No matter how much expensive hardware you pack into your PC, it all goes to waste without a great monitor to match everything else. Has there ever been so much choice when it comes to picking a monitor? Probably not, but our recommendation guide updated for 2019 will steer you in the right direction.

TechSpot's Best Monitors guide covers key categories: 4K displays at a wide range of price points, the best all-rounders that mix great price and performance, enthusiast monitors for pros, the best options for gaming, and some excellent budget models that come with what were once flagship-only features.

Best Overall

ViewSonic ColorPro VP3268-4K 32"

Great | Differentiating Features
Factory calibrated for superb color performance and accuracy, excellent uniformity, great price is now even lower

Good | Most Have It
Slim bezels, flexible stand

Average | Competitors May Be Better
HDR may as well not be there, cumbersome OSD

While there are numerous high-end 4K monitors out there, the fact that last year’s winner, ViewSonic’s VP328-4K, has seen its price drop from $900 to $790 means it’s the only monitor in our list to retain its title. The amazing colors and accuracy combined with an even lower price make it an excellent choice for pros.

For your money you get an excellent IPS LCD panel with a 1300:1 contrast ratio, 350 nits peak brightness, excellent color uniformity, and a true 8-bit panel with support for a 14-bit Look Up Table (LUT). ViewSonic’s monitor also supports the sRGB, Rec. 709, SMPTE-C, and EBU color spaces, all calibrated at the factory to DeltaE levels below 2.0. Each color space has its own display mode, which is selected through the OSD menu options, and comes with a calibration report.

Design is another area where the VP3268-4K excels. We get super slim bezels that create the illusion of extra screen space, as well as reducing the gap size in multi-monitor setups. There’s also a fully adjustable stand and plenty of display inputs.

There are a couple of minor points: HDR support isn’t very good, partly due to the brightness not reaching high enough levels. The on-screen display can be awkward, and you’d be better off looking elsewhere if you want a monitor for gaming, though it still performs okay in this area—providing you’ve got rig that can handle all those pixels. But those caveats don’t detract from what is an excellent choice for professionals, especially at its competitive price. And it gets the seal of approval from two of our editors.

Money-is-no-object alternative

If you’re a professional who works with HDR content and simply must have the best-of-the-best, money-no-object monitor, there’s the Eizo ColorEdge CG319X. This 31.1-inch display features a 4096 x 2160 (DCI 4K) IPS panel and has a built-in sensor that can calibrate the monitor automatically at designated times.

It covers 99 percent of the Adobe RGB color space and 98 percent of the DCI-P3 color space, has a 1500:1 contrast ratio, and can show more than one billion colors simultaneously, thanks to its 10-bit simultaneous display from a 24-bit look-up-table (LUT).

But a pro monitor comes at a pro price: currently $5,700 on Amazon. More reasonably priced but still good professional options (not in the range of the Eizo) include Asus’ ProArt PA329Q, the BenQ SW271, and former category winner Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q.

Best Enthusiast Monitor

Dell UltraSharp U4919DW Dual QHD 49" Curved

Great | Differentiating Features
49-inches of 1440p goodness, amazing viewing angles

Good | Most Have It
USB type-C, solid build

Average | Competitors May Be Better
No adaptive sync or HDR, expensive

When you’re all about productivity and creation, monitor real estate is invaluable. That’s why we picked LG’s 34-inch (3440 x 1440) 34UC88 as our winner last year. This time, however, we’ve chosen something even bigger: Dell’s UltraSharp U4919DW ups the size to a massive 49 inches and the resolution to 5120 x 1440, making the aspect ratio 32:9 rather than the usual ultrawide standard of 21:9.

Essentially, this IPS display is like using two 27-inch, 1440p monitors but without the annoying central bezel. And while not everyone is a fan of curves, the 3800R curvature here helps keeps the image in view even when spread over 4 feet of display. The excellent viewing angles, meanwhile, are a highlight of the U4919DW, and it comes with great uniformity for such a wide panel, all of which should please creatives.

Dell says the factory-calibrated monitor comes with 99% sRGB coverage and a deltaE accuracy of less than 2.0 out of the box. There’s also a 1000:1 (typical) contrast ratio and a max brightness of 350 cd/m².

Away from the image, the UltraSharp U4919DW is solid and sturdy in its design—as you might imagine, considering its size. Port-wise, you get 2 x HDMI, DisplayPort, 2 USB 3.0 upstream, 5 USB 3.0 downstream, and USB Type-C, which can provide 90W of charging.

Other features include a zoning option that let users split the screen into any configuration of windows, including a picture in picture mode so you can connect two 16:9 1440p inputs, each occupying half the screen.

Providing you’ve got a beefy graphics card, playing games on this beast offers a unique, immersive experience, despite it not being designed for gaming. It has a 60Hz refresh rate, no adaptive sync, a GtG average of 9ms, and 7ms of input latency, so you’re not going to be playing competitive CS:GO on it. There’s also a lack of HDR, which is a little surprising for a monitor this expensive, which brings us to the final issue: a $1,350 list price.

Despite its faults, the Dell UltraSharp U4919DW is a fantastic option for multitaskers, space-loving creators, and hardcore content consumers, and may be the best reason to buy a larger desk.

A standard-size alternative that’s also good for gaming

Acer Nitro XV273K 4K / 144 Hz 27"

For enthusiasts with PCs that cost more than most used cars, a combination of 4K resolution and a high refresh rate is a viable option. Until recently this meant spending $2,000 on an Acer Predator X27 or ROG Swift PG27Q, but the newer Acer Nitro XV273K offers nearly the same experience at less than half the price.

The 27-inch monitor is FreeSync rather than G-Sync, though that hardly matters now that Nvidia supports its rival's adaptive sync tech. It also boasts excellent build quality, accurate DCI-P3 color gamut, and many of the features found in expensive alternatives. The only real drawbacks are the DisplayHDR 400 certification and the lack of full array local dimming backlight, meaning you won’t get a true HDR experience.

If you want super smooth 4K at under a grand, this is an excellent choice.

Best (Value) Gaming Monitor

LG 32GK650F QHD 32"

Great | Differentiating Features
Amazing price for 32 inches and 1440p@144Hz, excellent contrast

Good | Most Have It
Top build quality, G-sync-compatible FreeSync

Average | Competitors May Be Better
No USB, speakers, or HDR

Sure, there are plenty of 4K panels out there for gamers, or you could buy a 1080p monitor with a 240Hz refresh rate, but the sweet spot for most people has long been 1440p@144Hz with adaptive sync technology. That usually meant spending at least $500 or more, but the LG 32GK650F can be grabbed from Amazon for just $319.

LG went with a flat VA panel for this 32-inch, 2560 x 1440 monitor, which uses FreeSync. Like the Nitro XV273K, it’s compatible with Nvidia’s G-sync tech. It also has the fastest advertised GtG response time (5ms) among similar sized and specced VA monitors, though there are other modes that increase this response time.

This is a display designed more for gamers than creators, which means color accuracy isn’t its strongest point. It does, however, have a vibrant 3000:1 contrast ratio, which is twice what you’d find on most IPS monitors, and it features 350 nits brightness. You also get LG’s usual excellent build quality. The low price does translate into a few compromises. While the LG 32GK650F has two HDMI inputs and DisplayPort 1.2, there are no USB connections. It also lacks any speakers—not that most gamers would use them over external speakers or headsets—and there’s no HDR.

Gamers who want 1440p@144Hz with adaptive sync have a lot of options, but none offer such a good price vs. quality ratio as the LG 32GK650F.

Best of the best

Acer Predator X27 4K / 144 Hz 27"

If you’re the kind of gamer who wants the best of everything, has deep pockets, and owns a monster rig, then look no further than Acer’s Predator X27. This monitor ticks all the gaming boxes: 4K, 144Hz, G-Sync, true HDR with 1000 nits of brightness, and 384 zone FALD backlight. You will, of course, need a monster graphics card to get the most out of it, and while the $2,000 launch price has dropped, it’s still an eye-watering $1,649.

The ultrawide option

Alienware AW3418DW 34" Curved

Fans of ultrawide gaming should check out the Alienware AW3418DW, which sports a 34-inch curved IPS panel, G-Sync, and a maximum 120Hz refresh rate when overclocked (100Hz is the default). This 21:9, 3440 x 1440 IPS panel has good out of the box calibration and remains one of the finest choices for ultrawide gaming, with great response times and zero lag.

This monitor has been around for quite sometime now and used to top the list of best gaming monitors money could buy when fast refresh 4K wasn't an option. The AW3418DW used to cost over a thousand bucks, today it's as good for $850.

It’s no longer an outrageous proposition to have a monitor that combines a decent resolution with top notch performance. Many excellent high refresh models currently sit between $300 and $400, meaning 1440p monitors remain the best option for most gamers. If you have a relatively modern GPU, a 1440p 144Hz display will give you a great experience today and have plenty of life left for the next few GPU generations. Our pick of the bunch right now is the LG 32GK650F (read our full review).

At $350, it offers tremendous value. To start with, it’s a 32-inch flat VA panel. We prefer flat panels over curved ones, especially at this size and aspect ratio, and it seems many of you do as well. Given that 27-inch curved variants sit around $300, and 32-inch variants at $330, we think it’s well worth spending an extra $30 to go up in size, and then an extra $20 to make it flat.

But that is not the only reason the 32GK650F gets our vote. It has class leading performance for a 144Hz VA panel of these specifications, especially when it comes to response times which allow the panel to deliver a true 144Hz experience. Many of the curved options sit in the 8-9ms grey to grey range, which is too slow for true 144Hz, while the 32GK650F clocks in at 6.5ms. That’s important for delivering less ghosting and motion blur.

It also lacks wide gamut functionality, which might be a negative to some, but it actually makes the monitor more accurate and easier to work with given most content you’ll view is mastered for sRGB. It doesn’t support HDR, unlike some which claim to offer HDR but just end up giving you a fake experience. And perhaps most importantly it comes with a very adjustable stand featuring height, tilt, swivel and pivot functionality, features that are usually cut with lower end products.

1440p for less

If you don’t have $350 to spend, the Pixio PX275h is pretty good at just $260. It’s a 27-inch 1440p 95Hz monitor with a flat IPS panel and 95% DCI-P3 coverage. It has decent response times around the 6.5ms mark, and all the advantages of an IPS display, including excellent viewing angles and color performance. For $90 less, the only real downside here is the refresh rate, which is cut to 95 Hz. It still has FreeSync and it’s still a great option for gamers who want a decently high refresh 1440p monitor on a budget.

If TN is a must

The Viotek GFT27DB is the best 1440p TN monitor you can get. It costs $300 and like the 32GK650F, offers 1440p at 144Hz, but in a flat 27-inch size. The reason you would get this over the LG is if you were really concerned about response times; the GFT27DB is about twice as fast and has great color performance for a TN, but still features the usual TN issues like relatively poor viewing angles and contrast ratios.

Best Affordable 4K Monitor

LG 27UK650-W UHD 27"

Great | Differentiating Features
Price, great viewing angles

Good | Most Have It
Plenty of gaming features, FreeSync

Average | Competitors May Be Better
Only 60Hz refresh, no VESA HDR certification

Every year sees lower-end 4K monitors get even cheaper. At this point, consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing feature-packed UHD screens priced anywhere between $300 - $400, but we like LG’s 27UK650-W.

This monitor is an excellent all-rounder for those wanting a budget 4K monitor for a variety of use cases: gaming, content consumption, creation, etc. The 27-inch IPS panel boasts 99 percent coverage of the sRGB color spectrum along with "HDR 10" support, though a peak brightness of 450 nits (350 nits typical) means its high dynamic range isn’t as good as other true HDR monitors (it isn’t VESA HDR certified), but that isn’t important to a lot of buyers.

While not advertised as an out-and-out gaming monitor, the LG 27UK650-W has several credentials in this area to make it a viable option. It comes with FreeSync, supports Nvidia’s G-Sync, and has a 5ms GtG time. You also get additional features such as a black stabilizer, an upscaling function, Dynamic Action Sync for reducing input lag further, and presets for gaming genres such as FPS and RTS titles.

Those willing to spend an extra $200, the similar LG 27UK850 adds a USB Type-C port and VESA 400 certification. Wide viewing angles and a solid build round off the LG’s 27UK650-W best elements, but the ~$300-350 price (depending on your choice of standard or adjustable stand) for such a great 4K all-rounder is its highlight.

Just as good alternatives

The budget 4K monitor market has become a crowded one as mentioned earlier, with plenty of good options available to consumers.

Another model we like is the ViewSonic VX3211-4K, which shares many similar specs and features as LG’s 27UK650-W but comes in a 32-inch size. Dell’s Ultrasharp U2718Q is another model that’s admired by reviewers and buyers, while those who prioritize gaming should check out last year’s winner: the Asus MG28UQ.

Best Value Monitor

AOC C24G1 23.6" Curved

Great | Differentiating Features
Curved, 144Hz and FreeSync at under $200

Good | Most Have It
Good contrast, minimal bezels, plenty of gamer-focused features

Average | Competitors May Be Better
No speakers or USB ports

There was a time when buying "budget" monitors meant heavily compromising on quality. These days features once exclusive to premium models have trickled down to wallet-friendly ones. We still like last year’s winner, the Asus VG245H­ – a 75Hz FreeSync display priced at $180. But we’ve found a new budget leader with the AOC C24G1.

Some of the C24G1’s upgrades over the Asus model include a refresh rate boost up to the more gamer-centric 144Hz. It’s also a curved monitor (1500R) and while AOC’s monitor is also 1920 x 1080, it uses a VA rather than TN panel, bringing better color reproduction, contrast (3300:1), and viewing angles. Gamers not looking to spend a fortune will also appreciate the 4ms response time (1ms MPRT) and the inclusion of FreeSync. It’s also G-Sync compatible.

Connectivity comes via DisplayPort 1.2, two HDMI 1.4 ports, one VGA port, and a headphone jack. No USB ports or speakers, sadly.

While the 24-inch version of the C24G1 is priced at a bargain $189, there’s also a $245 27-inch version and a 32-inch Amazon choice option that goes for $279.

Just as good

For a monitor that shares many similarities with the C24G1, including price, there’s Acer’s XFA240. It’s also a 24-inch, 1080p screen with a 144Hz refresh rate and G-Sync compatible FreeSync, along with a number of gamer-focused bells and whistles. The main difference is that this is a TN panel rather than VA, but while contrast, colors, and viewing angles aren’t as good, it does mean a better default response time of 1ms GtG