Best Monitors 2017: 12 best 1080p, QHD and 4K panels

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.

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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.



Read the full 1080p: LG 23MP68VQ review

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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 2,560×1,440-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.



Read the full 1080p: Dell U2417H review

Big-screen 4K: Philips BDM4037UW

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Key features:

  • 40-inch 3840 x 2160 VA panel
  • 4000:1 contrast
  • High colour coverage
  • Review price: £600

Philips is known for its quality TVs and Ambilight tech, but its monitor brand (a completely separate business, licenced to another company) is looking to get in on the action with the TV-sized BDM4037UW.

Standing at a mighty impressive 40 inches with a slight curve, this is the ultimate TV replacement for those who want big-screen computing with a side of 4K video streaming.

Covering almost 100% of the sRGB colour gamut and 85% of the Adobe RGB gamut, this is a high-quality panel that has no huge  weaknesses. Our only real complaint is that its actual colour accuracy isn’t as good as IPS panels, which leads to some bright colours looking a bit overcooked.

If you’re going to be using this screen for console gaming, you’ll be pleased with the 12.5ms response time, which is faster than the vast majority of TVs. For mouse + keyboard PC gamers, that will feel a bit lethargic; this isn’t a panel for twitchy eSports games.

Budget for headphones or speakers, too, as the built in speakers here are very poor. Otherwise, this is one of the best big monitors you can buy.

4K: Asus PB287Q

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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.





Read the full 4K: Asus PB287Q review

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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.



Read the full 4K: Samsung U32E850R review

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Key features:

  • 34-inch, 3,440×1,440 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.



Read the full Ultra-wide: AOC U3477PQU review

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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.



Read the full Ultra-wide, curved: Samsung S34E790C review

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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.



Read the full 1440p: Samsung S32D850T review

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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.



Read the full 1440p professional screen: Viewsonic VP2772 review

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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.



Read the full 4K professional: NEC EA244UHD review

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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.





Read the full 4K professional: Samsung UD970 review

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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.



Read the full 1440p professional: Eizo ColorEdge CG277 review