If you’re in the market for a fantastic all-round display, there’s nothing quite like Dell’s Ultrathin USB-C monitor. It’s super-thin and looks fantastic for a great price. Even our reviewers, who’ve tested more than 100 displays over the years, can’t find much fault in it.
But if you have something more specific in mind, like a great 4K display, or something more suited for gaming, we’ve got you covered. Read on below to find the best monitor for you.
The best monitors for 2019 at a glance
The best monitor: Dell Ultrathin USB-C
Dan Baker/Digital TrendsWhy you should buy this: It’s a gorgeous screen with a super thin frame and bezels, at an extremely attractive price.
Who it’s for: Just about anyone, but it’d be perfect in a home or work office.
Why we picked the Dell Ultrathin USB-C:
When you break a mold, it doesn’t mean you can’t borrow from others. Dell’s Ultrathin USB-C monitor (otherwise known as the S2719DC) borrowed from its design choices in the laptop space and made something truly special. Resembling an expansive XPS 13, the 27 Ultrathin lives up to its name with miniature bezels and a slimline frame that lets this screen sit on any desk no matter how much space you have.
Although there are some USB-A ports and an HDMI alternative, this display draws on modern laptops for its connector focus too: USB-C. That single cable can charge and draw video from a connected laptop, making this a great accessory for frequent notebook users.
It’s only 1440p, but that’s hardly a problem for the professional focus of such a screen and it helps keep the cost as low as it is. There is HDR support, which makes watching films and shows with support for that color standard a real treat. That’s backed up by fantastic color accuracy and wide support for various color gamuts, including 100 percent of the sRGB spectrum.
Read our full Dell Ultrathin USB-C review
The best ultrawide monitor: LG 34WK95U
Riley Young/Digital TrendsWhy you should buy this: It’s expensive, but LG’s 34-inch ultrawide is stunning to look at and stands head and shoulders above most other big-screen displays.
Who it’s for: Those who want a huge multi-monitor experience without the bezels.
Why we picked the LG 34WK95U:
This 34-inch display is jam-packed full of pixels thanks to its 5K, 5,120 x 2,160 resolution and what LG describes as a “Nano-IPS”screen type. That means it is able to offer a wider color gamut than almost any monitor we’ve ever come across. Its color accuracy is second-to none as well, and with HDR enhancement there are few displays that can even approach how good this one looks.
Although its contrast ratio is beaten by some of its ultrawide contemporaries, 770:1 in our testing is hardly bad and with a brightness of 409 nits, it gets plenty white and plenty dark as and when needed. Games and media of all sorts look fantastic on this display and even if you’re working on it, the crispness and clarity of everything on screen is a sight to behold. If you want a head turning display, this is it.
Better yet, the LG34WK95U is actually easy to use. Its out-of-the-box calibration is excellent, and the menus are simple and intuitive. It’s an all-round pleasure to use. We do miss any sort of adaptive sync technologies and the 60Hz refresh rate might turn off high-end gamers, but for everyone else, if you can stomach the high-price, it’s well worth it.
Read our full LG 34WK95U review
The best gaming monitor: Asus ROG Swift PG279Q
Why you should buy this: It hits the specification sweet spot: 1440p, 165Hz refresh rate, and Nvidia’s G-Sync.
Who it’s for: Gamers with Nvidia graphics cards.
What we thought of the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q:
For gamers, once you get above 1080p resolution, we believe the best investment is in a faster display and the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q is fast by anyone’s measure. With a refresh rate of 165Hz, it can handle whatever your high-powered graphics card can put out. While there are some displays out there that hit 240Hz, this 1440p, 165Hz monitor is right in the sweet spot of being affordable and fantastically competitive with the best gaming screens in the world — and we think it comes out on top.
This makes it perfect for high-speed esports games where a high refresh rate can reduce input lag and make you that little bit faster than your opponents. You’re unlikely to hit such high frame rates in AAA games, but you might do in the future if you upgrade your GPU, so there is some future proofing in a screen like this. It will look smooth and vibrant for years.
Those individual frames look great too, with solid image quality and crisp visuals thanks to the decent resolution and contrast ratio. G-Sync helps keep screen tears at bay, but if you’re an AMD GPU user you could always opt for the cheaper and identically specced MG279Q. While there are better displays out there for watching movies or working, there’s few that can hold a candle to this screen and none that can match its value for money with this feature set.
Read Our full Asus ROG Swift PG279Q review
The best 4K monitor: Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q
Why you should buy this: It’s a beautiful display in a lean frame, with an impressively sharp screen.
Who it’s for: Media viewers who want that 4K, HDR pop and detail.
Why we picked the Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q:
One of our favorite 4K displays for some time, the Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q might not be the largest screen out there, but at 27-inches and 4K resolution, it packs an enormous range of pixels inside a compact frame making for an exceptionally crisp picture. When combined with great HDR support and a huge 1,300:1 contrast ratio, this monitor looks stunning no matter what you’re doing on it. Dell also offers a model in a 32-inch model, the U3219Q, though it’s a few hundred dollars more expensive.
It’s not designed, though, with gaming in mind. It lacks a high refresh-rate, but the 60Hz is enough for gamers playing slower games who want the added detail of 4K. You won’t need the world’s most powerful graphics card to run it maxed out either.
All of its strong features are available at a price that’s not out of this world, so you needn’t break the bank just to get yourself a great 4K screen.
The best 32-inch monitor: BenQ EX3203R
Why you should buy this: 32-inches is a lot of screen space but BenQ packs it with solid features and a beautiful panel. And it’s pretty affordable.
Who it’s for: Gamers and anyone who wants masses of screen space for their next project.
Why we picked the BenQ EX3203R:
As the prices of high resolution screens have come down, so have the prices of larger displays. A few years ago 32-inches of screen space would have cost you a fortune, but today an excellent display like the BenQ EX3203R is exceedingly affordable. It offers 32-inches of screen space with a respectable resolution of 2,560 x 1,440p (the gaming sweet spot) and a high refresh-rate of 144Hz.
As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also HDR support, an immersive, 1800R curvature, and FreeSync 2 for kicking screen tearing and stuttering to the curb. This is a monitor that ticks so many boxes we’re not entirely sure which category to put it in, but considering its impressive size and stature, best 32-incher seems like a great fit.
This monitor is fantastic for gaming and working, with excellent color support and popping blacks and whites thanks to HDR support. You can even power it on a single USB-C cable if you want to keep your desk tidy.
Considering the price, the frame and stand look pretty great too. What’s not to like about this affordable monster?
The best curved monitor: Samsung CF791
Bill Roberson/Digital TrendsWhy you should buy this: It’s huge, immersive whether gaming or working, and the picture quality is fantastic.
Who it’s for: Those who want a fantastic multi-monitor experience without dividing bezels.
Why we picked the Samsung CF791:
At 34-inches wide, the Samsung CF791 isn’t the largest ultrawide in the world, but it’s easily our favorite. With fantastic picture quality, pro-gaming features like a high-refresh rate (100Hz) and AMD FreeSync support, it’s great whether you’re blasting enemies or just working on a few spreadsheets at once. At 3,440 x 1,440 resolution it’s not quite 4K, but it’s more than detailed enough for a gorgeous, crisp look and feel no matter what you’re using it for.
Right out of the box, the colors and contrast are nearly pitch-perfect. It also hits a 940:1 contrast ratio without any calibration, and delivers nearly perfect color accuracy after calibration; The CF791 was full of surprises during our review. It consistently outperformed the competition and our expectations. Games look great, movies look great, and it even enhances day-to-day productivity.
Samsung’s Quantum Dot technology helps a lot in all cases, delivering fantastic contrast ratio and color depth that is hard to beat on even far more expensive displays. You may run into a few issues finding compatible media content on platforms like Netflix or Amazon video, but for just about everything else, this ultrawide steals the show. It’s been a head turner in our offices since it arrived.
It’s a little pricey, but you get what you pay for, which in this case is a hell of a lot of screen that looks fantastic.
Read our full Samsung CF791 review
The best budget monitor: Dell S2319HN
Why you should buy this: It’s a great 23-inch screen that looks great at 1080p, for an even more attractive price.
Who it’s for: Anyone on a tight budget who doesn’t need more than 1080p.
Why we picked the Dell S2319HN:
The 1080p resolution isn’t the holy grail of PC usage as it once was, but it can still look good on the right screen and the Dell S2319HN is such a display. It’s incredibly affordable, often approaching mere double digit pricing in sales, which for a 23-inch screen, even in 2019, is a steal. It’s a reliable all-around choice for a home office or a dorm-room desktop. If you just want a monitor that will work well — but more importantly won’t cost you an arm and a leg — look no further.
But the Dell S2319HN isn’t just a good budget monitor, it’s a good monitor overall. Alongside its respectable resolution at this size and price, it also has a great contrast ratio of 1,000:1 — better than some of the far more expensive displays on this list. Its response time of just 5ms means it should perform well as a gaming display too.
For such a budget monitor, too, it has impressively thin bezels and a lightweight stand that won’t take up too much desk space. If you’re looking for a good all-around monitor, but you don’t want to make the jump to 4K or invest in an ultrawide, this is a great pick.
If you need a little more screen space, there are also 24 and 27-inch versions that don’t cost too much more.
Research and buying tips
What brand monitor is the best?
No one monitor brand makes all the best monitors in the world — that’s why this list is populated by a number of different manufacturers. That said, there are some that you can rely on more than most to produce great screens. Dell is a longstanding favorite of ours with years of fantastic displays under its belt. It also tends to cater well to the professional crowd just as much as gamers, so you know there will be something you like in its lineup.
Other noteworthy brands worth considering include Asus, which tends to produce some of the worlds best gaming screens; Samsung, which offers some of the best ultrawide screens and large size monitors we’ve ever seen, and LG, which has a good all-round catalog of displays.
What size computer monitor is the best?
This very much depends on the resolution you’re targeting and how much desk space you have. While bigger does tend to look better, giving you more screen space for work and larger images for games and movies, they can stretch entry-level resolutions like 1080p to the limits of their clarity. Big screens also require more room on your desk, so we’d caution buying a massive ultrawide like the Samsung CHG90 if you’re working or playing on a small trolly desk.
As a quick rule of thumb, 1080p looks great up to about 24-inches, while 1440p looks good up to and beyond 30 inches. We wouldn’t recommend a 4K screen any smaller than 27-inches as you aren’t going to see the real benefit of those extra pixels in what is a relatively small space by that resolution.
Are 4K monitors good for gaming?
They can be. 4K offers the pinnacle of gaming detail and in atmospheric games can give you a whole new level of immersion, especially on larger displays that can fully display that mass of those pixels in all their glory. That said, we feel that high refresh rate monitors can deliver a better experience and unless you have the deep pockets to splash out on a powerful graphics card or two as well, you aren’t going to get those frame rates at 4K. A 27-inch, 1440p display like the Asus PG279Q is still the sweet spot.
Also keep in mind monitor performance is now often linked to framerate management technologies like FreeSync and G-Sync, so watch for these technologies and compatible graphics cards when making gaming monitor decisions.
Which is better: LCD or LED?
The short answer is, they’re both the same. The longer answer is that this is a failure of company marketing in properly conveying what its products are. Today most monitors that use LCD technology are backlit with LEDs, so typically if you’re buying a monitor it’s both an LCD and LED display. For more of an explanation on LCD and LED technologies, we have a whole guide dedicated to it.
That said, there are OLED displays to consider, although these panels haven’t made an impact on the desktop market yet. OLED screens combine color and light into a single panel, famed for its vibrant colors and contrast ratio. While that technology has been making waves in televisions for a few years now, they’re only just starting to make a tentative step into the world of desktop monitors, like the massive Alienware 55-inch OLED display we got our hands on at CES 2019.