With working from home becoming a permanent staple for many, finding the best computer monitor is more important than ever. Meanwhile, many PC components are still suffering depressing shortages, making a screen upgrade one of the easiest and most impactful changes you can make to your gaming rig right now too.
But in order to pick the best computer monitor, these are a few basic things you should consider first.
- What’s your monitor’s purpose? Generally speaking, if it’s gaming, you’ll want something with a high refresh rate (ideally 100Hz or greater), low response time and AMD FreeSync or Nvidia G-Sync for fighting screen tears at low framerates. For general use, look for high contrast, and for creative work prioritize color accuracy.
- What resolution do you want? More pixels means a sharper image. No one should be buying anything under 1080p/FHD (1920 x 1080), but if your budget can handle it, 4K is as sharp as it gets at a reasonable price. Many gamers find 1440p/QHD (2560 x 1440) is a good compromise between price and high-refresh rate performance.
- Contrast and color. We consider contrast the most important factor in image quality, with 1,000:1 being solid. Color errors are particularly important for creatives, and anything with a Delta E (dE) greater than 3 may show visible errors.
- Panel tech: When it comes to image quality, TN < IPS < VA. VA monitors typically still have better contrast than even the best IPS panels; although IPS panels are also known to be very colorful.
- What size do you want? These days, 24-inches is on the small side and 27 inches is mainstream while 32-inches is a good large size for those on a budget. Anything bigger than 43 inches probably won’t fit on a regular desktop. For portable monitors , stay in the 17-inch range or under.
- sRGB or DCI-P3? for the most part, you’ll either be getting a monitor made in the sRGB color space or the more colorful DCI-P3 one. Technically, Windows, the web and non-HDR games and video use sRGB, but if you want an extra colorful screen, an accurate DCI-P3 monitor is more appropriate.
Earning a 5-star rating from Tom's Hardware, the Samsung Odyssey G7 32-inch is the best computer monitor. For gamers, it boasts the strongest curve currently available, 1000R, for amazing immersion, along with speedy gaming numbers. The 240Hz monitor has a 1ms (GTG) response time and put up a 5ms response time score in our testing, beating some 165Hz screens by 2ms. Benchmarking showed input lag at 20ms, a full 6-10ms faster than some 165Hz screens we’ve tested, including the Dell S3220DGF also on this page.
This is also a strong work monitor. Its 32-inch panel offers plenty of height for productivity, like working on long spreadsheets in a way that’s easier than on a 32-inch ultrawide. And at 2-3 foot viewing distance we don't have any distortion issues with that dramatic curve. Just be sure to bring your own audio because, despite the price, there are no speakers here.
No matter what you use the G7 for, you can expect strong image quality backed by 2,201:1 contrast out of the box, as well as accurate DCI-P3 color.
Balancing speed and resolution while delivering fantastic contrast and accurate color, the Dell S3220DGF is the best computer monitor for gaming for the typical player, and the 32-inch size is also great for productivity. The S3220DGF’s 165Hz refresh rate and 4ms (GTG) response time helped it compete well with other 165Hz screens in response time and input lag.
Since this isn’t the fastest or largest monitor with the highest resolution, it ends up being a good value, typically going for under $450. But you still get FreeSync Premium Pro for fighting screen tears (we also got it to run G-Sync Compatibility, although it’s not certified), an 1800R curve to add to the immersion and HDR support that stands above the vast majority of gaming monitors that throw in HDR these days, thanks to a more premium edge-lit backlight.
As expected of a VA panel, contrast is impressive (3,783:1 before calibration, based on our testing), and you get accurate DCI-P3 color too. But without an sRGB mode, color purists may wish for less saturated color.
For more gaming recommendations, see our Best Gaming Monitors list.
More: Dell S3220DGF review
With a 1ms (GTG) response time and 144Hz refresh rate, the LG 27GN950-B is the best computer monitor for 4K gaming. If you’ve got the graphics card, ideally one of the best graphics cards, you need to handle 144 frames per second (fps) at 4K, this monitor will make sure that power doesn’t go to waste. In our testing, the monitor showed a 7ms response time, keeping up with pricier 4K, 144Hz screens, like the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ and even beating some when it came to input lag. Plus, FreeSync Premium Pro and G-Sync Compatibility will fight screen tears for those times when framerates drop below 48 fps.
Although VA panels are known for their high contrast, this IPS monitor can hold its own, hitting 1,034.7 before calibration and 8,475.3:1 with HDR, based on our benchmarks. Those who want the most accurate color may find the sRGB mode too saturated, but the 27GN950-B proved accurate when it came to the more colorful DCI-P3 space.
For more top-of-the-line 4K gaming screens, visit our Best 4K Gaming Monitors page.
More: LG 27GN950-B review
eSports players and hopefuls rely on the fastest peripherals available to attenuate the delay between deciding on an in-game action and when that action happens on screen. 360 Hz is the fastest refresh rate PC monitors have today, and the MSI Oculux NXG253R is the fastest of them all. Yes, the NXG253R is the fastest display we’ve ever tested, making it the best computer monitor for eSports you can buy.
The NXG253R outperformed other 360 Hz monitors by 1-3ms, (depending on the rival screen), in our absolute input lag test. It also matched all its 360 Hz rivals in our response time test with a 3ms score. The monitor also fights screen tears down to a 1 Hz refresh rate with G-Sync and includes the Nvidia Reflex latency analyzer to help fine-tune your eSports performance further.
You don’t get DCI-P3 color, but sRGB color reproduction is accurate with an error of just 2.27 dE before calibration. Contrast is also impressive for an IPS panel (1,190.6:1) and, thanks to a variable backlight, massive with HDR content (7,972.5:1).
If you want an affordable screen with a lot of pixels, the Samsung UR59C is the best budget 4K monitor for you. The VA panel delivers contrast (2590.5:1 after calibration) that made everything from photos to videos to games look better. With a 60 Hz refresh rate, 4ms (GTG) response and no FreeSync or G-Sync, this is clearly not a high-end gaming monitor. But casual gamers can make do, thanks to the combination of high pixel density and high contrast keeping games looking realistic.
Curves are generally more effective on ultrawide screens, but the UR59C’s 1500R curvature was effective and beneficial for this 32-incher, such when multitasking with multiple windows. And if you don’t mind calibrating, you can get rid of the UR59C pesky color errors, which, unfortunately, were visible out of the box. Our calibration settings reduced the error from 4.3dE to 0.9dE.
Interested in more high-res, low-price displays? Check out our Best Budget 4K Monitors round-up.
More: Samsung UR59C review
Making HDR pop over SDR is all about contrast, and for the ultimate contrast, there’s nothing better than OLED. The Aorus FO48U’s massive OLED panel not only delivers immeasurably high contrast, but we recorded 107.7% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space and near-flawless grayscale tracking. You get a rich image that’s also accurate out of the box. However, it’s not as bright as a premium LCD, (399 nits with HDR, according to our testing).
Aorus’ OLED monitor is fit for high-speed HDR gaming on both PCs and consoles, thanks to DisplayPort 1.4 with Display Stream Compression (DSC) and HDMI 2.1, respectively. The monitor held its own against 120Hz and 144Hz rivals in our speed tests, only falling 4ms behind its OLED gaming rival, the Alienware AW5520QF. Note that you don’t get Dolby Vision or support for the 50p and 24p TV formats, but the monitor is equipped with two 15W speakers and one 20w speaker for great audio quality.
With a Mini-LED backlight that only very expensive OLED monitors can top, the Asus ProArt PA32UCX is the best HDR monitor we’ve tested, delivering better HDR quality than any standard LED monitor can muster while still offering an attainable 32-inch size that could fit on a desk. With 4K resolution, accurate color and support for the major HDR categories, there’s nothing else you can ask for. In fact, we had nary a con to share about this monitor when we did our initial testing.
You can get better HDR contrast from Alienware’s OLED monitor (theoretically infinite versus the Asus’ 569,629:1). And at over $4,000 this is a pricey monitor that is marketed more toward professional users.
But until Mini-LED or OLED become cheaper in more desk-ready sizes, this is the ultimate PC monitor for HDR. For more options, check out our article on how to choose the best HDR monitor.
A lot of us are finding ourselves working in tight spaces these days. If you’re looking to add another screen to your space, the Lenovo ThinkVision M14 is the best portable monitor. Its most standout feature is a critical one: a reliable, strong kickstand that’s easy to use, thanks to two flip-out feet. While many portable monitors are stuck with flimsy sleeves that double as stands, you can intuitively prop up the ThinkVision M14 at -5 to 90 degree tilt or even in portrait mode. Unfortunately, its travel case isn’t as tough.
With 244 nits max brightness and 98% coverage of the sRGB color space, according to our benchmarks, the ThinkVision M14 is perfect for surfing the web or watching a movie in SDR. USB-C connectivity, meanwhile, means it won’t run out of battery when plugged into a laptop. It can also deliver as much as 65W of power to a device if plugged into a wall adapter too. But those whose PC or device, such as a Raspberry Pi, doesn’t have a USB-C port with DisplayPort 1.2 Alt Mode and USB PD 2.0 or better will be out of luck.
If you prefer a touchscreen portable monitor, check out the touch version of the M14 via our Lenovo ThinkVision M14t review.
With a 240Hz refresh rate, 3ms (GTG) response time and even FreeSync, the Asus ROG XG17AHPE stands high above the competition and easily snags the best portable gaming monitor crown.
However, the XG17AHPE is as expensive as it is unique. In fact, you can buy a much larger desktop-sized monitor with the same amount of speed for cheaper than this over-$400 17.3-incher. And the origami-style cover Asus includes isn’t sufficient for protecting this expensive piece of hardware or providing a reliable stand.
But the XG17AHPE also delivers strong side viewing angles, a lot of brightness (285.6 nits) and a surprising amount of color (109.5% sRGB). There are also a lot of connectivity options, making it easy to tether it to everything from your laptop to your Raspberry Pi.
More: Asus ROG XG17AHPE review
The HP Omen X 65 Emperium isi the best computer monitor to replace your living room TV. First, it’s massive. It also comes with a remote and powerful audio that’ll fill your space, thanks to four 4-inch woofers, two 1-inch tweeters and a pair of passive radiators. The inclusion of Nvidia Shield means access to the apps you’d want on a smart TV, including Netflix and YouTube, plus access to hundreds of free games.
This is also a top-of-the-line gaming monitor. It fell just 1ms behind smaller 144Hz rivals in our response time test and even beat a 144Hz alternative during input lag testing.
Image quality, rather enjoying SDR or HDR, is also highly impressive. Contrast is an impressive 4,463 with but can go higher with a variable backlight and hit 52,141:1 with HDR.
If you want something a little smaller and cheaper, the Alienware AW5520QF is excellent and offers even higher contrast with its OLED panel but is much dimmer than the Omen X 65 Emperium.