at 34-inches diagonally, is equipped with AMD FreeSync for screen tear elimination and a 21:9 aspect ratio best suited for games and cinema. Despite its resolution being lower than other ultrawide displays out there, this LG monitor pulls off a crisp image nonetheless – and with stunning color accuracy at that. Plus, you can change the height, which is more than can be said for even some of the more expensive 4K monitors out there.
Read the full review: LG 34UC79G-B
10. HP Omen X 35
Screen size: 35-inches | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 2,500:1: | Color support: sRGB 98.7% | Weight: 26.4 pounds
If you’re planning on picking up a new Nvidia Turing graphics card on launch (we can’t blame you), you’re going to want a monitor that can take advantage of that powerful graphics card. The HP Omen X 35, then, might just be the best gaming monitor for you. Rocking a WQHD panel with 98.7% sRGB coverage, the best PC games are going to just pop on this display. And, it’s G-sync enabled, so you don’t even need to worry about screen tearing or artifacting.
Read the full review: HP Omen X 35
Gabe Carey and Bill Thomas have also contributed to this article