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Best Computer Monitors 2021

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Best Computer Monitors
Now's a great time to get the best computer monitor for your rig. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

As working from home becomes the new normal and permanent for many, finding the best computer monitor is more important than ever. After all, you want to see all the quality from your coworkers' best webcams, right? And while many PC components are still suffering depressing shortages, making a screen upgrade is one of the easiest and most impactful changes you can make to your gaming rig right now. 

Below, we list the best computer monitors across various categories, from gaming to budget 4K and HDR

But before diving into the deep end in a quest for the best computer monitor for you, there are a few basic things you should consider first. 

  • What’s your monitor’s purpose? If it’s gaming, you’ll generally want something with a high refresh rate (ideally 100Hz or more), 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) these days. 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) 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 avoid for content creators, 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. Anything bigger isn't really all that portable.
  • sRGB or DCI-P3? In most cases, you’ll either be getting a monitor made for the sRGB color space or the more colorful DCI-P3 one. Technically, Windows, the web and non-HDR games and video all use sRGB, but if you want an extra colorful screen, an accurate DCI-P3 monitor is more appropriate.

Earning a perfect score, Samsung's Odyssey G7 is one of the best computer monitors available.  (Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung Odyssey G7 32-Inch

Best Computer Monitor Overall

Specifications
Screen Size / Aspect Ratio: 32 inches / 16:9
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Refresh Rate: 240Hz
Panel Type: VA
Adaptive-Sync: FreeSync Premium Pro
Reasons to buy
+Size and shape ideal for gaming or work+Low input lag+Accurate color without calibration
Reasons to avoid
-No speakers

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 incredible 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. In addition, 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 a 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.

More: Samsung Odyssey G7 32-Inch review

With speed and value, the Dell S3220DGF is the best computer monitor for most players.  (Image credit: Dell)

2. Dell S3220DGF

Best Computer Monitor for Gaming

Specifications
Screen Size / Aspect Ratio: 32 inches / 16:9
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Refresh Rate: 165Hz
Panel Type: VA
Adaptive-Sync: FreeSync Premium Pro
Reasons to buy
+High contrast+Color-accurate
Reasons to avoid
-No sRGB mode-No gamma presets

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. In addition, the S3220DGF’s 165 Hz refresh rate and 4ms (GTG) response time helped it compete well with other 165 Hz 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.

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

144Hz and high contrast make's LG's 27GN950-B excellent for 4K gaming.  (Image credit: LG)

3. LG 27GN950-B

Best Computer Monitor for 4K Gaming

Specifications
Screen Size / Aspect Ratio: 27 inches / 16:9
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Refresh Rate: 144Hz
Panel Type: IPS
Adaptive-Sync: G-Sync Compatible, FreeSync Premium Pro
Reasons to buy
+Local dimming produces VA-like contrast+Wide and accurate color gamut+Fast and responsive
Reasons to avoid
-Oversaturated sRGB mode

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 ensure 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

MSI's Oculux NXG253R is the fastest computer monitor we've ever seen.  (Image credit: MSI)

4. MSI Oculux NXG253R

Best Computer Monitor for eSports

Specifications
Screen Size & Aspect Ratio: 24.5 inches / 16:9
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Panel Type: IPS
Refresh Rate: 360 Hz
Response Time (GTG): 1ms
Adaptive-Sync: G-Sync
Reasons to buy
+Good contrast with variable backlight+Incredibly smooth and fast
Reasons to avoid
-No extended color-No speakers

eSports players and hopefuls rely on the fastest peripherals available to attenuate the delay between deciding on 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). 

More: MSI Oculux NXG253R review

Samsung's UR59C is an affordable curved 4K monitor with premium image quality.   (Image credit: Samsung)

5. Samsung UR59C

Best Budget 4K Computer Monitor

Specifications
Screen Size / Aspect Ratio: 32 inches / 16:9
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Panel Type: VA
Adaptive-Sync: None
Reasons to buy
+Quality build+Effective curvature
Reasons to avoid
-No USB ports-Needs calibration

If you want an affordable screen with many pixels, the Samsung UR59C is the best budget 4K monitor for you. The VA panel delivers contrast (2590.5:1 after calibration), making everything from photos to videos to games look better. This is clearly not a high-end gaming monitor with a 60 Hz refresh rate, 4ms (GTG) response, and no FreeSync or G-Sync. 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 as 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.

Are you interested in more high-res, low-price displays? Check out our Best Budget 4K Monitors round-up.

More: Samsung UR59C review

A big OLED panel makes for amazing HDR gaming.  (Image credit: Aorus)

6. Aorus FO48U 4K OLED

Best Computer Monitor for HDR Gaming

Specifications
Screen Size & Aspect Ratio: 47.5 inches / 16:9
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Panel Type: OLED
Refresh Rate: 120Hz
Response Time (GTG): 1ms
Adaptive-Sync: FreeSync Premium
Reasons to buy
+Stunning image with deep contrast+Over 100% coverage of DCI-P3 color
Reasons to avoid
-Not as bright as a premium LCD-No Dolby Vision

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. As a result, 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. Unfortunately, you don’t get Dolby Vision or support for the 50p and 24p TV formats, but the monitor has two 15W speakers and one 20w speaker for outstanding audio quality. 

For more on ensuring your HDR upgrade is noticeable, read about how to choose the best HDR monitor.

More: Aorus FO48U review

With Mini LED tech, this is the best computer monitor for enjoying HDR. (Image credit: Asus)

7. Asus ProArt PA32UCG

Best Computer Monitor for HDR

Specifications
Screen Size / Aspect Ratio: 32 inches / 16:9
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Refresh Rate: 120Hz
Panel Type: IPS
Adaptive-Sync: FreeSync, G-Sync Compatible
Reasons to buy
+Phenomenal, accurate image quality in all respects+Dolby Vision support (with firmware update)+1,600-nit, 1,152-zone backlight
Reasons to avoid
-'Only' 120 Hz refresh 

Asus has gone all out with the ProArt PA32UCG, combining 1152 dimming zones in its full-array Mini-LED backlight. A quantum dot film covers a considerable color gamut, almost 78% of Rec.2020. And it is the brightest monitor we’ve ever tested at over 1700 nits peak. To that, it adds precise out-of-box accuracy for every color mode in use today. Though it includes many calibration options and a bundled colorimeter, it’s ready for work or play, with no tweaking necessary.

And unlike its predecessors in this league, the refresh rate isn't locked at 60 Hz. The ProArt PA32UCG brings FreeSync and G-Sync compatibility along with a 120 Hz refresh rate. If you need 144 Hz, you can do it over DisplayPort in the PA32UCG’s Rendering Mode. And its HDR support is complete as well. Many monitors deliver HDR10, but the ProArt is one of the very few to add Dolby Vision. Sure, the $5,000 price tag pushes this screen out of most people's price range, but if you're looking for the monitor that makes HDR content look its best while also being great for media creation and a little high-refresh gaming on the side, this monitor has no rival.

More: Asus ProArt PA32UCG review

The ThinkVision M14 stands out with two reliable built-in stands.  (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

8. Lenovo ThinkVision M14

Best Portable Monitor

Specifications
Screen Size / Aspect Ratio: 14 inches / 16:9
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Panel Type: IPS
Adaptive-Sync: None
Reasons to buy
+Sturdy kickstand and flip-out foot with good resistance+Slim and lights
Reasons to avoid
-Flimsy sleeve-USB-C (DisplayPort 1.2 Alt Mode) only

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 a -5 to 90-degree tilt or even in portrait mode. Unfortunately, its travel case isn’t as tough.

According to our benchmarks, with 244 nits max brightness and 98% coverage of the sRGB color space, 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. 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 portable touchscreen monitor, check out the touch version of the M14 via our Lenovo ThinkVision M14t review.

More: Lenovo ThinkVision M14 review

When it comes to portable gaming, this screen has no equal.  (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

9. Asus ROG XG17AHPE

Best Portable Gaming Monitor

Specifications
Screen Size / Aspect Ratio: 17.3 inches
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Refresh Rate: 240Hz
Panel Type: IPS
Adaptive-Sync: FreeSync
Reasons to buy
+HDMI, USB-C and USB-A connectivity+Easy-to-access OSD with many options
Reasons to avoid
-More expensive than a good 240 Hz desktop monitor-Questionable origami stand

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 many connectivity options, making it easy to tether it to everything from your laptop to your Raspberry Pi.

More: Asus ROG XG17AHPE review

A 64.5-inch panel and powerful audio are great for living rooms.  (Image credit: HP)

10. HP Omen X 65 Emperium

Best Computer Monitor for the Living Room

Specifications
Screen Size / Aspect Ratio: 64.5 inches / 16:9
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Refresh Rate: 144Hz
Panel Type: VA
Adaptive-Sync: G-Sync
Reasons to buy
+Excellent SDR and HDR contrast+Built-in soundbar delivers excellent audio quality+Pro-level color accuracy
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive 

The HP Omen X 65 Emperium is 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, whether enjoying SDR or HDR, is also impressive. Contrast is an impressive 4,463 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. 

More: HP Omen X 65 Emperium review 

Scharon Harding

Scharon Harding has a special affinity for gaming peripherals (especially monitors), laptops and virtual reality. Previously, she covered business technology, including hardware, software, cyber security, cloud and other IT happenings, at Channelnomics, with bylines at CRN UK.

  • Sergei Tachenov
    What, no 24" monitors or 1080p (except compact ones)? Not even in the “best monitor for competitive gaming” category?
    Reply
  • Endre
    Admin said:
    We break down the best computer monitors for upgrading your setup in 2021.

    Best Computer Monitors 2021 : Read more

    I really like that list (especially the Asus ProArt 32” monitor).

    I own a ViewSonic VP2768-4K, which is a very good monitor too.
    Reply
  • Soaptrail
    Sergei Tachenov said:
    What, no 24" monitors or 1080p (except compact ones)? Not even in the “best monitor for competitive gaming” category?

    Also missing a best Ultra Wide choice.
    Reply
  • AZRainman
    You need to have separate categories for Freesync and G-Sync monitors.
    Reply
  • Soaptrail
    AZRainman said:
    You need to have separate categories for Freesync and G-Sync monitors.

    Unless they do just Freesync since Nvidia supports both.
    Reply
  • Niglodonicus
    Yeah, this list is pretty thoroughly clueless. Samsung is notorious for making hypebeast garbage with terrible QC, and your #1 monitor is no exception. AND it's curved? How about a budget category?
    Reply
  • maik80
    Scharon Harding you never used the Pro XDR Display? Use it and make the list again
    Reply
  • stefanuyt
    Sergei Tachenov said:
    What, no 24" monitors or 1080p (except compact ones)? Not even in the “best monitor for competitive gaming” category?
    same here..
    I work from home (I'm a programmer). I use 2 monitors (also at work).
    What can I do with such big monitors? I now have two 22inch monitors. Looking to replace them...
    But 32 inch??? Then I need to buy a new desk too :(
    I guess 24inch in also good, but bigger is too big
    Reply
  • Sleepy_Hollowed
    Zero ultra wides? I know there only like two or three manufacturers offering those but yikes.
    Reply
  • dotScience
    Another waste-of-my-time review from Tom's HW: there's already a second article on gaming monitors ... but, all the monitors in this review are for gaming, and are reviewed in terms of gaming, or watching video.

    Does anyone at TH have a clue that there are people who use monitors many hours per day for reading, surfing, working with spreadsheets and text editors, and, that what is critical for that type of usage is legibility of text ?

    For those of us using high-end software for digital graphics and design, color space coverage is critical, and, curved monitors are ,,, out.

    This article, so typical of TH's focus on gaming, and its uncoordinated editorial content, is a good example of why I rarely visit the site. Years ago, TH was at theotip of my must-browse list.
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    I bought a 27" 16:10 recently for a programing station. It's a better ratio for productivity and deserves a spot too.

    32" is pretty big at first but once but once you have it you won't want to go back. (Just like 2 and then 3 screens!)

    I feel like I can hardly work now with just one screen. Single screen and HDD on a work computer - the problems of the technologically spoiled.
    Reply