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Best Monitors 2017: 11 best 1080p, QHD and 4K panels

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Best monitor 2017: Buying a computer screen can be hard, especially if you're not sure what you're looking for. In this guide and round-up, we'll explain the jargon of monitors, tell you what to look out for and round-up our current favourites.

How we test:

For our reviews we use a combination of our own intuition and experience along with more quantitative tools. These include the X-Rite i1 Display Pro for getting brightness, contrast and accuracy figures. We also use this tool to calibrate screens to see what they're capable of at their absolute best. We also use a Leo Bodnar input lag tester to see how suitable each panel is for gaming.

Monitor Buying Guide – Jargon Buster

Brightness (luminance) – This is simple enough, but it's worth knowing that brightness is measured in 'nits'. Many monitors boast a maximum brightness of 300 nits or more, but it's normally recommended to use a monitor at about half that much to avoid eye strain.

Black level – This is also measured in nits, but refers to how 'black' a monitor can appear. The lower the number, normally around 0.5 nits or less, the better. A low black level is particularly important for enjoying high definition films and TV.

Contrast ratio – This is the difference between the darkest and brightest peak of a monitor and is expressed as a ratio. A contrast ratio of 1,000:1 is considered good, but the higher the better. Anything less than 800:1 is average.

Input lag – This is something that mainly impacts gamers as it's the difference in time between you moving your mouse and the action appearing on screen. We test this on all monitors, but it's only a concern if you play fast games like first person shooters.

LG monitors

Resolution – What's the difference between Full HD, Quad HD and 4K?

Resolution is one of the most important things to consider. It refers to how many pixels make up the screen. For example, a Full HD monitor – which is the same resolution as most TVs – will have 1,920 horizontal lines of pixels and 1,080 vertical lines.

The higher the resolution the sharper your monitor will appear. A higher resolution also means you can fit more on a single screen, so you can view windows side-by-side at the same time.

Just remember that the bigger the screen the less sharp it will appear, so it's better to have a higher resolution on larger screens of 27-inches and above.

There are three common monitor resolutions:

Full HD – 1,920 x 1,080 – Best for 24-inch monitors and below

Quad HD – 2,560 x 1,440 – Best for 27-inch monitors and below

4K / Ultra HD – 3,840 x 2,160 – Best for 27-inch monitors and above

Further reading

We have lots of extra information on monitor technology and how to choose what's best for you. If you're looking for a gaming screen, check out our guide to refresh rates. Want to know more about how colour coverage is measured, check our guide to colour spaces. Finally, if you're curious about the differences between IPS, VA and TN screen panels, take a look at our screen technology explainer.

LG 23MP68VQ
Key features
  • Full HD, IPS panel
  • 75Hz and FreeSync
  • DVI, HDMI and VGA inputs
  • Review price: £130
The LG 23MP68VQ is our new top pick for a sub-£150 monitor. With a 23-inch Full HD, IPS panel, a stylish design and a smooth 75Hz refresh rate, it ticks all the boxes for a budget monitor. It even manages a few surprises, including FreeSync support and an easy-to-use onscreen menu. You get excellent contrast levels, decent colour coverage and excellent viewing angles as well.

It’s not perfect; it won’t deliver spectacular colour accuracy and is slightly wobbly on its stand, but at this price it’s hard to find anything better. With only one HDMI port, multi-device setups might be a little difficult to set up, but there is at least a VGA and DVI port as well.

For the money, there’s nothing better than the LG23MP68VQ.

Dell U2417H
Key features:
  • 24-inch, Full HD display
  • PLS panel
  • 1x DisplayPort, 1x Mini DP, 1x HDMI
  • Review price: £240

The Dell U2417 is the best mid-range monitor you can buy right now. Packing a 24-inch PLS panel with a Full HD resolution and a great design, there’s almost nothing not to like.

It looks great, with an ultra-thin bezel and stylish metallic stand, and that’s before you switch it on. It’s exceptionally practical, with DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort and HDMI inputs alongside a DisplayPort output for daisy-chaining, and three USB 3.0 ports, two of which are easy to reach.

Image quality is exceptional. While it’s only a Full HD panel – some will prefer a slightly larger 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution on perhaps a 25-inch monitor – it covers 99.6% of the sRGB colour gamut and produced a 1,065:1 contrast ratio for easy-to-read text and pretty images.

With its practical stand and excellent image quality, there’s not much better for the money.

4K: Asus PB287Q

A cheap 4K monitor for gaming and general use

Key features:
  • 28-inch, 3,840 x 2,160 TN-based panel
  • DisplayPort 1.2 support/60Hz at 4K resolution
  • Flicker-free backlight
  • Review price: £379

If you're a serious PC gamer with a gaming rig to match, you've no doubt put some thought into 'going 4K'. If that sounds like you, the Asus PB287Q should be your monitor of choice. This is among the first TN-based 4K monitors and it impresses thanks to its unfussy design, good basic image quality and outstandingly low 10.6ms input lag.

There are some issues with this monitor, however. Its vertical viewing angle is poor and the OSD controls are rather fussy, but overall it's the best 'cheap' 4K monitor we've seen so far. Just be aware that if you don't really need 4K then this is an extravagance; you can buy outstanding, pro-grade QHD monitors like the Viewsonic VP2772 for the same price.



Samsung U32E850R

Huge 32-inch 4K monitor for reasonable price

Key Features:
  • 32-inch, 4K monitor with AMD Freesync
  • 10-bit PLS panel with 4ms response time
  • Height, pivot and tilt adjustment
  • Review price: £899.99

No 32-inch 4K monitor is going to be cheap, but considering how much you could spend, the Samsung U32E850R is great value. And boy is it a great monitor for any occasion, be it work, entertainment or gaming.

While it only has a 60Hz refresh rate, AMD Freesync tech ensures smooth gaming sessions. The 9.57ms input lag is impressively low, too. Excellent colour accuracy, 98% sRGB coverage and a 0.09 nit black level are all pretty good. A contrast ratio of around 800:1 is nothing special, but it's good enough.

Combined with endless features and excellent stand design, it's a great option for switching to 4K.

AOC U3477PQU
Key features:
  • 34-inch, 3,440x1,440 IPS screen
  • 320cd/m2 brightness
  • VGA, HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort connectors
  • Review price: £500

Ultra-wide screen monitors are become more popular and more common as the price comes down. We reckon they're one of the best choices for those seeking the ultimate in productivity thanks to their ability to hold two windows side-by-side without either feeling squashed.

In the case of the AOC U3477PQU, you don't just get productivity: you also get excellent image quality, with high maximum brightness and deep blacks for excellent contrast, as well as good colour coverage and accuracy.

The biggest drawback of this screen, which will put gamers off, is the fairly high input lag. For many it won't be an issue, but people who play twitchy shooting games will notice the difference.

Samsung S34E790C

34-inch, curved ultra-wide monitor

Key Features:
  • 34-inch, 21:9 monitor with 3,440 x 1,440 resolution
  • Curved monitor using VA LCD panel
  • 2x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, 4x USB 3.0
  • Review price: £725

If you like the idea of an ultra-wide monitor with a 21:9 aspect ratio, as opposed to the standard 16:9, then look no further than the Samsung S34E790C. It's curved, too, which really works for ultra-wide monitors where you sit quite close.

The benefit of such a wide screen is more space on your desktop and great immersion when playing games. It'll take a powerful PC to run at the 3,440 x 1,440 resolution mind you, but it'll be totally worth it. It's particularly good for racing games.

This monitor also uses a VA panel, which results in an outstanding 2,133:1 contrast ratio. This should help make films even more immersive. And, while it lacks gaming features like a high refresh rate or AMD Freesync, input lag of just 10.9ms is more than adequate for gaming use.

Samsung S32D850T

A high-quality, 32-inch monitor for office use

Key features:
  • Great 32-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 pixel VA screen
  • Versatile stand
  • Eco-friendly mode
  • Review price: £480
If you need a large-screen office monitor that’s easy to set up and not too tough on the wallet, the Samsung S32D850T is well worth taking a look at. The 2,560 x 1,440 pixel resolution VA display delivers excellent image quality over a 30-inch diagonal, with good viewing angles and brightness, and the stand is very versatile, allowing for plenty of swivelling, 130mm of tool-free height adjustment and the ability to smoothly switch to portrait mode.

Single dual-link DVI, DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4 connections, numerous USB ports – one to connect to the PC, and four USB 3.0 connectors to use for peripherals - and a pair of 3.5mm audio jacks can be found on the back of the Samsung S32D850T, while large, clearly-marked physical buttons that will take you through to common settings feature just below the screen.

Samsung has also talked up the environmental credentials of the machine, which is able to consume significantly less power while still delivering on image quality. Brightness is sacrificed in this mode. Despite the inclusion of a gaming mode, we wouldn’t particularly recommend the monitor for games, due to the screen’s relatively slow response times.

Viewsonic VP2772 11

Professional colour performance at a lower price

Key features:
  • 27-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 IPS display
  • 12-bit colour engine, 14-bit LUT
  • DisplayPort, Mini Display Port, DVI, HDMI and 4x USB 3.0
  • Review price: £620

The most common complaint we hear from readers is of large monitors with standard 1,920 x 1,080 resolutions. That's fine if you're on a really tight budget, but at that size you really want something that affords you a little more space to work.

Enter the Viewsonic VP2772, a 27-inch monitor with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution and a professional grade IPS panel for less than £600. It's by no means the cheapest of its type, but it is the best 27-inch monitor we've encountered thanks to excellent features, flexible design and outstanding image quality.

NEC Multisync EA244UHD

Professional-level 24-inch, 4K monitor

Key features:
  • 24-inch, 4K display
  • Exceptional colour accuracy
  • Fully adjustable stand
  • Power-saving motion sensor
  • Review price: £1000
The NEC EA244UHD is a great high-end monitor for imaging professionals looking to get maximum screen real estate but in a more compact form. It packs a 4K resolution into a modest 24-inch panel, making it ideal if you want a monitor upgrade but don’t want to go supersize.

It isn’t particularly slim or stylish, but comes with a relatively small stand and a slender bezel. Build quality is excellent, however. It’s clad in durable matt black plastic, and all the mechanisms for twisting and adjusting the stand are smooth. The stand can rotate nearly 360 degrees around, height adjustment lifts the top edge of the monitor between 38cm and 51cm from the desktop, and there’s a pivot function for flipping the screen into portrait mode.

A generous selection of connections sits mainly on the underside. There’s a USB 3.0 input for the USB hub, two USB 3.0 sockets, two dual-link DVI, two HDMI, two DisplayPort and a 3.5mm jack audio input. On the right there’s an additional USB socket and the audio output. A motion sensor lies just below the screen and detects whether the user is present, switching the display off when nobody’s around.

The 24-inch, 3,840 x 2,160 IPS screen itself is sharp and bright, offering excellent viewing angles and outstanding colour accuracy. Unfortunately, it’s not quite responsive enough for gaming.

Samsung UD970

32-inch professional 4K display

Key features:
  • 32-inch, 4K display
  • Impressive uniformity and colour accuracy
  • Built for serious professionals but good enough for gaming
  • Review price: £1449
This isn’t a monitor aimed at any average office worker. The 4K Samsung UD970 is built for serious professionals, and it’s perfect for colour critical work. The 32-inch, 3,840 x 2,160 pixel resolution display is one of the best on the market, delivering accurate colours, good contrast and extremely impressive uniformity. While this is by no means designed as a gaming monitor, only the most demanding of players will find issue with the screen’s response times.

The machine comes out of the box with the stand already attached, which is a lovely bonus. It is also able to tilt forward and back, swivel from left to right, swing easily into portrait mode and have its height adjusted by up to 130mm. The design is pretty and it also feels nice and sturdy, but this comes at a cost: it weighs in at 13.7kg.

The physical buttons, which are easy to use, are positioned underneath the main bezel, with their corresponding icons featured on the front face of the bezel. Unfortunately the placement of the ports isn’t quite as user-friendly. Two USB 3.0 connectors are on the back of the screen, but two more face downwards, so they’re quite difficult to access. Everything else faces downwards, including the HDMI 1.4 port and a pair of DisplayPort 1.2 connectors. HDMI 2.0 doesn't feature.



Eizo ColorEdge CG277

True professional monitor with built-in calibration sensor

Key Features:
  • 27-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 IPS with 10-bit colour and 16-bit LUT
  • Built-in calibration sensor, monitor hood provided
  • 1,000:1 contrast ratio and 99% Adobe RGB
  • Review price: £1550

Eizo has long set the standard for professional monitors and the ColorEdge CG277 is one more reminder why. Not for Eizo things like 4K as this 27-inch monitor is QHD, but it has all the features required for outstanding colour accuracy.

It offers 99% coverage of the sRGB, Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 colour spaces and features a built-in colour calibration sensor. It also uses a 16-bit lookup table, which means it can display 1.097 billion colours from a palette of 278 trillion.

Basically, if you're doing anything colour critical, get yourself one of these.

Riri S

November 28, 2014, 10:31 pm

Great review thanks, everyone should get IPS panel because it's very affordable now, LG 22MP55HQ is great value option, it's IPS and HDMI ready

vectorious

December 15, 2014, 9:54 pm

What about best 1920 x 1200 monitor, for those of us who liked it? Maybe Dell U2415?

Prem Desai

December 16, 2014, 9:09 am

Good roundup with different sorts of monitors. Thanks Andy ....

LgKiholmen

July 29, 2015, 10:11 pm

Running 4k 60hz on the 32 Dell IPS panel from my MBPR 15 for 6 months now and never looked back. The only issue is that 32 is to smal for 4k. Had the Phillips 40 for 3 weeks. Fantastic desktop area, 40 is perfekt for 4k, but the coulors where unacceptable compared to the 32 Dell. The first company comming up with 40 inch with the same crisp screen as the Dell will at least have one customer :-)

GeeTee

January 19, 2016, 12:32 pm

One thing that never seems to get mentioned in these articles, but in my view is really important is to pick a screen with international standard VESA mountings so you can buy and fit one of the many monitor arms on the market. A monitor arm gives you easy height, swivel, angle and tilt adjustment as well as saving the space on your desk that the bog standard monitor stand supplied with the screen would take up. All monitor arms have “VESA heads” i.e. the plate where the monitor screen attaches by screws to the monitor arm. VESA is an international standard https://en.wikipedia.org/wi... to enable monitor arms and brackets to be....well.... standard!

Most screens up to 27" are either 75mm or 100mm VESA spacing- all standard monitor arms accommodate both these. Bigger TV’s have various other standard spacings designed for larger wall mounted brackets.

Most monitor screens do have it but there has been a bit of a spate of screens from Samsung, Asus and others without them recently so it pays to check.

Since I started using an arm I would never go back - they last for ever and are a fairly small investment - particularly important if you are a twin screen guy like me to get their relative positions nice.

agooddecision

February 15, 2016, 6:17 am

"The first company coming up with 40 inch with the same crisp screen as the Dell will at least have one customer :-)"

They will have at least two customers =)
But seven months later, we are still waiting. =(

Jean-François Gagnon

March 1, 2016, 5:03 pm

I share this view 100%.

pillybilly

March 12, 2016, 1:20 pm

"Windows users should probably avoid it – 5K doesn't work so nicely on Windows – but it's a great option as a second screen for any iMac."
A very thrusted review...
You are on my black list of stupid advertising sites...
Don't waste time on approving this, i will write how much stupid this site is on other sites.

Mark Stanbrook

April 6, 2016, 11:07 pm

I run 4k on a 28" screen. It's perfect, perhaps even a little large, for across-the-desk gaming. 32 or 40 inches would be far too large an angle subtended at that distance and conversely on a 28" screen the pixel density is higher making the image appear better. For CAD/CAM or something I can see more screen space being useful - though you can always use multiple monitors - I find a side monitor great for editing in Lightroom. But for your primary Gaming screen too big is a real thing, moving your eyes across to large an angle rapidly as one does becomes painful.

JRoyal

April 12, 2016, 11:32 am

Look at what NEC has, at least if color accuracy and contrast are important to you. Their H-IPS panels are pretty much the best out there.

LgKiholmen

April 15, 2016, 2:45 pm

Se are takling about two different things, I want desktop real estate, while you are not

Slam

May 9, 2016, 9:55 pm

Agreed, Macs are miles behind even mid range gaming pc's for graphics.

Luke

May 17, 2016, 9:39 am

It's talking about DPI scaling (known to be very bad in Windows - though may be better in 10, I am not sure)... it is not saying Windows can't handle rendering it.

polysix

June 6, 2016, 8:50 pm

"Since I started using an arm I would never go back - they last for ever and are a fairly small investment "

Agreed!

andyvan

June 6, 2016, 9:39 pm

Very handy they are, though a bit annoying in some offices when other people jog the table!

Henk Janssens

June 19, 2016, 12:23 pm

You don't know Windows 10 but still have something to say? Windows 10 is where it is best. Windows 10 does proper scaling. apple just multiplies.

Jordan

August 1, 2016, 11:08 am

This list is sorely missing the Dell U2515H. I picked up 2 for under £500 to use for hobbyist photo editing and general purpose. They offer amazing value; a real sweet spot for performance vs cost. Great ergonomics and 2560x1440 on a 25" monitor gives fantastic DPI without running into text size issues.

Tim Coleman

August 9, 2016, 11:08 pm

Thanks for the roundup. I'm looking for a 24in approx monitor, 4k not necessary. Primary use for editing so respectable colour accuracy desired. What are your recommendations for under 350GBP - cheaper the better! I've heard the ASUS PA248Q is good and the BenQ RL2460HT. Thanks.

BoBoBolinski

September 26, 2016, 3:50 am

That's why most pro image producers use Macs, they handle colour better than PCs. If your a kid who like games , get a PC, if you're an image pro, get a Mac.

RonRoyce

September 27, 2016, 5:01 pm

Really? Scaling on 10 is horrendous, when I tested a 4k display recently I tried the scaling option and text looked utterly horrid. It's even worse on the tablets and 10 got panned for it in every review I saw. So, unless you know something I don't...how are you scaling because Luke is right, the DPI scaling in 10 sucks.

RonRoyce

September 27, 2016, 5:06 pm

But IPS has a poor contrast ratio, typically 1,000:1. For desktop work that's not really a problem but there's nothing I like less than grey blacks in games.

TheoBenschop

October 19, 2016, 5:18 am

I hope it is allowed to totally disagree with you. You are saying what the Mac believers are always saying: 'the dull office slaves have Windows, and we, the socalled 'talentful' 'creative' ones, have a socalled 'perfect' expansive Mac.

But until sofar the socalled 'talentful' 'creative' ones with their socalled 'perfect' expansive Macs are of course never saying that the ones who are slave of one or the other socalled 'exiting' 'game' are kids who like those socalled 'exciting' 'games'.

Of course are most socalled 'talentful' 'creative' pro image producers using their socalled 'perfect' expansive Macs because they believe of course that those socalled 'perfect' expansive Macs 'handle' for instance 'colours' better than those dull PCs for the office slaves.

But most people are not worried of the expansive name of the things they buy, they buy something with any name on it that works for hopefully a long time, so that most people will not be so crazy to run to shops where they can buy the latest version of the socalled 'perfect' expansive Macs!

Skip

December 27, 2016, 8:40 am

Most pro image producers don't use Macs because they handle color better. Most pro image producers use Macs because they're stupid and let some shmuck tell them that "it will be better if you have an apple logo on the front".

If you use a poor quality program with a poor quality monitor that is not color matched, you will get poor quality results regardless of the logo.

Based on your posts it's not hard to see that you must be one of those highly uninformed individual who goes by the logo without knowing any technical details. Of course people get highly offended if at this day and age they call them "technologically illiterate".

Point is, if you are a pro, you should be able to get the same results regardless of platform. If you can't, you just blowing smoke into thin air.

ElectroMotive

January 27, 2017, 8:44 pm

Every review has the same number of stars.

mode11

February 4, 2017, 12:37 pm

A 60Hz refresh rate does not cause screen tearing, as presented in your example. That's caused by the graphics card not being able to draw frames fast enough, and having to abandon one frame to start the next, when driving a monitor with a fixed refresh rate (i.e. all monitors, except ones with G-Sync / Freesync). Enabling V-Sync in the game eliminates tearing, though whenever the card can't meet the required 60fps it has to drop to 30fps instead and frame-double.

120/144Hz simply provides the opportunity to display frames at a faster rate. As long as the graphics card can keep up, motion will feel more fluid. This is likely to be most noticeable when the camera is swinging around wildly, as is typical in FPS games etc.

Also: bit of an odd choice of image for the Dell UP2715K...

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