Monitors guide: everything you need to know, models and prices (October 2017)

Monitors guide

The display is the most important element of our PC setup. It could work as our desktop PC’s main display, as a secondary display to connect our laptop in order to increase our productivity or as a display for our video game console.

We should both pay attention to what monitor we choose and think ahead, as it is going to be part of our single or multi-display setups, and we are certainly not replacing it in a few years.

That is why we will dedicate a whole guide to the best monitors out on the consumer market. We have a selection of all kinds of models, all of them with their links and sale prices. But first, we will review the main aspects to take into account in order to choose the model that best fits our needs and budgets, as well as the most attractive current formats like 4K or ultrawide.

Main characteristics to take into account

Size. The display size is perhaps the first element to take into account when buying a monitor. We get the size by measuring the diagonal distance in inches between opposite corners. The market is huge, ranging from 15 inches to over 40 inches. The global average is 21.5 inches, whereas the average size used by consumers is around 23 and 24 inches. Before buying a monitor, make sure that there is room on your desktop for it, as monitors with large diagonal values are incredibly wide.

Resolution. It is the number of pixels that can be displayed on screen, and we will see it as the maximum resolution available or as the display’s native resolution. To see it clearly, we will review mainly the results of the width by height conversion to pixels, although we can also find more about it through the names of the standards (HD, FHD, 2K, 4K, and so on). Nowadays, we can find native resolutions going from 1,024 x 768 pixels (XGA) to a maximum resolution of 7,680 × 4,800 pixels (WHUXGA). We should not settle for anything less than Full-HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) on multi-purpose monitors.

Aspect ratio. It is the proportional relationship between the width and the height of a monitor. It is calculated by dividing the height by the width and is expressed as ‘X:Y’, although we can also find it under commercial names such as ‘ultrawide’, for example. There are a lot of aspect ratios out there, but the most widely used are 16:9, 16:10 and 21:9.

Monitors guide

Panel type. Leaving aside the old panels based on cathode ray tubes or CTR (monitors with a huge rear panel and a high power consumption, but with a good image quality and a good chromatic gamut) and until the massive arrival of OLED panels aiming to revolutionize the entire displays world, the choices for display panels go from LCD to TFT LCD in their different versions, which are the most used panels nowadays. Here we will find the most basic and low-cost panels ordered by quality: TN, MVA, PVA and IPS, the latter with all its variants, like the improved PLS.

Brightness – Contrast – Color – Viewing angles. We also have to take into account the monitors’ own specifications, although these elements are more important in professional monitors than in monitors intended for regular users. In terms of these values, the higher, the better. A maximum brightness starting at 200 cd/m², a contrast ratio of at least 850:1, viewing angles of 176° or wider and a great percentage of the color gamut coverage.

Response time – Refresh rate. These are other elements to bear in mind, especially when running games. The fastest panels have the lowest response time at around 1 ms (the time needed by a pixel to go back to its original color or shade after changing it). There are also monitors that offer high refresh rates (number of times per second that the image can be drawn on screen) from 60 to 240 Hz.

Connectivity – NVIDIA and AMD sync technologies. The best current monitors offer a decent number of input connectors, ranging from the oldest analog VGA connectors to the most modern USB-C ports. The most commonly used now are HDMI and DisplayPort. When thinking about gaming, another key factor is the support for technologies such as AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-Sync, as both of them improve the communication between the GPU and the monitor.

Curved panels. This is another new technology that promises mainly a greater ‘immersion’ and improving the peripheral vision when using large monitors, as we said in our article about curved displays. The curve ratio indicates a greater or smaller curve, which is virtually the only parameter to take into account that differs from those of a standard monitor. It is important to note that we can buy a flat TV better than its equivalent curved model for the same price. So, try to see them in person. Although this is recommended before buying any monitor, doing it with curved panels is mandatory because not every user gets used to them.

Monitors guide

Extras. Although the aforementioned characteristics are the most important ones in order to choose the best monitors, there are other aspects to bear in mind that we would like to mention, as they might be important for some users. For example, the possibility for the monitor’s stand to be adjusted in terms of height, rotation or inclination, letting us get as comfortable as possible. We also have the power consumption, which can be high in some models; the inclusion or lack of multimedia elements like built-in speakers and USB ports; touch panels; designs with thin bezels that allow us to use multi-monitor setups; specific professional monitors’ specifications like larger sizes, and support for color gamut calibration.

4K monitors

The list of 4K monitors is growing, as this is one of the most appealing display formats nowadays, which is why we specifically mention it. The norm for ultra-high definition is that it starts at a 3,840 x 2,160 pixels resolution, which will go up to a sci-fi-like native resolution of 7,680 x 4,320 pixels (8K) in the future.

In addition to resolution, the quality of the panels is expected to be improved with the PLS (Plane to Line Switching) technology, covering at least 100% of the sRGB color gamut and having Technicolor certification. Although prices have been going down, they are not doing so as quickly as we would like or as much as we were promised, and this is one of the aspects that need to be worked on in order to enjoy this 4K resolution.

Another thing that needs to be taken care of is the fact that not every app on desktop PCs is optimized to run in this resolution. The main OS, such as Windows, OS X and Linux, do offer support, but it needs improvement.

Monitors guide

In terms of gaming, if you have had the chance to play any game in 4K, you might have realized that it is an amazing experience. However, there still is a big problem because you need a high-end computer, meaning that you would have to spend a lot of money to run games at decent rates, as the frame drop in 4K is incredible. To play in 4K with activated filters that get the most out of big games and avoid any frame drops, you will certainly need to go for some high-end dedicated graphics cards. And not just any graphics card, since it is recommended to go straight for a multiple graphics cards setup with support for SLI or Crossfire to game at 60 FPS.

If you have a big budget that allows you to buy one of the newest 4K monitors, go ahead. It is a great decision if you have the right hardware to go with it. Both the OS’ support and the scaling options are being improved with every new release. Multimedia content (4K Blu-ray is on the way) and apps optimized for this resolution are slowly hitting the markets. Gaming with a multiple graphics cards setup is outstanding and there will be more titles to play, but as you know, they also have some disadvantages.

Ultrawide monitors

Ultrawide monitors are the industry’s current bet to boost the sales of these peripherals, which are obviously essential for any PC. The key characteristic of these monitors is their aspect ratio, the proportional relationship between the width and the height that we already spoke of on the general characteristics.

Whereas in the oldest CRT monitors (and TVs) the most widely used aspect ratio was 4:3 (4 pixels wide by 3 pixels high), the arrival of LCD and TFT models gave us other ratios that we used to see only in movie theater screens: 15:9, 16:10 and 16:9, the latter being the most widely used nowadays.

In order to offer the same advantage as multi-monitor setups in terms of showing more information on screen (wide viewing angle), the industry started offering the 21:9 aspect ratio that is the format used for filming most movies and screening them on movie theaters. From there it reached the monitors market, and although its massive presence is relatively recent, it is not for every user.

Monitors guide

The ultrawide name is given after the 21:9 ratio, the commercial name used for marketing that is really an approximation of the true value of 2:37:1. The screen is really wide in comparison to a 16:9 one, the latter being the most widely used aspect ratio on the market due to its usage for high-definition TVs and most monitors, with a true value of 1:77:1.

Proponents of this type of aspect ratio for desktop PCs are grateful for the greater vertical viewing angles, allowing them to see a greater number of tabs, and giving them a greater immersion when gaming and a perfect experience when watching movies.

There are also some disadvantages. We lose horizontal viewing space, which can affect web browsing and working on spreadsheets, for example. In terms of gaming, it is true that games supporting this format are amazing, especially with driving or flight simulators and strategy games. However, some games do not support the format and the scaling is awful.

The best monitors

There are tons of monitors on the market, so making a choice after reading the whole article is not easy, especially if you take the time to ponder every characteristic. As a general rule, if your budget is limited, then simply forgo the large sizes, big resolutions, curved panels and any extras.

It is best to buy a 23-inch Full HD monitor rocking a good-quality panel and great brightness, contrast and color values than a low-quality 4K, or a 30-inch curved monitor. With this in mind, we will give you a selection of what we can find on an ever-growing market, which we advise you to always take a look at to search for one of our PC’s most important peripherals.

Monitors guide

In this October update, we have included some of the novelties that have emerged in recent months and that you can check under the “Monitors” category. While not all of them are on sale, we keep seeing an increase in models for the gaming sector, more curved panels, new technologies such as Samsung’s QLEDs, Philips’ extreme ultrawide 32:9 aspect ratio and even the first commercial 8K monitors.

We have also updated all the prices, which in general have not increased much during the last trimester. And remember, since all of us are part of the website, we would appreciate if you could tell us the models that in your opinion are missing from this list so you can help other users.

Monitors up to FHD

  • Acer Essential – 19.5-inch monitor (LED display, 1,600 x 900 pixels) .
  • Philips 223V5LHSB2/00 – 21.5-inch monitor (Full HD, HDMI) .
  • ASUS VP228DE – 21.5-inch Full HD monitor (1,920 x 1,080 pixels, LCD, 5 ms, 100,000,000:1 contrast ratio, 200 cd/m²) .
  • BenQ GW2270H – 21.5 “LED monitor.
  • Samsung S22F350FHU – 22 “LED Monitor (FullHD, 1000: 1, 200 cd / m²) .
  • ViewSonic VX2276-SMHD – Monitor 21.5 “Full HD IPS (1920 x 1080, 4ms, 250 nits, 178 ° / 178 °, VGA / HDMI / DP, speakers, without frame) for .
  • LG 22M47VQ-P – 21.5 “LED monitor (16: 9, 1920 x 1080 pixels) .
  • LG 22MP58VQ-P.AEU – Professional 21.5 “monitor (16: 9, 250 cd / m2, 1920 x 1080 pixels) .
  • HP 22es – Full HD Monitor 22 “(1920 x 1080 pixels, LED, IPS, 1000: 1).
  • Benq GL2460 – 24 “monitor (23 W, 16: 9, 2 ms, Eco mode).
  • HP 24o – Monitor 24 “(1920 x 1080 at 60 Hz) .
  • Samsung S24D330H – Monitor 24 “(1920 x 1080 pixels, LED, Full HD, 1000: 1).
  • Samsung S24F350FHU – 24 “FHD LED monitor .
  • LG 24MP58VQ-P – 23.8 “LED monitor (1920 x 1080, 5 ms, HDMI, DVI) .
  • ASUS VE248HR – 24 “Monitor (Full HD (1920 × 1080).
  • ASUS VX239H – 23 “LED monitor (1920 x 1080).
  • AOC G2460VQ6 – 24 “monitor (1920 x 1080 resolution, WLED technology, 1000: 1 contrast, 1 ms, HDMI, VGA, Anti Blue Light, Flicker-free) .
  • Benq GL2760H – 27 “monitor (1920 x 1080p, LED, 250 cd / m2, HDMI).
  • LG 27MP38VQ-B.AEU, 27 inches FHD.
  • Dell UltraSharp U2414H – 23.8 “LED monitor (1920 x 1080p, 250 cd / m2, IPS, 8 ms, HDMI, DisplayPort).
  • Asus VX279H – 27 “LED monitor (1920 x 1080).
  • LG 32MP58HQ-P 31.5 “Full HD IPS.
  • Acer Predator GN246HLB – 24 “LED monitor (1920 × 1080, 144Hz).
  • Acer ED273widx 27 “Full HD VA Color white screen for PC – Monitor (68.6 cm (27”), 250 cd / m², 1920 x 1080 pixels, 4 ms, LED, Full HD).
  • BenQ Zowie XL2411 24 “LED 144Hz eSports.
  • ASUS VG248QE – 24 “gaming monitor (144 Hz, backlit LED, resolution FHD 1920 x 1080, 16: 9, brightness 350 cd / m2, 1 ms GTG response, 2 stereo speakers 2 W RMS).
  • MSI Optix G27C2 27 “LED Full HD FreeSync Curved
  • ASUS ROG Strix XG27VQ, 27 inches VA, curved, with 144 Hz.

2K Monitors

  • Dell P2416D – 24 “LED Monitor (2560 x 1440p, 60Hz)
  • BenQ GW2765HT – 27 “monitor (2560 x 1440p, IPS, 350 cd / m2, HDMI).
  • Dell UltraSharp U2515H – 25 “LED monitor (2560 x 1440p, 350 cd / m2).
  • AOC AGON – Monitor 24 “Quad HD (2560 × 1440 pixels, 144 Hz) .
  • Dell UltraSharp U2715H – 27 “2K monitor (6 ms, 350 cd / m²).
  • BenQ BL3200PT – 2K 32-inch LCD monitor.
  • AOC AGON AG271QX – Monitor for games (1 ms, 144 Hz, 2560 x 1440 pixels, 27 “Quad HD, compatible with Free-Sync).
  • Dell UltraSharp U2715H 27 “LED.
  • ASUS VA32AQ 31.5 “2K Ultra HD IPS.
  • ASUS MG279Q – 27 “gaming monitor (144 Hz, IPS,  2560 x 1440 2K resolution, 16: 9, brightness 350 cd / m2, 4 ms GTG time, Free Sync, 2 stereo speakers 2 W RMS).
  • AOC AG322QCX – Monitor 31.5 “(2560 x 1440 pixels resolution, WLED technology, contrast 2000: 1, 4 ms, USB 3.0), color silver and black.
  • AOC AGON – Monitor 27 “Quad HD G-Sync (2560 × 1440 pixels, 165 Hz) .
  • ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – 27 “monitor (IPS, 2560 x 1440) .

4K monitor

  • LG 24UD58-B – 23.8-inch 4K monitor (3840 x 2160 resolution, 16: 9 format, LED, IPS panel, HDMI, 5ms, 60Hz, 250 cd / m², FreeSync)
  • Samsung U28E590D 28 “Monitor (LED, TN, 3840 x 2160 Pixels, Black, Silver, 1000: 1, Mega Contrast)
  • Acer CB CB241HYK 23.8 “4K Ultra HD IPS
  • LG 27UD58-B – 27-inch monitor, 4K UHD IPS.
  • Acer UM.PB1EE.001 – 28 “2160 × 3840 monitor with UHD (4K) technology
  • Asus PB287Q – 28 “WLED monitor (3840 × 2160) with TN technology
  • HP Envy 27s – IPS 4K Ultra HD Monitor (3840 x 2160 pixels, LED, 4K Ultra HD, IPS, 1300: 1), for 466 euros.
  • ASUS MG28UQ – 28 “gaming monitor (60 Hz, TN,  3840 x 2160 4K resolution , 16: 9, brightness 300 cd / m2, 1 ms GTG response time , Adaptive Sync, 2 stereo 2 W RMS speakers)
  • LG 27UD69-W 27 “LED 4K Ultra HD IPS.
  • Dell P2415Q 24 “Black, Silver 4K Ultra HD – Monitor (LED, IPS, 3840 x 2160 Pixels, Black, Silver, Kensington, 100 – 240 V)
  • LG 27UD68-W – 27 “monitor (3840 x 2160 Pixels, LED, IPS, 1000: 1) .
  • Acer UM.PX1EE.001 TN 28 “Black, Red – Monitor (LED, TN, 3840 x 2160 Pixels, Black, Red, USB 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1), 1000: 1.
  • Philips BDM4037UW / 00 – 40 “monitor (3840 x 2160 pixels resolution, WLED technology, contrast 4000: 1, 4 ms, HDMI).
  • Benq BL3201PT 32 “Black 4K Ultra HD – Monitor (LED, IPS, 3840 x 2160 Pixels, Black, USB 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1), 1000: 1).
  • LG 31MU97Z-B, with 31 inches and native resolution 4096 x 2160 pixels.
  • Acer Predator XB321HK 32 “4K Ultra HD IPS Black.
  • ASUS PA328Q – Monitor (81.28 cm (32 “), 6 ms, 350 cd / m², 6W, Black, Kensington)
  • Samsung LC49HG90DMU. 49-inch QLED panel and 4K resolution.

UltraWide Monitors

  • LG 25UM58-P – 25 “LED Monitor (UltraWide 21: 9).
  • LG 29UM68 – 29 “IPS Monitor (2560 x 1080p, 250 cd / m2, 1 ms).
  • Acer CB290C 29 “Black Full HD – Monitor (LED, IPS, 2560 x 1080 Pixels).
  • LG 29UC88-B – 29 “curved panoramic monitor with IPS Full HD display (Resolution: 2560 x 1080 pixels, 21: 9, 5 ms format, brightness 300 cd / m2, FreeSync) .
  • LG 34UM69G-B – 87 cm Gaming monitor (34 inches, WFHD IPS, 2560 x 1080 pixels, 5 ms, 21: 9, 250 cd / m2, AMD FreeSync) .
  • Samsung S29E790C – 29 “monitor (LED, 2560 x 1080, 4 ms, DisplayPort).
  • LG 34UM67-P – 34 “IPS (ultrawide 21: 9, Gaming, WQHD 2560 x 1080 pixels Resolution).
  • BenQ XR3501 – 35 “curved monitor (4 ms, 2560 x 1080 pixels).
  • HP Envy 34c Media Display – 34 “IPS Curved Monitor, 3440 x 1440 pixels.
  • NEC MultiSync EA294WMi – IPS with 29 inches and resolution of 2560 x 1080 pixels.
  • Samsung S34E790C – 34 “IPS monitor with 3440 x 1440 pixels.
  • Samsung C34F791WQU – 34 “LED UltraWide Curved QHD FreeSync.
  • Acer Predator Z35. Gaming 35-inch, with WQHD resolution (2560 × 1080 pixels), Refresh Rate 144Hz, G-Sync.
  • DELL UltraSharp U3417W – Monitor (86.36 cm (34 “), 5 ms, 300 cd / m², 18W, Black, 100 x 100 mm).
  • Acer Predator Z35P – 35 inches Curved and resolution of 3440 x 1440 pixels.
  • Acer XR341CK – 34 “1440 x 3440 pixels Monitor.
  • Acer Predator X34 – 34 “1440 x 3440 with bent panel IPS Monitor.
  • ASUS PG348Q – 34 “Monitor (WLED, IPS, HDMI 3440 x 1440, G-Sync.
  • LG 38UC99-W, 38-inch IPS with a resolution of 3840 x 1600 pixels.