34"

Technology is always on the move, and there's no area where that's more evident than in display technology. We've recently put together a report on all the latest in display tech that's just over the horizon, straight from the showfloor at CES 2017. From 4K to high refresh rate to G-Sync to VR, there are plenty of terms to go around, and many of them signify something that's actually relevant to consumers. And as it turns out, there's going to be an increasing convergence of these technologies in 2017, which means several of our favorite picks from last year are on the way out (i.e., discontinued), as pre-production of exciting new models ramps up. In the meantime, our Spring 2017 Buyer's Guide will give you all the top picks of monitors available today, starting at $100 and going all the way up to $1,000!

The models we profile in this guide cater to various users, including home users, office users, designers, and gamers. These include models ranging in size from 21" to 34", and with resolutions of 1920 x 1080, 2560 x 1440, 3440 x 1440, and 3840 x 2160 (4K). But there's more to monitors than just size and resolution. Therefore, we've broken down our picks into two main categories:

  • Home- and Small-Office Monitors: The first seven monitors on our list fit into this category, offering prices, features, and designs for any office environment. They start around $100 and go up to $800. New this season are several 4K monitor from BenQ, along with a new ultra-wide, ultra-curved monitor from Dell, shown above.
  • Gaming Monitors: The last seven monitors on our list are gaming-specific monitors, which feature either frame syncing technology (FreeSync or G-Sync), much higher refresh rates (typically 144Hz), or both. While there are lots of monitors out there that are marketed as gaming monitors, unless they have one of these features, they aren't the real deal.

Frame syncing deserves a bit of additional explanation. This new method of displaying images on screen matches a monitor's refresh rate to frames rendered, rather than refreshing at a locked 60Hz. Sounds simple, but it's actually revolutionary. By eliminating lag and screen tearing caused by too many or too few frames being displayed, frame syncing provides truly fluid images. Once you've tried it, there is no going back, we promise! There are two types: Nvidia's G-Sync, which requires additional hardware in the monitor along with a licensing fee that drives up the price, as well as AMD's FreeSync, which uses capabilities built into the DisplayPort standard. Alas, Nvidia hasn't embraced FreeSync, so you need to pick your monitor based on which GPU you're using, and Nvidia has by far the more powerful series of GPUs. If you're a high-end gamer, you probably have an Nvidia card, but to help out AMD owners, we list the equivalent FreeSync monitor for each G-Sync model we recommend. In either case, these monitors will provide gamers an ultra-smooth viewing experience.

As always, prices are shown in real-time from our preferred vendors in the U.S., along with country-specific links for our readers in Canada, the UK, and Germany. If you decide to purchase any of the models we profile, please support this site by using the links we provide.

Monitors - Spring 2017

    The 21.5-inch Entry-Level Monitor:

    Acer S220HQL

    This 21.5" screen offers a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080, which will provide very sharp images. It also happens to be one of the least expensive 1080p monitors available, giving you a significant amount of screen real estate at very low cost. Overall, you get a sleek, energy-efficient, compact monitor that still offers plenty of pixels, making it easier to get work done, enjoy movies, or play games versus competing monitors that only offer a resolution of 1680 x 1050.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model can accept DVI or VGA inputs. To reduce costs, it does not include an HDMI input, which requires a licensing fee.

    The 23-inch General-Purpose Monitor:

    Asus VS239H-P

    Offering a nice step up in features and size from our entry-level pick, this 1920 x 1080 model is a great pick around the $150 price point. Its 23" screen size is just about ideal for the 1080p resolution, and it has an in-plane switching (IPS) panel for excellent off-angle viewing. It also has a full range of inputs: VGA, DVI, and HDMI. It even ships with VGA and DVI cables in the box. As a bonus, it's backed by the 3-year Asus Rapid Replacement warranty, offering free two-way shipping in the event of trouble.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While this monitor has HDMI, it does not have built-in speakers. It does, however, have a headphone jack for sound output.

    The 23-inch Home Office Monitor:

    Asus PB238Q

    This sleek 1920 x 1080 monitor may not offer greater size than some of the less expensive monitors recommended here, but it adds features that make it a better fit for getting work done. First, it uses a high-quality in-plane switching (IPS) panel, which, unlike the twisted-nematic (TN) panels used in most sub-$200 screens, has ultra-wide viewing angles. That's a big benefit whenever the monitor is not being viewed head-on. Furthermore, it has not just swivel adjustablility, but also tilt and height adjustment to aid in achieving an ergonomic office setup. It can also be viewed in portrait (vertical) mode. Finally, it has a built-in 4-port USB hub, enhancing its functionality, along with built-in speakers, great for general listening when you don't want to clutter your desk with stand-alone speakers.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This monitor includes the full range of inputs, including HDMI, DVI, VGA, and DisplayPort, and includes both a DVI and VGA cable.

    The 24-inch Small Office Monitor:

    Dell UltraSharp U2415

    This stylish 24" model from Dell is ideal for home or small office use. It features an ultra-narrow bezel, zero flicker, and a refined anti-glare coating. But what makes it really special is that you get a resolution of 1920 x 1200, which is extremely rare nowadays, despite its usefulness when actually working on long documents (think Word and Excel here, not YouTube). Yes, it carries a bit of a price premium, so some home users may prefer a less expensive option like the ones listed above, but you won't find better color reproduction or viewing angles anywhere near this price. And in addition, the U2415 has extensive tilt, swivel, and height adjustments, along with portrait mode, making it ideal for just about any office environment. Plus, it's backed by Dell's unbeatable 3-year monitor warranty.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that the "updated" version of the U2415, called the Dell U2417HJ, drops down to a resolution of 1920 x 1080, and for that reason we don't consider it a true replacement for the workhorse U2415.

    The 27-inch 4K Monitor:

    BenQ BL2711U

    While we used to recommend 2560 x 1440 monitors at this pricepoint, 4K on the desktop is finally ready to hit the mainstream! Offering a breathtaking 3840 x 2160 (4K) resolution spread across its mid-sized 27" frame, this model is most definitely worth spending your hard-earned money on. Unlike a lot of earlier 4K models, this one sports a fantastic IPS panel.

    The Guru's Tip:

    It wasn't so long ago that monitors with these specs were going for upwards of $700. Now they've dropped down to the price of 1440p monitors, essentially making such monitors obsolete.

    The 34-inch Widescreen Monitor:

    Dell U3417W

    Dell's follow-up to its class-defining U3415W, the new U3417W boasts a panel with twice the curvature, providing an even more enveloping viewing experience. While 4K monitors have gotten all the press, the new 21:9 screen format is making a name for itself. With a breath-taking 3440 x 1440 IPS panel, this model provides a wholly-different view on the PC experience. It's perfect for gamers who are over (or never jumped on) the multi-monitor craze, and it's also ideal for anyone who needs to work on multiple documents side-by-side.

    The Guru's Tip:

    There are two caveats to consider when choosing an ultra-wide. First, the vertical viewing area is actually smaller than what you'll find on a 27" monitor like those recommended above, as so much of the 34" ends up being in the width. That makes it slightly less useful for scrolling through long documents. Second, ultra-wides require a tremendous amount of desk space. Due to their curvature, you have to sit further back from them than you would a flat screen, and furthermore, due to their weight, they have large stands that tend to extend a bit further forward and backward than stands on smaller monitors. We'd recommend a desk no smaller than 3-feet from front-to-back to achieve a comfortable viewing distance.

    The 32-inch Professional 4K Monitor:

    BenQ PD3200U

    What's that you say? Have a need for only the very best? Well, then, what you ought to be looking at is this 32" 4K beauty from BenQ. It simply has no equal in terms of image quality - with its IPS 10-bit panel, it's able to achieve 100% of the sRGB and Rec. 709 color space, while looking good on the outside too!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Are you a professional content creator? Then step up to BenQ's PV3200PT, which offers hardware color calibration along with color calibration software.

    The 24-inch Mid-Range Gaming Monitor:

    ViewSonic VX2457-MHD

    A few things set this Viewsonic model apart from other monitors in its class. It doesn't offer higher resolution (just the standard 1920 x 1080), but it includes built-in speakers, making it particularly appropriate as a stand-alone monitor for watching streaming video or for gaming (including paired with a game console). It also incorporates cutting-edge AMD FreeSync technology to sync framerates to refresh rates within a specific range (Viewsonic doesn't specify, but it's likely 40-60fps). That makes it perfect for a mid-range AMD Radeon video card, like the Radeon RX480 4GB, which will be able to run most games in that range at maximum settings. It includes VGA and HDMI cables, but if you'd like to use FreeSync, you'll need to buy a separate DisplayPort cable.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Many 24"-class monitors, including this one, are actually 23.6" diagonal.

    The 24-inch 144Hz Gaming Monitor:

    ViewSonic XG2401

    Taking the reins from older 144Hz-capable monitors like the Asus VG248QE and BenQ XL2430T, this cutting-edge model from ViewSonic is the one to beat when it comes to a serious gaming monitor at a bargain price. The most important feature this model has is an ultra-fast 144Hz refresh rate, and take our word for it... if you're a serious gamer, you want that feature. We'd put it right up there with doubling your video card power in terms of the effect it has on gaming. Being a TN-based display, this model doesn't have quite the same viewing angles or color accuracy as an IPS-based display, but it's close, and if you're a gamer, speed is what matters. Also note that unlike most inexpensive TN-based models, this one has a full range of tilt and height adjustments, which any gamer will appreciate.

    The Guru's Tip:

    You get another fantastic feature with this model: AMD's FreeSync. When using AMD Radeon video cards attached via the included DisplayPort cable, you'll have variable refresh rates, leading to ultra-smooth gaming even when framerates drop. Nvidia users need not fear, however, as this is still the best 144Hz 24" monitor in its price range!

    The 24-inch G-Sync Gaming Monitor:

    Acer XB241H

    Enter the next stage in the search for gaming nirvana at a mid-range price: the Acer XB241H. It has the same 1080p resolution and 24" screen size as the model listed above, but adds a critical feature to the mix: G-Sync. Pairing this capable 144Hz panel with an Nvidia-based graphics card will provide a gaming experience unlike any monitor that's come before it. By matching the video card's frame rate to the screen's refresh rate, you'l experience no more blur, no more tearing, and no more lag. Ever. What makes G-Sync so amazing is that you don't actually have to shoot for 144Hz to get smooth gaming. In fact, you'll probably have a better experience at 30-45 frames per second on this monitor than you would at 50-60 frames per second on a standard 60Hz monitor. That being said, we still recommend pairing this monitor with a serious video card, and being that it must be from Nvidia to run G-Sync, the best choice is the EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB SC, which has plenty of grunt to push 1080p. 

    The Guru's Tip:

    Have an AMD Radeon card and want to experience the same thing? Then go for the cheaper ViewSonic model listed above!

    The 27-inch G-Sync Gaming Monitor:

    Dell Gaming S2716DG

    Dell was a bit late to the gaming monitor party, but it's the top manufacturer of high-end displays, so it was bound to get its feet wet eventually. What it delivered is a 2560 x 1440 monitor using a TN panel, fitted with G-Sync capability, just like many of its competitors, but with Dell's typical class-leading fit and finish. If it was going to do this, it was going to do it right! And Dell is one of the few manufacturers to hit this pricepoint with a 1440p G-Sync display, making it a true bargain. To get the most from this monitor, you need a fast Nvidia GPU, like the EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC 8GB

    The Guru's Tip:

    Have an AMD Radeon-based video card? Then go for the Asus MG278Q, a serious bargain for a 144Hz 1440p FreeSync monitor!

    The Gamer's Dream Monitor:

    Acer XB271HU

    The ability to run a high-quality IPS panel beyond 60Hz, let along the 165Hz that this model runs at, was a long-time dream for gamers. Now that dream has become reality. For an ultra-fast gaming experience without the typical TN compromises of poor color and off-angle viewing, this is the monitor you want - and it even has the added benefit of G-Sync, which provides amazing fluidity all the way down to 30fps. With a retail price of $800, this monitor is a serious deal considering all the tech it packs in. The monitor comes with a 1-meter DisplayPort cable. If you need a longer one, buy Accell's high-quality DisplayPort 2-meter cable. Lower-quality cables will cause this and all high-res/high-refresh rate screens to black out from time to time.

    The Guru's Tip:

    A lot of gamers are still mistakenly ordering the older Asus PG278Q - it's not even close to the same thing as the XB271HU due to its inferior TN panel. As for AMD Radeon users, unfortunately, as of our most recent update, all Freeync versions of this IPS monitor have been discontinued.

    The 34-inch Gaming Monitor:

    Acer Predator X34

    Representing the next step in ultra-high-end gaming, the Acer Predator X34 is a tour de force in regards to monitor technology. It uses a high-quality IPS panel, offering a subtle curve and a big 34"-diagonal ultra-wide 3440 x 1440 resolution. But to make it a true gaming monitor, it adds two very significant features: Nvidia's G-Sync technology for matching framerates to refresh rates, along with an incredible 100Hz overclockable refresh rate (up from the standard 60Hz). You'll get buttery-smooth gaming from 30-100Hz, as long as you have an Nvidia video card, like the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB. While Acer includes a 1-meter DisplayPort cable in the box, you may need a longer one. Please take our advice and spend a bit extra on Accell's high-quality DisplayPort 2-meter cable. Lower-quality cables will cause this and all high-res/high-refresh rate screens to black out from time to time.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Have an AMD video card setup? No problem - you can actually save a ton of money going with the Freesync version of this monitor, the Acer XR341CK. It's limited to 75Hz, but otherwise offers a ton of gaming performance for the price.

    The 4K G-Sync Gaming Monitor:

    Acer Predator XB321HK

    Abandoning the TN panels used in first-gen 4K G-Sync displays, you get a full-on IPS panel for top-quality color and viewing angles, along with G-Sync compatibility up to 60Hz. This monitor therefore provides buttery-smooth frame delivery from 30 frames per second on up to 60Hz. This monitor is also available in a 27" version, the XB271HK, in case you'd like something a bit more compact (and a lot cheaper!). Note that with current technology, it's impossible to achieve a refresh rate higher than 60Hz at 4K - 120Hz and above will have to wait until the new DisplayPort 1.4 standard goes mainstream, which will happen in late 2017.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Important note: this model has now been discontinued. As it was the only 32" 4K G-Sync model on the market, there are no alternatives available, unless you buy existing stock from third-party vendors. We suspect this monitor is EOL due to the pending release of a new generation of 4K G-Sync monitors that exceed the 60Hz refresh rate that this and all 4K monitors have been limited to up until now. To learn more about this exciting new development, see our report on The Future of Display Tech from CES 2017.

  1. The 21.5-inch Entry-Level Monitor Acer S220HQL ($94.00)
  2. The 23-inch General-Purpose Monitor Asus VS239H-P ($132.00)
  3. The 23-inch Home Office Monitor Asus PB238Q ($218.00)
  4. The 24-inch Small Office Monitor Dell UltraSharp U2415 ($228.00)
  5. The 27-inch 4K Monitor BenQ BL2711U ($460.00)
  6. The 34-inch Widescreen Monitor Dell U3417W ($776.00)
  7. The 32-inch Professional 4K Monitor BenQ PD3200U ($799.00)
  8. The 24-inch Mid-Range Gaming Monitor ViewSonic VX2457-MHD ($140.00)
  9. The 24-inch 144Hz Gaming Monitor ViewSonic XG2401 ($260.00)
  10. The 24-inch G-Sync Gaming Monitor Acer XB241H ($380.00)
  11. The 27-inch G-Sync Gaming Monitor Dell Gaming S2716DG ($529.00)
  12. The Gamer's Dream Monitor Acer XB271HU ($737.00)
  13. The 34-inch Gaming Monitor Acer Predator X34 ($1020.00)
  14. The 4K G-Sync Gaming Monitor Acer Predator XB321HK ($1397.00)