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.

Additional updates: Best Gaming Monitors, Best 1440p Gaming Monitors 2020

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 Gaming Monitor

LG 27GL850 27" Ultragear Nano IPS

If you want a high-end 1440p monitor, you’ll probably be looking at something that uses IPS LCD technology as it provides the best balance of decent response times, great color performance, excellent viewing angles, decent uniformity and a selection of mostly flat panels.

When you have tech that ticks all those boxes, it's bound to be the high-end option that commands a price premium, however high-quality 1440p high-refresh IPS monitors have come down in price substantially in the last two years. Case in point, we can find flagship gaming monitors priced as low as $500, with budget offerings dipping below $400 for the first time.

Our recommendation for the best 1440p IPS monitor is the LG 27GL850 (read our full review), a hugely impressive monitor that offers TN-like response time performance with the color and viewing angle benefits of an IPS screen. This makes it ideal for gaming and especially high refresh rate gaming, given this is a 144 Hz display with adaptive sync support.

The differences between the 27GL850 and other 1440p IPS monitors is stark. The 27GL850 puts up an average grey to grey response of around 4ms in its optimal configuration, which is much faster than competing options that at best pack a 5ms average, or at worse are up near 7ms. Although this is advertised as a “1ms” monitor, performance is equivalent to TN displays that also advertise “1ms,” which is impressive any way you look at it.

The LG 27GL850 also has great wide gamut support, around 95% of the DCI-P3 spectrum in our testing, which is wider than any VA or TN offering we’ve seen. It lacks true HDR like most 1440p displays, but if you need wide gamut for creative work or just want a vibrant picture, the 27GL850 delivers. Uniformity and viewing angles are good, certainly better than most competitors, which allows the 27GL850 to deliver this great balance of color quality and performance.

Black levels and contrast ratio are not the best, which makes it a less ideal monitor for gaming in a dark environment. If you are in that position, we’d recommend a VA display instead. There’s also no blur-reducing backlight strobing mode, if you want that feature we’d opt for the Asus VG27AQ with its strong ELMB-Sync implementation.

Those two concerns aside, we strongly recommend the LG 27GL850 as the best all-round 1440p display on the market right now, and at $500, it's honestly quite the steal.

One last thing to note is all high-refresh 1440p IPS monitors are currently 27-inch. If you want something larger, like 32-inch, you’re out of luck as the best panels at that size top out at a measly 75 Hz which we don't recommend for gaming. If you want a larger panel, we wholeheartedly recommend the 32-inch LG 32GK650F (read our full review) which once held our best value 1440p monitor spot. It's an excellent VA display that stands out because of its great performance. Most 144Hz VA displays at 1440p deliver response times in the 7-8ms range or above, with some pushing 10ms. The 32GK650F offers some of the best VA response times we’ve tested, at a 6.50ms grey to grey average, which is around the mark of a typical IPS display. This helps minimize a lot of the ghosting and smearing issues that early VA adopters have complained about.

If you want a high-end 1440p monitor, you’ll probably be looking at something that uses IPS LCD technology as it provides the best balance of decent response times, great color performance, excellent viewing angles, decent uniformity and a selection of mostly flat panels.

When you have tech that ticks all those boxes, it's bound to be the high-end option that commands a price premium, however high-quality 1440p high-refresh IPS monitors have come down in price substantially in the last two years. Case in point, we can find flagship gaming monitors priced as low as $500, with budget offerings dipping below $400 for the first time.

Our recommendation for the best 1440p IPS monitor is the LG 27GL850 (read our full review), a hugely impressive monitor that offers TN-like response time performance with the color and viewing angle benefits of an IPS screen. This makes it ideal for gaming and especially high refresh rate gaming, given this is a 144 Hz display with adaptive sync support.

The differences between the 27GL850 and other 1440p IPS monitors is stark. The 27GL850 puts up an average grey to grey response of around 4ms in its optimal configuration, which is much faster than competing options that at best pack a 5ms average, or at worse are up near 7ms. Although this is advertised as a “1ms” monitor, performance is equivalent to TN displays that also advertise “1ms,” which is impressive any way you look at it.

The LG 27GL850 also has great wide gamut support, around 95% of the DCI-P3 spectrum in our testing, which is wider than any VA or TN offering we’ve seen. It lacks true HDR like most 1440p displays, but if you need wide gamut for creative work or just want a vibrant picture, the 27GL850 delivers. Uniformity and viewing angles are good, certainly better than most competitors, which allows the 27GL850 to deliver this great balance of color quality and performance.

Black levels and contrast ratio are not the best, which makes it a less ideal monitor for gaming in a dark environment. If you are in that position, we’d recommend a VA display instead. There’s also no blur-reducing backlight strobing mode, if you want that feature we’d opt for the Asus VG27AQ with its strong ELMB-Sync implementation.

Those two concerns aside, we strongly recommend the LG 27GL850 as the best all-round 1440p display on the market right now, and at $500, it's honestly quite the steal.

One last thing to note is all high-refresh 1440p IPS monitors are currently 27-inch. If you want something larger, like 32-inch, you’re out of luck as the best panels at that size top out at a measly 75 Hz which we don't recommend for gaming. If you want a larger panel, our next monitor category will be of interest to you.

If you want a high-end 1440p monitor for gaming, you’ll probably be looking at something that uses IPS LCD technology as it provides the best balance of decent response times, great color performance, excellent viewing angles, decent uniformity and a selection of mostly flat panels. Best of all, high-quality 1440p high-refresh IPS monitors have come down in price substantially in the last two years.

The best 1440p IPS gaming monitor is the LG 27GL850 (read our full review), a hugely impressive monitor that offers TN-like response time performance with the color and viewing angle benefits of an IPS screen. This makes it ideal for gaming and especially high refresh rate gaming, given this is a 144 Hz display with adaptive sync support.

The differences between the 27GL850 and other comparatively priced 1440p IPS monitors is stark. The 27GL850 puts up an average grey to grey response of around 4ms in its optimal configuration, which is much faster than competing options that at best pack a 5ms average, or at worse are up near 7ms. Although this is advertised as a “1ms” monitor, performance is equivalent to TN displays that also advertise “1ms,” which is impressive any way you look at it.

The LG 27GL850 also has great wide gamut support, around 95% of the DCI-P3 spectrum in our testing, which is wider than any VA or TN offering we’ve seen. It lacks true HDR like most 1440p displays, but if you need wide gamut for creative work or just want a vibrant picture, the 27GL850 delivers. Uniformity and viewing angles are good, certainly better than most competitors, which allows the 27GL850 to deliver this great balance of color quality and performance. Black levels and contrast ratio are not the best, which makes it a less ideal monitor for gaming in a dark environment. Those two concerns aside, we strongly recommend the LG 27GL850 as the best all-round 1440p gaming display on the market right now, and at $500, it's honestly quite the steal.

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

LG 38GL950G 38" UltraGear

Fans of ultrawide gaming should check out LG's two amazing choices at two well differentiated price ranges:

The LG 34GK950F offers 3440 x 1440 at 144 Hz, and does so with a curved IPS panel that’s excellent quality out of the box and offers over 95% DCI-P3 coverage for wide gamut work. The HDR experience isn’t great, but response times near 6ms and adaptive sync that works with AMD and Nvidia GPUs headlines a feature set that’s outstanding for ultrawide gamers. This monitor is one of best ultrawides for gaming, but it will set you back a handsome $850 which is actually considerably less than when it was released.

The newer and larger 38" LG 38GL950G UltraGear is the best ultrawide monitor on the market bar none. Essentially it takes every feature we got with previous flagship ultrawide displays, and takes it up a notch. The resolution and panel are physically bigger, if only slightly, which we think is really good. We love this size and the bump up from 3440 x 1440 to 3840 x 1600 is handy. In our opinion offers a more immersive experience and it's also better for split-screen productivity work. The only caveat, it's much more expensive at $1,800.

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 24" 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