The best monitors for 2020

These monitors will brighten up your game room or office, no matter your budget

If you’re in the market for a fantastic all-round display, there’s nothing quite like Dell’s Ultrathin USB-C monitor. It’s super-thin and looks fantastic for a great price. Even our reviewers, who’ve tested more than 100 displays over the years, can’t find much fault in it.

But if you have something more specific in mind, like a great 4K display, or something more suited for gaming, we’ve got you covered. Read on below to find the best monitor for you.

The best monitors for 2020 at a glance

The best monitor: Dell Ultrathin USB-C

Dell 27 USB-C Ultrathin Monitor S2719DC
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: It’s a gorgeous screen with a super thin frame and bezels, at an extremely attractive price.

Who it’s for: Just about anyone, but it’d be perfect in a home or work office.

Why we picked the Dell Ultrathin USB-C:

When you break a mold, it doesn’t mean you can’t borrow from others. Dell’s Ultrathin USB-C monitor (otherwise known as the S2719DC) borrowed from its design choices in the laptop space and made something truly special. Resembling an expansive XPS 13, the 27 Ultrathin lives up to its name with miniature bezels and a slimline frame that lets this screen sit on any desk no matter how much space you have.

Although there are some USB-A ports and an HDMI alternative, this display draws on modern laptops for its connector focus too: USB-C. That single cable can charge and draw video from a connected laptop, making this a great accessory for frequent notebook users.

It’s only 1440p, but that’s hardly a problem for the professional focus of such a screen and it helps keep the cost as low as it is. There is HDR support, which makes watching films and shows with support for that color standard a real treat. That’s backed up by fantastic color accuracy and wide support for various color gamuts, including 100 percent of the sRGB spectrum.

Read our full Dell Ultrathin USB-C review

The best ultrawide monitor: LG 34WK95U

LG 34WK95U-W ultrawide monitor review
Riley Young/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: It’s expensive, but LG’s 34-inch ultrawide is stunning to look at and stands head and shoulders above most other big-screen displays.

Who it’s for: Those who want a huge multi-monitor experience without the bezels.

Why we picked the LG 34WK95U:

This 34-inch display is jam-packed full of pixels thanks to its 5K, 5,120 x 2,160 resolution and what LG describes as a “Nano-IPS” screen type. That means it is able to offer a wider color gamut than almost any monitor we’ve ever come across. Its color accuracy is second-to none as well, and with HDR enhancement there are few displays that can even approach how good this one looks.

Although its contrast ratio is beaten by some of its ultrawide contemporaries, 770:1 in our testing is hardly bad and with a brightness of 409 nits, it gets plenty white and plenty dark as and when needed. Games and media of all sorts look fantastic on this display–even if you’re working on it, the crispness and clarity of everything on screen is a sight to behold. If you want a head-turning display, this is it.

Better yet, the LG34WK95U is actually easy to use. Its out-of-the-box calibration is excellent, and the menus are simple and intuitive. It’s an all-round pleasure to use. We do miss any sort of adaptive sync technologies and the 60Hz refresh rate might turn off high-end gamers, but for everyone else, if you can stomach the high-price, it’s well worth it.

Read our full LG 34WK95U review

The best gaming monitor: Razer Raptor 27

Razer Raptor 27
Luke Larsen/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: You’re invested in desktop gaming and want a unique, highly capable monitor that can keep up.

Who it’s for: Gamers, particularly Razer fans, and gamers looking for monitor alternatives to what they’ve had in the past.

What we thought of the Razer Raptor 27:

Razer isn’t exactly known for their desktop monitors — because this is its first standalone monitor, and it absolutely hit it out of the park. The unique design is a crafted from a single aluminum piece that includes a fabric layer on the back, an extra-wide base to ensure zero wobbles, and a handy cable management option with all ports conveniently clustered together (specifically designed to work with Razer’s included cables, but that’s optional). That solid design also allows for height and angle adjustments.

Don’t worry about screen quality either: The Raptor 27 uses a 144Hz refresh rate panel that’s G-Sync compatible, with a 2560 x 1440 resolution. We loved both the color and contrast on this model, but note that you will need to do color calibration yourself when setting up the monitor, which does not come pre-calibrated. Ports include HDMI, USB-C (limited to charging only smaller devices), two USB-A, and DisplayPort.

The Raptor 27, while the first of its line, is an excellent option for gaming. Some gamers may decide they need an ultrawide monitor for specific genres or a model that comes with FreeSync, but if these aren’t concerns for your setup Then give the Raptor 27 a closer look.

Read our full Razer Raptor 27 review

The best 4K monitor: Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q

Why you should buy this: It’s a beautiful display in a lean frame, with an impressively sharp screen.

Who it’s for: Media viewers who want that 4K, HDR pop and detail.

Why we picked the Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q:

One of our favorite 4K displays for some time, the Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q might not be the largest screen out there, but at 27-inches and 4K resolution, it packs an enormous range of pixels inside a compact frame making for an exceptionally crisp picture. When combined with great HDR support and a huge 1,300:1 contrast ratio, this monitor looks stunning no matter what you’re doing on it. Dell also offers a model in a 32-inch model, the U3219Q, though it’s a few hundred dollars more expensive.

It’s not designed, though, with gaming in mind. It lacks a high refresh-rate, but the 60Hz is enough for gamers playing slower games who want the added detail of 4K. You won’t need the world’s most powerful graphics card to run it maxed out either.

All of its strong features are available at a price that’s not out of this world, so you needn’t break the bank just to get yourself a great 4K screen.

The best 32-inch monitor: BenQ EX3203R

best computer monitors bestmonitorsbenq2

Why you should buy this: 32-inches is a lot of screen space but BenQ packs it with solid features and a beautiful panel. And it’s pretty affordable.

Who it’s for: Gamers and anyone who wants masses of screen space for their next project.

Why we picked the BenQ EX3203R:

As the prices of high resolution screens have come down, so have the prices of larger displays. A few years ago 32-inches of screen space would have cost you a fortune, but today an excellent display like the BenQ EX3203R is exceedingly affordable. It offers 32-inches of screen space with a respectable resolution of 2,560 x 1,440p (the gaming sweet spot) and a high refresh-rate of 144Hz.

As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also HDR support, an immersive, 1800R curvature, and FreeSync 2 for kicking screen tearing and stuttering to the curb. This is a monitor that ticks so many boxes we’re not entirely sure which category to put it in, but considering its impressive size and stature, best 32-incher seems like a great fit.

This monitor is fantastic for gaming and working, with excellent color support and popping blacks and whites thanks to HDR support. You can even power it on a single USB-C cable if you want to keep your desk tidy.

Considering the price, the frame and stand look pretty great too. What’s not to like about this affordable monster?

The best curved monitor: Samsung CF791

best ultra-wide monitors
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: It’s huge, immersive whether gaming or working, and the picture quality is fantastic.

Who it’s for: Those who want a fantastic multi-monitor experience without dividing bezels.

Why we picked the Samsung CF791:

At 34-inches wide, the Samsung CF791 isn’t the largest ultrawide in the world, but it’s easily our favorite. With fantastic picture quality, pro-gaming features like a high-refresh rate (100Hz) and AMD FreeSync support, it’s great whether you’re blasting enemies or just working on a few spreadsheets at once. At 3,440 x 1,440 resolution it’s not quite 4K, but it’s more than detailed enough for a gorgeous, crisp look and feel no matter what you’re using it for.

Right out of the box, the colors and contrast are nearly pitch-perfect. It also hits a 940:1 contrast ratio without any calibration, and delivers nearly perfect color accuracy after calibration; The CF791 was full of surprises during our review. It consistently outperformed the competition and our expectations. Games look great, movies look great, and it even enhances day-to-day productivity. The latest version of the monitor updates it with a Thunderbolt 3 connection as well, for faster data speeds and more charging options, making this monitor more formidable than ever.

Samsung’s Quantum Dot technology helps a lot in all cases, delivering fantastic contrast ratio and color depth that is hard to beat on even far more expensive displays. You may run into a few issues finding compatible media content on platforms like Netflix or Amazon video, but for just about everything else, this ultrawide steals the show. It’s been a head turner in our offices since it arrived.

It’s a little pricey, but you get what you pay for, which in this case is a hell of a lot of screen that looks fantastic.

Read our full Samsung CF791 review

The best budget monitor: LG 32MA70HY-P

LG 32MA70HY-P

Why you should buy this: It’s a great, spacious monitor if you need a large screen but at a low price.

Who it’s for: Anyone on a tight budget who doesn’t need more than 1080p.

Why we picked the LG 32MA70HY-P:

If you’re looking for a good budget monitor, you’re probably searching for something well under $200 that still has all the features you need–that can be tough to find, but this LG monitor does an excellent job. It’s a full HD IPS monitor with a spacious 32 inches of display space, complemented by LG’s split screen technology to get more done at once. Ports include a versatile DisplayPort, D-Sub, and HDMI. Monitor controls are easy to use, and include a built-in blue light filter that’s easier on your eyes.

That’s about all this monitor offers at such an extremely affordable price. However, you can scale down the size of the display and get FreeSync technology, or pay a bit more and get HDR, so there are a few options depending on what you want most.

Research and buying tips

What brand monitor is the best?

No one monitor brand makes all the best monitors in the world — that’s why this list is populated by a number of different manufacturers. That said, there are some that you can rely on more than most to produce great screens. Dell is a longstanding favorite of ours with years of fantastic displays under its belt. It also tends to cater well to the professional crowd just as much as gamers, so you know there will be something you like in its lineup.

Other noteworthy brands worth considering include Asus, which tends to produce some of the worlds best gaming screens; Samsung, which offers some of the best ultrawide screens and large size monitors we’ve ever seen, and LG, which has a good all-round catalog of displays.

What size computer monitor is the best?

This very much depends on the resolution you’re targeting and how much desk space you have. While bigger does tend to look better, giving you more screen space for work and larger images for games and movies, they can stretch entry-level resolutions like 1080p to the limits of their clarity. Big screens also require more room on your desk, so we’d caution buying a massive ultrawide like the Samsung CHG90 if you’re working or playing on a small trolly desk.

As a quick rule of thumb, 1080p looks great up to about 24-inches, while 1440p looks good up to and beyond 30 inches. We wouldn’t recommend a 4K screen any smaller than 27-inches as you aren’t going to see the real benefit of those extra pixels in what is a relatively small space by that resolution.

Are 4K monitors good for gaming?

They can be. 4K offers the pinnacle of gaming detail and in atmospheric games can give you a whole new level of immersion, especially on larger displays that can fully display that mass of those pixels in all their glory. That said, we feel that high refresh rate monitors can deliver a better experience and unless you have the deep pockets to splash out on a powerful graphics card or two as well, you aren’t going to get those frame rates at 4K. A 27-inch, 1440p display like the Asus PG279Q is still the sweet spot.

Also keep in mind monitor performance is now often linked to framerate management technologies like FreeSync and G-Sync, so watch for these technologies and compatible graphics cards when making gaming monitor decisions.

Which is better: LCD or LED?

The short answer is, they’re both the same. The longer answer is that this is a failure of company marketing in properly conveying what its products are. Today most monitors that use LCD technology are backlit with LEDs, so typically if you’re buying a monitor it’s both an LCD and LED display. For more of an explanation on LCD and LED technologies, we have a whole guide dedicated to it.

That said, there are OLED displays to consider, although these panels haven’t made an impact on the desktop market yet. OLED screens combine color and light into a single panel, famed for its vibrant colors and contrast ratio. While that technology has been making waves in televisions for a few years now, they’re only just starting to make a tentative step into the world of desktop monitors, like the massive Alienware 55-inch OLED display we got our hands on at CES 2019.

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