Choose the best monitor for your needs in 2024. You use it for work purposes. It is for gaming. Use it to access Netflix, YouTube, and your ex’s HBO account. It’s your computer monitor, so it’s important to choose a model that suits you and your needs.
Whether your existing display has reached the end of its useful life or you’ve decided you need to upgrade to take advantage of the latest software, choosing the monitor that best suits your needs is an important decision.
But not everyone is looking for the same thing. Some buyers want a great display, while others prioritize features and connectivity. Then there are a variety of monitor types, from standard flat 1080p screens to impressive 4K ultrawide.
With so many great options out there, it can be easy to get confused, but after reading our comprehensive monitor buying guide, you’ll know exactly what you need.
How to Choose the Best Monitor for Work in 2024?
The first decision most shoppers make is to monitor size. When it comes to computer monitors, you want one that fits comfortably on your desk but still has plenty of screen real estate. These days, I don’t recommend buying a monitor smaller than 22 inches. In most cases, 24 inches will be the standard.
That’s because you can pick up a bunch of screens and they look fantastic at 1080p. There are plenty of cheap 1080p GPUs to choose from at that resolution, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money on the rest of your computer.
But for those who want more, there are plenty of sizes to choose from. Monitors that stretch 27 inches diagonally are becoming increasingly popular, and many affordable options stretch beyond 30 inches.
If you’re looking for an extreme experience, try a nice computer monitor that’s closer to 50 inches, like the very impressive 48-inch LG UltraGear OLED.
You’ll have to sit back and relax on them, but there’s no denying that they look great. Provides the same screen real estate as multiple smaller monitors without a bezel dividing it down the middle.
However, they tend to be expensive, and if you go too wide you’ll have a hard time finding media that can display at close to native resolution, resulting in photos that look stretched or surrounded by black.
Anything between 24 inches and 32 inches is perfectly adequate for most users and tends to be the size preferred by PC gamers.
It makes full use of modern resolutions and color clarity and is suitable for two open web pages at the same time without having to use two monitors, making it convenient for many professionals.
It’s not too expensive for that size unless you go for the top-of-the-line model. Some top-end 32-inch gaming monitors can be quite expensive.PC gaming desktop setup with two monitors and a gaming chair.
These days, there are many screen types to choose from when purchasing a new monitor. Once you’ve decided on the size, the next step is to consider resolution.
1080p was once the gold standard, but today it’s just a baseline. If you can spend a little more, there are a few other options worth considering. This is especially true if you want to improve screen real estate or game visuals.
But resolution isn’t everything about a monitor’s capabilities. Having too high a resolution on a screen that’s too small can often be frustrating because it shrinks all the images and forces you to zoom in on everything to make it easier to read.
If you want reasonable clarity but want to save money or focus on other, more important features, 1080p will do, as long as the monitor you buy isn’t too large. For displays between 21 and 24 inches, 1080p is ideal.
These monitors offer great picture quality and are now competing with 4K, so their prices are rock bottom. But if you want to make it larger than 24 inches, you should consider at least 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, perhaps 4K.
These days, 1440p is the sweet spot for so-called gamers because it offers a visually noticeable improvement over 1080p but doesn’t put too much strain on your graphics card. Even if you’re not a gamer, you’ll enjoy the extra-screen real estate.
There are a variety of options, from 24 inches to 32 inches and beyond, and 1440p is much cheaper if you’re interested in extra features like a higher refresh rate. Also commonly referred to as Quad HD/QHD.
4K/Ultra HD (UHD)
Samsung 32-inch curved 4K monitor placed on the desk. Currently, 4K is the most preferred resolution by consumers in the industry. At 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, it looks a lot more detailed than 1080p, and the price has dropped significantly over the past few years.
However, gamers will need a powerful graphics card to run their system at this resolution, and it’s still difficult to find an affordable monitor with a full suite of frame sync support or a high refresh rate
.4K monitors are more common these days, but you still have to pay a pretty penny to combine this resolution with a high refresh rate and high-quality panel.
These displays are usually larger. That means you need desk space to support it and the ability to sit far enough away to avoid straining your eyes and neck.
This resolution made headlines when Apple first introduced it on the iMac, but years later it’s still far from common. Dell’s UP2715K is a nice display, but we recommend many high-end 4K monitors before that.
Because I can’t see much difference between the two monitors. However, Apple is committed to making 5K a reality with the recent launch of the Retina 5K Apple Studio Display.
Currently, 8K monitors such as Samsung’s Odyssey Neo G9, which was called the first 8K ultrawide display, are still available before our eyes. There have been other examples of 8K in the past, and more are sure to follow.
But it’s still a few years before this becomes the advanced technology that 4K is today. Will I be able to go there someday? Maybe so, but right now there’s little reason to recommend buying an 8K monitor due to hardware limitations and cost.
The resolutions above are the most common resolutions you’ll find on monitors, but some fall into more niche categories. The best ultrawide monitors offer unique aspect ratios and resolutions with large horizontal pixel counts but focus less on vertical size.
Popular aspect ratios include 21:9 and 32:9, but if you explore these types of displays, you’ll find a variety of shapes and sizes. These aspect ratios translate to exotic resolutions like 2,560 x 1,080, 3,440 x 1,440, or 3,840 x 1600.
Ultrawide monitors allow for a wider view of content and are often curved to make the experience more immersive. This makes it popular among gamers and content creators. For productivity, some users prefer a dual monitor setup (normal aspect ratio), while others prefer ultrawide. It all depends on preference.
Contrast, refresh rate
Asus ROG Swift OLED PG27 gaming monitor was announced at CES. Many other aspects of a monitor’s display contribute to the incredible quality of images it can produce. For example, gamers might pay a lot of attention to refresh rates, but these days, even average users can benefit from displays faster than the standard 60Hz.
Let’s take a look at all the other aspects related to buying a monitor that you should consider before making your choice.
The aspect ratio shows the width and height of the screen compared to its height. The common standard and best practice is 16:9. It works with a lot of content and is perfect for movies or games.
Some fancy monitors like to stretch the screen to ratios like 21:9, but this is better suited for unusual work situations or hardcore gaming.
Another common format, 16:10, provides slightly more vertical space for viewing multiple open documents or images, and 3:2 is becoming increasingly common on laptops for better web viewing, but on standalone displays, this is not the case. is rare.
Depending on the panel type, your monitor’s maximum brightness may vary, and HDR support improves this significantly. Most monitors are built to be bright enough for use in a typical office environment, but these days, higher-end models are pushing brightness to its limits.
Most monitors now have a brightness of around 300 to 350 nits, but higher-end options advertise a maximum brightness of 1,000 nits, with many often offering 700 nits or more.
If you’re working in a brightly lit room or next to a large window, increasing the brightness can be handy. However, if the brightness is too high, it will strain your eyes.
The contrast ratio tells you the difference between white and black on a monitor screen. A higher contrast ratio is a good sign because it means the colors are more differentiated.
However, multiple measurements of contrast ratio exist, and stated specifications may not be very reliable.
High dynamic range (HDR) can have a dramatic impact on your footage. However, most PC monitors lack the brightness needed to get the most out of them, and even the best monitors don’t look as good as you’d like.
On the other hand, there are gems like the Alienware 34 QD-OLED that demonstrate the true potential of this technology. This technology will become more common in the next few years. For advanced content, keep in mind that there are different HDR versions to consider, such as HDR10+.
A monitor’s refresh rate, rated in Hertz (Hz), refers to how often it updates the image on the screen. Most support up to 60Hz, but some displays now offer much higher refresh rates.
This allows for smoother movement on your desktop and higher frame rates in games, which can make a big difference in fast-paced titles by reducing input lag.
120Hz to 144Hz is a good range to target, but you can also choose the fastest screen that supports up to 240Hz. There are also 500Hz displays, like this Alienware model, that embody the phrase next level.
Make sure you have a high-performance graphics card to back it up. Most users won’t need a 500Hz monitor, but there’s a big jump between 60Hz and 144Hz that’s worth looking at, and they’re now much more affordable than ever.
Response time refers to how quickly a monitor displays image transitions. Low response times are ideal for fast-paced action video games, jumpy gameplay, and similar activities. Response time is measured in milliseconds, and while the best screens can switch pixels in just a few milliseconds, not everyone needs that fast response.
The viewing angle of a monitor is not as important as a TV screen. However, if you want to watch shows on your computer with friends, set the viewing angle to a larger viewing angle so that people next to you can easily see. Anything above 170 degrees is good news here.
HDR demo of LG OLED 45 monitor and Jacob Roach / Digital Trends. Buying a monitor means looking at a variety of terms such as OLED, QLED, mini LED, or most commonly, which LED is good for you.
OLED: Displays are becoming increasingly popular, and some of the best OLED monitors offer a lot of features for the price. If you value picture quality, it’s hard to beat current OLED, thanks to its intense contrast ratio, beautiful images, excellent color reproduction, and low input lag.
Gamers on a tight budget can switch to OLED to play immersive titles at the highest quality possible, but esports enthusiasts will still choose higher refresh rates over improved visuals.
QLED: Stands for “Quantum Dot Light-Emitting Diode,” and is an LED display technology primarily promoted by Samsung, although some other manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon as well.
This is much more common in TVs than gaming monitors, but some manufacturers are working hard to provide the best brightness possible. If you’re curious about how it compares to OLED, we have a full guide that explains the issues.
Mini led: This is still another category of monitors that are more commonly found on TVs, but the last few years have seen some top-of-the-line mini LED monitors come out, like the Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q.
Without going into too many redundant technical details, mini LED is a backlight technology used in LCD screens that provides brighter images and stronger contrast. For anyone looking for a new monitor, it’s worth noting that mini LED monitors can be paired with any kind of display panel, such as IPS or VA.
Panel type: Overwatch 2 running on an Alienware 500Hz gaming monitor.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends.
The type of panel used to create a new display can have a big impact on how the display looks and performs. They all have their pros and cons, making them better suited to different types of PC users.
Manufacturers have made valiant attempts to bridge the gap between the types, but each type still tends to have its evangelists, and you’ll likely want to choose one over the other depending on what you spend most of your time doing on your PC. However, you may have to pay for certain features.
Tennessee: Previously the most common panel type, Twisted Nematic (TN) displays offer great visuals and the fastest response times, making them ideal for gamers.
However, if you enjoy immersive RPGs, you may want to opt for a VA or IPS panel instead. But esports enthusiasts will love how fast TN is.
On TN monitors, colors may look a bit washed out, and viewing angles are not as good. Displays using TN panels tend to be the cheapest.
The price of VA and IPS panels has fallen in recent years, making TN largely obsolete. Most display manufacturers now choose VA or IPS, although you can still find them on some budget gaming monitors.
Virginia: VA panels, also known as MVA or PVA, have slightly better colors and better viewing angles, but may experience ghosting.
Response times may look good on paper, but they don’t always translate well to real-world use. You can usually see VA on a gaming display due to its response time, but it has less color accuracy compared to IPS.
IPS: Displays with IPS panels tend to be the most expensive, but what you get for your money is much richer colors and sharp, nearly horizontal viewing angles.
The downside to IPS panels is that they don’t have as fast a response time as TN displays, so some people consider them inferior for gaming.
However, some IPS monitors suffer from quality control issues, and most IPS displays emit an unnoticeable glow when displaying dark images due to backlight bleeding.
However, IPS has come a long way over the years and many now consider it the standard for gaming monitors. An IPS panel combined with a high refresh rate is the goal for many.
Curved and straight displays: Dell 32 Curved Gaming Monitor – S3222DGM.There are also curved monitors to consider. Although it has a different resolution than its flat counterpart, it offers a concave curved screen that can make a difference in which experience and tasks are best suited for you.
If you want an ultrawide monitor, you’ll most commonly get a curved monitor, but some curved monitors aren’t ultrawide.
Just a few years ago, curved monitors might have been a luxury item, but these days, you can find certain models at affordable prices, making them a viable option if you want more immersion, no matter your budget.
Curved Display Experts: Curved screens can provide a more immersive experience, especially for certain games (racing games are a favorite for curved ultrawide).
This is a huge help for single-player games where the user can sit comfortably in the center of the screen.
Depending on the ambient lighting, glare and reflections may be reduced (but poor lighting locations can make glare worse due to incorrect settings).
Saves some desk space. This is important because many of the best-curved models are ultrawide models.
Disadvantages of curved displays:
- Due to the narrow field of view,
- it is not suitable for group viewing.
- Fortunately, this isn’t an issue with monitors, which tend to have a single audience.
- The best-curved monitor experience tends to require monitors larger than 30 inches, which also results in higher prices.
- Not suitable for wall mounting.
port: Bottom view of the Dell UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C Monitor showing the ports.
Mark Copock / Digital Trends
There are a few different ports to look for on your monitor. While VGA and DVI were the standards of the past, new displays most commonly come with HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB-C connections.
To make things even more confusing, each display has its generation, which you need to know if you plan on running a high-resolution or high-refresh-rate display.
You’ll need at least HDMI 1.4 to run your display at 4K resolution, but you’ll need HDMI 2.0 to support a refresh rate of 60Hz. Unless you’re just watching, it should be minimal.
A movie about it. If you want to play games with high refresh rates, especially at high resolutions, DisplayPort 1.4 monitors can handle up to 8K at 60Hz and 4K at up to 200Hz,
So they’re a better fit than HDMI in that respect. DisplayPort 2.1 is also already available, but it is virtually unusable for monitors yet.
The slightly older DisplayPort 1.2 connector can handle 1440p and 1080p at higher refresh rates so that port option is sufficient for lower-resolution monitors.
If you don’t opt for 4K. USB-C can support up to 4K resolution as an option, but its performance is not as good as the DisplayPort connection, and it cannot be connected directly to the graphics card, so it is not recommended at all.
Design and installation: A woman using the LG Ultrawide 40WP95C-W 5K monitor. It’s a good idea to choose a monitor that’s easy to use, especially if you’re building a complex setup with more than one screen.
Consider adding a stand that can be tilted and rotated to get the perfect monitor angle. Some monitors even allow you to adjust tilt and rotation with one hand.
Built-in controls for navigating monitor menus and selecting different monitor modes are an interesting feature, but they shouldn’t feel clunky. To ensure a neat connection to your new monitor, pay attention to port placement and cable management features.
Some monitors go one step further and include charging ports along the base, or you can even turn the base of the monitor into a wireless charging pad for your phone.
Most common computer monitors are compact enough to sit on a table, desk, or stand. However, if you want a huge monitor, the most space-efficient option is to mount it on the wall, freeing up valuable space.
In this case, look for a monitor that comes with or is compatible with the VESA standard mounting option. This gives you a wider choice of mounting arms from a variety of manufacturers rather than being limited to a specific mounting option.
webcam K webcam mounted on top of a Dell UltraSharp 6K monitor. You can use the monitor to video chat with friends or have business meetings. There are two main options for video communications: built-in webcams or standalone cameras, with distinct differences that offer advantages depending on your requirements.
Some monitors, especially higher-quality models, come with integrated webcams, but you usually won’t find them as an option on gaming displays.
The built-in webcam is especially useful not only for quick communication but also for added protection when logging in thanks to features such as facial recognition. However, just because your monitor doesn’t have a built-in webcam doesn’t mean it’s a problem.
It might be a good idea to buy a monitor and then opt for a separate webcam that’s easier to mount and adjust and can be switched offline for privacy whenever you want. Additionally, upgrading or replacing a standalone webcam is much easier than changing the built-in camera functionality.
Does a larger monitor make you more productive?
In general, larger monitors improve productivity by allowing you to view more content at once and making multitasking easier.
However, when choosing a monitor, it is also important to consider factors such as resolution, refresh rate, and adjustability.
Can I use my TV as an office monitor?
Although possible, using a TV as a work monitor is not recommended. Computer monitors are made for viewing up close, while TVs are made for viewing from afar.
Additionally, your TV may not be able to display images at the same resolution or refresh rate as your computer monitor, which may affect your overall experience.