The Best Monitors: Top 4K, enthusiast, gaming, and budget choices

By Julio Franco ยท 33 replies
Nov 1, 2016
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  1. With today’s cutting-edge PC hardware, a top quality monitor has never been more important. As features such as high refresh rates, 4K displays, ultrawide screens, and syncing technologies become more common, users need to choose a device tailored to their needs.

    Gamers will want something with refresh rates higher than 60Hz and support for VRR (variable refresh rate), while media professionals will prioritize a top quality panel and color accuracy above all else. Then again, maybe you’re not in one group or the other and are looking for an overall balance between image quality, features, ergonomics, connectivity and screen size. To make picking the right monitor easier, here are our favorites in a handful of distinct categories.

    Read on and check out the best monitors out there.

  2. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 388   +663

    Well, not really:-

    38.6% - 1920 x 1080/1200
    28.3% - 1360/1366 x 768
    4.71% - 1440 x 900
    4.31% - 1280 x 1024
    3.78% - 1680 x 1050
    1.72% - 2560 x 1440
    <1% - 4K / 3840 x 2160

    I love 1440p's for the extra workspace when editing 1080p video as much as anyone, but let's not confuse tech site hype with mainstream user base (mostly 15.6" laptops + 23-27" 1080p monitors or average living room TV's).
  3. Fabio Turati

    Fabio Turati TS Enthusiast Posts: 28   +12

    I am sensitive to flickering. To me, a monitor that uses PWM to adjust brightness and is therefore not flicker-free is useless, as I get quite a headache after 30 minutes or so. And obviously I discovered it the hard way. I really, really recommend updating the list to indicate whether these monitors are flicker-free or not. Granted, they are all quite new, so it's possible they are all flicker-free, but I would never buy a monitor without checking it.
  4. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +902

    The picture you used for the main article looks like it was under a selection, really crappy not sure if you wanted it to look like that.
  5. Jahara21

    Jahara21 TS Rookie

    Own two U2715H monitors, one for work, one for home. Really nice monitors for both productive work and gaming. Also getting an X34, should arrive today. Here's hoping it's as great as it sounds. I hope not to need to buy another monitor for a few years. $1300 is not cheap.
  6. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Evangelist Posts: 616   +175

    The budget ASUS seems across the board equal to or inferior to the Acer KN242HYL I bought on NewEgg last year for $109 (a normal price for it). They have it for $109.99 and .99 shipping now. 4ms response time is better than 5ms response time, great connections and a beautiful IPS monitor.
    EClyde likes this.
  7. Nero7

    Nero7 TS Maniac Posts: 273   +104

    Sitting here with a Philips BDM4065UC (40", 3840x2160) and its painful to watch and game with. The huge space however is absolutely fantastic as are movies and pictures but try to work or game with it and you'll get a headache from it.

    Was pretty cheap thou 400$
  8. Jeff Schmidt

    Jeff Schmidt TS Enthusiast Posts: 64   +22

    About 4 years ago I bought a korean 1440p monitor (Achieva Shimian) for less than $300. It was an amazing display that was at the bare minimum 1/3 cheaper than anything similar. This year I picked up a Crossover 324k (32" 4k) monitor for $440. Which is also considerably cheaper than anything Dell, Asus, or any other monitor manufacturer is putting out with the same quality.

    Look up korean panels. You can save a ton of money on getting one and you can get a squaretrade warranty on them if your afraid of it failing.
    Fluffmeister likes this.
  9. cldmstrsn

    cldmstrsn TS Addict Posts: 141   +90

    I have had a 27 inch 1440p Shimian that I got off of ebay for 200 dollars about 3 years ago and I still use it. Probably the best monitor I have ever owned.
    Jeff Schmidt and Fluffmeister like this.
  10. I personally think the 34" 1440p ultrawide Gsync monitors are the most impressive at the moment, id sell my mother for one of those!
    Fluffmeister likes this.
  11. AncientYouth

    AncientYouth TS Rookie Posts: 19   +12

    Got a philips 40 inch brilliance 4k monitor
    Stunning for the price and fantastically immersive for games and video

    Sorry but SIZE DOES MATTER ;)
    ScubaRhys likes this.
  12. fktech

    fktech TS Addict Posts: 223   +60

  13. nzdave

    nzdave TS Rookie

    I've got a Philips 40 inch 4k BDM4065UC monitor driven by a GTX1080raphics card and no complaints at all. Great for gaming and photo editing and I agree with AncientYouth that size does matter :)
  14. deemon

    deemon TS Addict Posts: 253   +70

    In what world? Just no!
    Preferred is and was FullHD / 1920x1080 / 1080p and 1440p is far from becoming anything more than a niche product.
    But... today... when I had to buy a new display, I would consider 2560x1080. thats about it.
  15. ddferrari

    ddferrari TS Maniac Posts: 342   +148

    Those of us who could afford it stepped up to 1440p a few years ago and never looked back. Why? Duh- it looks BETTER!!
    Using a 27" monitor as an example, at 1080p you have about 2.1 million pixels. At 1440p you have 3.7 million pixels. So tell us again why a lower resolution monitor is "preferred" and 1440p is a niche product, despite the millions that have been sold?

    I'm guessing your wallet is doing the talking here; that's the ONLY reason to stay with the dated 1080p resolution. Why do you think every high-end gaming rig uses either 1440p or 4K?
  16. GirlDownunder

    GirlDownunder TS Enthusiast Posts: 74   +21

    Being in Australia ("rip-off-world"), that wonderful, top monitor would cost ME $1840! Sorry-- no-can-do.

    I've just ordered the Philips LED-backlit LCD Display BDM3201FC from our local Officeworks. Price? $278 AUD!

    31.5" viewable & decent reviews at Whirlpool so I went for it. As with all monitors, individual adjustments are required to make it look good to you.

  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,971   +2,526

    Are you really condescending to other members about money? Wow, you have lots of money, we're impressed.
    Since the preponderance of source material is 1080p, all those extra pixels really do, is cause the video card to upscale to fill up blank space.

    The 16:9 aspect ration is pretty much a standard adhered to for the convenience of manufacturers and broadcast TV, not so much to make sense for other formats in common use.

    Yeah well, I just bought a 1440p 27" (only 60hz though), IPS monitor for $200.00 w/free shipping. Not one deal pixel. It looks about identical to my IPS HP-727 24" 1920 by 1200px. In reality, the HP is probably better for photographic work, because 16:10 is much closer to the 35mm aspect ratio of 1.5 to 1:0

    Should I have stated that 15:10 so you could get a better grasp of it?
    deemon likes this.
  18. Wendy Oltman

    Wendy Oltman TS Booster Posts: 129   +16

    Great informative list. Just as I about to shop for my new monitor :)
  19. GirlDownunder

    GirlDownunder TS Enthusiast Posts: 74   +21

    Hi everyone,

    I'm now sitting in front of the monitor I spoke of & it's great!

    I tend to sit back anyways (say, 600mm) & though I know I need to get new glasses (more than 3 years now), it's still very crisp. I had my 17 yr old daughter have a check, just in case- lol.

    Speakers are better than most, on most monitors. I'm using DVI, as I have decent 5.1 PC speakers for sound, but I wanted to test.

    At any rate, that's my update. Good luck in your choosing.

  20. ddferrari

    ddferrari TS Maniac Posts: 342   +148

    "Are you really condescending to other members about money? Wow, you have lots of money, we're impressed."

    When I can't afford something, I just admit it. I don't claim that an inferior product is "preferred" just to hide the fact that I don't have the means to buy the nicer item. Sure, I'm condescending- says the guy with a Latin phrase for a signature.

    "Since the preponderance of source material is 1080p, all those extra pixels really do, is cause the video card to upscale to fill up blank space."

    Yet you just bought a 1440p monitor- so you throw opinions around, but completely ignore them yourself? Gotcha.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016
  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,971   +2,526

    No silly, the 1440p will tentatively be used for high res photo editing. Besides, it was a Newegg, "Shell Shocker", who can resist a good one of those, especially since so many are duds?

    For widely available source material 1080p is fine and dandy up to about 46" or a twitch more. Broadcast TV is either 720p or 1080i, and your 4K monitor won't add detail to it where none exists. Granted up-scaling can make low res material look better, but it won't really add detail where none exists. Would you like to dispute that?

    I even avoid most Blu-Ray at 1080p, because I really don't think I need the players nagging me about plugging them into the web. The question becomes, do I really care how the shot was done? Hey, if they really wanted me to know, they'd have put in on "disc 2", instead of making up some lame crap, just so they can invade my living room.

    You have to take into account, being the first kid on the block to swallow the latest carrot dangled in front of your nose by the Chinese, really doesn't make you all that special. At least not to most of us, and certainly not me.

    Better read that sig of mine again, it has absolutely nothing to do with condescension.
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,971   +2,526

    @ddferrari Did you actually have something to say? Because I heard me the first time.
  23. ddferrari

    ddferrari TS Maniac Posts: 342   +148

    "Granted up-scaling can make low res material look better, but it won't really add detail where none exists."
    Hey- you're learning! And as we all know, no source material will ever go beyond 1080p.

    "... first kid on the block to swallow the latest carrot..."
    They've been available, just not mainstream, since you were swimming in amniotic fluid.

    "Better read that sig of mine again, it has absolutely nothing to do with condescension."
    It's not the content, it's the fact that it's in Latin (a desperate ploy to look smart). You copy and pasted someone else's words. WOW

    "...really doesn't make you all that special. At least not to most of us, and certainly not me."
    I don't care. You contacted me. I never sought your opinion.
    deemon owes you a dozen roses, burly protector!

    Since you're a noob to 1440p, it's clear that you don't yet understand the other benefits, such as a reduced need for AA in games, and the advantage of having smaller pixels for those whose sit very close to their monitors.

    Try getting some real world experience under your belt with your new 1440p monitor before appointing yourself as an expert. If you can do that, and maybe even talk to a girl, you'll have a great week. I promise.
  24. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,971   +2,526

    Gosh, aren't you clever. I'm 68, and I've done plenty of "talking to women" over the years. The problems with talking to them are manifold, but primarily, it's the fact that once it's their turn to talk, they never shut up.

    Besides, how does buying a 1440p monitor, then plunking it down in front of an excellent 1920 x 1200 monitor, not qualify as, "real world experience"?

    Photo editing is sometimes done at the pixel level. The higher the resolution, the further you have to zoom in, but the net result is still the same.

    Once in a great while, I'll walk through the TV department at Best Buy, (or similar). They'll be showing off a field of grass and tiny wildflowers waving in the wind, on their big, bold, 4k panels. (Obviously, so you can see and be dramatically impressed with the tiniest details).

    My question always is, "is this live"? Because that's really wanted to do today, watch grass grow on a $1000.00 TV. :oops:
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016
    waterytowers likes this.
  25. ddferrari

    ddferrari TS Maniac Posts: 342   +148


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