You might be running a monitor that was given to you, maybe years ago when some of the lower resolutions were considered the best one could get. Or, maybe you picked up an OK, but not great monitor at a local garage sale. Either way, you know it’s finally time for an upgrade that’ll bring you into the 21st century. Monitors that are larger in size, have a better resolution and more pixels-per-inch are so important these days, especially if you’re big into gaming, watching any sort of media or even in making your own graphical creations (logos, 3D models, photo editing, etc).
We’re going to show you everything you need to know to buy a great monitor, and we’ll even show you some of our top-rated picks. Follow along below!
What to look for in a monitor
Getting into one of the best computer monitors is a little more difficult these days, particularly because of all the technology and detail packed in them now. Here’s everything you need to consider when purchasing one:
- Size: The first thing to consider when buying a computer monitor is the screen size. How big do you need it to be? If you’re a gamer or do any sort of photo editing, you might want a larger size to take in more detail. Large monitors are also great for businesses, as they allow for more real estate for multitasking.
- Resolution: Resolution is just as important as the size of your screen. The resolution is how many pixels can be displayed on the screen. For example, a 1,920 by 1,080 monitor would be able to display 1,920 pixels from side to side, and 1,080 pixels from top to bottom. The more pixels your monitor can display, the more information or “detail” you’re going to be able to see.
- Refresh Rate: A monitor’s refresh rate is another thing to consider. This is basically the number of frames your monitor can show per second, or how many times the image on the monitor is redrawn per second. This is usually measured in Hertz. You’ll want to look for something with 60Hz or higher, anything lower can result in unnecessary lag and even the appearance of screen tearing.
- Extras: All the extras that come with monitors are something to consider, too. Do you want extra USB 3.0 ports with your monitor? Maybe you want a variety of display options — like HDMI and a couple of DisplayPort ports. Maybe you want your monitor to have technology like NVIDIA G-Sync or AMD FreeSync. These are all things to look for when researching your perfect monitor.
- Price: Price is another big thing to consider. Monitors start out at just a couple hundred dollars, but can easily jump into the thousand dollar range, depending on what you get. If you’re looking for a 4K curved display, spec’d out monitor, you’re easily looking at around a grand. So, it’s important to figure out what your budget is, and then do your research to decide what you can get with that budget. But, do keep in mind, even if you spend only a couple hundred dollars, you can still set yourself up with a really good modern day monitor.
ASUS ROG Swift PG27AQ
ASUS always seems to outdo itself with its Republic of Gamers (ROG) lineup, and the ASUS ROG Swift PG27AQ is no different. It’s a 27-inch 4K UHD monitor, sporting a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160.
As with any high-end monitor, the ASUS ROG Swift PG27AQ features G-Sync technology, working with your GPU to eliminate screen tearing and input lag. Paired with the high resolution, you can expect to get smooth gameplay and much more detailed (and smooth) objects and scenes.
You can expect to get a lot of extras out of this monitor, too. You have your standard signal inputs — DisplayPort and HDMI. But, on top of that, you get a handful of USB 3.0 ports as well as a audio I/O interface on the back of the monitor. Another extra this monitor has is the ergonomic stand, allowing you to tilt, pivot, swivel and generally move the monitor into any position you might want it.
You can pick this monitor up for just under $1000 on Amazon.
Buy it now: Amazon
Acer Predator XB281HK
If you’re looking to get your hands on one of the best computer monitors out there, you cannot go wrong with the Predator XB281HK from Acer. It’s a 4K monitor, meaning it has a UHD resolution of a whopping 3,840 x 2,160 on a 28-inch display.
It comes equipped with NVIDIA G-Sync, which works with your GPU to synchronize the refresh rate (which sits at around 144Hz with this monitor) to eliminate screen tearing, input lag and display stutter. This means that you’re going to get buttery smooth gameplay and be able to experience some nicer looking scenes. In addition, ergonomics is one of the Predator’s strong suits, so you also get to adjust the monitor to you’re looking — you can pivot, tilt, swivel and move the monitor up or down as you please.
It comes with some neat extras as well — you get both DisplayPort and HDMI for signal inputs, but also get four high-speed USB 3.0 ports. It makes it much easier to connect up your mouse and keyboard for a gaming session or even for regular use.
Pick it up from Amazon for $600 at the link below.
Buy it now: Amazon
Dell Ultra HD P2415Q
If you’re looking for something a little more affordable, the Dell Ultra HD P2415Q is another great choice, as you’re still getting a 4K monitor at a relatively decent size — 24-inches. Since it is a 4K Ultra HD monitor, you do get that sharp resolution of 3,840 x 2,160. This is a cheaper monitor, but it can still be great for gaming and any professional needs, such as photo editing. The high pixel density really allows you to see the fine details in scenes and images. This monitor only has a refresh rate of 60Hz, which is still leagues better than monitors that only sport 30Hz, but isn’t nearly as crisp as, say, the Acer Predator with 144Hz.
While this monitor doesn’t have nearly as many extras as the options from ASUS and Acer, you do still get DisplayPort and HDMI signal port options, but only get a single USB 3.0 port. There’s an MHL port as well for displaying the screens of smartphones and tablets on your monitor.
The primary goal of this monitor is to offer a 4K Ultra HD solution at an affordable price point. Normally, 4K can be pretty expensive, but by cutting out some of the extras, Dell has made it possible to bring 4K to those on a budget. You can pick this monitor up for just under $350 at the link below.
Buy it now: Amazon
ASUS also makes a great high-end monitor on the cheap — the ASUS MG28UQ. It’s a large 28-inch 4K UHD monitor, equipped with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160. It only has a refresh rate of 60Hz, which isn’t much for a UHD monitor, but it’s hard to complain at the $370 price point.
Being a cheaper monitor, it does have a much larger frame/border, so your screen-to-body ratio is a little lower than the other options on this list. The MG28UQ doesn’t have NVIDIA G-Sync, but it does have the AMD equivalent — FreeSync. It’s virtually the same thing, working with your GPU to synchronize the refresh rate, reducing screen tearing, input lag and giving you a sharper experience.
As for ports, you get a DisplayPort and HDMI port for your signal inputs, and it comes with two high-speed USB 3.0 ports for any accessories you want to hook up. And much like the other monitors on this list, it does have an ergonomic design/stand, so tilting, pivoting and moving your monitor up and down into a comfortable position is one of its strong suits.
You can pick this monitor up off of Amazon for just $370.
Buy it now: Amazon
We’ve shown you a handful of the best computer monitors on the market right now, all from different budget ranges, too. If you’ve got some cash to spend, you truly cannot go wrong with the high-end ROG Swift from ASUS or the Predator from Acer. If you’re looking for a lifelike gaming experience, or simply a high-end monitor to get some detail-oriented work done, you won’t find anything much better than those two.
Of course, dropping almost $1000 on a monitor can be hard pill to swallow. Thankfully, there are cheaper 4K UHD options out there, and the Dell Ultra HD P2415Q and ASUS MG28UQ are just that — slimming down some of the extras so you can still get stunning visuals on a large monitor at a fairly cheap price point.
These are obviously only a handful of the best computer monitors on the market — there’s countless more, but we wouldn’t possibly be able to list them all. So, we’re handing the mic off to you: what’s your favorite monitor? Sound off in the comments section below!